J.H. Beers & Co.

Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

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soon became interested in organizing a com-
pany to build the " Grand Hotel " in the Cats-
kill Mountains, and was engaged for two years
in its construction. He then began to contract
for different important enterprises, among
which may be noted especially the Catskill
to Burden Iron Mine railroad, Utica & Bing-
hampton and several others; the dredging of a
part of the D. & H. canal, the building of one
and one-half miles of aqueduct at Yonkers,
and the Sodam dam at Brewsters, which was
the largest of its kind in the country at the time.

In 1895 he returned to Rhinebeck to reside,
and he has since identified himself with the
best interests of the town. He was married
February y, 1 864, to Cynthia Comstock, a
daughter of Abner Comstock, a leading farmer
of Williamstown, Oswego county. Her family
is of English origin, the first of the American
line settling in Connecticut, and among their
descendants are some of the most prominent
residents of New York City. Two children
were born of this union: Sarah Mosella and
Celia Alberta, both at home.

Mr. Rider is an inlluential counsellor in the
Democratic party in his vicinity, and is active
in all local affairs lending his aid to any bene-
ficial measure. In 1867-68 he was supervisor
from Florence, Oneida county. On May i,
1 894, he was installed as postmaster of his town,
and has since discharged the duties of the office
with signal success.

CHARLES C. GARDNER, now one of the
most progressive, energetic and successful
farmers of the town of Dover, Dutchess coun-
ty, is a native of Connecticut, where the fam-
ily was founded at an early day. Thomas
Gardner, his grandfather, was born in New
Fairfield, Fairfield Co. , Conn., and after fin-
ishing his literary course in the common schools
of that locality, he learned the tanner's trade,
which he followed throughout life. He mar-
ried Miss Johanna Pepper, and to them were
born eight children: Seth, who married Polly
Bullard; Michael, who married Anna Davis;
Humphrey, who married Kuth Morris; Thomas,
who married Jane Morris; Lois, who married
Allen Joyce; Zuba, who married Francis
Sturges; Ann, who married Benjamin Well-
man; and Hannah, who died in infancy. After
the death of his first wife, Thomas Gardner
wedded Hannah Chase, daughter of Gideon
Chase, and they had three children: Gideon,
who died when young; Franklin, who married
Christina Eggleston; and Mary, who married
Milan Steddel.

Michael Gardner (the father of our subject),
who passed away May 16, 1884, at the age of
seventy years, was born in the town of New
P""airiield, Fairfield Co., Conn., where he at-
tended the common schools and was reared to
farm life. The first land which he owned was
in the town of Sherman, that county, where
he made his home for twenty-five years, and



then purchased a farm in South Dover, Dutch-
ess county. During the old training days he
served as a drummer in the militia.

On October 15, 1837, he married Miss
Anna Davis, whose grandfather, Stephen
Davis, was a native of England, whence at an
early day he came to New Fairfield, Conn.,
where he engaged in farming. He married
Miss Hannah Leach, and to them were born
eight children: William, who married Sallie
Quimby; Daniel, the father of Mrs. Gardner;
Paul, who married Miss Morehouse; Lucy,
who married Holman Marsh; Rilla, who mar-
ried Eli Brush; and three who died when
young. Daniel Davis was born May 6, 1797,
in New Fairfield, was there educated and en-
gaged in farming. His death occurred Febru-
ary 5, 1S35. He had married Miss Mermelia
Hodge, who was born January 16, 1797, and
died October 23, 1887, when over ninety years
of age. To them were born four children,
Mrs. Gardner being the eldest. The others
are as follows: Miner, who was born in Con-
necticut, engaged in farming, and married
Miss Mary Osborn, by whom he had three sons
— Stephen, who died at the age of fourteen
years; Charles and Marshall. Julia, also born
in Connecticut, married Daniel Whaley, and
had three children — Daniel and Leander, who
died in infancy; and Gertrude, who married
Theodore Carter. Flora, born in Connecticut,
married George Abbot, and had six children —
Permelia, who died in infancy; Emeline, who
married Thomas Hoyt; Henry, who married
Laura De Camp; Julia, who married John
Gallop; Hannah, who married Myron Knapp;
and Stephen, who married Cora Roberts.

To the parents of our subject were born
five children: (i) Edward D., born in 1842,
was educated in the public schools, and
learned the trade of tinsmith, at which he
worked during the greater part of his life.
Socially, he was a member of the Ancient
Order of United Workmen. He married Miss
Electa Brewer, and, as they had no children of
their own, adopted two sons, Howard and
Taylor Gardner. He died very suddenly on
the 2 1 St of November, 1893. (2) George K.
was born in 1845, at Sherman, Conn., where
he acquired his education, and is now follow-
ing farming in the West. He wedded Miss
Mary Wilbur, of Schenectady, N. Y., and they
had two children — Eliza, who was born May
I, 1S79, and died at the age of five years; and
Nellie C. , born November 14, 1885. (3)

Charles C, subject of this review, is ne.\t in
order of birth. (4) Martha, born at Sherman,
Conn., in 1840, married William F. Wildman,
a farmer of Brookfield, Conn., and had two
children — Carrie Bell, who was born June 8,
1868, and married Charles Jackson, but died
at the age of twenty years; and Ray Clifford,
born March^23, 1882. (5) Lydia, born in
1843, married Stephen A. Barnum, a carriage
trimmer of New Fairfield, Conn., and they had
eleven children, whose names and dates of
birth are as follows — Effie Arminta, March 4,
1862; Charles E., November 21, 1863; Anna
E., November 14, 1865; Emma P., April i,
1868; Mary J., February 5, 1870; Julia G.,
March 5, 1872; Lottie M., May 17, 1874;
Hattie E. , February 5, 1876; Stephen D.,
September 18, 1879; Grace L., May i, 1S82;
and Kittle M., September 21, 1S83.

Charles C. Gardner was born in the town
of Sherman, Fairfield Co., Conn., in 1847,
and during his boyhood and youth he pursued
his studies in the common schools of his native
place. As a life work he chose the occupation
of farming, which he has always followed very
successfully. He has served as collector of
the town and on the board of excise of the
town of Dover, and has held other minor
offices. His political support is always given
the Republican party, and, socially, he holds
membership with Dover Plains Lodge No.
666, F. & A. M. He has made many friends
since coming to the county, and has the high-
est regard of all who know him. He was
united in marriage with Miss Kate Dennis, and
they have one son, Chester C. , born Septem-
ber 3, 1883.

Robert Dennis, the grandfather of Mrs.
Gardner, was a native of the town of Union
Vale, Dutchess county, where on reaching
maturity he followed farming and married a
Miss Rozell. Mrs. Gardner's father, Lewis
Dennis, was born in the same township, in
1837, was there educated and also engaged in
farming. He wedded Miss Mary Stillwell, of
Union Vale, and they became the parents of
five children: George married Ida Sweet, by
whom he has two children — Mary and Sarah;
Royal married Kate Oliver; Phct-be married
Isaac \'ermilyea, by whom she has three chil-
dren — Irving, Grace and Arthur; Nathaniel
married Angeline Van Scay, by whom he has
five children — George, Mary, Emma, Lewis '
and Edna; and Kate, the wife of our subject,
completes the family.



_ said that in the Hebrew language there is
no word which corresponds to our word
"charity", but that a term is used instead
which signifies Justice. In this distinction,
with its deep lessons, the philosopher may see
one reason, if not the reason, for the close
union and general prosperity of that wonder-
ful race. With such an idea of helpfulness, a
Hebrew who sees another in need says to him-
self, "There is something wrong that this my
brother, my sister, should be in want in this
beautiful world. It is my duty to right this in-
justice as far as I can, and so help to establish
that order jof things which will make such a
deplorable evil no longer possible." And so
he does not carelessly deal out a few dimes or
dollars in self-righteous satisfaction, and dis-
miss the matter from his mind; but he inter-
ests himself in the case as if it were his own,
devoting his wisdom, his experience, and influ-
ence to the task, and gives that friendly, prac-
tical assistance which he would wish for were
he in the same plight.

What a different world this would be if
such a conception of our duties to each other
were to prevail! Here and there we see in-
stances of it, and their quiet but effective work
contrasts nobly with that of some of our loudly-
advertised charities although their beneficent
influences may attract little or no attention.

Miss Margaret B. Monahan, whose mind,
prompted by the kindly impulses of her char-
itable nature, originated the plan of giving a
cultured rest to the weary working-girl, was
born in New York City, the daughter of
Thomas and Mary A. (Beers) Monahan, both
of whom were natives of the same city. She
was educated at a private school.

John Monahan, the grandfather of our sub-
ject, was born at Banbridge, in the linen dis-
trict of Ireland, and was there married to Miss
Mary Campbell, also a native of that place,
and they early came to this country. He had
received a good education in the "Emerald
Isle," and on arriving in New York taught
school for a time. Several years later he
moved to English Neighborhood, N. J., now
called Fairview, where he engaged in farming,
and where, also, his death occurred. To him
and his wife were born the following children:
Arthur, Hugh, Thomas, all three deceased;
William (retired), now living in Brooklyn;
Catherine, deceased, unmarried; and John, a
retired merchant of New York, never married.

Thomas Monahan was born in New York
City August 27, 18 1 3. When he was fifteen
years of age he began to fight the battle of
life alone, by entering the employ of Cyreneus
Beers, a commission merchant of New York
City. In this place he remained ten years, or
until 1838, when he started out in the same
business for himself. On March 15, 1848, he
was united in marriage with Miss Mary A.
Beers, one of the thirteen children of his former
employer. On her mother's side she was a de-
scendant of an old Dutch family. Van Ant-
werp, well known in the early days of the
Dutch colonies. Her father was a native of
Newtown, Conn., coming to New York when
quite young, and by industry laying the found-
ation of the fortune that made him one of the
foremost business men of his day in New

Thomas Monahan continued in the com-
mission business until 1S58, when his natural
abilities as a financier were publicly recognized
by his election to the presidency of the Fulton
National Bank, New York City, which posi-
tion he held until his death. May 13, 1886,
followed November 28, 1890, by his faithful
and devoted wife. The union of this worthy
couple was graced by two children — one of
whom died in infancy, and Margaret B. Mr.
Monahan was the architect of his own fortune,
accumulating his property by slow and con-
servative methods rather than by speculation.
He was a man of quiet, retiring disposition, but
ever ready to aid in anything for the general
good of the community. In early days he was
a member of the old Volunteer Fire Depart-
ment, of New York, and was one of those who
fought the great fire of 1835. He united with
no Church, but his wife belonged to the Duane
Street Presbyterian Church, now Dr. John

After Mr. Monahan's death, his wife and
daughter continued to be residents of New
York City until 1S90. At that time they
purchased a farm at Quaker Hill, Dutchess
county, intending to make it their summer
home, but after Mrs. Monahan's death, in the
following November, her daughter decided to
live there permanently.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Monahan were much
interested in the life of working girls in New
York, and were in cordial sympathy with their
daughter's work among them ; so, when, in
June, 1893, Miss Monahan rented a quaint,
little, century-old cottage near her own place,



Broadfields, and opened it to a small party of
working girls from New York, it was but the
carrying out of long-talked-of, and much-cher-
ished, plans. The invigorating air, the charm-
ing views of hill and valley and open skies,
the drives and picnics, the refinements of that
delightful home, and, above all, the cordial
friendship of their hostess, were a revelation to
these over-worked and under-paid girls whose
lives were clouded by the experiences of the
dreary tenement houses and noisy workshop.
Heroic in spirit these girls are, working un-
complainingly year in and year out, many of
them supporting some helpless relative, and
who can estimate the benefit that this bright
e.xperience gave them ? The good work thus
begun could not be abandoned by one who had
the heart to begin it at all. The house rented
was the summer residence of Mrs. E. M. Scott,
a well-known New York artist, who was then
abroad ; but, as she intended to occupy it on
her return, other quarters had to be provided.
A house was, therefore, built for the e.xclusive
use of the girls; and every summer "Hill
Hope ", as it is called, holds group after group
who come to stay two weeks or more and then
return to their weary routine. The invitations
have thus far been extended through the New
York City Mission ; but all the expenses con-
nected with the outing are met by the hostess,
except the railroad fares, which are paid by the
Tribune Fresh Air Fund at the City Mission.
The guests at Hill Hope write their names in
a visitors' book, with their occupations — a
strange and motley list, including the making
of fishing tackle, hat frames, rubber coats,
perfumes, casket lining, dresses and under-
wear, and embroidery, polishing jewelry, filling
salt bags, washing (by a girl of fourteen), bar-
ring button-holes, ten thousand a day. One
girl stirs, constantly, a steaming cauldron at a
wholesale chemist's, watching lest it boil up
and explode. "It did twice last year," said
the girl, " and hurt a lot of people, but that,"
she added, " was before I came."

There is no matron at Hill Hope; the
"house mother," as the girls love to call her,
is an experienced trained nurse, and associated
with her is some younger lady, who, being free
from household responsibilities, has leisure to
devote herself to the girls, and her constant
though unobtrusive presence among them does
away with the most objectionable feature of
the ordinary vacation home. The King's
Daughters, of Quaker Hill, are more than

29 "

kind to their sisters, taking them into their
hearts as well as their Circle.

About eighty girls are usually entertained,
in all, and many more such homes could be
filled with those who are equally needy. Miss
Monahan has plans, or rather hopes, for the
enlargement of the work, in time, to include
industrial training. Perhaps abetter idea can-
not be given of the present scope of the enter-
prise than by some extracts from a report made
in 1893:

Beautiful for situation is Hill Hope. Eight hundred
feet above the Harlem \'alley, and 1,.500 feet above sea
level, it stands facing the sunset, with the beauty of the
Shawangunk Mountains before it and the lovely fertile
valley at its feet. A good garden su[)plies fresh vegeta-
bles and berries, while the Jersey milk, eggs, butler and
home-cured hams come from Broadfields, the farm of
which Hill Hope is an offshoot.

Over the ninety acres of this farm, including a bit of
woodland divided by a [lebbly brook, the girls have free
range to come and go as they please. During haying sea-
son the fields are alive with girls; they run after the
mower, toss the hay, ride the ropes, and come home on
the loads of fragrant hay, driving the horses and chatter-
mg to "Chris" in his native German.

The daily routine at Hill Hope is very simple. An
hour each morning is devoted to care of rooms and other
housework, and arranging flowers for the table; half an
hour at noon, the same at night. Every Saturday a thor-
ough cleansing of rooms takes place, in anticipation of the
incoming party of girls in the afternoon; this completes
the work required. Family worship morning and even-
ing; and who among the girls but will recall the pleasant
little talks and the prayers offered at this time? For
evenings and rainy days there are books and music,
games, quiet and noisy, without end, with croquet, bean-
bags, etc., and hammocks and lounging chairs for the
long summer evenings. They enjoy even the chill rainy
days, because they offer an excuse for a wood fire in the
fireplace in the dining room. An occasional candy-pull,
also, enlivens the wet days. Many of these girls have
never been in the country before; very many see cows
milked and horses groomed for the first time; and the
hay-scented barn, at milking time, with the long rows of
soft-eyed Jersey cattle, and the farmer and his assistants
answering questions, is an inexhaustible fund of amuse-
ment. Each set walks to the old Quaker Meeting House,
a relic of ante-Revolutionary days, and listens to the
thrilling stories of events which happened "on the spot;"
and they often walk to the post office, where a gentle
Quaker lady and her daughter entertain them, bringing
out Quaker bonnets many years old, and relating their

Then there are picnic days, when " Chris " and the
horses arrive early, and all are off for a drive through
shady woods to the lake, a long day of boating, fishing
and lunching in the woods, and at sunset a drive home
" over the hills." Through the kindness of a gentleman,
whose lovely home crowns the hill, the freedom of the
lake was one year extended to Hill Hope; boats, fishing
tackle, bathing suits, ice, lemonade, etc., being freely ten-
dered to the girls at any time. Through the kindness of
another gentleman from a distance, an outing fund was
provided, so the girls might have driving when the home
teams were not available. A lady has devoted many aft-
ernoons and evenings to our girls, reading and walking .
with them, taking tea in the woods, and making barn pic-
nics for them. Many of the summer residents have shown
thoughtful kindness by sending in quantities of fresh
vegetables; and, once, the girls were invited to one of the



finest gardens in the place to pull all the flowers they
wished. Said one pallid, sickly-looking girl: "1 never
saw a sweet pea growing before." She and her compan-
ions gathered almost a bushel that morning, and in the
afternoon assisted the King's Daughters Circle to arrange
them to send to the New York Flower Mission.

Another set were invited by the manager of the
" Dutcher House," in Pawling, to hear the band play.
After a drive of six miles and an hour spent m rambling
through the hotel grounds, they were served with ices in
the music room.

One lovely September afternoon another set was asked
by a lady, owner of a beautiful summer residence, to take
tea at her home, and there charmingly entertained for two
hours; after which they went, also by invitation, to walk
through the garden and grounds of the gentleman who
gave them the use of the lake, and whose wife has taught
the successive parties of girls faithfully in the Sunday-
school all summer, winning the heart of everyone of them
by her sweet graciousness of manner and her earnest
teachings. Who can estimate the influence of this sim-
ple, kindly hospitality and friendliness upon the toilful,
cramped lives of our poor girls, except, indeed. He who
spoke the "Inasmuch"?

GEORGE H. CRAMER, the proprietor of
a well-known meat market at Red Hook,
Dutchess county, is a representative of several
of the oldest families of the vicinity. His
ancestors on the paternal side settled here at
an early date and bought land which succeed-
ing generations cultivated. His grandfather,
George Cramer, married Miss Allendorf, of
Red Hook, and had seven children : Frederick,
George, Henry A. , Gettie, Lydia, Caroline
and Bailey.

Henry A. Cramer, our subject's father, was
born in 1804, was educated in the schools of
Red Hook, and, like his forefathers, became a
farmer. He married Miss Catherine W'al-
dorph, and to their union were born the fol-
lowing children : Balinda A., in 1827; John
V. R., in 1830; George H., in 1834 ; James A.,
in 1836 ; and William C. , in 1845. The
mother died in 1895, at the age of eighty-three
years ; the father in 1880. Our subject's
mother was a descendant of another pioneer
family which has taken a prominent part in
the history of that locality. The old house,
which has been the home of the family for
generations, is still standing, a landmark which
is looked upon with interest at this day. Mrs.
Cramer's father, John Waldorph, was an influ-
ential man of his time. He succeeded to the
fertile acres which composed the family estate,
and early in life married Miss Regina Benner,
a daughter of Peter Benner, a leading farmer
of Red Hook. Seven children were born of
this union: William, John, Christopher, David,
Maria, Catherine and Elizabeth.

George H. Cramer, our subject, attended
the schools of his native place during his youth,
and assisted his father upon the farm. He
was'married in October, 1862, to Miss Sarah
C. Allendorf, a daughter of Philip Allendorf, a
well-known resident of Red Hook, and one
child blessed this union: Emma A., born
October 30, 1866, who married Dr. \\'illiam
E. Traver, a promising young dentist of Red
Hook. In 1876 Mr. Cramer gave up agricult-
ural pursuits to engage in the meat trade in
partnership with Philip Stickel. A year later, a
brother-in-law, P. \. Allendorf, succeeded Mr.
Stickel, but three years afterward he died and
Clarence Shook took his interest, continuing for
ten years, when C. N. Hicks, then an employe
of the firm, purchased his share. Two years
afterward Mr. Cramer bought out Mr. Hicks,
and has since conducted the business in his
own name, his energj- and fine business ability
assuring his continued success.

WILLIAM A. SHOOK, of " Ardmore "
farm, the well-known horticulturist

and dairyman, whose large and admirably-con-
ducted farm near Wappingers Falls, Dutchess
county, is considered a model of its kind, is
one of the most progressive citizens of the

His family has been prominent in the
vicinity of Red Hook. Dutchess county, for
several generations, and many of the name
still reside there, among them being Sheridan
Shook, a second cousin of our subject.

John Shook, our subject's grandfather, a
native of Red Hook, was a leading agricultur-
ist in his day, and an influential Democrat.
He married Miss Nellie Shoemaker, and they
reared a family of ten children, as follows:
Christina, Maria, Helen, Cornelia, Aaron,
Archibald, John, Walter, Alexander and Cath-
erine. The parents were both members of
the Lutheran Church. Aaron Shook, the fa-
ther of our subject, grew to manhood at the
old homestead, and married Miss Catherine
Cramer, a descendant of an old Holland fam-
ily, a daughter of Frederick Cramer, a leading
carpenter of Red Hook. They settled on a
farm there, and seven children were born to
them: Lucetta, now the widow of Sylvester
Teator, a farmer; Cornelia, the wife of Charles
Schryver, a harness maker by trade; Helen,
who married Robert W. Lewis, a farmer;
William A., our subject; Gordon L. , a farmer



by occupation (now deceased); Lydia E., who
is at home; and Frederick, a resident of Rhine-
beck. Aaron Shook died at the old home in
1884, his wife some five years later. He was
an active worker in local affairs, and in the
Democratic party, and held the offices of col-
lector and poor master. '

William A. Shook, our subject, was born
April 24, 1S37, and spent his early years at
the old homestead. In 1862 he married Miss
Sarah D. Stickle, a daughter of Stephen P.
Stickle, and granddaughter of Halley Stickle,
both of whom were natives of Columbia coun-
ty, N. Y. Her mother, Elizabeth fCouse)
Stickle, was also born in that county, and both
families traced their lineage to early Holland-
Dutch settlers. Mr. and Mrs. Shook made
their first home upon a farm in Red Hook, but

Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York → online text (page 87 of 183)