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Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

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fessional career in Poughkeepsie, and was en-
gaged in active practice there, at the breaking
out of the Rebellion, in 1861. With charac-
teristic patriotism, he offered his services to his
country, and was appointed assistant surgeon
of the Twentieth 'N. Y. S. M. For faithful-
ness in the discharge of his duties in this ca-
pacity he was in April. 1863, promoted to the
position of regimental surgeon of the 145th In-
fantry, and in June of the same year was made
brigade surgeon of the First Brigade, First Di-
vision, Twelfth Corps. Early in 1864, he was
appointed surgeon-in-chief of Division. He
had charge of the Fredericksburg hospital in
1 862, was in all the chief battles of the ' ' army
of the Potomac," and also did duty in the
"army of the Cumberland."

After this service to his country, the Doctor




again resumed private practice in Poughkeep-
sie, and was a member of the Surgical Staff of
St. Barnabas Hospital, from tfie time it was
organized, in 1870, until it was closed, in 1887.
He was then selected by the Foutiders of Vas-
sar Brothers' Hospital on its opening, m 1S87,
to be one of its surgeons, which position he is
still filling. He is considered a skillful sur-
geon, his experience while serving his country
being of great advantage to him. He has
served three times as health officer of Pough-
keepsie; for two terms in succession was presi-
dent of the Dutchess County iVledical Society,
and has been a permanent member of the New
York State Medical Society since 1880. He
also belongs to Hamilton Post No. 20, G. A.
R. , Poughkeepsie, and is a member of the
Loyal Legion of America. Dr. Tuthill is also
a Knight Templar. Politically, he is a stanch
Republican, but has never run for an elective
office. In the year 1864 he married a Pough-
keepsie lady, and has one daughter.

Constant, untiring work in his profession
has made periods of rest and recuperation a
necessity to him, and these he has found in
quite extensive travel in this and other coun-
tries. Twice, accompanied by his family, he
has spent several months abroad visiting the
principal places and nearly all of the capitals
of Great Britain and of the Continent. And
while he was there gaining physical strength,
he also embraced the opportunity of visiting
many of the hospitals and attending clinics in
the Old World, thus seeking new methods and
better knowledge for his great work at home.
His residence is at No. 313 Mill street, where
he has a capacious of^ce, an extensive and
well-selected medical and general library and
a beautiful home. He is a member of the First
Reformed Church, and has hosts of friends,
who believe in him, because he has proved
himself a true and sincere man and a conscien-
tious, faithful and vigilant physician.

D. D., who has been for more than half
a century a minister of the Gospel, and for
thirty-six years the honored pastor of the First
Presbyterian Church at Poughkeepsie, is de-
scended from several families whose names
are conspicuous in the early history of this

The ancestors of the Wheeler line came
from Wales about 1650, and settled at Dun-

barton, N. H. William Wheeler, our sub-
ject's great-grandfather, was born in 1728,
probably in Salem, N. H., and died March i,
1804. His home was at Dunbarton, where he
was a prominent citizen in his day. He served
through the French and Indian war, and
throughout the Revolutionary war, being mus-
tered into service for the latter struggle by
Gen. Washington. He took part in the battle
of Bunker Hill under Gen. Stark. In the
earlier war he was a member of the N. H.
Rangers at Fort Ticonderoga, in 1755, com-
manded by Capt. Robert Rogers, and was
captured by the Indians, but escaped by his
wit and agility as they were about to tom-
ahawk him. His wife, Sarah , was

born in 1735, and died March 15, 1803.
Their son William, Jr., was also a soldier in
the Revolutionary war, taking part in the bat-
tles of Bennington, Vt., and \\'hite Plains,
New York.

Their son, Daniel Wheeler, the grand-
father of our subject, was born in Salem, N.
H., in 1763, and died in Warner, N. H., in
1840. He suffered imprisonment at one time
for refusing to pay the ministerial tax at Dun-
barton. He married Polly Davis, who was
born in Amesbury, Mass., in 1772, and died
in Warner, N. H., in 1S62. She was a lineal
descendant of Hannah Dustan, of historical

Hosea Wheeler, our subject's father, was
born March 8, 1791, at Dunbarton, N. H.,
and died January 27, 1823, at Eastport,
Maine. He was a Baptist minister, and for
many years lived at Newburyport, Mass. He
married Sarah Wines, born August 12, 1788,
the daughter of Rev. Abijah Wines, an emi-
nent clergyman, and the first professor of the-
ology in the Theological Seminary at Bangor,
Maine. Her grandfather, Hon. Benjamin
Giles, was prominent in our Colonial history,
the chairman of the Committee of Safety at
Newport, N. H., and a member of the State
Provincial Congress. To the union of Mr. and
Mrs. Wheeler the following children were born:
Elizabeth, Sarah A., Francis Brown, Sarah
and Mary.

Dr. Francis B. Wheeler, whose long serv-
ice in the Christian ministry has so well sus-
tained the honor of this distinguished ancestry,
was born at North Adams, Mass., September
9, 1 818, and in 1842 was graduated from the
University of Vermont with a number of class-
mates who have since attained high standing in



diplomatic and judicial affairs; atnongthem were
ex-Vice-President Wheeler, Hon. John Kas-
son, Hon. Robert S. Hale and Hon. E. J.
Hamilton. His grandfather, father and four
uncles had been clergymen, and from boyhood
he had been tilled with the desire to follow in
their footsteps. After studying at Andover
Theological Seminary, and with Rev. J. W.
Ward, an eminent theologian of Massachu-
setts, he was ordained and installed as pastor
of the Congregational Church at Jericho
Centre, Vt., January 22, 1845. During his
five-years' pastorate there he was for two years
superintendent of the common schools in Chit-
tenden county, Vt. On May 29, 1850, he be-
came pastor of the Congregational Church at
Brandon, Vt. , and while there was appointed
secretary of the Vermont Sabbath School
Union, and also one of the examining commit-
tee of the University of Vermont. He left
Brandon September 7, 1854, and removed to
Saco, Maine, where he assumed charge of the
First Congregational Church December 6.
1854. His work there was attended with
marvelous success, the great revival of 1857-58
being unprecedented in the history of the
State. For three months meetings were held
every day, at which the pastor officiated,
preaching from house to house, and many prom-
inent professional and business men with their
families were brought into the Church. The
vigor of the climate there endangered the
health of his family, and Dr. Wheeler was
compelled to relinquish this beloved charge
and accept a call from the First Presbyterian
Church at Poughkeepsie, where he was in-
stalled May 12, 1859. It is interesting to
note that whenever he has left a charge the
congregations were reluctant to sever their re-
lations, protesting by unanimous and affection-
ate remonstrance against his removal. Dur-
ing his pastorate in Poughkeepsie the Church
has grown and prospered until it is now one of
the largest in the city.

One of the secrets of his success is the ab-
sence of cant and stock phrases so often found
in pulpit oratory. He is simple and practical
in his statements of truth, and bases his ap-
peals to conscience and the sense of duty upon
reason, calmly leaving the results to appear in
time as convictions gradually dawn upon the
hearer. He is faithful, also, in the discharge
of the arduous duty of pastoral visitation,
which may be another secret of his helpfulness
and influence. He belongs to the Calvinistic

school, but his sermons are never dogmatic in
tone or controversial in manner, dealing rather
with the practical problems of spiritual prog-
ress. Many valuable treatises from his pen
have appeared in the religious and secular
press, and he is the author of several Church
hymns. He is an interesting and forcible
speaker upon general subjects, and has made
special addresses on various occasions. Dr.
Wheeler is a member of the Massachusetts
Society of the Sons of the American Revolu-
tion, and of the New York Society of Colonial
Wars. Many honors have been bestowed
upon him, his Alma Mater conferrine the de-
gree of A. M. in 1845, and from Hamilton
College he received the honorary degree of
S. T. D. in 1868. In 18SS the University of
Vermont conferred upon him the same degree.
In 1878 President Hayes appointed him a
member of the Board of Visitors at West
Point Military Academy.

Dr. Wheeler has been married three times,
first on September 16, 1843. ^t Williston. Vt.,
to Charlotte A. Parmalee, daughter of Rev.
Simeon Parmalee, D. D., for many years a
leading clergyman of the Congregational
Church in Vermont. She died March i, 1853,
leaving no children, and October 26, 1854,
Dr. W^heeler was married to Eliza Dana,
daughter of Hon. A. G. Dana, M. D., LL. D.,
of Brandon, Vt. Her mother, Eliza Fuller,
was a lineal descendant of Samuel Fuller, who
came over in the "Mayflower." She died
September i, 1865, leaving three daughters:
Winifred Dana (now Mrs. Joseph B. Bisbee),
Emma G. and Harriet Wickes. On October
25, 1876, Dr. Wheeler married his present
wife, Charlotte P. W^ickes, daughter of Rev.
Thomas S. Wickes, and his wife. Julia Penni-
man, who is a direct descendant of Gov.
Bradford, of "Mayflower" fame. One daugh-
ter was born of this union, Julia Wickes
Wheeler, born March 27, 1878.

On January 23, 1S95, a notable anniver-
sary was held in Poughkeepsie in honor of
Dr. Wheeler's fifty years of ministerial labor.
Denominational lines were broken down, and
representatives of all creeds joined in honoring
a career in which the love for and faith in the
Afaster whom all aim to follow has been so
abundantly shown. In the afternoon a re-
ception was held in the church, followed by a
collation which assumed the aspect of a family
Thanksgiving Dinner. Rev. Father Nilan. of
' St. Peter's Catholic Church, was among the



after-dinner speakers, and said that in eighteen
years of his hfe in Poughkeepsie he has come
to look upon Dr. Wheeler as a friend. They
had talked together and fought together — not
very bitterly to be sure — and it was evidence
of progress that one of their discussions had
been about doctrines which in former times
caused men to burn each other, yet they had
not lost their mutual love and respect. Other
speakers were Rev. Dr. \'an Gieson, of Pough-
keepsie, and Mr. William W. Smith, who
spoke for the trustees; there were present also
Rev. Dr. D. J. McMillan, secretary of the
Presbyterian Board of Home Missions; Ixev.
Dr. T; Ralston Smith, Stated Clerk of the
Synod of New York; Rev. Duncan C. Niven
and wife, of Highland; Rev. Edgar Beckwith
and wife, of Pleasant Valley; Rev. James Otis
Denniston, of Cooperstown; Rev. C. H. Sne-
deker; Rev. Wayland Spaulding; Rev. Dr.
Strobridge; Rev. Robert Farrier; Rev. Fields
Hermance; Rev. William Bancroft Hill; and
Mr. Cartland, representing the Society of
Friends. In the evening a large public meet-
ing was held, addressed by Dr. McMillan and
Dr. Smith, which closed with the singing of
an original hymn by Rev. John McNaughton,
D. D. Letters were read from friends in all
parts of the Union, many testifying gratefully
to the worth and effectiveness of Dr. Wheeler's
labors, one coming from a successful pastor in
Ohio, who had been influenced by him to
leave the carpenter's bench for the ministry.

A remarkable fact in Dr. W'heeler's life is
that in his half-century of work he has never
been kept from ministerial duty by sickness
more than nine days. This he attributes to a
good constitution, strengthened by the simple
healthful life of his earl}' years upon the farm,
with plenty of work, relieved by wholesome

On Sabbath morning, September 22, 1895,
owing to the weight of increasing years. Rev.
Dr. W'neeler presented his resignation, as
pastor of the Church to which he had so faith-
fully ministered for thirty-six years. He was
made Pastor-Emeritus; but as his successor
was not chosen, up to the time of his death,
but a few months later, Dr. Wheeler remained
to the end the pastor of the Church. Very
suddenly came the summons for him to enter
into life everlasting. "On the 27th of De-
cember, 1895, the Angel of Death entered
into the household of a beloved disciple, the

Rev. Dr. F. B. Wheeler. Scarcely had the
air ceased to vibrate with the joyous Christmas
song of the angelic host, when he who has
walked in white for thirty-si.x years through
the streets of the city of Poughkeepsie, an
epistle known and read of all men, passed
into his dismantled home with a scholar's love
and care for his books, to arrange for their re-
moval to a new habitation. Soon after, the
angel, at first unrecognized, touched him;
there was a brief season of helplessness, in
which it was given his family to gather around
him, a quiet child-like sleep, and then the
angel took his hand and led him through the
group of loving and sorrowing ones, and in a
moment his oft-repeated text was verified, and
his eyes beheld ' the King in His beauty. '

"A man of wonderful poise, of encom-
passing catholic spirit, of broad patriotic
views, commanding the respect and love of
all classes and conditions of men, he so
walked with God in the presence of all the
people, that those who knew him feel they will
never look upon his like again, while all feel
the whole city is impoverished because this
gentle spirit is not, for his Lord has taken him."

OAQUIM MARILL, M. D., a prominent
physician of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess coun-
^' ty, was born at Havana, Cuba, December
21, 1 84 1, son of Joaquim Marill and Eugenia
Alvarez, the former of whom was a wealthy
planter and sugar grower.

Our subject was educated at his native
place, graduating from the University of Ha-
vana in i860, and then went to Paris in order
to study medicine. In July, 1861, he came to
Philadelphia, and in October of the same year
he joined the 137th Regiment, P. V. I., as
surgeon, and was sent to the front. At the
second battle of Bull Run he was taken pris-
oner, and was confined in Libby prison until
September 24, 1864, when he was exchanged.
On reporting for duty, he was ordered to
Sickleboro Hospital, at Alexandria, Va. , where
he remained until receiving his discharge from
the service in July, 1865. Returning to Ha-
vana, he in 1866, before the Rebellion, joined
the Spanish army as surgeon, remaining until
1870.. In that year, on account of his politic-
al views being in sympathy with his country-
men, he came back to the United States, and
began the practice of his profession at High-
land, Ulster county, in 1874 removing to



Poughkeepsie, where he has practiced ever
since, with the exception of eight months he
spent in Vera Cruz during the yellow-fever
epidetiiic of 1886, during which period he was !
commodore-surgeon of the Alexandria fleet.
After his return to Poughkeepsie he resumed
his practice, and has met with remarkable

In 1874 Mr. Marill was married, at High-
land, N. Y., to Miss Amanda \V. Caire, a
daughter of Louis Caire, and they have three
children: Minnie, Maria and Pilar. The
Doctor is an active member of the I\. of P.,
American Legion of Honor, Knights of Honor,
and of the United Friends, while politically, he
is a stanch supporter of the Republican party.

Our subject's father, who was a wealthy
planter and broker, was descended from an
old titled family, known until his death as the
Marquez and Count of Palestine. Our sub-
ject's mother, Eugenia Alvarez, was a close
descendant of the house of Alva and Alvarez,
one of the older Spanish titles, dating back to
the sixteenth century, in the reign of Philip H.

ISAAC PLATT came of pioneer ancestry in
Dutchess county, all of the name in this

country tracing their descent from the same
source. Eliphalet Piatt, his grandfather, came
to Dutchess county at an early date, and set-
tled northeast of the site of Poughkeepsie,
where he followed agricultural pursuits. His
death occurred in Dutchess county, and his
remains were buried at Pleasant Valley. He
married Hannah Causten, and reared a family
of children, among whom was a son Joseph,
our subject's father, who also engaged in
farming. He wielded great influence in his
locality, in a quiet way, and was a leader in
political and religious affairs. He and his
wife, Hannah Barnes, had three children:
Isaac, Joseph Causten, and Catharine, who
died in girlhood.

Isaac Piatt was born in 1803, in Albany
county, N. Y. , where his parents made their
home for a short time, but the greater part of
his early life was spent in the town of Pough-
keepsie, Dutchess county. He attended
school there, and as a young man became a
member of a debating club which met in a
little school house near his home, and had no
small influence upon his education and his
subsequent career. One of its members,
Horatio Potter, afterward became bishop of

New York; another, Alonzo Potter, was
bishop of Pennsylvania, and another, John
Kennedy, became prominent in the M. E.
Church. These young men were then appren-
tices in the printing office and book store kept
by Paraclete Potter, publisher of the Pough-
keepsie Journal, and being warm friends of
Mr. Piatt, influenced him to enter the same
emploj'ment. He served an apprenticeship as
a printer, and then began teaching school.
About the year 1824 the Democratic party
was in need of a new organ in Poughkeepsie,
and Isaac Piatt and William Sands were em-
ployed to publish it under the firm name of
Sands & Piatt. In accordance with this ar-
rangement the Poughkeepsie Telegraph was
started, the first issue appearing May 5, 1824.
This afterward became the Au-iL's-Tcli-grei/'li,
and is still the Democratic organ of the

During the political discussions of 1828 all
the papers in the city favored Andrew Jack-
son, leaving the Whigs with no mouthpiece,
and to meet this need the Dutchess Intelli-
gencer was started. It failed, however, and was
purchased by Isaac Piatt and Frederick Par-
sons, who continued it; but the returns were
so small that Mr. Parsons decided to abandon
it. Mr. Piatt wished to keep on, and offered
Mr. Parsons $7.00 per week to remain as his
assistant. The offer was accepted, Mr. Par-
sons regarding this munificient sum as better
than a share in doubtful profits, and gave up
his interest as a partner. In spite of discour-
agements the paper began to prosper under
Mr. Piatt's management. In 1833 itwascon-
solidated with the Dutchess Republican, which
had been in existence for some time. The
new name — The Intelligencer and Republican
— was changed during the following year to
The Eagle. In 1843 Mr. Piatt bought out his
partner, Thomas S. Ranney, who went to In-
dia under the auspices of the Baptist Church,
and in 1844 the Eagle was united with the
Journal, William Schram joining Mr. Piatt in
the new firm of Piatt & Schram. The daily
issue was started December 4, i860. Mr.
Piatt was a fearless champion of the right as
he saw it, and the Eagle denounced the fugi-
tive slave law during Fillmore's administra-
tion, although Mr. Piatt was holding office at
the time as postmaster of Poughkeepsie, hav-
ing been appointed by President Taylor. He
was the chairman of the boundary commission
that established the line between New York



and Connecticut in i860, and during the Civil
war he served as provost marshal of the Con-
gressional district, making the first draft. In
local affairs he always took a keen interest; he
was a warm friend of the public-school system,
and as a member of the board of education
helped to introduce many reforms in the city
schools. He was a pioneer advocate of a rail-
road along the river from New York City to
Albany, and wrote a series of articles in the
interests of that project, which were published
in a New York paper, signing himself " Civil
Engineer." All phases of progress command-
ed his sympathy, and he was a leader in social
life and in religious work as a member of the
Episcopal Church. He died June 5, 1872,
leaving a widow, Mrs. Harriet (Bowne) Piatt,
and five children: John I., James Bowne,
Edmund Pendleton, Henry Barnes (now a
resident of New York City) and Harriet
Bowne. Mrs. Piatt, to whom he was married
in 1836, was born in 1804. and died in 1892,
aged eighty-eight years. She was a daughter
of Obadiah Bowne, a well-known citizen of
Dutchess county.

Hon. John I. Platt, editor of the Pough-
keepsie Eagle, is a man whose work in the de-
velopment of this section has won for him a
place among our leading citizens, and the fol-
lowing history, in its brief resume of his useful
career, furnishes an example which is well wor-
thy of emulation.

Mr. Platt is a native of Poughkeepsie, born
June 29, 1839 (his father, Isaac Platt, being
referred to in the preceding sketch). He ob-
tained an education in the schools of his native
place, and as a young man learned the printer's
trade in his father's office, being advanced later
to responsible positions in the office of publi-
cation. On April i, 1865, he purchased Mr.
Schram's interest, and became a partner in the
conduct of the paper with his father, the firm
being Isaac Platt & Son. In 1869 James B.
Platt, another son, took an interest in the
concern, and at the death of Isaac Platt the
two brothers continued the business, the firm
of Platt & Platt being founded. The Eagle is
still published under this firm name, though in
1893 our subject's son, Edmund Platt, became
a member of it. The plant was moved to its
present quarters in 1867. At the time the
Daily Eagle was started. Mr. Platt was tele-
graph editor, and during the war he held this
position, taking charge of what was then the

most important news. In 1865 he became
manager, and since 1872 he has been the

Political questions interested Mr. Platt
from an early age, and as soon as he attained
his majority he entered into active work as a
supporter of Republican principles, stumping
the county for Abraham Lincoln, and makmg
eight or ten speeches. He is a talented speaker,
and his services have been called into requisi-
tion in each succeeding Presidential campaign.
In 1865 the city of Poughkeepsie was organ-
ized in four independent departments, causing
great irregularities in administration, and a
new charter being desired a committee of
twelve was appointed to secure it. Mr. Platt,
as a member of this body, drew up the char-
ter as it was presented to the Legislature and
passed. In 1895 he was among the commit-
tee chosen to revise the charter; but as the
amendments did not pass, it was again remod-
eled, and in 1896 received legislative sanction.
Mr. Platt served three years on the water
board, being its president for the year suc-
ceeding the completion of the works, and he
did much to shape the action of the board on
a business basis. In 1886, '87 and '88 he was
a member of the State Assembly, but declined
to run for another term. He served on the
committee on public education, and for two
years was chairman thereof. For three years
he served on the committee on appropriations,
and during his last year he was chairman of
the committee on revision, each bill, before its
third reading, being sent to this committee for
correction. Mr. Platt did much effective work
while in the legislature, serving ably and faith-
fully his constituency and the interests of the
State at large. From April, 1891, to April,
1895, he was postmaster of Poughkeepsie, and
for eleven years he was one of the board of
managers of the Hudson River State Hospi-
tal, having been appointed by Gov. Cornell.

Mr. Platt is connected with several busi-
ness enterprises. He has been a member of
T.he Poughkeepsie Board of Trade since its or-
ganization, has served three years as president,
and is now vice-president. He was one of the
incorporators of the Poughkeepsie City Rail-
way Co. (horse-power), and was president for
one year. His earnest advocacy of a bridge
across the Hudson at Poughkeepsie was a

Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York → online text (page 15 of 183)