HON. WATSON T. DUNMORE
The ancestry of Hon. W. T. Dunmore, of Utica, dates back to the colonial period, and for several generations has occupied a prominent sphere in the history of their respective communities. His paternal grandfather, Larry Dunmore, jr., son of Larry Dunmore, sr., of Scotch descent, was born near Johnstown, N.Y., about 1770, and married Irene Fairchild, daughter of Matthew Fairchild. About 1793-94 they were living in Canandaigua, where five children were born, viz.: Lovisa, about 1796; Larry, jr., 1798; John, 1800; Ann, 1803; and Irene, 1805. Soon after the birth of the latter the family returned to Johnstown and subsequently removed to Duanesburg, Schenectady county, where Matthew, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in 1812. They had in all ten children who grew to maturity, the others being Kate, George, Sherman and Jane. Of these George Dunmore became an early and a prominent missionary to Turkey. On the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion he returned to America, became chaplain of the 1st Wisconsin Cav., and was killed in Arkansas in the first engagement of his regiment. Larry Dunmore, the father of these children, served at Sackett's Harbor in the war of 1812, and afterward moved his family to Auburn, Susquehanna county, Pa., and thence to Rush, an adjoining town, where he established a family homestead. He died in the State of New York. Matthew Dunmore, the son above mentioned, died in 1863, on the old farm in Rush, which he purchased when he was fifteen years of age. He was one of the substantial men of the town and served for several years as a justice of the peace. He married Sarah S. James, who died in May, 1847. Their children were Evander, deceased; Delphine (Mrs. Norman Sterling), of Meshoppen, Pa.; Arvilla (Mrs. James K. Hay), deceased; and Watson T., the subject of this sketch.
On his mother's side Judge Dunmore is descended from David James, of Welsh ancestry, who served eight years in the Revolutionary war, being honorably discharged June 5, 1783. He enlisted as a private in Capt. John N. Cummings's Company, 2d Battalion, 2d Establishment, New Jersey Continental line, and served with the New Jersey brigade in the Indian campaign in Western Pennsylvania in 1779. He also served as private and sergeant in Capt. Cyrus D'Hart's Company, 2d Regt., New Jersey Continental Line, was in the Virginia campaign in 1781, and was at the battle of Yorktown, Va., and the surrender of Lord Cornwallis in October,l781. Besides this he participated in the battles of Three Rivers, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth, and remained in the army until the close of the Revolutionary war, when he received a badge of merit for eight years' faithful service. He died July 18, 1884, aged seventy-seven years, six months and twenty days, and was buried on the 20th in the Presbyterian churchyard in Deerfield, N.J. On December 6, 1784, he married Philothea Watson, and of their children David, jr., was born October 26, 1785, and died in Philadelphia, Pa., November 5, 1816; Thomas Watson was born October 20, 1777; and Lewis Mulford was born September 15, 1789. Thomas Watson James, the father of Mrs. Sarah Dunmore, was married September 2, 1812, to Hannah Smith, and their children were: William W., born July 28, 1813, died January 29, 1815; Sarah S., born February 28, 1815; David, born April 10, 1817; Thomas S., born February 17, 1819; Hannah Maria, born February 7, 1821; Lewis M., born January 2, 1823, died December 31, 1827; Abijah S., born October 12, 1824; Caroline Loiza, born January 29, 1827; and Theodore C., who occupies the homestead in Auburn, Pa. Mr. James moved on to a farm in the town of Auburn, Susquehanna county, Pa., and died there, the homestead being still in the family. He was an early settler and prominent in the history of Susquehanna county, where he was one of the most substantial farmers. When he first came there he walked to Wilkesbarre, fifty miles, for his mail. A number of his descendants have become prominent in special fields, notably a grandson, Arthur, who is a professor in Wesleyan University in Connecticut; Rev. David M. James, D. D., for twenty-five years a prominent Presbyterian clergyman of Bath, Pa.; George W., another grandson, is principal of the public schools in Wilkesbarre; Benton E., a third grandson, was formerly superintendent of schools of Susquehanna county, and is now principal of the High school at Montrose, Pa.; Rev. W. H. James, D.D., for more than twenty- five years a Presbyterian clergyman in Springdale, Ohio; and Thomas A., still another grandson is a leading physician in Wilkesbarre.
Hon. Watson Thomas Dunmore, the youngest of the four children of Matthew and Sarah (James) Dunmore, was born in Rush, Susquehanna county, Pa., March 28, 1845, and inherited from his ancestors those sturdy and thrifty characteristics which distinguished the race. He prepared for college at Wyoming Seminary in Luzerne county, Pa., and in the fall of 1868 entered the sophomore class of Wesleyan University at Middletown, Conn., from which he was graduated with the degree of B.A. in 1871, with membership in the Alpha Delta Phi society. Two of his classmates were Hon. Theodore E. Hancock, the present attorney-general of the State, and Rev. A. P. Palmer, pastor of the South Street church, Utica. Leaving college he taught school for a time, being principal of the High school in Bradford, Vt., for two years. He then read law in the office of Hon. Roswell Farnham, ex-governor of Vermont, and was admitted to the bar of that State in June, 1874. In the following autumn he became principal of the graded school in Susquehanna Depot, Pa., and during his first term there he was invited by the people of Hornellsville, N.Y., to come to that city as superintendent of their schools. At the close of the term he applied for and received a release and accepted the position offered him in this State, which he ably and satisfactorily filled until the end of the school year 1875. As a teacher Judge Dunmore attained an excellent reputation and met with unusual success, and at the same time acquired a valuable practical knowledge of both books and human nature; but his inclination was the practice of law, for which he was peculiarly adapted and fitted. In the fall of 1874 he had entered his name in the Law School of Hamilton College and was graduated from that institution with the class of June, 1875, keeping up his studies, as was the rule in those days, in the leisure of his active duties. In 1875 he came to Utica and formed a copartnership with Smith M. Lindsley, under the firm name of Lindsley & Dunmore, which continued about seven years. Following this he practiced alone and in various partnerships until May 1, 1888, when the firm of Dunmore & Sholes was organized. On March 1, 1893, this became Dunmore, Sholes & Ferris, which still continues.
Judge Dunmore has always been an active Republican, and has frequently contributed to the success of his party. In 1886 he was elected special county judge and served in that capacity for three years, when, in 1889, he was re-elected for another term of three years. In the second election he led his ticket in the county by about 200 votes, receiving 1,500 majority, which was the highest received by any candidate, the lowest being beaten by over 2,000. In 1892 he was elected county judge of Oneida county for a full term of six years beginning January 1, 1893. In these capacities as well as in all others he has officiated with dignity, credit, and satisfaction, and has won the esteem and confidence of not only his constituents, but the public at large. As a lawyer he ranks among the foremost practitioners of Central New York. As a jurist he has evinced sound judgment, a clear grasp of legal complications, rare executive ability, and a thorough knowledge of the law. Outside of his profession, however, he is not without honors. He has always taken a keen interest in the welfare and prosperity of Utica, and is prominently identified with many of its leading institutions. He was one of the organizers in February, 1884, of the Homestead Aid Association of Utica, which is now one of the largest local associations in the State, having an invested capital of between $600,000 and $700,000. As attorney he has always directed its legal affairs, and for a time served as one of the directors. In January, 1898, he succeeded George Dimon as president and in this capacity he is ably guiding the association along the lines of public benefaction and general usefulness, especially to the wage-earner and home-builder, whom it is designed most to assist. Judge Dunmore is also a director in the Utica Knitting Company, was one of the founders of the Utica Business Men's Association, and was one of the organizers of the State League of Building and Loan Associations, of which he was the first treasurer, an office he held for several years. He was president of the League in 1892, and a member of its executive committee from the organization until after he was elected county judge, when professional and other duties compelled him to resign. He was a representative of the New York State League to the World's Congress of Building and Loan Associations held at Chicago in 1894, and was one of the five Americans selected to prepare an address to that congress on the subject of building and loan association work. The judge's efforts in elevating and placing these enterprises on a sound financial basis have been signally successful, and rank him among the foremost promoters of building and loan associations in the country. Judge Dunmore also takes an active interest in fostering and promoting fraternal, benevolent, and social organizations, and is himself a member of several of them. He is a Knight Templar, holding membership in Utica Lodge No. 47, F. & A. M., Oneida Chapter R. A. M., Utica Council R. & S. M., and Utica Commandery No. 3, K. T. He is also a member of Oneida Lodge, No. 7O, I. O. O. F., a past noble grand, and for several years its treasurer; also of Tri-Mount Encampment, No. 24, I. 0. O. F., in which he has held all the chairs. He is a member of Excelsior Lodge K.P. and of Fort Schuyler Club, and a charter member of Fort Schuyler Lodge, R. A. Both he and his family are members of Westminster Presbyterian church.
Judge Dunmore was married on July 9, 1878, to Miss Minnie E. Goodier, daughter of Jonathan and Clarissa (Treadway) Goodier, of Utica. They have six children: James S., Watson T., jr., Clara T., Russell G., Earl W., and Della.
Pages 23-26 (Contributed by Cynthia)