William P. Cantwell, born at Norton Creek, Canada, in 1829, was. graduated from the University of Vermont, studied
law in Montreal, and in 1851 was admitted an attorney in that city, where he practiced and did newspaper work for
two years, when he removed to Malone. His fine scholarship, studious habits and persistence in fighting his. cases
with great fertility of resource soon won for him a leading place at the Franklin county bar. He was in particular
a master of all of the fine points and technicalities of procedure, and a skillful pleader. There was hardly a
case of large importance during the period of his greatest activity in practice that he was not retained on one
side or the other, and his zeal, assiduity and resourcefulness always made him a force to be reckoned with. Because
of failing eyesight he withdrew from active practice of the law in 1899. Mr. Cantwell was a Democrat, hut of the
Union stripe during the civil war. In 1858 he was elected school commissioner, and while Albon P. Man was absent
in the army aeted as district attorney in his stead. He was often the candidate of his party for public office,
a number of times for school commissioner, for Congress in 1872 against Mr. Wheeler, and in 1877 for county judge.
Though he always polled a good vote, the county was so strongly Republican after 1860 that he was always defeated,
and never held office except that of school commissioner. Mr. Cantwell was earnestly interested in all public matters,
both general and local, and often was active in participation in them. He was a strong supporter of the public
schools, was one of the founders and early trustees of the Northern New York Institution for Deaf Mutes, and was
identified with various business affairs outside of the lines of his profession. During the time that the owner
of the Gazette was postmaster, before the civil war, Mr. Cantwell was in charge of the editorship of the paper.
He died suddenly at the breakfast table October 31, 1905.
Historical Sketches of Franklin County
and its several towns.
By: Frederick J. Seaver Malone, New York.
J. B. Lyon Company, Printers Albany, NY 1918.
Franklin County, NY
Names A to L
Names M to Z
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