Cuddeback, William H - Erie County

WILLIAM H. CUDDEBACK, the well-known lawyer and former corporation counsel of Buffalo, is a man of diverse activities and has made his mark both in professional and political fields.

Mr. Cuddeback is of French and Dutch ancestry. The founder of the family was Jacques Caudebac, a Huguenot, who in 1686 fled from Caudebac, in Normandy, Prance, at the time of the repeal of the Edict of Nantes. Jacques Caudebac landed in Maryland and afterward went to New York City, where he married Margareta Provost, who was of Holland Dutch descent. From them the Cuddebacks of America are descended. Though the first head of the family was Norman French, through intermarriage the stock became almost wholly Dutch.

Jacques Caudeback engaged in mercantile pursuits. Later he obtained in Deer Park, Orange County, a grant of land which is to this day owned by his descendants. Jacques had ten children, six sons and four daughters. The fifth son was William.

He and his five brothers served as officers in the Revolutionary War, as did their sons. William Cuddeback at one time had command of a fortification at West Point.

William Cuddeback had six children, of whom the fourth, Benjamin, was a soldier in the company of New York militia commanded by his brother, Capt. Abraham Cuddeback, in the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Cuddeback had a son, William Cuddeback, who lived at Deer Park, N. Y., and was survived by thirteen children, among them Lewis Cuddeback, the father of William H. Cuddeback of Buffalo.

Lewis Cuddeback resided at Deer Park, Orange County. His wife was Caroline Thompson, daughter of the Rev. Andrew Thompson, a Presbyterian minister of Nyack, Rockland County, N. Y. Lewis Cuddeback was by occupation a merchant. He was prominent in the Democratic politics of fifty years ago, and served as Assemblyman, Member of the State Constitutional Convention of 1843, County Clerk of Orange County, and in other political capacities. He died in 1889. His surviving children are: Augustus T. Cuddeback of Passaic, N. J.; William Herman Cuddeback of Buffalo; Mary T., now Mrs. Joseph Merrit of Goshen, Orange County, N. Y., and Catherine C, now Mrs. Aaron V. D. Wallace also of Goshen.

William Herman Cuddeback was born in Deer Park, N. Y., March 25, 1854. His earlier education was obtained at the academy in Goshen, later entering Cornell University, where he spent four years. In May, 1877, he was admitted to practice, at Poughkeepsie, N. Y., first practicing for a short time at Goshen, where he became a justice of the peace. For the succeeding seven years he was a law partner of Henry A. Wadsworth of Orange County. In 1885 Mr. Cuddeback removed to Buffalo, where he became successively associated with Hon. Daniel J. Kenefick, Joseph V. Seaver and Eugene P. Ouchie. Mr. Cuddeback soon rose to a high position at the bar of Erie County.

Meantime Mr. Cuddeback became active in Democratic politics and for the last ten years has been an acknowledged leader of the Western New York Democracy. In 1895 he was chosen Chairman of the Democratic General Committee, which office he held for three years. During this time the party was successful in electing a Democratic Mayor and other city officials. In 1897 Mr. Cuddeback was elected Corporation Counsel, which office he held until January 1, 1902. He is conceded to have been one of the best officials that ever served Buffalo in that office. Mr. Cuddeback was chosen manager of the Craig Colony for epileptics at Sonyea, N. Y., by Governor Flower, and in spite of his being a strong Democrat was twice reappointed by the Republican Governor Morton. In 1906 he became interested in the Independence League movement, serving as Chairman of the Executive Committee in Erie County.

Mr. Cuddeback is unmarried. He is prominent in club circles, being a member of the Ellicott, Saturn and Acacia clubs. He his elevation to the bench had won high reputation as a lawyer, of erudite attainments and superior capability.

SOURCE: Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I