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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Silas Stewart Feeter

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 728-730 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Silas Stewart Feeter, the well known and highly respected civil engineer of Little Falls, is a native of this city, was born on the 2d of September, 1876, and has lived here the greater part of his life. Mr. Feeter's mother was Adelaide Ingham before her marriage to Francis A. Feeter, the daughter of Dr. Silas A. and Elizabeth (McLean) Ingham. Her father was a surgeon in the Union army during the Civil war, serving with the rank of major, and long resided in Little Falls, where he was engaged in the practice of his profession. His son, Stephen A. Ingham, is now practicing medicine here. Mrs. Feeter was born November 20, 1854, and is still living, making her home with her son, the subject of this sketch. Through his father, Francis A. Feeter, who was born in Little Falls in 1849, and died here in May, 1878, Silas Stewart Feeter is descended from one of the oldest and most distinguished families in the Mohawk valley. The original progenitors of the family in America were Lucas and Annis Feeter, who came to this country from Wittenberg, Germany, and settled in the Stone Arabia district on lands now included in Fulton county. Lucas was the father of Colonel William Feeter, who was born February 2, 1756, and in 1782 married Elizabeth, daughter of Adam and Mary Elizabeth (Petrie) Bellinger. The Feeter family — whose name was formerly spelled in various ways including Veeder, Vedder and Father — was settled in the neighborhood of Sir William Johnson at Johnstown and fell under his persuasive influence to such an extent that all of them except William followed Sir William to Canada during the United Empire Loyalist migration. William Feeter, however, chose to cast in his lot with that of the rebelling colonists and fought gallantly through the Revolution, in which he earned his title of colonel. After the war he settled on a farm within the present limits of Little Falls, which he cultivated for more than half a century. He was very important in his community and held various local offices during his long and active life. In 1797, noting the discomforts of the people of his neighborhood through lack of mail service, he conceived the idea of establishing a mail route on his own account and fitted out his son, Adam, then only sixteen years of age, with a horse, saddlebags and other equipment for the new undertaking. For three years Adam solicited the neighbors for subscriptions to newspapers, carried letters between Albany and Little Falls and rendered a general mail service to all the settlers on both sides of the river as far as Utica, which was then on the outskirts of civilization. When a government mail route was established the position of mail carrier was offered to young Adam Feeter, who had made a remarkable record by never missing a trip nor losing a letter during his career as a private postman, but he declined, in order to devote himself to his private business interests. Adam Feeter was born in the town of Little Falls on October 27, 1782. After his marriage to Maria Keyser, on February 10, 1805, he settled in Ingham Mills, where he conducted a mill for a few years, after which he purchased a farm in the town of Manheim and there spent the rest of his life. He died April 15, 1865, at the age of eighty-three, a highly respected and honored man in his community. Among the eight children of Adam Feeter was George A. Feeter, grandfather of Silas Stewart Feeter, and the Hon. James Feeter, one of the founders and charter directors of the Little Falls National Bank. The latter was a prominent banker and politician of this city and at one time represented his county in the state senate. George A. Feeter was born in Manheim in 1820 and for more than two decades was engaged in the grocery, flour and feed business in Little Falls. He was one of the leading citizens and by his business ventures amassed a large amount of property, but about twelve years before his death he met with reverses. Although well advanced in years he courageously left his beautiful home on Gansevoort street, his many friends and associates in this city and moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, some seven years prior to his death, in hopes of regaining his lost fortunes. He died in Grand Rapids on March 7, 1888. To George A. Feeter and his wife, Ursula Wright Feeter, to whom he was married in 1853, was born a son, Francis A. Feeter, born in Little Falls in 1849, who died in this city in May, 1878, after a lingering illness. After a preparatory course at Andover, Massachusetts, he entered Yale University in the year 1866, remaining there until 1869. Returning to Little Falls, he joined his father in the latter's business until that business was closed in 1876. During that time he became very much interested in local politics and in 1874 he was chosen chairman of the democratic committee for Herkimer county, which position he held until his death. A man of more than ordinary ability and generous open nature, Francis Feeter would undoubtedly have been a leader in business and political life for many years had he been permitted to live his alloted span of life.

Silas S. Feeter, son of Francis A. and Adelaide (Ingham) Feeter, became a pupil in the Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts, where his father had attended school as a boy, after he completed his elementary education in the public schools of Little Falls, remaining there through the years 1889, 1890 and 1891. From Andover he transferred to the Hotchkiss School at Lakeville, Connecticut, from which he graduated in 1893. In 1895 and 1896 he studied civil engineering in the Sheffield Scientific School connected with Yale University, following which he returned to his home city to take up his profession as a civil engineer, practicing privately until 1901. In that year he became assistant civil engineer for the city, and in 1904 was promoted to the office of city engineer, which he retained for a period of two years. Mr. Feeter resumed his private practice in 1906, and in 1909 went out to the Philippines as a member of the staff of the civil engineering department of public works maintained by the United States government in the islands. When he came back to Little Falls in 1911, after a most interesting experience in the Pacific, he again took up his professional practice, which was continued without interruption until the outbreak of the World war led Mr. Feeter to volunteer his services to the nation. Since his return to civilian life Mr. Feeter has been chiefly employed by the city of Little Falls in a professional capacity and is now serving as chief civil engineer for the municipality.

This engineer's first military services were rendered as a private in the SpanishAmerican war, in which he participated for about ten months. During the World war he saw seventeen months of active service, fifteen of which were spent overseas as first lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps, American Expeditionary Forces. Mr. Feeter keeps in touch with the veterans of this recent war and their work in behalf of their injured and disabled comrades through his membership in the local post of the American Legion.

In Utica, New York, on the 7th of December, 1903, Mr. Feeter was united in marriage with Miss Grace Crane, daughter of Henry and Mary (Walruth) Crane, who was born at Fort Plain, New York, January 25, 1877. Mr. and Mrs. Crane still reside in Fort Plain. Mr. Crane fought in the Civil war as a private in the Union army and after his return from the battle fields of the south followed his trade as a moulder.

Mr. and Mrs. Feeter are affiliated with the First Presbyterian church of Little Falls, of which Mr. Feeter is a member. He is also connected with the Chamber of Commerce of this city and the Exchange Club, while in connection with his professional interests he holds membership in the Yale Engineering Society, the Ilion Engineering Club of Ilion and the American Waterworks Association. In politics he is a republican. Mr. Feeter ranks high among the prominent citizens of his native city, both as an engineer and as a man. His wide circle of friends and acquaintances in the city that has been his lifelong home attests the fact that he is possessed of many likeable qualities and enjoys the confidence and esteem of his associates.

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