Charles E. (Charles Elliott) Fitch.

Encyclopedia of biography of New York, a life record of men and women whose sterling character and energy and industry have made them preëminent in their own and many other states (Volume 5) online

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York, and the following year is mentioned
as a resident of Rockland (now a part of
Orange county), where on September 26
he signed the oath of allegiance with
other inhabitants of the recently estab-
lished settlements of Haverstraw and
Orangetown. Three of his children mar-
ried and settled in Rockland county, but
he had crossed the river before the cen-
sus of Orange in 1702, and located at
Peekskill, Westchester county (where
others of his children had made their
homes), and settled on a tract of land
originally purchased from the Indians in
1685, under a license from Governor Don-
gan. In this connection it is interesting
to note that part of this land was held in
fee in the family until the last of his
share, after having been in the family
two hundred and eleven years, was in 1896
given by Chauncey Mitchell Depew to
the village of Peekskill for a public park.
Mary, youngest child of Francois Du-
puis, was baptized in New York, where
her mother is mentioned as Annie Elsten,
who must have been his second wife. On
April I, 1702, he and his daughter Maria
are named as sponsors or godparents at
the baptism of his granddaughter,
Grietje Quorry, in the Sleepy Hollow
church, and a few years later both he and
this daughter are recorded as members
of the church, having residence on the
patent of Captain De Kay and Ryck Abra-
hamsen Lent, a grandson of the latter
having previously married Maria. It is
supposed he paid close attention to the

cultivation of his land and his private
affairs, as his name appears so seldom in
public records, but through careful re-
search among the records of the Reformed
churches at New York, Tappan, Tarry-
town, and Cortlandt, enough scraps of in-
formation have been found to piece to-
gether the record of his descendants which
is given below. On August 26, 1661, the
banns of his first marriage were published
in the records of the Reformed Dutch
Church of New Amsterdam, as follows :
"Francois Dupuis, young man of Calais,
France, and Geertje Willems, of Amster-
dam." They were married just one
month later, in Breuckelen, their marriage
being the fifth of record in the Dutch
church there, as follows : "26 September,
1661, Francois Dupuis and Geertje Wil-
lems, with certificate from Manhattans."^
It is believed by eminent authority that
Geertje Willems was a daughter of Wil-
lem Jacobse Van Boerum, of Flatbush,
who came with his family in 1649 from
Amsterdam, Holland, given in the register
of the banns as the birthplace of Geertje.
Children of Francois Dupuis: William,
of whom further; Jannetje (Jane), mar-
ried Kellem Quorry, or McKorry ; Grietje
(Margaret), baptized in New York, Oc-
tober I, 1671, married Ward, of

Haverstraw; Jean (John), baptized in
New York, May 20, 1674, married Jan-
netje Wiltse, widow of Myndert Hend-
reickse (Hogencamp); a child (not
named), whose baptismal entry was made
at New York, February 14, 1677, and
who may have been Maria, who was
sponsor with her father in 1702, about
which time she married Abraham Hend-
rickse Lent, of Tarrytown ; Sara, bap-
tized at Flatbush, February 23, 1679,
married Herman Hendrickse Blauvelt;
Geertje (Gertrude), baptized at Flatbush,
September 18, 1681, of whom further rec-
ord is not to be found ; Nicholaes, bap-
tized in New York, October 17, 1686,



whose wife's name was Barbara ; Mary,
baptized in New York City, March 3,
1689, the record of the parents being
"P'rancois Puy and Annie Elsten," no fur-
ther record being given of either mother
-i(or child.

(II) William Depew, probably eldest
child of Francois and Geertje (Willems)
Dupuis, was born at Bushwick, and was
among the pioneers of the locality made
famous as the birthplace of Senator
Chauncey M. Depew. It would seem that
he had made camp on the point of land
called by the Indians Meanagh, or Mer-
nach, and afterwards named Verplanck's
Point, when the settlement had hardly
begun, he then being unmarried. He was
at Mernach as early as 1688, and probably
strayed over from Haverstraw, where his
father had located a year or two previous,
and where his brother John continued to
live for several years afterwards. He
there made a home for his future bride, a
maiden born on the Island of Barbadoes,
and doubtless of English parentage,
shown on the records as Lysbeth Weyt,
which in English would be Elizabeth
White. She was living a little further
down on the river at a place bearing the
Indian name of Knightwanck, near the
mouth of the Croton river, which stream
also l)ore the name of the locality. Rec-
ord of the banns was posted on the regis-
ter of the Dutch church of New York,
the nearest one to their home, which
church issued a certificate permitting Wil-
liam to marry at the home of the bride.
The record is as follows: "loth August,
1688, William Dupuy, j. m. Van Boswyck,
en Lysbeth Weyt, j. m. van de Barba-
does, d'Eerste wonende op Mernach en
twede tot Kichtenwang." This marriage
was probably executed in primiitive style
at Kichtewang during the following
month, perhaps the first marriage in the
Manor of Cortlandt, and spoken of as the
forerunner of an event that made Peeks-

kill renowned as the home of a great and
popular orator in a later generation of the
family. William Depew had children as
follows : Sara, married Willem Dill, Theil
or Teil ; Abigail, married Pieter Consje;
Thomas, married Cornelia Lendel ; Anna,
baptized at Tarrytown, August 2, 1698;
Francois, of whom further; Pieter. The
father's name was usually spelled Dupuy.

(III) Francois (2), son of William and
Lysbeth (Weyt) Depew, was born near
Tarrytown, New York, in August, 1700,
and was baptized August 20, 1700. Not
very much is known of him beyond the
fact that he was engaged in the regular
pioneer and agricultural work of the
neighborhood around Cortlandt Manor.
He married, at Tarrytown, New York,
June 3, 1727, Maritje Van Thessel. This
marriage is recorded in the Tarrytown
church in the style of the period : "Frans
De Pew j. m., en Maritje Van Thessel."
The record also states that they were both
born on Cortlandt Manor, he being a resi-
dent there, and she a resident of Tarry-
town. Children : Hendrikus, of whom
further ; Anneke, baptized at Tarrytown,
August 21, 1730; William, born 1732, the
muster roll of Westchester county militia
saying of him in 1758, "born in Cortlandt,
aged 26," there being no further record
concerning him ; Elizabeth, baptized at
Tarrytown, April 2^, 1734, married Octo-
ber 29, 1758, John Lent; Abraham, bap-
tized at Tarrytown, April 13, 1736, died
young ; Sarah, baptized at Tarrytown,
April 19, 1738; Abraham, April 30, 1743.

(IV) Hendrikus or Henry Depew, son
of Francois (2) and Maritje (Van Thes-
sel) Depew, was baptized at Tarrytown,
New York, April 27, 1728. Very little is
known concerning the events of the life of
Hendrikus. The only child that the rec-
ords credit to him, is Abraham, men-
tioned below. The mother's name is not
mentioned. The sponsors at Abraham's
baptism, which took place in the Dutch



church at Tarrytown, were "Frans Pue
and wife," without doubt the parents of
Hendrikus. It is fortunate for this line-
age, perhaps, that Abraham received so
marked a distinction as to have his bap-
tism recorded. The other children of
Hendrikus, and it seems that they had
others, were not so favored. Colonel
Teetor says of Abraham that he was in
the Revolutionary War, and that he
was the great-grandfather of Chauncey
Mitchell Depew. Our own researches
have tended to confirm this theory.

(V) Abraham Depew, son of Hend-
rikus or Henry Depew, was born at Cort-
landt Manor, New York, and was bap-
tized in the Dutch church at Tarrytown,
New York, April 5, 1752. His youth was
undoubtedly spent on the family home-
stead, and he in all probability received
the general education of the period.
There are a good many records in Tarry-
town and Cortlandt concerning various
Abrahams Depew, but it is usually diffi-
cult to ascertain to which particular Abra-
ham any two records refer. One author-
ity says: "The church baptismal records
of Tarrytown and Cortlandt furnish very
good grounds for confusion among the
various Abrahams Depew. While there
is an apparent lack of records in some
directions, there seems to be a perplexing
superfluity of fathers Abraham, whose
sons and daughters, to straighten and
place where they belong, would take a
man with more wisdom than Solomon."
Concerning Abraham Depew, the son of
Hendrikus Depew, another authority
gives us definite particulars. Abraham
Depew enlisted January 2, 1777, for the
Revolutionary War, in Captain Jacob
Wright's company, in the regiment com-
manded by Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt.
He was promoted corporal, June i, 1777,
and was discharged January 3, 1780, on
account of the expiration of term of serv-
ice. He married Catherine, daughter of

Captain James Kronkite, who was com-
missioned captain, October 19, 1775, and
served in the Third Regiment, Manor of
Cortlandt, commanded by Colonel Pierre
\^an Cortlandt. Children : Esther, bap-
tized September 18, 1797; James Kron-
kite, born August 25, 1791, baptized in
1793; Anne, born September 12, 1794;
Elizabeth, February 6, 1796; Henry, May
18, 1798; Isaac, of whom further.

(\T) Isaac Depew, son of Abraham
and Catherine (Kronkite) Depew, was
born at Peekskill, New York, about 181 1.
He spent most of his life caring for the
estate which his paternal ancestor pur-
chased from the Indians more than a hun-
dred years before. He was a respected
citizen of Peekskill, and took a consider-
able interest in the affairs of the town.
He married Martha, daughter of Chaun-
cey Root Mitchell, a distinguished lawyer.
Her mother was a daughter of Judge Rob-
ert Johnstone, for many years Senator
and judge, who owned Lake Mahopac and
a large estate about it. Mrs. Depew was
a granddaughter of Rev. Josiah Sherman,
brother of Roger Sherman, a signer of the
Declaration of Independence. Rev. Josiah
Sherman was a captain in the Seventh
Connecticut Regiment, Continental Line,
and three of his brothers were also in the
patriot army ; they were descended from
Captain John Sherman, an English army
officer, who was born in Dedham, County
Essex, in 1615. Another of Mrs. Depew's
ancestors was Rev. Charles Chauncey,
first president of Harvard College.

(VII) Hon. Chauncey Mitchell Depew,
son of Isaac and Martha (Mitchell) De-
pew, was born in Peekskill, Westchester
county. New York, April 23, 1834. He
was fitted for college at Peekskill Acad-
emy, and in 1852 entered Yale College in
what was in after years known as the
"Famous Class of '56." Of the nine mem-
bers of the Supreme Court of the United
States, the highest tribunal in the nation



and the aspiration of every lawyer, were
two members of this class, Henry Billings
Brown and David Josiah Brewer. Mr.
Depew was graduated from Yale in 1856;
he received his Master of Arts degree in
due course and in 1887 was given the
honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. The
following year he was elected a member
of the Yale Corporation, which position
he held for twelve years.

Immediately after leaving college he
threw himself heart and soul into the
canvass in support of Fremont and Day-
ton, the first presidential and vice-presi-
dential candidates of the newly formed
Republican party, and made speeches
throughout the country in support of the
proposition that it was the right and duty
of Congress to prohibit slavery and polyg-
amy in the territories. In 1858 he was
elected a delegate to the Republican State
convention, and has since been a delegate
in that body to every succeeding conven-
tion, except two, up to and including
1912. He was one of the four delegates-
at-large from the State of New York to
the Republican national conventions of
1888-92-96-1900-04, and a delegate to six
other national conventions. In 1861 he
was elected to the Legislature from the
Third Westchester District, was re-
elected in 1862, and became chairman of
the committee on ways and means and
leader of the house ; for most of the time
he also acted as speaker pro tern. In 1863
he headed the Republican State ticket as
candidate for Secretary of State, and was
elected. In 1866 President Johnson ap-
pointed Mr. Depew United States Minis-
ter to Japan. His confirmation by the
Senate immediately followed, but after
holding the place in advisement for a con-
siderable time, he declined the position
for family reasons. In 1872 he was candi-
date for Lieutenant-Governor on the Lib-
eral Republican ticket, but failed of elec-
tion. In 1874 he was elected by the Legis-

lature regent of the University of the State
of New York, and held the position for
thirty-four years. He was elected by the
Alumni of Yale University a member of
the corporation and held the office for
twelve years. He was also one of the
commissioners to build the capitol at Al-
bany. In 1881 Mr. Depew was a candi-
date for Senator, following the resigna-
tions of Senators Roscoe Conkling and
Thomas C. Piatt. After the fifty-sixth
ballot, in which he received the largest
number of votes of his party, he withdrew
to secure the election of two senators. In
1882 he was ofTered the Senatorship, but
declined for business reasons. In 1888 he
received the unanimous support of the
State of New York for the presidential
nomination, and received ninety-nine
votes in the Republican National Con-
vention. General Benjamin Harrison was
nominated, and after his election he
offered Mr. Depew every position in his
cabinet, excepting that of Secretary of
State, which he had promised to Mr.
Blaine, or if he preferred, any mission
abroad which he might select, and all of
which he declined. In 1894, on the resig-
nation of Mr. Blaine as Secretary of
State, President Harrison tendered that
position to Mr. Depew and this was also
declined. In 1899 Mr. Depew was elected
United States Senator for six years, and
was reelected in 1905. He has as a candi-
date for United States Senator received
the ballots of the members of his party
in the State Legislature more than any
other citizen of the United States, namely
sixty ballots, one each day for sixty days
in 1881, and sixty-four during forty-five
days in 191 1.

Mr. Depew has a world-wide reputa-
tion as a public speaker and has been the
orator on many occasions of national im-
portance. He was the orator selected
to deliver the oration at the Centennial
Anniversary of the inauguration of the



first President of the United States ; of the
organization of the Legislature of the
State of New York ; of the capture of
Major Andre ; at the dedication of the
Bartholdi Statue of Liberty in New York
harbor; at the opening of the World's
Fair in Chicago in honor of the four hun-
dredth anniversary of the discovery of
America by Columbus ; and the opening
of the great fairs at Omaha, Nebraska,
and Charleston, South Carolina. He
made the nominating speeches for Harri-
son in the national convention in 1892,
and for Roosevelt in 1904. His last nota-
ble political speech was in advocacy of
the reelection of President Taft, in 1912.
His numerous addresses have been col-
lected and published in a work of eight
volumes. Justin McCarthy, in his "Remi-
niscences," in regard to after-dinner
speakers, and giving the first rank to
Charles Dickens, says: "I do not quite
know whom I should put second to him ;
sometimes I feel inclined to give James
Russell Lowell that place, and sometimes
my mind impels me to give it to Mr.
Lowell's countryman, Mr. Chauncey De-

While Mr. Depew's highest reputation
throughout the country is as a stateman
and orator, his life has been crowded with
professional and business activities. He
was admitted to the bar in 1858. In 1866
he became attorney for the New York &
Harlem Railroad Company, and in 1869,
when that road was consolidated with the
New York Central & Hudson River rail-
road, with Commodore Vanderbilt at its
head, Mr. Depew was chosen attorney for
the new corporation and elected a mem-
ber of the board of directors. As the
Vanderbilt railroad system expanded, Mr.
Depew's interests and duties increased in
a corresponding degree, and in 1875 he
was appointed general counsel of the en-
tire system, and elected a director of the
roads of which it was composed. On the
N Y-Vol iv-3 33

resignation of Mr. Vanderbilt from the
presidency, Mr. Depew was made second
vice-president, and in 1885 he was ad-
vanced to the presidency of the New
York Central & Hudson River railroad.
He held this office for thirteen years,
during which period he was president also
of six other railroad companies in the
allied system, and was director in twenty-
eight additional lines. On his resigna-
tion from the presidency in 1898 he was
elected chairman of the board of directors
of the New York Central & Hudson
River railroad, the Lake Shore & Michi-
gan Southern railroad, and the New York,
Chicago & St. Louis railroad, which posi-
tion he now holds.

Mr. Depew was president of the St.
Nicholas Society for two years, and of
the Empire State Society of the Sons of
the American Revolution for a number of
years ; and of the Yale Alumni Associa-
tion of New York for ten years ; for seven
years president of the Union League, a
longer term than ever held by any other,
and on declining further election he was
made an honorary life member ; is a mem-
ber of the New York Chamber of Com-
merce ; the Society of the Cincinnati; a
Master Mason of Kane Lodge of Peek-
skill, and holds the thirty-third degree in
the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite,
in the Valley of New York ; the Hugue-
not Society ; the Metropolitan Club ; the
Century Club, the Holland Society ; the
New England Society ; the Colonial Wars
Society ; the American Bar Association ;
the New York Bar Association ; the West-
chester County Bar Association ; the Re-
publican Club ; the Lotos Club ; the Play-
ers' Club ; the Transportation Club ; the
Lafayette Post; the University Club; the
Phi Beta Kappa Club and the Psi Upsilon
Club. In Washington, D. C, he is a mem-
ber of the Metropolitan Club ; the Chevy-
Chase Club ; the Alibi Club ; the Country
Club and the University Club ; is also a


director in many financial, fiduciary and
other corporations. Now in his eighty-
second year, he is as vigorous and active
in business affairs, as a political and
after-dinner speaker, and in the manifold
duties of social life, as in any period of
his career.

He married, in 1871, Elise, daughter of
William Hegeman, of New York. She
died in 1892. Of this marriage was born
a son, Chauncey M. Depew, Jr. Mr. De-
pew married (second) in 1901, May Pal-

ZIMMERMAN, Jeremiah, D. D., LL. D.,
L. H. D.

Clergyman, Author, TraTeler.

Rev. Jeremiah Zimmerman was born
April 26, 1848, near Snydersburg, Mary-
land, a son of Henry and Leah Zimmer-
man. The father was a well-to-do farmer,
endowed with more than ordinary mental
ability. His family included six sons
and four daughters. One of the sons, Dr.
Edwin Zimmerman, is a prominent phy-
sician in New York City; another. Rev.
L. M. Zimmerman, D. D., is one of the
leading clergymen of Baltimore, Mary-

After passing from the public schools,
Jeremiah Zimmerman attended the Man-
chester Academy, and subsequently spent
two years in Irving College, a military
school, in the same town. The following
two years were spent at the Missionary
Institute in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.
In 1870 he entered the sophomore class in
Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg, and
graduated with honor in June, 1873. In
the following September he entered the
Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettys-
burg, where he completed the special
course of three years, and later received
the degree of A. M. Throughout his life
Dr. Zimmerman has been a student and
lover of books, and has the distinction of

having possessed the best library of any
student that ever entered that institution.
His present library includes some thou-
sands of volumes of scholarly works, a
great number of them on scientific re-
search. Several months before complet-
ing his course in theological studies he
was invited by three different congrega-
tions to become their pastor, and after
due consideration he decided to accept the
call of the Lutheran church in Valatie,
Columbia county. New York. After
graduation, in June, 1876, he proceeded
to his new field of labor, stopping for a
week at Philadelphia to visit the Centen-
nial Exposition, and reached Valatie early
in July. There he at once entered upon
his work, and at the annual convention
of the New York and New Jersey Synod
(now the New York Synod), held in his
church in September, he was solemnly
ordained to the Gospel ministry, and at
the same time he was formally installed
as pastor of the church. His labors in
this field were cut short in January, 1878,
by the sudden death of his wife, M. Adele
(Springstein) Zimmerman, whom he had
married but one year before. He at once
resigned his pastorate, and spent some
time in travel, visiting Egypt, Palestine,
Greece, and various countries of Europe,
and returned to America in the fall of the
same year.

After a visit of some months at his old
home in Maryland, devoting his time to
study and preaching, in June, 1879, by
invitation, he went to Syracuse, New
York, where he organized the First Eng-
lish Lutheran Church of that city. For
twenty-five years he continued as its
pastor. The first religious services of this
body were held in the courthouse, where
meetings were conducted every Sunday
and on Wednesday evenings, until the
end of October, 1890, at which time they
took possession of the former Independ-
ent Church on South Salina street. Here




all greatly relished with one possible
exception, so far as certain dishes were
concerned. However, he did enjoy the
feast of soul that followed, and made
a speech, characterized by its American
patriotism, which won the natives. One
of his most interesting experiences in
Honolulu, where he sought from every
available source to gain information re-
specting Captian Cook and his crew, was
his interview with the oldest American
resident of the city at that time, Mrs.
Taylor. She was the first born of Amer-
ican parents on the Island, a daughter of
one of the first missionaries, the Rev. Asa
Thurston, and shewas personallyacquaint-
ed with some of those present at the tragic
death of Captain Cook. Dr. Zimmerman
preached and lectured on many occasions
in the various cities of Japan, speaking in
the churches and national schools and
colleges in Yokohama, Tokio. Shizuoka,
Kumamoto, Saga, Nagasaki, and other
places. He visited many of the American
missions, and learned much of the social
and religious conditions of the people. In
Tokio he met Count Okumo, the Prime
Minister, who invited Dr. and Mrs. Zim-
merman to his home, where a long inter-
view was enjoyed. The introduction
came through the fact that Count Okumo
had founded a large university, in which
the Standard Dictionary was the leading
authority for English, and when he
learned that Dr. Zimmerinan was one of
its contributors, he sought a personal
interview. In Korea, Dr. Zimmerman
found a unique people, most receptive
of Christianity, who deserved a better
political fate than the complete obliter-
ation of their national life by the con-
queror from Japan. He was profoundly
impressed by what he saw in China, with
its four hundred millions. In Shang-
hai he delivered an inspirational address
to one hundred missionaries, who were
about to go to their respective fields of

labor in the interior of that great empire.
At this meeting Drs. Hunter and Rich-
ards spoke in enthusiastic commendation
of Dr. Zimmerman's far reaching influ-
ence through his messages from Amer-
ica. They urged him to speak in the
largest church of the city on the following
evening. Wherever opportunity offered,
he continued preaching and lecturing on
more than one hundred occasions in his
tour around the world, and visited the
leading missions of every Christian de-
nomination in the Far East. Dr. Zim-
merman travelled independent of tourist
parties, and took time for special observa-
tion and study, visiting many places off
the beaten track of tourists. He saw the
Chinese as they are, and was often amazed