J.H. Beers & Co.

Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

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num was again married, this time to Harriet
Ann Potts, who was born August 11, 1833,
and they have two children: J. Edmund, who
was born November 20, 1869, and is now with
the Wagner Palace Car Co., in New York
City, and John Dibble, Jr., born July 21, 1871.
In political sentiment, Mr. Barnum has always
been an ardent Republican, and he is devoted
to the best interests of his town and county,
being numbered among the most public-spirited
and progressive citizens of the community.

FRANK E. BURNETT, one of the leading
_ business men of Red Hook, Dutchess
county, the senior member of the firm of Bur-
nett Bros., is a descendant of a family which
has long been prominent in that place.

His father, Stephen R. Burnett, was born
there in the year 1829, and from that time to
the present has had his residence there. Early
in life he learned the carpenter's trade, and fol-
lowed it successfully for some years, and in
1865 he engaged in the furniture and under-
taking business, conducting it with increasing
trade and protit until 1886, when he transferred
it to his two sons. He is a man who stands
high in the esteem of the community, and al-
though he has never sought public office he
wields an influence in a quiet way in every pro-
gressive movement. He was a charter mem-

ber of Christian Lodge No. 379, L O. O. F.,
organized January 28, 1874, and he is now a
Past Grand of the Lodge and Past Deputy
Grand Master of the District of Dutchess. He
was married in 1853 to Miss Sarah Eighmy, a
daughter of George Eighmy, a prominent resi-
dent of Rhinebeck. The two children of this j
union are Frank E., our subject, born April
27, 1855, and William E., born March 12,
i860. Both were educated in the common
schools of their native place, and after com-
pleting the course Frank E. Burnett entered
the employ of his father and learned the de-
tails of the business. The younger brother en-
gaged in mercantile business for different
parties until the time of the father's retirement
from active life. Under the able management
of the two the firm has maintained its prestige,
and its growing business gives evidence of their
energy and judgment.

On October 30, 1S79, Frank E. Bur-
nett married Miss Estella C. Lasher, a daugh-
ter of Jacob Lasher, a well-known citizen of
Madalin. William E. Burnett is also married,
his wife being formerly Miss Ella Hermance, a
daughter of Edward Hermance, of Red Hook.
Neither couple have had any children.

Our subject takes an active part in local
affairs, giving his influence to all movements
which promise to aid the community. At the
age of twenty-one, he became a member of the
L O. O. F., Christian Lodge No. 379, and is
a Past Grand and Past District Deputy Grand
Master of the order. He is also one of the
charter members of Shiloh Encampment No.
68, and has the distinction of being Past Chief
Patriarch, and was District Deputy Grand Pa-
triarch for the year 1896.

FRANK E. BIRDSALL, one of the reliable
and progressive young farmers and rep-
resentative men of the town of Clinton, Dutch-
ess county, is actively engaged in general
farming upon the place which he purchased in
the spring of 1895. A native of Dutchess
county, he was born August 6, 1867, in the
town where he still resides.

On coming to America the founders of the
family first located in \\'estchester county, N.
Y., whence they removed to Orange county,
where Solomon Birdsall, the grandfather of
our subject, located on a farm granted by
King George of England to Mr. Lepton, from
whom the great-grandfather purchased it.



There Solomon spent his entire life in agri-
cultural pursuits, and was a faithful member
of the Society of Friends. He was married in
Ulster county, N. Y., to Phctbe Young, and
to them were born seven children, Abram Y.
Birdsall, the father of our subject, being third
in order of birth. He was born March 19,
18 — , at Leptondale, Orange Co., and there
on a farm his boyhood days were passed.
After attending the district schools for a time
he entered Union Springs Boarding School in
New York State, and was then a student in the
Friends Boarding School at Providence, R. I.
After graduating from the Eastman Business
College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., he secured a
position as bookkeeper in New York City, and
later was a commission merchant. For fifteen
years he carried on the feed business, but is
now living upon a farm in the town of Wash-
ington, Dutchess county, and devotes his time
to its cultivation.

In that township he married Elizabeth
Haight, a daughter of Lewis Haight, and tsvo
children graced their union: Frank E. and
Gertrude. The parents both hold member-
ship with the Friends Church, and the father
always casts his ballot with the Republican

The childhood of Frank E. Birdsall was
spent in Brooklyn, N. Y. , until he was seven
years of age, when he accompanied his par-
ents to Orange county, where the following
si.xteen years were passed. He secured an
excellent education in the district schools, at
the Union Springs Boarding School, and com-
pleted his literary training with an academic
course in the New Paltz Normal. For four
years he remained upon his father's farm at
Millbrook, Dutchess county, thus becoming
familiar with farm life in all its details. His
practical knowledge of agriculture, combined
with his sound judgment and good business
ability, no doubt wins him success in his chosen
calling, and we predict for him a brilliant

On October 16, 1894, in the town of Clin-
ton, Mr. Birdsall was united in marriage to
Miss Mary G. Griffen, daughter of William D.
Griffen. In his political affiliations he is an
infle.xible adherent of the doctrinesand prin-
ciples of the Republican party, and he is an
earnest member of the Friends Church. He
enjoys the esteem and confidence of his neigh-
bors, and, with his excellent wife, is a valued
addition to the society of the township.

WILLIAM J. BROOKS, one of the promi-
nent and reliable business men of Hi-

bernia, Dutchess county, was born in Ancram,
Columbia Co., N. Y., August 19, 1861. His
father, who was born in England, in 1831,
bore the name of Henry Brooks, and was the
youngest of the six children that comprised the
family of John and Mary (Ross) Brooks, the
former also a native of England, and the latter
the daughter of Alexander Ross, of Pough-

When Henry Brooks was about eight years
of age, his father brought the family to Amer-
ica and lo.cated in Poughkeepsie, N. Y. , where
he established himself in business. After com-
pleting his education in the schools of that city,
Henry Brooks took up farming, and was also
employed as watchman at the Livingston
Rolling Mill in Poughkeepsie, in 1870. At
Millbrook, Dutchess county, he was united in
marriage with Rachel Butts, a daughter of
James Butts, and five children were born to
them: Lydia, who was born August 19, 1856,
and is the wife of Jay White, of Wassaic,
N. Y. ; William J. comes next; /\my, wife of
George Siegler, of Ancram, N. Y. ; Fred; Susie,
wife of Thomas McCarthy; and Eddie. For
many years the father has now made his home
at Ancram, Columbia county, where he is en-
gaged in agricultural pursuits. His religious
views are those of the Methodist Church, and
in politics he is a stanch Republican.

The education of our subject was obtained
in the schools of Ancram and Poughkeepsie,
and on laying aside his text books to take up
the more arduous duties of life, he was first en-
gaged either in farming on the old homestead
or being employed by others. In 1890, how-
ever, he came to Hibernia, Dutchess county,
where he purchased land and erected his pres-
ent house and store. He at once began the
coal and livery business, but February, i, 1895,
he opened his general store, where he carries a
complete assortment of general merchandise
such as can be found in a first-class store of the
kind. He is a wide-awake, energetic business
man, honorable in all his dealings, thus win-
ning the confidence and esteem of all with
whom he comes in contact, either in a business
or social way.

On June 12, 1889, in Troy, N. Y., Mr.
Brooks married Miss Cora B. Duncan, daugh-
ter of Cyrus Duncan, of the town of Washing-
ton, Dutchess county, and to them was born a
son, Henry. Mr. Brooks is a warm advocate



of Republican principles, although h^^ has very
little time to devote to politics, and he is a
consistent member of the ^fethodist Episcopal

JAMES REYNOLDS. Among Poughkeep-
"sie's most active and progressive business

men of to-day is the subject of this brief
review, whose successful career of twenty-five
years in business in that city has been such as
to recommend him for the presidencj' of one of
the leading and substantial business interests of
Poughkeepsie — James Reynolds ElevatorCom-

Mr. Reynolds was born at Poughkeepsie,
Dutchess county, June 7, 1858. He attended
school in his native city, and in 1873 was
graduatQ,d from Riverview Military Academ}'.
After his graduation he at once began his busi-
ness career as a clerk in the wholesale grain
and feed store of Reynolds & Co., which was
located oposite the depot of the Hudson River
railroad. He remained with this firm thirteen
years, then purchased a retail business in the
same line, the location of which was in Union
street. Under the judicious management and
popularity of Mr. Reynolds the business in-
creased so that more room was required, and
in November, 1S88, he purchased the Parker
mill and the surrounding property, and con-
verted the mill into a complete grain elevator.
Large and commodious warehouses were
erected in connection with the elevator, and
largely increased switching facilities added; and
also another retail store opened on Main street.
This business so increased that in February,
1896, it was incorporated under the name
of James Rejmolds Elevator Company, and
has so continued to the present, our subject
being the president of the company. The other
officers are: George E. Cramer, of Reynolds
& Cramer, vice-president, and Willard C. Vail,
secretary. The main office, elevator and
warehouse are on the corner of North and
Garden streets, and the retail stores at Nos.
226 and 22S Union street, and No. 17 Cath-
erine street. The company does an extensive
business in flour, feed, grain, hay, straw, salt
and fertilizers; also in poultry, kennel and bee-
keepers' supplies.

Mr. Reynolds is not only one of the sub-
stantial business men of Poughkeepsie, but one
of the popular and esteemed citizens.

ILLIAM B. DINSMORE (deceased).
The first ancestor of the Dinsmore
family of whom we have any record was John
Dinsmoor, who went from Scotland to Ireland
in the seventeenth century, having run away
from home at the age of seventeen because
his father had compelled him, as the second
son, to hold the stirrup while his elder brother
mounted a horse. Unwilling to submit to
such an indignity, he sought a new home
in County Antrim, Ireland, where he lived
to the age of ninety-nine years, and was dis-
tinguished for his piety. His son John (2)
married, and had two children, Robert, born in
1692, and Elizabeth.

America was then receiving many emi-
grants of the hardy Scotch-Irish race, and
leaving his little family, John Dinsmoor sailed
across the Atlantic, landing at a fort at the
islands known as " the Gorges," off the coast
of Maine. There he began to build a house,
but while shingling it he was captured by the
Indians. By making himself useful to the
chief he gained his favor; but the other mem-
bers of the tribe were not so well disposed,
and one day, in the absence of the chief, the
captive was accused of holding a conference
with some Englishmen on the coast, and was
condemned to die by fire. He had already
been bound to a tree, and the brush was piled
about him, when his friend, the chief, returned
and commanded his torturers to cease their
preparations until an investigation of the
charge could be made, as he' said there would
certainly be tracks found in the sand if the
alleged conference had been held upon the
shore. None were discovered by a careful
search, and Dinsmoor was accordingly released.
Later the tribe left that part of the country,
and on coming to a stream which crossed their
line of march the chief entered his canoe; but
as Dinsmore was about to push it off and step
into the stern the chief told him that he must
go no further. John pleaded that the Indians
would kill him if he lost the chief's protection,
but the latter said: "No, \'ou much honest
man, John. You walk to Boston," and giv-
ing him some nuts an>i bear's grease he told
him where he could conceal himself in a cave
until the rest of the Indians had crossed the
river. His parting words were: "Indian
and French have all this country. You walk
to Boston, take English canoe and walk to
your own country: you much honest man,
John." Dinsmoor found the cave, and waited



there for three days watchinfj tribe after tribe
pass until all were gone. He then started to
make his way to "the Gorges," but nearly
perished from hunger, and would have suc-
cumbed had it not been for some cranberries
which he found in a swamp. He reached the
fort in safety, and then took passage by sea to
Boston. From there he went to Rockingham
county, N. H., where a colony of Scotch-
Irish had settled in Nutfield township, now
Derry. Here he found old friends from
Londonderry, Ireland, and either through
sympathy for his sufferings, or as an induce-
ment for him to stay there, the proprietors of
the settlement deeded to him and his heirs
si.xty acres of land in Jee. As he was a mason
by trade, he built a stone house for himself and
sent for his family. After their arrival in
1730 he divided the farm between the two
children, both of whom were married and had
families, and he and his wife lived in the stone
house with his son-in-law. This house was
a noted point between Derry and Windham,
and until recently the location of the front
door stone was marked by an early apple tree
in the garden of P. D. Scott, generally known
as the Hopkins place. John Dinsmoor, or
"Daddy Dinsmoor," as he was called, died in

His son Robert brought to America his
wife, Margaret Orr, and four children, and
lived upon what is now known as the Barnet
field, the westerly field south of the brook
near the Scott house, and by the railroad. It
is near or was a part of the land given to John
Dinsmoor. The house stood on the top of
the hill a few rods west of an old cellar, about
fifteen rods north of the railroad, and some
forty rods west of the old highway, now dis-
continued. Soon after the death of his father
he moved to a farm in Windham, N. H.,
which has ever since been in the possession of
some of his descendants, and is now the resi-
dence of Edwin O. Dinsmoor. The dwelling
house is on or near the site selected by Robert
on a fine swell of land, and commands a wide
view to the east and south. The town records
of Windham show that he was prominent in
local affairs. He was one of three commis-
sioners appointed to organize the town, March
8, 1742, and was elected a selectman on that
daj'. The next year he served on the com-
mittee on lawsuits, formed presumably to pro-
tect the actual settlers from claims made by
patentees of the Crown. In 1744-45-46-47

and 50 he was moderator at the annual town
meetings, which as is well said in the " History
of Windham, N. Y.," from which these histo-
rical facts have been taken, " not only indi-
cates his urbanity of manners, his knowledge
of parliamentary law and his tact in governing
men, but also the esteem of his fellow citi-
zens." He died of fever and ague October
14, 1751, at the age of fifty-nine years. His
widow survived him until June 2, 1752. Of
their four sons, Samuel died November 12,
1753, aged twenty. The estate was divided
by lot among the other three, John, the eldest,
drawing the land north of the homestead,
comprising the farms lately occupied by John
and Daniel Kelly. Robert, the second son,
drew the homestead, and William, the west
portion lying south and west of "Jenny's
Hill " and extending to Cobbett's pond.

John Dinsmoor married Martha, .daughter
of Justice James McKeen, of Londonderry,
and passed his life at Windham, where he held
many prominent official positions, having been
town clerk, moderator of the town meeting, se-
lectman, justice of peace, delegate to the Pro-
vincial Congress at Exeter in 1775, ^"^ elder in
the Presbyterian Church. He had thirteen
children, of whom, the youngest, William, was
born at Windham in 1767. As a young man
of twenty years he went to Charlestown,
Mass., and engaged in mercantile business.
He wedded Catherine H., daughter of Gavin
Brown, an Englishman, who resided in State
street, Boston, on the north side, at the point
now occupied by the Merchants Bank. At
the time of the Boston Massacre the family,
hearing the firing in the streets, fied from the
house and did not return for two days, when,
to their surprise they found it just as they had
left it, which speaks well for the honesty of
the citizens of that town. Mrs. Dinsmoor
died at Boston in 1830, and her husband fol-
lowed her six years later. They had three
children: Catherine, born in 1805, died in
1857, who married Charles E. Bowers, of the
Adams Express Co.; Eliza, born in 1807,
died in 1827; and W'illiam B.

The late William B. Dinsinore was born
in Boston in 18 10, and was sent in boyhood to
Pinkerton Academy, at Derry, N. H. After
completing his course there he returned home,
but his father discovered, on testing his ac-
quirements, that he was a very poor penman,
and knowing the importance of a good hand-
writing to a business man he selected a good



teacher of penmanship, with whom the young
man gained unusual proficiency in the art. In
this painstaking attention to detail on the part
of both father and son may be found the
secret of their success, and the quality was
constantly shown in \\'illiam B. Dinsmore's
work in the Adams Express Company, to
which the best part of his life was given. It
would not be possible to give the history of
one without outlining that of the other, so
closely are they identified. In 1840 when
Mr. Alvin Adams, of Boston, established an
express business over the Norwich line from
Boston to New York, Mr. Dinsmore was em-
ployed as bookkeeper, and soon afterward a
partnership was formed between them under
the name of Adams & Co. Mr. Dinsmore
went to New York to look after the firm's in-
terest, and his innate conservatism and caution
is evidenced by his statement to his host at
the " United States '" hotel, that he was by no
means sure of the success of the enterprise.
In 1842 and 1843 the amount of business jus-
tified an extension of the company's lines, and
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and
Pittsburg were included in the service, and
other parties entered the company as proprie-
tors. In a few 3'ears they covered every rail-
way in the Southern States, and had made
rapid progress in the West, and July 1, 1854,
the Adams Express Co., a joint-stock associa-
tion, was organized with Mr. Adams as presi-
dent, and Mr. Dinsmore as treasurer, the
headquarters being located at New York.
The business continued to prosper; but a few
years later the difficulties between the North
and South made it necessar\' to sell the South-
ern lines to the stockholders in that section.
When the disagreements culminated in war,
the Adams Express Company rose to the oc-
casion, and their agents accompanied the
Union armies, establishing their offices wher-
ever the tents were pitched, thus giving the
soldiers an opportunity to send or receive
money or packages. Over five millions of
money parcels were forwarded from the sol-
diers to their families or friends without the
loss of a dollar. The agents were so active
and zealous in the discharge of their duties
that they often transgressed military rules;
and it is said that at the surrender of Vicks-
burg the Adams Express agent, in his desire
to secure a good location, rushed forward to
an unoccupied house, and was about to raise
the company's flag, when Gen. Grant rode up

and said in his quiet way, and with a charac-
teristic twinkle of the eye, " Will you do me
the favor to allow me to hoist my flag first.'"

The Adams Express Company now tra-
verses 72,162 miles of railway, and has agen-
cies at all places on the various lines, and as
the authorized agent of the United States
Treasury it has safely transported thousands of
millions of its treasures and securities. In
1856 Mr. Dinsmore became president of the
company, and for many years he remained at
his post in New York City, never permitting
himself to engage in any enterprise whicli
would divert his attention from the company's
interests; and this devotion was an acknowl-
edged factor in the rapid growth of the busi-
ness. His sound, conservative judgment led
him to firmly oppose any precarious invest-
ments, and carried the company through the
financial storms of thirty years with less loss
than has been sustained under the same con-
ditions by any other large corporation. His
integrity was unquestioned, and united with
his force of character, wealth and ability,
placed him among the leading business men of
the time. His death was widely deplored.

On October 19, 1S42, Mr. Dinsmore was
married to Miss Augusta M. Snow, of Brews-
ter, Mass., and had two sons: William B., Jr.,
born in 1844, and Clarence Gray, born in
1847. In ordinary conversation he was some-
what reserved in manner, but among friends
he was always frank, and genial, and his re-
marks overflowed with "mother wit." As a
correspondent he was noted for charm of
style and inexhaustible humor. His beautiful
country seat on the Hudson, at Staatsburg,
was the scene of unbounded hospitality, for
although naturally economical he always lived
in accordance with his circumstances, and
made wise use of his wealth instead of hoard-
ing it unduly. He had a generous heart, and
his assistance was freely given to many an un-
fortunate, although his quiet benefactions were
never heralded to the world.

SCHUBERT, a wealthy retired manufac-
turer residing at Glenham, Dutchess county,
has held for many years a leading place among
the modern artists in tapestries, and to his fine
taste and rare executive ability much credit is
due for the advance of this branch of art in



different manufacturing centers both in Europe
and America.

Mr. Schubert was born in BerHn, Germany,
Januarj' 30, 1817, the only child of Charles
and Dorothea (Fisher) Schubert. The father
was the proprietor of a livery stable there, and
also ran a line of stages. During the reign of
Frederick William he was drafted in the Prus-
sian army, and served some forty months un-
der Blucher, and on June 18, 1815, at the
battle of Waterloo, he was struck in the fore-
head by a spent shot, in consequence of which
he became blind shortly afterward.

Charles E. F. Schubert, our subject, re-
ceived his early education in the public schools
of Berlin, and in 1830 entered the Academy of
Fine Arts under Prof. Schadouw, remaining
four years, and graduating in 1834. He then
entered the factory of I^ouis Fonobert &Track-
ner, India rubber manufacturers, as a designer,
and remained with them in that capacity, and
also as a manager, for seven years. During
this time Mr. Truckner, the junior member of
the firm, invented the Mosaic tapestry, and in
1 84 1 sold the patent and machinery to a
French firm, Louis Vaison & Porait, and the
plant was removed to Paris, Mr. Schubert be-
ing appointed as foreman and designer. He
continued in their employ until 1847, when the
breaking out of the revolution in February,
1848, brought the industry to a standstill,
which they never afterward resumed. In con-
sequence Mr. Schubert found nimself in the
market for employment, and was engaged by
Recillard Roussel & Clioquil, one of the then
largest carpet-manufacturing firms in France,
at Tourcoing, Department du Nord, on the
borders of Belgium. Here he remained from
1847 to 1 85 1, and then accepted a situation
with the firm of JohnCrossley & Son, Halifax,
Yorkshire, England, where he remained as
chief designer in the tapestry and Brussels

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