DANIEL E. WAGER
Daniel Elbridge Wager was born in Jefferson county, N.Y., on the 8th day of November, 1823, and was therefore in his seventy-third year. He received his early education in the common schools and was graduated from the Jefferson County Institute at Watertown, then under control and in charge of Rev. James R. Boyd as principal. Later on he read law in the office of Joshua Moore, district attorney of Jefferson county.
In the spring of 1848 he went to Utica and entered the law office of William and Charles Tracey. In September of the same year, on invitation of the late Hon. Calvert Comstock, then district attorney of Oneida county, Mr. Wager became law clerk and student in the office of Comstock & Beach in Rome. He remained with this noted firm of lawyers till 1850, when he was admitted to the bar. Soon afterwards he became a partner of Lawyer H.T. Utley, then of Rome, now of Waterville, who was subsequently elected district attorney of this county. In 1852 Mr. Wager was elected special county judge on the Democratic ticket.
In 1854 he was employed by Calvert and Elon Comstock to assist in editing the Rome Sentinel. In 1855 he became one of the proprietors of the Sentinel, the late De Witt C. Rowley being his partner, the style of the firm being Wager & Rowley. In 1857 Mr. Wager was appointed by President James Buchanan to be postmaster of Rome, and he held the office four years. In 1860 Wood & Larwell purchased the Sentinel and Mr. Wager resumed the practice of law.
During the civil war Congress, as one method of raising revenue, imposed a tax on the property of deceased persons. An office was established here. To manage this required a person well acquainted with the intestate law of the State. Mr. Wager being excellently qualified in this respect, received the appointment. The government realized a large revenue from this branch of the service.
In 1872 the late Alexander H. Bailey of Rome was elected Oneida county judge, and Mr. Wager entered the office of Beach & Bailey and became a partner in the business. After the death of Judge Bailey, Mr. Wager formed a copartnership with the late Hon. B.J. Beach, which continued till Mr. Beach's death. In 1880 Mr. Wager was elected special county judge for the second time. He was for some time a trustee of the Rome Savings Bank.
He was a well equipped lawyer, a man of many excellent qualities and a keen and critical observer of men and events. He was strong in his likes and dislikes and was, when occasion required, blunt and outspoken in his speech, quite as free to criticise[sic] a man in his presence as in his absence. He had a never-ending fund of good nature and always enjoyed a good joke or a story well told. He had a rare appreciation of the humorous side of things and could be keenly sarcastic when occasion seemed to him to require it. This strong trait in his character he retained to the end, and during his last sickness often amused those about him with his remarks. Although sometimes caustic in his observations the arrows that he launched were not tipped with venom; he was ever ready to do a kind turn for those who approached him. He was very affable and courteous in his bearing-a gentleman of the old school-and the younger members of the bar will bear witness that there were no kinder or more considerate lawyer or one who was more ready to assist them than Daniel E. Wager. He rarely appeared before a jury, but there was in this city no more able office lawyer than he, none who prepared a case more carefully or more methodically. He was particular successful in matters pertaining to titles of real estate and to the settlement of estates.
Aside from his ability as a lawyer, Mr. Wager won a wide and an enviable reputation as a local historian. No man was better acquainted with the history of Rome and Oneida county than he. He had a love for delving into history and wonderful patience for ferreting out historical points and separating facts from fiction. At the time of his death he had nearly completed his work on this publication.
Mr. Wager was one of the officers of the Oneida Historical Society and frequently attended the meetings of the organization. By request of the society he at various times prepared and read papers before the members.
Although he did not seek to make himself prominent in municipal affairs, Mr. Wager took a lively interest in all that pertained to the welfare of the city and was always found on the side of progress and improvement. He was a good citizen. His death took pace in April 1896.
In 1854 Mr. Wager married Miss Helen M. Abell, a daughter of the late Lynden Abell of Rome. Mrs. Wager and one son, Fred L., of Rome, survive.