Local Heroes

Local Heroes

William G. Bissel

William G. Bissell was born at Massena, St. Lawrence County, New York, September 18, 1857. In the spring of 1866 his parents removed to Wisconsin, settling on the farm near Lodi , Columbia county. He received his education in the public schools and at Albion academy. His occupation was that of a farmer and traveling salesman until 1896, when he engaged in the business of general merchandising at Lodi. Mr. Bissell is a republican who has always had a deep interest in the welfare of his party, but he had no opportunity to represent it in an official way until he located himself permanently as a merchant. In the fall of 1898 he was nominated for the state senate by the Republicans of the Twenty-seventh district, comprising Columbia and Sauk counties, and elected over Edmund S. Baker, the candidate of the democrats and James M. Blachly, the candidate of the Prohibitionists. Mr. Bissell served on the committees on state affairs, manufacturers and agriculture of the senate of 1899, and also represented his district on the floor of the senate in a manner that commanded the respect and attention of his colleagues.


John Alexander "Bid" McPhee

John Alexander "Bid" McPhee (November 1, 1859 – January 3, 1943) was an American 19th-century Major League Baseball second baseman. He played 18 seasons in the majors, from 1882 until 1899, all for the Cincinnati Reds franchise. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. Known more for his fielding than his hitting, McPhee was the last second baseman to play without a glove. Born in Massena, New York, McPhee broke into professional baseball in 1877 as a catcher with the Davenport Brown Stockings of the Northwestern League.[2] He played for Davenport for three seasons, shifting to second base during the 1879season.[2] After not playing baseball in 1880, he joined an independent team in Akron, Ohio in 1881.[2] Before the 1882 season, he signed a contract to play for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, a team in the newly formed American Association.


Holton Ducan Robinson

Holton Duncan Robinson, the youngest son of Ichabod Harvey and Isabelle (McLeod) Robinson, was born in Massena, New York, on February 7, 1863. Directly after graduating St. Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1886, he worked as a chain man for the civil engineering firm Buck and McNulty.


Mr. Robinson and David Steinmen, who formed the engineering firm of Robinson and Steinmen, designed bridges such as the Deer Isle Bridge in Maine, the Hercilio Luz Bridge in Florianopolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil, and the Thousand Island Bridge System on the St. Lawrence River. In 1910, Mr. Robinson returned to Massena Center to design and construct the suspension cable bridge across the Grasse River. It has been closed since 1989.

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Avery D. Andrews

Avery D. Andrews (April 4, 1864 – April 19, 1959) was an officer in the United States Army and a corporate attorney and executive. He was most prominent for his service as a brigadier general on the staff of the American Expeditionary Forces headquarters during World War I.

A native New York state's North Country, Andrews graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1886, and was a classmate of John J. Pershing. He served as an artillery officer, and was appointed aide-de-camp to John Schofield, whose daughter he married in 1888. After graduating with law degrees from Columbian University and New York Law School, Andrews resigned from the army and became a successful corporate attorney and executive in New York City. He returned to the army for the Spanish–American War, and served as Adjutant General of New York during the governorship of Theodore Roosevelt.

Andrews again returned to the army for World War I; he attained the rank of brigadier general, and his service culminated with assignment as Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel (C-1) on the headquarters staff of the American Expeditionary Forces. After the war, Andrews remained a brigadier general in the Organized Reserve Corps until retiring in 1926. He practiced law until retiring to Florida in 1943.

In 1934, Andrews published a Pershing biography. He died in Florida in 1959, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Harold "Hal" John Smith

Harold John Smith (August 24, 1916 – January 28, 1994) was an American actor and voice actor, who was best known for his role as Otis Campbell, the town drunk on CBS's The Andy Griffith Show.

Smith was born in Petoskey, in the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, but he spent a significant part of his early years living in Massena, New York. He graduated from the Massena High School in 1936.

After graduation, Smith worked from 1936 to 1943 as a disc jockey and voice talent for WIBX Radio in Utica, New York. After serving in the United States Army Special Services (entertainment) during World War II, he traveled to Hollywood and appeared on many television series such as I Married JoanFuryThe People's ChoiceThe TexanRescue 8Dennis the MenaceThe Adventures of Ozzie and HarrietThe Donna Reed ShowNational Velvet and The Red Skelton Show.[1]


James Joseph "Ace" Deshaies

James Joseph Deshaies (born June 23, 1960), also known as "JD", is a former left-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball and currently a color analyst with the Chicago Cubs along with Len Kasper. Deshaies made his MLB debut with the New York Yankees on August 7, 1984. He set a milestone in his debut by being the 1,000th person to play an official game for the New York Yankees. He was the losing pitcher that day, after giving up four earned runs in four innings pitched in a 6–3 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Six days later, he lasted three innings in a no decision start against the Cleveland Indians. Those would be the only two appearances for the New York Yankees, who traded him to the Houston Astros on September 15, 1985, for Joe Niekro.


Timothy G. Fay

Lt. Gen. Timothy G. Fay is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Integration and Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. General Fay is responsible to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force for developing the Air Force strategy and multi-domain operating concepts, integrating through centralized design, and validating and prioritizing operational capabilities-based requirements to achieve national defense objectives and deliver timely and effective capability to the warfighter.

General Fay was commissioned following his graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1987. His previous assignments include instructor pilot and weapons officer duties in the B-52 and B-2, and staff service at Headquarters, U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Forces Iraq, Joint Staff and the Air Staff. He served in operations Desert Storm, Allied Force and Iraqi Freedom, commanded at the squadron, group and wing level and is a command pilot with more than 3,900 flight hours. In his previous assignment, he served as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.


Michael Ray Hurlbut

Michael Ray Hurlbut (born July 10, 1966 in MassenaNew York) is a retired American professional ice hockey defenseman. He was drafted by the New York Rangers in the 1988 NHL Supplemental Draft. He currently serves as the associate head coach of the St. Lawrence University Men's Hockey program. In 1985, he joined the St. Lawrence University Skating Saints Division I Men's Ice Hockey Program. He was recruited from the Northwood School in Lake PlacidNew York. While Hurlbut was at St. Lawrence, he was a First Team All-American, as well as a First Team All ECAC. He is widely considered to be one of the best defensemen to ever play hockey for St. Lawrence.


Frank Poore

Poore grew up in Massena, and was selling used video games in Westgate Plaza when he got the idea for CommerceHub. 

CommerceHub was founded in 1997 by Poore and Richard Jones, chief technology officer, while they were at SUNY Albany. Poore said in the 20 years since, he's learned to think big, and take risks to push the company forward.

When Frank Poore was starting CommerceHub, the Albany, New York, e-commerce company, in the late 1990s, he needed $10,000 to get the business going.He went to Glenn Rockwood, then president of video game distribution company Fillpoint, to ask for the money. Poore didn't have the courage to say how much, and asked Rockwood to give what he could. Rockwood offered him $100,000. It taught Poore to dream bigger and expect more.


Gary Danko

Gary Danko is an American chef. He combines FrenchMediterranean, and American styles into his cooking. He is best known for his eponymous restaurant in San Francisco, California. Danko was born in Massena, New York, his father was a Hungarian immigrant. His grandmother was Jewish and he grew up with Hungarian cooking with Jewish overtones.


Aaron Bogosian

Born in 1987, Aaron Bogosian was an American former professional ice hockey player. He most notably played with the Springfield Falcons and the Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Bogosian attended St. Lawrence University where he played college hockey with the NCAA Division I St. Lawrence Saints men's ice hockey team, scoring 79 points in 142 career games.[1]

On March 17, 2011, the Springfield Falcons of the AHL signed Bogosian to an amateur tryout agreement,[1] and he was subsequently signed to a standard American Hockey League contract for the 2011–12 AHL season.His brother is Zach Bogosian, defenseman for the Buffalo Sabres.[2]

On August 28, 2014, Bogosian opted to end his professional career.[3] After retiring, he was a volunteer assistant coach with the 2014 NCAA Division I College Hockey champions, the Union College Dutchmen.


Zachary M. Bogosian

Zachary M. Bogosian (born July 15, 1990) is an American professional ice hockey defenseman, an alternate captain for the Buffalo Sabres. Bogosian was regarded as a complete, physical defenseman who could contribute on both offense and defense; he was rated as one of the top players heading into the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, where the Atlanta Thrashers selected him third overall. Bogosian first played in an international tournament when he joined the American national team at the 2009 IIHF World Championship.


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