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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Samuel Arthur Beardsley Sr.

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 316-317 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Samuel Arthur Beardsley, one of Utica's most prominent native sons and leading corporation attorneys, has since 1898 been a member of the law firm of Beardsley, Hemmens & Taylor, with offices on Wall street, in New York, but still maintains a residence in Utica, where he exercised a potent influence in public affairs as head of the democratic organizations of the city from 1891 until 1913. His birth occurred on the 1st of December, 1856, his parents being Arthur Moore and Louise Howland (Adams) Beardsley. His ancestral record is interwoven with the judicial history of New York. His grandfather, Samuel Beardsley, was numbered with the prominent statesmen and jurists of his day. Arthur M. Beardsley, the father of Samuel A. Beardsley, taking up the practice of law, continued actively before the bar for more than a half century and his course added luster to the splendid record made by Chief Justice Beardsley.

After mastering the elementary branches of learning in the public schools Samuel Arthur Beardsley entered Williston Seminary, at Easthampton, Massachusetts. Later he matriculated in the Hamilton College Law School of Clinton, New York, from which he was graduated, being admitted to the bar in 1879. During the succeeding eighteen years he devoted his attention to corporation law practice in Utica, save for the period of his service as chairman of the state board of railroad commissioners, which position he filled from 1892 until 1896. He was elected special city judge in 1886, and city judge two years later. He occupied the bench in the latter court for four years but resigned when tendered the appointment of state railroad commissioner by Governor Flower. It was in 1898 that Mr. Beardsley opened an office in New York as senior member of the firm of Beardsley & Hemmens, now Beardsley, Hemmens & Taylor. He is attorney for the New York Edison Company, the Consolidated Subway Company and other electrical companies and is a director of the Utica Gas & Electric Company and the Consolidated Telegraph & Electrical Subway Company. It was Mr. Beardsley who incorporated the New York Gas & Electric Light, Heat & Power Company, now the New York Edison Company, which took over all electric light companies of New York city. Along strictly professional lines he has membership in the Bar Association of the City of New York, the Oneida County Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Beginning in 1886 Mr. Beardsley served for three consecutive years as chairman of the democratic county committee of Oneida county, also represented his congressional district as state committeeman and was secretary of the democratic state committee from 1889 until 1892. He was a delegate to the democratic national conventions of 1904, 1908 and 1912, and every democratic state convention from 1891 until 1912. A contemporary biographer said of him:

"Although he has held but few political offices, the principal one of which was the chairmanship of the state board of railroad commission from 1892 to 1896, by appointment of Governor Flower, he has been an active and efficient politician. His opinions have always carried weight in political councils. For many years he has been regarded as the leader of the democratic party in Oneida county and he was long a friend and advisor of Senator D. B. Hill. While in a business way he represents large financial interests, he has also taken an active interest in politics."

On the 14th of September, 1881, Mr. Beardsley was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Ann Hopper of Utica, an adopted daughter of Thomas Hopper, and to them have been born three children. They maintain residences at No. 1012 Park avenue in Utica, at No. 37 Madison avenue in New York and also at Easthampton, Long Island. Mr. Beardsley belongs to the Masonic fraternity and is also a member of the Fort Schuyler, Utica, Maidstone, East Hampton and Manhattan Clubs of New York.

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