The Utley family is of English extraction, and for several generations imbibed those sterling habits of thrift and frugality which characterized native New Englanders. David Utley, sr. father of the subject of this memoir, was born in Connecticut, and came from Dutchess County, N. Y., to the town of Western, Oneida county, about the year 1795, guiding himself through the wilderness from Fort Stanwix by the aid of a compass and blazed trees. An ambitious pioneer, though broken in health, he managed to clear a farm and died there when comparatively a young man.
David Utley, son of David sr. was born of Quaker parentage in Western on February 12, 1802, and spent his youthful life upon the parental acres, attending the district schools as opportunity afforded. He remained, a farmer, in that town until 1847, and for fifteen consecutive years served his townsmen as supervisor. In this latter capacity he was one of the influential members of the board and retained the confidence and respect of Rome, where he originated and founded the Fort Stanwix (now Fort Stanwix National) Bank, which commenced business in December of that year on the corner of James and Dominick streets. Mr. Utley was elected its first president, a position he held by re-election until it became a national bank in 1865, when he was chosen to the same office in the reorganized institution, and served in that capacity until his death on June 20, 1882. He was succeeded by his son, Harmon G. Utley, who had entered the bank as teller in 1847, and subsequently became also its vice-president. Mr. Utley was one of the ten founders of the Rome Exchange Bank and served as a director of that institution and its successor, the First National Bank, for many years. He was also a director for some time in the City Bank of Oswego and in the Rome & Watertown and Mobil & Ohio Railroad Companies, and was largely instrumental in securing the location of the R. W. & O. Railroad shops in Rome. He was one of the founders and long a director of the Rome Iron Works and Merchants Iron Mill and for many years a member and vestryman of Zion Episcopal Church.
Mr. Utley was widely recognized as an able financier and occupied a prominent position among leading bankers of Central New York. He was closely identified with various measures which owe a large measure of their success to his personal direction and valued counsels. He was shrewd, sagacious, and somewhat prophetic, a man of excellent business ability and sound judgment, and a powerful factor as a banker, and in local financial affairs. Unostentatious, quiet, and mild-mannered, but firm and decided in his opinion, he was a close student of human nature, a good diplomatist, a man of even temperament, and a prosperous and influential citizen. He took a keen interest in the welfare of his city and was always a liberal contributor to the charitable and benevolent objects. A life-long Democrat he never sought public office, yet in Western he was pressed forward by his townsmen year after year to the highest elective position within their gift.
Mr. Utley married, first, Miss Amy Beckwith, daughter of Lemuel Beckwith, the first settler in 1789 of the town of Western, Oneida county, where she died leaving four children, of whom George P. and Harmon G. (of Rome) survive. His second wife was Miss Catherine Marsh, of New York City, who died without issue.