Niagara County

1897 Biography - Theodore G. Hulett

Hulett, Judge Theodore G., was born at Williamsburgh, Mass., June 13, 1811, and is a son of Anthony Hulett. Mr. Hulett received very little schooling and at the age of twelve left home and apprenticed himself to Jason Clapp, a carriage maker at Pittsfield, Mass, at a salary of fifty dollars a year, one quarter's schooling and furnished his own clothing. From his employer he obtained a loan of fifty dollars, giving his note, and purchased a small library and a box of tallow candles in order to read and study at night. After serving his apprenticeship he was in Pittsfield, Albany and Troy, working at his trade in summer and reading law in the winter for three years. He came to Niagara Falls in 1834 and after working two years at the manufacture of carriage springs, he went into business for himself. In 1847 he was made superintendent of the first suspension bridge across Niagara River; he invented and built the iron basket which hung beneath the railway suspension bridge and which is now in the rooms of the Buffalo Historical Society. He has superintended the building of many suspension bridges in various parts of the country and he invented and patented the cast iron shackle fastenings which secure the cables of the first Niagara Suspension Bridge, built in 1865, to the anchors. In 1858 he built the Niagara Falls Gas Works and run them for twelve years. He built gas works in 1870 at Dansville and Warsaw, N. Y., and in 1873 he constructed the oxyhydric gas plant at Buffalo, on plans furnished by a prominent French engineer. In 1849 he was elected justice of the peace of the town of Niagara and held that office for over thirty consecutive years; during that time he also served as judge of the Courts of Sessions and Oyer and Terminer of Niagara county for four years. He took an active part in the cause of the Union during the war and assisted in raising and equipping the 8th N. Y. Heavy Artillery; he devised and executed means by which soldiers' families were relieved to the extent of $28,000 without creating an indebtedness of the town. Late in life he originated the idea of cementation of the dead and was elected president of the American Cementation Society on November 26, 1886. Judge Hulett has attained some fame as a poet and is to-day what may be termed one of the best living exponents of the old school. He keeps fully posted on the times and bears a wide reputation as a most skillfull and ingenious civil engineer. In 1833 he married Mercy A. Bailey of Pittsfield, Mass., and they had three children, only one of whom survives, Mrs. J. B. Gates, of Niagara Falls. He has seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren living. Mrs. Hulett is dead. In politics he was originally a Whig, later a Republican.

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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