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

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[This information is from Vol. III, p. 100 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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William Fraser was associated in business with his brother, Robert Fraser, from the age of thirteen years to the time of the latter's death in 1920, when he succeeded him as president of the corporation known as Robert Fraser, Incorporated, in Utica, of which he has since remained at the head. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on the 16th of May, 1855, and had reached the age of eight when he came to the United States with his father, his two sisters and his brother Robert. He attended school in Utica until a lad of thirteen; when he began working at New York Mills, in the first store of his brother, who was about six years his senior. Promotion after promotion came to him as he demonstrated his ability in the efficient discharge of the duties entrusted to him, and the two brothers continued in business together until their association was terminated by the death of the elder. Their arrival in Utica in 1876 and their subsequent changes of location as the expansion of their business demanded larger quarters are detailed in the preceding biography. William Fraser filled the position of department manager prior to assuming the duties of vice president and advertising manager and, as above stated, succeeded his brother as president of Robert Fraser, Incorporated, when the latter passed away in 1920. The period of his identification with the dry goods trade now covers fifty-six years and he has long enjoyed a position of distinction as one of the foremost merchants of the Mohawk valley.

The wife of William Fraser bore the maiden name of Jennie M. Dobell. Their son, Robert D. Fraser, now vice-president of Robert Fraser, Incorporated, wedded Mary I. Nellis, who passed away leaving a daughter, Mary Isabelle. For his second wife Robert D. Fraser married Gertrude Williams and they have become the parents of two children: Jean Ann and Robert Fraser (III).

Mr. Fraser gives his political allegiance to the democratic party and rendered valuable public service as chairman of the board of education in 1900. He is a worthy exemplar of the teaching and purposes of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Utica Lodge No. 47, A. F. & A. M., of which he is a past master. William Fraser is a man of liberal thought and action and of broad vision, holding not to the narrow views of a day or generation but to the broad principles which have been the basic elements of moral development through all times. His life record proves conclusively that success and an honored name may be won simultaneously, for while he has come to rank as a leading representative of mercantile interests in central New York, he has at all times exemplified in his career the value of thorough reliability and business integrity in the attainment of notable success.

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