J.H. Beers & Co.

Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

. (page 56 of 183)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

time and cultivating the friendship of men of
like spirit; he passed the greater part of his
time in the enjoyment of his home and the
entertainment of his intimate friends, among
whom were many prominent in the profes-
sions, especially the ministry. Mr. Slee's pa-
ternal grandfather, from whom he was named,
was born in Gloucester, England, in 1771;
came to America in 1792, bringing his bride,
Esther, and household goods. Esther died in
1804, and was buried in Christ churchyard.

The elder Samuel Slee was admitted to
citizenship in 1802. During the State admin-
istrations of George Clinton and Daniel D.
Thompkins the elder Mr. Slee held success-
ively appointments of coroner, sheriff and
judge. He was also trustee of the village of
Poughkeepsie, and acted as its president. He
engaged in the manufacture of woolen goods,
importing machinery and workmen from Eng-
land, encouraged by the policy then in force
of protection to home productions. Upon the
conclusion of the war of 1812, and before the
news of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent
arrived in this country, English ships loaded
with woolens entered our harbors, and the
rising industry, left without protection to com-
pete with foreign makes, was swamped, and
Mr. Slee became financially involved and
forced into litigation which only found its end
in the Supreme Court of the United States,
where the principles for which he contended
became the law of the land. He subsequent-
ly engaged in the manufacture of boots and
shoes, and accumulated a fortune the second
time after he was forty years of age. Mr.
Slee was universally known as "Major" Slee,
and was in actual service six months in the
war of 18 12, stationed at Plattsburg. His
military career commenced in 1804 when he
was appointed first lieutenant (Capt. Nathan
Myers) of a company of artillery attached to
the brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. Theo-
dorus Bailey, by Gov. George Clinton; in 1806
Gov. Morgan Lewis appointed him captain of
the same company, in 1808 he became second



284



COMHIEMORATTVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



major of the 3rd Regiment of artillery on
appointment of Gov. D. D. Thompkins, by
whom he was in 1809 promoted to be first
major. In 181 5 Major Slee received his com-
mission of lieutenant-colonel commandant of
4th Artillery.

Major Slee died November 9, 1852,3 much
honored and respected citizen. He had mar-
ried the present Mr. Slee's grandmother,
Isabella Newby, in July, 1812. She was also
born in England, in Westmoreland, in 1788,
coming to America in 1797 with her father,
Robert Newby, and his family. She was un-
usually beautiful intellectually, and was the
" Queen" to seven sons and many of their
intimate friends. She died July 4, 1869. Mr.
Slee's mother was Enieline Gregory, born at
Sand Lake, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., in 1820.
She was one of nine children, each one of
whom was either a preacher or an instructor,
several of whom have become eminent in let-
ters. Her father, Joseph Gregory, was born
at Dover Plains, Dutchess county, in 1787.
He served two terms in the State Assemby.
During this time he was engaged in an agita-
tion for the amelioration of the law of land
tenure which was known as the anti-rent war,
and largely through his efforts and the ex-
penditure of his private fortune a reform was
effected which removed this question from the
politics of the State. In 18 16 Gov. D. D.
Thompkins appointed Joseph Gregory lieuten-
ant of a company of light infantry in the 43d
Regiment, and Gov. DeWitt Clinton, in 181 8,
promoted him to be captain of the same com-
pany. He came of sturdy English stock, as
did his wife, Rachel Bullock, one of the early
American women noted for her mental gifts,
of whom one said: " She was the first citizen
of Rensselaer county."

Our subject was admitted to the bar in
1877, practicing law in Poughkeepsie and
New York City until 1888, when with his fam-
ily he settled at \\'ashington Hollow, Dutchess
county, and engaged in farming. In 1892 he
removed to Poughkeepsie and resumed the
practice of his profession. He takes an active
interest in politics and agriculture, and finds
his greatest pleasure in his home and family.
Like his father, he is an extensive reader, and
is fond of out-of-door life. In 1S78 he mar-
ried Marie Louise, daughter of the late Will-
iam Tryon, of Katonah, N. Y. , and has two
sons: Ralph Burton (1885) and Robert Don-
ald (^1892;. Mr. Slee's only brother, John



Gre£



Slee,



.gory blee, is a D. X. S., practicing at Bos-
ton, Mass. Their sister, Emeline Gregory
Slee, is a graduate of \''assar, and now re-
siding with her brother, Samuel Slee.



WILLIAM BEDELL ranks among the
progressive and enterprising farmers of

the town of Clinton, Dutchess county. His
residence is pleasantly situated near Clinton
Corners, where he is engaged principally in
general farming.

Jeremiah Bedell, grandfather of our sub-
ject, was born P^ebruarj' 22, 175 1, and for
some time lived in Dutchess county, previous
to his removal to Greene county, N. Y. He
wedded Marian Gildersleeve, who was born in
Dutchess county, January 13, 1756, and their
union was blessed with twelve children, seven
sons and five daughters, all of whom but two
lived to advanced ages, and were respected
and upright citizens. One son held the office
of supervisor over twentj" successive years, in
Greene county, N. Y. The father of these
died August 12, 181 5, the mother on October

3. iSo7- '

Jacob, the father of our subject, was born
March 16, 1801, and died February 25, 1865.
He, the youngest in the above family, was a
native of Greene county, N. Y. , where he
spent his boyhood days, and after completing
his education he taught school there. He
was married in the town of Clinton, Dutchess
county, February 21, 182 1, to Hannah H.
Cornell, who was born in that town September
22. 1802, daughter of Matthew and Sarah
(Halsted) Cornell, and died January 15, 1877.
Three children graced their union: David, who
was born January 22, 1822, was married to
Elizabeth D. Wing, January 26, 1843, and
died June 25, 1877; William, the subject of
this review; and Mary, who was born March
5, 1838, and is now the widow of George P.
Smith. After his marriage the father located
on a farm two miles west of Clinton Corners,
where he operated his land until the spring of
1855, at which time he laid aside business
cares, living retired up to the time of his
death. He belonged to the Society of Friends,
and was widely- and favorably known through-
out the county.

William Bedell, our subject, was born
Aprils, 1S33, in Dutchess county, and his boy-
hood days were passed in the manner of most
farmer lads in those davs — between school-




%




COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPEWAL RECORD.



285



ing and working on the home farm. Besides
attending the district school, he also received a
part of his education in the Jacob Willets school,
in the town of Washington, Dutchess county.
On September 13, 1854, Mr. Bedell was
united in marriage with Mary Elizabeth Doty,
daughter of Thomas Sands and Maria fWing)
Doty, and a native of the town of Clinton,
Dutchess county. By this union there are two
sons: George Doty, who was born April 27,
1868, married Etta Hicks, a daughter of Wal-
ter D. Hicks, and Jay Sands, born August 16.
1870. The mother of these died April 10,
1890, and at Yorktown, Westchester Co., N.
Y., May 17, 1892, our subject was again mar-
ried, this time to Henrietta (Hallock) Irish.

Upon the old home farm, Mr. Bedell re-
mained until 1866, when he removed to Pough-
keepsie, N. Y. , where the following three
years were passed, and then for eight \'ears he
lived near Morgan Lake, N. Y. He has been
engaged in the crockery, gas and steam-fitting
businesses, and for a few years was interested
with A. M. Doty in a drug store; but in the
spring of 1S77 he purchased his present farm
near Clinton Corners, and has since made
that place his home. He is one of the direc-
tors of the First National Bank of Poughkeep-
sie, and has been e.xecutor of many important
estates. He takes quite an active interest in
the welfare of his town and county, but has
always refused to accept public office, as his
time has been fully occupied by his own busi-
ness affairs.

JAMES DENN BURGESS, a prominent con-
tractor and builder of Poughkeepsie, was
' born September 27, 1843, at Kingston,
Canada, the son of James and Elizabeth (Denn)
Burgess.

John Burgess, the paternal grandfather of
our subject, was a native of Somersetshire,
England, born in the town of Shepton Mallet,
where he spent his entire life. He was a car-
penter by trade, and had a family of four chil-
dren : John, Michael, James and Sarah; the
latter married a Mr. Brown, of England.

James Burgess, the father of our subject,
was born in Shepton Mallet, Somersetshire,
in 181 5, and obtained a good common-school
education. He was a great reader all his life
and became a well-informed man. In 1830,
when a lad of fifteen, he came to America
with his brother Jojin, and settled in Kingston,
Canada, where he spent the remainder of his



life. He learned the trade of carpenter, serv-
ing an apprenticeship of five years, and for
some years after worked as a journeyman.
He then became a contractor and builder, and
for twenty years prior to his death was fore-
man of the government works at Kingston.
He was an able man, and one of the foremost
in his vocation. He was very successful in his
business affairs, and his prosperity was due
entirely to his own exertions, as he began life
dependent on his own resources.

James Burgess married Elizabeth Denn,
daughter of William Denn, of Kingston.
Her father came from England about 18 13
in connection with the Dock Yard and Naval
Store Department, established in Kingston.
He was a prominent citizen, both in Church
and business matters. Three children were
born of this union : William, who died in
infancy; James Denn, the subject of this
sketch; and Sarah Ann, who died when
three years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Burgess
were members of the Wesleyan Methodist
Church, in whose work they took an active
interest. In politics Mr. Burgess was a Con-
servative, and a stanch follower of Sir John A.
MacDonald. He never aspired to office, but
held a high place in the esteem of his fellow
citizens. He died in Kingston, Canada, on
April 4, 1887, his wife surviving him until 1889.

James D. Burgess attended a private school
in Kingston, Canada, until about si.xteen years
of age, when he learned the trade of a ma-
chinist, at which he worked two years. Being
compelled on account of ill health to give up
this occupation, he took up carpentering with
his father, and after working one year as a
journeyman he went into business for himself.
Four years later he married Annie M. Foote,
the daughter of a confectioner in Kingston,
and removed to Napanee (Canada), where he
established himself in the bakery and confec-
tioner3' business, and carried that on for seven
years. His wife died about this time, January
29, 1872, and he returned to his old trade of
carpenter, in which he was engaged for the
following six \'ears.

At the end of this time Mr. Burgess re-
moved to Deseronto, Hastings Co., Ont.,
Canada, and became connected with the Rath-
burn Company, a large corporation, and was
given charge of all their building operations, a
very responsible position. In 1885 he went to
Hyde Park to take charge of the erection of
the Archibald Rogers buildings, and remained



286



COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



with Mr. Rogers for two years. He then went
to Poughkeepsie as superintendent for Powers
& O'Keilley in the erection of the second lot
of buildings for the Hudson River Hospital.
Some years later he had the contract for the
building of the third set of cottages for the
hospital. For the past eight years Mr. Bur-
gess has been carrying on business on his own
account, and is considered one of the leading
contractors and builders in the city. Among
other large structures which have been built
by him are Trinity church and a large addition
to the Gallandet House for Deaf Mutes.

Mr. Burgess, for his second wife, married
Miss Southwood, of Belleville, Canada, and
for his third wife wedded Mrs. Dowling, whose
maiden name was Ellen Bogert. She died in
Deseronto, in 1883. In 1884 Mr. Burgess was
united in marriage with Miss Eva Chambers, a
daughter of Charles Chambers, a native of
Yorkshire, England, and a retired farmer of
Deseronto. who has been one of the leading
men of the count)".

The children of our subject are: Harr)',
who is a bookkeeper for the Rathbun Co.,
Oswego, N. Y. ; Laura, who married Rev.
Robert Knapp. of Walton, N. Y. ; Ada. who
married Rev. Merrick E. Ketcham, of Cincin-
nati, Ohio; William, who graduated from the
Syracuse University in June, 1895, and now
practicing law in Buffalo, N. Y. ; and Lillian,
Charles and Denn Maltby, at home.

Mr. Burgess is a self-made man, one who
has achieved his success by his own industry
and enterprise. He has always been a reader,
and is well-posted on all topics of the day.
He is a Republican in his political views, al-
though he sympathizes with the Prohibitionists
on the temperance question. He is quite a
worker for his party, but has never been an
office-seeker. As a citizen he is public-spirited,
and is always at the front in matters relating
to the welfare of his community. He is a
member of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
and takes an active interest in Church work; is
one of the trustees, and has been superintend-
ent of the Sunday-school for live years.



SAMUEL CARPENTER BARIGHT, one
./ of the substantial farmers of Dutchess

county, is a native of the same, having been
born in the town of Pleasant Valley, July 5,
1826. There are several branches of the fam-
ily in this country, one in Columbia county, N.



Y. , one in Lockport, N. Y., and one in Can-
ada. The Columbia county and Canada
branches spell the name " Boright.," The
Barights were of the Quaker faith, though
some were Presbyterians.

The old Baright homestead was in the
family for several generations, and was sold
by Elijah Baright to A. R. Bartholomew, who
is its present owner. Our subject's great-
grandfather settled on the tract of land which
he received as a grant from the English
crown, when it was all wilderness. There his
son John (born October, 1763, died January,
1 81 3) grew up. and married Miss Eleanor
Drake, and they continued their married life
on the old farm, where they reared the follow-
ing family: Sarah married Jacob Stringham,
and went to Michigan, where he farmed, and
where the}' both died. Augustin was a farmer
in Pleasant Valley, where he embarked in the
mercantile business; he died at Batavia, N.
Y. Susanna died unmarried. Elizabeth be-
came the wife of Daniel Stringham. a farmer
in the town of Lagrange. John died young.
Elijah, who was the father of our subject,
married Amy Doty Carpenter, daughter of
Samuel Carpenter, of the town of Clinton,
born 1763, died 1844. His pedigree dates
back to Timothy Carpenter, born in Wales,
1698, subsequently settled on Long Island, X.
Y.. and his descendants are supposed heirs to
a large estate, held by the Bank of England.

Our subject grew up on the farm in Pleas-
ant Valley, and November 12, 1850, was
united in marriage with Miss Frances Dean,
who was born in New York City, February
18, 1827, and in 1853 they came to their
present home, where they have since resided.
The following children have been born to
them: Arthur Garwood is a horticulturist in
the town of Poughkeepsie. Anna founded
the School of E.xpression in Boston, Mass. ;
she subsequently married S. S. Curry, Ph. D.,
of Boston, where they are engaged in teaching
the Art of E.xpression. Helen Dean, special-
ist in the Art of Expression, married Charles
D. Craigie, of Boston, Mass., who is engaged
in the mercantile and publishing business.
Genevieve is an artist and specialist. Elijah
Kirk is a salesman in one of the houses of the
Armour Packing Co., Poughkeepsie. Mary
Louise is professor of the Art of Expression
and Literature, in the University of Oregon,
at Eugene, Ore. Mr. Baright has a farm of
120 acres one mile north of the city of Pough-



COMMEMORATIVE BIOORAPHICAL RECORD.



287



keepsie, where lie does general farming. Po-
litically he is a Republican, and takes an active
interest in the affairs of the party; in religious
faith he is a member of the Society of Friends.

Joseph C. Dean, the grandfather of Mrs.
Frances Dean Baright, was a member of the
Society of Friends of the town of Pleasant
Valley, and was a land owner and merchant.
His mother's father was Joseph Castin, one of
the " Nine Partners " of a portion of Dutch-
ess county. Joseph C. Dean married Sarah
Mabbett of the town of Washington, and sev-
eral children were born to them: Jonathan,
their eldest son, and the father of Mrs. Ba-
right, married Helen, the daughter of Gen. S.
A. Barker, of the town of Lagrange; Edwin,
the second son, was engaged in the theatrical
profession (he married Julia Drake, of Louis-
ville, Ky., and Julia Dean, the celebrated
actress, was their daughter).

Mrs. Frances Dean Baright's grandfather
on her mother's side was Samuel A. Barker,
who was a general in the war of 1812, and a
private in Capt. Brinkerhoff's regiment, of the
Dutchess count}' militia in the Revolutionary
war. He owned an estate in the town of La-
grange, and held slaves; was active in public af-
fairs, and was an assemblyman at Albany. His
second wife was Meriby Collins, and they had
several children, one of whom, Helen Barker
Dean, was the mother of Frances Dean Ba-
right.



CORNELIA VAN KLEECK was born in
Poughkeepsie, and has resided there ever
since.

The Van Kleeck family came originally from
Holland, and settled in Dutchess county at a
very early day. Baltus Van Kleeck, grand-
father of our subject, w'as born in Dutchess
county, N. Y. He left two children: Mar-
garet, who married John G. Vassar (a brother
of Matthew \'assar, the founder of the college
of that name, and who was in the brewing
business with him); and Leonard, the father
of our subject.

Leonard B. Van Kleeck was born in Pough-
keepsie, April 18, 1785, and there married
Elizabeth Phillips, who was born in the same
city, in 1791. Her father, James Phillips, was
also a native of Poughkeepsie, and was a farmer.
He was of English descent. He married Cor-
nelia Van Vlack, and to their union were born
children as follows: John was a grocer in



Poughkeepsie, and died in the West; Abram
was a hotel-keeper in Poughkeepsie ; Mary mar-
ried John Wyley, a farmer in Dutchess county;
Catherine married Robert Green, and lived in
New York City; Jane married Jacob Harris, a
farmer in Dutchess county; Sarah married
Isaac GrifSn, a butcher; Barbara married Isaac
Cubney, a farmer and blacksmith in Pough-
keepsie; and Elizabeth became Mrs. Van-
Kleeck. The parents both died at Pough-
keepsie.

After his marriage Leonard Van Kleeck took
charge of a hotel in Poughkeepsie, and at one
time owned a large amount of city property.
Six children were born to him and his wife,
namely: Margaret, who died in infancy; Henry,
who was a clerk for his father, and died in
1850; James was city librarian, and died in
1894; Alfred was a merchant in Mobile, Ala.,
and died in 1849; Cornelia is the only surviv-
ing member of the family; Edgar A. became a
Baptist minister, and died in 1S89. Leonard
Van Kleeck died in 1854, and his wife in 182S.
They were members of the Baptist Church,
and iijost estimable people. Mr. Van Kleeck
was a strong Republican, and prominent both
in his party and in all public affairs.

Cornelia Van Kleeck, our subject, is a de-
voted member of the Mill Street Baptist Church
in Poughkeepsie, to which church in the last
seven years she has contributed large sums of
money. She is very generous and charitable
to all in distress, and is always ready to assist
every philanthropic or religious enterprise.



P)HEBE THORNE WILLIAMSON, M. D.
Among those who devote their time and

energies to the practice of medicine, and have
gained a leading place in the ranks of the pro-
fession, is the lady whose name introduces this
sketch. She makes her home in Poughkeepsie,
Dutchess county, having an office at No. 13
Liberty street, but also spends a part of each
week in New York City, where she has an of-
fice at No. 1244 Broadway, and in both cities
she has secured a large and lucrative practice.
Dr. Williamson is a native of Dutchess
county, born at Millbrook. where her earl}' life
was passed, and attended the old Nine Part-
ners Boarding School, there acquiring her lit-
erary education. Judge Stephen Thorne. her
paternal grandfather, practiced law in Pough-
keepsie, and also made his home in Milan,



288



CO.VME.VORATrVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



Dutchess county. In his family were five chil-
dren, all of whom died within six years of each
other, namely: Benjamin, a physician of Mil-
an; Herrick, who was given the maiden name
of his mother; Stephen; Cynthia; and John S.

The last named was the father of our sub-
ject. He was born at Milan in 1823, and was
there reared and educated, .\fter studying
medicine with his brother for some time he en-
tered the medical college at Castleton, Vt. ,
and later graduated from the medical depart-
ment of the New York University, after which
he engaged in practice at Bangall, Stanford
town, Dutchess county. There he was united
in marriage with Frances C. Barlow, daughter
of Cyrus Barlow, and to them were born two
daughters — Georgie, wife of James T. Haight,
of Stanford ville, Dutchess county; and Phebe
Anna. .After following his profession in that
village for several years, he removed to Mill-
brook, where he was engaged in practice for
thirty years, and was very successful in his
chosen calling. He was a very influential
man, and for many years served as county
physician. He belonged tp the Knights of
Pythias lodge of Poughkeepsie, the Independ-
ent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Masonic
fraternity of Washington Hollow, Dutchess
county. Though not a member of any relig-
ious denomination, he gave liberally to the
support of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
He was called from life in 18S0, and his death
was widely and deeply mourned.

Phebe Thorne began the study of medicine
with her father, whom she assisted in his prac-
tice, and after attending a four-years' course
of study in the Woman's Medical College and
Infirmary of New York, she was graduated in
1878. The year previous she had married
Albert Williamson, and they have a daughter
who was born in 1882. After her father's
death our subject was county physician at
Millbrook for a year and a half, and in 1882
removed to Brooklyn, where she was engaged
in practice for three years, during which time
she was the first woman appointed on the
Brooklyn Eastern District Hospital staff. She
was compelled to leave that city on account of
ill health, and came to Poughkeepsie, where
she confines her practice to the diseases of
women, and obstetrics. She stands high
among the members of the medical fraternity,
is a close student, and, being thoroughly in
love with her profession, her success is assured.
Dr. Williamson purchased the "Windsor Ho-



tel," on Hooker avenue, which she converted
into a sanitarium and summer hotel; but as it
was so difficult to secure competent help, and
so much responsibility rested upon her, that
she gave up the sanitarium and now rents the
place to Vassar College for an extra dormitory
and class rooms. She holds membership with
the Dutchess County Medical Society and the
Kings County Medical Society. The Doctor
not only holds a leading place in the medical
profession, but is also a valued and prominent
member of society, being held in the highest
regard by all who know her.



JAMES EDWARD DEAN, of Fishkill, Dutch-
ess county, treasurer of the Fishkill Sav-
ings Institute, and for many years its presi-
dent; proprietor of Monumental Works, and
one of the founders of the Fishkill fFivX'/j'
Tiiius, is among the prominent citizens of
that village.

He is the son of William George and Phebe
Ann (Van Nostrand) Dean, and his ancestry
is a notable one, his paternal grandfather,
Ephraim Dean, and great-grandfather, \^'ill-
iam Dean, having been soldiers in the Revo-
lutionary army, enlisting in Westchester county
in 1775, and serving until the close of the war.
During the winter of 1776-77, they were both
with the troops that were encamped at Fish-
kill. On the maternal side his great-grand-