Oswego County's: Guide To Government

Allanson S. Page

Alanson S. PAGE was born in Saratoga county, N.Y., on June 30, 1825. His ancestry belonged to the hardy New England stock from which sprang so many of the pioneers of this State. His father was David PAGE, born in Massachusetts, who removed with his parents to Providence, Saratoga county, when he was ten years old. He was a respected farmer and later in life followed canal contracting. His wife was Elsy SUMNER, a daughter of Robert SUMNER, of Edinburg, Saratoga county, who was a native of the State of Connecticut, where his daughter was born. The father of David was also named David, was a native of Salem, Mass., and removed to Saratoga county and died there.

Alanson S. PAGE was given exceptional educational advantages for one in his station in life and at that comparatively early time. After attending the district school through his boyhood, he was sent to the Galloway Academy, which he left in 1842, when he was seventeen years old, to attend the Cazenovia Seminary one year; this was then an institution of learning of considerable note and gave its students excellent opportunity for obtaining a higher English education. His attendance there was followed by a period in the academy of Professor BECK, in Albany, which he left well equipped for his after career. It had been determined by himself and his parents that he should follow the profession of law, and he accordingly entered the office of S. & C. Stevens, in Albany in 1846, where he studied assiduously for two years, when he was admitted to the bar and settled in the then young but active city of Syracuse. One year of practice there was sufficient to convince Mr. Page that in other fields of labor he could more surely, and certainly sooner, attain the success for which he was ambitious. He removed to Oswego in 1850 and engaged in lumber trade with Myron S. CLARK under the firm name of Clark & Page, a successful business connection which continued until the death of Mr. Clark in 1862, which dissolved the firm. The business was then continued three years longer to 1865 by Mr. Page associated with L. A. CARD under the style of Card & Page. This firm was dissolved and Mr. Page became a member of the International Lumber Company, an organization at Albany comprising five co-partners. This organization continued until 1873, when the business was closed up. In 1853, during the existence of the firm of Clark & Page they purchased of Benj. BURT, the water power at Minetto, including an old saw mill, which they rebuilt into the second gang mill in this State. Logs were imported from Canada, and the mill was operated by that firm and by Mr. Page until the close of the business in 1873. During the period between 1868 and 1873 Mr. Page was associated with the late Delos DE WOLF in Oswego in the distilling business.

With the winding up of these business enterprises Mr. Page found himself idle after a period of nearly thirty years of active life. With means at his command and the possessor of a splendid water power at Minetto, he remained out of business three years, when his attention was attracted to a new industry. The only manufactory of shade cloth in the country, for window curtains, was then in operation in Oswego, and Mr. Page determined to enter the field as a competitor for a part of the immense trade in these goods. He accordingly in 1879 formed the Minetto Shade Cloth Company, consisting at that time of himself and Cadwell B. BENSON. Charles TREMAIN became a member of the company prior to the beginning of manufacturing. The old saw mill was remodeled for its new purposes, and a new structure was erected 300 by 40 feet in size, and the business was begun with about twenty-five workmen. Mr. Page assumed the direct and active management of the business, and under his energetic and prudent control the manufactory prospered from the first and has become one of the largest industries in Northern New York. Additional buildings for various purposes have been erected, a roller plant established, a large number of workmen's houses built, and new processes evolved, until at the present time (1895) about 350 hands are employed, and the product of the manufactory finds its way to all parts of the United States, as well as to many other countries.

Mr. Page's superior business qualifications and his staunch integrity, sound judgment, and his character as a man, have received recognition from his fellow citizens. He was chosen the first president of the Oswego County Savings Bank, upon its organization, but resigned the position and was succeeded by John B. EDWARDS. Upon the resignation of the latter, on account of his advancing years, Mr. Page was again elected to the office, which he still holds. He was also one of the directors of the City Bank, and for a number of years was in the directorate of the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad. All of these institutions have profited by the business sagacity and conservative counsel of Mr. Page.

In politics Mr. Page was formerly an independent Democrat; indeed, independence of character is one of his marked traits, and when the time came that prompted him to change his political affiliation, he did not hesitate, but cast a Republican vote for President Hayes. Since that time he has supported the principles of that party as far as consistent with his sense of duty. Naturally aggressive and impatient of injustice and trickery in the political field, he has never hesitated to denounce wrong-doing, by whomsoever perpetrated. As far back as 1869, before he had changed his political allegiance, he was elected mayor of the city of Oswego by the Democrats and served in that capacity until 1872 inclusive. His administration was satisfactory to the community, and the city business was carried on upon the same prudent basis that has always characterized his own affairs. The new City Hall was erected during that period and is an enduring monument to those who had it in charge. A sewerage system for the city was projected also during that administration, which has been since established on substantially the plan then inaugurated.

In 1874 Mr. Page was elected to the Assembly and served in 1875. In that body he was chairman of the Canal Committee, in which capacity he warmly opposed free tolls on the canals and made a minority report to that effect. Mr. Page's course in the committee was disapproved at the time by many men who have since lived to adopt the views then so energetically advanced by him. The removal of tolls did not help the canal traffic, but, as he had often predicted would be the case, caused the railroads to lower their rates to a point where they could control the situation, just as they had previously done. With the close of his term in the Assembly Mr. Page relinquished politics as far the acceptance of office is concerned; but he is found fearlessly aggressive and independent in support of what he believes to be for the best in local politics. His public and private life has been such as to gain for him the unqualified respect of his fellow citizens. In 1858 Mr. Page was married to Elise BENSON, of Geddes, Onondaga county, N.Y., daughter of Dr. D. M. BENSON, who died in Geddes in 1854; the widow of the latter died at the residence of Mr. Page in Oswego in January, 1895.
*Landmarks of Oswego County 1895*