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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Clark Kyser

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 45-46 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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The New York Central Lines are represented in Fort Plain by Clark Kyser who has been the ticket agent here for twenty-five years. Mr. Kyser is a native of Montgomery county, his birth having occurred in the town of Minden, December 12, 1864, and the son of John Henry and Lucy (Wheeler) Kyser. His parents were both born in the town of Minden, the father about three miles from Fort Plain and the mother near East Creek. For twenty-five or thirty years John Henry Kyser was a grocer on the Erie canal, in the town of Mindenville, but later in life he engaged in the insurance business with which he was connected until his death in 1911. Mrs. Kyser passed away in October of 1910. John Kyser, grandfather of Clark Kyser, was one of the pioneers in this section of the country and a veteran of the Civil war.. The family is one that has always been remarkable for its patriotism and contributed five or six soldiers to defend the cause of independence during the Revolution. The original spelling of the family name was Keyser and the line came from southern Germany some time prior to 1710, since when it has been firmly rooted in American soil and has so far lost its foreign identity as to have altered the style of writing the surname.

Clark Kyser was reared in Mindenville and educated in the local schools. As he grew older he drove a team for his father and also helped to build the West Shore Railway, a part of the New York Central system. In 1884 he learned telegraphy while working for the West Shore line and two years later was made night operator at Indian Castle. Thence he was transferred to St. Johnsville and from there to South Amsterdam, known as Port Jackson in those days. His next position was in the yard office at West Albany, where he remained for ten years. In 1899 Mr. Kyser was made ticket agent at Fort Plain and has held this position ever since.

On the 6th of October, 1886, Mr. Kyser and Miss Jennie B. Failing were married. Mrs. Kyser's father, Adolphus Failing, was a native of St. Johnsville, while her mother, who bore the maiden name of Dorothy Gray, was born in Fulton county. Both parents are deceased, the father having passed away in 1918, and the mother in 1921. After an illness extending over a period of twelve years, death came to relieve the sufferings of Mrs. Kyser in September, 1911. She left, besides her husband, two children to mourn her loss: Maxwell Park Kyser, born October 1, 1887; and Maerium May, born January 7, 1891. Miss Kyser lives at home, keeping house for her father, and is active in the social circles of Fort Plain as a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Order of Eastern Star. The son is a merchant of the village, conducting a book store and managing the Western Union company's interests at this point. He began to work for the New York Central at the age of sixteen and learned telegraphy, acting as relief agent until he went into business for himself in Fort Plain. Clark Kyser is a republican in his political affiliations and loyal to his party, although he has never sought the honors of public office nor cared to take an active part in the party campaigns, preferring to confine his activities to the strict path of his business. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Reformed church of Fort Plain. Long years of faithful and conscientious service have entitled Mr. Kyser to a high place on the honor roll of the New York Central Railway's employes. The general public hold him in high esteem for the courteous and considerate service he is always willing to render the prospective traveler, while among his friends and associates he is known as a man of many winning qualities.

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