June 7 – Happy Birthday William Fenton Myers

fenton222Beginning right after the Civil War, jurists like Martin Stover, Henry Borst and Florence Sullivan helped establish a top-notch and highly respected state-wide reputation for the legal community of both Amsterdam and Montgomery County. Today’s Amsterdam Birthday celebrant certainly belonged among that group. Born on June 7, 1868 in the town of Florida, William Fenton Myers was the son of Augustus and Dora Elizabeth Myers. His father was a Union Army veteran of the Civil War who became one of this areas most prominent building contractors.

Educated in the city’s public schools, after he completed the Amsterdam Academy young Myers went to study law with yet another local legal legend named W. Barlow Dunlap. This was right at the time when the process of preparing for the bar exam was transitioning from apprenticeships in the offices of local lawyers to attending formal law schools and since his father had the means to send him, Myers went to Northwestern University, where he earned his law degree in 1893.

He then returned to Amsterdam, became an associate in Dunlap’s firm and focused on probate and estate law. He was appointed clerk in the Montgomery County Surrogate Court and was elected judge of that court in 1907, a position he held for the next dozen years.

His career had been interrupted when the Spanish-American War broke out. Myers volunteered with Company H, Second New York Regiment and was honorably discharged as a corporal when the skirmish quickly ended.

Myers also became a force in Amsterdam politics serving as chairman of the city’s Republican Committee. He was an active Mason and a very devout Episcopalian, serving as junior warden of St. Anne’s Church.

He got married twice. The first time to….

(This popular AHS social studies teacher also celebrated a June 7 birthday.)

My complete birthday post for William Fenton Myers will appear in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays, which will be available before the 2016 Holiday season. On June 30, 2016, I will also once again begin distributing an Amsterdam, NY Birthday Blog Monthly Newsletter that will include the full birthday posts for three of the twenty-to-thirty  people whose birthdays I will recognize each month. Each newsletter will also include an Amsterdam Birthday Quiz that will test your knowledge and memory of people and events in your hometown.

The monthly newsletter is free. If you’d like to receive it, just make sure your name and e-mail address are included on this list. If you received the first wave of Amsterdam Birthday Blog newsletters sent during the Fall of 2015, your name is already on the list. But if you’re not sure, go ahead and sign up again because our software will eliminate any duplicate e-mail addresses.

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