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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Daniel D. Frisbie

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[This information is from pp. 299-302 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.]

Portrait of Daniel D. Frisbie

Portrait: Daniel D. Frisbie

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Daniel D. Frisbie, editor and proprietor of the Schoharie Republican, was born in Middleburg, his present home, on November 30, 1859. Son of Grandison Norton and Kate (Dodge) Frisbie, he is the representative of a family that has done much to promote the industrial, educational, and political advancement of this county. The family traces its line back to New England ancestry, and two of its early members in this country bore officers' commissions and served with distinction in the Continental army during the Revolution. A biographical sketch of Grandison Norton Frisbie appears on another page of this volume.

The Dodge family were among the early settlers of the county, coming from New England and becoming allied by marriage with the good old Dutch stock, of which Colonel Zelie, of Revolutionary fame, was the best early representative, and the Hon. Daniel Danforth Dodge, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was later the most prominent, having represented this county in the State legislature and attained the greatest success as a merchant and financier.

Daniel D. Frisbie was educated in the schools of his native town and at Hartwick Seminary, one of the oldest seats of learning in the State. At the latter institution he laid the foundation of a thorough, broad, and liberal education, developing marked literary tastes, which in after years found opportunity in journalism for employment. In the Philophronean Society, of which he became president, were brought out an aptitude for debate and the qualities which have since made him an easy, graceful, and forceful public speaker.

On the completion of his course at the seminary, he entered actively upon a business career which has proved singularly successful. He accepted a clerkship in the store of his father in the spring of 1876, and continued in that capacity until 1881, when he was admitted to partnership. Later the firm became G. N. Frisbie & Sons by the admission of his brother. In 1892 the senior retired, and the firm became D. D. & G. D. Frisbie, continuing thus until April 1, 1899, when a multiplicity of business cares lead the subject of this sketch to retire in favor of his brother-in-law, Nathaniel Manning, Jr. During the twenty-three years of his connection with the business he had the satisfaction of seeing the modest country store develop into a modern department store, the largest, perhaps, in the county in point of sales and stock carried, and widely known for its exact and honorable methods.

Believing that it is the duty of every citizen to take an intelligent interest in public affairs, Mr. Frisbie, within a year after attaining his majority, was made president of the local Democratic Club in the fall of 1882, and again in 1884, when Mr. Cleveland carried New York and won the Presidency for his party. It is worthy of remark that the town of Middleburg in those years rolled up the largest Democratic majorities in a decade. In 1886-87 he was a member and treasurer of the Democratic County Committee, rendering valuable service. For several years he has served as chairman of the Town Committee of his party. Mr. Frisbie has never held a political office, but his services in behalf of the Democratic party have been so conspicuous for so many years that he has been prominently mentioned for member of Assembly; and, if merit meets with due reward in old Schoharie, he will soon be thus honored.

Seeking a wider opportunity for the advocacy of his political principles and for the exercise of literary tastes, he purchased, August, 1887, the Schoharie Republican, of the estate of A. A. Hunt. The paper was established in 1819 by Derrick Van Vechten, and is probably the second oldest in the State. In January, 1896, its size was enlarged, and its circulation has increased threefold under the present management. Its columns are rich with the best reading of the day, and its hop reports are regarded as thoroughly reliable and comprehensive. As an advertising medium it unquestionably takes the lead, as its circulation is principally among the large purchasing classes of the Schoharie valley. Politically, the Republican is soundly and unequivocally Democratic. It was established as a Democratic organ, and has always been true to its first principles. Its editorials are often quoted in the leading papers of the State, and it is regarded as in every way the equal of the best county-seat papers to be found in the Commonwealth. In 1894 the seventy-fifth anniversary of its founding was celebrated; and upon that occasion Mr. Frisbie purchased the three-story block in the central part of Schoharie, and made it the permanent home of the paper. The editorial offices are on the first floor, as are also the mechanical and job printing departments. The composing-rooms are on the second floor.

The esteem in which Mr. Frisbie is held by his brethren of the press is shown by his election in 1898 as second vice-president of the Democratic State Editorial Association. He is also a member of the State Editorial Association, a non-partisan organization.

In recognition of his interest in the cause of education, Mr. Frisbie was in 1893 appointed treasurer of Middleburg High School, and was reappointed for a second term. In 1895 he was elected a member of the Board of Education, and re-elected in 1898. Since September, 1897, he has been president of the board. In concert with his associates, the school has been advanced to a proud position among the educational institutions of the State, its finances strengthened, and the number of its students increased.

In 1894, when the business men and farmers of the interior counties felt severely the exactions of the stock fire insurance companies, Mr. Frisbie assisted, with others interested, in the formation of the Mutual Fire Insurance Company, became one of its directors and a member of its Executive Committee. In 1897 the necessity arose for another company in this county, and the Merchants' and Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company was organized, with Daniel D. Frisbie as president. The company during its two years' existence has saved thousands of dollars to its policy holders, and has accumulated a substantial surplus. In time it promises to become one of the strongest institutions of the county.

Mr. Frisbie is a director of the Middleburg & Schoharie Railroad Company, and since 1894 has been its secretary and a member of its Finance Committee. He is identified with St. Mark's Lutheran Church, was for five years superintendent of its Sunday-school, and is at present its financial secretary. Of fraternal orders he is a member of Middleburg Lodge, No. 663, F. & A. M.; and is also a Past Sachem of Oucongena Tribe, I. O. R. M., No. 242. He is also president of the Columbian Literary Union Association, which was an inspiration to young men in Middleburg for many years, and holds its reunion, January 1, 1900. He is a hop-grower, and has done much, through his paper and otherwise, to advance the interests of the growers of the county.

The latest enterprise to engage the attention of the subject of this sketch, and one that he hopes to utilize largely for the public good, is the mills and water privilege located midway between Middleburg and Schoharie, which he acquired April 1, 1899. The mills are being improved by the addition of modern machinery, and their capacity greatly increased. Under the Frisbie Milling Company the business will be extended, and a good market afforded farmers for their grain. Mr. Frisbie also has in mind the establishment of an electric plant, to be operated by water power, whereby the people of Middleburg and Schoharie may have the benefit in their business places, streets, and homes of that great modern convenience, electric lights. Should this be accomplished, a great public service will be placed to the credit of the subject of this sketch.

Mr. Frisbie was married in 1882 to Eleanor Manning, third daughter of Nathaniel Manning, Esq., a leading citizen of Middleburg, who traces his ancestry back to Governor Bradford, first Plymouth colony, who came over in the "Mayflower." The family was among the earliest in the county, and has held an honorable place in its annals. Mr. and Mrs. Frisbie are the parents of three children — G. Norton, Cornelia M., and Daniel Manning.

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