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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Ralph William Sawyer, D. M. D.

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 694-697 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Portrait of Ralph William Sawyer, D. M. D.

Portrait: Ralph William Sawyer, D. M. D.

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Ralph William Sawyer, D. M. D., is a comparatively newcomer in the professional circles of Herkimer, where he has been welcomed as one who had much to contribute to the professional and social life of the village. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 28, 1888, he is the son of William R. Sawyer, D. D. S., of that city. The father was born in Boston, December 14, 1863, and died there October 10, 1909. He was a graduate of the Boston Dental College, in the class of 1885 and of Tufts Dental College, in 1905. Phineas Sawyer, grandfather of Ralph William Sawyer, died in Boston in 1900, at the age of eighty-eight, after a long worthy career as a mason and contractor. Dr. Sawyer's mother, who was Frances Shaw Harris before her marriage, is now living in Boston at the age of fifty-three, her birth having occurred in that city on March 4, 1871. Her father, George Livingston Harris, was born July 1, 1840, and died July 1, 1910, having lived exactly one hour more than his allotted span of threescore years and ten. He served in the Civil war in charge of ammunition trains and was in after life a member of Post No. 26, G. A. R. For many years he was connected with the Boston police department. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Morgan, came from a family that claimed true American descent, for one of its progenitors was an Indian squaw. The Livingston family traces its line back to Governor Livingston of Virginia.

Ralph William Sawyer was sent as a boy to the Boston Latin School, the first public school in the United States, which was attended by many generations of New England schoolboys before the Revolutionary war. After one term at Harvard College in Cambridge, he entered Tufts Dental College in Boston, from which he graduated in 1908. For about eight years after finishing his preparation for the dental profession Dr. Sawyer practiced in Boston, moving from there to New York state. He was located in Brooklyn for about two years and was also in Syracuse and Utica for a time. In April, 1923, he was fortunate in securing an unusually good opening in Herkimer and began the practice of dentistry at No. 131 North Main street, where he has a pleasant office completely equipped with modern appliances for his line of work. He has already worked up a good practice in this new location and made an enviable reputation as a dentist of skill and dependability. Herkimer is considering itself most fortunate in being able to attract men of Dr. Sawyer's experience and ability and making it profitable for them to locate here permanently.

On the 27th of December, 1916, Dr. Sawyer was married to Miss Myrtle Estelle Cunningham, the ceremony taking place at Greenwich, Connecticut. The daughter of Ruel Augustus and Lovia Delia (Perkins) Cunningham, Mrs. Sawyer was born at Liberty, Maine, August 16, 1886. Her father, a farmer by occupation, was born in September, 1857, at Washington, Maine, and now resides in Portland, Connecticut. Her mother died in Augusta, Maine, some twenty years ago, after which Mrs. Sawyer became the ward of Dr. Frederick C. Jackson of Willimantic, Connecticut. Mrs. Sawyer attends the Methodist Episcopal church of Herkimer and takes an interest in its work. Dr. and Mrs. Sawyer have two sons: Ralph William, Jr., born July 16, 1918; and Robert Livingston, born May 21, 1920. Since coming to this village Dr. Sawyer was been invited to join the Down and Out Club. He attends the Methodist church and votes with the republican party.

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