Oswego County's: Guide To Government

William H. Brand

Senator Brand, of the 21st Senatorial District, was born at Leonardsville, Madison County, on the twentieth day of April, 1824. His parents were on English and Scotch descent, and were natives of Brand's Iron Works, in the State of Rhode Island. He recited his first lesson at the district school-house in his native village; and prosecuted his mature studies at Whitestown Seminary. He remained at this flourishing, then known under the corporate name of Clinton Seminary, for three years, applying himself indefatigably to his books; and it was here that he laid the foundation of that solid, substantial education, which has prepared him so well for his life of influence and usefulness. Subsequently, he employed his time in teaching, then as a clerk in a country store and finally as a merchant. His honesty, and strait-forward integrity of purpose won him hosts of personal friends. Various offices of trust were conferred upon him, while he was still quite young, and he discharged the duties they imposed, so honorably and well, that he soon gained for himself a large place in the confidence of the public.

In 1851, he was appointed deputy sheriff, in 1855, census marshal, and in the meantime, he was frequently presented by the Whig Party as its candidate for superintendent of schools. His thorough acquaintance with the political history of the country, and his ability to serve his county, being recognized by all, he was nominated by the Republicans of the first district of Madison county in 1861, for member of Assembly and was elected by a majority of 71 votes, over Charles Green, ESQ., of the town of Hamilton. His opponent, up to this time, had been a Republican; but became the candidate of those whose platform had just announced as the great panacea of all our political ills, that rebels in arms for the destruction of our free institutions, "should be approached with the olive branch in one hand, and with liberal proffers of peace in the other."

Mr. Brand took his seat on the first Tuesday in January, 1862 and met and defeated the powerful effort then made for the division of Madison County. He showed, in his speeches, the great difficulty, expense, and utter inexpediency of such a measure and put an end forever to all attempts at the division of the County. His ability, unquestioned honesty and acknowledge fidelity to the interests of his constituency, secured his re-election, in 1862, by a majority of 1504, over Colonel Joe B. Coe, his Democratic competitor. On retaking his seat in 1863, he devoted himself with renewed zeal to the interests of his party, and was active in securing the election of a Republican United States Senator. Throughout his term of office, his voice and votes were found in favor of the doctrine, "that theshortest way to peace was in the most stupendous preparations for war," that slavery, being the primal cause of our civil war, should be permitted to die by its own suicidal hand, and that resistance to the rebellious enemies of our country was obedience to God.

Whether in the Legislative Halls, or at home, he was always active and out-spoken in his approval of the administration of Lincoln, and a vigorous prosecution of the war, and often advocated to the public, that no sacrifice, however great, whether of treasures or of our blood, should be withheld, which was necessary to the preservation of the Union. In 1862, Mr. Brand assisted in recruiting, was a member of the war loan committee of his town, and delivered an earnest and eloquent address to the soldiers on their departure for the field. Through all the reverses and triumphs, while engaged in the struggle for national life, the country found in him a loyal heart, the Republican Party a steadfast supporter, and the soldiers a true appreciative, patriotic friend. In 1867, 1868 and 1869, Mr. Brand served his town on the Board of Supervisors of Madison County, and was a member of the committee on equalization of assessments during those years.

He was formerly a free soil whig, or as they were scornfully called "A wholly head." He became a member of the republican party at its formation; and he has been several times a member of its State conventions. He was nominated at the Senatorial convention of the 21st District, held at Syracuse, on the 29th day of September, 1869; and received on the first ballot 25 votes; thus becoming the unanimous choice of the convention. He received in his district 11,645 votes; thus electing him by a majorityof 3,867 over his democratic opponent.

As a politician, Mr. Brand's reputation is honorable; as a man, unexceptionable; and justly entitling him to the confidence so generously bestowed upon him by his constituents.

Life Sketches of Government Officers and Members of the Legislature of the State of New York


Pages 64-66.