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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
David Edward Powers

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 354-355 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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David Edward Powers is a well known representative of the legal profession in Utica, where he has been successfully engaged in practice during the past quarter of a century. Oneida county numbers him among her native sons, for his birth occurred at Annsville, New York, on the 25th of November, 1856, his parents being James and Catherine Powers, who enjoyed an extensive and favorable acquaintance in the vicinity of Annsville, where the father devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits for many years.

Reared on the old homestead, the boyhood and youth of David Edward Powers were very similar to those of other farmer lads of the same period and in like circumstances. In the acquirement of his preliminary education he attended the common schools and was tutored by John FitzGerald, the father of P. H. FitzGerald, an educator of note. Having made choice of a professional career, he began preparation toward that end as a law student in the office of Walter Ballou of Boonville, New York, where he continued his reading from 1877 until 1880, when he was admitted to the bar. He entered upon law practice in Boonville as an associate of Leander W. Fiske under the firm style of Fiske & Powers, but in 1881 removed to Rome, where he followed his profession as a partner of James P. Olney until 1883, when the firm of Olney & Powers was dissolved. Mr. Powers practiced law independently at Rome for a period of seven years, or until 1890, when he made his way to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he established an office and remained an active member of the bar for eight years. During that time he twice served as city attorney and acted as counsel in the celebrated case of United States vs. Plenty Horses, which resulted in an acquittal by direction of the court. Plenty Horses was the Carlisle Indian who shot Lieutenant Cagey during the Sioux uprising in 1891. The year 1899 witnessed Mr. Powers' arrival in Utica, New York, where he has practiced continuously to the present time and has built up a clientage of large and lucrative proportions. He served as attorney for State Comptroller Martin H. Glynn from 1910 until 1912, under appointment by the latter, and also acted as attorney for the state department of agriculture from 1913 until 1915. His mind is analytical, logical and inductive. With a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the fundamental principles of law, he combines a familiarity with statutory law and a sober, clear judgment which makes him a formidable adversary in legal combat.

On the 13th of January, 1892, Mr. Powers was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Searle, a daughter of James and Maria Searle, the wedding being celebrated at the home of the bride in Rome, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Powers are the parents of four sons: David E. Powers, the eldest, was born on the 2d of May, 1896, is a graduate of Hamilton College and is now physical director of the Oswego high school; Thomas A. Powers, whose natal day was March 3, 1898, is a successful young attorney who is associated in practice with his father. He joined the army as a volunteer at the time of the World war, becoming a member of a machine gun company of the Twenty-seventh Division, and was cited for bravery while charging the Hindenburg line. He was severely wounded in this engagement, his left ear rendered deaf, and he is now almost totally deaf as a result of that wound; J. Searle Powers, whose birth occurred on June 26, 1901, is a college student; Francis K. Powers, the youngest son of David E. and Sarah E. (Searle) Powers, was born on the 2d of June, 1906.

Mr. Powers is a democrat in politics and has always been an active worker in the local ranks of the party. He has made an excellent record as corporation counsel of Clinton, in which town he maintains his home and in the affairs of which he takes a deep and helpful interest. Fraternally he is identified with the Knights of Pythias, while his religious faith is indicated by his membership in St. Mary's church of Clinton. Mr. Powers has ever conformed his practice to the highest ethical standards, and natural talent, acquired ability, determination and energy, have brought him to a position of prominence in the ranks of his profession in the Mohawk valley.

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