Oswego County's: Guide To Government

William Poucher

Oswego Daily Times Monday Evening October 16, 1899 Page 5

W. A. Poucher Dead

Noted Lawyer and politician passed away this morning.

He had been ill for 2 years and in an Unconscious State for a Week - Long and Useful Career Ended.

Sketch of his Life.

William A. Poucher, for forty years, a leader of the bar of Oswego County, and widely famous as a lawyer and politician, died at his home, corner of West Third and Mohawk Streets at 1:00 o' clock this morning. The end came peacefully. It had been expected for a week or more as Mr. Poucher had been in a comatose state for several days. Death was a relief for the sufferer who for two years who had been a confirmed invalid. The loss to the community and to the bar is a severe one and suitable action will be taken by the latter body, the honorable John C. Churchill and Colonel W. G. Robinson have the matter in charge.

History of his life

William A. Poucher was born in Hudson, Columbia County December 24, 1831. His early education was obtained in the District Schools and Mexico Academy and when a young man, came to Oswego to live. Here he first secured employment as a bookkeeper in a mercantile establishment. Later he studied Law with the firm of Grant and Allen, which, upon his admission to the bar a few years later, became the firm of Grant and Poucher, Mr. Allen retiring.

While a law student, Mr. Poucher taught school in the old stone school building between Sixth and Seventh Streets in West Bridge Street, but upon his admission to the bar he gave himself to the more attractive pursuits of law and politics. For several terms he held the office of City Attorney and Mayor and twice he was chosen Member of Assembly being one of the few Democrats ever elected Assemblyman from this County.

Friend of Cleveland

Mr. Poucher was a personal friend and ardent supporter of Grover Cleveland. When Mr. Cleveland was nominated in 1892, Mr. Poucher was credited with being the controlling power that turned the tide in his favor. It happened in this way:

David B. Hill (current U.S. Senator and a former Governor of New York), who controlled the Democratic State Machine, caused a convention to be held in February for the selection of delegates to represent New York State in the National Convention. The Cleveland Democrats charged that it was a "snap" convention held at a time of the year when rural Democrats could not attend the caucuses. The opposition finally resulted in a conference of Cleveland Democrats being held at Albany.

The conference met, those in attendance expressed their indignation over Hill's action, but the meeting was about to adjourn without taking any action in regard to the matter when Mr. Poucher arose and stated that he thought that the time was ripe to perfect an organization. He made a motion to this effect. The motion was carried.

Succeeded Mr. DeWolfe as Leader

The fact of an organization having been perfected went broadcast over the country; and it did much to hold the Cleveland supporters in line for their man. When the National Convention met at Chicago, representatives of the organization went to that City and made such an effective opposition to Mr. Hill that although that candidate had every delegate from New York, he failed to secure the nomination. The prize went to Cleveland, who had not one delegate from his own State.

When Delos DeWolfe retired from the State Democratic Committee, Mr. Poucher, one of his longest and closest friends, succeeded him. This position he held for several years. He was also Chairman of the Executive Committee of the State Committee and as such, on one occasion went to New York, took charge of the election and succeeded in electing his ticket. As far as Democrats in this County and the Congressional District were concerned, Mr. Poucher ruled. He was a capable politician, a lawyer of energy, tact and judgment; consequently, he held every qualification for leadership.

His Public Life

In1892, he entered upon his duties as United States District Attorney for Northern District of New York, which after discharging ably and creditably for several years he found too ardous, and his health failing, he was obliged to retire. He has been a patient sufferer for two years. This morning, he passed quietly away. Two brothers, I.B. Poucher principal of the Oswego State Normal and Training School, and Jacob S. Poucher, one son, William E. Poucher and a host of friends in this City and throughout the County mourn his death.

Meeting of the Bar

A meeting of the bar of Oswego County will be held at the City Hall at 7:30 o'clock this evening to take action on the death of the Hon. W. A. Poucher.