DANIEL G. DORRANCE
The Dorrance family, from which the subject of this memoir descends, is of Scotch ancestry. About 1"l20 two brothers, Rev. Samuel and James Dorrance, who were born in Scotland or in the North of Ireland of Scotch parents, came to America and settled in Voluntown, Conn. Rev. Samuel had received the honors of the University of Glasgow in 1709 and had been licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Dunbarton in 1711. He was pastor of the church in Voluntown until December 12, 1770, and died November 12, 1775, aged ninety years. James came to America with his wife Elizabeth, and their son Samuel married Rebecca Gordon, September _27, 1764, who died at the age of ninety-five. Samuel and Rebecca (Gordon) Dorrance had several children, among whom were John and Samuel, jr., twins, born in Hampton, Conn., June 19, 1778. This John Dorrance became a prominent physician. In 1806 he moved from Windham county, Conn., to Peterboro, Madison county, N. Y., where he died October 11, 1857. In 1810 he married Mary Thompson, who was born March 14, 1783, and died July 2, 1872. She was a daughter of Alpheus Thompson, a Revolutionary soldier.
Hon. Daniel Gordon Dorrance, son of Dr. John and Mary (Thompson) Dorrance, was born in Peterboro, Madison county, March 13, 1811, and spent his early life upon a farm and as clerk in a general store in his native village. He inherited those sterling traits of thrift and frugality which characterized his New England ances- tors, and combined with these a laudable ambition to forge ahead and take ad- vantage of every opportunity. When nineteen, having finished a district school education, he entered Cazenovia Seminary and for about two years pursued medical studies with a view of becoming a physician, but he soon abandoned this profession, preferring a mercantile life. In 1832 he went to Florence, Oneida county, to manage the store of J. S. T. Stranahan and Gerrit Smith, and in this capacity completed the commercial training which ever afterward made him conspicuous in business affairs. In 1837 he engaged in trade as a country merchant in Florence and successfully continued there until 1859, when he removed to Oneida Castle, in the town of Vernon, where he died March 26, 1896, aged eighty-five.
Mr. Dorrance was for many years extensively interested in real estate, not only in New York, but also in Western States, owning and handling large tracts in various sections of the country. From 1840 to 1859 he was the land agent of Hon. Gerrit Smith. The grounds occupied by his residence in Oneida Castle comprised a portion of the site once occupied by Rev. Samuel Kirkland, who came as a mission ary to the Oneida Indians in 1766. The old mission house formerly stood near a corner of his garden. Mr. Dorrance was one of the fourteen organizers and incor- porators of the Fort Stanwix Bank, of Rome, in 1848, and served as a member of its board of directors until his death, being the last survivor of the original company. He was one of the organizers and continually the president of the Oneida Savings Bank at Oneida, was long a director, vice-president, and president of the Oneida Valley National Bank at Oneida, and was the founder of the banking firm of D. G. & J. G. Dorrance, of Camden, and president of their successor, the First National Bank. As a financier he possessed unusual sagacity and foresight, and to him is largely due the success attained by the institutions with which he was connected. Endowed with thorough knowledge of business affairs, honest, careful, and conservative yet enterprising, he won universal confidence, and was regarded as one of the most eminent bankers of the county. He was public spirited and progressive and quite heavily interested in various other enterprises, especially in manufacturing. He was a director in the Rome Brass and Copper Company at Rome and president of the Westcott Chuck Company, one of the leading industrial concerns at Oneida.
In politics Mr. Dorrance was originally an old line Whig and an ardent admirer of Henry Clay, and affiliated with the Republicans upon the organization of that party in 1856. He was very active in political affairs and a staunch supporter of his party's principles, working zealously at the polls until within two or three years of his death, when his age and health compelled him to seek retirement. He was post master and supervisor of Florence for several years and in 1846 represented his district in the Assembly. In 1854 and 1855 he served as State senator. As a legislator he attained that eminence which is characterized by unswerving faithfulness to constituents and strict fidelity to public interests. He was a member and trustee of Cochran Memorial Presbyterian church of Oneida Castle at the time of his death, and always led a consistent Christian life. His benefactions were numerous and far reaching. He liberally supported all worthy movements and was recognized as a most useful citizen.
Mr. Dorrance was married in March, 1837, to Miss Ann Sparrow, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Palen) Sparrow, of Florence, Oneida county. His wife and her parents were natives of Shropshire, England. She died December 17, 1891, aged seventy-seven, leaving three sons and two daughters: John G., William H., and Daniel G., jr., all prominent business men of Camden, N. Y.; Mary A., wife of Dr. M. H. Bronson, of Lowville, N. Y.; and Sarah E., wife of Hon. Charles L. Knapp, also of Lowville.