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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
George Lintner Danforth

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[This information is from pp. 71-72, 75 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

George Lintner Danforth, one of the leading lawyers of Schoharie County and a resident of Middleburg, was born here on July 19, 1844, son of Judge Peter and Aurelia (Lintner) Danforth. All the traditions of his family and the surroundings of his youth lent their influence in preparing him for the legal profession. His grandfather, George Danforth, who died in the South, was a lawyer of pre-eminent ability, and his father was perhaps the most eminent practitioner of law that the county has produced. His grandmother, whose maiden name was Cornelia Swart, was born in Schoharie County of Dutch parentage. One of his uncles, General George E. Danforth, acquired a high reputation in public affairs, and distinguished himself as a brigade commander in the Civil War.

Mr. Danforth's father, Judge Peter S. Danforth, lived to the age of more than threescore and fifteen years, and in his long and honorable career filled many public positions. In 1872 he was made justice of the Supreme Court. He was a member of the Dutch Reformed church. His wife was a member of the Lutheran church until her marriage, when she united with the Reformed church. Mrs. Danforth died at the age of seventy-one. She was a daughter of the Rev. George A. Lintner, D. D., who was for many years president of the Lutheran Synod and for twenty-five years pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church at Schoharie, N. Y. He died at the age of seventy-five, leaving two children — Mrs. Danforth and Joseph Albert Lintner. The latter has been for many years entomologist for the State of New York. Judge and Mrs. Danforth had three children; namely, George L., Cornelia, and the Hon. Elliot Danforth. Cornelia married Isaac W. Ferris, a son of Chancellor Isaac Ferris, of New York University.

George L. Danforth, the subject of the present sketch, in his boyhood attended the common schools of Middleburg, a select school, and Schoharie Academy; and later, after continuing his studies for a while under a private tutor, he entered Rutgers College, from which he was gradated in 1863. From his early years he had spent much time in his father's office, and in reality he was in practice at the age of nineteen. At the age of twenty-one he was admitted to the bar, and since that time he has been in active practice. His clients come from all parts of the State, and he has practised in all the State courts, including the United States Circuit Court of this district. He is at the present time, with few exceptions, the oldest member of the bar in the county. He has been referee in many important cases, and counsel in a large number of cases involving intricate points of law and title to real estate, and trustee of estates in this and adjoining counties. For some time past he has been counsel in the celebrated case in the First Department known as the Coal Oil Johnny Soap Case, a suit involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Whether as counsel for prosecution or defence, he has met with remarkable success in winning legal contests for his clients.

On December 15, 1869, Mr. Danforth was united in marriage with Anita Whitaker, a native of New York and daughter of George and Hannah (Daggett) Whitaker. Her paternal grandfather, the Rev. Jonathan Whitaker, was a Unitarian clergyman, and preached mainly in Massachusetts, where he died at the age of sixty. Among his sons were several clergymen, a judge who resided in New Orleans, and a well-known government official. Mrs. Danforth's father was engaged in mercantile business, shipping and importing South American products. He spent the greater part of his life in New York, but died in Massachusetts at the age of fifty-four, at the home of a brother. His wife was the daughter of a wealthy ship captain and philanthropist of Edgartown, Mass. She died at the age of seventy-six years. Mr. and Mrs. Danforth have lost two children. They have one son living — Pierre W. Danforth, who is now studying law with his father, and has for some time been engaged in newspaper work. He is the youngest editor in the county, and now edits and publishes the Middleburg Press, a six-column quarto, which is an enterprising weekly paper.

Mr. Danforth and his family are members of the Dutch Reformed church, and Mr. Danforth has been an Elder in the church for some thirty years. He is warmly interested in Sunday-school work, and teaches the Bible class; while his wife has a class of boys. For many years he has been sent as a delegate to the General Synod. He devotes much time to literary work, frequently delivering addresses and lectures and contributing articles to newspapers and periodicals. Of fine executive ability, he readily manages the many interests which press upon his personal attention, and which would puzzle the average man to manage at all. He is a trustee of Rutgers College, and president of its alumni association, and is also president of the Schoharie County Historical Society, trustee of the Union Free School and Academy of Middleburg, director of the First National Bank, and treasurer of the Middleburg & Schoharie Railroad Company. Since the organization of the fire department, ten years ago, he has been its chief. He has given considerable attention to fraternal societies, and is an active worker in both the Masonic and Odd Fellows fraternities.

Mr. Danforth's home is the spacious mansion in the prettiest portion of the valley, where the Danforth family has lived and exercised hospitality for many years.

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