Biography of William R. Humphrey
Tompkins County, NY Biographies





Humphrey, William Ross, was born in the town of Ithaca, April 10, 1820, the oldest son of Charles Humphrey, a native of Little Britain, Orange county, born in 1792, who came to Tompkins county in 1818 as the attorney for the Newburg Branch Bank. He studied law in Newburg, and was a soldier in the war of 1812, in which he was captain. In 1850 his death occurred at Albany. He was elected to Congress in 1824, and was member of assembly in 1834-35-36-42, being speaker in 1835-36. In the county he held the office of surrogate, and was one of the leading. Democrats in his county. He was clerk of the old Supreme Court for several years, and was located at Albany, where he lived from 1842 to 1847, and at the time of his death was attending Supreme Court in that city. Charles D., the brother of our subject, after serving through the war of the Rebellion in army and navy, died in Utica in 1870. The school days of William R. were spent in the old Ithaca Academy, and in 1838 he was employed on the survey of the Harlem Railroad. The year afterward he entered the law office of Bate & McKissock at Newburg, was admitted to the bar in January, 1849, beginning practice in Ithaca. In 1849 he gave up the practice of his profession and became connected with the Ithaca and Owego Railroad, known now as the Cayuga and Susquehanna Railroad, which road was rebuilt in 1849 by parties who subsequently organized the D. L. & W. Co., and afterwards leased to this company and known as the Cayuga Division, of which he was superintendent thirty seven years. For thirty years he was trustee of the school district. While superintendent of the D. L. & W. he was also manager of their extensive coal operations at this post, handling many million tons of coal in that time. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Cornell University a number of years, and secretary of the institution. He was trustee of the village of Ithaca several years, and charter member of the Cornell Library Association, and trustee since 1864. He was charter member of Ithaca Lodge I. O. O. F. in 1842, and is the only one living today. He has also been trustee of the Presbyterian church fourteen years. In 1848 he married Mary H. Wheeler, of Orwell, Vt., and they have four children. Of these, George S. is with the C. W. Hunt Mfg. Co., as treasurer in New York city; Charles is in the mining business in Salt Lake City; the youngest daughter married C. W. Hunt, of New York, and the other daughter resides at home.

From:
Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York
Including a History of Cornell University
Edited by: John H. Selkreg
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1894


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