Biography of George A. Lance
Jefferson County, NY Biographies





George A. Lance, who died in Watertown on March 31, 1931, was recognized as a leading figure in industrial circles and occupied a prominent place in the civic and social life of Watertown. He was born at Little Falls, Herkimer County, N. Y., Jan. 4, 1850, the son of Albert and Emeline (Angel) Lance.

George A. Lance entered the business world at the age of 12 years, when he became a telegraph operator. For nine years he served in that capacity at the Buffalo Western Union office, and in 1870 came to Watertown, where he was identified with the Western Union offices as an operator. His removal to this city was occasioned by the illness of a brother, Anson Lance, who was identified with the Hotel Woodruff, and who died in 1871. In 1873 Mr. Lance entered the employ of Gilderoy Lord, manufacturers of the Lord Steel Plow, and twenty years later Mr. Lance purchased the business. When he first entered the employ of Mr. Lord he remained there until 1882, when he went into the woolen yarn business and carried on this business for twelve years. In 1894 Mr. Lance, with the late D. L. Cornwall, purchased the machine shop of the estate of the late Gilderoy Lord, and in 1896 Mr. Lance bought Mr. Cornwall's interest in the firm, and continued the business alone.

The George Lance Foundry on Mill Street is one of the oldest shops in this section. In 1855 it was one of the largest plow making concerns in the country, and did an extensive business which placed its products in the fields of every state in the country. The foundry now makes plows, power pumps, gasoline engines and various other devices in addition to a general foundry, machine and welding business.

During Mr. Lance's business career in Watertown he saw the iron and steel business practically revolutionized.

In 1873 Mr. Lance bought an island in the Thousand Islands, where he built a summer home. The island is known as Island Mary, and is located a few miles northeast of Alexandria Bay, N. Y., in the main channel. He also had a summer home at Chaumont, N. Y.

Mr. Lance was one of the original members of Company C, New York National Guard, and was a member of the Black River Valley Club, Lincoln League, Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, Crescent Yacht Club, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church. A Republican in politics, he was active in community projects and served for a time as president of the board of education, over 25 years ago.

On Aug. 1, 1878, Mr. Lance married Miss Florence Starr Peck, who died March 30, 1917, and she was the daughter of the late Abner W. and Laura (Pearson) Peck. Mr. Peck was at one time sheriff of Jefferson County. Mrs. (Peck) Lance was a sister of the late Carson C. Peck, president of the Brooklyn Times Company and vice president and general manager of the F. W. Woolworth Company. She was also a sister of the late Frank Peck, graduate of West Point, district attorney, and a captain in the Spanish-American War, 26th U. S. Infantry.

To George A. and Florence Starr (Peck) Lance were born five children: 1. Laura, married Harry Horton, who died in 1927, buried at Chaumont, N. Y. Their daughter, Florence, is the wife of John C. Whaling, and they have a daughter, Florence Lance Whaling. 2. Emmeline, married Charles H. Van Slyck, lives at Westfield, N. J. They have a daughter, Henrietta. 3. Anson, who died in 1911. 4. Florence G., who died in July, 1930, was the wife of Walter G. Massey. They had a son, Lance E. Massey, an Ensign in the United States Navy. 5. George A., Jr., deceased.

From:

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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