Roswell Silas George. - When a family retains its sturdy abilities, its high traditions and commercial success,
throughout succeeding generations, then indeed it is a valued asset to the State. Remarkable in this particular
is the family of George in Watertown, than which no name is known more prominently and favorably in the city. The
family of George were pioneers to Jefferson County, settling there over a century ago, people of English ancestry
whose progressiveness and energy helped to build up the industrial life of Northern New York. Carrying on the family
traditions of industry and integrity is Roswell S. George, one of Watertown's leading merchants, manufacturers
and attorneys for more than two decades. His professional activities, devoted chiefly to corporation and estate
law, have been very successful, and in this respect have been equalled by his commercial activities. These, since
1915, have been with the firm of James R. Miller Company, manufacturers and retailers of men's and boys' clothing,
one of the largest and widely known houses of its kind in Northern New York. Mr. George is its president since
1923. Previous to that date he was its secretary and has contributed no small share to its steady growth and continued
prosperity. His energy and executive ability have been valuable assets to his firm and have made him known widely
in the clothing business throughout the Empire State.
Roswell S. George was born in Watertown, New York, Oct. 31, 1878, the older son of Silas Levi Jr., and Kate (Grafton)
George, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this history. He received his early education in the public schools of
his native town, whence he entered St. Paul's School in Concord, N. H., and then Cornell University where he graduated
in 1901 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. That same year he was admitted to the New York State bar. He went
to New York City, where, until 1909, he was actively associated with the firm of Flower & Company, started
in 1878 by his great uncles, Governor Roswell P. and Anson R. Flower, Wall Street financiers. In November, 1901,
he married Miss Isabel Phelps Miller, the daughter of Colonel James R. Miller of Watertown, and in 1903, when the
James R. Miller Company was incorporated the young Mr. George, the son in law, became its secretary and legal adviser.
The James R. Miller Company, manufacturers and retail sellers of men's and boys' clothing, was established by Colonel
Miller in 1868. When in 35 years later it was incorporated (1903) Colonel Miller became its president, George B.
Phelps, vice president, and Sherman H. Davenport, treasurer, and Roswell S. George, secretary and legal adviser.
It is the same firm of which today he is president. Meanwhile, Mr. George continued his residence in New York City,
specializing in estate and corporation law and maintaining his connections with the firm of Flower & Company.
At the death of Colonel Miller in 1909, George B. Phelps was elevated to the position of president and Roswell
S. George was appointed trustee for the entire Miller estate which descended in trust to Mrs. George and their
In 1909 Mr. George became connected with a project for the development of a large tract on the west coast of Mexico
in the State of Senora, and as eastern representative of this firm spent the greater part of each year in the Southwest.
John Hays Hammond was the controlling financier, but repeated revolutions in Mexico put an end to these activities
and he returned to New York. In 1915 the Miller estate interests demanded all of his time, so he came to Watertown
and has since remained there. At that time he was vice president and secretary of the company. Upon the death of
George B. Phelps in 1923, Roswell S. George became president of the James R. Miller Company, and its active head.
This concern occupies three floors, covering some 30,000 square feet, and employs between 40 and 50 people. Its
products are known and distributed throughout the entire United States.
In the years since his return to Watertown, Mr. George has continued the practice of his profession, specializing
in corporation law and legal matters connected with the management of estates. His legal abilities and keen financial
acumen have extended his interests to large financial circles. He is a director of the Watertown National Bank;
trustee of the Henry Keep Home, and vice president and treasurer of that institution for many years; he was president
for two years of the New York State Retail Clothiers' Association, and has been vice president of the National
Retail Clothiers since 1925. For two terms he was city councilman of Watertown, but he has refused all public offices
since then. During the World War he was chairman of the Government Loan Association and War Savings Commission
for city and county. He is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, No. 496, of the Chamber of
Commerce, of Watertown; of the Jefferson County Automobile Club, the Black River Valley Club, the Biwanis Club,
and the Cornell Club of New York. Inheriting from his father, a famous sportsman and fisherman, love of outdoor
sports and activities, he is prominent in many country clubs. Among those in which he holds membership are: the
Jefferson County Golf Club, the Crescent Yacht Club, Lakeside Country Club, the Thousand Island Yacht Club, and
the Thousand Island Country Club. He is a member of the Cornell Chapter of the Chi Psi Fraternity, and of the Chi
Psi Club of New York City. He attends the Holy Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church in Watertown.
Roswell S. George married, at Watertown, Nov. 26, 1901, Isabel Phelps Miller, daughter of Colonel James R. Miller.
Having no children of their own they reared John Miller, a child of Mrs. George's brother.
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
Jefferson County, NY
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