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Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

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of Poughkeepsie; F"rank K., a physician; Ed-
ward, who resides at Mt. Vernon, S. Dak. ;
David (deceased); Sarah; and Henry G. (de-
ceased). The father died in 1858, and the
mother on February 26, 1883.

William Morgan Lee was born May 18,
1838, in Poughkeepsie. His literary and
scientific studies were pursued in the public
schools of that city, and with private tutors.
When twenty years old he taught a school at
Pleasant Valley, and in the same year he began
the study of law in the office of Wilbur & Van-
Cleef, with whom he remained one year. He
then taught for a few months at Schultzville,
and in 1862 entered the office of the provost
tnarshall at Poughkeepsie, where he was em-
ployed for two years and a half. Resuming



his legal studies in the office of Judge Charles
Wheaton, he prepared for his examination,
and was admitted to the bar in 1866. For
some time he practiced with Judge Wheaton,
and later with Judge Allard Anthony. He is
an able and influential worker in the Repub-
lican party, and in 1869 was appointed city
chamberlain, serving five years; in 1873 he was
elected supervisor of the Sixth ward, and city
attorney in 1877, which latter incumbency he
held for nine years. In i S83 he was nominated
for surrogate on the Republican ticket against
H. D. Hufcut. but, like the other candidates
of his party at that election, he was defeated.
From 1889 to 1893 he was deputy collector of
Internal Revenue for the Fourteenth District.
His well-proven abilities have given him a high
standing in business circles, and from 1893 to
to February, 1895, he was auditor and general
passenger agent for the P. & E. R. R.
Through all the varied and exacting duties of
these different positions he has carried on his
regular professional work, and enjoys an ex-
tensive and profitable practice.

On June 23, 1870, in Poughkeepsie, Mr.
Lee was married to Miss Mary Worrall, a na-
tive of Pittsburg, and the daughter of John
Worrall. Her grandfather, William Worrall,
was an early settler in Poughkeepsie, and at
one time owned most of the land upon which
the eastern part of the city now stands. Two
children were born of this union: Maud and
Frederick William. Mr. Lee and his wife are
leading members of the Episcopal Church, and
he has been a vestryman for thirteen years,
clerk of the vestry for four years, and is also
the treasurer of the Archdeaconry of Dutchess

He is an active member of the Masonic
fraternity, and he was received into Pough-
keepsie Lodge in March, 1869; Poughkeepsie
Chapter No. 172, Royal Arch Masons, in Sep-
tember, 1869; Poughkeepsie Commandery,
Knights Templar, in October, 1870; and was
elected High Priest of the Chapter in Decem-
ber, 1872, and re-elected four successive
terms. In May, 1876, he was chosen Com-
mander of Poughkeepsie Commandery, and
held the office six years. He was a charter
member and first Master of Triune Lodge No.
782, organized in 1879, and became a member
of King Solomon Council, Royal and Select
Masters, in 1880, serving as Master of the
Council for two years. In 1883 he served on
the staff of J. Edward Simmons, and in 1884

with William Brodie as Deputy Grand Master.
In 1887 he was Grand Principal Sojourner of
the State, and he has been Grand Steward in
the Grand Council, and is now the Repre-
sentative of the State of Wisconsin near the
Grand Council of the State of New York. In
1889 he became a member of Mecca Temple
of the Mystic Shrine in New York City.

ICHARD A. VARICK, M. D. (deceased),
t^ was born in the City of New York, April

24, 1806. His ancestors were Holland- Dutch,
and the name was originally spelled Van

Dr. Varick spent his early days on his fa-
ther's farm, after which he took a course of
lectures in a Medical College in New York, from
which he was graduated with the class of 1827.
After completing his course in medicine he
came to Poughkeepsie, and practiced with Dr.
John Barnes, with whom he remained until the
latter's death, after which our subject practiced
alone. He married Miss Eliza Harris, of
Poughkeepsie, and two children — one son and
one daughter — were born to them: John B. is
a wholesale hardware merchant in New Hamp-
shire; and Elizabeth Harris married William
R. Pell, of New York. Mrs. Varick died in
1837, and Dr. Varick subsequently married
Miss Isabel Shepherd, who was born in ^Albany
June 27, 1809. By this union there were
children as follows, five in number: (i)
Robert S. was in the hardware business in
New York City, and died when a young man.
(2) Remsen was in the Civil war, and was on
the first boat that went to Richmond, Va. ;
after the war he returned to Poughkeepsie and
entered the drug business; he died in 1883. (3)
Richard A., Jr., died while attending college.
(4) Ellen S. married Edward Barnes, a drug-
gist of Poughkeepsie. (5) William was a
merchant of Boston, and died in 1878. In
politics. Dr. Varick was originally a Whig,
later a Republican. He was a prominent citi-
zen, and stood high in the esteem of his fellow
men. He and his wife were liberal contribu-
tors of the Reformed Church. He was a mem-
ber of the Society of Cincinnati, as eldest son,
in nearest male line, inheriting it through Col.
Richard Varick, of the Revolutionary army,
and being succeeded at his death by his eldest
son, John B. Varick. Dr. Richard A. Varick
died August 10, 1871.

John V. B. Varick, father of our subject,



married Miss Dorothy Remsen in New York
City, shortly after which he located on a farm
in the town of Poughkeepsie, where he followed
agricultural pursuits a few years. Returning
to New York, he there remained until his death.
To him and his wife the following children
were born: Richard A.; Henry, who was an
attorney in Poughkeepsie, and died there;
James L. , a merchant in New York; John was
a farmer on the homestead, where he died;
Abram was a resident of Poughkeepsie; Jane
married Richard \'. Gilbert, a resident of Bridge-
port, Conn., and Poughkeepsie (both are now
deceased); Antoinette married William Pell, a
sea captain; and Kate became the wife of
Abram \'an Santvoord, a resident of New York
City. By his second wife, who was a Miss
Romeyn, John V. B. Varick had two children:
Susan, who married Cornelius Van Santvoord,
a prominent lawyer of New York; and Theo-
dore R., who was surgeon general of New
Jersey till his death.

tor of Knickerbocker Lodge, Van W3'ck
Lake, near Fishkill \'illage, Dutchess Co.,
N. Y. , and also the owner of extensive property
interests at Norfolk, Va., is one of our most
talented and successful men of affairs, ha\'ing
given to various financial enterprises through-
out his life the generalship, the energy, the
insight, and the indomitable will which mark
the highest type of business man.

He is a native of Fishkill, born October
27, 1823, at the old Van Wyck homestead,
on the Hudson, a place which has been in the
possession of his family for one hundred years.
The mansion is of the Colonial type, and is
famous as the house in which the proceedings
of the first legislature of the State of New
York were printed, and it is now occupied by
the Misses Vandervort, Mr. \'an Wyck's nieces,
the estate having been sold to them by him
for one-tenth of its value. His father, John C.
Van Wyck, was the owner of large tracts of
land in that vicinity, and for many years fol-
lowed mercantile pursuits in New York City.
He married Delia Griffin, and reared a family
of seven children: Letitia, Catherine, Jacob,
Helena, Henry Du Bois, Mary Ida and Adelia.

Mr. \'an Wyck was educated in the dis-
trict schools near his home, also at College
Hill, Poughkeepsie, and on leaving school he
went to New York City and clerked in a large

wholesale tobacco house for three years. He
then spent two years in the oil busmess; went
to Kalamazoo, Mich., with a large drove of
sheep, and located there upon a large farm
which he devoted to sheep raising and wheat
growing, his first crop of wheat from 600 acres
of land being the first large crop harvested in
the United States. In 1849 he went to San
Francisco, Cal. , meeting there William Annin,
of Fishkill Landing, and bought the barque
"Galindo," in which Mr. \'an Wyck made an
exploring trip to the North along the coast of
California and Oregon. Mr. Van Wyck was
captain, with James Riddell as sailing master,
and they carried sixty passengers, who were
in search of a river which was laid down on
one of Van Couver's charts as flowing into
Trinidad bay. They found the bay, but no
stream large enough to be called a river. One
whale boat was sent north from this point
and one south, with five men in each, but they
returned on the fifth day, having lost four men
while entering the mouth of Humboldt bay.
There was a mutiny on board of the barque,
which lasted several days, the passengers be-
ing of a very rough class. The party found a
tribe of Indians at Trinidad bay, who treated
them with great kindness, as did another large
band at Klamath river under Chief Cawtapish,
numbering about 1,800 warriors. Mr. \'an-
Wyck's party were the first whites they had
ever seen, as the generation which had greeted
Van Couver's men had gone to the happy
hunting grounds.

James Johnson and Mr. \'an Wyck were
the discoverers of the great Gold Bluff claims,
eight miles south of the Klamath river, which
are still being worked. In 1850 Mr. \'an-
Wyck sold his interest to A. J. Butler, brother
of Gen. Benjamin F-. Butler, and then having
procured thirty mules from San Francisco, he
started on an exploring expedition through the
Indian country, following the Klamath river,
and at the end of forty-four days they struck
the rich camp known as Yreka Mining camp,
near the foot of Mt. Shasta. They had passed
through several different large tribes of Indi-
ans, viz.: The "Chora," "Mad Rivers,"
"Klamaths," " Smith Rivers, ' " Rogue Riv-
ers," "Scott Rivers," "Shastas, " "Mo-
docs," and others, always being treated well,
although the Indians had never seen a white
person before, and Mr. \'an Wyck thinks there
never would have been any trouble with the
Indians if the white men had used them justly.



Many noted chiefs were amono; these tribes,
and Mr. Van Wyck says, '• he never saw
more beautiful women than were many of
these Indian maidens," particularly on the
coast. The Modoc Indian Jim, afterward
known as " Shack Nasty Jim," rode for one
year the bell animal, leader of a train of mules,
that Mr. Van Wyck was running from Yreka
to Portland, Oregon, and also to Marysville,
Cal., and other towns, where goods could be
procured. Mr. Van Wyck gave him a furlough
that he might visit his people, who were sup-
posed to be camping at the Lava Beds, sixty
miles from Yrel^. When he reached the Lava
Beds, he found they had gone to Pitt river,
fishing for salmon, and he came back after
three or four days in a very filthy condition,
having laid on the earth after heating it, so as
to keep warm, during the cold nights. He
had lived for two days on shack berries (a very
nutritious fruit), and when he appeared before
Mr. \'an Wyck, the latter said to him, "Jim,
you look so filthy, and having lived on shack
berries, I think your name ought to be changed,
so I will give you a new one, that of ' Shack
Nasty Jim;' " and this nickname clung to him
until his death.

The Modocs were alwaj's very kind to the
whites, until the whites by misusing them
caused them to be enemies instead of friends.
As an instance: In 1853, during the immense
immigration across the plains (all the men and
women being sick, and the catfle exhausted,
on account of the shortness of supplies), a
party of 300 emigrants went into camp near
the Modoc country, and one of the Modocs
volunteered to carry word of their sad plight
to "Yreka." On his arrival the message was
delivered to Mr. Van Wyck at his store, as he
was the largest dealer in that country. He im-
mediately called a meeting of the citizens, and,
as gold dust was as plenty as dirt, quickly
raised enough to purchase cattle, provisions,
medi^'nes and everything needed to bring them
through. An expedition was sent out under
the charge of a supposed merciful man, who
distributed the supplies among the suffering
emigrants. Having one fat ox left, he killed
it, barbecued a quarter of it, and invited the
leading men of the Modoc tribe to partake of
the feast. It was said at the time that strych-
nine had been put on this quarter, which he
had taken out to kill wolves in order to get their
pelts. At any rate, the party returned to
Yreka with eleven Indian scalps, and said that

they had had a terrible fight with the Modocs,
and the scalps were the trophies of their vic-
tory. Yreka people learned afterward that
there had been no fight, but that the Indians
had been poisoned. This accounts for the
manner in which Capt. Jack of the Modocs
treacherously killed Gen. Canby, of the U. S.
Army, as he always said he would get even by
killing some "big Boston fighting man." Mr.
Van Wyck remained at Yreka until i860, when
he went to Portland, Oregon, and remained
there six months, forming another expedition
which started for Idaho Territory, passing
through the Dallas, Umpqua, Umatilla, and
the place where the city of Walla Walla now
stands, on through Grand Ronde valley, and
over the Blue mountains, to the site of Boise
City, then a wilderness; from there they went
north and camped on a small stream sixty
miles from Boise City, and finding placer gold
in abundance, they started Idaho City, and in
nine months 18,000 miners were there at work
washing out the precious metal in enormous
quantities. On this trip the party passed
through the " Nez Perces" Umatillas, Grande
Ronde, Boise Rivers, Bannocks, and other
tribes of Indians without losing a man or even
having any trouble, being treated well all the
time. The Yreka camp and the Idaho City
camp were two of the richest mining places
ever discovered in the United States, and Mr.
Van Wyck was the leader of the party who dis-
covered both camps. In attempting to cross
Boise river with their mules they were detained
over twelve hours to allow a school of salmon
to pass up the stream, as the mules could not
be persuaded to go into the water until the fish
had passed. At this early period these rivers
were literally filled with salmon, and other fish.
Mr. Van Wyck ran stages from Yreka to
Red Bluff, Cal. (160 miles), for several years,
carrying Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express daily,
and having at times from 500 to 1,000 pounds
of gold dust to be minted at San Francisco and
carried back as coin. He never lost one dol-
lar by the "road agents," and it was said that
he was " in with the ' road agents,' " as, know-"
ing them all, and being very kind to them,
loaning them money whenever they needed it,
they had promised him that his stage coaches
should never be attacked, while the robberies
of other coaches were constant. Both Idaho
and Yreka Camp were filled with the roughest
elements in the world in those days, and mur-
ders were of daily occurrence, as from one to



seven men were found murdered every morn-
ing in the streets. Mr. \'an Wyck ran the
Bonaparte Gold & Silver (in which he was a
quarter-owner) for five years, doing his own
amalgamating, retorting and assaying, having
received a perfect knowledge of this science as
a student of the celebrated Joseph Oesstricher,
the gold and silver assayer of Idaho City.

Mr. Van Wyck was at one time given a
pass-word by Caw-Ta-Pish, chief of the Klam-
ath's tribe (whose life he had saved on one
occasion), which was often of great service to
him among the tribes who understood the
jargon language. The pass-word was this^
Cho, Ko, Nez, Wa, Gee, which expresses that
Mr. Van Wyck had been a great friend of the
Indians. Mr. Van Wyck at this point again
asserts his belief that there never would have
been bad Indians if it had not been for the bad
whites, some of whom would shoot a poor
Indian for their own amusement.

George P. Gordon, the inventor of the
Gordon printing press, with whom Mr. Van-
Wyck had been acquainted since 183Q, induced
him to sell his interests in Idaho and join him
in Southern speculating, and in 1869 Mr. Van-
Wyck went to Norfolk, Va., to look after
property to purchase. Being pleased with the
outlook and location, he wrote for Mr. Gordon
to come down immediately, and their first pur-
chase was the Mallory plantation, for which
they paid $51,000 cash, at the same time buy-
ing four other estates adjoining at a cost of
$21,000 more, making three thousand acres in
all of the most beautiful trucking land in \'ir-
ginia. Mr. Gordon died in 1879, and three
years later Mr. Van Wyck married his widow,
who died in California in 1890 of pneumonia.
Mr. Van Wyck was the pioneer in the garden
truck business in Virginia, working 180 negroes,
and eighty mules, and six horses daily, and he
still has an interest in the plantations which
will soon be sold to close up the estate of the
late Mrs. Van Wyck. He also owns many
buildings in Norfolk, Va. , including Van Wyck's
Academy of Music on Main street, which was
built twelve years ago at a cost of nearly $171,-
000, and is a temple of the dramatic and lyric
arts, of which Norfolk is justly proud. It is
four stories high, 200x150 feet ground plan,
and has an auditorium seating 1,600 people,
at the same time affording standing room for
some seven or eight hundred more. Its stage
is 45 X 60 feet, with a height of twenty feet to
the grooves, and a height in the clear of sixty-

five feet. The proscenium arch is thirty-two
feet wide by forty feet high. These dimensions,
the general design of the house and its hand-
some decorations and finish, have earned for it
the reputation of being the finest theatre south
of Washington. The best talent on the Amer-
ican stage is engaged for this house. The
present manager, who has had charge for the
past five years, is A. B. Duesberry, a Rich-
mond man of considerable experience in the-
atrical matters. The treasurer, C. M. Mayes,
has been with the house, in various capacities,
for the last seven years.

In 1890 Mr. Van W'yck •purchased the
property known as the Ross farm, at Fishkill,
Dutchess Co., N. Y., and constructed the lake
and buildings known as Knickerbocker Lodge,
Van Wyck Lake, improving and beautifying
the place at a cost of $51,000. The spring of
water located there has no equal in the world
for the cure of diabetes, and the charming
scenery and other advantages make it a delight-
ful summer resort.

E\DMUND L. HENDRICKS ^deceased).
'I The family name of Hendricks has long

been prominent in business circles in this re-
gion, and the subject of this sketch sustained
well the reputation for enterprise, good judg-
ment and public-spirit which was his birth-
right. His grandfather, Lawrence Hendricks,
was a well-kn'own resident of Red Hook. He
had a son, Jacob L. Hendricks, our subject's
father, who married Anna Moore, and reared
a family of children whose names with dates of
birth are as follows: Edmund L., July 12,
1809; Magdalene, October 19, 181 1; Jeremiah,
November 2, 18 13; and Philip, January 29,

Edmund L. Hendricks received the name
of Lawrence Edmund at his baptism, but in
later years he transposed it to Edmund Law-
rence. He was educated at the Upper Red
Hook Academy; then learned harness making,
and afterward engaged in the manufacture of
harness at Red Hook. He retired in Septem-
ber, 1863. On September 25, 1832, he was
married to Miss Barbara Ann Davis, of Red
Hook, and six children were born of this union:
Francis Theo, Mary Elizabeth, Cornelia A.,
Ediiumd D., William E. and Magdalene A.
Of this family all are now deceased except Mary
E. and Magdalene A. Their home was char-
acterized by refinement and quiet devotion to



Christian principles. After fifteen years of
wedded life, the mother died August 19, 1847,
the father surviving until November 27, 1883.
The Misses Hendricks still occupy the resi-
dence built by their father in 1842. They
were educated in Red Hook, and have taken
a leading position in social, religious and phil-
anthropic enterprises, and both are regarded
as most ready, active and generous supporters
of any measure tending to promote the welfare
of their community, or of that wide circle which
includes all humanity as one family.

m BRAM WRIGHT, one of the most prom-
Jb^ inent business men of Poughkeepsie,
Dutchess county, was born Novembers, 1812,
in the town of East Fishkill, and now carries
the burden of his eighty-five years with a
sprightliness and vigor which many men
younger than he might envy.

Isaac Wright, his father, was born in 1764
in Westchester county, N. Y. , where he grew
to manhood and married Miss Mary Hamilton,
who was born in 1763, a native of the same
county. Her father was born in the North of
Ireland, of Scotch-Irish parentage. Thirteen
children came of this union, of whom our sub-
ject is the youngest and now the only survivor.
Isaac Wright engaged in farming at his native
place after his marriage, and a few years later
moved to East Fishkill, being one of the ear-
liest settlers there. He was a man of very
strong constitution, and never knew what ill-
ness was until his last years. He died in 1839,
his wife surviving him nine years. They were
members of the M. E. Church, and so hospit-
able were they to ministers and other travelers
in those days that their home was known far
and near as the " Methodist Tavern."

Abram \N'right passed his boyhood on the
farm where he was born, his educational op-
portunities being limited to the neighboring
district school. His first money-making em-
ployment was in a country store at Coldspring,
Putnam county, at $4 per month and board.
Later, while visiting a brother at New Orleans,
he was persuaded by him to go into the cotton
commission business at Manchester (now Yazoo
City), Miss. There he remained six years,
when he was burned out, sustaining a loss of
$50,000. Gathering up what he could, he
again embarked in business, locating at Vicks-
burg, where for eight years he dealt extensively
in plantation supplies. He then returned to

New Orleans, holding an interest with his
brother Hamilton for two years, but sold out
and came back to his early home. After a few
years passed at Coldspring he moved to
Poughkeepsie, Where in 1857 he bought his
present place. He is a man of great energy
and business acumen, and has engaged in vari-
ous profitable enterprises. He was a stock-
holder in the company which built the Pough-
keepsie bridge, a director in the Farmers' and
Merchants' Bank, and is now one of the trus-
tees of the Poughkeepsie Savings Bank. He
has also speculated in real estate to some ex-
tent, and has built five stores on Main street
between Academy street and Eighme place.
Business cares have not, however, engrossed
his thoughts to the exclusion of matters of
public moment, for he has always been ready
to forward any movement for the welfare of
the city; he has held office on the board of ed-
ucation, and on the alms house commission;
has been alderman from the Sixth ward, and
has served several times on the waterworks
board, having been a member of that board at
its organization. Politically, he has always
been a stanch Democrat.

Mr. Wright was married, in 1837, to Mary
Warren, a daughter of Judge Warren, of Cold-
spring, and has had seven children: Eliza,
Charlotte, Webster, Sarah (Mrs. Leonard Car-
penter), Cornelia, Ida and William, of whom
only two are now living: Webster, a resident
of Plainfield, N. J., and William, who lives in

CHARLES DAVIS, whose death occurred
' in 1895, was one of the leading and influ-
ential agriculturists of the town of Dover,
Dutchess county. Timothy Davis, his grand-
father, was a native of Delaware county, N. Y.,
and was also a farmer. He wedded Miss Mary
Wilbur, by whom he had five children: Zilla,
Wilbur, Silas, Ruth and Sarah.

Wilbur Davis, the father of our subject,
was born and educated in Delaware county,
N. Y. , and followed the occupation to which
he was reared. He married Miss Ethel Man-
chester, and seven children came to bless their
union, as follows: (i) William, who was born
and educated in the town of Dover, Dutchess
county, there engaged in farming, and married

Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York → online text (page 46 of 183)