The Founders of Delta Chi

  • Albert Sullard Barnes

    Born: January 13, 1869barnes Died: July 17, 1935 The son of Willard C. and C.M. (Sullard) Barnes, Albert Sullard Barnes was born on 13 January 1869 in Franklin, New York. While a student at Cornell, he and others founded a law organization which became Delta Chi. Barnes also carries the dubious distinction as the man who lost the first Delta Chi badge, at a class reunion at Cornell in June 1916. After graduating with the LL.B. degree in 1891, Barnes joined a series of successful law firms in Binghamton, New York. He practiced law in that city until 1931 when he retired to Franklin. Barnes married Katherine L. Hermans of Binghamton on 30 October 1895. They had two daughters: Marjorie (Mrs. B.G. Durham of Washington, DC) and Helen (Mrs. John W. Brownfield of Binghamton). During the controversy over general vs. law membership, Barnes sided with the general group. In an interview printed in the Quarterly in 1920, he argued that the fraternity was losing good men by maintaining the law restriction. Barnes was one of only a few of the founders who continued to work closely with the fraternity. He, along with Sweetland, was a frequent guest of the Cornell chapter speaking at banquets and other functions. One of his best known quotations was: “Delta Chi is not a weekend or once-a-year affair but a lifelong opportunity and privilege.” In politics he was a Republican. Other organizations which Barnes joined include the Masons, the Shriners, the Scottish Rite, and the Red Men. He served on several corporate boards of directors. His hobbies included trout fishing and all outdoor activities. He was a lifelong member of the Franklin fisherman’s club. A member of the Congregationalist church, he was active in the local church as well as the state convention. Barnes died 17 July 1935 in Franklin, New York, at age 66 in the same house where he had been born. He was buried in the Floral Park cemetery, 104 Burbank Avenue, Johnson City, NY. He is in Section 3. Lot 29 (behind the mausoleum for the Elmer family). He is buried in his wife’s, Katharine Heermans’ family plot.

  • Myron McKee Crandall


    Born: August 27, 1867
    Died: August 25, 1931

    Born 27 August 1867 in East Winfield, New York, Crandall was the son of Otis N. Crandall and Flora (McKee) Crandall. As a youth, he attended the public schools of West Winfield, Cooperstown High School, and finally the Utica Free Academy. While a student at the latter, Crandall met Frank Thomas; they became close friends and remained so throughout their lives. Crandall and Thomas spent weekends at the Crandall family farm hunting and fishing. While students at the Utica academy, the founded Theta Phi Fraternity in 1885.

    In the fall of 1887, Crandall and Thomas entered Cornell to study law. For several years they shared rooms on East Seneca Street in Ithaca. Crandall maintained that he and Thomas organized Delta Chi in the spring of 1889, but the new fraternity failed to meet.

    Cornell’s requirements for a student organization and thus was not officially recognized. Crandall claimed credit for the name Delta Chi and the design of the badge; it should be noted that Monroe Marsh Sweetland also claimed credit for the name and the badge.

    Crandall earned an LL.B. degree in 1889 and an LL.M. in 1890. After being admitted the New York state bar, he associated with the firm Cookinham and Sherman of Utica, New York, for one year. He also worked for a law firm in Ithaca. Later he returned to West Winfield and set up a private law practice.

    Crandall married Gertrude Hiteman in 1894. They had six children, four daughters and two sons.

    Throughout his life, Crandall was involved in local politics as a Republican. At the time of his death he was President of the Board of Education and also served on the Library Board. He was a member of the Emmanuel Congregational Church of West Winfield, serving as superintendent of the Sunday School and as a trustee of the church. He was a Mason and had been Master of the local lodge.

    Crandall died 25 August 1931, two days before his sixty-fourth birthday, in West Winfield. He was buried in the East Winfield cemetery located approximately 2 miles east of West Winfield. Leave West Winfield on main street heading east then go over a set of railroad tracks, then through a 4 corners intersection then after ½ a mile there are buildings on the right and the East Winfield cemetery (city does not exist anymore) is approximately ¼ mile north of the highway. He is buried there in his family plot with his wife Majorie, his brother and parents. At Crandall’s funeral, Albert Sullard Barnes, another founder of Delta Chi, represented the fraternity as an honorary pallbearer.

    It was not until March 1929 that the Quarterly included the name of Myron McKee Crandall among those of the fraternity’s founders. Beginning in May 1919, the Quarterly’s masthead in each issue had printed the names of only ten men as founders; then in 1929, without fanfare and with only slight notice, our fraternity recognized an eleventh man as founder. In an account of his travels in central New York state, Albert S. Tousley, Field Secretary of the fraternity, wrote that after visiting with Founder Owen Lincoln Potter in Albany, Tousley and several brothers from the Cornell and Union chapters had visited Myron McKee Crandall, then in his early sixties, in West Winfield. Tousley reported that they discussed hobbies with Crandall and that: “It was the first time in years that any members of Delta Chi have called on Founder Crandall, and he was mightily pleased to have us as his guests.” Although Delta Chis of the modern era would not think this observation unusual, the men who read this passage in 1929 probably pulled up short when they saw the term “founder” applied to Myron McKee Crandall. Prior to March 1929, Crandall had never been credited as a founder. On the masthead of the Quarterly that month, the list of founders, previously ten names, had suddenly grown to eleven. Nearly four decades after the founding, Delta Chi had finally recognized one of the men instrumental in the creation of the fraternity. Soon after this change, the fraternity’s history was revised to recognize Crandall’s contribution.


  • John Milton Gorham

    gorhamBorn: April 21, 1867
    Died: March 18, 1943

    Much of the life of John Milton Gorham is a very large mystery. After attending Cornell from 1887 and graduated in 1891 with an LL.B., and in 1892 a B.L. he broke all contact with the fraternity. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, the Quarterly printed numerous requests for information of Gorham, apparently without success. In the September 1928 issue of the Quarterly, Gorham was listed as “missing,” as O.K. Patton (“CC”) prepared information for the publication of a new fraternity directory.

    According to the 1880 U.S. Census Gorham was born in Canajoharie, New York on April 21, 1867, the son of James and Honora Gorham, who were Irish immigrants, and grew up in Washington County, New York. Following his time at Cornell, Gorham married Emma G. (Catherine) Fuller of Palantine Bridge, Montgomery County New York at the Canajoharie Methodist Episcopal Church in June 27, 1894. Emma was born in May 21, 1869. He was admitted to the bar in Utica in September 1893. In a 1906 Souvenir Book he was listed with a photo of Distinguished Alumni of Canajoharie’s Union High School where he graduated in 1887. Gorham was also listed as practicing law in New York City.

    According to the next census following his graduation from Cornell (1900), Gorham is living in Westchester County, New York in Mt. Vernon. The couple had two daughters, Ruth Emma born in March 29, 1895 at Mt. Vernon, Westchester County, New York; and Dorothy Elizabeth was born on November 28, 1906. According to the 1910 census the family has moved to Manhattan, New York were he continues to work as a lawyer. His sister-in-law, Harriet C. Fuller (Emma’s sister), is a Stenographer for a Law Office and is living with the Gorham family, as is L. Peterson who, listed on Census records as a servant.

    According to the 1920 Census records, John M. Gorham is not listed. His family is living at 93 High St. in Orange, NJ (Essex County) and are borders in this house. Edith Mead is listed as Head of Household and has a daughter named Ruth. Emma is still listed as being married according to the Census information. In the 1930 census Emma and Dorothy are living at 23 Ridge Avenue in Evanston City, Illinois (Cook County). They are living in the Illinois Children’s Home. Gorham’s wife Emma is now listed as a widower and works as an Assistant Superintendent of the Cradle Orphan’s home. His daughter Dorothy is 24 in 1930 and lives with her mother and works as a clerk/electrical services. According to family sources, she married Eugene W. Ibs. He died on April 12, 1950 and she died on September 21, 1977 in Evanston, Illinois. They had a son named John Michale who was born on September 21, 1937 and died in October 1992. He never married. His older daughter Ruth married Stanton Van Wie on May 15, 1920. She died from complications of childbirth in May 27, 1921 and is buried in Fort Plan Cemetery with a stillborn daughter, Ruth Ann, who was stillborn dead on May 11, 1921. Stanton remarried and later died on April 14, 1975. Gorham’s wife Emma died in January 16, 1965 at Pembridget House, Evanston, Illinois at the age of 95. She was cremated and her remains are interred at the Memorial Park.

    For several decades numerous efforts have been made to determine what happened to Gorham when it appears he left the country and, through this research, the following facts have come to the surface which outlines a rough sequence of events of his life when he separated from his family in the 1910s.

    Last known picture of John Milton Gorham from his 1915 passport. In the 1910s Gorham moved with his family to East Orange, New Jersey. He left the United States for England in October 1913 residing on Abbyington Mans Road, Kensington. He received a passport from the London Embassy on June 9, 1915 which was approved on July 29, 1915. When asked on this 1915 submission when he would return to the United States, he answered “uncertain.” He requested the passport to visit the countries of France for business and England as his temporary residence. There is no record of him returning to the United States including when his oldest daughter died in 1921.

    On March 18, 1943, Gorham died of congestive heart failure at 62 Esmond Road Chinwich, Middlesex, England. He was cremated on March 24, 1943. On his death certificate, he is listed as a retired company director and as married. A person by the name of K. Forbes caused the body to be burned. His cremation certificate adds that his remains were scattered at the Garden of Remembrance at Mortlake Crematorium on March 25, 1943. The application for the funeral was made by Kathleen Forbes of Balls Park, Hertford. It is unclear what her relationship was with Gorham.

    It is important to note some alumni sources at the time have speculated that he was promoting his automobile interest while overseas, but it is unknown why he would travel to France which was in the middle of trench warfare fighting with the United Kingdom against Germany in World War I starting in 1914.

    Family sources of Emma Gorham believe John served overseas as an “undercover man” in World War I and never returned. No service records for Gorham have been located and since he was the son of Irish immigrants one could make the case that it was unlikely he was involved in the war in aiding the United Kingdom and the allies in fighting against the Germans since England still controlled his family’s native Ireland until 1922. The United States was neutral in World War I until 1917.

    The 1916 Delta Chi Directory listed Gorham as living in Orange N.J. and also in New York City as an automobile dealer. In the 1920 Directory he is listed in Orange, N.J. and no longer in New York City.

    Cornell University has no contact information of him as of 1926. That same year an 1874 Cornell alumnus William N. Smith had replied to the Register of Cornell stating that Gorham had disappeared and his wife was living in Chicago. The letter incorrectly stated he had only one daughter who was married for 5-6 years and then died a year or two ago.

    In a September 23, 1936 letter to Delta Chi Executive Secretary O.K. Patton, Founder Frederick M. Whitney stated that Cornell has no record of where Gorham lived after he graduated. Whitney also said Gorham’s wife was last heard of in Chicago. Whitney also wrote to Bert H. Brower a Cornell lawyer in Gorham’s hometown of Canajoharie, New York. Brower said that Gorham’s brother-in-law William Fuller stated that the Gorhams were divorced. Fuller also told Brower that he believes Gorham lived in London. Fuller also said that Emma, Gorham’s wife, had a sister in Chicago, Mrs. Helen Grace Fuller Stuntz.

    In 1937, Bernhard Shaffer, Penn State ’25 Delta Chi alumni connected O.K. Patton with the William J. Burns International Detective Agency Inc., which was headed by a Delta Chi alumnus Raymond Burns, to investigate the location of Gorham. In his February 24, 1937 letter to the detective agency Shaffer said “Apparently Brother Gorham’s life was saddened by being divorced from his wife and, apparently, he has dropped out of existence as far as the fraternity is concerned.”

    In March 1937 Burns traveled to the house of Mrs. Stuntz who was Emma Gorham’s sister and had previously lived with the Gorham family during the 1910s according to census information. During this discussion Mr. Stuntz did most of the talking but had a very limited amount of information. Mrs. Stuntz said, “No, the past is dead, and I would tell nothing that might get back to my sister and reawaken old memories that are not pleasant.” Mr. Stuntz said that in 1910 or 1911 Gorham was engaged in the automobile accessories business. He said that Gorham went to England in 1913, presumably London, to promote the sale of an auto truck. For a time he wrote to his wife Emma in New York but the letters stopped. Mr. Stuntz said nothing has been heard from him in 10 or 15 years. This statement makes it appear the possibility exists he may have been heard from again since the 1913 and 10 or 15 years since we hear from him comment does not cover the span of time to 1937 when this discussion took place. When Mr. Burns tried to follow up on this discrepancy of time, Mrs. Stuntz said “his wife, my sister, thinks he is dead, and I will say noting that will bring back any thought of him in any way.” Mrs. Stuntz did say her sister was alive but would not say were she was living other then to say she was New York City (1930 census had Emma Gorham living in Chicago, the same city as her sister Mrs. Stuntz at the time of this interview). Gorham had two brothers but Mrs. Stuntz did not know anything about them. Mrs. Stuntz’s parting remark was that “Gorham has been considered dead many years, and it is best to continue in such belief” Mrs. Stuntz denied that any family trouble caused Gorham’s departure from this country, or caused him later to cut himself off from his wife here.

    The Fraternity is truly indebted to M. Frank Gilbreath, Texas State Alumnus and Stephen Henson, Louisiana Tech Alumnus for the extensive research on Founder Gorham’s life history. Information complied by Aaron Otto, Kansas State Alumnus.

  • Peter Schermerhorn Johnson

    johnsonBorn: December 11, 1869
    Died: September 23, 1947

    Peter Schermerhorn Johnson was born 11 December 1869 in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. His father was Joseph W. Johnson, a pioneer in the oil and gas business in New York, and later Oklahoma. Founder Johnson attended grammar school at the academy in Claverack, New York.

    Johnson contributed some of the secret work of the fraternity and penned the words to the song “Fovens Mater.” He is also credited with the design of one of the fraternity’s early symbols: the hand of humanity reaching for the key of knowledge, and the poem of explanation that accompanies the design.

    Although he earned a law degree from Cornell in 1891, due to a severe hearing loss, Johnson chose business over the legal profession. After graduation, he formed a partnership with his father in an oil and gas business is Bolivar, New York. Johnson later moved to Woodfield, Oregon, where he was associated with Andrew Mellon in a natural gas business. He then operated a hardware business in Colorado. In 1908, Johnson moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, at about the time the commercial oil and gas business began to develop in that area.

    In 1914 Johnson married Clara von Gonten of Tulsa. They had no children.

    During the law vs. general membership debate, Johnson was clearly on the law side. The march 1920 issue of the Quarterly published his letter in which he argued strongly for a single-membership professional organization. He offered his opinion that the law alumni would not support the fraternity if eligibility for membership should be broadened to include non-law men. Further he wrote that a new general fraternity would need a new motto, ritual, coat of arms, and other symbols. He expressed his hope that the fraternity could find a way out of the conflict short of changing to a general fraternity. After the decision in 1922 to drop the law requirement for membership, Johnson gave his complete support to the re-organized fraternity.

    At age seventy-seven, Johnson, the last surviving founder of Delta Chi, died 23 September 1947 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was buried in the Oaklawn Cemetery 1133 East 11th Street in Tulsa with his mother Gertrude Schermorhorn Johnson (1845 – 1914) and Joseph White Johnson (a Civil War veteran as a Lieutenant in the 7th New Jersey Infantry) in a family plot located in Section 3 Block 130 SE Quarter lot #2.


  • Edward Richard O’Malley

    omalleyBorn: March 13, 1863
    Died: May 30, 1935

    Edward Richard O’Malley was born 13 March 1863 near Medina, New York, the son of Michael O’Malley and Bridget (Whalen) O’Malley. While a child, he rarely attended school due to the financial condition of his family. As a teenager, he supported himself by working on a farm and laboring in a stone quarry. When he was aged twenty, doctors told O’Malley to give up hard physical labor due to a congenital heart condition. He then began a program of reading to educate himself prior to entering Cornell Law School at age twenty-three.

    While a student at Cornell, O’Malley was selected to assist the law professors working on a revision of New York state law, and he worked as an assistant in the law library. O’Malley was also recognized for his debating skills.

    After graduating with the LL.B. degree in 1891, he moved to Buffalo and joined a law firm there. A stranger in the city, he entered local politics to meet people and build his legal practice. Making friends rapidly in Republican circles, he was appointed corporate counsel for the city. In 1901, he was elected to a two-year term in the New York State Assembly.

    In 1910, O’Malley ran for Attorney General on the same ticket with gubernatorial candidate Charles Evans Hughes (later Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court). The Hughes-O’Malley ticked won easily. While Attorney General he settled several long-running disputes between the state and corporate interests. After one term as Attorney General, O’Malley was appointed to a state judgeship for several years. As judge or counsel, he preferred to handle civil rather than criminal cases. On the bench, O’Malley was popular with jurors because he was careful to explain the jury’s duties without floundering in technicalities. Newspaper reporters liked Judge O’Malley because he rarely held court in camera openly hearing all cases in public.

    In 1922, O’Malley ran successfully for the New York Supreme Court and served a ten-year term. He left the bench at the mandatory retirement age of 70. O’Malley credited his success to “Luck and an ability to make friends quickly and a sincerity to sustain these friendships.” Edward Richard O’Malley died 30 May 1935 in Buffalo, New York, at age seventy-two and was buried in the Mount Calvary Cemetery, 800 Pine Ridge in Cheektowaga, NY in Section F lot 284. In tribute to O’Malley, former President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Mr. O’Malley is a mighty fine exhibit of good citizenship and has made a good record.”

    O’Malley’s younger brother James (Cornell ’01) was “AA” (international presiding officer) in 1902-3, and he also served as a judge on the New York Supreme Court.

  • Owen Lincoln Potter

    potterBorn: June 21, 1865
    Died: May 11, 1934

    Owen Lincoln Potter, a founder of the Delta Chi Fraternity, was born in Ithaca, New York, on 21 June 1865. After attending the public schools in his home town, he earned an LL.B. degree from Cornell in 1889 and the LL.M. from the same institution in 1890. While a student, he and others formed Delta Chi. Potter was the first “A” (chapter presiding officer) and the first “AA” (international presiding officer).

    After graduation he was admitted to the New York Bar. Relocating to Albany, New York, he worked for the commission on the revision of New York state law for five years before going into private practice. In 1901 Potter began a long series of jobs for the New York state Attorney General and the Governor. These positions capitalized on Potter’s knowledge of state law. In 1927 he accepted an appointment to the New York Court of Claims where he served until his death.

    In 1895 Potter married Ameka Parcell. They had no children. After a long illness Owen Lincoln Potter died in Albany on 11 May 1934; he was sixty-eight years of age. His death was reported on the front page of the local newspaper.  He was buried in Lot 28 Section 116 of the Rural Cemetery of Albany, Route 32/Broadway, Albany, NY.   Potter’s brother Horace was also initiated by the Cornell Chapter.

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  • Alphonso Derwin Stillman

    stillmanBorn: April 21, 1864
    Died: August 24, 1937

    Alphonso D. Stillman was born 1864 at Granite creek (also called Granite City) in Grant county Oregon. He had two brothers and one sister. His father mined for gold. In 1872 his father, Erasmus D. Stillman, was an inventor and purchased a fruit farm near Milton, Oregon. He went to Pendleton to work at his trade as mechanic and machinist, and left his farm to be conducted by his family. Alphonso worked at general farm work and obtained a meager education in a country school. In 1882 he moved to Pendleton and went to work at the lumberyard and planning mill of Watson & Luhrs. In 1887, he left that employment and went to a Business College in Portland. He only stayed there one term before returning to his former employment. Later that year he went to work for the East Oregonian Publishing Company. During his year there he worked as a reporter and a bookkeeper. He married Minnie Disosway, daughter of his employer on Jul 3, 1887. They divorced a few years later. In 1888, he began his study of Law with Bailey & Balleray, reading for a year. He became dissatisfied with his progress and entered Cornell University. He graduated in 1891 with the degree of LL.B. He returned to Pendleton and in 1892 formed a partnership firstly with John C Leasure and after two years with W.M Pierce. Their firm, Stillman & Pierce, was well known in Eastern Oregon. During this time he was a member of the executive council of the Woodmen of the World. The 1900 census shows him to be living with his ex wife’s sister in Pendleton. Ten years later he was living in the Flathead area of Montana. He married the local schoolteacher who was 15 years his junior, Effie Erickson, around 1910. They had one son named Adee (named after the combination of his parent initials A.D. and E.E.) in 1911. The next 25 years he spent Ranching in Pleasant Valley, mining and established a law practice in Kalispell. He was active in politics and took a leading part with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. He wrote a small book, “Montana’s Nightmare,” concerning governmental farm policies in the state. He divorced his second wife and she moved to Seattle where she was the first female guard of the Port of Portland and a private detective. She is buried in Seattle. At one time he had extensive holdings but a failed irrigation plan and other bad luck, turned his fortune. Two years before he died he suffered a severe stroke. He spent his last years under the care of his son in Kalispell. Adee Stillman, A.D.’s only child, married Mary in 1940. Adee served in World War II and died in 1978. His wife, Mary, was a pioneer in her own right. She was the first single woman to obtain a residential home loan on her own in the 1930s. During letter correspondence in 1997 and an person interview in 2009, Mary said “A.D. lived his life with gusto, had some tough financial problems and died of pneumonia. His son loved and respected him. His handshake was a deal with him. His word was solid.” A.D. Stillman’s gravesite remained unmarked for several decades. Mary Stillman purchased a flat tombstone for A.D. following the death of her husband Adee. He is buried in the Conrad Memorial Cemetery in Kalispell, Montana in lot 22A section F grave 2 (flat tombstone next to marker 29a).

    Stillman is credited with writing much of the fraternity’s ritual during the summer or early fall of 1890. Later a committee composed of Stillman, Barnes, and Fred Kingsbury Stephens completed the work.

    Epilog: Stillman’s first wife, Mimmie, never remarried. When she died she left her estate to the City of Pendleton in care of the Pendleton Community Foundation. There is a small Park called Stillman Park that exists today and a permanent fund was established to maintain it. There is an impressive granite marker in the park.

    Note: The Fraternity is truly indebted to M. Frank Gilbreath, Texas State Alumnus for the extensive research on Founder Stillman’s life history and Aaron Otto, Kansas State ’98, for interviewing and collecting pictures from Mary Stillman (A.D. Stillman’s daughter-in-law) and documenting Stillman’s final resting place and Stillman Park.

  • Thomas Allen Joseph Sullivan

    sullivanBorn: July 6, 1869 Died: October 26, 1924 Thomas Allen Joseph Sullivan, a founder of The Delta Chi Fraternity, was born on 6 July, 1869. Born in Fishers, New York (near Rochester), he was the son of Thomas and Hannah (Doody) Sullivan, both of whom were natives of Ireland. The younger Sullivan attended public schools including the Fairport (New York) Union classical high school. He was graduated from Cornell in 1891 with the LL.B. After being admitted to the New York Bar, he moved to Buffalo, New York, where he entered a series of successful partnerships. In 1905-06, he formed a partnership with Frederick G. Bagley, another early Delta Chi. From 1906 through 1912, Sullivan was county attorney for Erie County, New York. Sullivan married Mary Van Ness of Fairport, New York in 1895. They had two children: a daughter (Katherine) and a son (Kreag). Mrs. Sullivan died after only eleven years of marriage, shortly after the birth of their son. Sullivan never remarried nor recovered from the shock of her death. Tom Sullivan’s hobbies included fishing, golf, botany, and history. He was a Republican, a Roman Catholic, and a member of the National Guard. Noted for his Irish wit, he was popular with younger lawyers whom he encouraged in the law profession. After a brief illness, Sullivan died 26 October 1924 in Buffalo. He was buried in Fairport, NY at the St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery with his wife Mary who passed on almost 20 years before Thomas. For directions to the cemetery contact the Assumption Church located on 20 East Avenue, Fairport, NY which administers the cemetery. To this day, Kreag Sullivan, initiated by the Buffalo chapter on 5 January 1925, is the only Founder’s son known to be initiated into the Bond.

  • Monroe Marsh Sweetland

    sweetlanBorn: August 14, 1860 Died: February 12, 1944 The son of George James Sweetland and Hannah Lugenia (Marsh) Sweetland, Monroe Marsh Sweetland as born 14 August 1860 in Dryden, New York. He received the A.B. degree from Union College (1885), the LL.B. degree from Albany Law School (1886), and the LL.M. from Cornell University in 1980. Sweetland, who as a Delta Tau Delta, was interested in fraternal work and ritual. Like Crandall, he claimed credit for originating the idea for the organization that would become Delta Chi. He also claimed sole credit for the design of the badge and for selecting the name “Delta Chi” because he liked the way the two words sounded together. Along with Founders Gorham, Stillman, Barnes, Crandall, and Potter, Sweetland was present on the 13th day of October 1890 for the official chartering of the fraternity. Sweetland spent his professional career in Ithaca. He held various elected and appointed positions including city judge of Ithaca and county judge of Tompkins county. In the 1917 election, in recognition of his efforts to streamline court procedure, he received more than one-thousand write-in votes, without campaigning, for a seat on the New York state Supreme Court. In 1901, Sweetland married Georgia Smith of Ithaca. She died in 1929. They had no children. In politics Sweetland was a Democrat who frequently gained endorsement of the Prohibition Party. Other organizations which he joined included the Odd Fellows, the Grange, the Masons, and the Knights Templar. He also belonged to the Methodist Church. Sweetland was one of a few of the founders who stayed in contact with the fraternity. He was frequently a guest of the Mother Chapter, speaking at initiation and Founder’s Day events. During the debate over law vs. general membership, Sweetland supported the general side. “It was my idea not to restrict membership entirely to law men,” he stated in an interview in the Quarterly. At the 1940 convention, Sweetland originated the “hand shake across the country” to pass the greetings of the Founding Fathers to future generations of Delta Chi. This custom has continued into the present at banquets, regional conferences, and international conventions. Aged eighty-three years, Sweetland died 12 February 1944 in Ithaca and is buried with his Georgia at Willow Glen Cemetery, Dryden, NY. During the 1990 centennial convention held in Syracuse and Ithaca, many of those attending visited Sweetland’s grave and placed a wreath of white carnations there. His tombstone reads, “Mason, K.T. I.O.O.F Monroe Marsh Sweetland, born in Dryden, son of George J. and Hannah marsh Sweetland was county clerk, recorder, city judge, county judge, surrogate, United States commission, graduate of Union College, Albany Law School, and Cornell university, founder of the Delta Chi college fraternity, member of the American and New York State Bar Associations, Methodist church, Masonic Odd Fellows, and other fraternities. A supporter of the constitution and the United States. A believer in the Christian religion and the noblest motive is the public good.”

  • Thomas David Watkins

    watkinsBorn: September 4, 1870 Died: December 25, 1912 Thomas David Watkins, the youngest Founding Father of Delta Chi, was born 4 September 1870 in Plainfield, New York, the son of John Watkins and Ellen (James) Watkins, both natives of Wales. Founder Watkins was the youngest of eight children and was reared on his parents’ farm in Otsego County. After attending public schools, he studied at the West Winfield Academy, graduating in 1889. As a result of his academic record, Watkins entered Cornell law school on a total scholarship. He earned an LL.B. degree in 1892 and an LL.M. in 1893. Watkins was admitted to the bar at Syracuse in April 1893. Over the next years he entered a series of successful partnerships; the most notable was a one-year partnership in 1895 with Albert T. Wilkerson, another early Delta Chi. In 1898 Watkins and others formed a partnership which eventually became Watkins and Titus, a major law firm in the city of Utica. The law firm handled affairs for the New York Central Railroad, and Watkins became recognized for his knowledge of transportation law. Politically, Watkins was progressive and independent. For many years he was a Democrat. He ran unsuccessfully for the state Assembly in 1894 and in 1898 he ran for the state Senate losing the election by only 67 votes. In admiration for Theodore Roosevelt, he became a Republican and later followed Roosevelt into the Progressive party. In 1898 Watkins married Corinne Wheeler of Auburn, New York. They had three sons: John W., Thomas David, Jr., and Wheeler. Thomas David Watkins was active in community affairs, including the Y.M.C.A., the Presbyterian Church, and fraternal organizations including the Knights of Pythias. After a brief illness, Watkins died in his Utica home on 25 December 1912 at age forty-two. He was buried in the Forest Hill Cemetery, 2201 Oneida Street, Utica, NY. The local newspaper printed the following lines in tribute to Founder Watkins: “He was respected by all who knew him, for ‘Tom’ Watkins was a loyal friend, a zealous attorney for all clients, whether their cases were small or large, and a good citizen in the best sense of the word.”

  • Frederick Moore Whitney

    whitneyBorn: July 14, 1869 Died : October 10, 1942 A descendant of a pioneer New England family, Frederick Moore Whitney was the son of Abraham Johnson Whitney and Marietta (Parmelee) Whitney and was born in Bethel, Connecticut. After graduating from the LeRoy Academic Institute (LeRoy, New York), he entered Cornell’s College of Law in 1889. Whitney graduated from Cornell in 1891 with an LL.B. degree. For the next two years Whitney worked in Colfax, Washington, constructing a water works for that city. He returned to Cornell in 1893 to study civil engineering and hydrology for one year (1893-94). For the rest of his life he was associated with successful law partnerships in and around Rochester, New York. Whitney preferred to represent corporations and handled few criminal cases. He also enjoyed success in real estate and financial investment. In 1901, he married Hilda Jessie Fisher of Rochester. They had two children: a daughter, Helen Hamby (Whitney) Doud; and a son, Frederick Moore Whitney, Jr. Whitney was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed camping, hunting, and fishing. Other fraternal organizations which he joined include the Masons and the Elks. Shortly after World War I, Whitney helped reorganize the Delta Chi alumni chapter in Rochester and was elected its president in 1919. He was an Episcopal and in politics, a Republican. Founder Whitney died October 10, 1942. He was buried in the Riverside Cemetery, 2650 Lake Avenue, Lot 54 H2 107 in Rochester on October 13, 1942, the fifty-second anniversary of the founding of Delta Chi.  

Early Fraternity Leaders

  • Frank E. Thomas thomasAlso buried in Forest Hills Cemetery is Frank E. Thomas in his family plot. There is no marker for Frank but the rest of his family is identified with a tombstone. Other founders confirmed Thomas’s role in the early development of the fraternity, but Thomas, having graduated, left the Cornell campus and was not present on October 13, 1890 when the constitution and by-laws were adopted. Although not currently listed as a founder, some students of our fraternity’s history believe that he should be so credited. The son of Thomas R. Thomas and Mary (Richards) Thomas, he was born on September 27, 1867 in Utica, NY. While attending the Utica Free Academy, he became friends with fellow student Myron McKee Crandall. Their friendship lasted throughout their lives.In 1887 Thomas and his friend Crandall entered Cornell to study law. For several years they shared rooms at 126 East Seneca Street in Ithaca. Thomas, who received the LL.B. degree in 1889, was admitted to the new York bar and for a time practiced law in Utica. Later he joined his father in the wholesale fruit and vegetable business in Utica. The firm became T.R. Thomas and Company and enjoyed commercial success. With his father’s death in 1908, Frank Thomas became sole proprietor of the firm. He sold his interest in the frist in 1917, but continued as President of the Utica Canning Company. Along with his commercial ventures, he was also successful in trading stocks and bonds. Thomas married Rose Beltz in 1897. She died in 1920. they had no children. Thomas was a member of the Democratic Party and served six years on the civil service board, two years as its chairman. He also served on other public boards. He joined the Masons, the Knights Templer, the Shrine, the Elks, and the Utica Curling Club. Thomas died on June 27, 1933 in Utica at age 65. In 1990, the fraternity recognized Thomas’s early influence in Delta Chi by posthumously naming him to the order of the White Carnation, the highest honor of the Delta Chi Fraternity.
  • Albert T. Wilkinson Born: June 12, 1870 Died : March 21, 1948 thomasWilkinson was initiation in the short form in November 26, 1890 and later introduced Kimball to the fraternity. It was not for another week later that Frederick Bagley was initiated on December 3, 1890 that the full initiation was used. Wilkinson went onto served as the first International Treasurer from April 15, 1891 through the first Delta Chi Convention held at the Michigan Chapter in 1894. Wilkinson is buried with his wife Arderlla May Brown in Forest Park Cemetery on highway 13 near Rome, NY. Enter the cemetery from the first (west) entrance on the left hand side of the road and follow the outer loop around to the North/Northeast corner. If the cemetery was a clock face then Wilkinson would be located on the 1 o’clock position on the outer edge (ring) of the cemetery.

SOURCES: Delta Chi Quarterly, vol. 15, no. 2 (December 1917), p. 25; vol. 32, no. 4 (May 1936), p. 5; vol. 39, no. 2 (January 1943), p. 53; New York Times, October 12, 1942, p. 34.

Biographies compiled by: Stephen Henson, Government Documents and Maps Librarian/Associate Professor, Prescott Memorial Library, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA 71272, Phone: 318 257-4989; Fax: 318 257-2447; E-mail:

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