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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Hon. William Spencer Cassedy

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 508-511 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]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 Hon. William Spencer Cassedy

Portrait: Hon. William Spencer Cassedy

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Gloversville suffered an irreparable loss when death claimed County Judge William Spencer Cassedy, on May 19, 1924. A practicing attorney here for thirty years, county judge and judge of the county children's court, he had been a prominent figure in Fulton county for a generation and a force for good in his community. The son of Thomas and Mary L. (Van Hyning) Cassedy, he was born July 13, 1868, on a farm at Half Moon, town of Clifton Park, Saratoga county, New York, and was the second in a family of seven children. His father, a native of Pennsylvania, came to New York state with his parents as a boy and settled in Saratoga county, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits during the greater part of his life. In 1892 he retired from his farm and went west to Denver, Colorado, to live, on account of his health, and there resided until his death in 1902. His wife was born in Saratoga county, and died in 1915.

William Spencer Cassedy spent his boyhood on the paternal farm and secured his early education in the country schools near his home, later going to Ames Academy at Mechanicsville [i.e., Mechanicville]. Following his graduation from the academy at Mechanicsville, he entered the Wilson Boys' Academy at Troy, where he prepared for his college career. He entered Union College at Schenectady with the class of 1891 and in due time completed the course, graduating with his classmates. It is interesting to note that while he was a pupil at the Troy academy, one of the future judge's instructors was Supreme Court Justice Van Kirk, who always took a deep interest in his former pupil.

Following his graduation from college Mr. Cassedy came to Gloversville and began the study of law in the offices of Attorney Horton D. Wright, where he remained until the fall of 1893, when he was admitted to the bar at the September term of the supreme court, held at Saratoga. The young lawyer at once started out for himself, opening an office for the practice of his profession in Gloversville, and later formed a partnership with Clark L. Jordan, the well known criminal lawyer. The combination proved a most successful one, for Mr. Cassedy acted as counsel and Mr. Jordan as trial lawyer. From the very start Mr. Cassedy was considered a most apt student of the law and few attorneys have a better knowledge of legal practice than he. The Jordan and Cassedy firm continued until about 1910, when Mr. Jordan went to New York city to practice. While he was still a student of law and before he was admitted to the bar, Judge Cassedy held the office of justice of the peace in Gloversville, serving for the two years, 1892 and 1893. He has also held the office of city alderman. In the fall of 1911 he was chosen to represent the people of Fulton county as district attorney, being elected to that office by a large majority, and serving in all two terms of three years each. He was reelected in the fall of 1914. On May 12, 1921, Mr. Cassedy was appointed county judge by Governor Nathan L. Miller to succeed the late Judge Frank Talbot, who died suddenly on May 2 of the same year. In the fall of 1922 he was elected to succeed himself for a term of six years and he was just preparing for the spring session of his court when he was suddenly stricken with an illness that proved fatal. This high judicial office he filled with the distinction that was to be expected from one so peculiarly fitted for it by the character of the studies he had pursued and his ripe experience. In addition to his judicial duties and caring for a large law practice, Judge Cassedy was a director and general counsel for the Trust Company of Fulton County and one of the prime movers in organizing that banking institution. He was also interested in the Stewart Battery Company and the Normandie Silk Mills, Incorporated, and dealt in real estate to a considerable extent.

On October 15, 1896, Judge Cassedy was united in marriage to Miss Alice May Pauley, daughter of Frank and Elizabeth (Allen) Pauley, the former a native of Germany and the latter of New York. As a boy Frank Pauley came to this country, where for a time he supported himself by working on a farm. Later he came to Gloversville and learned the glove-making trade. After a few years of experience in the industry he engaged in glove manufacturing himself, his factory being located on Bleecker street, and he was in the business for forty years. He began by making buckskin gloves and eventually branched out into the buckskin leather business. Both he and his wife are deceased. Two of the three children born to Judge and Mrs. Cassedy are living: Edward S., born October 28, 1897, married Edna Muddle and has one son, William F., born April 12, 1923. Edward S. is a graduate of Union College, class of 1919, and makes his home in Philadelphia, where he is connected with the sales department of the General Electric Company; Paul, the second son, died in infancy; Raymond F. was born August 1, 1901, and graduated from Union College in June, 1923. He is now in business in Gloversville, manufacturing storage batteries.

Although devoted to his home and family, Judge Cassedy found time to give considerable of his time and energy to club and fraternal life. He was a member of the Eccentric Club, the local organization of Elks and the Masonic order, his affiliations in the latter being with Gloversville Lodge, No. 429, A. F. & A. M.; and Holy Cross Commandery, No. 51, Knights Templars. He was president of the newly organized Sir William Johnson Country Club, besides being a director of the Antlers Country Club of Amsterdam. While he was not a member of any church, he gave his support to the First Methodist Episcopal church, of which his wife is a member and superintendent of the junior department in the Sunday school, an office that she has filled since she was a young girl. Judge Cassedy was also a member of the New York State, Fulton County and Gloversville Bar Associations. Besides his wife and children, Judge Cassedy is survived by two brothers and three sisters: Edward K. Cassedy, present assistant district attorney of Fulton county; Emmett T. Cassedy of Denver; the Misses Harriet T. and May L. Cassedy of Denver; and Mrs. H. S. Kendall of Alhambra, California.

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