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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
McIntyre Fraser

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 644-646 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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McIntyre Fraser, one of the leading members of the legal profession in the city of Johnstown, is the son of the late Judge McIntyre Fraser of Johnstown and a representative of a family that has long held a distinguished place in Fulton county affairs. His father was born in Johnstown, on March 30, 1822, and was the son of George Fraser and the grandson of James Fraser, a descendant of an old and honored Scotch family. His paternal grandmother was of Holland Dutch extraction and came from the distinguished Spraker family, which is so well known in the Mohawk valley. Judge McIntyre Fraser's father, George Fraser, strengthened the Scotch strain in the family by marrying Catherine McIntyre, a member of a clan as distinguished as his own. George Fraser was a thrifty independent farmer residing near what was the village of Johnstown for many years and was very prominent in this section; a consistent Christian of the old school, and it is to his wise counsels and generous contributions that the Presbyterian church of Johnstown is indebted for much of its prosperity and growth.

McIntyre Fraser, son of George and Catherine McIntyre Fraser, and father of the subject of this sketch, received his early education in the common schools, which he supplemented by a course in the Johnstown Academy, of which Peter Burke was then principal. In 1845 he began the reading of law with Judge John Wells of Johnstown and was admitted to the bar in September, 1847. He at once entered upon the practice of his chosen profession in Johnstown and continued to practice there until he died, nearly a half century later, on the 6th day of April, 1895. He began his practice as a partner of Martin McMartin, in those days a prominent attorney of the then village, but after two years the firm was changed, when John Stewart succeeded Mr. McMartin. Subsequently Mr. Stewart was elected county judge and retired from the firm. From that time on for a number of years Mr. Fraser practiced alone and then became associated with Daniel Cameron, his cousin. In 1869 John M. Carroll was taken into the firm, which was styled "Carroll & Fraser" and continued successfully for many years, from 1869 to 1890. The next change in the firm was brought about by the admission of John C. Mason as a junior partner in 1890, when the firm name was altered to "Carroll, Fraser & Mason."

At the time Mr. Carroll and Mr. Fraser formed their partnership they opened an office in Albany, where one of the members was in daily attendance. The business there was very successful, more than repaying the partners for the extra work and effort involved, but, with the election of Mr. Carroll to congress and Mr. Fraser to the county court bench, this branch office was discontinued. The partners continued to have a very extensive practice, however, as is indicated by the fact that Judge Fraser frequently had cases that took him before the United States district and circuit courts and before the supreme court at Washington.

Originally Judge Fraser was a whig in politics, but with the dissolution of that party he, like many others of his views, joined the democrats, in opposition to the infant republican party. He was from that time one of the warmest advocates of the democratic party in this section. As a democrat he ran for the office of county judge in 1871 and was elected, defeating James M. Dudley, the republican candidate. He served on the bench for six years. Judge Fraser was also president of the village of Johnstown and his administration was marked by important local improvements under the new charter. During his term as county judge he acted as surrogate as well, the two offices being combined, which added enormously to the volume of business passing before his review. Yet, in spite of the opportunities for confusion that this situation afforded, the county court of Fulton county under his administration was a model worthy of imitation by any tribunal in the country. Judge Fraser was a remarkably able and successful lawyer and earned a reputation that made his services sought in many difficult cases, not only in his own county but far beyond its limits.

Judge Fraser was twice married. His first wife was Louisa Wells, daughter of Eleazer and Amy Wells, whose death occurred in 1874. His second marriage was to Sara M. Briggs, the eldest daughter of Thomas R. and Rachel Sammons Briggs, pioneer residents, who came from Holland Dutch stock. To this union was born one son, McIntyre Fraser. His mother, Mrs. Sarah Briggs Fraser, died September 21, 1924. [Editorial note: Sarah spelled two different ways]

McIntyre Fraser, the subject of this sketch, was born in the city of Johnstown, January 1, 1881, and received his early education in the local schools, graduating from the high school in 1898. He prepared for entrance to Princeton University at the Lawrenceville Preparatory School at Lawrenceville, New Jersey, from which he was graduated in 1899, and four years later took his A. B. degree at Old Nassau. Continuing his preparation for a legal career he entered the Albany Law School the following autumn. He was admitted to the bar in September of 1905, after having obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree the preceding spring. Returning to Johnstown, Mr. Fraser began the practice of law in partnership with Anson Getman under the firm name of Getman & Fraser, an association that was continued until 1917, when Mr. Getman was appointed deputy attorney general, an office which he still holds. Since then Mr. Fraser has practiced alone, enjoying the patronage that has always made his office one of the leading ones in the city.

On the 30th of January, 1907, Mr. Fraser was married to Katherine Stewart Argersinger, daughter of James P. and Margaret Stewart Argersinger of Johnstown. Mr. and Mrs. Fraser have one child, a son, McIntyre Fraser, Jr., born January 29, 1909.

Like his father, Mr. Fraser is a democrat in politics. His religious faith is that of the Presbyterian church, with which his family has been connected for generations, and socially he is identified with the Colonial, Lotus and Antlers Country Clubs. For a number of years past he has been secretary of the Fulton County Historical Society and he holds the same office in the Johnstown Bar Association.

Mr. Fraser comes from a line that has been conspicuous for its contributions to the community and inherits the finest of traditions of professional excellence and good citizenship. It is not always easy to follow in the footsteps of those whose careers have been worthy of especial attention and maintain the standards they have erected for their posterity, but Mr. Fraser has succeeded in filling this difficult position with commendable ability and ease. An excellent lawyer, he has steadfastly upheld the traditions handed down to him by his distinguished father and, what is more, has made a name for himself as one of the leading attorneys of Fulton county.

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