A student of history cannot carry his investigation far into the annals of Oneida county without learning of
the prominent part which the Conant family has borne in the upbuilding and substantial progress of this section
of the state. George Freeman Conant was a worthy scion of his race. He was fortunate in having back of him
an ancestry honorable and distinguished and his lines of life were cast in harmony therewith.
A native of Camden, born September 29, 1855, he was the youngest of six Sons of Francis H. and Mary G. Conant.
His early education was acquired in the Camden union school and later he attended the Hungerford Collegiate Institute
at Adams, New York. His initial business training was received in his father's factory, where he held a position
for a time, or until the fire of 1876, which destroyed the plant. At that time George F. Conant and his brother
Eugene formed a partnership for the continuance of the business under the style of F. H. Conant's Sons. Ubder their
management and leadership the new undertaking prospered and the name of the house became even more widely known
than before, its reputation extending throughout the entire country and to foreign lands as well. They made a specialty
of chair manufacture and produced all that was best and most substantial in the trade.
The development of an important and extensive industry was due in large measure to the efforts of George F. Conant,
whose ingenuity, progressivmess and well formulated plans constituted a broad foundation on which to build success.
He made it his purpose to thoroughly familiarize himself with every branch of the business and was thus able to
capably direct the efforts of those who served him. He understood the mechanical working and the financial control
and at all times the house was kept abreast of the times in everything relating to chair manufacture. Its output
was substantial and artistic and found a ready sale on the market, for in style the goods were pleasing and in
price reasonable. George F. Conant had notable ability as a salesman and moreover was a whole souled, genial gentleman,
who won popularity and gained the frieiadship of all whom he met.
On the 3d of October, 1876, Mr. Conant was united in marriage to Miss Ella Spicer, of Adams, New York, whose acquaintance
he had formed while attending the Institute in that village. Theirs was largely an ideal married life in which
mutual love and confidence increased as the years went by. Mr. Conant's success enabled him to provide his family
with an elegant home and he was ever devoted to the welfare of his wife and children.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Conant were born two children: Clarence Edward Conant, the son, was born in Camden, October 13,
1877. He attended the Camden high school, the Peekskill Military Academy and the Sheffield Scientific School and
was graduated from the Albany Law School in 1901. Subsequently he pursued a post graduate course in the last named
institution and was admitted to the New York bar in 1902. After spending several months in China and Japan he settled
in the Imperial valley of California, becoming one of the developers of this valley, on the Colorado desert. He
owns several hundred acres of land there as well as orange groves at Pomona, California. Bertha E. Conant, the
daughter, attended St. Agnes School in Albany and while on a trip to Europe with her parents and brother, was married
to Walter Wickes in London, September 29, 1897. Mr. Wickes was an architect connected with the Paris Exposition.
They made their home in Paris, and on the 10th of August, 1898, in the nineteenth year of her age, Mrs. Wickes
died leaving a baby boy. In November, 1900, Mrs. George Conant legally adopted the boy, who was christened Lawrence
Wickes Conant and now resides with his adopted mother in the Camden home.
The death of Mrs. Wickes quickly followed that of her father, who passed away on the 15th of June, 1898, when but
forty two years of age. He had greatly enjoyed travel and with his family had gone abroad on many pleasure trips.
He was also largely familiar with his own country and he took great pride in his village and its welfare. Although
he never entered actively into political life, he did much to improve and beautify Camden and his business activity
made him a most forceful factor in its substantial upbuilding. He was preeminently a business man and one who wielded
a wide and beneficial influence. Many more years will pass before his death will cease to be regretted by those
with whom he was associated, for he was ever an honorable and upright business man, a faithful citizen and a loyal
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Oneida County, NY
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