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People of Schenectady County, New York:
Charles Stanford

[This information is a modified version of a passage from vol. 1, p. 35 of Governor: The Life and Legacy of Leland Stanford, by Norman E. Tutorow (Arthur H. Clark Co., 2004).

Charles Stanford was born in 1819 in the Lisha Kill hamlet of what is now Colonie, lived most of his life in Schenectady County, died in 1885, and is buried in Albany Rural Cemetery.

Next to Leland, Charles Stanford became the most successful businessman of the Stanford brothers. Before going to California he had been a contractor in New York. According to Arthur Stanford's account, Charles, as a railroad contractor, had assisted in the building of a number of eastern railroads.

After Charles returned to New York, he engaged in numerous political and business activities, including serving as the New York purchasing agent for his brothers' various California stores. Charles also invested his money, largely in goods to ship to California for his brothers' inventory. He became an accomplished and successful politician, representing Albany County in the New York Assembly from 1864 to 1865 and serving in the state senate from 1866 to 1869, where he distinguished himself in connection with canal reforms. There was no Republican paper in the Schenectady area so in November 1865 Charles Stanford launched the Schenectady Daily Union.

In 1869 the defunct Schenectady Water Company was reorganized with Charles Stanford as president. He made a success of the company, and two years later, in 1871, his son Charles Stanford, Jr., was made secretary of the company. Charles Stanford was also president of the Schenectady Knitting Mill Company, the Gas Company, and the McQueen Locomotive Works. He was also one of Schenectady's major real estate owners. While focusing his energies on Schenectady, Charles Stanford lived in the small town of Niskayuna, where he — like brother Leland — ran a stock farm and was engaged in the breeding of horses. City historians later wrote of him: "Much of the enterprise in Schenectady owes its existence to him." updated 1/19/06
Copyright 2006 Schenectady County Public Library updated March 31, 2015

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