Abbott, Frank A - Erie County

FRANK A. ABBOTT, District Attorney of Erie County, has won distinguished success at the bar, whether his professional achievements be considered with reference to his present official position or in connection with the general field of legal practice. As District Attorney it has fallen to Mr. Abbott to conduct some of the most important cases with which the interests of the people of Erie County have ever been identified, and with results alike creditable to himself and satisfactory to the public. As a general practitioner he has been equally successful, and he ranks as an eminently able all around lawyer, familiar both with the intricacies of office work and the tactics of the court-room.

Mr. Abbott comes of New England ancestry, being descended from Timothy Abbott, a lieutenant in Col. Samuel Herrick's regiment of Vermont troops, in the Revolutionary War. Seth and Sophia (Starkweather) Abbott, the great-grandparents of the subject of this sketch, were among the pioneers of Erie County, where they came in 1808, and from Seth Abbott the hamlet of Abbott's Corners in the town of Hamburg, derives its name. His son, Chauncey Abbott, who was born in 1802, married Mary Smith, and their son, Seth A. Abbott, born in 1832, was an influential citizen of the town of Hamburg and held several offices. In 1857 he married Ruth Ann Perrine, who was born in Jackson, Mich., in 1840. Their children are: George S., William H., Frank A., John P. and Mary E. Abbott.

Frank A. Abbott was born in the town of East Hamburg, Erie County, N. Y., April 14, 1865. He received his early education in the public schools, and in 1886 was graduated from the Hamburg Academy, thence entering Cornell University, from which he was graduated with honors in 1890. He was the valedictorian of his class, and also won the Stewart L. Woodford prize for oratory, the highest prize offered by the University. On leaving Cornell, Mr. Abbott returned to Buffalo, where he became a law student in the office of Fullerton, Becker & Hazel, and in 1892 he was admitted to the bar. He immediately engaged in the practice of his profession in Buffalo, and in 1893 formed a law partnership with the Hon. John E. Hazel, under the firm style of Hazel & Abbott, an association which continued until Judge Hazel was elevated to the bench. Mr. Abbott then formed a partnership with his brother, John P. Abbott, under the firm name of Abbott & Abbott, and this connection has existed ever since, the firm having offices in the D. S. Morgan Building.

Mr. Abbott has always been an earnest advocate of Democratic principles, and soon after attaining his majority he began to take an active interest in the higher order of politics. When Edward E. Coatsworth became District Attorney, on the 1st of January, 1903, he appointed Mr. Abbott his First Assistant, a position which he filled efficiently for three years, ably seconding Mr. Coatsworth in his official duties and handling many difficult criminal cases. Apart from the importance of the services performed, the experience of these years was of peculiar value to Mr. Abbott as furnishing a discipline for the more arduous responsibilities he was ultimately to assume. ? When the Erie County Democratic Convention met in 1905 it became clear that Mr. Abbott was the logical candidate for the District Attorneyship, and his unanimous nomination was followed by his election by a substantial majority, over a strong opponent. As District Attorney Mr. Abbott has handled the momentous interests committed to his charge with dignity and vigor, tempered by a strict sense of justice and an accurate appreciation of the maxim that impartiality is as important as zeal in the fulfillment of the duties of a public prosecutor. He has proved as fearless as energetic, and in no instance has personal influence or any consideration other than that of consonance with the obligations of his office and the welfare of the public, ever been permitted to become a factor in his course of action. He has conducted his cases with masterly ability, which notably manifested itself in his prosecution of the Neff, Gibson and Jackson cases, wherein convictions were secured in the face of many difficulties.

Though Mr. Abbott's official and professional duties are necessarily of an absorbing character, he is not remiss in the social part of life. He is actively interested in the Masonic fraternity, being affiliated with Ancient Landmarks Lodge and Hugh de Payens Commandery, Knights Templar, and he is a member of the University and Independent clubs of Buffalo, the Buffalo Yacht Club, the Orpheus Singing Society and the Phi Delta Theta college fraternity.

In 1902 Mr. Abbott married Jane L. Drake, daughter of Capt. Marcus M. Drake, deceased, of Buffalo. Their children are: Frank Addison, Jr., Elizabeth D., and Alice L.

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