Ezra R. Adams


Section A Vignette # 6

At the southern-most point of Section A, tucked between the boundary fence and West Avenue, lies the gravesite of Ezra R. Andrews.  Mr. Andrews was one of Rochester’s foremost community leaders of the second half of the 19th Century.  He was born March 16, 1828 to a family living in Gates and, as a young man, learned the printing trade.  After working at the Rochester Democrat newspaper, he moved on to a privately owned print shop and became co-owner in 1857.  

Ezra Andrews - Mount Hope Cemetery

In his early 40’s, he struck out on his own and established his own printing business in 1870.  But his entrepreneurial activities were just getting started.  In 1882, Mr. Andrews met James Briggs on a train from Albany.  Mr. Briggs was a successful lawyer in New Jersey who started publishing legal summaries of cases for legal research.  They needed a high-volume printer who could keep up with the demand for these legal reports.  They struck up a partnership and called the business Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Company, a leader in legal publishing for over 130 years.   Thomas Gosnell, the last CEO of Lawyers Co-op, was the great-grandson of Ezra Andrews.

As a business owner, Mr. Andrews was well-aware of the need for a well-trained work force.  In 1885, he worked with other community leaders to create the Mechanics Institute to fill this need.  As a trustee, he later sat on a committee to merge the Mechanics Institute with the Rochester Atheneum (RAMI).  When the consolidation occurred, he became the first president of the Board of Directors in 1891 and held the position until 1899, one year before his death. RAMI later changed its name to Rochester Institute of Technology. 

In 1860, he married Betsy Rider of Vermont with whom he had two daughters.  You will find the graves of Ezra, Betsy, their two daughters Clara Louise and Kate Rider, and his great grandson Thomas Gosnell all together in the Andrews/Hale plot 130, Section A.  The lasting legacy of the Andrews family can be found in the City of Rochester (Andrews Street) as well as RIT (the Hale/Andrews Student Life Center and the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences.)

Patricia Sorce

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