J.H. Beers & Co.

Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

. (page 118 of 183)
Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York → online text (page 118 of 183)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Ansonia, Connecticut.

The father carried on farming in the town
of Kent, Litchfield Co., Conn., until 1S67,
when he purchased the "Putnam House," the
name of which hechanged to the "Pratt House."
This hotel has been greatly improved since
that time, and is now one of the best equipped
in the county, everything being prosided
for the convenience and comfort of the
guests. Since coming to Dutchess county, Mr.
Pratt has also engaged in buying and selling
sheep, cattle and horses, and in this line of
business has been quite successful. Previous
to 1857, he was a Whig, but since that time
has been a firm supporter of Republican prin-
ciples. A strictly moral, upright and temper-
ate man, he has never gambled, bet on a horse
race, or been drunk in his life. He makes his
home with our subject.

Peter Pratt, whose name begins this sketch,
spent his boyhood days in the town of Kent,
Litchfield Co., Conn., attending the district
schools and assisting his father in the operation
of the farm. In 1865 he married Julia A.
Stone, of New Milford, Conn., and they
have one daughter, Minnie S.

Since 1 867 Mr. Pratt has successfully en-
gaged in the hotel business at Amenia. The
greater part of his present hotel has been
erected since locating there, so that the place
is now a comfortable, modern structure, neatly



furnished, and the cuisine is all that could be
desired. Like his father, he is also an ardent
Republican, and socially is a member of
Amenia Lodge No. 672, F. & A. M.

OHN C. DUBOIS, one of the leading mer-
chants of Wappingers Falls, Dutchess coun-
ty, combines energy and pluck with excel-
lent judgment, an embodiment that has brought
great success to his efforts and labors. His
entire life has been passed at that village,
where his birth occurred on June 20, 1S57,
and those who have known him longest are
numbered among his most faithful friends.

The paternal ancestors of Mr. DuBois were
French. In his native land Jacques DuBois
married Pierrone Bentyn, and April 15, 1675,
sailed from France to America, locating at
Kingston, Ulster Co., N. Y., thus becoming
the founders of the family in the New World.
Their son Pierre wedded Jeannetje Burhans,
and to them was born a son, Jonathan, who
was united in marriage with Ariantje Ooster-
hout. The son of the latter, Cornelius (i)
DuBois, married Charity Griffin, and their
son, Cornelius (2), a farmer by occupation,
was the grandfather of our subject. . He was
born at Saratoga, N. Y., and by his marriage
with Deborah Payne became the father of
twelve children, namely: Parmelia, Jane, Har-
riet, Elizabeth, Chester, John, Charity, Cor-
nelius G., Smith, Richard, Harvey and James.
The family were mostly members of the Pres-
byterian Church.

John DuBois, the father of our subject,
was born January i, 1825, at Saratoga, N. Y.,
and upon the home farm he remained until
nineteen years of age, when he began teaching,
which profession he continued to follow up to
the time of and several years after his mar-
riage. His wife bore the maiden name of
Mary S. Scoiield, and was a native of Fishkill,
Dutchess county, where her father, Corrtelius
Scofield, was also born. He was of English
e.xtraction. Her mother's maiden name was
Elizabeth Warren, and she was a relative of
Gen. Warren, of military fame. After their
marriage the parents of our subject made their
home at Wappingers Falls, N. Y., where the
father taught in the old Wappinger Seminary
for several years. In 1857 he began merchan-
dising on Market street, having a general store,
and continued at his first location until 1863,
when he removed to another building on the

same street. Later, he conducted the busi-
ness across the creek in the Egan building, in
partnership with Adam Bently, which connec-
tion was continued until 186S, when he sold
out. He then opened a wholesale dry-goods
business, conducting same until called from
this life, May iS, 1876. He had just erected
his beautiful residence, where his widow now
makes her home. He was a conscientious and
faithful member of the Presbyterian Church,
in the work of which he took an active part,
and his political support was unwaveringly
given the Republican party.

During his early life our subject aided his
father in the store, under whose able direc-
tions he became a thorough business man.
After the death of the latter, his uncle, James
B. Scofield, had charge of the store until he,
too, was called from this life. Our subject
then purchased the stock, and since 1879 has
successfully conducted a general store. He
carries a large and well-selected stock, and is
abundantly able to meet the demands of his
customers. In November, 1881, he married
Miss Ada M. McKeel, a native of Cold Springs,
N. Y., and a daughter of Caleb McKeel, who
was of English origin. One child graces this
union: Chester M., born in August, 1882.

Mr. Du Bois is an influential member of
the Republican party, and takes a conspicuous
part in public life. In 1895 he was elected a
member of the village board, in which position
he is still serving. He is prominently identi-
fied with the Knights of Pythias, the American
Mechanics, and the American Legion of Honor.
He and his wife contribute to the support of
the Methodist Episcopal Church, and they en-
joy the esteem and respect of all in the com-

^; LEXANDER W. SLEIGHT, supervisor
of the town of Lagrange, Dutchess coun-
ty, was born in that town July 4, 1841, and is
the son of Peter R. and Catherine S. (Barnes)

The ancestors of our subject were original-
ly Holland-Dutch, who came to this country
in 1652, and the known record extends back
five generations, to Cornelius Barentsen Sleght,
who came from Worden. Holland, on the
Rhine, and vvho married Miss Tryntje Tysen
Bos, from Bue Stee, Holland. The name
was spelled Sleght until the time of James,
grandfather of our subject. Matthew Sleght,



son of Cornelius, married Maria Magdalena
Crespel. Jan, son of Nfatthew, married Miss
Elizabeth Smeedes. Abram, great-grandfather
of our subject, was born in the city of Kings-
ton, where he spent his boyhood and received
his early education. He married MissAriantje
Elmerndorf, and moved to what is now the
town of Lagrange, cleared the farm land,
built a stone house, and reared his children
there. He died October 21, 1800. She died
in 1796.

James, or Jacobus, Sleight, our subject's
grandfather, was born in the old stone house
above mentioned April 19, 1753, and died
September 2, 1833. He married Miss Elsie
Deriemer, and the following children were
born to them: James Edwin, Peter R., Elsie
D., Harriet E., Henry A., all of whom are de-
ceased. In 1776 Mr. Sleight served seven
months in the Revolutionary war at Fort Mont-
gomery, under Capt. Dorland, as orderly ser-
geant, and in 1777 he served seven months at
Fort Constitution, and then went with the
army as first lieutenant under Capt. Henry
Wynkoop, and was with it when Kingston was
burned. In 1778 our subject's grandfather
served one month under Gen. Scott at White
Plains, and at Fort Independence, near King's
Bridge, as quartermaster under Zephaniah
Piatt, colonel. He was afterward made a
colonel. [The foregoing is from the Archives
of the State of New York, Vol. 1, page 473,
and is taken from records left by Mr. Sleight
in his own handwriting and signed by him.]
He took a prominent part in the affairs of La-
grange, where he held the office of justice of
the peace.

Peter R. Sleight, father of our subject,
spent his boyhood days upon the farm, and in
attending the district schools, also the Jacob
Willets school, in the town of Washington. He
was married in the town of Poughkeepsie
(first) October 3, 1827, to Sarah K. Barnes,
who was the daughter of David Barnes, of
Poughkeepsie, and one child, James Edwin,
was born to them, August 31, 1829, who died
September 16, 1868. Mrs. Sleight was called
from earth October 20, 1829, and Mr. Sleight
married (second) Catherine S. Barnes (sister of
his first wife) December iS, 1832, and the fol-
lowing children came of this union: Sarah A.,
born September 5, 1835, was married Novem-
ber 14. i860, to Stephen M. Ham; David B.,
born April 30, 1838, was killed in the battle of
Averysboro. N. C, March 16, 1865 (he held

the rank of first lieutenant); James Edwin
married Frances E. Titus, March 9, 1853, and
they had four children — Mary Kate, Rhoda,
Sallie, and Frances. Peter R., the father, was
captain of a company of militia, and was as-
sessor, commissioner of highways, and railroad
commissioner when the town was bonded. At
the time of his death he was president of the
Dutchess County Mutual Insurance Co., to
which ofiice he was elected in 1881, and for
several years was a director of the First Na-
tional Bank. In politics he was a Republican.
On December 18, 1882, he and his wife cele-
brated their golden wedding. Mr. Sleight
died in Lagrange, March 15, 1S88, Mrs.
Sleight on February 11, 1894.

Alexander Wheeler Sleight, our subject,
spent his youth on the paternal farm in the
town of Lagrange, where he attended the
district school, also the Dutchess County
Academy, and the Cornwall Collegiate School.
He was married in Lagrange October 7, 1868,
to Miss Mary C. Pells, a daughter of John G.
Pells, and the following children were born to
them: Josephine W., March 14, 1S75; Peter
R., April 19, 1877; and David B., November
27, 1880. Mr. Sleight was elected supervisor
of Lagrange on the Republican ticket for ten
terms. He is a member of the B. P. O. E.,
or Elks, and is a popular and public-spirited

JACOB GRIFFEN, a citizen who has been
useful in his community, and ever taken a

prominent place in the enterprises tending
to the enlightment of the people; the friend of
education, and active in all good works, has
all his life been a tiller of the soil, and still
finds therein his great pleasure.

Elihu Griffen, grandfather of our subject,
was an earlj' resident of Westchester county,
N. Y. , where his entire life was spent in agri-
cultural pursuits. By his marriage with Cath-
erine Underbill he became the father of three
sons (all now deceased), named, respectively,
Daniel, Jacob and Abraham. He belonged to
the Society of Friends, and always attended
the monthly meetings in New York City, mak-
ing the trip thither on horseback.

Daniel Griffen, the father of our subject,
was born near the city of Sing Sing, in West-
chester Co., N. Y., June 11, 1790, and there
attended the district schools of the neighbor-
hood. He remained under the parental roof




until his marriage, in 1810, with Phoebe
Davenport, who was born August 17, I7'93.
They became the parents of nine children,
their names and dates of birth being as follows:
Mary D., August 11, 181 1 : Judith M., January
II, 1814; Abigail S., April 6, 1817; Esther H.,
April 19, 1 819; Elihu, September 6, 1821;
William D., February I2, 1824; Jacob, Octo-
ber 10, 1 82 5; Catherine E., December 27,
1830; and Lydia Sigourney, April 29, 1834.
All are now deceased with the exception of our
subject and his sister, Judith M., who is now
the widow of the late Alexander Haviland.
The father engaged in farming in North Castle
township, Westchester count}', until 1826,
when he removed to the present farm of our
subject in the town of Clinton, Dutchess coun-
ty, and there continued to make his home un-
til his death, August 26, 1S58; his wife died
June II, 1874. They were faithful members
of the Society of Friends, and in a church of
that denomination were married. As was the
custom at that time, they rode to the house of
worship on horseback, and our subject still
has in his possession the saddle used by his
mother. Although the father started out in
life a poor boy, he worked his way steadily
upward by persistent and untiring efforts until
he secured a comfortable competence, and
was numbered among the well-to-do citizens
of the town.

Jacob Griffen, our subject, was born in
North Castle township, Westchester county,
whence when an infant he was brought to the
farm which is now his home, and in the town
of Clinton he began his education under the
instruction of private tutors, and in private
schools. Later he entered a boarding school
at Westtown, Penn., and completed his literary
studies at the Nine Partners Boarding School,
in the town of Washington, Dutchess county.
In that town,. October 10, 1878, Mr. Griffin
was married to Miss Alice Wilson, by whom
he had three children: Catherine, Anna and
Frances Elsie.

With the exception of the twelve years

during which he farmed an adjoining place, our

subject since his infancy has lived on the old

home farm, which he successfully operates.

He has served as commissioner of highways in

the town of Clinton, to which position he was

elected on the Republican ticket, that being

the party with which he always affiliates. The

entire family are members of the Friends

Church, to the support of which they contrib-

ute liberally, and heartily co-operate in its
good works. Mr. Griffen is public-spirited
and enterprising, giving his support to all
measures which he considers beneficial to the

Mrs. Griffen was born in the town of La-
grange, Dutchess county, a daughter of John
V. and Mary Ann (Barnes) Wilson, and re- .
ceived her education in the town of Washing-
ton, where she had her home up to the time
of her marriage. Her father was born in Un-
ionvale town in 1832, and died in 1864, in the
army, while serving as a member of Company
L 158th N. Y. V. I. By his marriage with
Miss Mary Ann Barnes he had five children:
Henry G., Alice, Thurston J., Clarence and
Belle, the last two being now deceased. Mrs.
Griffen's grandfather, John Barnes, born in
1792, died when about seventy years of age.
Her grandmother, Mary Wilson, died July 5,
1879, at the advanced age of eighty years.

CYRUS F. HAWLEY, the proprietor of a
large dry-goods store at Millerton, ranks
among the leading merchants of northern
Dutchess county, and the adjacent portion of
Litchfield county, Conn. His family is of
English origin, and his ancestors were early
settlers of the village of Hawleyville, Fairfield
Co., Conn., where Harmon Hawley, his father,
was born about 1809. His grandfather, Haw-
ley, was born probably at the same place.
Harmon Hawley was a hatter b}' trade, and
followed this occupation for a few years at his
native town. He married Emma Freeman, a
prominent resident of the town of Amenia,and
shortly afterward moved to Wawarsing, Ulster
Co., N. Y. , where he established a sawmill
and charcoal furnace. He was a man of fine
business ability and great energy. He bought
and cleared large tracts of land, which he
afterward disposed of, and carried on the two
enterprises with great success until his death,
which occurred in his forty-eighth year. His
wife survived him with seven children: Will-
iam, Martha, Cyrus, Fannie, Josephine, Charles
and John.

The subject of our sketch was born at
Amenia Union, March 24, 1846, and was edu-
cated mainly in the district schools of that
vicinity, attending the Amenia Seminary only
one year. These somewhat limited advantages
have been improved upon in later years by
reading, and his information covers a wide



range. At the age of thirteen he began work
on a farm in the town of Amenia, and at six-
teen he became a clerk in Sharon, Conn., for
G. A. Kelsey and G. B. Reed. Here he re-
mained ten years, acquainting himself with all
the details of mercantile life, and in 1876 he
and two others formed a partnership under the
firm name of Beach, Hawley &C0., and estab-
lished a store at Millerton. After the death of
Mr. Beach in 1886, the firm name remained
C. F. Hawley & Co. for three years, when Mr.
Reed withdrew, and since that t'me Mr. Haw-
Jey has conducted the business alone. In
1894 he built one of the finest stores to be
found in any town of the size in the county.
His trade is very large, extending throughout
a wide territory, where his enterprise and
sound judgment have won him the confidence
of the people.

Mr. Hawley takes an active interest in all
that concerns the advancement of the commu-
nity, and has been ready to promote any move-
ment for the public good, but although he has
always been aDemocrat.henever joins in politic-
al work. He married a member of one of the
oldest families. Miss Afartha Brown, daughter
of Douglass Brown, of Northeast, and has one
son, Cyrus.


'\D\VIN G.VAIL, of the town of Unionvale,

one of the younger members of the board
of supervisors of Dutchess county, was born
in that town October 15, 1861, the younger
of the two sons of Elias and Lavina (Cornell)

Isaac \'ail, our subject's great-grandfather,
was for many years a resident of Unionvale,
and died August i, 1 801, at the age of sixty-one
3'ears. His wife, Lavinia (Ketcham), passed away
March i, 1803, aged fifty-eight years. Their
son, Elias, our subject's grandfather, was born
in Unionvale in 1775, and followed farming as
his life work. He died August 3, 1851, his
wife on July 20, 1851. She was born in 178 1,
and was a daughter of David Duncan, a na-
tive of the town of Dover, where he was a
merchant farmer.

Elias Vail, father of our subject, was born
September 15, 1823, and was the youngest of
the thirteen children born to Elias Vail, Sr.,
and his wife, Hannah (Duncan) Vail. He was
twice married, first time, in 1853, to Lavina
Cornell, by which union were born two chil-
dren: W. C. , of Poughkeepsie, N. Y., and

Edwin G. It is believed that their mother
descended from Perry Green White, who came
over in the " Mayflower," and whose son, or
daughter, was the first white child born in the
New World. Mrs. Vail died October 22,
1 861, aged thirty-six years, and for his second
wife Elias \'ail married, January 10, 1867,
Miss Jane W. Haight, of the town of Wash-
ington, Dutchess county, a daughter of John
J. Haight. Mrs. Vail died January 21, 1891,
aged fifty-eight years.

OHN FRANCIS MYERS. To the thrift,
industry and economy of the German immi-
grants this country owes much, and finds
among their descendants many of our most
substantial and respected citizens, and to this
class belongs John Francis Myers, of New
Hamburg, the subject of this sketch.

The family to which Mr. Myers belongs is
one of the oldest in Dutchess county, the first
of the American line having come from Ger-
many at an early date, locating at what is now
known as Myers' Corners, in the town of Wap-
pinger, where the homestead has ever since
been maintained. John Myers, the grand-
father of our subject, was a farmer and hotel-
keeper, a Democrat in politics and a prominent
man in the locality. He married Susanna
Bussing, and reared a family of seven children:
Joseph, who went to California and died there;
Peter, a resident of -Hughsonville; John, who
was an extensive land holder; Francis, our
subject's father; Deborah; Elizabeth (de-
ceased), formerly the wife of Henry Patterson;
and Amelia, the wife of Edward I^ayard.

Francis Myers, the father of our subject,
was reared on the old home farm, and married
Ann Roy, a native of London, England, and
an aunt of William K. Roy, of Wappingers
b'alls. For some time after, his marriage
Francis Myers followed farming in his native
town, but in 1855 he became employed in a
grocery at Wappingers Falls, and moved his
family there. In 1S60 he went to New Ham-
burg, and engaged in the manufacture of black-
ing; but later was in the grocery business,
which he carried on successfully until 1895,
when he retired. He has always been a Dem-
ocrat, and served as supervisor of the town of
Poughkeepsie for several years; he and his wife
now live in Florida. To this worthy couple
have been born five children: Anna, who (first)
married J. E. Willard, of New Hamburg, and



after his death wedded (second) Walter Jame-
son, of Walden, N. Y. ; Charles is the super-
intendent of the Southern Express Co. ; at
Jacksonville, Fla. ; Mary married Dr. Russell
Dean, of the same city; James R. is a farmer
at the homestead; and John Francis, the
youngest of the family, is the subject of this

John Francis Myers was born December 7,
1856, at New Hamburg, and has spent his
entire life in his native place, with the excep-
tion of two years at \\'appingers Falls during
his childhood. Under the careful tuition of his
father, he so mastered the details of the grocery
business at an early age that, although one of the
younger business men of the place, he became
one of the most successful and enterprising,
conducting a retail grocery, which commanded
an extensive trade, and which is now conducted
by Mrs'. H. A. Myers. In 18S2 he married
Miss Harriet Scofield, daughter of William
Scofield, a well-known farmer of near Low
Point (formerly known as Carthage Land-
ing). Three children were born of this
union : James L. , Eeleelah and Francis S.
Mr. Myers is a public-spirited citizen, and,
like his ancestors, is a Democrat in political
faith. He and his wife are prominent members
of the Reformed Dutch Church, of which his
family have always been influential adherents.

lORTIMER B. COLE is prominently

identified with the business interests of

the town of Pleasant Valley, being actively en-
gaged in the retail feed, grist and saw mill
businesses in Salt Point, where he also con-
ducts a general store and sells farming imple-
ments, etc. His success has all been achieved
by his own unaided exertions, and as the j'ears
have passed he has gained experience and busi-
ness ability, which have secured him prosperity
while yet in the prime of life.

Mr. Cole was born in the town of Pleasant
Valley, December 13, 1S54, and is a son of
Charles N. Cole, whose birth occurred in Put-
nam county, N. Y., January i, 1820. His
paternal grandfather, Elisha J. Cole, also a
native of Putnam county, was the son of Jesse
Cole, who was born in New England, and at
an early day located in Putnam county, where
he married a Miss Ogden. He there engaged
in the grist, saw and carding mill business.
In his family of seven children, four sons and

three daughters, were Hiram and Jesse (both
farmers, ) and Elisha J. , the grandfather of our
subject. In his native county the last named
grew to manhood, and in 1800 married Lydia
Frost, after which they located upon a farm,
where they reared four children: Charles N.,
George, and two daughters who died while
young. He died in the town of Pleasant \'al-
ley, Dutches.s county, in 1879, his wife having
preceded him to the world beyond. In relig-
ious belief he was a Baptist; politically, he first
supported the Whig party, and later the Re-
publican. His youngest son, George Cole, was
a wholesale liquor dealer, but is now living re-
tired in Chicago, Illinois.

After completing his own education, Charles
N. Cole taught school for a time. He was
united in marriage with Miss Jane Ann Budd,
who was born in the town of Pleasant Valley
in 1827, and is a sister of Joel and Albert J.
Budd, prominent citizens of Dutchess county.
To them were born two children: Edward, who
was killed in infancy; and Mortimer B., of this
review. The parents located upon a farm
which the father operated until his death, which
occurred September 4, 1891, but he also in-
vented many different articles, being of an in-
genious turn of mind. He was a strong Re-
publican, and held many local offices of honor
and trust. His estimable wife is still living on
the same farm, which is managed by Mortimer
B. Cole.

In the usual manner of farmer boys, our
subject spent his childhood, receiving his ele-
mentary education in the district schools, after
which he pursued his studies for two winters
at Pleasant Plains, and finished his education
in the Amenia Seminary. Returning to the
farm, he later married Antoinette Sands, a na-
tive of the town of Stanford. Dutchess county,
and a daughter of Isaac G. Sands, who was
also born in Stanford town, and was of En-
glish descent. For one year the young couple
lived upon a farm, but the following year Mr.
Cole worked his father-in-law's farm. The
next two years, however, were spent in agri-
cultural pursuits, after which he ran a skating
rink in New Jersey for a short time, and on
returning to this county again worked his fa-
ther-in-law's farm for a couple of years. In

Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York → online text (page 118 of 183)