Biography of George F. Conant
Oneida County, NY Biographies





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 friend.

From:
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
Chicago 1912


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