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This biography is from Landmarks of Albany County, New York, edited by Amasa J. Parker of Albany, N. Y., Syracuse, N. Y.; D. Mason & Co. Publishers, 1897.

Benjamin W. Wooster

Benjamin W. Wooster was born in Albany county on the 24th of March, 1820, and is a son of David and Polly (Woodbury) Wooster, who came from New Hampshire to the county of Albany in 1816. He was liberally endowed with those traits of perseverance and thrift which characterized the sons of New England parentage, and after receiving a good common school education became an apprentice at cabinet making, at which he served faithfully for four years, and for which he had strong natural tastes. His parents' limited means forced him in early youth upon his own resources, but with a determination at once rare and commendable he rapidly acquired great skill and won approval from all who knew him. Finishing his ap- prenticeship in 1843 he opened a small store in South Pearl street, Albany, where his close attention to business, his pluck, industry, and honorable dealing, and the excellent style and finish of his manufactured goods brought him success and substantial prosperity. Here he prosecuted a constantly increasing business for eight years, or until 1851, when he erected a four-story building at Nos. 57 and 59 South Pearl street to accommodate the growing demands of his trade. He enlarged the capacity of this structure from time to time, conducted his cabinet-making business with marked success, established a wide reputation as a manufacturer of the highest class of work, and devoted his energies and his mechanical skill to building up a trade not only in this section but in many of the Eastern States. He attained what he set out as a youth to accomplish, a foremost place as a manufacturer of artistic household furniture. His work has always been noted for its beauty, durability, and ornamental design, and numerous specimens of it have for many years graced the finest homes, hotels, banks, offices, etc., in this as well as in other localities. His establishment has long been the leading one in the furniture trade of Albany, where his active life has been spent. As a designer and decorator of private and public buildings Mr. Wooster has won the highest reputation, which is due largely to his love of the beautiful in art, his excellent judgment in appropriate and harmonious ornamentation, his long experience as a manufacturer, and his careful and constant oversight of his work. In July, 1889, he occupied the present handsome store at Nos. 36 and 38 North Pearl street, which was built by him for the sole use of the business.

While Mr. Wooster has devoted his time chiefly to his private business interests he has nevertheless taken an active part in furthering the material welfare of the city of Albany and is prominently identified with its growth and prosperity. As a citizen he has always been progressive, sustaining every movement which promised general benefit. He was one of the founders in 1871 of the Albany County Bank and became its vice-president, a position he held for seven years or until 1878, when he was elected president. He served in this capacity till 1891, when he resigned, leaving the institution as it now stands one of the best, soundest, and most useful in the city. During his administration as president a savings bank became necessary to the other financial developments and was added, and the result of this move is a flourishing savings department with deposits aggregating over $400,000. The Albany County Bank was originally quartered in the old Tweddle Hall, where it was burned out. The board of directors then purchased the site and erected the present handsome bank building on the corner of State and South Pearl streets, where for over 200 years stood the historic Staats house, one of the earliest Dutch dwellings in Albany and the last to disappear. Many other offices of honor and trust have been offered to Mr. Wooster, but he has declined them, prefering to give his whole attention to his large furniture business, in which he has attained the highest degree of success. In 1878 he erected a handsome brick residence on the corner of State street and Western avenue, fronting Washington Park, and most beautifully furnished its interior with furniture of his own designing.

Mr. Wooster was married, first, in 1845, to Miss Mary E., daughter of Levi Steele, Albany, who died in the fall of 1860, leaving two daughters. In 1853 he married, second, Miss Katharine M., daughter of the late Thomas Wright, of Elmira, N. Y., and they have had six children, of whom four are living.



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