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William Ozmun Wyckoff

Union Captain William Ozmun Wyckoff was born on a farm in Lansing in Tompkins County New York February 16, 1835, and died the first night he stayed in the completed construction to be known as the Carleton Island Villa in Thousand Islands, New York on July 11, 1895. He was son to Ira Wyckoff, a prominent citizen and farmer, and Julia A., daughter of William Ozmun. His ancestry is traced back to farmers from Holland, who came to this country around 1675 and settled on Long Island. 

Wyckoff spent his early life farming and going to school, and attended the Ithaca Academy for a few terms. In 1856, he purchased a quarter section of land in Blue Earth county, Minnesota, but later returned to Ithaca and took up the study of law. During the Civil War, he served 2 years in the 32nd New York Infantry, going in as a private and rising to the rank of captain. He passed the Bar and became a lawyer November 16, 1863, and in the meantime attended and received a diploma from Ames Business College in Syracuse. 

In 1866, Wyckoff worked as the official court stenographer of the Supreme Court for the 6th Judicial District of the State for 16 consecutive years. He began using a Remington typewriting machine in 1875 when they were still a new invention. They were meant to assist in his transcribing court reports, but he became very interested in the machines. He began working part time for the Remington Standard Typewriter Co. selling the typewriters. This proved to be a prosperous venture, and around 1882 he established the firm of Wyckoff, Seamans & Benedict with about $20,000 of capital, and signed a contract with E. Remington & Sons, taking over their sales department. Wyckoff’s company was so successful in their sales that in 1886 they bought the whole plant and patent rights. 

Wyckoff, Seamans & Benedict were incorporated May 19, 1892 with a capital stock of $3,000,000. Wyckoff was president of this company which now manufactured and sold the Remington type writing machine. Wyckoff later moved to Brooklyn and was a member of the Republican club and the Loyal Legion of Brooklyn, and for years was on the executive committee of the Union League club of Brooklyn. He was a trustee of The Union Type Writer Co. and a member of the executive committee. 

On October 20, 1863 Wyckoff married Frances V., daughter of Almon C. Ives, of South Lansing, New York. Together they had two sons: Edward G., who became a prominent merchant of Syracuse, New York, and Clarence F. of the class of '98 at Cornell University.

In May of 1893, William O. Wyckoff, purchased land on Carleton Island from Henry M. Folger and his wife for the price of $11,440. Wyckoff had already constructed a $6,000 boat house of renown, and was planning on building a cottage for $25,000. These plans would later change after the design of the Carleton Villa with architect William Henry Miller, known for his work on Cornell University, and the final budget would be over $100,000.  It would be the first of the Thousand Island landmarks which would later include the Boldt and Emery’s castles.

It was said that Wyckoff enjoyed the island and was present for most of the construction process. Tragically, just before the building was finished in 1895, Wyckoff’s wife would pass away back home in Brooklyn. Then 5 weeks later on his first night in the just completed Carleton Villa, William Wyckoff also passed away at the age of 60.









"America's Successful Men of Affairs: An Encyclopedia of Contemporaneous Biography"
Volume I by John Sherlock Young


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