The present postmaster of Clinton, Fred Elton Payne, is a native of Oneida county, having been born in
Prospect on the 21st of December, 1853. His parents were Fred and Adeline (Vincent) Payne, the father a native
of Oneida and the mother of Herkimer county. The paternal ancestors came to America prior to the Revolution, a
great uncle of Fred Elton Payne, Daniel Payne, having participated in the war for independence.
The early years in the life of Fred Elton Payne were spent in his native village in the public schools of which
he obtained his prelinñnary education. After the completion of his course he entered the Fairfield Academy
following which he attended a private school in New Jersey and spent a year in the law department of Hamilton College.
In 1870, having attained the age of sixteen years, Mr. Payne began his career as a teacher in the rural schools
of Herkimer county. From 1875 to 1887 as reporter on the Jersey City Evening Journal during the Centennial at Philadelphia
Mr. Payne was connected with his uncle, S. W. Payne, in furnishing news through the bureau of correspondence of
affairs concerning the Centennial. He then accepted the principalship of the Oriskany Falls high school, which
position he held for nine years. He withdrew from teaching in 1887 to become school commissioner and justice of
the peace, being identified with these offices for about six years. At the expiration of that period he went on
the road as salesman for a publishing house, selling high school and college text books, continuing in this position
Until 1898, at which time he was appointed postmaster of Clinton.
At Oriskany Falls on the 3d of October, 1883, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Payne and Miss Cora A. Sperry,
a daughter of Irving N. and Julia (Babcock) Sperry. The Sperry family were among the very early settlers of Oneida
county, having first settled here about one hundred years ago. Two daughters, Camilla Ora and Elva Sperry, were
born in the Sperry family.
Formerly Mr. Payne was a member of the Universalist church of Jersey City, but he and his family now attend the
Presbyterian church of this village. Fraternally he is identified with the Masonic order, having affiliated with
that organization thirty one years ago. He has filled all of the chairs and was for three years master of the Clinton
Lodge. Mr. Payne is also a member of the Veiled Prophets of Hamilton and the Knights of Pythias of Rome, New York.
He is a member of the Masonic Club of Utica., while he has been affiliated with the State Teachers Association
since 1880. His political support Mr. Payne accords the republican party, for whose candidates he has cast his
ballot ever since attaining his majority. A public spirited man with a strong sense of his civic responsibilities,
he takes a prominent and, active part in all municipal affairs. Mr. Payne has filled the position of postmaster
in Clinton for thirteen years, the long period of his incumbency being proof of the efficiency with which he has
discharged his responsibilities.
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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