Biography of Manford J. Dewey
Madison County, NY Biographies





Dewey, Manford J., son of Joel and Eliza (Greene) Dewey, was born in the town of Adams, Jefferson county, N. Y., February 22, 1839. His father was a general merchant and prominent citizen of Adams, served as justice of the peace for a period of fourteen years, and held other positions of public trust. Of his union with Eliza Greene five children were born, four of whom are now living: Marion M., widow of Julius Tanner; Marissa E., widow of D. M. Greene; Melvil Dewey, the well known secretary of the State Board of Regents, and originator of the modern public library system; and the subject of this notice. M. J. Dewey received an education confined to the common schools of his native town, and at an early age entered his father's business, becoming a salesman and book keeper. As a youth he evinced much natural musical ability, and his father sent him to Boston where he received a thorough musical training, and before he reached his majority became well known in the vicinity of Adams as a talented musician and a teacher of ability. He came to Oneida in May, 1866, and for a period of two years was employed as a salesman and teacher by William E. Pratt & Co.; giving lessons on the piano, organ, cornet, guitar, and violin, besides training different bands in the vicinity. In 1868, he severed his connection with this firm, began a similar business on his own account, and by industry and perseverance gained a flattering success in a surprisingly short time. He conducted his business in a systematic, thorough, and above all honest manner, from time to time added different lines to his stock, and is now one of the largest dealers in musical merchandise in Central New York. In connection with his Oneida store, he has also conducted branches in Utica, Lowville, Clayton, Hamilton, Cazenovia, and Camden. In 1892 he bought a plot of ground on the west side of Main street and erected the brick building known as the Dewey block, where he has since conducted his business. In 1884, while still engaged in building up his Oneida business, he purchased a factory at Bloomingdale, N. J., buying old rubber, which was ground to powder, vulcanized, and sold to manufacturers of rubber goods throughout the country to be mixed with new gum. In this enterprise he met with a large financial success. By virtue of his experience as a teacher and from the nature of his business, Mr. Dewey is well known throughout the wide area of the territory surrounding Oneida. He hags been a recognized leader in musical circles, and for over a quarter of a century has played the organ professionally in different churches. He also lead the Oneida band for a period of ten years. As a citizen, he has been identified with and a generous supporter of the best interests of the village, especially the Young Men's Christian Association, of which he has been a prominent promoter. He was appointed president of the Sewer Commission in 1892, and served in that capacity five years. Since boyhood he has been a member of the Baptist church and is now serving as trustee and deacon of the Oneida church. Mr. Dewey first married in February, 1860, Almira R. Hall, daughter Thomas Hall of Wilna, N. Y., and of this union one daughter was born, now wife of Prof. Asa O. Gallup, president of the New York Preparatory School. In October, 1873, he married Charlotte Augusta Allen of Eaton, better known as Lottie Allen. Mrs. Dewey is a woman of great natural gifts and estimable character. She is widely known as a church and temperance worker, and served as president of the Oneida Woman's Christian Temperance Union for thirteen years. They have four children: Harry M., Agnes, George A. and Alta.

FROM:
Our County and it's people
A Descriptive and Biographical Record of
Madison County, New York
Edited by: John E. Smith
The Boston History Co., Publishers 1890


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