J.H. Beers & Co.

Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

. (page 10 of 183)
Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York → online text (page 10 of 183)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

that year he was appointed deputy county
clerk, and filled that incumbency five j'ears.
Ir 1886 he went on a business trip to England,
which occupied him for a year, and upon his
return he opened an office in New York City.
In 1 888 he returned to Poughkeepsie and
formed a partnership with Robert F. Wilkin-
son, with whom he is still associated. For
five years he was the attorney for the League
of American Wheelmen, and was first vice-
president of the organization during 1896.
He is president of the Amrita Club and Apo-
keepsing Boat Club; secretar}' and treasurer of
the Poughkeepsie Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals, and president of the Mitch-
ell Heater Co. Mr. Cossum has not held any
public office except that of deputy county
clerk. Cossum is an unusual family name,
there being but few persons in the world who
bear it, and all of them are descendants of the
grandfather of our subject.

JAMES C. Mccarty, one of the most able
law3-ers of Dutchess county, has for many
years successfully engaged in practice at
Rhinebeck. He traces his ancestry back to
Daniel McCarty, who was born February 22,
1754, in Charlestown, then a suburb of Bos-
ton, Mass. His father was a Scotchman, who
owned and sailed a schooner plying between
New London, Conn., and Boston, and during
the Revolutionary war he sailed with a full
cargo and crew from the latter place, and, as
they never returned or were heard from, it is
supposed they were captured by the British
privateers, being killed or taken prisoners, and
the vessel and cargo confiscated. At the age
of twenty-one Daniel joined the minute men
in defense of the country against British ag-
gression, and April ig, 1775, participated in
the battle of Lexington, after which he en-
listed for nine months in the company com-
manded .by Capt. Josiah Harris. On June
I/' 1775. he was in the battle of Bunker Hill,
and soon after with his old captain he joined
the Continental service, belonging to the regi-
ment commanded by Col. Bond. After six
months spent in New York the regiment was
ordered to Fort Edward, Canada, where they
joined Gen. Schuyler about December i, 1776.
Later a thousand troops, including his coin-
■ pany, were ordered to New Jersey to join the

army under Washington, where they arrived
prior to the battle of Trenton, and took charge
of the prisoners captured there.

Although his term of service had expired,
Daniel McCarty remained with his command
until January, 1777, when the army was en-
camped at Morristown, where he was dis-
charged, but could not return home, as he had
no money, so re-enlisted for three years, re-
ceiving $20 bounty, and liberty to go to his
home in Boston and report for duty when or-
dered. In the spring of 1777 his regiment was
reorganized under Col. Grayton, Col. Bond
havingdied, andhewas appointed sergeant, and
afterward served in that capacity. They were
again ordered to Fort Edward, Canada, where
they met Gen. Schuyler's army retreating be-
fore Burgoyne, but soon after readvanced
against that general, and engaged in all the
battles that ended in the surrender of Bur-
goyne at Saratoga. The troops made a forced
march from Albany to Kingston in one day, a
distance of sixty miles, hoping to prevent the
British from burning the latter place, but ar-
rived just in time to see them escaping in their
boats, after its destruction, October 16, 1777.

Soon after Mr. McCarty accompanied Gen.
Gates to Yorktown, \'a., as one of his body
guards and was employed as messenger to and
from Lancaster, Baltimore, and other places.
In May, 1778, he returned north with that
general, serving under him until the following
December, after which he remained with his
old company andregiment until honorably dis-
charged December I, 1779, at Peekskill, N. Y.
When his enlistment expired he served as a
substitute for Lieut. Young in Capt. Brown's
company. Col. Mead's regiment of Connecti-
cut State troops, employed chiefly in guarding
the lines from Horseneck to Norwalk. About
May I, 1781, Gen. Waterbury took command
of the Connecticut State troops, and gave Mr.
McCarty a regular commission as lieutenant,
in which capacit}' he served until the close of
the war in 1783. .

For a time Daniel McCarty made his home
in Stamford, Conn., where his son Stephen
was born February 14, 17S3, but about r790,
he came to Rhinebeck, Dutchess Co., N. Y.,
and became head miller at Schuyler's Mills
(now destroyed) two miles east of the village,
on the place now owned and occupied by Dr.
George N. Miller. In 1794, while living there,
his first wife died and was buried in the ceme-
tery connected with the little Methodist chapel



near their home. The children of this mar-
riage were: Stephen, Robert, Tolbert, Daniel
and Katy. He later married a Mrs. Jay, by
whom he had three children: William, an
Episcopal minister, who lived and died in
Canada; Eliza; and Rev. Dr. John McCarty,
also an Episcopal minister, who was chaplain
in the United States army, and was known as
the fighting priest during the Me.xican war.
The father later removed to the village of
Rhinebeck, where his youngest son was born
in the old stone house now standing on the
Huntington place. He and his wife spent
their last days on the old homestead of Stephen
McCarty, father of our subject.

On that place the birth of James C. Mc-
Carty occurred May 7, 1824, and at Rhinebeck
he was educated by Messrs. Bell and Marcy,
taking what constituted a full academic course,
with the exception of Greek. On leaving
school in 1843 he was made deputy clerk under
his brother, Andrew Z., who was then county
clerk for Oswego county, having been elected
in the fall of 1840 for three years, and served
as a member of the 34th Congress for Oswego
and Afadison counties, N. Y. For two years
our subject filled that position, and while
searching the records of that- county for Peter
Chandler, conceived the idea of studying law.
As his term of service expired on January i,
1844, he returned to I^hinebeck the following
February and entered the law office of Ambrose
Wager, with whom he remained for twelve
years. In January, 1847, he was admitted to
practice as attorney at law, being admitted at
the supreme court at Albany, and his diploma
signed by Green C. Bronson, and by the con-
stitution of 1846 was counsellor at law and
solicitor in chancery. While still with Mr.
Wager he engaged in general practice, but in
the fall of 1856 he was appointed superintend-
ent of document room under President Pierce's
administration, holding the position until the
following fall, during which time the 34th Con-
gress held both its first and second sessions.

Returning to Rhinebeck, Mr. McCarty
opened an office of his own, where he contin-
ued practice until 1861, when he was appointed
assistant assessor of internal revenue for the
district of Dutchess county, and during that
year and the two years following was with
Jacob W. Elsifer, at Red Hook. In 1864,
however, he again resumed practice at Rhine-
beck. although he still continued to be revenue
collector. Up to 1872 he had been alone in

business, but at that time formed a partner-
ship with George Esselstyn, which connection
still continues, theirs being the oldest law firm
in Dutchess county. He takes rank among
the successful and prominent lawyers of the
county, and is one of the most highly respected
legal practitioners in the community.

Mr. McCarty was married in August, 1847,
the lady of his choice being Miss Louisa I.
Cross, daughter of Moulton Cross, of Pulaski,
Oswego Co., N. Y., and two sons were born
to them; J. Canfield, who died of heart dis-
ease at the age of seventeen years; and Charles
E., an attorney and counsellor at law, who is '.
also engaged in the insurance business at

Mr. McCarty is an earnest defender of Re-
publican principles, and is a man whose opin-
ions are invariably held in respect. He has
ever taken an active part in political affairs, in
the years 1852, i860 and 1861 served as
supervisor of his town, and for several years
has been clerk of the village, which office he is
still holding to the satisfaction of all concerned.
He has been quite prominently identified with
civic societies, being the oldest living member
of Rhinebeck Lodge No. 162, I. O. O. F. ;
belongs to the Knights of Pythias fraternity;
and in i860 joined the Masonic order, of which
he is now an honorary member. In earlier
years he took an active part in fraternal work,
and passed through all the chairs of the lodges
to which he belongs. For twenty years he
has served as vestryman of the Episcopal
Church, of which he is a faithful and consistent

HON. JOHN P. H. TALLMAN, the subject
of this biographical sketch, was born in
the town of Washington, Duchess county,
March 19, 1820. His ancestry for several
generations had been residents of that county.
Darius Tallman, his great-grandfather, emi-
grated from Nantucket, married Miss South-
worth, and settled on Chestnut Ridge, near
the place where in later years Mr. Benson J.
Lossing, the historian, lived. His father's ma-
ternal grandfather was Capt. Harris, of the
British army during the Revolutionary war,
whose wife was a Miss Velie, of Lagrange.
Deacon Benham, of New Haven, a Revolu-
tionary soldier, was his maternal grandfather;
he lived in the town of Washington, and mar-
ried Miss Comstock.



Mr. Tallman's father, Darius Tallman, Jr.,
married Almira Benham in 1817. Botii lived
to be over eighty years of age.

John P. H. TaHman, the eldest son of
these parents, worked upon his father's farm
until he was fifteen years of age, when, being
desirous of securing an education which would
enable him to fill a position of usefulness in
life, he entered the Amenia Seminary as a
student, and remained at that institution for
the three years required to complete the course
of study. During that period he supported
himself chiefly upon money borrowed for the
purpose, and these loans were repaid out of his
first earnings after entering upon the practice
of his profession.

On leaving the Seminary he began reading
Law in the office of Hon. James Hooker, then
Surrogate of the County, and Hon. Virgil D.
Bonesteel, in Poughkeepsie. While still a
student his industry was rewarded by his pro-
motion to the position of first clerk to the Sur-
rogate; and upon the appointment of Hon.
Robert Wilkinson to the surrogateship in 1840,
Mr. Tallman became his managing clerk. In
1843, at the General Term in Utica, he was
admitted to practice in the State Courts, and
also in the District and Circuit Courts of the
United States. The ne.xt 3'ear he was ap-
pointed Master in Chancery for Duchess Coun-
ty by the Governor, on the recommendation
of a County Convention of Delegates, Mr.
Owen T. Coffin and Hon. Gilbert Dean being
his competitors.

In 1847 Mr. Tallman received the unan-
imous nomination of the Democratic party for
the office of Surrogate for Duchess County.
His opponent was the Hon. John Thompson,
the nominee of the Whig part)'. In this con-
test he was successful; but before the election,
and especially during the first term of his serv-
ice, he was so violently and persistently assailed
by the local organ of the Whigs that he deemed
it necessary that he should lay before his fel-
low-citizens a defence of his conduct. This
presentation of his case attracted much atten-
tion by its clear and convincing argument.
Among those who read this paper, and were
impressed b}' the evidence of intellectual vigor
it displayed, was the Rev. Dr. Stephen Olin,
then President of Wesleyan University. Short-
ly afterward that institution conferred upon
Mr. Tallman the honorary degree of Master of

Mr. Tallman's friends insisted upon his be-

coming a candidate for re-election to the posi-
tion of Surrogate. To this he consented, and
he was re-elected by an increased majority.
At the expiration of his second term, he de-
clined to be agam a candidate.

An interesting reminiscence of this period is
a document to which Mr. Tallman attached
high value. His political and personal adver-
saries carried their opposition so far as to pre-
sent to the Governor of the State, Hon. Ham-
ilton Fish, a petition for his impeachment.
The petitioners, who belonged to the same
political party as the Governor, naturally hoped
that their request would prevail with him.
The Governor, after carefully considering the
arguments and evidence on both sides, wrote
on the back of the paper: "I see nothing in
the course 'of the officer complained of but
what is commendable. H. F"ish."

After the conclusion of his second term as
Surrogate he never again held a political office.
He was, however, for many years interested in
local and State politics, and for a long time
was chairman of the County Central Com-
mittee. His tact in management and his rare
gift of personal influence over men fitted him
for success in political lite, had he chosen to
pursue that course. But although tempting
offers of preferment were held out to him, he
concluded to devote himself to the practice of
his profession.

His first partnership was with Hon. Gilbert
Dean, afterward judge. Subsequentlj' he was
connected with Mr. Charles Powers, Mr.
George W. Payne, Mr. George W. Lord and
in later years with Mr. Walter Farrington,
Capt. Pelatiah Ward, who fell in one of the
battles of the Civil war; Hon. William I.
Thorn, Hon. Homer A. Nelson, and Hon. A.
M. Card were students in his office.

As a lawyer, Mr. Tallman's chief strength
was in his comprehensive grasp of any matter
which he took in hand, and in the cool and
clear estimate which he formed of its bearings
both near and remote. His familiarity with
legal points was clear and accurate, so that he
was eminently wise in counsel. His great in-
dustry and unfailing interest in his client's case,
left nothing to the uncertainties of chance.
His cases were carefully prepared, and the evi-
dence was presented with convincing effect.
Much of his practice was in the Surrogate's
Court, for which the training and experience
of iiis earlier professional life specially fitted
him. He was retained in connection with sev-



eral important and well-known cases, involving
large interests.

In addition to his j^eneral law business, he
had a special practice in the United States
District and Circuit Courts. He was a mem-
ber of the New York State Bar Association,
and for some years was on the Executive Com-

During the earlier years of his practice and
prior to the period when that class of invest-
ments was taken up by insurance and other
financial institutions, large transactions in real
estate, bonds and mortgages were arranged for
m his office. A wide acquaintance with in-
vestors was thus formed, which resulted in his
being called to fill various positions of reponsi-
bility and trust.

In 1856 Mr. Tallman was offered the posi-
tion of Treasurer of the Iowa Central Railroad
Company. This road was projected from a
point on the Mississippi river, where the City
of Clinton now stands, to Cedar Rapids.
Under another name it now forms part of the
great line to California. He declined the
office, but yielded to the request of the officers
to accompany the rcconnoitcring party over
the territory. He drew the report of the
conmiission as to the feasibility of the project
and the route which the road should take.

In 1855 he established a banking house in
Davenport, Iowa, under the name of Tallman,
Powers & McLean. The resident partner was
Mr. Powers, who had been his clerk when he
was Surrogate. The direction of the business
of the firm was necessarily left chiefly in the
hands of Mr. Powers. Though at first this
business enterprise met with much encourage-
ment, it was ultimately unsuccessful and in-
volved Mr. Tallman in pecuniary losses which
seriously embarrassed him for several years.

In 1859 Mr. Tallman was active in the
effort to establish the City Bank of Pough-
keepsie, and was chosen its first President.
He did not accept the office, but favored in
his stead the Hon. Joseph F. Barnard, who
retained that position for upward of twenty
years. Mr. Tallman, however, was appointed
attorney to the Bank, and continued to act in
that capacity for nearly thirty years.

Early in his career he favored the building
of the Hudson River railroad. He gave his
earnest assistance to the establishment of the
Poughkeepsie and Eastern railroad, and of the
Poughkeepsie City railroad, of which he,\vas
one of the mcorporators. In 1853 he aided in

establishing the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery;
he was appointed a Trustee and continued to
hold that position until his death. He was
instrumental in having the Hudson River Hos-
pital for the Insane located at Poughkeepsie,
and was a member of the first Board of Trus-
tees. In 1852 he helped to organise the Home
for the Friendless; he prepared its Act of In-
corporation and was one of the first Board of
Counsellors. At the time of his death he was
one of the Trustees of the Vassar Brothers'
Home for Aged Men.

He was interested in every plan to beautify
the Cit\' of Poughkeepsie, and to make it pleas-
ant and inviting to all who should seek a place
for elegant and refined homes.

From his youth Mr. Tallman was one in-
terested in the cause of temperance, having
when nine years of age signed what was then
known as the partial pledge. At the age of
twenty he became an officer in the Young
Men's Temperance Society, and soon after
signed the total abstinence pledge. Later he
was an officer in the Duchess County Tem-
perance Society, and occasionally delivered
addresses before that and similar organiza-
tions. He was one of the founders of the
State Inebriate Asylum at Binghampton, of
which for several years he was a Trustee.

Mr. Tallman united with the Methodist
Church at the age of seventeen, while a student
at Amenia Seminary, then under the super-
vision of Dr. Merrick, later of the Ohio Uni-
versity, afterward Bishop, and Dr. Davis W.
Clark. In 1840 he helped to found the Sec-
ond Methodist Episcopal Church in Pough-
keepsie, located in Cannon street. In 1842
he became a Trustee of that Society, and con-
tinued to hold that position and to maintain
other official relations until his death. He
was the representative of this Society to the
first Electoral Conference of Laymen of the
New York Conference in 1872, and was its
presiding officer. For several years he was an
officer of the Duchess County Bible Society.
He was a member of the first and only State
Council of Methodists of the State of New
York, which met at Syracuse, February, 1870,
and was composed of about 600 representatives
from most of the churches of the denomina-
tion in the State. This Council voted to
raise about $200,000 for the Syracuse Univer-
sity and favored various reforms for Church
and State. One of these was the establish-
ment of the State Council of Political Reform,



which was a potent factor in the overthrow of
the Tweed Ring. He was a member of the
State Executive Committee, and, although a
lifelong Democrat, he disregarded any action
inconsistent with the platform of the Council,
which declared : ' ' We leave the party relations
of ever}' man undisturbed, but when parties
command the support of bad principles, bad
measures, or bad men, we must refuse to obey."

In 1884 he was chosen a Lay Delegate
from the New York Conference to the General
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
which met in the City of Philadelphia. In
the assemblage of representative men of Ameri-
can Methodism he filled a place of marked
importance. Although his voice was seldom
heard on the floor in the debates, his wise and
judicious counsels had weight in the delibera-
tions of the Committees.

For many years it had been his hope that
the Society with which he worshiped in the
Cannon Street church should have a new and
more eligibly located edifice, and to this sub-
ject he gave much thought. In the year 1892
circumstances seemed to favor the consumma-
tion of the plan. With characteristic earnest-
ness Mr. Tallmangave himself to this welcome
work. He encouraged the timid, admonished
the faltering, guided the sanguine, and used his
rare personal influence to create and mould a
united sentiment which should make the move-
ment for a new church a success. Largely
through his efforts the site was selected, the
ground purchased and prepared for building,
the plans drawn, the mechanics set to work,
the old property disposed of, the subscriptions
obtained, the enterprise brought to a happy
conclusion, and the Society put into the pos-
session of its present beautiful and commodious
place of worship. His whole heart was in the
work, and his cheerful spirit and stimulating
faith made him a leader whom it was a delight
to follow.

In his home relations Mr. Tallman was
seen at his best. If the work of the day had
been severe and its results disappointing, no
trace of this appeared upon his face or in his
demeanor when he crossed the threshold of
his home. His personal friendships were
many, and he delighted to entertain his friends
in his own house. Over those with whom he
was brought in contact his influence was mor-
ally bracmg. He never disguised or com-
promised his principle. Although far from ob-
trusive of his religious experiences, he never

allowed himself to occupy a questionable atti-
tude in that important relation.

Perhaps the most pronounced characteris-
tic of Mr. Tallman was his hopefulness. No
situation was so full of danger or doubt that
he could not see a happy outcome. \\'hen
others faltered, he smiled and pursued hii; way.
And this did not result from insensibility or
indifference, but was the endowment of his na-
ture and the charm of his character. It was
this that made him a cheerful companion and
an enthusiastic guide.

Mr. Tallman married Miss Mary New-
man, of South Egremont, Mass., in 1840; she
died in 1850. In 1851 he married Miss Sarah
J. Anderson, of New York, a lady of rare in-
tellectual endowments.

It was permitted Mr. Tallman to enjoy a
cheerful and healthful old age. He was able
to attend the business of his office until within
a few days of his death. His last professional
service was in the Surrogate's Court on March
16, 1895. A few days afterward he was taken
ill and his disease rapidly assumed a threaten-
ing character. After a week of great suffering
he passed away, at the age of seventy-five
years and four days. His funeral was attend-
ed by a large circle of friends in the Trinity
Methodist Episcopal Church. The Revs. Doc-
tors Osbon, Gregory and Stobridge, who had
been his pastors, conducted the service, which
was marked by the evidence of sympathetic
feeling. Dr. Gregory, in the course of his re-
marks, said: "He was a manly man, with
strength of principle and great force of char-
acter, possessed of refined sentiment and re-
ligious feeling, with clear convictions of truth
and duty, which were freely expressed, but
never ostentatiously obtruded. He was tol-
erant of the opinions of others who differed
from him. He was not a pessimist, but had
great faith in God, his fellow-men and in the

Mr. Tallman left four children: Mary E.,
wife of Theodore W. Davis, of New York;
Augusta C, wife of John F. Phayre, of New
York; John Francis, the General Agent in
Brooklyn of the New York Life Insurance
Company; and Katharine Eliot, wife of Rev.
Dr. Maltbie D. Babcock, of Baltimore.

In the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church
in Poughkeepsie, in the erection of which he
had labored with such joyous earnestness, the
loving hands of his son have placed a tablet to
his memory, bearing as its inscription the fol-



lowing words from the Book which he had
made the guide of his Hfe:

" He that overconifth I will make
"him a pillar in the temple of God."

LEWIS TOMPIvINS (deceased). Few citi-
zens of Dutchess county have done more

to advance her interests than did the late
Lewis Tompkins, of Fishkill-on-the-Hudson,
who was for many years the acknowledged
head of the wool-hat industry in the United
States, and whose extensive factories have fur-
nished a well-earned livelihood to hundreds of
workmen whose homes have sprung up in the
neighboring towns. He was himself familiar
with the trials of honest poverty,- though hap-

Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York → online text (page 10 of 183)