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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Bernard L. Wrench

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 359-360 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Bernard L. Wrench, undertaker, was born in Charlotteville, New York, on March 20, 1867, the oldest of four sons and one daughter born to Bernard P. and Libby (Champion) Wrench. Bernard P. Wrench was a native of Oxfordshire, England, and came to America at the age of nine years with his family, settling at Mount Upton, New York, and later moving to Charlotteville. For many years he was superintendent of the woolen and cotton mills at New Berlin, New York, and held this position until he retired from active business. He now resides with his son at Whitesboro. Libby (Champion) Wrench, mother of the subject of this sketch, was born in East Worcester, New York, and died at Yorkville in 1909.

Bernard L. Wrench was educated in the public schools of East Worcester and New Berlin and at an early age started to work in the mills, being thus employed until twenty years of age. At that time he entered the employ of the Quigley Furniture Company and learned the cabinetmaker's trade, there remaining for five years. He then began selling furniture from the catalogue and followed this line of work for eight months. Subsequently Rev. Henry Holm, H. F. Slawson and Mr. Wrench organized the firm of Holm, Slawson & Wrench for the furniture and undertaking business in Whitesboro and conducted the business for about one year, when Mr. Wrench purchased the interest of his partners and ran the business alone for fifteen years, then disposed of the furniture end to his brother and devoted himself to undertaking exclusively.

In Verona, New York, Mr. Wrench was united in marriage to Miss Cora E. White, who died in 1913. She was the daughter of Jacob White of Oneida, New York. Two children were born of this marriage: Bernard W., who died at the age of fourteen; and Esther Irene, now Mrs. H. H. Wells of Troy, New York. Mr. Wrench married in Waterville, New York, in 1914, Mrs. Emma Fuess (nee Baylis), daughter of George and Ada (Helmer) Baylis, belonging to a well known family in that section of the state. Mrs. Wrench is past matron of Oriskany Lodge, No. 524, Eastern Star; Worthy Shepherdess of Calvary Shrine, No. 10, White Shrine of Utica. She is also a member of the "B" Sharp Club and of the Past Matrons Association.

Mr. Wrench graduated from the Champion School of Embalming of Syracuse, New York, in 1900, and is a member of the State Undertakers Association. For six years he was overseer of the poor and supervisor of the town of Whitestown, New York, for two terms. He is a Mason and a member of Oriskany Lodge, No. 799. For diversion Mr. Wrench enjoys trout fishing.

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