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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Otis A. Betts

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[This information is from Vol. III, p. 682 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Portrait of Otis A. Betts

Portrait: Otis A. Betts

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Many years of intensive study and training for his work in the education of the deaf preceded the selection of Otis A. Betts for the important position of principal of the Central New York Institution for the Deaf at Rome, Oneida county, New York. He was born at Raleigh, North Carolina, on November 23, 1872, the son of Anderson and Elizabeth (Jordan) Betts, both natives of North Carolina, where the father was engaged in the manufacturing business.

Otis A. Betts, the youngest of eight children in the family of his parents, obtained his elementary education in the public schools of Raleigh, and followed this with a course in the Institute of Literature and Business at Oak Ridge, North Carolina. In 1890 he began preparing for the special line of work to which he has devoted his life in the North Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind at Raleigh, where he studied for two years, and then took special training as further equipment for his work in the summer school of the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, and at the Clarke School for the Deaf at Northampton, Massachusetts, after which he spent twelve years as instructor in the School for the Deaf at Morganton, North Carolina. In 1906 Mr. Betts was called to the Central New York Institution for the Deaf at Rome, New York, where he became teacher of the advanced class and at the same time acted as editor of the school paper, "The Register", all of the mechanical work upon this publication being performed by the pupils of the school as a part of their education. Mr. Betts was made principal of the school in 1919, and still retains the position.

Mr. Betts is active in Boy Scout affairs and is now a member of the Scout executive committee, has a large troop composed of boys of the school, and is a pioneer in Scout work for the deaf. Mr. Betts is a member of the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf and of the American Association to Promote Teaching of Speech to the Deaf. Mr. Betts is recognized as a leader in the work of teaching the deaf, and ranks high in the profession. He is always looking and working for some improvement in the way of teaching those who are so afflicted.

On August 17, 1898, at Morganton, North Carolina, Mr. Betts was married to Miss Sudie C. Faison, daughter of William A. and Harriet Faison, an old family of Sampson county, North Carolina. Mrs. Betts is teacher of art and handcraft for the deaf. Mr. Betts is a member of the Rotary Club, the Rome Chamber of Commerce and the Young Men's Christian Association. He attends the Presbyterian church. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Masonic order and is a member of Catawba Lodge No. 217, A. F. & A. M., of Morganton, North Carolina.

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