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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
William Wemple Strong

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 41-42 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Prominent among the successful business men and progressive citizens of Gloversville is William Wemple Strong, secretary and treasurer of the Martin & Naylor Company whose department store is one of the leading mercantile establishments in this section of the state. Mr. Strong, who was born in Syracuse, New York, January 11, 1883, belongs to one of the early Puritan families of New England. Elder John Strong, the founder of the family in America, was born at Taunton, Somersetshire, England, in 1605, and was a lad when the first of the Puritans set out in the Mayflower to found a colony where they could have freedom to follow their religious convictions. When he reached the years of early manhood his own strong Puritan sympathies led him to join a party that sailed from Plymouth, England, for the New World, on March 20, 1630, on the good ship Mary and John, under Captain Squeb. This little band of some one hundred and forty souls reached the shores of Massachusetts on Sunday, May 30, 1630, and landed at Nantasket, now known as Hull. John Strong assisted in the founding of Hingham and Taunton, Massachusetts, Windsor, Connecticut, and others of the early New England settlements. In 1659 he moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, which owes much of its early development to his activity as one of the first and most energetic founders. There he died April 14, 1699, at the ripe old age of ninety-four. William Wemple Strong is the son of Oliver Ripley Strong, born January 28, 1855, at Onondaga, New York, and his wife Susan (Wemple) Strong, born at Sammonsville, New York, on the 6th of August, 1838. Mr. Strong's mother was a lineal descendant of Jan Barentsen Wimple, who came to the Mohawk valley about 1645, and consequently belonged to one of the very oldest families in this country.

Until 1900 William Wemple Strong attended the public schools of Johnstown, New York, and then entered the employ of the Pere Marquette Railroad Company at Detroit, Michigan, where he remained from 1900 through 1902. In 1903 he went to Chicago to accept a position with the Wabash Railroad Company and a year later was transferred to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was employed by the same line until 1906. In 1906 and 1907 he was engaged in land development and colonization projects in various places in Texas — enterprises that afforded the young man ample opportunity to develop his abilities as an organizer and leader. It was not until January, 1908, after seven years of varied experience in the business world, that Mr. Strong came to Gloversville and entered the dry goods business with which he is now associated. Here his progress has been rapid and he is now secretary and treasurer as well as manager of the firm of Martin & Naylor. The establishment controlled by this firm is the foremost department store in this section and enjoys a large patronage from the citizens of Gloversville and the surrounding community. Mr. Strong is also known in financial circles of Gloversville as a director of the Trust Company of Fulton County.

On the 2d of January, 1908, at Gloversville Mr. Strong was married to Miss Helen Wilder Martin. Mrs. Strong is the daughter of the late John Martin, member of the firm of Martin & Naylor, and one of the leading merchants here for years. He was born in Springfield, New Hampshire, August 16, 1847, and died January 17, 1917. Her mother, who was born at Haverhill, New Hampshire, March 26, 1857, and died June 1, 1910, was Miss Mary Adams before her marriage to John Martin. Mrs. Strong was born in Zanesville, Ohio, December 13, 1884, and came to Gloversville with her parents as a little girl. In 1902 and 1903 she attended the National Park Seminary at Forest Glen, Maryland, and in 1905 graduated from the Classical School of New York city. She completed her education with a course at the Lucy Wheelock Training School of Boston, from which she graduated as a member of the class of 1907. Mrs. Strong is very active in the civic life of her home city and strongly supports those organizations which have the betterment of the community for their main purpose. At present she is serving as a director of the Mother's Club and the Day Nursery Association which are, of course, chiefly concerned with the child life of the city. Mr. and Mrs. Strong are the parents of four children: John Martin Strong, born December 9, 1909; William Ripley Strong, born June 24, 1911; Wilder Cossitt Strong, born September 2, 1913; and Mary W. Strong, born July 14, 1915.

Mr. Strong has been very public-spirited in his support of the movements that make for the economic and social betterment of his city. Since 1921 he has been serving on the Gloversville Board of Health. He is likewise a director of the Gloversville Home Chest and has been a director of the local chapter of the American Red Cross Society since the entrance of the United States into the World war in 1917. His connection with the Gloversville Chamber of Commerce manifests his interest in those things that promote the business development of the city and he served on its board of directors from 1916 to 1923. Mr. Strong's allegiance is given to the republican party in matters of political import. As a Mason he belongs to the blue lodge, chapter, commandery and Shrine and he is also identified with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. A source of much pleasure to Mr. Strong is his connections with the Eccentric Club of Gloversville and the Antlers Country Club of Amsterdam, among whose members he has many friends and acquaintances. He belongs to the First Congregational church of Gloversville. Varied as are his interests, Mr. Strong is preeminently a business man and one whose affairs have been capably and successfully conducted. Starting at the bottom of the ladder as a very young man, he has advanced by the force of his common sense, will power and ability. Fairness has ever been the keynote of his relations with his employers, employes and patrons.

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