Biography of Joseph M. Cornell
Orleans County, NY Biographies





Cornell, Joseph M., for more than half a century intimately associated with the business interests of Albion. He was born in Galway, Saratoga county N. Y., June 21, 1819. His father, Asa Cornell, was a farmer. Mr. Cornell's independent and self reliant nature, early inspired him to a wider sphere of activity, than the farm presented, so in 1835 at the age of sixteen he left his father's house, for what was then "the west," and came to Albion by the Erie Canal. He at once found employment as a clerk in the general store of Mr. C. W. Swan, and also made his home in the family of Mr. Swan. Confidence then secured, and intimacies then formed, lasted unbroken and unimpaired until the day of his death. Upon the retirement of C. W. Swan from business in 1843, he was succeeded by Swan & Cornell, the firm being composed of William G. Swan, son of the former proprietor, and Joseph M. Cornell, both of whom had been clerks in the establishment of which they now became proprietors. This firm continued business for about nine years. The business was then sold out and the firm dissolved, and Mr. Cornell retired permanently from mercantile life. In 1853 Mr. Cornell became book keeper in the old Bank of Orleans and when that association failed he assisted in settling its affairs. In February, 1860, he was one of the organizers of the Orleans County Bank, and was its first cashier and held that position until August, 1870, when, upon the death of Mr. Elizur Hart, he was elected president of the association. The bank in 1865 was reorganized under the National Banking law, and became the Orleans County National Bank. Mr. Cornell practically directed the pohey of the bank until his death, July 4, 1890. He was originally a Whig, and later a strong Republican. When the village of Albion was incorporated, he was elected a trustee, and served several years. as supervisor of the town of Barre, was treasurer of the county for a number of years, also postmaster at Albion for some time, and a member of the Board of Education since it was organized. Mr. Cornell has been a member of the Baptist church since he was eighteen years of age, and was always very zealous and active in church work, and was treasurer of the society for many years, and a very generous contributor. His domestic relations were peculiarly happy. On the 25th of April, 1848, he married Jane M. daughter of Col. Curtis Cole of Greenwich, Washington county, N. Y., and their home of culture and refinement was one of the chief society centres of the town. Mr. Cornell was one of the purest and noblest of men, of commanding presence, with a mind, large, well informed, and active, with his powers at all times under control, and ready for service. He was a leading citizen, and able financier, a wise counselor, and a firm and steadfast friend. Two children were born to them, Matie A. wife of Dr. Tousley B. Lewis of New York, and J. William Cornell; the latter was born June 15, 1885, at Albion, N. Y., and he received his education at the Albion Academy and in Buffalo, N. Y. He entered the Orleans County National Bank as a book keeper in 1872, and was appointed teller of the bank in 1885, which position he held until 1890 when he was made cashier. He has also been a vestryman and treasurer of Christ church for a number of years. Mr. Cornell was married to Katharine S., daughter of Zephaniah Clark of Albion, N. Y., July 20, 1881. Politically he has always been a strong Republican.

From:
Landmarks of Orleans County, New York
Edited by: Hon. Isaac C. Signor
Assisted by: H. P. Smith and others
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1894


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