Biography of Frank A. Hinds


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FRANK A. HINDS, civil engineer, is a native of Watertown, and a son of Earl B. and AlmIra (Allen) Hinds, both born in northern New York. His father was a farmer of Pamelia, moving into that town from the town of Watertown in 1845, and was a resident of Jefferson county from his youth. Earl B. was a nephew of Corlis Hinds, the first supervisor of the town of Watertown from 1805 to 1808. Frank A. is the older of two sons, and his brother, Oscar E., lives in Pamelia, on one of the farms which his father owned.

Frank A. began the study of engineering in Jefferson county, and at the age of twenty-one went to Portland, Oregon, where he continued his studies under the county and city surveyor of that place for two years; the next year he passed in the engineering department of Yale College, then a year with an engineer in New York city, whose specialty was landscape work and drainage, and returned to Jefferson county where he was married on Christmas Day, 1867, to Mary R. Thomson of Watertown, who, with her parents moved to Watertown from Houseyule, Lewis county, about ten years before. Her parents were William and Mary (Peabody) Thomson, the mother descending in a parallel line with the philanthropist George Peabody, from a common ancestor. She being of the sixth generation, descended from William Peabody, of Plymouth, Mass., and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins of the Mayflower, whose story Longfellow has told in poetry.

Longfellow’s mother was a descendant of Priscilla, whom he quotes assaying, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John,” when John Alden was sent to ask her hand for his Captain, Miles Standish. She declined the Captain’s offer, and John and Priscilla were married afterward.
During the year 1868 Mr. Hinds was engaged in the early surveys of the Black River and St. Lawrence Railroad (now the Carthage and Adirondack) under Mr. Octave Blanc as chief engineer. After completing the preliminary surveys of this road Mr. Hinds was made chief engineer of the Carthage, Watertown and Sackets Harbor Railroad, which position he held to the completion of the road. Later he laid out and mapped the Thousand Island Park, Westminster Park, Round Island, Central Park and numerous others of the great summer resorts of the St. Lawrence River. He had charge as engineer of the construction of the Kingston and Pembroke Railway in Canada, and after that was placed in charge of the surveys of the New York and Boston Inland Railway, serving this latter corporation for two years. He was city engineer of Watertown for a number of terms, and made the survey for the city boundary when it was first incorporated.

His next operations were building and operating water works for supplying cities and towns. He formed an association with J. F. Moffett and later took H. C. Hodgkins and J. V. Clarke, under the firm name of Hinds, Moffett & Co., and established water works in a number of cities and villages in the United States. In 1888 Mr. Hinds sold his entire interest in the business to his partners and his connection with the firm then ceased and the firm became Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke. In 1887 and 1888 the organization and construction of the Ontario Paper Mills near Brownville occupied his attention, and he is at present a director in that Company; he is also vice-president of the Board of Water Commissioners of the city of Watertown, which position he has held for the past ten years, having served on the Board of Water Corn. missioners since 1880; he has also been one of the vestrymen of Trinity church, Watertown, N. Y., since 1887.

In 1889 he formed a copartnership with Mr. E. A. Bond for the construction of water works and general engineering, and under their direction as engineers, water works were built in the villages of Antwerp, Theresa, Philadelphia, West Carthage and Cape Vincent, in this county, and also several water works were built under franchise in Canada. This copartnership was dissolved in 1896 and Mr. Hinds has since been engaged in general hydraulic and mechanical engineering, principally among the various mills and water powers of the Black River valley.

The family are of New England stock. John Hinds, the son of James, born in 1659, married Mary Butler in 1681 and lived in Lancaster, Mass., where their son, John, was born in 183. He married Hannah (Whitaker) Corlis, of Haverhill, Mass., and they had thirteen children, of which one was Corlis; he married Janet McMaster on the 6th of September, 1742, and lived in Barre, Mass., where he owned and operated a saw mill and grist mill on the Ware River. He is reputed to have lived to the age of 105 years, and diedin Barre in 1821; they had nine children, one of whom, Corlis, jr., was born in Barre in 1748. He married Susannah Henry. Her father was an Englishman and was taken prisoner at Oswego, N. Y., during the French war and sent to France, where he died on a prison ship. Corlis served in the American army in the Revolutionary war. He and Susannah had eight children, of whom one was Corlis, who went from Barre to Mt. Holly, Vt., where he married Polly Bent, daughter of David Bent of that place, and then came to the Black River country, now Jefferson county, and as stated at the beginning of this article, was the first supervisor of the new town of Watertown, after the organization of Jefferson county. He settled on a farm just south of
Watertown Center, on the road leading to Rices.

Thomas Hinds, a brother of the last mentioned Corlis, was born in Barre in 1780, and also journeyed to Vermont, and there married Phoebe, another daughter of David Bent in the year 1800, and established a mercantile business in the town of Mt. Holly. In 1809, late in the autumn, he also came to New York State. The route then was by way of the Mohawk and Black River valleys, and the way was often beset by dangers, of stream and forest; the little party had a narrow escape from drowning in crossing the West Canada Creek near Trenton, Oneida county; the teamster missing the fording place, the wagon was swept down the stream, then swollen by the late November storms, and was barely rescued with its load of household goods, wife and children; the youngest (Carlos), now an aged resident of Adams Center, was then only about six weeks old. They stopped in Denmark, Lewis county, where they resided for two or three years, near the home of Peter Bent, sr., who was a brother of Phoebe, and who had previously emigrated from Mt. Holly. Later on Thomas moved into the town of Champion, Jefferson county, where he settled on a farm between Tyleryule and Copenhagen; he served in the war of 1812 and was at the battle of Sackets Harbor. They had twelve children, one of whom was Earl Bent, born in Denmark, N. Y., October 25, 1811; he married Almira M. Allen, of Hammond, St. Lawrence county, N. Y, and lived in the town of Watertown on what is known as Dry Hill, where Franklin Allen, the subject of this sketch, was born November 17, 1843. The family moved to Pamelia in 1845, where on August 18, 1849, Oscar E. was born.

Almira was a daughter of Reuben Allen, who was a son of Major Benjamin Allen, of Cheshire, Mass., a Revolutionary soldier, and a son of Barnabas, who was born in Seekonk, R. I., about 1840—he being a son of Barnabas, who came from Scotland to Gloucester, Mass., in the early part of the eighteeth century.

Frank A. married Mary R. Thomson, December 25, 1887; they had one son, Earl William, born October 22, 1870, and died June 3, 1872.

In business Frank A. has always taken a deep interest in the young men of his employment, and has been generally successful in encouraging habits of usefulness in their profession, himself furnishing an example of temperate personal habits. There are a number of successful business men, engineers, contractors, &c., now about the country, who commenced their career in his office, and who look back with pleasure to their early experience.

He has resided for more than twenty-five years on a suburban farm located at No. 101 State street in the city of Watertown, about one and a half miles from the public square, where, with a competent man to attend to the work, he enjoys the quiet of country life and the opportunities for study and investigation thereby afforded.

Our County and it's people
A descriptive work on Jefferson County, New York
Edited by: Edgar C. Emerson
The Boston History Co., Publishers 1898

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