Schoharie County NYGenWeb Site

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S. L. Mayham


Stephen L. Mayham was born in the town of Blenheim on the 8th day of October, 1828. His father, John Mayham, was of Irish origin, his parents having emigrated to this country from Ireland and settled in Troy about 1790. His mother, whose maiden name was Betsey Ferguson, was of Scotch descent.

The subject of this sketch is the third son of a family of thirteen children, and was reared upon a farm, where he was taught those lessons of industry which have made their impress upon his life and laid the foundation of the success that he has since achieved. His early education consisted of a term of two or three months in a district school, during the winter sessions, the balance of the year being devoted to farm labor, together with one or two years of evening instruction by a competent person employed by his father as a family teacher in the home upon the farm.

When about eighteen years of age, he commenced teaching in a district school in the winter, and continued his labors upon the farm, in the summer, besides attending a select school a short time in the autumn months. In that way he acquired a fair English education. At the age of twenty years, he entered the law office of Samuel W. Jackson, since a Justice of the Supreme Court, but then practicing law at Gilboa. After reading law one year in Mr. Jackson's office, he went to Ithaca, Tompkins county, and there entered the office of Love & Freer, where he remained until 1847, when he was admitted to practice in all the courts of New York State.

After remaining another year in the office of his preceptors at Ithaca, he returned to his native County and located in the practice of his profession. Although remote from the county-seat, and in a community affording but a small amount of litigation, he soon succeeded in establishing a good country practice, and acquired a favorable rank among the members of the Bar in the County.

Mr. Mayham was elected superintendent of schools two years, and supervisor of his town for three successive years, the last time without opposition. In 1859 he was elected District Attorney of Schoharie County for a term of three years, and so satisfactorily discharged the duties of that office, that without effort or solicitation on his part, he was elected as Member of the Assembly from his County, and entered upon the duties of that office January 1, 1863, his official term as District Attorney having expired December 31, 1862.

In 1866, he was nominated by the Democratic party for the Senate in the 15th Senatorial district, against Charles Stanford of Schenectady, by whom he was defeated. In 1868, he was elected in the 14 Congressional District, consisting of Albany and Schoharie counties, to the 41st United States Congress, during which session he served as one of the Committee of private land claims and the expenditures of the State and Postoffice department.

In 1878 Mr. Mayham was elected to the 45th Congress from the counties of Schoharie, Greene and Ulster, comprising the 13th district and served on the Committee for the District of Columbia, as Chairman sub-committee of Ways and Means, and on the Committee of Expenditures of the State department, etc.

He was also, at one time, President of the Schoharie Valley Railroad, and for the last eight years has been president of the board of education of the village of Schoharie, where he is now residing, and devoting his time to the practice of law, in partnership with his son.

Mr. Mayham was united in marriage with Julia Martin, a grand-daughter of General Freegift Patchin of Revolutionary fame, who was largely identified with incidents of that war in Schoharie County. To them were born seven children, four of whom are now living.

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