Danforth, Frederick L - Erie County

FREDERICK L. DANFORTH. When on September 5, 1897, there passed away that sterling citizen, Frederick L. Danforth, another of a famous coterie of Buffalo's most capable men of the past was removed. Long identified as one of the leading financiers of the city, his entire life affords an example of dignified yet vigorous effort, crowned with success.

Mr. Danforth was born June 17, 1833, in Middletown, Conn., being a son of Josiah and Almira Danforth. His educational training was limited to that of the common schools. In 1854, then a young man, he came to Buffalo, where he became a clerk in the employ of Pratt & Co., at that time the largest mercantile house in the city. His industry and fidelity so won the confidence of his employers that he was advanced by rapid promotion to more responsible positions until he was made cashier, and later managed the fiscal affairs of the concern for several years, and throughout the long period during which the business was under the active direction of Mr. Pascal S. Pratt. The operations of this house were of great magnitude and the responsibilities of Mr. Danforth's position were very important. He here laid the foundation for the subsequent high place he occupied in the confidence of leading business men and citizens as a careful and painstaking official. On the dissolution of the firm of Pratt & Co., in 1879, Mr. Danforth was elected cashier and director of the Bank of Attica, continuing in that relation up to February 5, 1895, when he was elected to the Presidency of the bank. This position he occupied with distinguished ability as a financier and with credit and honor to himself and the institution up to his death. As head of the Bank of Attica, Mr. Danforth gained a wide reputation as one of the most cautious, clear-headed and sagacious bankers of Buffalo. Devoted to the interests of the bank, he brought to the administration of its affairs great business ability, mature experience and keen foresight. Among other important offices of honor and trust held by Mr. Danforth was that of President of the Buffalo Creek Railroad Company, and President of the Union Terminal Railroad Company. He also held large vessel interests in association with James Ash, and as principal owner of the Hand & Johnson tug line.

A man of deep religious sentiment, Mr. Danforth was a member of the North Presbyterian Church, which he served for many years as elder and President of the Board of Trustees. One of the predominant attributes of his fine nature was his great devotion to the Church and its institutions. In his relations to his church as in every attitude of his beneficent life, he was sincere, faithful and generous. His home life was singularly attractive. He knew what the joys of a' Christian home were, and to swell the sum of domestic happiness brought his own affluent contributions of piety, culture, fidelity and love. Of broad sympathy and generous impulses, his charities were many and widely bestowed, though so quietly that few ever knew of the great benevolences of this good man's heart save those who were the recipients of his bounty.

On September 15, 1859, Mr. Danforth married Grace Long Francis, a daughter of the late Daniel Francis, a former Buffalo citizen, and to them were born the following children: Frederick W., Frank L., William E., and Grace L., all of whom survive.

Mrs. Danforth has recently placed in the new North Presbyterian Church a handsome window as a memorial to her late husband.

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