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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Walter F. Shumway

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 769-770 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Walter F. Shumway, a well known druggist of Fort Plain, Montgomery county, enjoys the unusual distinction of having done business continuously in the same location for almost forty years. There are few people in the present generation whose memory goes back much before the time when Mr. Shumway's drug store was recognized as being one of the leading establishments of its kind in Fort Plain. His long experience in the business life of the city has made him one of the best known figures in the community, while the high standards that have always prevailed in his store have earned him the respect of all. He was born in Vanhornesville, Herkimer county, April 22, 1858, and is the son of Joseph H. Shumway, who was a merchant in that village all of his active life. The father was born in Lebanon Springs, Columbia county, and died in January, 1904, at a ripe old age. He married Cornelia Van Horn, a native of Vanhornesville, whose great grandfather had given the village its name. She passed away in May, 1905.

Walter F. Shumway was reared in his birthplace, where he obtained an elementary education and later became a student in the Clinton Liberal Institute, at that time located at Clinton, New York, although subsequently it was moved to Fort Plain, where its work was continued until it burned down in 1900. For a number of years after leaving school Mr. Shumway was associated with his father in the mercantile business in Vanhornesville. It was not until March, 1886, that he moved to Fort Plain and engaged in the drug business at the location where his store stands at the present day. During his long career as a druggist Mr. Shumway has had two partners: The first, D. I. Devoe, now a manufacturer of Fort Plain; and the second, Mr. Beekman, who was with him for seven years, since when he has managed his business alone.

In 1880, on the 6th of September, Mr. Shumway was married to Miss Alfa Eckler, daughter of Allen and Eliza (Genywits) Eckler, natives of Herkimer county, where the father was engaged in farming throughout his life. Both of Mrs. Shumway's parents are deceased, the father having died in May, 1907, and the mother in February of the following year. As residents of Fort Plain Mr. and Mrs. Shumway have been as firmly and well located as Mr. Shumway has been in business. They rented the same house for twenty-two years, after which they bought it for their permanent home. Mr. Shumway is a member of Fort Plain Lodge, No. 433, Free and Accepted Masons, and in point of length of affiliations is one of the oldest members of the Fort Plain Club, having belonged to that organization for thirty-three years, a full third of a century. Politically he is known as a republican. For many years Mr. Shumway has been a consistent and active member of the Universalist church, in which he has served as treasurer for thirty-five years and has been superintendent of the Sunday school. His wife is also interested in the church and club life of Fort Plain and has been especially identified with the work of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, of which she is a member.

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