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Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

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pily his later years were blessed with every
comfort, and doubtless his well-known sympa-
thy with the needy had its origin in a remem-
brance of his own early struggles.

Mr. Tompkins was descended from an old
English family, and the first of the American
line was Stephen Tompkins, who it is believed
located first in Connecticut and from there
moved to Westchester county, N. Y., where
his later years were passed in cultivating the
soil. He was the father of sixteen children,
among whom were James, the great-grandfa-
ther of our subject, and Jonathan Griffin, both
of whom rendered gallant service in the Revo-
lutionary war on the patriot side. James
served in the Seventh Dutchess county regi-
ment under Col. Henry Luddington, and in
company commanded by Capt. George Lane.
This showed high courage, as Westchester
county had a large Tory population, and neigh-
bor was arrayed against neighbor, and friend
against friend. Much of it was neutral ground,
but spies were busy on both sides and perils
abounded. The story of Enoch Crosby, the
Harvey Birch of J. Fenimore Cooper's "Spy,"
is familiar to all, and there is no doubt that
many another such romantic history might
have been told. Jonathan Griffin Tompkins
was the father of Daniel D. Tompkins, vice-
president of the United States from 1816 to
1820. His was a notable career. He was
graduated from college, read law and practiced
with distinguished success, was a member of
Congress, judge of the supreme court of New
York, and governor of the same State, his last
act in that office being to recommend the abo-
lition of slavery.

Solomon Tompkins, a son of James, had

a son Solomon (2), our subjecfs father, and
the two left the old home to locate in the
wilds of Greene county, near the present vil-
lage of Ashland, in which region settlers were
then few and far between. Although Mr.
Tompkins' father had only limited educational
advantages, he was not lacking in good judg-
ment and practical ability, and he took a lead-
ing place among his associates. He married
Elizabeth Randall, daughter of Timothy Ran-
dall, a citizen of Delaware county, but a native
of Connecticut; she is still li\ing, in a hale and
beautiful old age, with a married daughter at

Lewis Tompkins, the eldest son of this
worthy couple, was born at the old farm near
Ashland, August 5, 1836, and received his
education in the district schools of the vicinity,
working upon the farm in summer and attend-
ing school for a few months each winter until
he was about seventeen, when he began to
learn the trade of hat finishing with Strong &
Ruggles, of Ashland. After serving an ap-
prenticeship of three years, he established a
new hat factory at Ashland in 1852, in part-
nership with Leveritt Conine; but this venture
ended two years later in a complete failure.
With characteristic integrity Mr. Tompkins
gave up everything to the creditors, even part-
ing with his watch. Soon after he turned his
face westward with just enough money in his
pocket to carry him to Chicago, and from
that point he made his way on foot to Kansas,
seldom getting a ride, and often passing the
night upon the open prairie. He finally
reached Manhattan, Kans., and located upon
a government claim on Blue river. That was
a memorable period. The fiery discussion of
a few years before on the Kansas-Nebraska
bill had stirred the whole nation, and those
territories were being rapidly settled. Young
Tompkins was, of course, a Free-Soiler, and
was early drawn into the struggle between
the opposing factions, being appointed deputy
sheriff and, later, a delegate to the Constitu-
tional Convention at Topeka. He remained
in the West about two years, returning home
in November, 1859, for a brief visit, which
lengthened into a perinanentstay. At Middle-
town, Orange county, he accepted a position
with Wilcox & Draper, which he held for a
few months, and in the summer of i860 he
went to Matteawan, where he was employed
for several years with the Seamless Clothing
Manufacturing Co., and later he was in busi-


Q^^ ^



ness as a clothier at Fishkill-on-the-Hudson;
also at Matteavvan. He wisely invested his
gains in real estate, buying and subdividing a
large tract. Succeeding in this, he bought
other tracts of land and built a number of sub-
stantial dwellings, adding to his own prosperity
and that of the town. In 1872 he sold out
his business interests and made a trip to
Europe, where he remained a year studj'ing
European industries and business methods.
On coining home a new enterprise was begun
— the building of a large hat factory near the
river at Fishkill-on-the-Hudson, and notwith-
standing the "hard times" of 1873. the
Dutchess Hat Works was put into successful
operation. The business grew from year to
year, and additions were made to the works as
needed; but it was soon deemed advisable to
establish a branch at Tioronda, a mile away,
and later another branch was opened at Mid-
dletown. The efficient hand of the founder of
the business was on it all, mastering every de-
tail; but he had capable coadjutors in his
brothers, E. Lakin Tompkins, at Fishkill-on-
the-Hudson, and Edward D. Tompkins, and
Frank O. Tompkins, at Middletown. He be-
came the leading manufacturer of wool hats in
the United States, and at his death his fortune
amounted to several hundred thousand dollars.
One feature of his enterprise was the erection
of comfortable homes for his employes, which
proved a benefit to all concerned.

He was greatly interested in local progress,
and especially in educational matters. A stu-
dent of men and affairs rather than of books,
he still appreciated to the full the advantages
of a thorough system of popular education, and
it was largely through his endeavors that Mat-
teavvan and Fishkill-on-the-Hudson secured
their new and commodious school buildings.
The building of the handsome hose house of
the Lewis Tompkins Hose Co. , at the latter
place, was chiefly due to him, and he was a
constant and liberal giver to the Churches of
both towns. The Highland Hospital was a
charity which found him a steadfast friend,
and his purse was ever open to sustain or en-
large its usefulness. Many of his beneficences
will never be known, as he could never withhold
his help when his sympathies were touched,
and his senre of justice wounded by the sight
of suffering. He was a Republican in politics,
and an influential one, but sought no oflice.
He was a member of the board of education at
Matteawan, and was at one time president

of the village of Fishkill-on-the-Hudson. For
more than thirty years he belonged to Beacon
Lodge No. 283, F. & A. M.

In 1862 Mr. Tompkins married Miss Van-
Voorhis, who did not long survive to bless his
life. One son was born of their union, Charles
Randall Tompkins, who died in 1892 in early
manhood. A second happy matrimonial union
was formed on January 3, 1868, with Miss
Helen E. Mather, of Wellsboro, Penn. Her
father was a lineal descendant of Cotton
Mather, of New England, and her mother,
whose name was Beecher, was collaterally
connected with the Lyman Beecher family.
The three children of the second marriage are
all living: Jennie, Helen M. and Ralph S.
The family residence is a beautiful place. It
is appropriately named ■ ' Edgewater, " being
situated on the bank of the Hudson opposite
Newburgh, and it commands a lovely view up
and down the river. Here Mr. Tompkins
proved himself a genial host and generous en-
tertainer. He traveled extensively both in
this country and in Europe, spending several
winters in Paris, Nice, Algiers. Mentone-on-the-
Mediterranean, Davos Platz, and other places
rich in associations and delightful for situation.
Mr. Tompkins had fine taste in art, and en-
joyed visiting the celebrated galleries in which
the chief works of the gifted artists of the past
are preserved on canvas or in chiseled marble.
In the prime of his manhood, while the
past was a pleasant memory and the future a
delightful anticipation, this manly, generous,
upright citizen passed from earth, breathing his
last at his home on the 9th day of January,
1894. It is by his deeds alone that his merit
was manifested, and the simple record of these
shows him worthy of honor in every relation in

CHARLES E. SEGER, M. D. (deceased).
The expulsion of the Huguenots from
France, however it may have been regarded by
the unhappy exiles at the time, resulted in un-
mixed good to this country, bringing into its
rapidly developing civilization a large body of
high-spirited, courageous, intelligent and God-
fearing people, whose influence at that critical
period of our history can scarcely be estimated.
Among these early emigrants were the ances-
tors of the subject of this biography. They
settled near Kingston, Ulster Co., N. Y., about
1640, and some time afterward two brothers



of the name moved to New Salem, Albany Co.,
N. Y., where the home of this branch of the
family has ever since remained. Garret I.
Seger, our subject's great-grandfather, was
born there January 4, 1753, the son of one of
the brothers alluded to. He became a farmer
there, married and reared a family of ten chil-
dren: John, Magdalene, Frederick, Henry,
Mary, David G., Frances, Polly, Francis and
Michael. They located in various places as
they settled in life. Francis was a judge in
Lewis county, New York.

David G. Seger, our subject's grandfather,
was born January 31, 1794, and remained at
the old homestead, farming and conducting a
hotel until his death, March 31, 1859. He
married Mary Stalker, who died leaving six
children, of whom Garret D., our subject's
father, was the eldest; John A. is a resident
of Schoharie county, N. Y. ; Catherine married
Andrew Allen, a farmer at New Salem; Mar-
garet, the wife of William McMillen, formerly
a farmer, is now living in Albany; Laura mar-
ried (first) John \'an Der Zee, now deceased,
and (second) George Strevell, a carpenter; Ly-
man, deceased, was a farmer.

Garret D. Seger was born October 31, 1 8 1 6,
and also settled near the old home. He has
been engaged in farming and mercantile busi-
ness, and has taken a leading part in various
local movements. In politics he is a Demo-
crat, and he belongs to the Christian Church;
but his wife, formerly Miss Mary Shafer, is a
Presbyterian. She is a descendant of a Ger-
man family which has long been prominent in
the town of Bern, Albany county. Her father,
John Shafer, an agriculturist, was a soldier in
the war of 1812. Our subject is the elder of
two children. The younger, Florence, mar-
ried Charles Wolf, of Albany, a bookkeeper
for a fire insurance company.

On April 8, 1S42, Dr. Seger entered upon
his life's journey. He received his literary edu-
cation in the district schools at New Salem
and at Fort Edward Collegiate Institute, and
then began his medical studies in the office of
Drs. Fredenburgh & Mosher, "of Coeymans.
He remained with them four years, in the
meantime attending Albany Medical College,
and graduating in the class of 1863. For two
years following he was in partnership with his
former preceptors; but in 1865 he moved to
Stockbridge, where he practiced successfully
for nine years. From 1874 to 1885 he con-
tinued his professional work in Albany, but

after that time he resided at New Hackensack.
His ability and skill were widely recognized,
and he had a fine practice.

On January 20, 1864, Dr. Seger was united
in matrimony with Miss Agnes Schoonmaker,
a native of Bayonne, N. |. Her father, John J.
Schoonmaker, a shipping merchant of the firm
of Schoonmaker & Johnson, and his wife,
Jane Ann Van Buskirk, were both descended
from old families of that place. Three chil-
dren were born of this union: Mary L. , Grace
A. and Garretta K. , who are all at home.
The Doctor was identified with many progress-
ive movements in his locality, and was health
officer of the town of Wappinger for ten'years.
In politics he was a Democrat; he belonged to
the F. & A. M., Albany Lodge No. 452. and
to the Dutchess Medical Society. A victim of
typhoid fever. Dr. Seger passed to his final
rest December 10, 1896. Of him the Wap-
pinger Chronicle says: "Dr. Seger was a
man of mild and genial demeanor, quiet in
manner, always the gentleman, and had a
kind word for everybody. He was conscien-
tious and punctilious to every duty, and this,
added to his advanced medical experience,
made him one, if not the best Health Officer
Wappinger town ever had.

" He leaves a widow and three daughters,
to whom the sympathy of the community is
generally extended."

To the American born, the story of Rob-
ert Fulton and the steamboat are matters of
familiar interest, though it is difficult to realize
that he lived but such a short time ago, and
we here present a brief review of the life of
his grandson. Rev. Robert Fulton Crary, D. D.,
rector of the Church of the Holy Comforter,
Poughkeepsie, New York.

The Crary family have been known in
America for over two centuries. Peter (I)
Crary was a native of Groton, Conn., and
signer of the Patent of New London October
14, 1704. In 1677 he married Christobel
Gallup, daughter of Capt. John Gallup, one
of tne Crown captains who fell in the Narra-
gansett Swamp fight, in 1675. In those days
Groton was known as New Lucien. His son,
Peter (II), married Anne Culver on January
1 1, '1709, and his son, Peter (III), had a son,
Peter (IV), who married Lucretia Palmer De-
cember 8, 1 77 1, and their son, Peter (\'), a

^^-^^^v^ ^^^-.^





native of New York Citj- and the j^aandfather
of our subject, married Elizabeth Denison, a
descendant of Maj. George Denison, of Ston-
ington, Connecticut.

Edward Charles Crary, the father of our
subject, was the only son of Peter (V) Crary,
of the well-known firm of Peter & John S.
Crary, wholesale dry-goods importers, the
largest firm of the kind in New York City at
that day. Edward C. was born in New York
, City, and spent his early days there, attending
school for a time, but completed his education
from Columbia College, from which he gradu-
ated with the class of 1824. In New York,
on June 20, 1831, he was married to Cornelia
Livingston Fulton, second daughter of Robert
Fulton. After his marriage Edward C. Crary
assumed control of the English branch of the
house, and he and his bride made their home
in Liverpool, where their eldest son, Robert
Fulton, oursubject, was born. Their other chil-
dren were Edward Francis (deceased); Charles
Franklin: Ella Cornelia, who married Her-
man H. Cammann, of New York City, and
Lena, who died in infancy. The family, return-
ing to this country about the year 1837, made
their home in New York. Cornelia L. (Ful-
ton) Crary was born August 6, 18 12, at Rose
Hill, which is now about Nineteenth street.
New York City, but which then was a suburban
place where Robert Fulton was spending the
summer and proceeding with his inventions.
She died October 6, 1893.

Robert Fulton Crary spent his boyhood in
New York City, and in June, 1861, was gradu-
ated from the General Theological Seminary.
His first charge was as a missionary in Warren
county, N. Y., where for six years he labored
for the upbuilding of the Church. As lasting
monuments to his work for these years are
three stone churches, which were erected
through his energies. In 1867 he accepted a
call to become rector of the Church of the
Holy Comforter at Poughkeepsie. This Church
was dedicated in i860, and our subject was
its second rector. His long term as priest in
charge has given him an intimate acquaintance
with his parishioners, and he is now baptizing
the children of those little ones whom he bap-
tized in the early days of his pastorate.

On September 11. 1862, by the Rev. Dr.
Hawkes, Dr. Crarj- was married at Trinity
Chapel, New York City, to Agnes Boyd Van-
Kleeck, daughter of Rev. Robert B. Van-
Kleeck, D. D., and Margaret Schenck (Teller)

.\'an Kleeck. Mrs. Crary now owns the old
Teller homestead at Matteawan, Dutchess
Co., N. Y., said to be the oldest house in the
county, having been erected in 1709 by Lieut.
Roger Brett, of the Royal Navy, who married
Katharine Rombout, only child and heir of
Francis Rombout, a famous and influential
citizen of New Amsterdam, who in 1682, with
Gulian Ver Planck, was granted, by King
James II, the large tract of land on the Hudson
river, known as the Rombout Precinct. The
union of Dr. and Mrs. Crary has been blessed
with six children — five daughters and one son:
Amy; Cornelia Fulton; Alice; Ella (deceased);
Edith Livingston, who married Charles H.
van Braam Roberts, June 3, 1S96; and Fulton.

Believing that before God the souls of men
stand stripped of all temporal guises, and
whether high or low, rich or poor, each one
alike meets that same justice tempered with
mercy. Dr. Crary has always had a free church,
never having any charge for pew rent. The
degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on
him by St. Stephen's College, Annandale,
Dutchess Co., N. Y., in 1892. Mrs. Crary is
a worthy helpmeet of the Doctor, and nobly
typifies "the mission of woman on earth!
Born to nurse and to soothe, to solace and to
heal the sick world that leans on her." She
is a member of the Daughters of the Revolu-
tion and of the Colonial Dames.

Of Robert Fulton, the grandfather of Dr.
Crary, we will give but few words. His life
and works speak so well for themselves, and
have been so exhaustively treated by our most
able writers, that nothing more remains to be
said. He was married in 1806 to Harriet
Livingston, daughter of Walter and Cornelia
(Schuyler) Livingston, the latter an intimate
friend of George Washington. Harriet Liv-
ingston Fulton was a niece of Chancellor Liv-
ingston, and doubly connected with him by
the marriage of her brother to his daughter.

JAMES C. GRIGGS, the popular proprietor
of the "Morgan House," Poughkeepsie,
was born at Milton, Ulster Co., N. Y.,
October 10, 1847. and is the son of Lewis and
Eliza (Harcourti Griggs. The maternal grand-
father, Benjamin Harcourt, was also born at
Milton, where his father, who came to this
country from England and located in Ulster
county, secured a large tract of land. On
attaining man's estate Benjamin Harcourt was



united in marriage with Miss Eleanor Wj'gant,.
a native of Ulster county, and took his bride
to his extensive farm in that county, where
their seven children were born : James C. ,
Charles A., Eli, Eliza, Althea, Deborah A.
and Sarah. The grandfather was a prominent
Democrat of Ulster county, and filled the office
of sheriff for some time.

The birth of the father of our subject oc-
curred at Cornwall, Orange Co., N. Y., but he
was reared at Milton, Ulster county, where he
afterward taught school. He there married
Miss Harcourt, and the only child born to them
was our subject. Shortly after their marriage
they located upon a farm in Orange county,
to the cultivation of which the father devoted
his time and attention until his death in 1850.
He supported the Whig party in politics, and
in his religious views was a Presbyterian. His
widow later married his brother, Henry Griggs,
and they now make their home in Washington-
ville. Orange countj-.

Mr. Griggs, the subject proper of this
sketch, spent his boyhood upon the farm of
his grandfather Harcourt in Ulster county, and
attended the district schools of that locality,
but completed his education at Newburg, N. Y.
At the age of fifteen years he entered the
hardware store of J. C. Hardenbergh, of New-
burg, N. Y., where he remained as clerk for
about four years, and for the following six
years was engaged in the crockery business for
himself in that city. He then began the manu-
facture of brick at Fishkill, Dutchess county;
but after carrying on that occupation for one
year he leased the " Orange Hotel " at New-
burg, which he conducted for five years. Dur-
ing the ne.xt year he carried on a summer hotel
at Delaware Gap, after which he became the
proprietor of the "United States Hotel " at
Newburg, where he remained for seven years.
In November, 1S83, Mr. Griggs came to
Poughkeepsie and purchased the " Morgan
House," situated on the corner of Main and
Catherine streets, which he has since success-
fully conducted. There are found all modern
improvements, including hot and cold water,
electricity, etc.; it is convenient and comforta-
ble, while the cuisine is unexceptionable. The
hotel will accommodate one hundred and fifty
guests, whose interests and comfort are well
looked after by the genial and pleasant land-

On the loth of October, 1869, Mr. Griggs
was married to Miss Josephine Cammack, a

native of Orange count}', and a daughter of
Robert Cammack, who was of Scotch descent,
and a leading stove dealer and plumber of
Newburg, N. Y. Three children were born of
this union: Lilly, who died at the age of
eleven years; Harry E., who died at the age
of twenty years, and Fred R., who is with his
father. Mr. Griggs was called upon to mourn
the loss of his wife, who died October 7, 1893.
In politics he is a stanch adherent of the prin-
ciples formulated bythe Republican party, while
socially he is connected with the Masonic frater-
nity, the Order of Friends and the Knights of
P3'thias. He has taken a prominent part in
public affairs, always lending his influence to
promote the best interests of the community,
and is one of the most highly-esteemed citi-
zens of Poughkeepsie.

(deceased), late a well-known forwarding
and freighting merchant and coal dealer at
Fishkill Landing, was born January 16, 1S30.
at Gay Head, Dutchess count}'.

Alton Brundage, father of our subject, was
a native of East Fishkill, born April 30, 1805,
and during his active life was a shoemaker at
Stormville, and a steadfast supporter of the
Democratic party. He married Lucy Ann
Burrus, who was born in 1800, at Hopewell
Junction, the daughter of Joseph Burrus, a
prosperous merchant of New York City. Of
the si.x children of this union, Charles W. was
the eldest, the others being: James, Alonzo,
Melissa, Catherine and Mary.

Captain Charles W. Brundage attended the
district school of Stormville until he was thir-
teen years old, when he entered the em-
ploy of Francis H. Bowne as clerk in his dry-
goods and grocery store. Two years later he
went to Fishkill Landing to clerk for Charles
B. Pugsley in the same business, and remained
with him a year. He then became clerk of
the " Mansion House " at Fishkill village, con-
ducted by Mr. Lampson; but after a few
months he left to take a position as clerk on
the steamer "William Young," running be-
tween Low Point and New York City. On
this boat he spent two years, and one on the
steamer " Caledonia " with Captain \\'ardrop,
of the firm of Wardrop. Smith & Co., of New-
burgh. Afterward he became a clerk for
Brett & Cromwell, forwarding and freighting
merchants at Long Dock, Fishkill Landing,


and up to the time of his death he had ever
since been connected with that business, being
at that time the sole proprietor. At Mr.
Cromwell's death in 1S69 the firm was
changed to Brett & Matthews, and two years
later it became Walter Brett & Co., composed
of Mr. Brett, John Place (now treasurer of the
Mechanics' Savings Bank at Fishkill-on-Hud-
sonj and Captain Brundage. In 1874 Mr.
Brett withdrew from the firm of Walter Brett &
Co., and the firm became Brundage & Place
until 1885, when Captain Brundage bought
Mr. Place's interest, and up to the time of his
death conducted the business alone. In Au-
gust, 1895, he purchased the coal and mer-
chandise business of Aldridge & Dorland on
Main street, which he added to his own exten-
sive coal trade that was established over twenty-
five years ago, selling in recent years about ten
thousand tons a year. He ran a daily transpor-
tation line from Fishkill to New York, trans-
ferring all kinds of freight to the Ransdell
Transportation Co. Line of Newburgh. Cap-
tain Brundage was for many years captain of
the " Walter Brett " and the "Independence,"
both of which ran from Fishkill to New York

On August 2, 1853, Captain Brundage was
married to Miss Mary Boice, daughter of Henry
Boice, a citizen of Williamsburg, N. Y. ; she
died in 1873, leaving no children. His second

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