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Biography of Hon. Orlando Curtis Bidwell

In the exacting and wide-reaching profession of the law, Hon. Orlando Curtis Bidwell, of Great Barrington, stands among the leaders in Berkshire County. His large natural ability was supplemented by careful preparation and his entire career has been guided by a lofty idealism, which marks his every step of progress. As a servant of the people, as well as in his professional capacity, Mr. Bidwell has made an honorable and admirable record, while his affiliations with organized movements bear definite and constructive results. He is a son of Marshall S. and Sophia L. (Bidwell) Bidwell, his father a merchant and farmer throughout his active lifetime, died in 1902, and the mother also died in 1902. Orlando Curtis Bidwell was born in Monterey, Massachusetts, March 17, 1862. He attended the public schools and is a graduate of Lee High School, class of 1882, and his graduation from Williams College occurred in 1886, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Taking up the study of law under capable preceptors, Mr. Bidwell began his professional career in Elmira, New York, in 1889. About one year later he was admitted to the bar of Massachusetts, as well as the New York State and Federal courts, and locating in Great Barrington in 189o, he has practiced here ever since. Mr. Bidwell has gone forward along general lines of activity from the beginning and large interests have been placed in his hands from time to time, giving his name wide influence in the profession. Mr. Bidwell has made his influence felt in the world of finance as trustee of the Great Barrington Savings Bank, which...

Biography of David Bennett Hill

DAVID BENNETT HILL A PROMINENT figure in our political annals is David B. Hill, governor of the state of New York. His ancestors were of New England origin, and he was born in the beautiful and romantic village of Havana, Schuyler, then Chemung county, N. Y., on the 29th of August, 1843. His father, Caleb Hill, was a native of Windham county, Conn, but while a young man, removed to Havana, where he carried on the business of a carpenter and joiner. His mother’s maiden name was Eunice Durfey. She was a woman richly endowed with the gifts and graces of a true life. Both parents were strongly devoted to the welfare of their children and strove hard, with their very limited pecuniary means, to give them a good common-school education. These intelligent, industrious and affectionate parents, so pleasant in their lives, were not long divided in their death – Mrs. Hill died in Elmira, August, 1882. and Mr. Hill – after living to see his son elected lieutenant-governor of the empire state – followed her to the grave in December of the same year. David, the youngest son, and the subject of this sketch, was naturally fond of books and made an excellent use of the limited educational advantages afforded him by his parents. At the Havana academy, beautifully located in the open fields a short distance from the village, the young student spent several years deeply interested in his studies and laying the foundation of a good education. On leaving the academy at the age of seventeen, he cheerfully undertook the task, on a small scale, of...

Biography of John Henry Woodward

John Henry Woodward was born at Peach Orchard in the. town of Tompkins (now Hector), Schuyler County, New York, February 9, 1836, and is the eldest son of John Woodward, who, with his father’s family came to America from London, England, in 1824, settling on a large farm in what was then comparatively a wilderness on the banks of Seneca Lake, New York, where members of the family still reside. Mr. Woodward received his primary education at the county district school. Later on he attended an academy at Peach Orchard under the management of John A. Gillette and was finally prepared for college at the Ithaca Academy, Ithaca, New York, having as classmates Eugene Schuyler, Wm. L. Bostwick, and others who have since become men of note. During his school days young Wood-ward was a leader in athletic and outdoor sports, and is still remembered by his schoolmates for his proficiency in feats requiring muscle and physical endurance. The rugged health he still enjoys, the elasticity of movement and splendid physical condition which now belie the years he has lived may be largely ascribed to his youthful love for physical exercise. After completing his preparations for a collegiate course he commenced the study of law in the office of Douglas Boardman, since Judge of the Supreme Court of New York State. A year later he went to Elmira, New York, and there continued his legal studies with the firm of Diven, Hathaway & Woods, and in May, 1860, was admitted to the bar. In the following fall he opened an office at Watkins, New York, where he speedily acquired...

Biography of Gen. Smith D. Atkins

Smith D. Atkins, who is a lawyer, soldier, journalist and politician, was born on the 9th of June, 1836, near Elmira, Chemung Co., N. Y.; he came with his father’s family to Illinois in 1848, and lived on a farm until 1850. He then became an apprentice in the office of the Prairie Democrat, which was the first paper published in Freeport. He was educated at Rock River Seminary, Mt. Morris, Ill., working in the printing-office and studying during his spare hours, and in 1852 obtained the foremanship of the Mt. Morris Gazette, while he was yet a student in the seminary. In 1853 he became associated with C. C. Allen, who, during the war, was a Major on the staff of Maj. Gen. Schofield; they bought this paper and established the Register at Savanna, Carroll County. In the fall of the same year he entered the office of Hiram Bright, in Freeport, as a student of law, and was admitted to practice June 27, 1855. After his admission he continued to read law for some time in the office of Goodrich & Scoville, of Chicago, Ill., and then entered upon his practice in Freeport, dating his entry into the active duties of his profession Sept. 1, 1856. In 1860 Mr. Atkins made a spirited canvass for the election of Lincoln to the Presidency and one address of his delivered in this memorable campaign, which was a careful and thorough review of the Dred Scott decision, went through several editions. He was elected States’ Attorney for the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit of Illinois, and on April 17, 1861, while trying...
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