Biography of Safford E. North


SAFFORD E. NORTH, a lifelong resident of Genesee county, was born upon his fathers farm in the town of Alexander, January 27, 1852, a descendant of that sturdy pioneer stock to which the development of Genesee county is so much indebted. His grandfather, Noah North, who was born July 22, 1785, moved from Connecticut, and arriving in Genesee couuty in 1808 located on the farm in Alexander, where both Mr. North and Mr. North's father were born. The farm was then in the midst of the woods, and we of this later day can have no real ization of all the hardships, deprivations and arduous labor that such a location meant before the land could be made to return even a modest livelihood. Here on this farm, on January 4, 1813, was born the father of Judge North, James Agard North, and here Noah North reared his family of eight boys and girls. A man of superior attainments, Noah North personally attended to the education of his children, fitting several of them to be teachers. He died September 28, 1824, survived by his widow, Olive (Hungerford) North, and eight children. He was one of the earliest supervisors of the town of Alexander. His conscientious, upright life and sterling character left their impress upon the early life of the community in which he lived.

James Agard North remained for over seventy years on the farm where he was born. In 1883 he removed to the village of Alexander, where he remained until the death of his wife, which occurred July 14, 1884. He then went to live with his daughter, Mrs. Edward H. (Olive) Putnam at Attica, N. Y., where he died November 9, 1893. He lived a life of complete devotion to his family, and enjoyed the respect and affection of all who knew him. His wife, whose maiden name was Rebecca Shaw Safford, was a woman of unusual attainments, and was possessed of refined and scholarly tastes in literature. Four children were born to them. Olive, Safford E., James Agard and Myra, who died March 12, 1882, at the age of twenty years. Mrs. North was the youngest daughter of Elias and Rebecca (Shaw) Safford, who were among the early pioneers of Western New York, having moved from Albany.

Safford E. North received his education in the district schools, the Genesee and Wyoming Seminary at Alexander and at Cornell University, where he took a partial course. At the age of sixteen years in a competitive examination he won the first scholarship at Cornell and entered with the first freshman class in that institution. After leaving Cornell he taught school five winters in Genesee county, working on his father's farm the rest of the year. In 1873 he commenced the study of the law in the office of the late Judge Lucius N. Bangs at Le Roy and later continued with William C. Watson at Batavia and was admitted to the bar at Syracuse, January 4, 1878. On the 27th of May the same year he opened his office in the First National Bank building at Batavia. The next year, although not a candidate for the office, he was nominated for village clerk on the people's ticket and was elected. He was again elected in 1879. In 1880 he was elected district attorney and held the office two terms of three years each. In 1888 he was elected county judge and surrogate and was re-elected in 1894.

Judge North is an ardent Republican and has done a great deal of political speaking, mostly in Genesee county, beginning in 1876 when a law student and continuing in every presidential campaign since. His services as a speaker have been in much demand in other directions, and he has been called upon to deliver the principal addresses on patriotic and other public occasions, far more than any of his cotemporaries in the county. Many of his addresses have been printed and are valued monographs on their respective subjects. He has been a close student in his profession but has also given much time to literary and scientific studies. He has been interested in the work of the Y. M. C. A. and was president of that organization at Batavia for three years. On the 23d day of November, 1881, he was married to CoraM., daughter of the late Dr. Chauncey D. and Octavia J. (Clapp) Griswold, and to them have been born three Sons: Robert, born November 19, 1882; Alfred Safford, born August 4, 1884, died April 25, 1885; and Monroe, born April 21, 1887. The family are Episcopalians.

Judge North is a member of the New York State Bar Association and of the New York Medico-Legal Society.

Our County and it's people
A descriptive work on Genesee County, New York
Edited by: F. W. Beers
J.W. Vose & Co., Publishers, Syracuse, N. Y. 1890



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