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Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

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wife was formerly Miss Ella E. Murphy, daugh-
ter of Prof. John G. Murphy and his wife,
Sarah C. Myer. Mrs. Brundage is a lineal de-
scendant of Timothy Murphy, of Revolution-
ary fame, who participated in the battles of
Bunker Hill and Saratoga, and was a noted
Indian fighter, the scene of his exploits being
largely laid in Schoharie county. Mrs. Brun-
dage has a pleasant home on Ferry street,
Fishkill-on-Hudson; she attends the Reformed
Church of that place. In politics the Captain
was a Republican.



GEORGE ESSELSTYN. a prominent at-
^ torney of Rhinebeck, Dutchess count}', is
a man who has brought his keen discrimina-
tion and thorough wisdom not alone in pro-
fessional paths, but also for the benefit of the
community where he has so long resided, and
with whose interests he has been so closely
identified. He holds and merits a place
among the representative legal practitioners
of Dutchess county.



Mr. Esselstyn was born in Claverack,
Columbia Co., N. Y. , on September 27, 1841,
and can trace his ancestry back to Martin
Esselstyn, who arrived in America about 1640.
He had two sons, Jacob and Cornelius, the
latter of whom married Cornelia Vreden-
burg, of Kingston, N. Y., and among their
seven sons were Jacob and Gabriel, who
removed to Claverack in 17 10. Jacob wedd-
ed Magdalen Brodhead, of Ulster county,
and to them were born five daughters
and two sons, the latter being Richard and
Cornelius. Among the children of Cornelius
was Richard, who was born in 1731 and died
in 1783, the year in which peace with Eng-
land was declared. He was a patriot and
soldier, holding the rank of major in a regi-
ment of militia raised in Claverack to resist
the northern encroachments of the British
troops. He had two sons — Jacob, born in
1762; and Cornelius, born in 1765, who were
the more immediate ancestors of the branch
of the family now residing in Rhinebeck town-
ship, Dui chess county. From Jacob have
descended Tobias, who occupies the very soil
which has been transmitted down to the sixth
generation in the same family; Jacob, a resi-
dent of Wisconsin; and John, of Mellenville,
Columbia county.

Cornelius Esselstyn, who was also born
at Cla\'erack, was the grandfather of our sub-
ject. He was a large land owner of that
locality, and one of the leading citizens. By
his marriage with Clarissa Vonsburgh, he be-
came the father of the following sons: Rich-
ard; Jacob, who during his lifetime occupied
the place of the former patroon; Charles, a
distinguished member of the bar; Isaac; Will-
iam; Robert, the father of our subject; and
Martin; all of whom were well-known citizens,
worthy of their ancestry.

The birth of the father also occurred at
Claverack, about 1807, and his entire life was
devoted to the occupation of farming. He
was an intelligent, well-read man, of high so-
cial ideas and great natural ability, and was
one of the substantial citizens of Columbia
county. In early life he supported the Whig
party, and was a great admirer of Henry Clay,
later joining the Republican party. Deeply in-
terested in educational matters, he served for
many years as trustee of the Claverack Acad-
emy, filling that position most of his life. He
was married to Miss Catherine \'edder, daugh-
ter of Rev. Herman \'edder, who made his



58



COMMEilORA TIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



home near Mt. Ross, in Gallatin, Columbia
county, and for sixty years served as minister
of the Reformed Dutch Church. After many
years of usefulness he died at the ripe old age
of ninety-six years. The Vedder family, as
well as the Esselstyn, was of Holland-Dutch
origin. Two children were born to Robert
Esselstyn and his worthy wife: George, sub-
ject of this review; and Henry, who died in
1883.

The preparatory education of our subject
was received at Claverack Academy, where he
took the regularly prescribed course, and at the
age of sixteen entered Rutgers College, taking
the full classical course there, and graduating
in the class of '61. He took up the study of
law in the office of Gaul & Esselstyn (the latter
being a cousin), and was admitted to practice
December 10, 1863, before the supreme court.
He remained with his old instructors until
March 20. 1865, when he opened an office at
Rhinebeck, where he conducted business alone
for seven years. In 1872 he formed the part-
nership with Mr. McCarty, which has con-
tinued from that time, and is now the oldest
law firm in Dutchess county. He is a man of
imposing presence, and is one of the most suc-
cessful attorneys of the community.

On June 17, 186S, was celebrated the
marriage of Mr. Esselstyn and Miss Florence
Cowles, who belongs to one of the old and
prominent families of Rhinebeck, and is a daugh-
ter of William S. Cowles, of that village, where
for years he has carried on merchandising.
Seven children grace this union — two sons and
five daughters: Louise, at home; Catherine,
wife of Rev. William H. Morrison, an Episco-
pal clergyman of Stafford Spring, Conn. ;
Florence E., wife of Charles L. Brooke, son
of Charfes W. Brooke, one of the most promi-
nent criminal lawyers of New York City;
Henry, of Stafford Spring, Conn. ; Clara Perle
and Mabel at home; and Robert, who is at-
tending school at Sing Sing, New York.

For thirty-one years Mr. Esselstyn has
served as attorney for the First National Bank
of Rhinebeck. He is a stanch Republican in
politics, working hard for the interests of his
party; in 1872 was candidate for the Assembly,
and in 1882 candidate for district attorney.
For two terms he served as supervisor, being
chairman of the board half of the time, and
was also president of the village for two terms,
while he is one of its oldest directors in point
of time. For twenty-five years he has been



one of the trustees of the Starr Institute, of
Rhinebeck, and has served as secretary of the
board the greater part of that time. He takes
a prominent part in the Masonic order, being
a Knight Templar, and for several terms has
been master of the lodge, and past chancellor
commander of the order of K. of T. Relig-
iously, he belongs to the Reformed Dutch
Church, but most of his family are Episco-
palians.



ENRY H. HUSTIS (deceased), late attor-
ney and counsellor at law, Fishkill-on-
Hudson, and one of the oldest and most promi-
nent members of the Dutchess County Bar, was
born March 9, 1829, at North Highlands, town
of Phillipstown, Putnam county, N. Y., and
died at Fishkill-on-Hudson December 14, 1896.
His family is of English origin, and the first
of the American line came to New England
about 1630. He was of the sixth generation
from Robert, who came from Fairfield county.
Conn., about the year 1664. and settled at
Westchester, Westchester county, N. Y. , where
David Hustis, our subject's great-great-grand-
father, was born. He was a captain in the
Revolutionary army in Col. Van Rensselaer's
regiment, and must have been over sixty years
of age at that time. In 1730 he bought from
the Indians several hundred acres of land in
Putnam county, three miles from the present
village of Cold Springs, and this estate has
since been owned and occupied continuously
by the family, a portion of it, 120 acres, being
now owned by our subject. A part of the old
house built by Capt. David Hustis is still stand-
ing as it was during the Colonial period, addi-
tions have been made to it from time to time.
The farm adjoining is now owned by Samuel
D. Hustis, whose great-grandfather was a
brother of our subject's grandfather. The house
upon that estate was also built in Colonial
times, and Gen. Washington and his staff
stopped there on their way to West Point from
Connecticut, and were met by a messenger
who told them of the treason of Benedict Ar-
nold. Capt. David Hustis had a son Joseph,
who married Mary Hunt, and had three sons:
Robert, Joseph and David. Robert Hustis
married Tamar Budd, and had a son Nicholas,
who was born at the old homestead in 1803,
and was a farmer there all his life. He mar-
ried Martha Haight, who was born in 1804,
and they reared a familj- of nine children. The



COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



59



father died in 1866, and the mother passed
away in 1886.

Henry H. Hustis attended the district
schools near the old home for some time in
boyhood, and later studied for two years in
a Quaker school, finishing his academic educa-
tion at Amenia Seminary. He began the
study of law in Newburg with Judge William
Fullerton, the great criminal lawyer of New
York City, and afterward spent one year in the
office of Judge Monell; and one year with
Judge George. In September, 1852, he was
admitted at Poughkeepsie to the bar of the
Supreme Court, and June 3, 1853, he opened
his office at Fishkill-on-Hudson, taking the
practice of John Owens. For forty-three
years he was continuously engaged in profes-
sional work, and won a high reputation as a
practitioner. He took an active interest in
local politics, and was an able worker in the
Republican party. In 1866, 1868, 1870 and

1873 he was president of the village, and in

1874 he was elected supervisor of the town,
and was chairman of the board of supervisors
of Dutchess county in that year. The family
have a pleasant home on South avenue. His
wife was Miss Elizabeth V. W. Anthony,
daughter of Nicholas and Maria (Knapp) An-
thony. They had five children.



JOHN P. ATWATER, M. D. This well-
known and highly respected citizen of

Poughkeepsie, Dutchess county, is a native
of Carlisle, Penn., where he was born March
4, 18 1 3, and where his early life was spent.
The rudiments of his education were obtained
at Hopkins' Grammar School, in New Haven,
Conn., then, in 1830. he entered Yale College,
and was graduated with the class of '34, after
which he attended the medical college in New
Haven, where he secured a practical knowl-
edge of medicine.

In 1836 Dr. Atwater went to Cincinnati
and practiced medicine there for a few years,
when he retired, and returned to New Haven,
where he lived quietly. In 1870 the Doctor
moved to Poughkeepsie and took up his resi-
dence there. On July 27, 1845, he was mar-
ried to Miss Lucy J. Phelps, who was from
West Townshend, Vt., where she was born
January 14, 1828. Her father. Charles
Phelps, was a native of Vermont, and a son
of Timothy Phelps, whose ancestors were
English. To our subject and his wife were



born the following children: Edward S. and
Lucy. The Doctor is a Republican and, with
his wife, contributes to the support of the F"irst
Reformed Church. They have a beautiful
home, surrounded by spacious drives and
walks, well-kept lawns, cosy nooks within the
shadow of stately oak trees, and charming
summer houses.

Jeremiah Atwater, father of our subject,
was born in New Haven, Conn., October i,
1774, where he grew to manhood, and was
graduated from Yale College. He organized
Middlebury College, and was selected as its
first president; in 1809 he held the same office
of Dickenson College, Carlisle, Penn. After
moving to New Haven he lived a retired life.
He married Miss Clarissa Storrs, a native of
Sandisfield, Mass., where she was born Janu-
ary 7, 1776. Her father, Eleazer Storrs, was
born in Mansfield, Conn. Mr. and Mrs. At-
water had three children: John P., our sub-
ject; William, formerly a druggist in Brook-
lyn, N. Y. , who died April 20, 1873: Clarissa,
born in 1803, who became the wife of Rev.
Oliver Butterfield, and died January 16, 1871;
and William, born in 1806.

Jeremiah Atwater, grandfather of our sub-
ject, was born in New Haven, Conn. He
married Miss Lois Hurd, and they settled in
New Haven, where he followed the occupation
of a merchant. Their children were as fol-
lows: Jeremiah: John, a carriage maker;
Charles, who settled in North Branford, Conn. ;
Lewis, who was a carpenter and house builder;
Fannie, who married Zebul Bradley, a jeweler;
Nancy, who died unmarried. Jeremiah died
in 1835. His son, Jeremiah, died July 29,
1S58.

Edward Storrs Atwater, a son of our sub-
ject, was born April 10, 1853, at Cincinnati.
He took a preparatory course at Phillips Acad-
emy, Andover, Mass., and was graduated at
Yale College, in 1875, from the classical course.
After leaving college he studied law in Pough-
keepsie with Judge H. M. Taylor, and was ad-
mitted to the bar in 1S80. He engaged in the
practice of law in office work until 1891, when
he was elected president of the Farmers' & Man-
ufacturers' National Bank, of Poughkeepsie,
which position he has held ever since. In
1880 he was married to Miss Caroline P. Swift,
a daughter of Charles W. Swift, and a gradu-
ate of Vassar College in the class of '77. The
following children were born to Mr. and Mrs.
Atwater: Morton, Lucy, Eliot and Evelyn, all



60



COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



living at home. Mr. Atwater was formerly a
Republican, but is now a Democrat, although
he does not take an active part in politics.
He is a member of the First Reformed Church,
and of the Dutchess Club and Amrita Club, of
Poughkeepsie. In public matters he is one of
the leading men of the city, and* is a director
of the Poughkeepsie Iron Co. and of the For-
est of Dean Iron Co., and a trustee of the
Savings Bank.' [Since the above was written
Dr. Atwater died in May, 1897.]



EV. ACMON P. VAN GIESON, D. D.,
pastor of the First Reformed Church of
Poughkeepsie. is now in the thirtieth year of
his beneficent service at that charge. He be-
longs to one of the old Holland-Dutch families,
the first ancestor to cross the ocean having
been Reynier Bastiansen Van Gieson, who
settled in New Amsterdam prior to 1660, and
later made his home in New Jersej', where
many of the name now live.

A majority of the early members of the
familj- were agriculturists, and our subject's
grandfather, Reynier \'an Gieson, followed
that occupation all his life. He married
Sarah Kent, daughter of Jacob Kent, who
entered the Colonial armj' as a volunteer
at the opening of the Revolutionary war,
and served until peace was declared. Ira
Van Gieson, the Doctor's father, was reared
upon a farm, but engaged in business as a
manufacturer, being one of the original
members of the Newark (N. J.) Lime & Ce-
ment Company. His wife, Sarah Thompson,
was a native of New Jersey, and a daugh-
ter of Thomas J. Thompson. Both parents
died at their home in Newark, N.J. Of their
five children, the Doctor was the eldest.
Another son, Ransford E. Van Gieson, M. D.,
of Brooklyn, N. Y. , was a surgeon in the navy
during the war of the Rebellion, and has a
son, Ira Van Gieson, M. D. , who is a member
of the staff of instructors in the New York
College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York
City, and chief of the Commission on Path-
ology of Insanity for the State of New York.

The subject of our sketch was born Janu-
ary 13, 1830, in West Bloomfield, Essex
Co.. N. J., and at four years of age was taken
by his parents to Newark, N. J., where he
grew to manhood. Love of study was a marked
characteristic even in youth, but previous to
entering college he taught school and clerked



in a grocery for a time. He took a course in
the University of New York, graduating in
1849, and in 1852 he completed his prepara-
tion for the (ninistry in the Theological Semi-
nary of the Reformed Church, located in New
Brunswick. He took charge of the Reformed
Church at Catskill, N. Y., in the same year,
and was ordained as its pastor in 1853. In
1855 he accepted a call to the First Reformed
Church in Brooklyn, where he remained until
1859. For the si.x years following he was
stationed at Claverack, Columbia Co., N. Y.,
and in 1865 a call was accepted from the
Church of Greenpoint (Brooklyn), his ministra-
tions there being continued until September,
1867, when he assumed the pastorate of the
First Church of Poughkeepsie, one of the
principal congregations in the city. This so-
ciety was organized in 17 16, being the oldest
in Dutchess county.

Dr. Van Gieson has added to his cares as
a pastor much literary work, chiefly on theo-
logical lines, and the value of his effort has
been recognized without as well as within the
Church. In 1872 he received the degree of
D. D., from Rutgers College, and in 1873 he
was president of the Synod. Among his books
are a history of the Poughkeepsie Church,
published in 1892, an address on the "Type
of Doctrine of the Reformed Church," pub-
lished in 1876, as one of the Centennial publi-
cations, and a history of the Ratification of
the Constitution of the United States by the
State of New York, published in 1895. He
has urged effectively the erection of a monu-
ment in Poughkeepsie, to commemorate that
important historical event, and this will un-
doubtedly be done by the Daughters of the
Revolution, who have taken the project in
hand.

On July 9, 1857, Dr. Van Gieson was
married in Brooklyn, N. Y., to his first wife,
Miss Anna Skillman, daughter of John Skill-
man, a well-known resident of the "City of
Churches," and a descendant of the first white
child born on Long Island. Of the three
children of this union one died in infancy.
The others are: Mrs. D. Crosby Foster, of
Poughkeepsie; and Mrs. Cecil W. H. Jones,
of Bermuda. The mother died February 22,
1865, and December 11, 1878, the Doctor
formed a second union, with Miss Maria Swift,
who is still living. Hale and hearty in ap-
pearance. Dr. \'an Gieson bears his years
lightly, his tall form being full of the vigor



COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



61



which comes from outdoor exercise, while his
kindly, pleasant face has a youthful look in
contrast with his snow-white hair. As a citizen
he has always taken keen interest in public
affairs. Early in life he was a pronounced
opponent of slavery, and he has been a mem-
ber of the Republican party since its orc];aniza-
tion. In all matters that pertain to the prog-
ress of the city where he has made his home,
his influence is a recognized power for good.



G GEORGE W. INGRAH.\M, an attorney at
r law of Amenia, Dutchess county, is de-
scended from Timothy and Sarah (Cowell)
Ingraham, who were residents of Boston, and
later lived at Bristol, R. I. John Ingraham,
their fourth son, was born December 8, 1701,
and was married December 12, 1723, to Miss
Mary Fry. Jereiniah Ingraham, their fourth
child, was born December 8, 1731, married Re-
becca Monroe, a cousin of President James Mon-
roe, and died at an advanced age in the faith
of the Episcopal Church. Thomas Ingraham,
the third son of Jeremiah, was born Novem-
ber 8, 1773, and in 1792 wedded Margaret
Wardwell. They were the parents of our
subject. George Ingraham, an uncle, was the
first of the family to locate in Dutchess coun-
ty, coming from Bristol, R. I., to Amenia in
1785.

In 1795 the parents of our subject be-
came residents of Dutchess county, arriving
in Amenia on the 3d of July, that year, with
their two children. They had made the jour-
ney from Bristol by water to Poughkeepsie,
then overland to Amenia. Here the father
engaged in farming until his death, and was
also a stockholder in the woolen-mill at Leeds-
ville, Dutchess county, during the war of 18 12.
He was a Federalist in politics, and a con-
spicuous character in the Methodist Episcopal
Church. For years he held the office of com-
missioner of highways, and was also overseer
of the poor. He died May 12, 1841, and his
faithful wife was called to her final rest .April
30, 1855. In their family were eleven chil-
dren: Mary, Samuel, Nathaniel, Allen, Han-
nah, Thomas Swan, Abigail, Josiah, John,
George W. and Sally Ann, all of whom are
now deceased with the exception of our sub-
ject, and his brother John, of Poughkeepsie.
George Whitfield Ingraham was born No-
vember 25, 181 1, in the town of Amenia, where
his boyhood days were passed. His literary



education was received in the district schools
and by one winter's attendance at a select
school. At the age of seventeen years he be-
gan reading law under the direction of Robert
Wilkinson, of Poughkeepsie, but did not apply
for a diploma until the close of the Civil war.
For twenty years he served as justice of the
peace, five terms in succession, and his wise
rulings ever showed thought and deliberation.
His practice has been mostly confined to real-
estate law, and he has also engaged in survey-
ing and engineering, helping to lay out tfie
New York & Harlem railfwad. He has ever
taken a commendable interest in the cause of
education, and has been inspector and com-
missioner of schools.

On October 22, 1S34, at Sharon, Conn.,
Mr. Ingraham was united in marriage with Miss
Electa Hunt, a daughter of Rev. Aaron Hunt,
and they became the parents of four children,
as follows: Sarah J., who married Samuel R.
Free, of Willimantic, Conn. ; Aaron Hunt, who
during the dark days of the Rebellion enlisted
in the 48th N. Y. S. V., was killed while lead-
ing a charge at Cold Harbor, June i, 1864,
and his body was there interred; Phebe H. is
the next in order of birth; and George Irving
(deceased), who had married Fannie B. Payne,
and had one daughter, Margery Starr. Mr.
Ingraham has been called upon to mourn the
loss of his excellent wife, who died October
lO, 1889. Our subject cast his first vote in
support of the Whig party, and since its disso-
lution has been an ardent Republican; in re-
ligious faith he is a faithful member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, in which for the
long period of forty years he has served as
clerk, and for many j'ears was trustee, steward
and class leader. He is the originator of the
law in the State of New York which gives a mar-
ried woman the right to hold real and personal
property independent of her husband, which
took him eight years to get passed; but he
never gave up until his object was accomplished.

At the age of twenty-five years he conceived
the idea that the changes of the weather, in-
cluding sunshine and clouds, winds and storms,
could be reduced to a science, and at once be-
gan to evolve a theory. After close study for
many 3'ears he decided that his theory was
correct, and then made known his conclusions
to some of his friends and neighbors. One of
those men is now living in the City of New York.
This company ridiculed his position. Nothing
daunted, he put his ideas with his observations



02



COMMEMORATIVE BTOORAPHICAL RECORD.



in a letter and sent the same to Washington,
D. C, in charge of the then member of Congress
from his district. That formed the nucleus
of the present Government weather bureau.

Mr. Ingraham has always made his home
upon his farm in the town of Amenia, and is
widely and favorably known throughout the
community, being held in the highest regard
by all with whom he has come in contact.



CHARLES \V. H. ARNOLD. Among the
leading lights of the legal fraternity of
Poughkeepsie, Dutchess county, is Charles W.
H. Arnold, who was born in New York City
May 5, 1S60. Though born in the city his
boyhood was passed on the farms in the towns
of Hyde Park and Milan, in Dutchess county,
and here in the district schools he received his
common-school education. To an active mind
the law furnished many attractions, as it is a
study never completed, but whose scope is
ever widening and changing. Our subject,
when just out of the school room, followed
various pursuits, but, when twenty, determined
to enter the legal profession, and, accordingly,
entered the office of J. S. Van Cleef, as a stu-
dent, and in December, 1883, was admitted
to the bar. He has made a specialty of cor-
poration law, and holds the office of attorney
for the Poughkeepsie National Bank (in which
he is also one of the directors); is attorney for
the Fallkill Knitting Company, of which he is
also treasurer and general manager, and attor-
ney for the New Paltz and Wallkill \'alley
R. R. In 1894 he was a member of the Con-
stitutional Convention.

On October 1 1, 1892, Mr. Arnold was mar-
ried to Miss Alice Schoutcn, daughter of Rich-
ard A. Schouten, and two interesting children
have come to brighten their home, namely:
Richard Henry and Alice Margaret. Socially
Mr. Arnold is a member of Triune Lodge,
Masonic order, Knights of Pythias, and also of
the Dutchess Club of Poughkeepsie, and he is
at present president of the Staatsburgh Fire
Company. Religiously he is an active worker
in St. Margaret's Episcopal Church at Staats-
burgh, in which he is vestrj'man, and is serving
as clerk of the vestr}".

Henry Arnold, father of our subject, was a
native of Sa.xony, Germany, and came to this
country at the age of fourteen. In Schoharie
county, X. Y., he was married to Margaret



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