Niagara County

1897 Biography - Benjamin Flagler

Flagler, Gen. Benjamin, was born in Lockport, N. Y., December 10, 1833, a son of Sylvester Flagler, a prosperous and highly respected farmer of that place. Mr. Flagler was educated in the public schools of Niagara county and at Lockport Union School. After leaving school he remained at home on the farm until 1859, when he entered the Erie Canal collector's office at Lockport, as chief clerk. In 1861 he entered the service of the United States as captain of a company of the 28th N. Y. Vols., the first regiment organized in Niagara county at the breaking out of the Civil war. The regiment was ordered to the front and during the battle of Winchester, Va., Captain Flagler was seriously wounded, necessitating his discharge from the service. He returned to his home at Lockport and sometime later was appointed inspector of customs at Suspension Bridge, in which capacity he served until 1864. In 1872 he was appointed special deputy collector at the same port and retained that position until 1878, when he was made collector of customs for the district of Niagara, remaining in that office until 1886. January 1, 1895, he was appointed chief of ordnance of the State of New York, on the staff of Governor Morton, with the rank of brigadier-general, and was reappointed to the same position by Governor Black, and is the present incumbent. In 1886 he became one of the organizers of the Bank of Suspension Bridge, of which he was made president and which office he still fills; he was also active in the organization of the Niagara Falls and Suspension Bridge Railroad Company, of which he became president and retained that position until 1890. He is first vice-president and a director of the Niagara Falls Power Company and a director of the Bank of Niagara at Niagara Falls. November 9, 1859, he married Martha J. McKnight of the town of Newfane, and they had one son, Sylvester, deceased. General Flagler is a member of Niagara Frontier Lodge No. 132, F. & A. M., of Niagara Falls, and a thirty-third degree honorary member of the Supreme Council of the Northern Jurisdiction, and has been grand master of the State of New York. He is also a member of Dudley Donnelly Post No. 133, G. A. R., of which he was commander for five years. He is also a member of New York Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion. Politically he was one of the organizers of the Republican party of this State, being a delegate in the first County Convention of the Republican party in Niagara county.

Contributed 2017 by Lisa Slaski from Landmarks of Niagara County, New York, by William Pool, D. Mason & Co., Syracuse, NY, 1897

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