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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Fox Sponable

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 747-748 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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The profession of a teacher for a few years satisfied the desires of Fox Sponable, attorney at law, of Fort Plain, Montgomery county, New York, but teaching only paved the path to the study of law, to his subsequent acquirement of the large legal practice that his abilities as a lawyer attracted to his office, and eventually to his election as surrogate of Montgomery county, the position the former teacher now occupies. He was born in St. Johnsville, Montgomery county, on September 4, 1869, the son of Chauncey and Elizabeth (Fox) Sponable, both natives of St. Johnsville, the father being a farmer all his life in Montgomery county. He was also prominent in county politics up to the time of his death, which occurred on July 9, 1918, when he was seventy-six years old. The mother of Fox Sponable died on August 10, 1878.

Fox Sponable was reared in Montgomery county on his father's farm, obtained his elementary education in the public schools of the county, at St. Johnsville, and then attended the high school and State Teachers College at Albany, New York. After the completion of his studies Mr. Sponable became principal of the school at Nelliston, New York, and for three and one-half years was engaged in the profession of teaching. He then left the schoolroom for the law office of Judge John D. Wendell in Fort Plain, where he occupied his time in reading law and also attended the Albany Law School, graduating from the latter with the degree of LL. B. in 1900. Mr. Sponable became the law partner of Judge Wendell, the partnership being terminated by the election of Mr. Sponable as surrogate of the county, an office which he assumed on January 1, 1919, for a term of six years. Prior to his election to the bench Judge Sponable had served as assistant district attorney of Montgomery county from 1905 until 1908, and as supervisor of the town of Palatine from 1913 until 1917, inclusive. The Judge is a republican in politics, and in religion a member of the Dutch Reformed church and president of the board of trustees of the church.

Judge Sponable has a number of financial interests in Fort Plain. He is a director of the Farmers & Mechanics Bank of Fort Plain, president of the B. & S. Lumber Company of Fort Plain, and a member of the board of governors of the Interstate Mortgage Corporation, the head office of which is in New York city. He is also a member of the New York State and the Montgomery County Bar Associations. Fraternally Judge Sponable is affiliated with the Masonic order, is a past master of his lodge and grand representative of the Grand Lodge, and in the Knights of Pythias is grand chancellor of the Grand Lodge of New York state, and belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is also a member of the Masonic Club and the Fort Plain Club. The office of the Judge is in Fort Plain and his residence is at Nelliston.

On December 19, 1888, Judge Sponable was married to Miss Clara Empie, daughter of John F. and Elizabeth (Van Vorst) Empie, natives of Fulton county, New York, Mr. Empie being a former member of the assembly from Fulton county. Both parents of Mrs. Sponable are dead. Judge Sponable and his wife became the parents of two children: Vera E., born January 22, 1893, who died on February 18, 1920; and Harold F., born June 22, 1899, who is in the insurance business in Fort Plain.

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