W. Yates Lansing
City of Troy

This biography is from Troy and Rensselaer County, New York, Volume III, by Rutherford Hayner, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York and Chicago, 1925. It was submitted by Debby Masterson.

W. YATES LANSING, former president of the Board of Trade of Rensselaer, New York, is a member of one of the pioneer families of the State, his ancestors having settled at Cohoes, New York, in the early days, when Albany county, in which Cohoes is situated, was as yet barely reclaimed from the wilderness. He was born at Glen, Montgomery County, New York, August 13, 1878, son of Abraham C. and Elizabeth (Yates) Lansing. His father was the owner and proprietor of a splendid farm at Glen, and Mr. Lansing has always considered himself fortunate in having been born and brought up amid the thriving and beneficial activities of a well-ordered household.

Mr. Lansing received his preliminary education in the public schools of his native town. During his high school days his unusual organizing and managing ability became manifest and he decided to proceed to a business college and to acquire a thorough commercial training rather than to engage in the study of liberal arts at an academic institution. His father approved of this plan and accordingly, after his graduation from Johnstown High School, he became a student at the Albany Business College, at Albany. Here he devoted himself to his studies with remarkable energy and perseverence, and by acquiring a sound knowledge of business fundamentals, laid the foundation of his future success.

When his training was completed, Mr. Lansing went to New York City in the hope of broadening his experience and of forming an advantageous business connection. He had no difficulty in finding an opening and became a bookkeeper in the business offices of the Reform Church of America, of which both he and his family were devoted members. He spent some time in the service of the church in New York and might have remained in that metropolis and continued his work for the church indefinitely, had he not been impelled to return to a part of the State nearer his birthplace and his early home. After careful consideration he came to the city of Rensselaer and invested his capital in a half interest in the C. G. Han Coal Company. The wisdom of this step was abundantly proved by the success which immediately attended his work, and by the end of the first two years he felt justified in acquiring full control of the business. Upon assuming control of the business, Mr. Lansing changed its name to W. Yates Lansing, and by this name it is known today. Mr. Lansing has a large volume of yearly sales in the coal department of the business, but the building materials branch is perhaps the most important. Under his management the business has grown greatly in size and its continued expansion has more than once necessitated the building and alteration of the offices and yards. At the present time his plant is generally recognized as a model in equipment; its transportation facilities are unrivalled, its buildings provide the best possible arrangement for such an enterprise, and its yards are sufficiently extensive to permit the proper storing of coal and the various building materials in which the firm specializes. Among members of the trade, builders, contractors, and coal consumers, he has an established reputation for the high quality of the commodities in which he deals, and for the prompt, careful, and courteous service upon which Mr. Lansing insists. Mr. Lansing, as one of the most prominent members of the business world of Rensselaer County, enjoys a position of authority and is generally regarded as one of the city's most substantial citizens.

Mr. Lansing is a member of the New York State Builders' Supply Association, and of the North-Eastern Lumbermen's Association. An active members of the Board of Trade of Rensselaer, he is at present holding office as vice-president of that organization. He is also a director of the New York State Builders' Supply Association, and secretary of the Albany Coal Association. He is a member of the Republican party in politics, and takes an active interest in State and national issues, making his influence felt on the side of progress in all legislative matters. Mr. Lansing finds a great deal of pleasure and recreation in motoring, and organized the first automobile club in Rensselaer and was president for several years. In addition to all his other interests, Mr. Lansing is a practical farmer. He has never ceased to enjoy farm life and agricultural work, and not long after he came to Rensselaer, he purchased a small farm comprising several acres of the finest agricultural land in the county. He spends as much of his time as possible on this farm, and is an exponent of the most scientific methods applied to agriculture. He takes a great interest in the work of the United States Government, carried on through the Department of Agriculture, and is a vigorous supporter of the government's plans for raising the standards of American farm products, improving the living conditions among farmers in isolated districts, and safeguarding our crops by the maintenance of rigid quarantine for suspected livestock and plants so that no insect or fungoid pest may be allowed to reach these shores from foreign ports. Needless to say, heis a member of the Grange, and is an active supporter of the work carried on among farmers by this organization. He belongs to Pomona Grange, of Rensselaer County, and to the Rensselaer Farm Bureau. In religious faith he is a member of the Reform church, being affiliated with the congregation of the First Reform Church, of Rensselaer. He was born and brought up amid an atmosphere of deep religious feeling and has, as a result of his work for the church in New York City, an authoritative and profound knowledge of the religious and humanitarian work it is carrying on throughout the country and in foreign lands. He was a deacon of the church, and served as superintendent of the Sunday school, in which he personally taught a class of students, whose devotion to him as a teacher speaks volumes for the strengths of his convictions and the power of his teaching, which, based as it is upon profound personal study and experience, cannot fail to encourage and to inspire those to whom it is addressed.

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