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Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

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among them is the name of Colonel James
Vander Burgh." From Lossing's Field Book
of the Revolution we glean this bit of knowl-
edge, which is taken from Washington's diary:
"May 1 8, 1781. Set out this day for an in-
terview at Weathersfield with Count de Ro-
chambeau and Admiral Barras. Reached Mor-
gan's tavern, forty-three miles from Fishkill
Landing, after dining at Colonel Vander
Burgh's." A few days later, during one of
Washington's visits, a child was born, and in
Vander Burgh's diary it says: "May ye 24.
1 78 1, on Thursday, about eleven o'clock at
night, my wife was delivered of her fifth son;
we call his name George Washington. God
send him his blessing." So the little son was
evidently named after their honored guest.
Col. Vander Burgh died in Beekman, and was
buried there in the sixty-fourth year of his age.
One of his descendants. Miss H. Pauline Tay-
lor, of Quaker Hill, has a copy of his epitaph,
his will and his diary, all very quaint and in-

Of his large family of eighteen children
only one died before the parents, and that he
was able to support his large family and give
each daughter five hundred pounds, and to his
sons either money or a prosperous farm, we
learn from a copy of his will, so that his life
stood out successfully from a financial point of
view. But that is not all. Col. Vander Burgh
was a man who closely watched and studied
public affairs, he was emmentl}' patriotic, and



was honored and trusted in civil life as he had
been on the field, a Christian patriot and sol-
dier, to duty ever true, to his posterity his
memory is a rich inheritance. May they emu-
late his virtues.

SMITEN (more g;enerally known as S. VIN-
_ CENT) TRIPP, one of Dutchess county's
most successful business men, was born in the
town of Clinton, Dutchess Co., N. Y., August
31, 1822, being one of a family of eight chil-
dren, of whom there is only one surviving
member, Mrs. Susan \N'eed, of Clinton Corners.

Smiten Tripp, his father, who was also a
native of Dutchess county, during his early
years was engaged at the carpenter's trade,
and later purchased the farm where he spent
the balance of his life. On November 20,
1S06, he married Miss Margaret Wickes, in
what is now known as the Cheesman house,
which was built by her father, Jacob Wickes,
in 1800. Her mother was a Miss Nancy Carle.

S. \'incent Tripp's maternal grandfather,
Jacob Wickes, lived during the Revolutionary
war on the Creek road. He was surprised one
night by the English, and after a severe strug-
gle he assumed insensibility, and was left for
dead. One of the bullets fired is still to be
seen imbedded in the wall of the room of the
conflict. Vincent was the name of our sub-
ject's paternal grandmother, she being Miss
Hannah \"incent.

In 1848 Mr. Tripp was united in marriage
with Miss Catherine Losee, daughter of Will-
iam Losee, of Dover. She was a woman be-
loved by all who knew her, always liberal in
her chiirities, and it was greatly by her en-
couragement and good judgment that Mt.
Tripp made his business career so successful.
Two children were born to them, a daughter,
Priscilla, and a son, Alfred Noxon, the former
of whom died at four years of age.

In 1854 Mr. Tripp left the homestead, and
removed to New York City, where he engaged
in the carting business for the firm of Earle &
Co. About two years later he located in
Cohoes, Albany county, where he entered the
grocery and feed business, with David Bedell.
The partnership was discontinued after some
three years, and Mr. Tripp removed to the
city of Rochester, from which time he was
always engaged in the grain business. Toward
the close of the Civil war the sudden decline

in grain nearly ruined him, he losing over
thirty thousand dollars within a few days.
Wheat declined one dollar per bushel, corn
seventy cents and oats fifty cents. Oats he
had been offered one dollar and six cents per
bushel he sold for fifty-five cents, and wheat
that he had been offered two dollars and sixty
cents he sold for one dollar and fifty cents per
bushel. Still he did not lose courage, but,
backed by his banking house, he looked for
his money where he had lost it, and in 1865
returned to New York and engaged in the
grain business, until 1867, at Twenty-second
street and East river, with A. P. Clark, under
the firm name of Tripp & Clark. During
1867 and 1868 he was associated with Jacot)
Bogart at Thirty-fifth street and East river.
From the fall of 186S until November i, 1875,
Mr. Tripp continued in partnership with
George E. Ketcham, at Twenty-second street
and North river. In the meantime he had
built the "Tripp Elevator" at Thirty-fourth
street and North river, which he entered
November i, 1875, with George Rogers and
Alexander Bonnell as partners; on November
I, 1879, a new partnership was formed under
the firm name of S. V. Tripp & Co., com-
posed of Mr. Tripp, his cousin, Capt. I. C.
Wickes, and Alexander Bonnell. Mr. Bonnell
retired from the firm November i, 1881, and
since that time the grain business at Thirty-
fourth street and North river has remained
under the firm name of S. V. Tripp & Co.,
with only Capt. I. C. Wickes as his partner,
until Mr. Tripp's death September 22, 1S95.
The business continued until May i, 1896,
when Capt. Wickes bought Mr. Tripp's interest
in the business.

Mr. Tripp was engaged in many other en-
terprises. He was a director of the Home
Bank of New York, and a member of thirty
years' "standing of the Produce Exchange.
Through all his prosperity and reverses, he
never lost courage and energy, but his great
success was the Grain-elevator business at
Thirty-fourth street and North river, where he
made a large fortune; and the business was
unequalled by any of the twelve firms engaged
in grain business in New York and Brooklyn.
In 1886 he removed to Poughkeepsie, and
purchased the attractive residence on South
Hamilton street.

Mr. Tripp was twice married. His first
wife died in 1890, and three years later he
married Mrs. Jennie Farrar, daughter of



Thomas Milligan, a marble dealer of Berkshire
county, Mass. Rev. F. B. Wheeler officiated
at the funeral services of Mr. Tripp September
25, 1895, which were largely attended. Among
those present were the officers of The Pough-
keepsie National Bank, of which he was vice-
president; four of his business partners; a
committee of ten from the Produce E.xchange;
and twenty-three employes from The Elevator
who had been in the services of the deceased
from ten to twenty-seven years. The inter-
ment was in the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery.
The following resolutions in handsome binding
were presented to Alfred N. Tripp:

W'htjreas the members of the Xew York Produce Ex-
change have learned with deep sorrow of the death of S.
Vincent Tripp, for many years a member of this Ex-

Resulred, That in the death of Mr. Tripp the Exchange
has lost a valued member, who by his long career as an
upright and public-spirited merchant has won the respect
and esteem of his fellow members and endeared himself
to all his associates;

Resolved, That we extend to his family our sincere
sympathy in their great loss, and that a copy of these
resolutions be forwarded to them by the Secretary;

Mesolneil, That as a mark of respect to his memory
the President appoint a committee to attend his funeral.

The son, Alfred N. Tripp, after leaving
business college was for ten or more years as-
sociated with his father in the grain business
in the office and as superintendent of the ele-
vating department. He was held in great
esteem and affection by the employes, who
were visibly affected on learning of his decease.
In 1888 he married Miss Carrie Eliza Butler,
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Egbert C. Butler,
of Clinton, Dutchess county. After the family
removed to Poughkeepsie he assisted his father
in his private business, and was a director of
the Poughkeepsie National Bank. He died
December 27, 1895, ^"^^ is survived by Mrs.
Tripp and a little daughter, Katheiine Grace.
The funeral services, conducted b}' Revs. W.
Bancroft Hill and Edward G. Rawson, assisted
by a quartette rendering " Lead Kindly Light"
and "Thy Will Be Done," were most beauti-
ful, while Mr. Tripp, looked as though asleep
among the many flowers he so greatly loved.
Among those present were the directors of the
Poughkeepsie National Bank and a large dele-
gation from The Elevator. The interment was
in the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. The
carriers were the same who bore to their last
resting place the father and mother of Mr.

ENJAMIN HOPKINS. To have held for
XJ forty-two consecutive years the office of
justice of the peace among intelligent, discern-
ing and independent people, is of itself con-
vincing evidence of the possession of mental
ability of a rare order, combined with the
moral qualities which inspire and firmly retain
public esteem and confidence. Since 1854
the subject of this sketch has presided over
the lower tribunal, aptly termed the "People's
Court, "in the town of East Fishkill, Dutchess
county, and when one reflects upon the law-
less and unsettled conditions which prevailed
here in the earlier days, the force of charac-
ter, the courage — moral and physical — and
above all the tact, necessary for the faithful
and effective discharge of his duties seems
notable indeed.

Justice Hopkins comes of an honored ances-
try, the first of the line crossing the ocean
from England with the first settlers in Massa-
chusetts. It is supposed that Edward Hop-
kins came over in the "Mayflower." Stephen
Hopkins, one of the patriots who signed the
Declaration of Independence, was a brother of
Benjamin's great-grandfather. The branch of
the family to which our subject belongs settled
near White Plains, in the town of North Cas-
tle, N. Y. , in Colonial times, and his grand-
father, Benjamin Hopkins, removed to the
town of Fishkill, Dutchess county, during the
Revolutionary war. He was a native of
Rhode Island, and prior to his marriage sailed
a vessel along the coast, being engaged in
freighting and trading. He married Sarah
Palmer, about which time his property was
destroyed by the British, and in 1779 became
to Dutchess county, as already noted, where
he bought a tract of four hundred acres of
land, and where he passed the rest of his life.

John Hopkins, the father of our subject,
was born in the town of Fishkill September 6,
1779, one of a family of eight children. He
early became familiar with agricultural pur-
suits upon the home farm, and continued to
follow that occupation as a lifework. In 18 19
he was united in marriage with Miss Mary
Brill, a daughter of John and Hannah (Cor-
nell) Brill, natives of Dutchess county. Her
father was of Holland descent. After their
marriage Mr. and Mrs. John Hopkins located
upon the farm now owned by our subject, and
there reared their four children: Benjamin,
our subject; Gilbert P., who was a merchant
of Carthage Landing, Dutchess county, and



was killed on a boat in 1846; Solomon P.,
who was a freight agent in early life, and later
engaged in the cattle business in Chicago; and
Sarah P., married to S. B. Knox, of Carthage
Landing. The father belonged to the Society
of Friends, while the mother was a member of
the Reformed Dutch Church, and both were
earnest, conscientious Christians. In politics
he was a Whig, and in his town efficiently
served as justice of the peace and overseer of
the poor.

Benjamin Hopkins, the subject of this
sketch, was born .-^pril 18, 1820, in the house
which is still his home, and until he was si.x-
teen years of age was never absent from the
home farm. His early educational advantages
were good, and he took a complete course at
the old Dutchess County Academy, Pough-
keepsie, which has since been replaced by the
Poughkeepsie High School. In i 849 the town
of East Fishkill was carved out of the town of
Fishkill, and in the following year Mr. Hop-
kins was elected a member of the board of
supervisors, to which office he has been re-
elected at intervals for ten terms. Since his
first election as justice of the peace he has
been re-nominated on the Democratic ticket
at the expiration of each term, and his re-elec-
tion has never been seriously opposed. His
present term will not expire until 1901. It is
a fact of which he may well be proud that he
has never had a case reversed in the upper
courts, his decisions being based upon that
exact and impartial justice which, when once
pointed out, commends itself to every honest
man as sound law. So popular is he that one
year (1859) he was elected supervisor on the
Republican ticket by 200 majority, while, as
justice of the peace on the Democratic ticket,
he won by a majority of sixty. In 1862 he
was appointed deputy collector of Internal
Revenue for the towns of East Fishkill, Pawl-
ing and Dover, and served three years. He
has twice been appointed justice of sessions,
and since the passage of the first free-school
act of 1847 he has been trustee of the Storm-
ville school district. In early life he was a
Whig, but after the defeat of Gen. Scott in
1852 he became a Democrat, and has sup-
ported that party ever since. During the Civil
war he was active in raising recruits to sup-
press the Rebellion.

As a business man he has been successful
in various callings — farming, clerking, auction-
eering and school teaching. In 1842 he began

merchandising at Low Point, Dutchess county,
but the following year returned to the old
homestead, purchasing the interests of the
other heirs, and has since engaged in its care
and cultivation. He has 290 acres of rich and
productive land, on which he has mainly car-
ried on general farming.

On December 6, 1844, Mr. Hopkins was
married to Eliza Montfort, a native of the
town of Beekman, Dutchess county, and a
daughter of Peter and Cornelia (Flagler) Mont-
fort, both of whom belonged to old families of
the county. Five children were born of this
union: Cornelia, who married John Taber, of
Dover, Dutchess county; Phoebe, who died
unmarried; Sarah, the wife of William H. Og-
den, of Kansas City, Mo.; Lodo V., wife of
John Ogden, also of Kansas City; and John
G., who is engaged in business at the Exchange
Building at Chicago. The wife and mother
was called to her final rest in October, 1S59.
Mr. Hopkins afterward married his present
wife, who bore the maiden name of Margaret
Lasher. She is a native of Columbia county,
N. Y., and a daughter of Jacob Lasher. Seven
children have been born to this union: Charles,
a promising young lawyer, now of Poughkeep-
sie; and Benjamin, Mary, Harry W., Bertha
M., and George and Edith M. (twins), all at
home. Mr. Hopkins is one of the most highly
respected and prominent men of his commu-
nity, always faithfully discharging every trust
reposed in him, and has the confidence and es-
teem of all with whom he has come in contact.

STERLING BIRD, M. D., a prominent
I, member of the medical profession of Dutch-
ess county, with residence at Hyde Park,
was born August 29, 1836, at Winchester,'
Conn. He is descended from an old Connecti-
cut family, whos«founder in America, Thomas
Bird, a native of England, located at Hartford
about 1644, some ten years after its settle-
ment, and became one of the small freehold-
ers in the place. His son James was the fa-
ther of John Bird, who was born in 1695, and
the son of the latter, Ebenezer Bird, was born
in 1739. The next in direct line is David
Bird, whose birth occurred in Bethlehem,
Conn., in 1776. About 1797 he was united in
marriage with Elizabeth Church, by whom he
had the following children: Harmon, Joshua,
Susan, David (the father of our subject).



Lucy, Nancy, Anna, John, Sterling, Frederick
and Betsy.

David Bird, Jr., was also a native of Betii-
lehem. Conn., born March ii, 1S04, and was
reared upon his father's farm. On reaching
manhood he engaged in the manufacture of
woolen goods on a small scale, at Winchester,
and became one of the successful and prosper-
ous men of his community. He married
Eunice Phelps, daughter of Wilcox Phelps, of
Norfolk, Conn., and they became the parents
of two children: Sarah and J. Sterling (sub-
ject of this review). In religious belief the fa-
ther was a Congregationalist, taking a promi-
nent part in the work of that Church, in which
he served as deacon. He was actively inter-
ested in political affairs, an unfaltering Aboli-
tionist, and was elected to the State Legisla-
ture on the W'hig ticket. His death occurred
in 1863, that of his wife in 1882.

J. Sterling Bird was educated at Wilbra-
ham, Mass., taking nearly the entire course,
and completed his literary training at the age
of twenty-two. About i860 he took up the
study of medicine, first entering the Berkshire
Medical College, Pittsfield, Mass., which he
attended for one term, in the following year
entering the College of Physicians & Surgeons,
New York City, where he graduated in 1863.
He then took some special courses, though it
was his intention to engage in general practice.
During his four-months' vacation he was at
the United States Military Hospital at Newark,
N. J. After his graduation he was for a year
and a half on the medical staff of the Bellevue
Hospital, New York City, and in that way se-
cured much practical knowledge. On April
3, 1865, he arrived in Hyde Park, where he
immediately opened an office, and, with the
e.xception of four months in his second year,
has uninterruptedly been engaged in practice
there. The Doctor is now one of the oldest
practitioners in the locality, has been remark-
ably successful in his treatment of cases, and
not only does he rank high among his profes-
sional brethren, but is one of the leading and
substantial citizens of the town.

Dr. Bird was married, in 187 1, to Alice E.
Jones, of Hyde Park, daughter of Rev. J. W.
Jones, a Baptist minister, and to them were
born two children: John Sterling, at home;
and Alice E., who died when about a year old.
Although the Doctor is a stalwart Republican,
he has taken no active part in political affairs;
but he is a public-spirited citizen, at all times

willing to aid in promoting the welfare of his
adopted county. He has served as health
officer, and is a prominent member of the
Dutchess County Medical Society. An earnest,
Christian gentleman, he is connected with the
Reformed Dutch Church of Hyde Park, in
which he has served as one of the officials.
Though of a retiring disposition, the Doctor
has gained many warm friends in his locality,
and by all he is held in the highest regard.

TTrENRY A. HOLMES, a prominent busi-
-Fi ness man of Pawling, Dutchess county,
is the treasurer of the Pawling Savings Bank,
and the sole proprietor of one of the oldest
and most substantial business enterprises of
that vicinity, the firm having been founded
by the well-known pioneer merchant, J. W.

Mr. Holmes can trace his descent from
two patriots of Revolutionary times, one being
his great-grandfather, John Holmes. His
paternal ancestors were among the early set-
tlers of Westchester county, N. Y. , the family
homestead being at Pound Ridge, where our
subject's grandfather, John Holmes, was born
during the Revolutionary war. He followed
farming there until he was about fifty years
old when he came to the town of Pawling,
Dutchess county, accompanied by his son
Samuel, our subject's father, who was born at
Pound Ridge in 1808, and at the time of the
removal was about eighteen years old. Sam-
uel Holmes remained with his father, who
was a farmer by occupation, until 1836, when
he went to New York City, and was for twelve
years engaged in the trunk business, in which
he was but moderately successful. He was
married in 1834, to Hannah L. Peck, daughter
of Henry and Betsey (Dean) Peck, grand-
daughter in the maternal line of Elijah Dean,
an officer in the Revolutionary war. Of their
three children, the subject of this sketch was
the eldest; Caroline L. married J. C. Merritt,
of Putnam county, and died in 1868; and
James G. died at the age of twenty-two. The
mother died in 1854, and the father, soon
afterward, returned to Dutchess county and
bought a farm southwest of the village of
Pawling. He met with success as a farmer,
and was accounted a man of good business
judgment. In later years he was extensively
engaged in the business of furnishing lumber


and ties for the Harlem railroad. Although
not a politician he was always a Democrat in
principle, and took an interest in all measures
for local improvements. He was reared a
Presbyterian, and contributed generously to
that Church until his death in 1885.

Henry A. Holmes first saw the light at Pat-
terson, Putnam countj', February 13, 1836.
His education was obtained in Public School
No. 4, Rivington street, New York, and at
Mr. Benedict's select school at Patterson, these
advantages and his subsequent reading giving
him a good store of knowledge. On enter-
ing business life he spent one year as a clerk in
a retail feed store in New York, and a year
and a half in clerking for his uncle, R. J.
Dean, of Patterson. He then went home and
worked upon the farm for a year, when he
formed a partnership with his uncle in the
lumber and feed business under the firm name
of Dean & Holmes. After three years he sold
his interest to Mr. Dean, and February i,
1865, he bought a one-third interest in the
general mercantile store of J. W. Stark &
Co., the firm consisting of Mr. Stark, William
J. Merwin and Mr. Holmes. In 1877, Mr.
Stark withdrew and the firm became Merwin
& Holmes, and so continued until the death
of Mr. Merwin in 1892, when Mr. Holmes
purchased his interest. This business, now
one of the largest in the southeastern part of
the county, had its origin in a small store
opened hy Mr. Stark in 1848, near the railroad
at Pawling, and with the exception of a few
years which Mr. Stark spent in New Milford
it has been continued ever since. In addition
to this enterprise, Mr. Holmes has given
much attention to the affairs of the Pawling
Savings Bank, which was organized under the
act of May 7, 1870, the charter being accepted
September 10, 1890. This is one of the most
carefully managed banking institutions in that
locality, J. I. \\'anzer being the president. Mr.
Holmes is one of the trustees, and succeeded
Mr. Merwin as treasurer, the office having
been held by him from the first. In all his
enterprises, Mr. Holmes has displayed con-
servative judgment, combined with energetic
execution of plans once decided upon, and to
these qualities his success may be attributed.
In politics he is a Republican, and on all
national issues he has voted for the candidates
of that party at every election, since his first
ballot was given for Abraham Lincoln, but in
local affairs he is independent. He has held

the office of commissioner of highways for one

In 1867, Mr. Holmes was united in matri-
mony with Ruth A. Shove, a native of the
town of Pawling. Her father, Daniel Shove,
a carpenter by trade, was born in Dover, but
for many years was a resident of Pawling, and
now lives at Wellsboro, Penn. Three sons
were born of this marriage, and their educa-
tion has been carefully conducted at Bisbee's
Military School at Riverview. George S. is
now assisting his father in the store; Frederick
W. has just completed his course at school;
and Henry A., Jr., is still a student. The
family attend the Methodist Church, and Mr.
Holmes is a generous supporter of its work.

3)0BERTK. TUTHILL, M. D., of Pough-
keepsie, Dutchess county, is of English

ancestry. His great-grandfather, Samuel Tut-
hill, came from England, and settled on Long
Island; but after a time removed to Orange
county, N. Y., where he remained the rest of
his life. Our subject's father, whose name
was also Samuel, was likewise a member of
the medical profession, and for many j-ears
was a leading practitioner in Poughkeepsie,
N. Y., to which place he came in 184S.

Dr. Robert K. Tuthill was born in New-
burgh, N. Y., January 18, 1835. Early in life
he showed an inclination to follow in the foot-
steps of his father, and was thoroughly edu-
cated, with the view of making the practice of
medicine and surgery his life work, graduating
at the New York Medical College in 1859.
After receiving his degree, he began his pro-

Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York → online text (page 14 of 183)