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Edwin A. Ham

From The Capital Region of New York State, Crossroads of Empire, 1942
Francis P. Kimball

Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin

At the turn of the century, Edwin A. Ham entered the lumber business at Hunter, Greene County, through the purchase of an established lumber yard. The development of this enterprise by the expansion of the original business and the addition of new lines during the past four decades has made it the leading commercial concern in the village.

Mr. Ham is a son of Peter and Mary E. (McDonnell) Ham and a descendant of families established in Columbia and Dutchess counties before the Revolutionary War. His father, a farmer, was born in Clermont, Columbia County, but spent most of his life in Dutchess County. His mother was a native of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Both parents are now deceased.

Educated in the district schools of Dutchess County, Edwin A. Ham also attended Wilbraham Academy in Massachusetts, for one year and as a young man farmed with his father in Dutchess County until about 1885. At this time he moved to North Dakota, where he spent the following ten years. Upon his return to New York in 1899 he settled in Hunter and at that time purchased the lumber business of George W. Anderson. Through close application and good judgment he succeeded in building up a very extensive business, handling all types of builder’s supplies, feeds and paints as well as lumber. With its development the Ham enterprise became the leading business concern of Hunter.  Although its active operation is now in the hands of Mr. Ham’s son, the builder of the business continues as its principal owner.

Mr. Ham has always taken a leading part in local civic affairs and has given generously of his time in public office. He had completed twenty-five years as a member of the Hunter Board of Education and on numerous occasions has served on the village board. In politics he has always been a Republican. Mr. Ham is also active fraternally. For fifty-four years he ahs been affiliated with the Masonic Order, which he originally joined as a member of Dover Plains Lodge, No. 666, in Dutchess County. Since 1900, however, he has been a member of Mt. Tabor Lodge, No. 807. He is also a member of the Royal Arch Chapter at Windham and the Council of Royal and Select Masters at Catskill. Mr. Ham attends the Presbyterian Church. He married, on June 9, 187, Blanche Chase, of Jewett Heights, Greene County, daughter of George Chase, former member of the New York State Assembly.  Mr. and Mrs. Ham are the parents of two children: 1. George Richard, a graduate of Wilbraham Academy. After the completion of his education he came into the Hunter business with his father and has been its active head for several years.  

He is a member and Past Master of Mt. Tabor Lodge, No. 807, Free and Accepted Masons, and a member of the Royal Arch Chapter at Windham and the Council of Royal and Select Masters at Catskill. George R. Ham married Marian McCambridge, of Ticonderoga, New York, and they are the parents of one son, John M., now five years old.  2. Helen G., a graduate of Hunter schools and of Russell Sage College at Troy. She taught school for three yeas and is now living at home in Hunter.

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