Biography of Edward Huntington
Oneida County, NY Biographies





Fortunate is the man who has back of him an ancestry honorable and distinguished, and happy is he if his lines of life are cast in harmony therewith. The record of the Huntington family has for generations been a most creditable one, and the history of Edward Huntington reflects further luster upon an untarnished name. His life reached out in helpful spirit and cooperation to many, public and private movements, business advancement, moral progress and humanitarian activity being all stimulated and assisted by his efforts. He traced his ancestry back to Simon Huntington, one of the early residents of New England, who spent his youth at Windsor, Connecticut, but removed to Norwich in 1660, his death there occurring. One of his descendants was Benjamin Huntington, the grandfather of Edward Huntington. He was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on the 19th of April, 1736, and completed his education by graduation from Yale as a member of the class of 1761. He became a distinguished lawyer of his native town and also left his impress upon the political history of his community, serving as a member of the continental Congress from 1780 until 1784, again from 1787 until 1788, while in 1789 he was chosen from Connecticut to the first congress of the United States. From 1781 until 1790 and again from 1791 until 1793 he was a member of the upper house of the Connecticut legislature. In 1784 he was elected the first mayor of Norwich and continued, as the chief executive of that city for twelve years, or until 1796, when he resigned. Whenever his official duties permitted he engaged in the practice of law, of which he was a most worthy exponent, and in 1793 he was appointed judge of the supreme court, serving on the bench until 1798. During the Revolutionary war he furnished valuable service to the state and was a member of the convention held at New Haven for the regulation of the army.

In successive generations others of the family have been prominent in affairs which have shaped the welfare of community, state or nation. His son, George Huntington, was born July 5, 1770, and was married May 21, 1794, to Hannah Thomas, of Norwich, Connecticut. In 1792 he located at Whitesboro, Oneida county, New York, and in the following year removed to Rome, then Fort Stanwix, where in partnership with his brother Henry he established the first store in the town. Their goods were placed on sale in the tavern of John Barnard, and success attended the little venture so that in the following year George Huntington felt justified in erecting a frame store and dwelling. These were located on Dominick street and business was conducted successfully until about 1816. In the affairs of his community George Huntington took an active and helpful part. He was the first supervisor of the town of Rome, which office he filled in 1797, and was again elected in 1804, serving until 1814. Three years later, in 1817, he was again chosen for the position. In 1798 he was appointed one of the first city judges of the common pleas for the new county of Oneida, and was again reappointed in 1801 and in 1804. The value of his service in public office was demonstrated by the frequency in which his fellowmen sought his aid in official connection. In 1810 he was elected a member of the general assembly and in 1813 was nominated on the federalist ticket for the office of lieutenant governor, but in that year was defeated. He again represented his district in the state legislature from 1818 until 1821 inclusive, and from 1796 until 1819 he was collector for the Western Inland canal. He likewise served as a trustee of the village of Rome in 1820, 1821, 1822, 1826 and 1827, so that the period of his connection with public office was an extended one and the record indicates absolute faithfulness and capability on his part through all these years. His name was placed high on the roll of those whom Rome honors when, on the 23d of September, 1841, he passed away.

Edward Huntington, whose name introduces this review, was the youngest of the family of George, numbering eight chidren. He was born in Rome, June 23, 1817, and died here April 17, 1881. He pursued a college preparatory course but failing health cancelled his plans of entering college, as he could not stand the close confinement of the schoolroom. Accordingly he sought another outlet for his industry and activity, taking up civil engineering, which would enable him to live out in the open. He found here a field that gave him an excellent chance to develop his latent. powers and he became very proficient in that field. Afterward he spent some time in Cuba with B. H. Wright, and was engaged in railroad service. Following his return to Rome he secured a position as civil engineer with the Utica & Schenectady Railroad and in 1839 was appointed chief of the corps of engineers employed in the enlargement of the Erie canal, with headquarters at Fort Plain. He continued in that connection until his father's death, when he resigned and returned home to look after the large landed interests and other properties comprising the estate which with his own interests commanded his attention thereafter. His judgment in business affairs was acknowledged and his discrimination keen, and what he undertook he accomplished.

Like his father and other ancestors, Edward Huntington was prominently connected with the public life of the community. He served as a member of the constitutional convention in 1846 and his work in that connection was of valuable character. For several terms he was president of the village of Rome and wherever public spirited aid was needed in furthering the welfare of the community he was on hand to do his part. His name became an honored one in financial circles for he was long associated with the banking interests of his native city. In 1855 he was elected president of the Rome Savings Bank and resigned in 1878, having for twenty three years been at the head of that institution. In 1863, following the death of R. D. Boxtater, he was elected to the. presidency of the Rome Exchange Bank, now the First National Bank. and held the position until his death. He was also one of the promoters and organizers of the Rome Iron Works Company in 1866, and continued as its president until his demise. His labors were an important element in the establishment and conduct of the Merchants Iron Mill, of which he served as a trustee, and he was a director of the Rome & Clinton Railroad Company, and for many years a director and vice president of the First National Bank of Utica.

On the 4th of September, 1884, Mr. Huntington was united in marriage to Miss Antoinette Randall, a daughter of William Randall, of Courtland, and to them were born two sons, one of which died in early youth, and four daughters. The younger son, William, followed in his father's footsteps and became commercially very prominent. He was president of the First National Bank and later of the Rome Savings Bank, president of the Rome Brass & Copper Company and a trustee of many organizations and enterprises. He enjoyed great confidence and trust by his fellow citizens and was public spirited and interested in anything that might have been for the advancement of the city's interests. He passed away September 9, 1908, and his mother's death occurred in 1909, having reached the venerable age of ninety two years. The death of Edward Huntington, our subject, occurred in 1881.

His life history would be incomplete would it fail to make reference of his many acts in behalf of humanity. He possessed a most charitable nature that reached out in sympathy and kindly spirit to all who needed aid or encouragement. He was largely instrumental in founding the Central New York Institute for Deaf Mutes in Rome in 1875, and served on its board of trustees from that date until his demise. He was also a trustee of the Rome Cemetery Association and of the Rome Academy, which he aided largely in establishing. He likewise helped to organize the Rome free school system and was a member of its first board of education. His political allegiance was originally given to the whig party and upon its dissolution he joined the ranks of the new republican party. The Young Men's Christian Association found in him a faithful member and an active worker of its board of directors who put forth earnest labor in its behalf. A devoted Christian, he assisted in the building of many churches. His life was founded upon a broad humanitarianism that recognized the obligations of man to his fellowmen and he sought earnestly and effectively to make the world better and to promote its progress through the civilizing influences which are uplifting the individual.

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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