CHARLES W. HUTCHINSON
The records and traditions of the Hutchinsons are that the founder of this old family is traced back to the tenth century and came from Cranborg, in the Danish island of Zealand, with Harold Harefoot, as he was then designated in Latin Uiton-enis, meaning a native of Witton. The family settled in England at or near Middleham, in the bishopric of Durham, and they were free tenants of the Prince Bishops of that manor, particularly Cornforth and Humber Knowles, after the Conquest. Eleazer Hutchinson, the ancestor of this branch of the family, came to America in 1633 and afterward settled at Lebanon, now Andover, Conn. There were four of his name in direct descent. Eleazer the second married Ruth Long. They had seven children, Amaziah, the father of Holmes Hutchinson, being the third son, who was born December 14, 1702. He married Elizabeth Mack, March 30, 1791. They had ten children, Holmes being the second son. His mother's godmother was Sybella Browne, the only daughter of Sir John Browne, Viscount Montague, of Londonderry, Ireland, who married John Mack, who with his wife and William, his son, came from the town of Armagh to America in 1732 and settled at Londonderry, N. H. Tradition records that Isabella Browne, the cousin of Sybella, was married to the grandfather of Gov. George Clinton, of New York.
Hon. Charles W. Hutchinson's father, Holmes Hutchinson, was born in Genoa, Cayuga county, N. Y., January 5, 1794, became an eminent civil engineer, removed to Utica in 1819, and was almost constantly employed as an engineer on the Erie canal and its enlargement and other canals of the State from that date until 1835, when he was appointed chief engineer of the middle division, which position he held until 1841. During this period he made the maps and surveys of the Erie canal from Canastota to the Hudson River; the Black River, Cayuga, Crooked Lake, Chemung, and Seneca Canals; the Glens Falls feeder and the Rochester aqueduct.; and of a proposed canal on Long Island uniting Jamaica Bay with Rockaway Inlet. His report to the Legislature, dated March 26, 1826 Says "that constructing nine miles of canal through the inland bays forms a continuous navigation from Sag Harbor to the city of New York, a distance of 115 miles," and he recommended its construction. In 1889, after a lapse of sixty-three years, this project was again brought into prominence. In 1825 he was engaged as chief engineer by the Connecticut River Company upon the recommendation of Gov. De Witt Clinton, of New York, to survey a route of water communication from Barnet, in Vermont, to the city of Hartford, Conn., a distance of 219 miles. Upon receiving his report the directors of the company said "that Mr. Hutchinson had fully justified their high-wrought anticipations." In 1826 he was appointed by the authorities of the State of Rhode Island chief engineer of the construction of the Blackstone Canal from the city of Providence to Worcester, Mass. In 1828 he was chief engineer of the construction of the Oxford and Cumberland Canal in Maine. He married, February 15, 1824, Maria Abeel Webster, the second daughter of Joshua Webster, M. D., of Fort Plain, N.Y., who was one of the most prominent among the early physicians of the Mohawk Valley. Dr. Webster was a lineal descendant of Thomas Webster, of Ipswich, England, and was a son of John Webster, of Scarboro, Me. He was surgeon of the 138th Regt. N. Y. Vols. during the war of 1812 and was a member of the State Legislature in 1822. Dr. Webster married Catharine Wagner, whose mother was the daughter of John Abeel, the Indian trader, whose father, Johannes Abeel, resided in Albany, and was recorder and mayor of that city during the years 1694 and 1695 and also during 1709 and 1710. He was also one of the commissioners of Indian affairs from 1706 to 1710. Mrs. Webster's great-grandfather was Johan Peter Wagner, who, with William Fox, had the distinction of being the first of the Palatinates who settled in the Mohawh Vallev, easterly of the Garoga Creek, in the town of Palatine, in 1723. Mr. Wagner's son, also Johan Peter, was a member of the committee of safety during the Revolution, and was lieutenant-colonel in the regiment of Colonel Cox at the battle of Oriskany, August 6, 1777, in which battle two of his sons, Johan Peter and Johan Georg, and other members of the Wagner family, were also engaged. After General Herkimer was wounded and Col. Ebenezer Cox was killed tradition says that Colonel Wagner took command of the brigade, which resulted in the victory so decisive for the American forces. Mr. Hutchinson was prominent in many of the early enterprises in the State. He was one of the early directors of the Syracuse and Utica Railroad, of the Lake Ontario Steamboat Company, of the Bank of Utica, and other corporations; and was for some years president of the Syracuse and Oswego Railroad. He was quiet in his demeanor and courteous in speech and manner, and all who were brought in contact with him accorded him their respect and esteem, and acknowledged his high sense of honor and scrupulous integrity. He died suddenly at his residence in the city of Utica, February 21, 1865, aged seventy-one years.
Hon. Charles Webster Hutchinson, son of Holmes and Maria Abeel (Webster) Hutchinson, was born July 4, 1826, in Providence, R. I, where his parents were then temporarily residing. His birth took place at the residence of Maj. Samuel McClellan. Mr. Hutchinson has been a resident of the city of Utica from the year 1827, and here he received his early education under such prominent instructors as Thomas Towell, William Backus, William Williams, William C. Barrett, David Prentice, LL. D., George Perkins, LL. D., and others. At the age of fifteen he entered the Scientific Department at Geneva College, devoting himself principally to these studies and the modern languages. He was afterward appointed to a position as clerk in the office of the Syracuse and Utica Railroad Company at Utica. He resigned this position in 1817, having been appointed teller of the Fort Plain Bank, and acted for the three subsequent years in that capacity. Returning to Utica he assumed charge of the combined interests of his father and Hon. Horatio Seymour in the manufacturing firm of E. K. Browning & Co., but after few months he took charge under his own name and devoted himself to its interests until the autumn of 1865, when he disposed of the business and went to Europe with his wife, passing between two and three years in travel upon the continent and a winter in Africa and Egypt, returning to Italy by the Mediterranean and Sicily. Upon his return to Utica he took an active interest in matters of a public character, and for several years was a director of the Utica Mechanics Association. He was vice-president and presiding officer of the New York State Sportsmen's Association for several years from its organization, and was a member of the first committee who presented a revision of the game laws to the Legislature of this State, which were adopted, and in 1871 he was elected its president. He was elected mayor of the city of Utica in 1875, and during his term of office a number of important local measures were successfully inaugurated and completed. Several artistic fountains were erected in the public parks, and the latter beautified and reclaimed from their former neglected condition; several culverts were built, and the work of filling the streets over them was rapidly pushed forward, the benefits of which were soon proved by the rapid improvements and growth of the easterly part of the city. His administration was marked by a judicious economy in public expenditures, and many improvements were inaugurated to the ultimate advancement of the interests of the city. The year of his mayoralty, being notable as the centennial year, was a period which brought into more than ordinary prominence the local executive officials throughout the country. During that year the citizens of Utica extended the hospitalities of the city for the ninth annual reunion of the Army of the Cumberland, which invitations were accepted for the dates of September 15th and 16th. Mayor Hutchinson; in his official capacity as chief magistrate, made the address of welcome in the opera house, and addresses were also delivered by Hon. Horatio Seymour, Hon. Roscoe Conkling, and other citizens. Among those present were President Grant, Vice-President Henry Wilson, several members of the national cabinet, and judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, while the army was represented by General Sherman and his staff, and Generals Joseph Hooker, H. W. Slocum, H. A. Barnum, J. G. Parkhurst, Henry M. Cist, Daniel Butterfield, J. S. Fullerton, David S. Stanley, A. G. McCook, James McQuade, J. B. Kiddoo, Frank Wheaton, James G. Grind] ay, W. H. Christian, and many other distinguished Union commanders. His Excellency Governor Samuel J. Tilden was the guest of Mr. Hutchinson, and with him were other prominent State officials, constituting altogether one of the most distinguished gatherings of national and State dignitaries ever assembled outside of the capital of the nation. The reunion was a grand success and was fully appreciated by all the delegates and guests who were in attendance, and they expressed the highest gratification at the attention shown them by the citizens and their liberality of entertainment and generous hospitality. The reunion closed with a reception and ball at the opera house, President Grant and Governor Tilden receiving in the proscenium boxes. One of the guests wrote of it as follows:
"No notice of this event, written at the late hour required by circumstances, can do justice to its elegance and success in every particular. Each succeeding moment seemed to be more and more enjoyable, and the culmination was a grand triumph. Nothing of the kind ever before attempted in this city or vicinity equalled it; it reflected the greatest credit upon the city and the good people who tendered it with the most perfect cordiality to their honored guests, the brave men of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland. It will be. a long time ere the bright dream will be forgotten."
Mr. Hutchinson was prominent in organizing the Utica Park Association, and was its president from its incorporation in 18'72 until 1889, excepting three terms, when, other matters engrossing his attention, he declined an election. This park property was estimated to have cost over $150,000, but it was sold by him to the State Masonic Home in 1889 for the sum of $75,000. To this noble charity, in which as a Mason Mr. Hutchinson was deeply interested, he donated toward this purchase price the sum of $25,000. As a Mason he is a member of Utica Lodge, Oneida Chapter, Utica Commandery of Knights Templar, and Yah-nun-dah-sis Lodge of Perfection, and has taken the 32d degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in Cosmopolitan Consistory of New York. He is also prominent in the order of Odd Fellows and for a time was colonel and chief of equipment of the Patriarchs Militant, I. O. O. F., in the Department of the Atlantic. He was for several years president of the Utica Club, and is a member of the Democratic and Manhattan Clubs of New York city. In association with Alexander Seward, S. N. D. North, John F. Seymour, and Morven M. Jones he was one of the founders and organizers of the Oneida Historical Society, of which the late Hon. Horatio Seymour was president until his death in 1886. During this period Mr. Hutchinson was first vice-president, acting president, or a member of the board of counselors, and since 1891 he has been its president. He has delivered several addresses before the society upon subjects relating to the early history of the Mohawk Valley, and was a member of the committee of five which selected the design and erected the monument commemorating the battle of Oriskany, August 6, 1777. He is also a corresponding member of several historical societies. For many years he devoted much time to the study of ethnology, history, and allied subjects, and his library is large and valuable in rare books in both English and foreign languages. One of his favorite studies is that of Indianology, especially relating to the Iroquois or tribes of the Six Nations. His cabinet of Indian curios and relics is one of the most noted in the State, and was exhibited at the Bartholdi Exhibition in New York, at the Albany Bi-Centennial, and at the International Fair at Buffalo in 1888. In appreciation of the warm interest he has taken in matters relating to the condition and welfare of the Iroquois, Mr. Hutchinson was adopted by them and given the name of "Gy-ant-wa-ka" (The Cornplanter) by a council of the Senecas on their reservation June 15, 1885.
Mr. Hutchinson has held many important corporate positions. He was president of the Utica and Mohawk Railroad Company and finally became the owner of that road. He has also officiated as president of the Central New York Agricultural Association and trustee of the Holland Trust Company of New York city, and is largely interested in real estate and in manufacturing enterprises of Utica. He was elected a vestryman of Trinity church, Utica, in 1861, and warden in 1887. This church is one of the oldest Episcopal churches in Central or Western New York, having been organized May 24, 1803, and incorporated August 14, 1804.
October 9, 1851, Mr. Hutchinson was married by Rt. Rev. Thomas M. Clark, subsequently bishop of Rhode Island, to Miss Laura Clark Beckwith, eldest daughter of the late Alonzo S. Beckwith, a prominent citizen of Hartford, Conn. She died April 11, 1883, leaving no children. She was active and generous in all charitable movements, and her sister and herself were the "two founders" of the House of of the Good Shepherd, that benevolent institution whose mission is the care of little children.