Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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town, Sing Sing, Poughkeepsie and Peekskill, and in 1884, having given up his
branch stores he removed to Albany, N. Y., where he opened a grocery store at No.
147 South Pearl street. In 1886 he bought the old Jewish Synagogue property at
Nos. 153 to 159 South Pearl street, and after overhauling it started a grocery store
there. In 1890 he opened another grocery in the old Music Hall where he carried
on a very successful business until January, 1894, when the property was destroyed
by fire. Mr. Drislane then purchased the old Female Academy property on North
Pearl street, which he thoroughly overhauled, putting in a new front and opened for
business there June 15, 1894. His first year's business in Albany amounted to §50,-
000 and last year's to §350,000. He has seventy-five people in his employ.

De Witt, Richard Varick, son of Richard V. and Sarah (Walsh) De Witt, was born
in Albany, N. Y., in 1832. He is a grandson of Simeon De Witt, who was born in
Ulster county in 1756 and who joined the line of the Continental army as volunteer
and was present at the surrender of Burgoyne, October 17, 1777. In 1778 Congress
appointed Simeon De Witt geographer-general and chief of topographers to the
Continental army, which positions he retained until the close of the Revolutionary
war. In 1784 he was appointed surveyor-general of New York State and served as
such until his death in 1834; in 1784 he was appointed by Congress surveyor-general
of the United States, but he declined. He was a regent of the University of New
York from 1798 until his death, and was vice-chancellor from 1817 and chancellor
from 1829. He was also one of the founders of the Society of the Cincinnati. The
father of the subject of this sketch was born in 1800 and died in 1868. From 1823
until 1828, he was brigadier-general commanding the forces in Albany county and
was vice-president of the Society of the Cincinnati from 1848 until his death. Both
father and grandfather of the subject were for many years elders of Second Dutch
church of Albany. Richard Varick De Witt, the subject of this sketch, was educated
at the Albany Academy and in 1849 went into the employ of the Albany Insurance
Company as clerk. In 1854 he was appointed to a clerkship in the New York State
Bank and remained there until 1868, when he again engaged in the insurance busi-
ness. Mr. De Witt was secretary of the Commerce Insurance Company from 1872
to 1890 and was secretary of the Albany Insurance Company from 1890 to February,


1896, when he resigned to engage in business for himself. He has been a member
of the Board of Fire Commissioners since 1887; a trustee of the Madison Avenue
Reformed church for ten years, and was at one time a director of the Albany Ex-
change Savings Bank. He is now president of the Albany Board of Fire Under-
writers, a trustee of the Albany Medical College, a member of the standing commit-
tee of the Society of the Cincinnati of the State of New York, and president of the
Albany branch of the Local Fire Insurance Agents' Association of N. Y. State.

McCredie, James, son of Thomas and Margaret (Smith) McCredie, was born in
Albany, N. Y., February 37, 1861. Thomas McCredie was born in Glasgow. Scot-
land, on St. Andrew's day, November 30, 1808. When Thomas McCredie was very
young his parents died and his foster parents apprenticed him to a master carpenter
for three years and six months. But his mind and attention turned toward malting,
inasmuch as his father had been a wine and malt liquor dealer. He had always been
a great student and, having read much of America he determined to visit it, and on
October 30, 1838, he reached the city of Albany. He soon made the acquaintance of
Peter Ballantine, the famous maltster and brewer, a fellow countryman of Mr. McCre-
die, and he commenced work in the malt house of Howard & Ryckman. The three
following years of his life were spent in the Andrew Kirk malt house and brewery,
he having decided upon malting as his life work. For two years he was superin-
tendent of the Andrew Kirk plant. For six years after this he was in the employ
of Robert Dunlop. another Scotchman, as superintendent of his houses at Troy,
N. Y. He then went to Philadelphia as superintendent of a malt house owned by
the Messrs. Gaul and remained there one season, after which he returned to Albany
and entered the employ of Mr. Dunlop again. In 1848 he married Miss Ellen Dunlop,
who lived only two years and who left an only daughter who survived but a short
time. About this date Thomas McCredie entered or formed a partnership with Mr.
Robert Dunlop, which partnership proved an unusnallj' happy and agreeable one for
both. In 18.51 Robert Dunlop's death occurred, and at the settlement of the latter's
estate Mr. McCredie acquired possession of the Dunlop malt house on Clinton
avenue. From this date a character, which for careful and undivided attention to
business and a studious effort to equal, if not excel the best in the line of work
which he had undertaken, showed itself and not without its beneficial results.
Soon after he obtained the entire control of the malt house of John McKnight,
corner of Orange and Hawk streets. Thirty years before his death he was ac-
corded the first place among the maltsters of the United States, and he sustained
his reputation as a maltster until his death March 24, 1892. He took a great interest
in all matters pertaining to the welfare of Albany. He was a member of the board
of governors of the Albany Hospital and served as a director of the Mechanics' and
Farmers' Bank, and a trustee of the Mechanics' and Farmers' Savings Bank. He
was a member of the Albany City Curling Club and St. Andrew's Society. Four
times he visited the land of his birth, but he never lost interest in the land of his
adoption. He was ever kind-hearted and deeply religious, and was beloved of all
who knew him. At the time of his death he was a member of the board of trustees
of the First Reformed church. In 1854 he married Miss Margaret Smith, of Albany,
by whom he had five children, two daughters and three sons. In a word, for a person
of such prominence and wealth, Thomas McCredie was a most unostentatious man,


never seeking jireferment except in his own business or pursuit, but giving his un-
divided and liberal support to whatever of outside matters that fell to his charge;
his best attention to whatever he was willing to undertake with a most singular
fidelity. James McCredie, his son, for whom this article is intended, was educated
in private schools, the Albany Academy and was graduated from the Riverview
Military Academy at Poughkeepsie, after which he learned the brewing business in
Smith & Brother's brewery in New York city. He then returned to Albany, and up to
the time of his father's death was engaged in the management of his father's bu.siness.
After the death of his father James succeeded to the control of the business and has
successfully conducted it ever since. He is a young man inheriting or possessing in
a large degree all those qualities which made his father so interesting and prominent
a character in whatever line he undertook. James McCredie is of a singularly happy
and sunny temperament or nature, a close observer, is quick, resolute, active and
decided in his mental attributes, giving his best efforts and time to those positions
which he has been selected to fill, in all of which he has proved himself eminently
t]ualitied, as is evidenced or proved by his continuing to fill the positions to which
he as been elected, year after year without a single intermission. It is James
McCredie's nature to do all or everything that falls to his lot to do, whether in a
public capacity or in private life, with the most scrupulous care; nothing is ever
neglected; no regard is paid to the labor, attention or time required so that the un-
dertaking may result beneficially. Every young man does not possess this character,
this capacity for work, the care taken in its doing, the determination to finish all work
undertaken, and if in a public capacity with an entire view to the public interest.
June 16, 1890, Mayor James H. Manning appointed Mr. McCredie a member of the
Board of Fire Commissioners to succeed James D. Coleman. On January 18, 1897,
Mayor John Boyd Thacher reappointed Mr. McCredie fire commissioner, which term
will expire June 1, 1900. He has been chairman of the supply committee, which is
the principal committee, and has been a member of the hose, telegraph and real estate
committees of the Board of Fire Commissioners. January 11, 1895, he was unani-
mously elected secretary of the board, which position he has held ever since. In
1892 he was elected governor of the Albany Hospital in place of his father, who
resigned owing to ill health, and shortly after he was elected secretary of the board,
and in February, 1896, was elected president of the board of governors. Mr. McCredie
has been a member of St. Andrew's Society for fifteen years, and in November,
1892. he was elected one of the managers, filling the vacancy caused by the death of
his father. He is also a member of the Caledonian Club, a Scottish organization,
jiresident of the Albany City Curling Club, and a member of the Fort Orange Club.
TJecember 6, 1889, he was elected a director and secretary of the Albany Railway
and still holds the position. September, 1892, he was .elected a trustee of the Me-
chanics' and Farmers' Savings Bank.

Willerton, Edmund Ronslow, son of Thomas and Helen (Metcalf) Willerton, was
born iu the city of York, England, in 1845 and when an infant came with his parents
to America and soon after settled in Albany, N. Y. He received his early education
in Albany in schools Nos. 5 and 13. He began his work as a messenger boy for the
Western Union Telegragh Company, in Albany, March, 1864, advancing to various
positions, including assistant bookkeeper, and when he left in 1870, he was cashier.


He then went into the employ of the Albany & Susquehanna Raih-oad (afterwards
the Delaware & Hudson Railroad), in the general passenger department, where he
has remained ever since, and is now chief clerk in that department. Mr. Will-
erton is a member of Ancient City Lodge, No. 452, F. & A. M., and was elected
master of the lodge for the years 1895-96. He is a member of Temple Chapter
No SRAM and was high priest during 1895-66. He is a member of De Witt
Clinton Council No. 23, R. & S. M., and was elected master for 1897; is a member of
Temple Commandery, No. 2, K. T., and of Cyrus Temple Nobles of the Mystic
Shrine, and is also a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason. Mr. WiUerton is
also a member of St. George s Society, the Albany Club, the Acacia Club, and of the
Dutch Reformed church. January 13, 1869, he married Frances Ameha Dole of
Albany, and they have three children: Florence M., Edna G. and Fred D.

Kernochan, Edward L., was born in New York city, October 3, 1870. His parents
were F E. Kernochan and Abba E. Learned. His great-grandfather came from the
North of Ireland and settled in Orange county. His grandfather was for many
years a lar-e dry goods merchant in New York city, with branches at Mobile and
New Orleans Mr. Kernochan's father was graduated from Yale in 1861 and fol-
lowed the profession of lawyer in New York city until 1873, when he went to Pitts-
field Mass and engaged in the manufacture of woolens. He died m Pittsfield m
1S84 Mr. Kernochan's maternal grandfather, Edward Learned, was for many
years one of the well known financiers of New York city and was at one time largely
interested in railroad construction and mining interests. He furnished the stone for
the foundation of the New York State Capitol from his Maine quarries. E. L. Ker-
nochan eno-aged in business in a pulp mill at Madison, Me. Later he removed to
Albany n"y. and was elected a director of the Taylor Brewing and Malting Com-
pany, and in 1895 was elected vice-president of the same company. Mr. Kernochan
is a member of the Albany Country Club.

Van Vranken, Adam T., M. D., was born at Vischers Ferry, Saratoga county,
N Y September 14, 1850. His paternal ancestors came from Holland and settled
in Albany N Y in 1646, afterwards purchased a large tract of land beyond the
Mohawk River a iH.nion of which is still in possession of the family. He was the


ived his earl\- education

iken and Dorcas Cregier, both of Holland descent. Ht
the district schools of his native place, and finished
WsHterkry studies at Fort Edward Collegiate Institute, and was graduated from the
Albany Medical College in 1873, was house physician in the Albany Hospital and
located in West Troy in 1875, where he still resides. He was for ten years attending
nhvsician to the Trov Hospital, and is now upon the consulting staff. He is a mem-
ber of the Medical Society of the County of Albany, and was its president in 1895-96 ;
also a member of the New York State Medical Association, and of the State Medical
Society He was the president of the Alumni Association of Albany Medical Col-
lece in 1895 and is now the president of the Young Men's Christian Association of
West Troy, also president of the Board of Education. He married Miss Lizzie M.
Shoemaker of Albany, N. Y., who died in 1886. He then married Miss Emma Har-
mon of West Troy in 1889.

Sturtevant Stephen V., one of the most prominent men of Watervliet. is the son
of George A. Sturtevant, a pioneer settler here from Fort Miller, N. Y., where


Stephen was born in 1844. He was educated here and has always been engaged in
the lumber and coal business, forming a partnership with William Andrews in ISHl.
Mr. Sturtevant is now president of the Board of Fire Commissioners, of which he
has been a member for fifteen years. He has an interesting war record, participat-
ing in several big battles. He enlisted in Co. — of the Seventh N. V. Heavy Artil-
lery in 1863, and served until the close of the war as sergeant.

Phelps, Arthur T., was born in West Troy, March 18, 1853. He is the son of
James Francis and Lucina (Tyrrel) Phelps. His parents were natives of Schroon,
Essex county, N. Y. After their marriage they moved to West Troy, and for over
twenty years he was engaged in the lumber business. He was a director of the
National Bank of West Troy ; about ten years ago he moved to Davenport, Iowa,
where he is living retired. Mrs. Phelps, the mother of Arthur T., died in West Troy
in 1853, shortly after the birth of her son. Mr. Phelps subsequently married Jenette,
daughter of Capt. Nehemiah Finch. Arthur T. Phelps is descended from a Connec-
ticut family, who in turn were the direct descendants of one William Phelps, who
settled in Tewksbury, England, in 1521 , having moved from Wales. The Phelps
family originally came from Italy, where the name was Guelph, went to Wales where
the name was changed to Whelps; on removal to England it was anglicized to
Phelps. The family came to America and settled in Windsor, Conn., where they
were farmers, importers and breeders of fine cattle. Arthur T. Phelps was gradu-
ated from Crown Point Academy in 1867, and from the Troy Business College in
1868; he became a professor in the same in 1869 which place he resigned to accept
the position of bookkeeper for the firm of Phelps & Smith, lumber dealers of West
Troy. He was appointed general bookkeeper in the National Bank of West Troy,
Februarys, 1871, and cashier of the same bank ten years later, which position he now
holds He was appointed sewer commissioner for West Troy in 1892 and school
commissioner in 1895. He was president of the Board of Education in 18!i6, and a
water commissioner the same year. He is an admirer of fine horses and dogs. His
horses are never entered in the professional races, but are always ready for a friendly
brush on road or track. He is the proprietor of the celebrated Watervliet Kennels,
which contain many fine St. Bernards, several of which were imported from the old
countries, and have won many prizes at bench shows, etc. Mr. Phelps is well known
in musical circles, and for several years was a tenor singer in many large churches.
He has been prominent in local charities. The ilational Bank of West Troy was or-
ganized in 1852 with John Knickerbacker president, and A. C. Gunnison cashier; it
became a national bank in 1865. Thomas A. Knickerbacker, a son of the first presi-
dent, is the present president, and Mr. Phelps is cashier. Mr. Phelps was married
to Miss Emma E., daughter of Samuel Stover of West Troy, June 9, 1874. The
Stovers were one of the old Dutch families of West Troy, where the ancestors had
resided for several generations. Mr. and Mrs. Phelps have three children : Lucina
M., Alice J., both educated at the Troy Female Seminary, and Hawley Stover, stu-
dent at the Troy Academy. The family attend the Episcopal church of West Troy.
As a business man, Mr. Phelps takes rank among the careful and conservative busi-
ness men of the county, and has made a most excellent record as a financier. He is
a member of the Park Club of Lansingburgh, and for five years was president of
Watervliet Club of West Troy, of which he was one of the organizers. In politics
he has always been a staunch Republican.


Eckert, Heury E., the leading jeweler of the city of Watervliet, was born in
Baden, Germany, and when fourteen years old went to Austria and learned the
jeweler's trade. He became an American in 1861, his complete mastery of his trade
gaining him lucrative employment with a firm of chronometer makers at Albany.
In 1870 Mr. Eckert opened a store in West Troy, where he has by superior work-
manship and high personal character built up a fine business. His son, Henry J.
Eckert, recently graduated with distinction from the Spencer Optical Institute of
New York, will henceforth be associated with his father, and adding a large and at-
tractive stock of optical goods.

Getman, Edward M., third son of Charles and Chloe (Hutton) Getman, was born
in Troy, N. Y., April 5, 1844. He is a lineal descendant from John Frederick
Getman, who came from Germany in 1720 and settled in the present town of Ephra-
tah in Fulton county, N. Y., and whose four sons served in the colonial army under
Sir William Johnson in 1755. The grandson, George, had four sons, all of whom
were soldiers in the Revolution. One of these sons, George, the great-grandfather
of Edward M., had six sons, all of whom served in the war of 1812. In the late war
were two sons of Charles Getman, who were at the Watervliet Arsenal: another was
on special service up the Yazoo river to General Grant. About 1846 Mr. Getman's
parents moved to Watervliet, N. Y., then West Troy His schooldays w-ere limited
to a few sessions in the public schools of that time, which were meagre as compared
to the public schools of to-day. At seventeen he was appointed to a clerkship in the
Watervliet Arsenal, resigning December 31, 1864. He was one of the t\vo persons
who laid the trains blowing up buildings in Troy in the greai. fire of 1862. In 1863
he was sent as special messenger with a large train of cars filled with munitions of
war to Louisville, Ky., for General Buell in the memtSrable Buell and Bagg race into
Kentucky for supplies. January, 1865, he moved to Kentucky and aided in the or-
ganization of the Louisville City National Bank, where he continued in the banking
business until he was appointed by the government as bank examiner. As an expert
he was called by the mayor to examine the sinking fund of Louisville and at a subse-
quent period was requested to examine the water works of said city, a property of
$7,000,000 value and owned by the city. In Februuary, 1878, at the request of Sec-
retary B. H. Bristow, Gen. John M. Harlan (now on the Supreme Bench at Wash-
ington, D. C.) and Hon. Martin I. Townsend of Troy, he was appointed a national
bank examiner for Kentucky ; Tennessee and part of West Virginia were added to
his charge late in 1878. In 1879 he was ordered to New Orleans during a panic and
suspensions there, rendering valuable service. An official trip through Texas and
Arkansas followed. He was then made the special examiner at large for the Central
\ and on critical cases was sent into Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Ohio and Mich-
igan, at the same time giving proper attention to his original district. In 1886 he
was transferred to New York State and assigned from Buffalo to New York on the
southern tier of counties, and after fourteen years of this service he resigned in De-
cember. 1892. He has since been engaged in the lumber business in the city of
Watervliet, N. Y. Mr. Getman "s father was canal collector one tern; his brother,
Charles, was a member of the last Connecticut Legislature, and Edward M., na-
tional bank examiner, w-hich are the only public offices ever held by the family. Mr.
Getman has been an unswerving Republican, casting his first vote in Kentucky for


Grant. In 1896 he was nominated for the office of mayor of the city of Watervliet,
but was defeated by only a very small majority. September 19, 1867, Mr. Getman
was married to Emma, second daughter of John Morris of West Troy, and they have
two children: Archie R. and Edith M.

Langan, John, was the son of William Laugan. who, after leaving his bir.thplace,
first settled in Schenectady. He was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1843. He learned
the blacksmith's trade in the locomotive shops there, then entered the Arsenal shops.
In 1861 he enlisted in the Ordnance Department as a private, and soon was made a
corporal, acting-sergeant and quartermaster, being six years in the service. After
the war he came to West Troy and established a grocery, market and liquor store.
Since 1880 he has dealt in liquors at wholesale only. Mr. Langan has taken a lively
interest in political affairs and held various offices. He was town clerk for two
years, overseer of the poor for two years, and deputy sheriff for eighteen years.
He was also on the Board of Excise for fifteen years. He has also .served on the
Democratic County Committee for a number of years.

Day, Michael J., mayor of Watervliet, is a native of Troy, but a resident here
since 1856, when he came with his father, Daniel Day, a well-known grocer of
this place. Mr. Day was educated here and at La Salle Institute at Troy. At six-
teen years of age he entered the store of William H. Frear of Troy as clerk, remain-
ing there for twelve years, and advancing to the position of head cashier. In 1882
an opportunity presented itself for his engaging in the coal business with James
Crummy. The firm is now known as Crummy & Day. Mayor Day, in the year
1882, married Miss Jennie McKeever, and has one daughter, Mary.

Neil, George, one of the foremost figures in the business life of Cohoes, was born
at St. Thomas, Ont., in 1842. He was early thrown on his own resources and has
achieved success by his own efforts. In 1865 he came to Cohoes as an employee in
a knitting mill, and in 1870 received an engagement with J. H. Parson & Co., as
salesman and bookkeeper, a responsible position which he held for fourteen years.
Later he formed a partnership with George McDowell, which existed for five years.
In 1891 he went into the Atlantic Knitting Co. as treasurer and manager, and is a
man well quahfied forihe position, as he possesses full knowledge of every branch
of the business. He has traveled extensively and is a well known man in trade.

Williams, David, was born in Troy and removed to Cohoes at a very early age.
He was a blacksmith by trade and conducted a blacksmith shop from 1872 until 1874.
He then sold out and went into the bat and shoddy business with Edward Walker,
the firm name being Walker & Williams Mfg. Co. He was appointed fire commis-
sioner in 1893 and served until June, 1896. He is a member of Cohoes Lodge No.
116, F. & A. M., Cohoes Chapter No. 168, R. A. M., and resides at 108 Mohawk

Garside, John, ex-mayor of the city of Cohoes and one of the foremost business
men of that city, was born in Halifax, England, in 1838, and came to America when
eight j-ears of age. Mr. Garside has for fifteen years been a heavy dealer in Chi-
cago beef, having first associated himself with the Swifts in 1881, and has been a
resident of Cohoes since 1854. He was one of the original promoters of the Cohoes
City Railroad and is now vice-president of the concern, having been identified with


the management from its inception. Mr. Garside's administration as mayor of the
city, from 1886 until 1892, was marked bj' the good sense and practical qualities for
which he is somewhat distinguished. In 1857 Mr. Garside married Miss Elizabeth

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 115 of 138)