CHARLES W. GOODYEAR. It is seldom that a man wins great and genuine success in two distinct fields. To Charles W. Goodyear belongs the honor of such an achievement. Mr. Goodyear is one of the ablest lawyers in Western New York. He is among the foremost lumbermen of the country.
Charles Waterhouse Goodyear was born in Cortland, Cortland County, N. Y., October 15, 1846.
Mr. Goodyear's early education was gained at the academies of Cortland, Wyoming and East Aurora, N. Y. In 1868 he came to Buffalo, entering the offices of Lanning & Miller, and later continuing his studies with John C. Strong in 1871. In 1875 he formed a partnership with Major John Tyler, which continued two years, and after 5 years he formed a co-partnership with Henry F. Allen, with the firm style of Goodyear & Allen.
In 1883 Mr. Goodyear became the junior member of the firm of Bissell, Sicard & Goodyear, which for four years thereafter and up to the time of Mr. Goodyear's retirement from active practice, was one of the leading law partnerships in Western New York.
Prom January 1st, 1875, to October 1st, 1877, he served as Assistant District Attorney of Erie County, and later as District Attorney, by appointment to serve an unexpired term.
Mr. Goodyear was intimately concerned in the election of Grover Cleveland as Mayor of Buffalo, as Governor of New York, and in his nomination to the Presidency in 1884. Mr. Goodyear's admiration for Mr. Cleveland as a statesman has been confirmed by intimate acquaintance with the former President, and their friendship exists to this day.
Since his retirement from the law Mr. Goodyear has not taken an active part in politics, yet one of the most noteworthy episodes of his later years was of a political character, namely the movement to bring about his nomination as the Democratic candidate for Governor in 1904.
Mr. Cleveland expressed in emphatic terms his satisfaction at the hope that Mr. Goodyear would be nominated and his appreciation of the Buffalonian as a man and a citizen. The tribute of Mr. Cleveland was a memorable one.
In January, 1887, Mr. Goodyear became a member of the firm of F. H. & C. W. Goodyear. Ever since the partnership was formed, it has continued to buy vast acreages of timber lands in Northern Pennsylvania.
It is part of a comprehensive plan of the Goodyears to create transportation where it is lacking. In the furtherance of this design the brothers became pioneers in standard built and equipped railroads for logging operations. The forests have been traversed and opened up to trade by main lines of well built railways, while minor lines have been improved and merged with the trunk system and connected with the roads that pass on either side of the Goodyear holdings. Ultimately the partners extended their railway system, now known as the Buffalo & Susquehanna, south to the Pennsylvania coal fields and northward direct to the city of Buffalo. All this has been developed from a logging railroad. At the present time the Buffalo & Susquehanna E. E. gives every augury of becoming a permanent and profitable property as a coal and passenger road, even when the whole region through which it passes shall have been stripped of its timber. The railway in question, of which Mr. Goodyear is Vice-President and a principal stockholder, includes more than 300 miles of first-class standard gauge track, and when the plans now approved shall have been carried out, the system will contain 400 miles of road.
Within a comparatively recent period Mr. Goodyear, with his brother and other financiers, reorganized the original firm of P. H. & C. W. Goodyear, the present style being the Goodyear Lumber Company. For many years the concern has manufactured 200,000,000 feet of hemlock lumber annually.
Mr. Goodyear is also Vice-President of the Great Southern Lumber Company, the Pearl River Lumber Company, and other lumber companies in Louisiana and Mississippi which have extensive holdings of long leaf yellow pine in those states. The Great Southern Lumber Company has recently completed what is probably the largest saw and planing mill plant in the world. The saw mill, planing mill and docks connected therewith being constructed entirely of steel and concrete. The capacity of these mills is 300,000,000 feet of lumber per annum.
Mr. Goodyear is also Vice-President of the New Orleans and Great Northern Railroad Company, which acquired what was formerly known as the East Louisiana Railroad. The New Orleans and Great Northern Railroad Company has constructed a line of railroad from Slidell, a point on the New Orleans North Eastern Railroad to Jackson, Mississippi, a distance of 151 miles. This road traverses the extensive yellow pine forests of Louisiana and Mississippi and extends through the valley of the Pearl River. This company has entered into contract with the New Orleans North Eastern Railroad for trackage rights from Slidell to New Orleans, and terminal facilities in New Orleans. Thus an outlet is provided for the products of the forest to tide water, to the great West and, in short, to the markets of the world.
During the lumber tariff controversy several years ago, Mr. Goodyear was Chairman of the convention of lumbermen which urged the imposition of a tariff on Canadian lumber. He appeared before the Ways and Means Committee of Congress in behalf of the measure, and it is largely on account of his efforts that the present tariff law contains a provision for a protective duty on Canadian lumber of $2 a thousand.
Aside from his lumber and railroad interests, Mr. Goodyear is identified with the Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal & Coke Company, the Buffalo & Susquehanna Iron Company, and the Lackawanna Steel Company.
He is a member of the Buffalo, Saturn, Ellicott, Country, Falconwood, Liberal and Acacia clubs. He is a Mason, a life member of the Buffalo Library and a trustee of the State Normal School of this city. He attends the First Presbyterian Church, is prominent in philanthropy, and takes an interest in all municipal projects tending to the betterment of local conditions.
March 23d, 1876, Mr. Goodyear married Miss Ella Portia Conger, of Collins Center, N. Y. The children of the union are four: Anson Conger, Esther, Charles W., Jr., and Bradley. Anson Conger Goodyear, the eldest son, is associated with his father in business. The other sons, Charles W., Jr., and Bradley, are students in Yale University.
Viewing his personality by the aid of his career, one feels justified in saying of Mr. Goodyear that he is a man to whom it is difficult to assign limitations. Mentally and physically he is of large mold, and he gives a constant impression of reserve power. He has the gift of popularity, and the still better one of inspiring public trust. Had he chosen to continue in politics, it is hard to draw any line circumscribing the honors he might have received. A keen observer of manners and customs, he is fond of travel, and spends from two to four months every year in this manner, his journeys including tours in the United States and abroad." His success in the world has been conspicuous, but it has not awakened envy, for it is known to be the outcome of industry and square dealing and has benefited not only Mr. Goodyear but the community in which he lives and notably a great section of a neighboring state.
SOURCE: Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I