D. B. WEST, now deceased, was for many years President of the National Hamilton Bank, and occupied a conspicuous place among the respected and influential citizens of Madison County, his life furnishing a striking example of what can be accomplished by industry, integrity, and perseverance. With few of the advantages possessed by the boys of this generation, relying solely on his own efforts and his inherent ability, Mr. West most successfully climbed the ladder of prosperity, and, while advancing his own interests, was not unmindful of those of others, during his long and busy life winning the confidence and esteem of all with whom he came in contact.
His grandfather was a native of New Jersey, where he was reared to manhood, and resided for some years after his marriage to Eunice Hall, who was a native of the same State and of Scotch descent. Subsequently he and his family joined a company of Seventh-day Baptists who came to Madison County, and formed a colony in Leonardsville, then a sparsely settled hamlet, and there built for themselves homes in the wilderness. They came by way of the Erie Canal to Utica, thence by teams to Leonardsville, where for many years they labored to build up the town, suffering the privations and hardships of pioneer life, but also finding many pleasures and enjoyments. There the grandparents of our subject spent the remainder of their lives, honored and respected citizens of the town in whose development they had assisted.
Clement H. West, father of our subject, was born in Cumberland County, New Jersey, not far from the village of Bridgeton. He grew to manhood in his native State, and, when a young man, learned the trades of shoemaking and wagon-making. He came to Madison County with his parents, and for some years made his home in Leonardsville. Not fully satisfied with his prospects in this county, he returned to his native State, where he bought a wagon-shop and continued in his former business; and there he and his wife spent the remainder of their days. The maiden name of his wife was Rachel Davis; and of their union seven children were born, five sons and two daughters, our subject being the eldest child.
D. B. West, of whom we write, was born in Shiloh, Cumberland County, N.J., January 27, 1821. His early education was received in the schools of his native town and the district schools of Leonardsville. He was an energetic, ambitious lad, and, when twelve years of age, began to earn his own living. At first he secured a position in a store in Leonardsville, and the succeeding six years remained in this county, clerking in different places. Then, removing to Oneida County, he continued awhile in the same vocation, being employed as clerk in the towns of Sangerfield and Waterville. Desirous of becoming established in business, Mr. West then bought an interest in the store of an uncle in Cassville, remaining there for a year and a half. Going thence to Utica, he accepted a position in the office of the County Clerk, which he filled satisfactorily for two years. The following year he spent in a store in Cortland, coming from there to Hamilton (about 1846) to accept a clerkship with Joseph A. Mott. At the end of the year he bought an interest in the firm known as Pierce, Cobb & Co., which later became Cobb & West, remaining with them until the organization of the bank in 1853, then known as the Hamilton (State) Bank, when he was appointed Cashier of that institution--an office which he filled with such credit to himself and so acceptably, not only to the stockholders, but to the patrons of the institution, that he was subsequently elected its President, succeeding Deacon Pierce. His financial ability and excellent judgment were recognized throughout the business community, where he was considered a representative man of the county. He was for some time President of the village, and for a long time its Treasurer, and was active in securing the construction of the Utica, Clinton & Binghamton Railroad, and was for a long time Director of that company.
Mr. West was united in marriage in November, 1850, to Eliza B. Mott, a daughter of John and Eliza Mott, of Sangerfield. Their union was blessed by the birth of three children, namely: General William M. West, until recently Cashier in his father's bank, and a member of Governor Flower's staff; Catherine W. and Caroline M., twins. The death of Mrs. West occurred at her home in Hamilton, March 21, 189i. (See sketch of Charles Mott for full family history.) She was an esteemed member of the Episcopal church, contributing generously toward its support and aiding in its every good work.
Politically, Mr. West was a Democrat, and socially belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and was a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity, having taken all its degrees. He was a member of Utica Commandery, K. T. His death occurred January 3, 1894; and the sad event plunged the village in mourning, for all realized that the community had lost a noble citizen, and one who had ever the best interests of his town and locality at heart. Since his death his son, William M., has been elected President of the bank by the Board of Directors, thus succeeding his father in that important position.
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