Biography of Charles W. Wicks
Oneida County, NY Biographies





Charles Wells Wicks has a wide acquaintance in Utica and Oneida county and, therefore, scarcely needs introduction to the readers of this volume. He has always lived in this county, representing one of its old families, and along mercantile lines won for himself a prominent position, his labors at the same time contributing to general progress and prosperity as well as to individual success. He was born at Paris Hill, Oneida county, New York, December 16, 1862, a son of Charles Chidsey and Nancy (Bicknell) Wicks. The father, born at Paris Hill, September 23, 1811, died on the 17th of September, 1884, while the mother, whose birth occurred in Watertown, Massachusetts, March 16, 1829, passed away, April 27, 1904. The ancestry of the Wicks family is traced back to John Wix, who emigrated from Wyckford, England, about 1750 and settled at Montauk Point, Long Island. His son Edward Wix removed to North Guilford, Connecticut, during the Revolutionary war and changed his name to Wick. He had two sons, John and Edward, and two daughters, Amy and Amanda. Of these John Wick followed the seas and became a captain, owning his own ship, and was in partnership with Comfort and Constant Sands, of Philadelphia, in the West Indies trade. On one of his voyages he was shipwrecked owing to a shifting sand bar and was given up as lost by his wife and friends. During this time he lived a precarious life among the islands, subsisting on rum and molasses and whatever they could kill in the way of game. He finally appeared in New York and sent word to his wife of his safe return. As soon as possible he disposed of his ship and holdings and gave up the sea forever. In 1800 he and his brother Edward removed to Paris Hill, Oneida county, New York, and changed the name by adding "s," thus adopting the present form of Wicks. John Wicks purchased a farm of several hundred acres at Paris Hill from General George Washington, the deed of which is still in possession of the family and was signed by Governor Clinton as attorney. John Wicks died, May 3, 1836, leaving five sons, Constant H., Comfort, Edward B., John and Charles C., and two daughters, Phoebie and Sarah.

Of this family Charles Chidsey Wicks became the father of our subject. He purchased the interests of the other heirs in the old homestead and remained on the farm. He had five sons and ten daughters, of whom two sons and two daughters are now deceased. After living for a considerable period on the old homestead he disposed of the farm and removed to Johnstown, New York, and, as previously stated, passed away on the 17th of September, 1884, his wife surviving him for about twenty years.

Their son Charles Wells Wicks pursued his early education in the "old red schoolhouse" at Paris Hill, which was one of the oldest schoolhouses in that part of Oneida county. Later he attended a private school conducted by the Rev. J. B. Wicks at Paris Hill and afterward attended Sauquoit Academy at Sauquoit, Oneida county, from which he was graduated with the class of 1889. After leaving school he entered the employ of Head & Winston, of Utica, New York, wholesale grocers, with whom he continued for two and a half years, leaving them to go to New York city, where he entered the employ of Austin Nichols & Company, wholesale grocers. After a short time, however, he was called back to Utica, New York, to take a position with Roberts-Butler & Company, manufacturers of clothing. He had remained with that house for some years when, upon the death of Mr. Roberts, he became a member of the firm. He continued in business in that relation until the death of Mr. Butler, when a corporation was formed under the name of the Roberts-Wicks Company, with Russell H. Wicks as president and Charles Wells Wicks as secretary. The latter continued in that capacity until January, 1904, when he retired from the company to enter the retail clothing business. For this purpose he formed a partnership with George H. Greenman, of Johnstown, New York, and they continued successfully in that business for five years under the firm name of Wicks & Greenman and at the end of that period sold out to The Talbot Company of Boston, who still conduct the business in Utica under the original name of Wicks & Greenman. Mr. Wicks then retired from active business with a handsome and well earned competency and now has leisure for the enjoyment of those things which are a matter of pleasure and interest to him He is still identified with several interests and public enterprises in an official capacity, being a director of the Utica Fine Yarn Company of Utica, New York, of the Maxwell Manufacturing Company of New Hartford (Utica) New York, a director and treasurer of the Gunn Motor Company of Utica, a director of the Utica Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Lincoln Memorial Road Association of America.

On the 5th of May, 1892, in Grace Episcopal church of Utica was celebrated the marriage of Charles Wells Wicks and Miss Lucie Canterbury Glenn, a daughter of Hugh Glenn, of Utica, New York. Her father was born at Glenvale Port Rush, in County Antrim, Ireland, and on coming to America settled in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he won substantial success in business and then returned to England, making his home in Norwood, a suburb of London. After living there for several years he again sailed for America with his family, this time coming to Utica, where he formed a partnership with E. T. Manning under the firm name of Glenn & Manning, establishing one of the first department stores of Utica and at that time the largest. Mr. and Mrs. Wicks have become parents of two sons: Glenn Dickinson, born January 30, 1893; and Roger Manning, born November 7, 1894. Both are now students in the Hotchkiss school at Lakeville, Connecticut, preparing to enter Yale University.

The family attend Grace Episcopal church, of which Mr. and Mrs. Wicks are members. He belongs also to Faxton Lodge, No. 697, F. & A. M., of Utica, and has pleasant social and club relations, holding membership in the Automobile Club of Utica, of which he is a director, the Fort Schuyler Club, the Yahnundahsis Golf Club, the Arcanum Club, the Utica Curling Club and the Republican Club of Utica. The last named indicates his political position but, while he has always been a stanch supporter of republican principles and voted for the candidates of the party, he has never sought nor desired office for himself. His entire life has been passed in Oneida county and his advancement has been continuous, bringing him to a creditable position in business circles and winning for him an enviable place in public regard.

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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