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Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

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clerk in a mercantile house. He is a promi-
nent member of Christian Lodge, I. O. O. F. ,
of Red Hook, which he joined in 1894, and
has filled several chairs of importance in that
order. He is also a charter member of Shiloh
Encampment, of the same place, and a mem-
ber of the Odd Fellows Mutual Benefit Asso-
ciation of Dutchess county, with headquarters
at Poughkeepsie. He keeps up his acquaint-
ance' with his army comrades by his connection
with Armstrong Post No. 104, G. A. R., of
Rhinebeck, Dutchess county. He has mani-
fested the same loyalty in days of peace as in
days of war, and all who know him have for
him the highest regard.

ISAAC SWIFT belongs to a family that for
many generations have resided in this coun-
try and taken a prominent part in its history.
He traces his origin back to William Swift,
who was born in England in 1634 and died in
that country in 1705. He was followed by his
son William, who was born in 1654, and died
in 1 701. The next is Benjamin Swift, whose
birth occurred in West F'almouth, Mass. He
wedded Mary Gifford, and died in 1775. Their
third son, Zebulon, wedded Rebecca Wing, of
Falmouth, and Abraham, their third son, who
was united in marriage with Johanna Sisson,
liecame the grandfather of our subject.

The earliest recollections of Isaac Swift
are of the old home farm where his birth took
place November 19, 1822, and he there early
became familiar with the duties which fall
to the lot of an agriculturist. On reaching
manhood he continued the cultivation and im-
provement of that place until April, 1881,
when he disposed of the same, and has since
lived retired, enjoying the fruits of his former

Mr. Swift was married to Miss Lydia H.
Almy, a native of Vermont, and a daughter of
Obediah and Rhoda (Barrett) Almy, who were
the parents of si.x children, namely: Helen,
Lydia, Rhoda, Margaret, Stephen and James.
On both the paternal and maternal sides Mrs.
Swift was of English origin, and the families
were all members of the Society of Friends.
She died November 12, 1857, leaving two
children: Charles I., a contractor and builder
of Milbrook, Dutchess county; and Henrietta,
wife of W. L. Swift, editor of the " Round

Table," of Millbrook. On January 5, 1858,
our subject was united in marriage with Rhoda
A. Almy, a sister of his former wife.

As a farmer, Mr. Swift was quite success-
ful, always fair and honorable in all his deal-
ings, and has the confidence and respect of all
who know him. He is a progressive, enter-
prising citizen, taking a deep interest in every-
thing for the advancement of his town and
county. He uniformly casts his vote with the
Republican part}', and he and his estimable
wife are members of the Friends Church.

JAMES H. WRIGHT. This highly respected
citizen of the town of Stanford, Dutchess

county, has resided upon his present farm
since 1853, and is successfully engaged in gen-
eral agriculture. His early ancestors emi-
grated from England to this country, and his
grandfather, John Wright, was a native of the
town of Fishkill, Dutchess county, where he
devoted his whole life to agricultural pursuits.
In his family were twelve children, as follows:
Polly, Susan, Lydia, Ruth, Isaac I., John,
Aaron, Esther, Dena, Peter, Freelove and

Isaac I. Wright, the father of our subject,
was also born in the town of Fishkill, where
he later attended school, and learned the car-
penter's, wagonmaker's and blacksmith's trades.
In 1836 he came to the town of Stanford, lo-
cating on a farm near Mclntyre Station, which
he operated for a number of years. The lat-
ter part of his life, however, was spent at
Bangall, where he died in 1 871, at the ripe
old age of eighty-two years. He was a self-
made man, having made all his possessions by
his own industry, diligence and economy, and
is entitled to high praise for his commendable
activity. He was a member of the Baptist
Church at Bangall, and in politics was first a
Whig, later a Republican. He was married
in the town of Fishkill to Jennett Howe, daugh-
ter of Libbens Howe, and they became the
parents of the following children: Margaret
and Hannah Maria (both deceased); Ymar
(deceased); James Harvey, subject of this
sketch; John (deceased). Lucy Ann, wife of
Joel Williams; Rebecca, wife of Clark Guern-
sey; Phctbe, wife of Eli Wright; and George,
of Mount Ross, Milan.

The birth of our subject occurred April 5,
1 820, in the town of East Fishkill, where he
began his education, later continuing his stud-



ies in the town of Stanford, and at the Jacob
Willets Boarding School in the town of Wash-
ington, Dutchess county. He grew to man's
estate upon his father's farm, and as soon as
old enough assisted in its cultivation until his
marriage, gaining a good practical knowledge
of the business under the wise guidance of his

In the town of Stanford, Decembers, 1853,
Mr. Wright was married to Mary A. Humphrey,
daughter of John and Clarissa Humphrey, of
that township. To them were born si.\ chil-
dren, in order of birth as follows: (i) John H.
married Ella Vandewater, December 21, 1880,
and they have three children — Ralph, Maud
and Roy. (2) Clara, of Yonkers, is the wife
of Franklin Talmadge, by whom she has two
children — Mabel and Marian. (3) Isaac I. is
deceased. (4) Charles W., who makes his
home at Clinton Corners, Dutchess county,
married Delia Stewart, and they have three
children — Harold and Edith (twins) and Ethel.
(5) Ira is the next in order of birth. (6j Net-
tie, the youngest, is also deceased.

Mr. Wright is a keen, practical man, well
gifted with mental vigor. His genial manners
and sturdy integrity have won him a host of
friends, and he is highly regarded by all with
whom he comes in contact. He is a sincere
and earnest Christian, a member of the Bap-
tist Church for fifty-four years. He united
with the Church in 1842, and served the same
for several years as chorister and superintend-
ent of the Sabbath-school, and trustee; was
elected clerk of the Church in 1874, and still
continues as clerk; and later was elected dea-
con of said Church. On account of his views
on the temperance question, he is a stanch
supporter of the Prohibition party.

I WIGHT ABEL. Jacob Abel, grandfather
of our subject, was born in the town of
Unionvale, Dutchess county, where he passed
his days in agricultural pursuits. He married
Miss Margaret Uhl, by whom he had three
children: \\'illiam W. , John U. and Mary.

William W. Abel, father of our subject,
was born March i, 18 14, in the town of Union-
vale, and during his boyhood attended the
Nine Partners School, after which he taught
school for a time. Later he followed agricult-
ural pursuits exclusively, becoming one of the
most extensive farmers in his township. He

took an active interest in political matters, al-
ways voting with the Whig or Republican
party, and held a number of township offices,
including those of supervisor, justice of the
peace and revenue collector. He was twice
married, first time to Helen Cornell, by whom
he had two children: Evaline and Mary, the
last named dying at the age of twelve years.
Evaline married Henry Brill, of Beekman, N.
Y. , and two children were born to them:
Theodore R. , who married Miss Emma Hicok,
and Nellie C. For his second wife William
W. Abel wedded Miss Mary Jane Austin,
daughter of Beriah and Sarah (Waite) Austin,
and four children were born to them: Orlin
B., Dwight, H. Clay and John Jacob. Of
these Orlin B. is more fully spoken of else-
where; H. Clay was born in the town of Un-
ionvale, and received a good common-school
education, after which he followed the pro-
fession of teaching. He is now engaged in
mercantile business at Wappingers Falls, Dutch-
ess county. Socially, he affiliates with the F.
& A. M. He married Miss Maggie Traver, by
whom he had two children, William C. and
Melburn T., and after her death he wedded
Miss Mary Manning.

Dwight Abel was born in 1846 in the town
of Unionvale, where his entire life has been
passed. His elementary education was re-
ceived at the schools of the neighborhood of
his boyhood home, and later he pursued his
studies at Charlotteville, Schoharie Co., N.
Y. He early began to assist in the labors of
the home farm, and has since devoted his
time and attention to rural pursuits with ex-
cellent results. Politically, he is identified with
the Republican party, but has never aspired to
public office. He is enterprising and public-
spirited. On December 18, 1867, he married
Miss Adaline E. Coe, daughter of Reuben L.
Coe, of Unionvale, and they became the par-
ents of three children: Charles H., born Jan-
uary 27, 1869, and who died at the age of
twenty-one years; Walter J., born April 25,
1872; and Jennie L., born February 25, 1887.
The second son, Walter J. Abel, was born in
the town of Unionvale, in 1872, attended the
Claverack College, and is now engaged in farm-
ing in the town of Lagrange, Dutchess county.
He married Miss Anna C. Hyzer, daughter of
Abram Hyzer, an agriculturist of that town-
ship, and their union has been blessed with
one child, Edwin Dwight, born January 11,



EDWARD M. SMITH. In Munsels "Amer-
ican Ancestry, giving the name and de-
scent of the male line of Americans whose an-
cestors settled in the United States previous to
the Declaration of Independence," we have
the genealogy of Edward M. Smith, the author
of the History of Rhinebeck, as follows:

Edward Martin Smith, of Rhinebeck, N.
Y., born at Red Hook, N. Y. , March 29, 1S17,
the eleventh of thirteen children, left home at
the age of twelve to work on uncle's farm;
tailor's apprentice 1833-1838; journeyman
tailor in Rhinebeck 1838-1840; master tailor
from last date; co-founder of the Rhinebeck
Gii::ctti 1846; merchant tailor 1S50; president
of the village 1875; president of the school
board 1 881-1889; author of the History of
Rhinebeck 1881; married September 13, 1842,
Mary Elizabeth Davis, daughter of Jabez Davis,
of Shropshire, England.

Son of Philip Smith, born June 27, 1773;
died at Milan, N. Y., December 13, 1851;
farmer; spoke German, Dutch and English
with equal fluency; possessed much mechanical
skill and ingenuity; married December 4, 1796,
Anna Coopernail, daughter of William Cooper-
nail, of the Mohawk Valley, descendant from
Jan Van Koppenol, who came to America in

Son of Johannes Schmidt, born in Rhine-
beck, March 30, 1730; died April 18, 181 3;
married February 3, 1761, Elizabeth Sipperley,
born August 12, 1741; died March 25, 1804;
daughter of Frederick Sipperley and Catharine
Wegeler, daughter of Hans Michael Wegeler,
one of the Palatine founders of the town of
Rhinebeck; married August 15, 1727.

Son of Zacharias Schmidt, born in Ger-
many; was clerk, fore-reader, deacon, elder
and treasurer of the Reformed German Church ;
located on part of his farm three miles north of
the present village of Rhinebeck; married
about 1728 Anna Maria, daughter of Valentin
Biiuder, who with his wife, Anna Margaretha
Stopplebeen, came to America in 1710 on the
ship "Midfort," Capt. Fowles, with the Rev.
Joshua Kocherthal and other Protestant re-
ligious refugees from the Palatinate on the

At the death of his father, Philip Smith,
the only one of four sons who remained a
farmer and at home at maturity, became the
owner of the homestead, with the farm-stock
and three slaves, Tom and Flore and their son
Tobe. As the older sons of the fainilv were

approaching manhood, Tom, an intelligent
negro, made up his mind that his master could
do very well without him, and besought him,
very earnestly, to sell him to Peter Van Ben-
thuysen, who had expressed a wish to own
him; which, after much hesitation, he finally
did. Before Tom had been a fortnight on the
premises of his new master he absconded,
without leaving a clue to his destination be-
hind him.

After 1827, when New York had freed all
her slaves by an act of the Legislature, Tom
came into the State from Massachusetts with
a good team of horses and a wagon, his own
property, with which he was earning his living
as a teamster. He was on his way to the
Hudson river for a load of merchandise, and
sought out his old master, then living in the
town of Milan, to tell him that when he im-
portuned him to sell him he had fully made up
his mind to run away, but preferred to do so
from a new rather than his old master, to whom
and his family he had become greatly attached;
and that he was quite as eager that he should
obtain a good price for him as he was that he
should sell him.

Tobe had long been given away, a mar-
riage present to a daughter of the family; Flora
had gone away, the. wife of a decent negro,
able to support her; at his death she found a
home with her son, Tobias, her only offspring,
who earned his living mainly by fishing and
fiddling. Old and tottering, she walked four
miles to be present at her old mistress' funeial.

In 1822 Philip Smith sold the leasehold of
the old Red Hook home, and took his family
of twelve children to a larger farm in Colum-
bia county, N. Y., under a Livingston Lease,
where the thirteenth child was soon added to
the family. Here the older children soon
found it necessary to look beyond the farm for
a livelihood, and drifted away to various occu-
pations. Before 1830 this farm was also dis-
posed of, and what was left of the family be-
came the owners in fee of a small farm in the
town of Milan. Here the father died, Decem-
ber 13, 1 83 I, his children all living, and at his
funeral; the mother October 26, 1864, her
thirteen children all living and at her funeral,
the youngest forty-one years old, who is now,
and has been for several terms, a justice of the
peace in Gerniantown, Columbia Co., N. Y.
The grandfather, Johannes Schmidt, served as
a soldier in the French and Indian war; was
an " Associator" at the outbreak of the Revo-

^, Ayi. S-yi^i^^^^ATT^



lution, and did what he could for the freedom
and independence of his country.

On May 2, 1896, the semi-centennial of the
Rhinebeck Gazette, the present editor and pro-
prietor pubhshed what follows about its founder
and his History of Rhinebeck:

When Mr. Smith disposed of the Oazette establish-
ment, and ceased to be its editor, he did not wholly
abandon his literary work. The following item copied
from Mason's Illustrated History of Dutchess County,
published in 1882. gives due credit to what he has since
done in the literary line:

"During his residence of forty-three years in Rhine-
beck, Mr. Smith has collected from various sources the
material included in his history of this old town. It is a
work of years, in the preparation of which much time,
labor and money have been expended, and to which,
through the kindness of the author, we are indebted for
nearly all the data relating to Rhinebeck. His work,
more complete in its minutia? than can be any history of
the county at large, may be justly regarded as a valuable
contribution to the historical data of the county and State.
Mr. Smith's History of Rhinebeck was published in 1881,
mainly for subscribers, and the entire edition was e.\-
hausted in a few months. No copies are to be had now,
' for love or money.' Persisting in his researches, we are
told that he is now in possession of facts related to the
history of the town and its early settlers that will enable
him to revise, correct and greatly enhance the interest of
the work, and that he is accordingly employing some of
his leisure time in re-writing and enlarging it. Having
entered the eightieth year of his age, Mr. Smith will hardly
assume the task of its republication. We hojiesome one
will secure the manuscript, and in due time offer it to the

GEORGE W. CRONK. Prominent among
the successful and enterprising farmers of
Dutchess county maj' be found the subject of
this biographical sketch, whose home is situated
in the town of Unionvale, and who is consid-
ered one of the most industrious and worthy
citizens of this part of the county. Here his
entire life has been passed, his birth having
occurred in the town of Amenia, in 18 18, while
his education was obtained in the schools of
Lagrange and Fishkill town. His paternal
grandfather, Jacob Cronk, was a native of Hol-
land, and on coming to the New World lo-
cated in the town of Hyde Park, Dutchess
county, about eight miles from Poughkeepsie,
and there engaged in farming.

Timothy Cronk, the father of our subject,
was born in the town of Hyde Park, in 1748.
He became a resident of the town of Fishkill,
where he worked at his trade of coopering, and
was a faithful soldier in the war of 1812. He
was twice married, by his first union having
three children; Hiram, Samuel and Rhoda.
For his second wife he wedded Deborah A.
Brown, and to them were born five children:

Sarah, who married Saxon Raymond; Harri-
son, who was killed in war; Henry, who died
unmarried; Nelson, who married Harriet Mar-
shall; and George, our subject.

During his youth George Cronk learned
the weaver's trade, at which he worked for
nine years, later for ten years was in the mill-
ing business, and then turned his attention to
carpentering and masonry. For the past thirty
years, however, he has devoted his attention
exclusively to his farming interest, and though
enterprising and public-spirited, has never
cared for office. He married Miss Emeline
Howard, who was born April 26, 1824, in the
town of Dover, and was there educated in its
common schools.

Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs.
Cronk, namely: (1) Mary, born August 10,
1843, married George Hillker, a farmer of the
town of Poughkeepsie, and they have one son,
George Henry, now an operator on an elevated
railroad in New York City. (2) George H.,
born October 18, 1S45, who engaged in farm-
ing after completing his education. At the age
of twenty-one years he enlisted at Poughkeep-
sie in the 150th N. Y. V. I., and served until
the close of the war, being in the battle of
Petersburg, and also at Appomatox when Lee
surrendered. He holds membership in the
Grand Army of the Republic. Carpentering
is now his occupation. He married Annie
Harrington, and they have had four children —
George B., who married Agnes Salter; Julia
A., who married William E. Ostram; William,
who died at the age of eleven years; and Her-
bert. (3) Helen A., born April 3, 1848, died
May 18, 1849. (4) Albert, born June i 5, 1850,
went to California as overseer of a farm for
Governor Stanford, and later was inspector in
gold mines. He married Sarah S. Perry, of
that State, and died May 15, 1884. (5) Will-
iam B., born August 20, 1852, died July 8,
1874. (6) Emma, born November 27, 1854,
married James P. Organ, a farmer of Noxon,
Dutchess county, and they have two sons —
Floyd and William. (7) Martha, born July
26, 1858, married Harvey Van Dewater, for-
merly a farmer, but now engaged in merchan-
dising at New Hackensack, N. Y. (8) John,
born October 23, i860, is by trade a carpenter,
but is also engaged in farming in the town of
Washington, Dutchess county. He married
Ella Bostwick, an adopted daughter of Henry
Bostwick. (9) Charles E., born May 30, 1862,
is an architect of Herkimer, N. Y., and is now



finishing the plans for ex-President Harrison's
summer residence in the Adirondack Mount-
ains. He married EUzabeth Risedorf. (lo)
Sarah E. , born October 23, 1864, completes
the family. On April 28, 1897, she married
John E. Forshay, a carpenter by trade, of New
York City. They were all born and educated
in the town of Amenia. Dutchess county.

Zebaniah Howard, the grandfather of Mrs.
Cronk, was a native of the town of Dover, and
engaged in farming from youth until his death,
conducting a good farm which he owned on
Chestnut Ridge. In religious belief he was a
Friend. By his marriage with Miss Lydia

he had the following children: John,

Charles, Sylvester, Valirie, Pontius, Edward
and Silas.

The birth of Silas Howard, the father of
Mrs. Cronk, occurred in the town of Amenia,
but most of his life was passed in F"ishkill
town, and throughout his life he followed the
profession of teaching, being one of the able
instructors of the county. By birthright he
was a member of the Society of Friends. He
was united in marriage with Miss Amelia Cash,
daughter of David and Amelia Cash, farming
people of Columbia county, N. Y. They be-
came the parents of nine children, namely:
William, born August 15, 1S09, married Pau-
lina Storms; Rachel, born May 28, 181 1, mar-
ried Isaac Harrington; Aaron, born March 26,
181 3, married Harriet Sweet; David, born
February 21, 181 5, married Caroline Sweet;
Silas, born December 21, 18 16, married Cath-
arine Odell; Asa, born September 24, 18 19,
married Jane Northrop; Lydia, born August
29, 1 82 1, married John Ulrich; Emeline, wife
of our subject, is next in order of birth; and
Elizabeth, born February 28, 1828, married
Joseph Martin.

JOHN W. PULVER, a well-known business
man of Millerton, Dutchess county, and the
proprietor of extensive bottling works, was
born July 23, 1830, at Red Hook, Dutchess
Co., N. Y. , where his ancestors were among
the pioneer settlers. His grandfather, David
Pulver, was a native of the same place, and
became a successful farmer there, owning a
tract of land near the old post road between
Upper and Lower Red Hook, now belonging
to Mr. Coons. David Pulver was a substan-
tial citizen, influential in local matters, and
prosperous in business. In addition to his

farming, he engaged largely in the breeding of
running horses. He died in 1842, and his
wife, formerly Catherine Simmons, died in
Red Hook, in 1836. They had seven children:
David, Henry, Peter and Zachariah (twins),
.•\nna (Mrs. William Fredenburgh), Peggy
(Mrs. John Witherwax), and one who died in

Zachariah Pulver, our subject's father, was
born at the old home at Red Hook, in 1793,
and lived there until 1835, following farming
as an occupation. He and his brother, Peter,
made their home together for sixty years, and
married two sisters, the daughters of Philip
Teeter, a leading citizen of the town of Milan,
and a descendent of a German family. Peter's
wife's name was Maria, and Zachariah's wife's
name was Catherine. A few years after mar-
riage the)' moved to Columbia county, and
bought a farm of 209 acres in the town of
Chatham, adding to it later until the farm
contained about 300 acres. Zachariah Pulver
was a strong Democrat, and a leading official
of the Lutheran Church, of which this family
have been members from early times. He
died in 1873, his wife surviving him fourteen
years. They had five children, of whom two
are now living. Mary died in infancy; Cather-
ine at the age of three, and David Henry in
1874. The survivors are John W. , our sub-
ject; and Elizabeth A., who married Lewis
Smith, of Chatham, New York.

The subject of our sketch received a good
English education in the district schools of the
town of Chatham, and was especially noted for
his ability as a mathematician, being considered
the best in Columbia county. His brother
David also possessed the same powers to an
unusual degree. Mr. Pulver left school at the
age of sixteen, but he has been an unwearied
reader and is well informed upon general topics.
He remained at home until he was twenty-two
years old, and then took charge of a farm be-
longing to his father, in Rensselaer county, and
three years later he moved to another at the
head of North Chatham Village, where he re-
mained eleven years. He then sold out to a
brother and removed to Nassau, Rensselaer
county, and engaged in the milling business in
a rented mill. Later he bought the property
and formed a partnership with Mr. Davis, the
owner ; but this venture proved unfortunate,
and he sold his interest to Mr. Davis before a
year had elapsed. The following year he was
in partnership with E. M. Crum in the mow-



ing-machine business, and on disposing of his
share in that he bought a store and followed
the business alone. In 1871 he moved to
Amenia, and engaged in his present employ-
ment of bottling during the summer season,
and cutting pork and making sausage in winter.
This establishment was removed to Millerton
in 1877, and has since commanded the largest
business of the sort in this locality.

Mr. Pulver is one of the leading men of the

Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York → online text (page 97 of 183)