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Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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of Kinderhook, who was a farmer and came to Albany county about 1797, and died
in the town of Guilderland. His father was a native of Ireland. John was a farmer
all his lifetime; he first settled in the town of Berne and later in New Scotland,
where he spent his life as a successful farmer. His wife was Jane Warner, born in
Albany county and daughter of Frederick Warner; their children were Frederick,
Mary and Thomas. His first wife died many years ago. He was twice married
after her death. Thomas Tygert received a common school education and remained
with his father and had charge of the farm for many years. In 1867 he removed to
Guilderland, where he purchased his present farm of 130 acres, where he has since
resided. In 1885 he embarked in the coal business, and for some years after was a
dealer in hay and straw. He was commissioner for three terms, and is now town
auditor. In 1846 he married Catherine, daughter of John Fuller. Their children
are John, Aaron. Jane, May Anna, Sarah, Hattie, Augusta and Ella. His second
wife was Levinna Coan, born in Guilderland and daughter of Peter Coan. The
children by this marriage are Beatrice and William M. Mrs. Tygert is a member of
the Ladies' Missionary Society.

Blessing Brothers. — John M. and Belmont E. Blessing, proprietors of the" Three
Hill Dairy Farm," were born in the town of Guilderland, in December, 1840 and
1851 respectively. The Blessing family dates back to the early settling of Albany
county. Martin Blessing, their great-grandfather, was a native of the town of Guil-
derland, born in 1767, and one of four sons. He reared three sons and one daughter.
John M., their grandfather, was born in the same town in 1799; he was a prosper-
ous farmer in early life, and later removed to Albany, where he was for a time canal
collector; he died in Albany in 1860. He reared six sons and four daughters by his
first wife, and two daughters by his second wife. Martin J., the'- father, w-as also a
native of Guilderland, born in 1830. He was reared on a farm and followed that
occupation throughout his active life. He purchased and moved on the "Three
Hills Farm " of 184 acres in 1849, where he made a success as a farmer and dairy-
man. In 1885 he was elected assemblyman; he was also identified with the State
militia in which he took much pride. He ranked along the line to colonel. His
wife was Elizabeth McKown ; their children are John M., Belmont E., Dr. Abraham
H. of Albany, and Adam J. of Albany. John M. has remained on the farm from
childhood, assisting his father, and later asspmed full control of the farm until his
brother, Belmont, was associated with it. Belmont E. started out when a young
man to see the world, and spent many years roaming throughout the western terri-
■ tories, and spent five years in the gold mines of Idaho. He was a sailor for a time
and visited England and some of the other European countries; some years since
he returned to the homestead and associated himself with his brother John M. in
the farming and dairying business. They now have a dairy of over thirty cows.
They are also interested in the pure ice business, having built a pftid which is sup-



300

plied from a spring of fine water; the object of this is to supply those in the city,
who are interested in the pure ice water for drinking purposes, with pure spring
water ice.

Relyea, Peter J., was born in Guilderland on the farm he owns in 1832. He was
a son of Jacob Relyea, born in Guilderland in 1790. Jacob D., the father, purchased
the farm of 100 acres, where Mr. Relyea now resides and devoted his life to farming.
His wife was Mary Spoore, daughter of Abram Spoore; their children were William,
Daniel, Abram, Jacob, who died when young; Hannah, Maria, Rachel and Peter J.
He died in 1873, and his wife died in 1869 at the age of seventy-nine years. Peter
J. has .spent his whole life on the homestead, a part of which he came in possession
of and to which he has added, and now owns a farm of 101 acres. He remained
with and cared for his parents until their death. He has been assessor, collector,
school trustee, roadmaster, and is now serving his fourth term as assessor. He has
often been chosen juryman and delegate to the county conventions. In 1851 he mar-
ried Elizabeth Smith, born in Guilderland in 183.5, daughter of Peter and Marion
(Wands) Smith, and granddaughter of Ebenezer Wands and Zachariah Smith. Mr.
and Mrs. Relyea are members of the Reformed church, in which he has been deacon
and elder. They have reared and cared for one of Mr. Relyea's brother's sons since
he was four years of age. Mr. Relyea was president of the Prospect Hill Cemetery
for a number of years, and is also one of the trustees.

Magill. Robert, was born in the town of New Scotland, October 29, 1829. John
Magill, his grandfather, was of Scotch parentage. He was a farmer for a time and
lived near Sackelt's Harbor. He came to the town of New Scotland, where by con-
tract he blasted out and made the famous road known as the " Indian Ladder
Road '■ ; he was a soldier in the war of 1812. He reared two sons, Robert and James,
and died in the town of Bethlehem. Robert, the father of the subject, was born
near Sacketfs Harbor in 1790; his early life was devoted to farming; after leaving
Western New York he came with his father to New Scotland and became an assist-
ant in the making of the " Indian Ladder Road." From that time on he followed
farming and blasting. His wife was Hannah M. Williams, and their children were
William, Mary, James, Margaret, Eve, Ann, Rebecca, Julia, and Robert. He died
in 1876, and his wife in 1840. Robert Magill spent his early life on his father's farm
and was educated in the common schools. When twenty-six years old he engaged
in carpentry, which trade he followed for about thirteen years. He then went to
the town of Guilderland, where he was in the employ of Joel B. Mott for a few years,
and rented a saw-mill which he operated with other work until 1872, when he
purchased his present farm of 100 acres. He devoted his attention to farming and
fruit growing, having fifty-four varieties of apples and nineteen varieties of pears,
and many other varieties of fruit. All of his fine large orchards he has grown from
the seed, doing all his own grafting. His residence is a brick house, which was
erected in 1766, a portion of the brick being imported from Holland; there had been
no change in the original work on this house for a period of 107 years, until Mr.
Magill came in possession of it, when 'he re-roofed it, plastered, etc. The original
material in it is in a perfect state of preservation. He served his town for one year
as collector, but firmly declined the proffered nomination for supervisor, which was
offered him at different times. In 1862 he married Catharine, daughter of William



301

J. Relyea of Guilderland. Their children are Chester, died when sixteen j-ears of
age; Oscar, Robert, jr., Emma, William, Fenton, Charles, Alice, Carrie, Walter,
Edna, and Cordelia.

Fredendall, Henry, was born in the town of Guilderland in October, 1832. His
father, Henry, was born in the town of Knox about 1812. He spent his whole life
as a farmer. He was quite successful, beginning with nothing, but by hard work
accumulated a good property and owned 180 acres. He spent most of his life in Guilder-
land. His wife was Elizabeth Pitcher, daughter of Peter Pitcher, who was a farmer
in the town of Knox; their children were Henry, Caroline, Eliza and Mathias. Mr.
Fredendall and his wife were members of the Lutheran church. He died in 1890 and
she died in 1889, at the age of seventy years. Mathias. the grandfather, was a suc-
cessful farmer of the town of Knox ; he died in Guilderland. He reared eleven chil-
dren, five sons and six daughters. Henry Fredendall attended the common schools
and lived with his father on the farm, with the exception of three years, up to 1873,
when he began for himself on a portion of the farm, where he has since resided,
doing general farming, and his efforts have been crowned with success. In 1869 he
married Miss Anna E., daughter of Peter Frederick, by whom one child has been
born, Carrie, wife of Henry Weraple. Mr. and Mrs. Fredendall are both members of
the Lutheran church, in which he has been deacon and elder for twenty years. Mrs.
Fredendall is a member of the Ladies' Missionary Society.

Ogsbury, John H., was born in the town of Guilderland, January, 1831. John
iJavid Ogsbury, or Augsburger, was the founder of the family in America. He was
born in Altweyer, Switzerland, and landed in America, May, 1759, . settling
in the town of Guilderland, where he died July 2, 1800. His wife, Anna Rachel,
was a native of Altweyer, and there was born to them three sons and five daughters.
David, the next direct ancestor, was born in Guilderland in 1761 and died November
22, l836. He was a farmer and served as a soldier during the Revolutionary war
and was for a time stationed at Fort Schoharie. He conveyed provisions for the army,
often fording the Mohawk River with his loads. His wife was Nancy Apple, who
was born in August, 1768, and died March 3, 1849. They reared six sons and four
daughters: Eve, John D., Henry A., David, Peter, Elizabeth, Alexander, Jacob,
Nancy and Margaret. Henry, the father, was born in 1793 and when six years of
age went to live with his grandparents, Apple, with whom he lived until he was four-
teen when he engaged as clerk in Albany, where he remained for several years,
thence to Middleburg, where he renewed the same vocation and five 5-ears later
moved back to Guilderland, where he settled down, doing a pettifogging business,
drawing wills and settling estates. He was active in Democratic politics, but
always declined public office. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity and of
the Lutheran church. He ijied in July, 1853. His wife was Elizabeth, daughter of
John McMillen, born in the town of New Scotland in 1795, and died in July, 1876.
Their children were Jeanette, Margaret M., Catherine, David, James, John, Jack
and Magdalene. John H. Ogsbury was educated in the common schools and
served an apprenticeship as cabinetmaker, but abandoned that on account of ill-
health and in 1850 began farming. He now owns and resides on a portion of the
original homestead of 155 acres, on which he does a general farming. In politics he
is a Democrat. In 185-1 he married Eva Ward, daughter of Henry A. Ward of



302

Guiklerland, and they had three children: Henry W. (deceased), Frank L. and David
E. Mr. Ogsbury's wife died in 1893. They were both members of the Reformed
church.

Young. William A., was born in the town of New Scotland in December, 1836. He
was the son of George Young, born in the same place, and one of the five sons,
Matthew, John, George, Henry and Joel, and five daughters born to Samuel Young,
also a native of New Scotland; he was one of the three sons, Samuel William
Helms and Joel, born to Matthew Young of Dutchess county, a Revolutionary
soldier; he was a farmer and settled in New Scotland where he .spent his last days.
Samuel was also a farmer and lived and died in that town. His wife was Margaret
Dingman. He lived to be eighty-one years of age. George, the father of William
A., was a farmer and a good mechanic. He devoted much of his time to masonry,
which trade he had acquired. He spent his early life in New Scotland but removed
to Watervliet where he purchased a farm. His death was caused by falling from a
load of hay. His wife was Mary Martin, daughter of Peter Martin, by whom he has
had fifteen children: Christiana, died in infancy, Ellen A., Margaret. Isabelle, Will-
iam A., John, Samuel J., Melissa, Martha, Eliza, Catherine, Martin, George A., An-
drew and Melvina;the latter fourteen all grew to maturity and were married.
William A. attended the common schools until he was ten years of age, when he be-
gan to work out on farms; this he continued until he was sixteen, when he learned
the shoemaker's trade and has continued in that business until the present time. In
1860 he removed from the town of Knox to Guilderland Center where he now resides.
In 1872 he added to his business a shoe store and has a good patronage. He is a
member of the Masonic fraternity, Moak Lodge of Altamont. In 1866 he was mar-
ried to Elizabeth, daughter of John and Catharine (Simmons) Pangburn.

Albright, Lawrence, a well-known and prominent man, was born in New Scotland,
October a, 1891. Frederick, the grandfather, was born in his father's stone house in
New Scotland, where he spent his whole life, and having inherited the property, he
continued farming. He reared four sons and two daughters and lived to be over
eighty years of age. Henry F., the father, was also born on the same place in 1786,
where he spent his life as a farmer, with the exception of four years spent in Syra-
cuse, whence he returned to the farm again on account of ill-health. His first wife
was a Miss Pangburn, by whom he had seven children. His second wife was
Thursey A. Waggoner, by whom he had eight children. He died in 1849; his wife
survived him and lived to be over eighty years of age. She was a daughter of Henry
Waggoner of New Scotland ; she died in Albany. Lawrence spent his life in New
Scotland and attended the common schools. When he was nineteen years of age he
began for himself, having rented a farm, and by faithful attention to business and
economy he amassed enough to purchase a farm of 112 acres in 1867, in the town
of Guilderland, where he has since done a general farming, making a specialty of
hay. In 1851 he married Miss Catharine Woodworth, and their children were Will-
ard, Ada J., wife of George (iardener of Charlton, Saratoga county ; Charles, Emma
E., wife of Carni Fort of Charlton, Saratoga county; and Nellie V., who died at tlie
age of sixteen years.

Mors. Joshua, of E. Mors's Sons, wholesale dealers in timber, piling, etc , have
their office at No. 106 Sixteenth street, West Trov. The late Elisha Mors, founder



303

of the firm and father of the present members, was a large operator in timber and
real estate, and was one of the most wealthy and prominent residents. Early in life
he operated largely in the Black River region and later in Michigan and other pro-
ducing points, having mills at Greenbush and elsewhere. He came to Troy in 18(i5,
and died there thirty years later. Joshua Mors was educated in the Jamesville
Academy, and associated with his father in the timber business, and upon the death
of his father in 1895, succeeded with a younger brother to the business.

Parker, William F., was born in 1860, a son of William Parker, a laborer. He was
educated in Watervliet. and took a course of lectures on embalming, and engaged
in the undertaking business in 1881 with a younger brother, Joseph Parker. He per-
sonally directs funerals and manages all the branches of his profession, in a quiet
and orderly way, characteristic of him. Mr. Parker has held no political office and
seeks no political preferment.

Witbeck, Charles G., is a lineal descendant of Jan Thomase Van Witbeck, a
native of Witbeck, Holstein, Holland, who married Andriese Dochter, who was
born in New Amsterdam (now New York). From 1050. when Beverwyck was fir.st
laid out, Jan Thomase Van Witbeck' was the most considerable dealer in house lots
in the village. In 16(U. iu company with Volkert Janse Douw, he purchased from
the Indians the whole of Apje Island, or Schotack, and the mainland opposite on the
east side of the Hudson River. Of his six children Thomase Janse Witbeck mar-
ried, September 5, 1702, Jannetje Van Deusen, and was buried at Papsknee.
Thomase Janse Witbeck also had six children, of whom Lucas, the youngest, was
born February 26, 172'!, and married Geertruy, daughter of Johannes Lansing and
his wife Geertruy, daughter of Pieter S. Schuyler, the first mayor of Albany. They
too had six children, of whom Thomas and Gerrit (twins) were born March 18, 17.50.
Gerrit Witbeck married. May 29, 1774, Immetje Perry, and had four children, of
whom Thomas Gerrit Witbeck, born January 2.5, 1785, married, December 11, 1803,
Leah, youngest daughter of Francis and Gertrude (Van Dusen) Marshall, who was
born March 17, 1782. Of their six children, Gerrit Thomas Witbeck, the eldest, was
born January 25, 1805, and died in September, 1882. He was a civil engineer and
surveyor for the Van Rensselaer estate, for seven years deputy collector of canal
tolls at West Troy and Albany and for about four years teller of the old Watervliet
Bank at West Troy. When young he taught school, and in 1851-53 served as super-
intendent of schools of Watervliet. He married Cornelia Ann, daughter of Eph-
raim and Fanny (Sage) Baldwin, and they had six children, all of whom are de-
ceased except Charles G. Gerrit Witbeck, son of Lucas and grandfather of Gerrit
T., purchased 500 acres of land just west of the city of Watervliet, and here Talley-
rand and Prince La Toure sought refuge from political troubles during the French
Revolution, Soon after the American Revolution he bought a farm on the banks of
the Mohawk River, near Watervliet Center, on which the Indians had their last
council fire and which is still owned by the Witbeck family. Charles G. Witbeck
was born October 20, 1851, received a common school education, studied civil en-
gineering and surveying with his father, and for .several years followed his pro-
fession for the town of Watervliet and the Van Rensselaer estate. In 1879 he was
appointed assistant engineer of the New York State Canals under Horatio Seymour,
jr.. and continued under State Engineers Sweet, Bogart and Schenck, until August,



304

1894. Jauuaiy 1, IS'Ji), he formed liis preseut partnership under the firm name of
Thomas & Witbeck and opened an office in Troy. He was village engineer of West
Troy from 1880 to 1886 and 1895 to 1896, and became city engmeer of Watervliet on
the organization of that city, August 1, 1896. He is a member of Evening Star
Lodge No. 75, F. & A. M., of West Troy. January 16, 1873, he married Ella Louisa
Hastings of Cohoes, and their children are Gerrit, Ephraim and Nellie.

Christiansen, Alfred, in 1867 was transferred to Watervliet Arsenal, one of the
ablest master mechanics whose services the post has ever been able to secure. He not
only possessed the sterling qualities characteristic of his countrymen of the "Land
of the Midnight Sun," for he iS a native of Christiania, Norway, but also the widest
exi)erience in his line of work which a man could have. He was born in 1856
and educated in the Royal Polytechnic Institute, graduating with the degree of
Mechanical Engineer. Before locating at Philadelphia, Pa, he taught mathematics
and mathematical drawing at his native place. He was with the Baldwin Loco-
motive Work? for one year, then with William Sellers & Co., a large establishment
of Philadelphia, for two years. In Boston he was chief draughtsman and master
mechanic; thence he came to Watervliet. Among the many clubs and societies with
which he is associated may be mentioned the American Society of Mechanical En-
gineers, the Railroad Club of that city, and the Masonic order, in which he is of
high rank, being presiding officer of the Hudson River Chapter of Royal Arch
Masons.

Moffat, George B., is a native of West Troy and the son of an old resident of the
town of Colonie, William Moffat, who has always followed agricultural pursuits.
Mr. Moffat was educated here and was first employed by the Thompson Manufactur-
ing Company, manufacturers of steam heating apparatus. He traveled three years
for them through the mining districts and elsewhere. In 1889 the Fairview Home
for Friendless Children was founded in West Troy, and Mr. Moffat has been super-
intendent since the opening of the institution. He was born in 1865, and has always
resided here.

Murphy Peter, recently elected overseer of the poor of the town of Watervliet, has
spent his whole life in West Troy, his birthplace. He served three terms as village
collector, proving a very popular and efficient official. Hewasborn in 1841. His father,
Michael Murphy, was employed in the Watervliet Arsenal during the Me.\ican war.
Mr. Murphy was first employed as a boatman on the Hudson, and lost a limb wliile
on a schooner. In 1801 he went into the Arsenal, where he has since been employed
as a brass finisher, and is an expert workman.

Hulsapple, John H., son of William and Annie (Snook) Hulsapiile, was born in the
town of East Greenbush, N. Y., October 5, 1839. He is of German descent, his
■ grandfather, Cornelius Hulsapple, having come to America early in the nineteenth
century. He was educated chiefly at Professor Smith's private seminary in Troy,
and after leaving it was for eight years a clerk in the office of Robert Robinson, coal
dealer, in West Troy. He then went to New York city and was employed by George
II. Stone, lumber dealer, for three years. He returned to West Troy in 1863 and
was connected with Betts & Robinson, lumber forwarders, until he became a mem-
ber of the firm of I). Scrafford & Co., lumber dealers, of West Troy. When that



305

firm discontinued business he formed a partnership with Benjamin Shaffer, under
the firm name of Shaffer & Hulsapple, which lasted about two years, when Mr. Hul-
sapple succeeded to the sole control of the business, which he conducted for about
three years. He now has a fire insurance agency in West Troy and is also a book-
keeper for C. H. Green, lumber dealer of Troy. Mr. Hulsapple is a member of the
Evening Star Lodge No. T5, F. & A. M. of West Troy, and a warden of Trinity Epis-
copal church. He was president of the village of West Troy for one year, trustee
for six years and a school trustee for several years. April 18, 1864, he married Lydia,
daughter of Jesse Montgomery of Albany and they have six sons and one daughter,
Harry M., Herbert S , William H., John T., Clarence, Eustis and Florence.

Jaquins, John D., son of Joel and EHzabeth (Parke) Jaquins, was born in Troy,
N. Y., April 32, 1864, He was educated in the public schools and took a special
course under Principal Veeder. For six years he was a clerk in Pierson Lobdell's
hat and furnishing goods store in West Troy, which he bought in 1884, and later
moved to his present location on the corner of Broadway and Sixteenth street. Mr.
Jaquins is a member of the board of directors of the V. M. C. A., a member of Even-
ing Star Lodge No. 75, F. & A. M., and a member and financial secretary of the
Watervliet Club. November 4, 1889, he married Jessie F.. daughter of Charles H.
Mors of West Troy, and they have one daughter, Eleanor M.

Passonna, Alfred, late of West Troy, whose death caused by an accident while
driving a spirited horse at Brooklyn in 1893, was deeply deplored by a wide circle of
friends. Captain Passonna was born at St. Valentine. Ont., in 1850, and came here
in 1881. He was largely interested in fine horses, with headquarters in New York
and a sale stable here. Formerly he owned several boats, and was engaged in the
transportation of ice, malt, and other merchandise. During this period of his life he
acquired the title of captain, and was noted for his personal bravery and physical
power, and as an intrepid pilot. He figured quite prominently in West Troy busi-
ness circles, and especially in the affairs of the Sacred Heart church. He was sur-
vived by a widow, since deceased, and by four daughters and one son.

Baker, George, the well known purveyor of staple meats, has been in business
here since 1869. He was of German birth and learned the details of his busine.ss in
the fatherland, and it is needless to say it was a thorough training. Mr. Baker was
twenty-three years old when he started for America, possessed of no capital save
ability and integrity. He first located on Nineteenth street, Troy, in 1871. He
makes a specialty of trade in boneless boiled haras, distributing them over a wide
area with his own teams and men.

Conway, John J., has always resided in his native place. West Troy, and also ob-
tained his education there. He spent three years in acquiring the stone cutter's
trade, at which business he has been engaged since 1883. He was county committee-
man in 1889, 1890, and 1891, and justice of the peace, to which office he was elected
in 1890 and was re-elected in 1896. Mr. Conway was born in 1858 in the house in
which he still resides. The house is one of the oldest of the town, being built by his
father, Thomas Conway, an early settler. The latter, now deceased, was a mason
by trade and a veteran of Company I, 93d New York State Volunteers.



Gatchell, James K., son of William and Louise (Tyndall) Gatchell, was boru in



Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 123 of 138)