Biography of James F. Amsden
Franklin County, NY Biographies

James Frederick Amsden. - One of the leading business men of Malone is James Frederick Amsden, who is a member of one of the oldest and best known families in this section of Franklin County. He was born at Malone, Dec. 22, 1872, the son of James Sumner and Julia Maria (Buck) Amsden

James Sumner Amsden was born at Malone, May 18, 1830, the son of Lauriston and Nancy (Sumner) Amsden. Lauriston Amsden was born at Dana, Mass., April 6, 1800, and was married on Oct. 25, 1827, to Miss Nancy Sumner, at Middlebury, Vt. They came to Malone the following year, and Mr. Amsden opened a drug store on West Main Street, on the site of the present Armory building. He continued as Malone's pioneer druggist until the time of his death, Nov. 18, 1868. His wife died Dec. 27, 1862. Both are buried in Morningside Cemetery, Malone. To Lauriston and Nancy (Sumner) Amsden were born three children: 1. Elsie Elzina, born Jan. 1, 1829, died May 6, 1843. 2. William Floyd, born Sept. 2, 1835, died Dec. 15, 1872. 3. James Sumner, father of the subject of this sketch.

Nancy (Sumner) Amsden was a sister of Charles Sumner, a prominent lawyer of Boston, Mass., who served in the U. S. Senate from Massachusetts from 1851 until 1874. He was immortalized as one of the early advocates of freedom of the slaves and was one of the founders of the Free Soil party in 1848.

James Sumner Amsden, father of the subject of this sketch, was reared and educated at Malone, and spent his entire life here. At an early age he became associated with his father's drug business, but due to ill health was advised to retire from business at an early age. He purchased a small tract of land one half mile west of the present New York State Troopers' Barracks, upon which he built a small log house. His land holdings increased gradually until he became the owner of a fine farm of 400 acres, and which became one of the attractive estates of Northern New York. Mr. Amsden was also the owner of a large business block in Malone, and acquired numerous parcels of valuable real estate. He was married in 1863 to Miss Julia Maria Buck, of Wolcott, Vt. Their children were: 1. Helen, born Dec. 21, 1864, deceased. 2. Mabel, born April 23, 1866, deceased. 3. Minnie Anne, born Nov. 8, 1868, died in 1923, was the wife of Brock R. Shears, who is assistant cashier of the Farmers National Bank of Malone. 4. Frank Floyd, born Oct. 21, 1870, deceased. 5. James Frederick, the subject of this sketch. James Sumner Amsden died Feb. 27, 1897, and is buried in Morningside Cemetery.

James Frederick Amsden attended the public schools of Malone, Franklin Academy, and in 1890 was graduated from Rochester Business College. Until his father's death in 1897 he engaged in the management of his father's business interests in Malone, and after the latter's death, Mr. Amsden became owner of the fine Amsden farm near Malone village, which he successfully operated for fifteen years. It was then sold to Israel A. Shatrow, and at that time Mr. Amsden went to New York City as manager of the Grape Fruit Products Company, a plant of which was located in Watertown. In 1916 he became associated with the Meigs Pulp Wood Company, New York City, and spent the following four years as their traveling representative in New York and New England. In 1920 he returned to Malone and established his present business as a dealer in pulp wood and pulp wood products.

Mr. Amsden is a Republican and is affiliated with the Masonic Lodge, being a Knight Templar and life member of Karnak Temple, Montreal. He is a charter member of the Elks Lodge, and belongs to the Rotary Club and Malone Fish & Game Club. His chief recreation is the hunting of big game, and among his trophies is a 14 point elk, the head of which has been mounted and given to the local chapter of Elks. It is recognized as one of the finest specimens ever captured in Northern New York.

Mr. Amsden is a vocalist of more than local reputation, and for one season sang in light opera under the direction of Charles Frohman. For many years he has been identified with choir work in the Congregational Church of Malone.


The North Country
A History, Embracing
Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Oswego, Lewis
and Franklin Counties, New York.
By: Harry F. Landon
Historical Publishing Company
Indianopolis, Indiana 1932

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