In 1863, he married Helen M. Waite (b. 1843), and they had two daughters, Edith (b. 1865) and Martha (1868 - 1947).
He was a Republican member from Herkimer County of the New York State Assembly in 1878, 1879 and 1884, and was elected Speaker in 1884 after defeating Theodore Roosevelt in the Republican assemblymen's caucus.
He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1884.
He was a member of the New York State Senate from 1890 to 1891. He lost in his quest for renomination in the Republican State Convention at Utica, New York in October 1891 as the candidate of the Warner Miller faction, when his adversary John E. Smith, the candidate of the Thomas C. Platt faction, was nominated on the 937th ballot.