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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Charles S. Munger

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 139-140 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Among the old-time residents of Herkimer county there are few if any who have a wider acquaintance thereabout than has Charles S. Munger, former postmaster of Herkimer, formerly and for years engaged in the newspaper business at that place and now engaged there in the automobile business, he and his son-in-law, William Bechtold, carrying on their business in this line in a well equipped establishment on Albany street. Mr. Munger is a native son of the Mohawk valley and has lived here all his life, having moved to Herkimer from Camden nearly forty years ago, since which time he has ever been active in the general civic and social affairs of the latter place, ever interested in the development of the best interests of the city in which as a young man he chose to make his home. Mr. Munger was born on August 9, 1856, and is a son of Jairus H. and Irene (Gillette) Munger, the latter of whom was born in the town of Fenner, in Madison county, this state, in 1821, and spent her last days in Camden, in Oneida county, where her death occurred on February 8, 1898. Jairus H. Munger also was born at Fenner and his last days were likewise spent in Camden, where he died on October 28, 1878. He was an attorney at law and a newspaper man, for years carrying on the publication of the Camden Journal in addition to his general law practice, his active newspaper work having been carried on up to the time of his death.

Charles S. Munger was reared in Camden and his schooling was received in the public schools of that city. From the days of his boyhood he had been a helpful agent in the affairs of his father's newspaper and upon the death of his father in 1878 he assumed the control and management of the paper. Though but twenty-two years of age at that time he had sufficient initial experience in looking after the affairs of the paper to carry on without interruption and he thus kept the Journal going in good condition. For ten years Mr. Munger continued the publication of the Journal at Camden and then (in 1885) he sold his newspaper property there and moved to Herkimer, where he bought a half interest in the Ilion Citizen and in association with George W. Weaver of Ilion he established the Herkimer Citizen. Presently Mr. Weaver sold his interest in this combined newspaper enterprise to A. T. Smith, who was then county clerk, and Mr. Munger thus became a partner of Smith and T. E. Easton. This partnership not long afterward was changed to an incorporated company, known as the Citizen Publishing Company, of which Mr. Munger was the president. This company pushed the newspaper business to cover wider territory and published no fewer than three newspapers, having a branch at Frankfort, thus covering that point as well as Ilion and Herkimer. After a while the Easton interest in the company was sold to the Rev. Rufus King of Ilion. Mr. Munger continued his active connection with the company until January 1, 1921, when he and his associates sold the newspaper property to Mr. Theodore Schmidt, of Ilion. In the meantime, beginning in 1899, Mr. Munger had for eight years rendered service to the people of Herkimer as postmaster of that city. His commission as postmaster, made out by President McKinley, was renewed for another term of four years by President Roosevelt and it was thus that for eight years he was postmaster.

Following the disposition of his newspaper interest in 1921 Mr. Munger turned his attention to the sale of automobiles and accessories, and in association with his son-in-law, William Bechtold, a practical automobile man, he erected the building on Albany street in which that business is now carried on and ever since the two have been engaged in business at that point, local distributors for the Dodge cars and the Jordan cars. Mr. Munger is a member of the Herkimer Chamber of Commerce and of the local Exchange Club. He also is a member of the Masonic order, of long standing, affiliated with Herkimer Lodge No. 423, F. & A. M.

On October 1, 1881, Charles S. Munger was united in marriage to Miss Hattie A. Rice, who was born at Manlius, New York, November 8, 1865, and who is a daughter of Simeon and Lucy (Wilcox) Rice, both members of old families in this section of New York. Simeon Rice was a native of Coons, New York, and his last days were spent at Fayetteville. He was a substantial farmer. Mrs. Munger's Schooling was completed at Houghten Seminary at Clinton and she was graduated from that institution with the class of 1880. She is an active and interested member of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at Herkimer and a member of the board of directors of the Old Ladies Home at Mohawk. She and Mr. Munger are members of the Reformed church of Herkimer and take a proper interest in church work, as well as in the general social activities of the community of which they so long have been a part. They have three children: A son, Henry J.; and three daughters, Lucy Irene, Helen M. and Marjorie, the last named of whom is a government nurse, lately rendering service in the Panama Canal zone. She was graduated from the Herkimer high school and from Miss Baird's private school at South Orange, then took a course in St. Mary's Children's Hospital in New York city and became a registered nurse, taking service with the government in Panama, Miss Lucy Irene Munger, who is now the assistant librarian at Hamilton College, also was graduated from the Herkimer high school. She then entered Simmons College at Boston and following her graduation there took the library course in that same institution. After two years of practical library work at Mohawk she entered upon the duties of her present position at Hamilton College. Helen M. Munger (Mrs. William Bechtold) also is an alumna of the Herkimer high school, a course of schooling which she supplemented by a course of instruction in kindergarten work in the Folts Institute at Herkimer and was for a while engaged in kindergarten teaching in Dunkirk, New York. She married William Bechtold, who later became her father's partner in the automobile business at Herkimer. Mr. and Mrs. Bechtold have four children, Charles, Martha, Mary and William Munger Bechtold.

Henry J. Munger, only son of Charles S. and Hattie A. (Rice) Munger, was born in Camden, New York, February 11, 1883, and was about two years of age, when in 1885 his parents moved to Herkimer. He was graduated from the Herkimer high school and from Hamilton College and following his graduation he entered the employ of the General Electric Company and was with that organization for fifteen years, retiring in 1923 to become president of the F. M. Weed Manufacturing Company of Binghamton, New York, of which company he is the chief stockholder. In 1906 Henry J. Munger was married to Miss Harty Millington, and they have three adopted children: Paul, Arthur and John. Mrs. Henry J. Munger is the daughter of the Hon. C. S. Millington, formerly and for years the president of the Herkimer National Bank and who became a member of congress from this district, succeeding the late James S. Sherman when the latter became vice president of the United States.

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