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Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

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Harlem railroad, married Mary Hutchinson;
Dorley is deceased; and Lizza A.

The ancestors of Mrs. John A. Hanna were
early settlers in Rhode Island, where her great-
great-grandfather, Ebenezer Preston, was born
and educated. He was the first of the family
to come to Dutchess county, and he became a
successful farmer in the town of Dover. His
wife was a Miss White, and they had five chil-
dren: Bijah married Betsey Ross; Smith mar-
ried Phoebe Eazenef; John married Amy Wing;
Ebenezer remained in single blessedness; and
Hannah married Jackson Wing. John Pres-
ton, Mrs. Hanna's great-grandfather, was born
in Dover Plains, and after attending the com-
mon schools for some years engaged in farm-
ing. He purchased a tract of land on the old
post road near Dover Plains, upon which stood
a house that was one of the historic land-marks
of the locality, having been used for many
years as a tavern. The days of the stage
coach not yet being ended, he maintained it in
that capacity for some years. He married
Miss Amy Wing, daughter of Thomas Wing,
a well-known farmer of Dover, and they had



eight children, whose names with those of their
husbands and wives are as follows: Myron mar-
ried Sarah Ward; Shandinett married Sal-
lie A. Sheldon; Harvey married Emeline Ta-
ber; Uriah, no record; George married Mary
Germond; John married Sallie Thomas; Han-
nah married Oscar Taber; and Pha-be married
David \'incent. The two younger daughters
were twins.

Myron Preston, Mrs. Hanna's grandfather,
was born in 1804, and after a course in the
common schools in the town of Dover engaged
in farming there. He was greatly interested
in local politics, and held a number of offices.
His wife was Miss Sarah Wood, daughter of
Paltira and Anna Wood, who owned a fine
farm near Dover Plains. Of the two children
of this union the younger, Anna, married
Abram Denton. The elder, Henry W. Pres-
ton, Mrs. Hanna's father, was born in 1830,
and was educated in the schools of Dover Plains
and at the Amenia Seminary. After graduat-
ing from the latter institution he engaged in
farming for a time, but later became connected
with a mercantile firm in Dover Plains as a
clerk. In 1875 he formed the present part-
nership with his son-in-law, which has proved
mutually advantageous. He married Miss
Julia M. Pierce, the daughter of a prosperous
saddle and harness maker of Salisbury, Conn.,
and Mrs. Hanna is their only child.



ON. ALFRED BONNEY. As one of the
youngest and ablest members of the
State Assembly of 1882, the subject of this re-
view rendered good service to his constituency
of the First District of Dutchess County, and
proved himself a worthy descendant of an -an-
cestry which has numbered more than one man
of ability and note.

The Bonney family is of Anglo-Norman
stock, and the head of the American line came
from Dover, England, about 1604. For sev-
eral generations the home of the family was in
Massachusetts; but the numerous descendants
have since become widely dispersed. Peter
Bonney, our subject's grandfather, was born
May 18. 1773, at Charlestown, N. H., and
April 7, 1800, was married to Eleanor Savage,
who was born November 16, 1781. Shortly
after his marriage he settled at Littleton, N.
H., and engaged in business as a tanner, and
dealer in wild lands. He was a man of much
influence, and in 18 10 represented Grafton



COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



27



county, N. H., in the State Legislature. His
death occurred December 15, 1836, his wife
surviving him many years, dying at Jamaica
Plains, Mass., October 7, 1873. They had
eight children, all of whom (except the young-
est) are now deceased, their names with dates
of birth, &c. , being as follows: Emily, May

30, 1801; Benjamin West, February 2, 1803;
Elvira, March 14, 1805, married and settled
near Boston; Almeria, September 9, 1807, also
married and lived in New Hampshire; Frank-
lin R., December 6, 1810; Elizabeth M., Oc-
tober 12, 18 1 5, married and resided in San
Francisco, Cal. ; Alfred P., August 29, 1820,
was married, and left a widow and four chil-
dren, who now reside in Waterford, Caledonia
Co., Vt., about fourteen miles from St. Johns-
bury; and Ellen, April 2, 1825, widow of the
late Rev. Oliver S. St. John, a Congregational
minister.

Judge Benjamin West Bonney, our sub-
ject's father, received an elementary education
in the common schools at Littleton, N. H.,
and then taught school in order to obtain
funds for further study. Later he entered
Dartmouth College, from which he graduated
valedictorian of his class in 1824, and subse-
quently settled in New York City, where he
began the study of law. In 1827 he was ap-
pointed commissioner of deeds; February 29,
1828, was admitted to practice as attorney in
the Court of Common Pleas; on October 29,
1S30. received his license as counsellor, and on
the following day was licensed as counsellor at
law in the Court of Common Pleas. On May

31, 1 83 1, he became a licensed counsellor in
all the courts of the State. He practiced
his profession continuously in New York City
until his death, e.xcept while serving as justice
of the Supreme Court of the State of New
York; and was widely influential in public af-
fairs, religious, educational and political. He
was an ardent supporter of the Republican
party, from its formation. He was president
of the New England Society in the City of
New York; chairman of the Board of Audits;
and one of the earliest members of the Union
League Club; a director in the Washington
Life Insurance Co. ; general counsel of the
Merchants Bank, and counsel for many years
of Madame Jumel.

On April 28, 1848, he was married by Rev.
Mancius S. Hutton, D. D., to Adriana Rapalje,
daughter of Sylvanus Rapalje, who was born
July 3, 1795, and died November 12, 1883; he



was a prominent man of his day, in various
lines of effort; he was twice married, first on
June II, 1823, to Susan Roe Van Voorhis,
who was born April 14, 1805, and died Janu-
ary 26, 1832. To their union were born three
children: Adelaide, August 7, 1824; Jeromus,
February 25, 1S26; and Adriana, our subject's
mother, November 11, 1827. On November

16, 1833, he married, for his second wife,
Rachel Ann Van Voorhis, a native of Fishkill,
Dutchess county, and a sister of his first wife.
She died March 23, 1877. They had three
children, viz.: William, born August 20, 1834;
Susan Augusta, widow of the late Rev. Lester
M. Dorman (Yale '54), January 21, 1839; and
Stewart, September 6, 1843.

Our subject's parents made their home in
New York City, where the father died August
18, 1868, -and the mother on August 15, 1891.
They reared a family of seven children, to all
of whom were given unusually good educa-
tional advantages. Their names, with dates of
birth, etc., are here given: Eleanor, March 2,
1849, married Edward F. Brown, a lawyer of
New York City; Adriana R., March 30, 1850,
is the widow of Dr. Weber- Liel, late of Bonn,
Germany, where she now resides; and Benja-
min W. , April 2, 1852, is a farmer at Fishkill
Plains; Susan R. , May 20. 1854, married Major
of Cavalry Carl Emil Schultz-Schulzenstein,
of Berlin, Germany, and died in Charlotten-
burg, Germany, September 26, 1895; Alfred,
our subject; Jeromus R., May 6, 1859, who
has never married, is a civil engineer; Elvira
B., July 5, 1863, married Anton L. Bamber-
ger, who died in London, England.

Hon. Alfred Bonney was born February

17, 1857, at No. 18 West 14th street, New
York City, where his education was begun in
its schools, and in 1869 he, in company with
his mother, brothers and sisters, went to Ger-
many to study. He spent one year at Dussel-
dorf-on-the-Rhine, and two years at Berlin,
and then returned to the United States. He
attended the Brooklyn Polytechnic and Col-
legiate Institute for a time, and later entered
Cornell University, where he remained three
years, making a special study of agriculture.
In 1878 he settled in the town of East Fish-
kill, Dutchess county, purchasing his present
estate of 151 acres, then known as the "old
Rapalje farm," but now re-christened the
"Green Meadow farm." Here his thorough
scientific training for his calling has been put
to a successful test in the raising of general



28



COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



crops, and he is regarded as one of the lead-
ing farmers of that section. His activities are
not confined to agricultural work, however,
and he has been prominent in the Kepublican
party, being chosen, as has been said, to rep-
resent the Assembly District in the Legislature
at Albany.

On April 30, 1889, Mr. Bonney married
Miss Sarah A. Luyster, daughter of the late
Peter Luyster, and they have one son, Alfred,
Jr., born April 20, 1890. Mr. and Mrs. Bon-
ney are members of the Reformed Church at
Hopewell, in which he has held office as dea-
con. He is a member of the Alpha Delta Phi
fraternity, Cornell Branch, and is a life mem-
ber of the New England Societv.



BISBEE FAMILY. THE, of which Joseph
B. Bisbee, of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess
county, is a worthy and respected representa-
tive, is of English origin, and the progenitorof
the American line came to this country in 1734,
the name appearing in the early records as
" Besbedge." He settled at Plymouth, Mass.,
but his descendants located at various points,
being named among the first settlers at Mans-
field, Pembroke and Scituate, Mass. Gideon
Bisbee located at Chesterfiefd, Hampshire Co. ,
Mass., and was the father of two sons, lotham
and Gideon. Jotham had ten children: Jon-
athan, Asenath, Elisha, Lucy, Rebecca, Lydia,
Rachel, Jotham, Job and Ashael.

Job was born in 1797, and during his early
manhood was a farmer at W'orthington, Mass.
In 1 8 19 he married Miss Susan Buck, who was
born in 1800, and was of the sixth generation
in descent from James Buck, of Hingham,
Mass., who at one time was town clerk of
Scituate. He died in 1695. His son Isaac

married Frances , and had a son Matthew,

born in 1724, who married Elizabeth Howard.
Their son Thomas married Silence Brett, and
had a son Cyrus (Mrs. Bisbee's father), who
was born in 1775 and died in i860. About
1830 Job Bisbee removed to Ellicottville, Cat-
taraugus Co., N. Y., with his family, and en-
gaged in farming until 1864, when he went to
Poughkeepsie to reside. His death occurred
there March 11, 1866, his wife surviving him
until April, 188 1. Job Bisbee was a man of
strong character and fine mental ability, and
held a high place in the esteem of his asso-
ciates. He was well read, much noted as a
mathematician, and taught with great success



in Worthington, Mass., and in Cattaraugus
county, N. Y. Although he was not a mem-
ber of any Church, he was of unblemished
Christian character, and his influence was al-
ways powerful for good. He was especially
pronounced in his views upon public questions.
He and his wife reared a family of nine chil-
dren, to whose education he gave careful at-
tention: Otis, Alvin (a resident of Nebraska)
and George (deceased) were born at the old
home in Massachusetts; the others were na-
tives of Cattaraugus county. Jane married
Manley Fuller, and lives at Rochester, Minn. ; ,
Mary married Dr. Edwin Kimball, of Hay-
wards, Cal. ; Samantha married Dr. John
Veach (now deceased), formerly of Kentucky,
but later of Portland, Oregon; Susan never
married; Adelia is the wife of Oren Cobb, of
\\'inthrop, Maine; and Anna married George
Gifford, Esq., of Jamestown, New York.

Otis Bisbee, one of the most successful
educators of the State, and the founder and
principal of Riverview Academy, was born
February 14, 1822, in the town of Chester-
field, Hampshire Co., Mass., and came with
his parents to New York State during boy-
hood. Until he was fifteen years old his
schooling was limited to two or three months'
attendance each year at the district school, his
help being needed on the farm at other sea-
sons. The country was new, much rough
work having to be done, and in that he rapidly
developed the independent spirit and indus-
trious habit which carried him through the ex-
acting duties of later years. At the age of
thirteen he showed these traits by undertaking
to make maple sugar by himself, and so thor-
oughly in earnest was he that he made from
sixty-five trees a larger proportionate amount
than any one else in the neighborhood. One
evening he remained at the camp until about
ten o'clock, and the next morning traces of
wolves following a deer were found near the
place. His father was a well-informed man,
and encouraged discussion while they were
working about the farm, and thus the boy's
mind was early stimulated to thought, and a
keen desire awakened to learn the answers to
the questions which remained unsolved in their
often-interrupted conversations, while his read-
ing in biography and history helped him to
form a determination to lea\e his narrow life.
An accident in his se\enteenth year confined
him to the house, thereby giving him leisure
for study; so he availed himself of the oppor-



COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



29



tunity by preparing himself for the teacher's
examination, and subsequently secured a school
in a backwoods district. Then followed three
years of work among strangers, in which the
sorrow of being parted from the old home was
only relieved by the thought that he was help-
ing to pay off a debt which lay heavily upon
his father. He succeeded in this, and in se-
curing a small fund for himself. The next
four years were spent with his uncles in Herki-
mer county in dairy farming, and the last
three of these were passed in the town of
Fairfield, where a celebrated academy and
medical college were located. While there he
taught for several winters, and studied as he
could at Fairfield Academy.

In 1847 he entered the sophomore class of
Union College, of which Dr. Nott was then
the head; but young Bisbee was not inclined to
play any pranks, he did not become as well
acquainted with that noted educator as some of
his less steady-going companions. In 1S48 he
was president of the Adelphi Literary Society,
and during his term the society held its semi-
centennial celebration, imposing upon him the
duty of welcoming back to the old walls the
Alumni who gathered on that happy occasion.
Mr. Bisbee left college in 1849, to teach in
Mr. Charles Bartlett's school in Poughkeepsie,
and on the graduation of his class he was
elected to membership in the Phi Beta Kappa
Society. In 1850 he married Miss Frances C.
Bartlett, and two years later built a house for
a dwelling and school on the southwest corner
of Mill and Hamilton streets, Poughkeepsie.
[The house standing just south on Hamilton
street, of the present building, was the school
room and dormitory.] On the death of Mr.
Bartlett in 1857 he became, in company with
Mr. Charles B. Warring (later the principal of
Poughkeepsie Military Institute), an associ-
ate principal of the Poughkeepsie Collegiate
School. Mr. Warring retiring in 1862, Mr.
Bisbee introduced some changes in the school,
notably the military character which it after-
ward retained. In 1866 he erected the build-
ing known as Riverview Academy, which under
his able management became one of the best
institution? of its grade in the State. In^i885
Mr. Bisbee passed away, and his mantle fell
upon his son. Joseph Bartlett Bisbee.

Joseph Bartlett Bisbee, principal and
proprietor of Riverview Military Academy, was •
born in 1853 in the building now standing on
the southwest corner of Mill and Hamilton



streets. In 1S57, with his father, he moved
to College Hill, and then began his studies
and received his military instruction, which
has been of untold value to him in his career
as a teacher. In 1867 his father moved the
school to its present quarter at Riverview. In
1876 Joseph B. Bisbee entered Amherst Col-
lege, where he remained three years, till called
home to assist in the school. In 1 884 Amherst
College recognized his work and conferred upon
him the degree of Master of Arts.

In 1880 Mr. Bisbee married Miss Sarah M.
Pangburn, of Albany, N. Y. They had one
child, Elsie P. Mrs. Bisbee died March 3,
1884. In December, 1885, Mr. Bisbee mar-
ried Miss Winifred Dana Wheeler, daughter
of the late Francis B. Wheeler, D. D., who
was pastor of the Presbyterian Church at
Poughkeepsie for nearly forty years. They
have had three' children: Francis Wheeler,
who died in 18S8; Joseph Bartlett Bisbee, Jr.;
and Eleanor Dana. Mr. Bisbee is a member
of the Masonic order, and an elder in the Pres-
byterian Church.



OSEPH E. ODELL, M. A. The first
Baron Odell was a count of Flanders, and
Matilda, the wife of William the Con-
queror, was a daughter of one of these counts,
and presumably the sister of the first Baron
Odell, whose title and estates were bestowed
by William. These honors were conferred for
distinguished military services in the conquest
of England. The estate consisted of, perhaps,
twenty thousand acres of land, and extended
into two counties, containing within its bound-
aries upward of twenty villages or small towns.
The head of the Baroncy was at Odell, Bed-
fordshire, England, where Odell Church and
Odell Castle still stand, both of which have
been erected within recent times, but are near
or upon the site of the ancient fortress. Here
the church and tovvn records disclose vast
numbers of inhabitants of that name from re-
mote times to the present.

The direct descendants of the first Baron
Odell were closely related to at least four
Kings of England: W^illiam the Norman, Al-
fred the Great, Edward the Second and Henry
the Eighth. They were also related by blood
or marriage to upward of fifty families entitled
to bear arms, that is, those belonging to the
gentry and nobility of England. The title
from which the name was derived was be-



30



COMMEMORATIVE niOOIiAPniCAL RECORD.



stowed in 1066, and from about 795 to the pres-
ent time the line from father to son is unbroken,
the name of not a single individual being
wanting. There were many obstacles to the
completion of the early part of this record,
but diligent and patient research overcame
them. Previous to 795, however, no record
of the family line has been found, and reliance
must be placed upon general historical state-
ments discovered here and there, often in rare
and curious forms of ancient record. Assum-
ing the correctness of such authorities, there
existed in the possession of the Counts of
Flanders a complete and unbroken record,
traced back, step by step, to Priam, King of
Troy, or to about 1200 B. C.

No remnant of this alleged record has been
discovered. But as such a record would nat-
urally be in some French repository of ancient
learning, and therefore difficult of access, it is
scarcely surprising that the discovery has not
been made. It is known, however, that through-
out a long period the Counts of Flanders were
almost or quite equal in power to the Kings of
France, and that in the turbulent times of the
Dark Ages they were practically kings, with a
horde of dependents to do their bidding. Such
families make history, and, doubtless, there
were always at hand persons able and willing
to write it as fast as it was ready for the pen.
And astonishing as the statement, of an un-
broken record back to Priam, appears at first
glance; on mature reflection, there should ap-
pear nothing in it more surprising than that
the record should stand unbroken, as it un-
questionably does, from 1066 to the present
time. The keeping of a family history could
not have been more difficult than it has been
subsequently.

The line as traced downward includes about
thirty generations from the first Baron Odell
until the present time. His direct descendants
of the same name are now very numerous, and
of these the subject of this sketch is a represent-
ative. To his efforts arc due in a great degree
the discovery and arrangement of the fafcts
necessary to furnish proof of the connection
with the ancient baronial family, and he has
laid under contribution legal documents,
church, immigration and shipping records,
public speeches and prints, and many volumes,
ancient and modern. The result of these labors
is a host of facts, sufficient, probably, for a
large volume. As an example of the exhaust-
iveness of the investigation, it has been found



that the name, during a period of about 800
years, has been authentically used under no
less than forty different spellings, W'ahul pre-
dominating at first, and Odell now. To sum
up, here is a lineage covering 3,000 years, or
about ninety generations, carrj'ing us back to
what it pleases us to call the infancy of the
world. During this time nations have gone to
decay, languages have perished, a new world
has been discovered, time and space have been
annihilated by inventions, the Iliad and Bible
have been written, and Christ and His religion
have illumined the world! It would scarcely
seem presumptuous were the Odells of this
line to issue a challenge to the world to pro-
duce a more ancient family record.

William Odell, the first of the family in
this country, settled in Concord, Mass., about
1639, and his descendants have since occupied
a prominent place in the annals of this country,
three of them having been Congressmen from
this State, Moses F. Odell and N. Holmes
Odell, from Brooklyn, and Benjamin Odell,
from Newburg. The minor posts of honor held
by members of the family have been number-
less. The descendants are widely scattered,
being found in Massachusetts, Connecticut,
New York, New Jersey, Nebraska, Illinois,
Alabama, Minnesota, and also in Nova Scotia.
They are very numerous in eastern Massachu-
setts, southern Connecticut, Long Island and
Westchester, Orange, and Dutchess counties,
those of the latter locality being mainly off-
shoots from the Odells of Westchester county.
At an early date an intermarriage took place
with the Bolton family, a branch of which has
long been resident in Dutchess county. The
Boltons worthily boast a noble and honored
lineage, stretching back in unbroken line far
within the luminous mists of the ancient no-
bility of England. At the same time that Will-
iam Odell settled at Concord there came also
the Rev. Peter Bulkeley, who had been a cler-
gyman in the Odell Church in England, and
had married a near relative of the Odells there.
Having been silenced for non-conformit\', he
came to a freer land, and his descendants have
made the family name widely known and greatly
honored, especially in the eastern States.

In 1639, at Concord, Mass., now a suburb
of Boston, came William: — then in direct line
William; then Isaac; then Joshua; then John;
then Daniel, whose son was Joseph E. Odell,
the subject of this sketch. John Odell came
to Dutchess count\' from \\estchester about



COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



81



1795. He settled at Pleasant Plains, where
for many years he was the proprietor of a coun-
try store, but later removed to Beekman, where
he had purchased a large farm, to which his son
Daniel succeeded and where Joseph E. Odell
was born April 5, 1848, the third in a family
of four sons, the others being Eliphalet P.,
John D., and Caspar L. , whose biography ap-
pears elsewhere. His mother was Malinda,
daughter of John LeRoy, who for a long time
was proprietor of the store, flourmill, sawmill,
shops of various kinds, and farm, where Frost's
Mills now stand. The church at Pleasant Plains
probably owes its existence to his liberality,
and its later prosperity to the generous support
of his children.

fn 1856 Prof. Odell's parents moved to the
town of Hyde Park, a mile south of Pleasant
Plains church, and in 1868 to Schenectady.
He attended the common schools of Beekman
and Hyde Park during boyhood, and in 1867-
68 studied in the High School at Poughkeepsie
under Prof. John M. Clarke. He was grad-
uated from the Union Classical Institute at
Schenectady in 1870, and from Union College
in 1S74, standing first in his class in both in-
stitutions and taking the Nott Scholarship
Prize of $150 offered yearly in the college to
the one who should stand at the head of his
class, not in one but in all studies. He re-
ceived the degrees of A. B. and A. M. from
Union College. While a student in the In-
stitute he originated the A. Z. fraternity, of
which he was the first president, and he was
a member of the Psi Upsilon Society at col-
lege. After graduating, he engaged in teach-
ing, and was principal of the schools at Fish-
kill Landing, and Scotia, N. Y., and Storm
Lake, Iowa. He studied law, and was ad-