Gardner Hinckley

From the "History of Herkimer County, NY," by George A. Hardin, 1893

Gardner Hinckley (2 Oct 1808 - 15 Mar 1875), 
son of Elijah Hinckley and Sally Vincent.

        Gardner Hinckley inherited a delicate constitution.  He lived at home on the farm until the death of his father, when being in his fourteenth year, he chose William Graves, of Gravesville, for his guardian, and spent some of his time with him, going to school.  At the age of sixteen he bought his brother's share in the home farm and went in business for himself.  His opportunities for education in his boyhood were limited, but he had a love of reading and study which continued all through his life, and in his busiest years he spent many hours with his books.  In September, 1829, he married Elizabeth Atwood, born August 7, 1810, daughter of Esek and Margaret Sackrider Atwood.  Esek Atwood was born not far from Burlington, Vt.  He was well educated and was for many years a teacher.  His first wife, mother of Elizabeth Hinckley, was born of Quaker parentage in upper Canada.  In 1843 Esquire Atwood moved to the town of Wilmurt and lived there many years and held various town offices.  He was supervisor, justice many times, etc.  He died at the home of his son Thomas, in New Rochelle, N.Y., about 1862.  Gardner and Elizabeth Hinckley had six children, two of whom died in infancy.  The survivors are Samuel Gardner, Caroline Dyer (Mrs. John W. Stanton), Mary Elizabeth and Sarah Helen, all living in Hinckley, N.Y.  Samuel G. married Sarah Fern, of Montgomery county. They have five children living, Emma Josephine, Elijah Gardner, Edward Fern, Samuel, and Theodore Ballou.

        About 1837 Gardner Hinckley left the farm and became agent and business manager for A. K. Morehouse, who owned large tracts of forest land in the counties of Herkimer and Hamilton, and from 1838 to 1840 he lived for about a year at Piseco Lake, in Hamilton county.  For the pure air, pure water and charming scenery of the Adirondack region he had an enthusiastic fondness, and he was confident that the time would come when its asthetic and sanitary advantages would be appreciated.  In 1840 he moved to Wilmurt and built a saw-mill and planing -mill on the West Canada Creek near "Hinckley" bridge.  Much of the lumber made there was carted to Utica or to Herkimer, over thirty miles.  He lived in Wilmurt until 1854, when he moved to the place now called Hinckley.  He was supervisor of Wilmurt for several terms and he held other town offices.  He was a member of the State Legislature in 1853-1854.  About 1848, in partnership with Theodore P. Ballou, of Utica, he built a gang saw-mill, planing-mill, etc., running by water power, on the West Canada Creek, in what  is now the vilage of Hinckley (so named in 1891 in his memory), and he continued in the lumber business until his death.  This mill, which was known through all the region as the Gang Mill, had at the time when it was built the largest capacity of any water power mill in that part of the State, being able to saw about five million feet of spruce lumber in a year without running nights.  At that time - 1848 - there was no railroad nearer than Utica, eighteen miles distant.  Mr. Hinckley was a Methodist and a temperance man, inheriting the conscientousness of his ancestors.  He was a Democrat until the formation of the Republican party, and from that time a Republican.  He was a man of medium stature, agreeable address, genial temperament, strict integrity, and amiable disposition, kind and generous in every relation of life.  He was unaffected and sincere in manner, and dignified, but not austere.  He was deliberate in judgment, although his mental processes were rapid, and he expressed his thoughts with clearness and force.  During the fifty years that he was in active business he never had a law-suit that came to trial.  He was greatly beloved by his friends and respected by all in his social and business relations.  His council was often sought and cheerfully given.  He was the sympathizing friend of young people, in whose happiness, education and advancement he was cordially interested.  While his own will was strong and his ideals high, he was tolerant in his judgment of those who were easily tempted, and tender and helpful toward the erring and unfortunate.  He died March 15, 1875.  Mrs. Hinckley died September 12, 1874.

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Last Updated: 4/30/03

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