April 1990

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1990 Steuben County Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame was started in 1976 by the Corning-Painted Post Historical Society.
It is sponsored by the Steuben County Board of Legislators

Three new names are to be added to the Steuben County Hall of Fame at a luncheon and presentation to be held April 21 in Bath at Day's Inn. Those people who have been chosen by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee and endorsed by the Steuben County Board of Legislators are: Morris Cohn, William Gorton and Charles Ballou. Descendants of these men will be at the ceremony to accept the honor. The presentation will be preceded by a buffet luncheon served at 1:00 pm.

Bob Rockwell from Corning will speak on Eugene Sullivan who was primarily responsible for developing heat-resistant glass and on Frederick Carder who worked out many techniques for producing unusual art pieces in glass.

Following are brief biographical sketches of the new members of the Hall of Fame:

Morris Cohn

Morris Cohn was born in Poland in 1853 and left there when he was only 14 to work his way across Europe to England. There he secured backing for a passage to America and support here when he arrived.

Still a very young man he came on to Hornell where he started out with a stock of merchandise that he carried and sold to farm and village folk. Mr. Cohn with his trade goods soon became a welcome visitor to the isolated farms in western Steuben county. He prospered and acquired a horse and wagon so that he could expand his stock and travel farther.

Once in New York City to buy more goods he met the girl he asked to become his wife. He married Annie and brought her to Stephen's Gulch near Canisteo. They had eleven children.

When Morris Cohn was 28 in 1881, he opened a clothing store in Addison. Then in 1895 he moved family and store to Bath.

M. Cohn and Sons has been in business 109 years and may be the oldest family-owned clothing store in New York. Morris and Annie Cohn's grandson, William Cohn, and great grandchildren, Harry Cohn and Sarah Marcotte, carry on the family tradition of friendliness, fairness, quality merchandise, and good feeling in a handsome store on Liberty Street in Bath.

William Gorton

William E. Gorton was born in Corning in 1854. He graduated in 1878 from Hahnemann Medical College in New York City with a medical degree. However, he went into the railroad construction business instead of medicine. He came back to Corning in 1889 and started the Corning Iron Works that later became the American Brake Shoe and Foundry Company.

The next year he became the first mayor of Corning when the city was established. This was just 100 years ago. Mr. Gorton served as mayor without pay and was responsible during his term for securing the funds to build the City Hall that now houses The Rockwell Museum.

Always an entrepreneur he headed the Gorton Chocolate Company, was a partner in a drugstore in Corning, and entered ranching and mining enterprizes in the West.

Mr. Gorton may be best remembered for his Boy Scout work. He helped organize the Boy Scouts in Steuben County and was a founder of the Boy Scout camp on Waneta Lake that was named for him.

Charles Ballou

Charles Clarendon Ballou was born in Hornby in 1862. Although he had little schooling he did teach in a country school near Hornby Forks. Just after this he undertook an examination and won a scholarship to West Point and graduated there in June 1886.

As a young officer in the West he was very sympathetic toward the Apaches and interceded for them whenever he could. One winter with his wife and two little girls they lived on the prairie in tents with the Indians.

Captain Ballou was in the Philippines during the insurrection there. At the beginning of World War I he organized a division of black soldiers and as head of the division he rose to the rank of Major General. That division fought in the Argonne Forest and along the Moselle River.

After the war with the Army Corps of Engineers he was in charge of rebuilding Fort McHenry and work at Fort Niagara.

Charles Ballou married Cora Hendrick in 1886. They had three daughters and one son.

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