J.H. Beers & Co.

Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

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was a Democrat, and was a delegate to the
convention at Rochester which ruled Boss
Tweed out of power. Soon after this he went
over to the Republican party, and has been
quite active in its interests ever since. Socially
he is a Royal Arch Mason, and in all public
matters is a generous and progressive citizen,
who is ever ready to do his part.



UFCUT FAMILY. In early times a set-
tlement was made along what is now
known as the Ten Miles river, in Dover, in
eastern Dutchess county, by immigrants from
the upper Rhine (now Alsace) and from Hol-
land. One of these families who came from
Ingersheim, in Alsace, was named Hoffgoot.

John Lodwick Hoffgoot is the first of which
there is authentic knowledge. He claimed to
be a Lutheran minister. Objection was made
by Rev. Christian Knoll, the Lutheran minis-
ister of the Beekman's Precinct, to his officiating
in Dutchess county, and he was ordered by
the Consistorj' not to preach. He appealed to
the Colonial Governor, George Clinton, of
New York, who, after investigating the matter,
granted him on the 24th day of February,
1748, a license as a minister to preach the Gos-
pel. He is said to have had a son Nicholas,
and that Nicholas was the father of John (born
in 1760), who spelled his name Hoofcoot.
John could speak both German and English,
and his wife, Jane Koens, who was of Holland-
Dutch descent, could talk the Dutch language.
John and Jane were the parents of George,
Nicholas and others. Of these, George, who
spelled his name Hoofcut, married Hannah
Benson, and their children were: John, Car-
oline, George, Jane, Henry, Shadrach, Will-
iam, Betsey, Obed and Perry. All of these
married, and left issue, except Jane and Shad-



rach. John Hoofcoot, the father of George,
Nicholas and others, died about 184S, and was
buried in the cemetery at Dover Plains. He
was called "Captain John Hoofcoot " on the
tombstone. George, the son of John, was a
farmer and lawyer at Dover, and died about
1853, aged seventy-eight.

George, his son, married Sarah A. Dennis.
The first of her family was John Dennis, who,
in 1647, received a deed of land at Cape May,
in Jersey, from an Indian chief named Pank-
toe, in behalf of the Indians. While the Rev-
olutionary war in America was in progress
Thomas Dennis, then a resident of New Jer-
sey, was captured by the British, carried off a
prisoner and died. His two children, Joseph
and Sarah Dennis, being left without any one to
care for them, a relative from Beekman, Dutchess
county, brought them from New Jersey to Beek-
man, Dutchesscounty, and they were there cared
for. This Joseph Dennis, who married Re-
becca Tanner, was the father of Sarah Dennis,
whom George Hoofcut married. In 1827 this
George Hoofcut changed the spelling of his
name to Hufcut. He was a farmer and law-
yer, owning mills and quarries at Dover Plains,
and carried on considerable business there.
He served his apprenticeship in one of the
small cloth factories which were in almost
every town throughout Dutchess county, from
1820 to 1835. They made sattinet (a mi.xture
of cotton and wool), and also dressed and col-
ored the homespun woolen cloths made by the
farmers' wives; carding machines were also
connected with these establishments, to make
the rolls of wool which the women spun at
their home. He never engaged in the busi-
ness. All the Hufcuts carried on farming at
Dover e.xcept John, who resided in Lewis
county, and was a farmer there. George and
Sarah Hufcut were the parents of George,
Horace D. and Rachel. George Hufcut died
in 1 88 1, aged seventy-five; Sarah, his widow,
died in 1885, aged seventy-nine. He was ad-
mitted as an attorney and counselor in 1848.

Horace D. Hufcut, now residing at Pough-
keepsie, was born in Dover, Dutchess Co.,
N. Y. , October 12. 1837. He was educated
at the schools of Poughkeepsie and at Amenia
Seminary, then studied law with George Huf-
cut, his father, at Dover Plains, and was ad-
mitted as an attornej' and counsellor in i860.

In politics Mr. Hufcut is a Democrat, arid
as such ran for the office of school commis-
sioner in the first Lincoln campaign, in the



180



COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



First Assembly District of Dutchess county.
He was elected and served as town clerk and
also as supervisor of the town of Dover; in
1866 he was appointed and served as clerk of
the board of supervisors. In 1863 he was ap-
pointed, by Governor Horatio Seymour, recruit-
ing agent for the First Assembly District of
Dutchess county. He enlisted, and had ac-
cepted by the United States mustering officer,
150 men. After the war he continued to
practice his profession in partnership with his
father, under the name of G. & H. D. Hufcut,
until January i, 1884, when, having been
elected surrogate of Dutchess county, he re-
moved to Poughkeepsie and served in that in-
cumbency until January i, 1890. In 1891 he
was elected district attorney of Dutchess county,
and served as such for three years. In 1892
he associated with him Everett H. Travis, and
since that time has practiced his profession,
under the name of Hufcut & Travis, at No. 54
Market street, Poughkeepsie. In the election
of 1896 he supported the regular Democratic
ticket. He is a member of the M. E. Church.
Mr. Hufcut's wife, Alice M. (Glidden), was
a daughter of Samuel G. and Martha A. Glid-
den, and was born at Damariscotta, Maine.
They have two children: Florence G. and
Horace G.



COL. ROBERT F. WILKINSON, one of
_' the most prominent lawyers of Pough-
keepsie, and a veteran of the Civil war, is a
member of one of the most distinguished fam-
ilies of Dutchess county.

John Wilkinson, his great-grandfather, was
a well-known citizen of his day, a farmer by
occupation and the father of a large family,
among whom were three sons (triplets) — Rob-
ert, our subject's grandfather; Gilbert; and
Livingston, who died when a young man.
They were named for Robert Gilbert Living-
ston, a prominent resident of Dutchess county.
John Wilkinson lost his life by the fall of a
bridge over the Housatonic river, across which
he was driving on his way to New Haven to
place his son Robert in college.

Robert Wilkinson, our subject's grandfa-
ther, was born in 1787, and in 1806 was grad-
uated from Yale College as the valedictorian
of his class. He married Phoebe Oakley,
daughter of Jesse Oakley, who was the head
of a large family, .■\nother of his daughters
married Judge Abraham Bockee, a member of



the Court of Errors, and for several years a
representative of this district in the State Sen-
ate and in Congress, while still another daugh-
ter married Gilbert Wilkinson, one of the trio
above named. Robert Wilkinson moved to
Glens Falls in 181 2, and was surrogate of
Warren county for two years, but returned to
Dutchess county to practice law at Dover
Plains, where he remained until the election of
his brother-in-law. Judge Thomas J. Oakley,
to Congress in 1828, when he moved to Pough-
keepsie and succeeded to a considerable part
of Judge Oakley's practice. He was a schol-
arly man, eloquent, with many fine natural
gifts. Holding strong convictions upon the
reform movements of his time, he became
widely known as a promoter of religion and of
the temperance cause. He was a Whig, and
a warm personal friend of Henry Clay, but he
never held any official position except that of
surrogate of Warren county, as stated, and
surrogate of Dutchess county, by appointment
just previous to the adoption of the Constitu-
tion of 1846. He died in Poughkeepsie in
1849.

His son, William Wilkinson, our subject's
father, was born at Poughkeepsie, May 7, 1810,
and after receiving a common-school and aca-
demic education, he attended the Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute, at Troy, N. Y., then
under the control of the celebrated Prof. Eaton.
He then studied law and practiced with his
father, and later with the late William I.
Street. He was a leading member of the Pres-
byterian Church, and a man of considerable
literary attainments, being a frequent writer
upon various subjects. In 1842 he married
Mary E. Trowbridge, daughter of Stephen B.
Trowbridge and his wife, Eliza Conklin, both
of whom were members of well-known families
in the county. He died December 12, 1864,
leaving five children: Robert F., our subject;
William; Edward T. ; Eliza, who married Au-
gustus E. Bachelder, of Boston, Mass.; and .
Catherine, who married Peter French, and
died in 1885, leaving two children.

Robert ¥. Wilkinson was born at Pough-
keepsie June 10, 1843. He studied at the
Dutchess County Academy, and under a priv-
ate tutor, and then spent one year in the State
and National Law School at Poughkeepsie. In
1859 he entered Williams College with the
class of 1863, and the next year joined the
class of 1 86 1. He left college in 1861 without
graduating, but he and other students who.





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Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York → online text (page 36 of 183)