Schoharie County NYGenWeb Site

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Charles Courter


Charles Courter was born in the town of Schoharie of poor, yet respectable parents, on the 4th of June, 1808. His educational advantages were only such as the village school presented, but possessing quick perception he soon fitted himself for general business and entered the store of Freeman Stanton of Middleburgh, in 1823. No better tutor could young Courter have been placed under than Freeman Stanton, as he was a very sagacious business man--yet most honorable in his dealings. Mr. Stanton's trade was very large and consequently brought Mr. Courter in contact with a large circle of the best citizens of the County--among whom were many of the first business men. Being thus brought before the people, the youth would naturally assume the prerogatives of a business man, and study the general principles of trade. Such was the case, and in after years Peter Osterhout placed him in a store at Lawyersville over which he presided as manager, and gave proof of that business tact that in after years made him so useful and successful. In the course of a few years he formed a co-partnership with Henry Shutts in the mercantile business at Lawyersville and continued the same to the year 1837 when he removed to Cobleskill village and engaged in business in the Lambert Lawyer brick house.

In the interim he married Helen Lawyer daughter of General Lawyer, and thus became connected with one of the leading families of the County. The business relations of Mr. Courter and Mr. Shutts were the most pleasing and instituted a friendship that was highly prized by those gentlemen, and guarded with jealous care. In 1839, Mr. Courter purchased the Lawyer mansion and built a store-house upon the ground formerly occupied by the barn and horse sheds connected with the hotel, and continued the business wholly or in part up to the year 1864. He was one of the leading spirits in the conception and construction of the Albany & Susquehanna railroad, as in it he saw the future prosperity of his adopted town and village. He was for many years one of the directors of the road and was the most active in its completion. Gaining that object he turned his attention to the village and aroused an enthusiasm among the business men for the improvement of the place and in a few years changed it from a quiet hamlet to an energetic mart and business center. The large West brick block, National bank and costly Lutheran church--beside many substantial residences, are monuments of his energy and pride, and bespeak the liberality of the man in his manner of doing business. While Mr. Courter was a staunch Democrat in politics, and possessed the ability to grace any position, yet he held but few places of official trust, from the fact he did not court position, and was too closely attached to business to enter the political field. However, he represented the town upon the Board of Supervisors in 1841 and was re-elected the year following., after repeated declinations to run. In 1868, he was placed upon the Democratic Electoral ticket which received the largest majority the County ever gave in a Presidential contest.

Mr. Courter became extensively engaged in the manufacture of lumber in the State of Florida and connected with other heavy enterprises elsewhere, which required such active mental and physical labor as but few can accomplish--but in him, was found those qualities that enabled him to meet every requirement with the greatest promptness.

Upon one of his business journeys he became exposed and in reaching home, he was confined by an attack of pneumonia which closed his active life on the 1st day of January, 1879.

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