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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Sanford James Getman

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 447-448 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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It is regarded as quite probable that the city of Ilion, in Herkimer county, has one of the youngest chiefs of the fire department of any town in the country; at least, it is not likely that any city carrying a bulk of motorized fire-fighting equipment such as that at Ilion has a younger chief than Sanford James Getman, who is efficiently serving at the head of the fire department at Ilion. He was born in Ilion and is a member of the old Getman family, which has been represented in this section of New York since settlement days and which had its origin in America not long after the first settlements on these shores, as is set out elsewhere in this work, together with interesting details regarding the Getman family in the Mohawk valley. Sanford J. Getman was born on June 19, 1898, and is a son of Charles Frederick and Mary Charlotte (McGowan) Getman, both of whom also were born in Herkimer county and are still living at Ilion.

Charles Frederick Getman, who is now living retired in Ilion, was born in that city, March 23, 1861, and is a son of Sanford and Julia E. (Lyman) Getman, both whom also were born in Herkimer and the latter of whom, born on July 15, 1837, still living, now past eighty-seven years of age. The late Sanford Getman, a son of Jacob and Hannah (Jacobson) Getman, was born on March 23, 1833, and died in Ilion, in December, 1907, in the seventy-fifth year of his age. He was one of the old-time carters here in the valley and also for years operated a livery stable and bus line, later taking up the retail liquor business and in this latter line was engaged until his death. Charles Frederick Getman grew up at Ilion and as a young man was for some time employed in the Remington plant, later becoming associated with his father in the saloon business and after his father's death in 1907 he took over the business and continued it until his retirement in October, 1918. Mrs. Getman is a member of the Evening Star Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star at Ilion and of the Oriental Court of Amaranth, and she attends the Episcopal church. She is a daughter of Captain James and Gordena (Maxwell) McGowan, the latter of whom was a daughter of Alexander and Charlotte (Robson) Maxwell, natives of Scotland, who came to New York state and whose last days were spent in Litchfield in Herkimer county. She was born in Scotland, June 18, 1850, and was but four years of age when she came to New York with her parents, the family settling in Litchfield, where her father took up farming. She died in Litchfield on December 10, 1918. Captain James McGowan, a veteran of the Civil war and an officer of the Union army during that struggle between the states, was born in Londonderry in the north of Ireland, of English and Scottish stock, on August 7, 1844, and was seven years of age when he came to this country with his parents, William and Mary Ann (Robinson) McGowan, the family settling first at Philadelphia and then coming over into New York and locating in Oswego county. William McGowan's last days were spent in Litchfield and his wife died in Oswego. James McGowan grew up on the farm in Oswego county and his active life was spent in farming. When the Civil war came on he enlisted his services in behalf of the cause of the Union and went to the front as captain of a company in the One Hundred and Fifty-second Regiment of the New York Volunteer Infantry, with which command he saw much active field service and took part in some of the important engagements of the war, including the battle of Gettysburg. Upon the completion of his military service he returned to farming and was thus engaged the rest of his life. He died in Litchfield. Charles Frederick Getman and wife have two children: Sanford James of this review; and Frances Marian, who was born on November 5, 1893, and was graduated from the Ilion high school in 1912. On October 18, 1919, she was married to Leon C. Frankish, now living at Syracuse, and they have one child, a daughter, Betty Dale, born on March 10, 1921. Leon C. Frankish is associated with the operations of the Smith-Premier Typewriter Company at Syracuse.

Reared in Ilion, Sanford J. Getman supplemented the course in the public schools there by a course in a commercial school, with a view to preparing himself for a commercial calling. From his early boyhood he had been interested in the work of the fire department, this interest attracting the attention of those in charge of that department, and on November 1, 1916, when he was but eighteen years of age, he was appointed permanent driver of the fire truck. During the illness of the late chief of the fire department, George O. Luce, he served for one month as acting chief and then, on December 10, 1922, he was appointed chief of the department, which responsible position he still occupies. Chief Getman is a member of the International Association of Fire Engineers and keeps fully abreast of developments in ways and means for fighting the fire fiend. He is a republican, attends St. Augustine's Episcopal church, is a member of Ilion Lodge, No. 1444, B. P. O. E., and is one of the active members of the Ilion Fish and Game Club, his chief diversions being hunting, fishing and outdoor sports in general.

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