Cortland Evening Standard, Wednesday, March 21, 1894.
MERTON M. WATERS.
Brief Sketch of His Life and Career—The Funeral.
Merton M. Waters was born in Truxton, N. Y., March 3, 1830, and was the son of Aretus and Caroline Law Waters. He was one of a family of nine brothers and one sister. In Truxton was passed his boyhood and youth until 1852 when he married Elizabeth Beden of Fabius, N. Y., and they made a home in that place. Here they remained for a few years and here were born their two eldest children. Mr. Waters at this time was pursuing the study of law and in June, 1857, moved his family to Cortland after being admitted to the bar. In the years which followed he steadily worked his way to the very head of the Cortland county bar, and as time went on came to be acknowledged as one of the very ablest lawyers in the state. The family residence on West Court-st. was completed in 1866. In 1875 Mr. Waters formed a partnership with his son-in-law, S. S. Knox, and for eight years the firm of Waters & Knox was continued.
In 1881, wishing a larger field for the practice of his profession, he took the place of Judge Vann in the firm of Vann, McLennan & Dillaye in Syracuse. This firm was dissolved in 1883 when Judge McLennan went to New York as attorney for the West Shore R. R. Then Mr. Waters formed a partnership with John McLennan and to this firm was added in 1889, L. L. Waters, Mr. Waters' only son. This firm was in existence at the time of his death.
For several years, his health has been gradually giving way, his ceaseless work at last undermining his physical powers and on March 17 he died, just at the beginning of his sixty-fifth year.
Thus ended a remarkable life, so full of usefulness and honor that it is hard to give in a few words any idea of the magnitude of its work. The keen brain, clear insight and quick comprehension which were in Mr. Waters so marked, caused his hands to be always full of cases involving most important questions and interests, and more than that many of the most prominent lawyers of Central New York came continually to him for counsel. There are few men who so inspire affection in those with whom they came in contact and few lawyers can so fill their clients with confidence.
He was the soul of honor in his fidelity to his business, carefully and scrupulously exact in respect to all the large interests confided to him, never sparing himself in any way if additional labor by night or day could fortify his client's position. Yet he was never too busy to stop and explain to a student in his office any puzzling point of law, and his explanations were always so lucid that the student never forgot them.
There is at the bar in Central New York an army of young men who remember M. M. Waters with deepest regard and gratitude for his help and instruction. He was sanguine, full of the largest hope and confidence and of seemingly exhaustless energy, always ready to give of his means and strength to these who needed either.
At heart he was as tender as a woman, and loved his family, each member of it more than his life, and his wife and children loved him with an equal devotion. His tenderness and fortitude were wonderfully shown during his last long and lingering illness, and those who were around him in the last weeks of his life will never forget his unceasing patience and careful thought for others.
He made a brave struggle for life in the past six months, but the decline was resistless and inexorable. To die before his work seemed done, to lay down his life when his magnificent intellect seemed fitted for long years of useful labor, this was the bitterness of death to him. To his wife, his devoted companion for forty-two years, and to his son and daughters the loss is so great, so inestimable that words fail to express any part of it. Yet he has left them rich in the memory of a boundless tenderness and devoted love.
Besides his wife, he is survived by all his five children, one son, L. L. Waters of Syracuse, and four daughters, Mrs. S. S. Knox of Cortland, Mrs. H. F. Greenman of Bridgeport, Conn., Mrs. E. A. McMillan Of North Adams, Mass., and Miss Isabel Waters.
The funeral was held at the house at 2 o'clock on Tuesday afternoon and was conducted by Rev. J. L. Robertson assisted by Rev. Dr. W. P. Coddington of Syracuse. A special train from Syracuse brought a large number of the Onondaga county bar, and the Cortland county bar also attended in a body. The bearers were Judge Vann and Judge McLennan, Hon. William P. Goodelle, Hon. Geo. R. Cook, Harrison Hoyt, T. K. Fuller, T. L. R. Morgan, and John McLennan, all of Syracuse.
The floral tributes were remarkably beautiful and appropriate, and especial mention should be made of the offering of the Cortland county bar, a wreath surmounted by an open book of white flowers upon which were the words "The Law."
Mr. and Mrs. Julius A. Graham, Mr. A. D. Blodgett and Mr. C. F. Brown sang several beautiful selections. Among the passages of Scripture Rev. Mr. Robertson read the twelfth chapter of Ecclesiastes, of which Mr. Waters had been especially fond. The remarks of the clergymen manifested the same sincere esteem of the departed one which has marked the utterances of his brethren of the bar. Dr. Coddington spoke with feeling of personal association with Mr. Waters and of his deep reverence for his Creator and of his careful thought for the spiritual welfare of his dear ones.
The services at the grave were brief and impressive. Never in Cortland county has a more distinguished assembly stood with bared heads beside an open grave. And as the earth fell upon the coffin-lid, all who stood there thought again, as Judge McLennan had said in his telegram to Mrs. Waters, "A great lawyer, an honest man, a true friend, is gone."
With hearts filled with indignation a great many people witnessed the abuse of a poor dumb brute at the fire in Homer Saturday night. A horse which had drawn one of the hose carts from Cortland had been run at full speed through the heavy muddy roads. When almost to its destination it gave out and the poor animal, more human than the men who wielded the heavy blows straining in every limb was beaten in a terrible manner. If the same thing had happened in any of our large cities the party would have been arrested immediately, but in this case and many similar ones people stand by apparently helpless for the time and then talk about "What a shame it was."
I for one am not afraid to take a stand for the right in whatever form it may come, and I enter here and now a protest in the cause of the dumb beasts in this village. If there is an agent in this place for the prevention of cruelty to animals, where is he? If not, let there be one appointed and one who will see that the law is carried out.
MRS. N. G. MARKLEY.
Judge Forbes and the Cornell Tragedy.
The New York Sun of yesterday contained the following editorial concerning Judge Forbes and the Cornell tragedy:
To those persons who are acquainted with the character and the professional and judicial career of Judge Gerrit A. Forbes of the Sixth Judicial district, the suggestion that he is a man who would ever, under any circumstances, regard crime with sympathy is too absurd to require refutation. His charge to the grand jury at Ithaca, in reference to the Cornell university tragedy, when considered in the light of his personal record as a lawyer and a judge, contains nothing to justify the idea that he was not actuated by the purest motives.
The tone of the address considered as a whole, was milder than had been expected by the public and to this fact doubtless is due much of the criticism which it has aroused. From his own inquiries into the matter, and the conference with the district attorney of Tompkins county, Judge Forbes appears to have reached a conclusion that in no event could an indictment for murder be sustained, by any proof which was obtainable; and he evidently thought that it would be wiser for the grand jury to conduct their inquiries with reference to finding an indictment for some lower crime, rather than for one which the prosecution could not prove upon the trial.
Of course, neither Judge Forbes nor any other intelligent man in the state would for one moment contend that the students of Cornell university are entitled to any sort of immunity or privilege from punishment for offences [sic] against the criminal law. Precisely the same rules, in this respect, apply to young men in college as apply to young men out of college. If there was any implication to the contrary in what Judge Forbes said to the grand jury of Tompkins county last week, we are satisfied that it was unintentional, and due to the fact that this part of his charge was not written out beforehand, but was delivered upon the spur of the moment, and under the influence of a strong impression that the circumstances of the case probably called for nothing more severe than censure.
We can hardly doubt that his tone toward he students would have been less lenient, and that he would have left the matter to the grand jury, without so plain a manifestation of his own personal view, if the charge had been carefully prepared in advance of its delivery.
It is preposterous, however, to suppose that a magistrate who has been so strict as Judge Forbes in imposing punishment has now become indifferent in respect to the enforcement of the criminal law.
Yesterday Judge Forbes charged the Tompkins county grand jury a second time. Dispatches from Ithaca say that in an impressive manner which carried conviction to every listener, he spoke for three hours on the subject uppermost in his mind, the Cornell chlorine poisoning case, his charge to the grand jury and the press criticisms. He took up his previous charge paragraph by paragraph and commented on it, explaining at length what meaning he intended to convey in each sentence. He read to the grand jury from the penal code the law as to murder, manslaughter and other degrees of crime and expounded the same to the benefit of jury and listeners.
The judge was very much moved and very much affected several times during his address. When he concluded it was the general impression among the lawyers present that the judge had made himself thoroughly understood, that there was not the slightest ground for the harsh criticisms which it had been his lot to have directed against him, and that he had cleared away all adverse opinions, and that to a man the bar of Tompkins county is now behind the judge.
One of the leading members of the bar said that in his opinion the effect of the judge's remarks would loosen the mouths of the students who know of the guilty parties, and that in his belief this charge will have aided the cause of justice, and that undoubtedly now the guilty would be found.
TROY INQUEST ENDS.
TWO WITNESSES SWEAR BOLAND WAS THE MURDERER.
One of the Witnesses Placed In Jail On Charge of Perjury—The Testimony All In and the Jury Will Be Charged Today—Conflicting Evidence Given, Three Men Named as Having Fired the Shot.
TROY, N. Y., March 21.—In the Ross inquest, Mr. Morton, attorney for John McGough, said he refused to be sworn.
Mr. Fagan said nothing could be done, except to send him to jail, where he was already.
Jeremiah Cleary swore that he saw John H. Boland fire at Ross and Ross fell. The only revolver he saw was in Boland 's hands.
He declared that all the previous witnesses were mistaken when they said the shooting was done by Shea. It might have been possible for somebody else to have shot Ross, as everyone seemed to be firing together.
Thomas Keefe was the next witness. He saw Boland fire three shots. Boland pointed the revolver at Keefe, and witness laconically remarked, "It did not go off. Boland had the only revolver."
Witness said he went to the polls to prevent strangers from wrongdoing if he could. He understood the town was full of repeaters. He only knew one man at the polls, Boland, and went away because he was afraid of him.
"Are you afraid of him now?" asked the assistant district attorney.
"Not on yer life," said the witness.
He did not know who did the shooting.
Sophia Billingham, aged 14, gave unimportant testimony.
Michael Delaney was a witness for Shea and swore that Ross chased Shea and then Boland fired at Ross twice and killed him.
He gave conflicting testimony and Mr. Fagan asked that the witness be taken into custody until he had considered the formulation of charges.
The request was granted and created considerable excitement in the courtroom. It is understood charges of perjury may be made.
E. M. Partridge saw Robert Ross throw up his hands when a man shot him. The man then shot Ross when he was down. Witness was positive it was not Boland who did the shooting.
The inquest then came to an abrupt close, Assistant District Attorney Fagan saying all the evidence was in.
The coroner ordered an adjournment until today, when he will charge the jury and await the verdict.
The witness Delaney, suspected of perjury, was sent to jail.
Gleanings of News From our Twin Village.
The new edifice of the First Baptist church which is being dedicated to-day is an ornament to this village and a credit to the society by whom it was erected. The style is modern Romanesque, the material being of pressed brick relieved by trimmings of brown stone. The building has one of the most desirable locations in the village on the corner of Main and Cayuga-sts., facing on the former. The interior is divided by a hall which extends across the full width of the church. At the end of this hall is the Cayuga-st. entrance and along the right side are doors opening into the well appointed chapel which will be used for the Sunday-school, prayer meetings, etc. This room contains a large gallery and connects with a conveniently arranged kitchen at the south end. Directly above the kitchen is the pastor's study which opens into the upper. On the left of the upper and lower halls is the auditorium with which they are connected by doors at each end.
The main entrances to this room are from Main-st., one under the tower which rises to the height of 125 feet at the northeast corner and one at the southeast corner under the smaller tower, The vestibules at those entrances are about 15 feet square with staircases in each leading to the galleries above. Entering from the vestibules one finds himself in a well lighted, handsomely furnished and pleasantly decorated auditorium, arranged in amphitheatre form with a horseshoe gallery and having a seating capacity of seven hundred persons. Here the woodwork is all of oak, the upholstering is of dark brown and the carpet is one of small figures in corresponding tones on a light ground. The gallery rails and pillars which support the gallery are finished in mahogany plush. The hangings of the pulpit which is in the west end of the room, are of the same material. The walls and ceiling are delicately tinted in harmonizing colors, terra- cotta, light blue and buff predominating. Light is admitted to this part of the church by three large cathedral glass windows which are above the galleries, the one opposite the pulpit being a memorial to the Bennett family. Below the gallery there are fifteen smaller windows which are memorials and tributes to members of the congregation.
The auditorium was handsomely decorated this morning in honor of its dedication. The pulpit platform was banked with calla lilies and green. The choir and organ loft was occupied by the soloists and Darby's orchestra of Cortland, numbering nine pieces.
Prominent among the audience which thronged the auditorium to the doors were the members of the building committee with the exception of Mr. J. A. Tisdale who is very seriously ill. Those present were W. H. Darby, chairman, Newell Jones, M. M. Newton, and G. N. Copeland. These gentlemen deserve the congratulations of the citizens of this village as well as of the members of their own congregation for the efficient manner in which they have performed their duties as a committee.
The services this morning were opened by a voluntary rendered by the orchestra which was followed by an invocation by Rev. E. C. Olney of the Congregational church, After an anthem by the choir entitled "Abide with Me," Rev. Parker Fenno, the rector of Calvary Episcopal church, read the Scripture lesson. Rev. D. D. Forward then led the congregation in prayer, after which Mr. R. J. McElheny and Mrs. W. E. Burdick sang a duet, "Preserve Me, O God!"
The report of the building committee was read by Mr. W. H. Darby, after which the pastor, Rev. D. D. Forward, read the program for the remainder of the day. Hymn 616 in the Hymnal was sung by the congregation, after which Rev. Dr. Edward Judson of Judson Memorial church in New York City rose and announced the text of the dedicatory sermon, St. John iv:19. His subject was Christian Love. He spoke just forty minutes and delivered a sermon of rare excellence. After the congregation finished singing Hymn 160 in the Hymnal Rev. H. A. Cordo, D. D., of Cortland formally dedicated the church by a few well chosen remarks and a prayer. Mrs. Chauncey Baker then sang a solo, "One Sweetly Solemn Thought," after which Rev. A. J. Walrath of Penn Yan pronounced the benediction.
The afternoon meeting is now in session. After the morning services were concluded the ministers and guests from out of town were invited to dinner which was prepared in the chapel. This room looked very attractive with its rows of tables loaded with delicious food prepared by the ladies of the church. At the table where the ministers dined Mrs. Eliza Babcock, who is more than eighty years old and one of the oldest members of the church presided and poured the coffee from a silver urn.
—After The STANDARD had gone to press yesterday word was received that Mr. John Dobbins, who had been hurt in the morning by a fall at the factory of the Cortland Wagon Co., had just died. That fact was noted in the last half of the edition, but those who had the first of the papers did not know it.
—Louis Cannon, a vagrant with lots of brass hailing from the New York City arsenal, went off on a toot. He was loaded to the muzzle when arrested last night by Officer Monroe and proved to be a smooth bore and about sixteen caliber, as that he said was his age. Justice Bull discharged him and fired him out of town.