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Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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brethren, his literary merits made him a delightful companion and his patriotism a
model citizen. Coming from a country in which prejudice and intolerance reigned
and where a spirit of darkness precluded a better state of affairs, he, like all the bet-
ter class of immigrants of that day, was naturally appreciative of the democratic
institutions of the United States. He looked upon slavery as the national shame
and even before he became a citizen he raised his voice in opposition to the institu-
tion. Hejoined the forces which were led by Greeley, Beecher and Garrison, helped
to rock the cradle of the Republican party and cast his first vote in a general elec-
tion for the Fremont and Dayton electors, and he takes much pride now in saying
that he has voted for every Republican candidate from Fremont to McKmley.

When the Civil war broke out the surgeon-general appointed a commission consist-
ing of Drs. Thomas Hun, Alden March and Mason F. Cogswell to examine physicians
for the volunteer service, to which commission Dr. Lewi was made an adjunct mem-
ber, and when in the dark days of the Rebellion the armed enemies in the field ex-
pected aid and assistance from their sympathizers in the North he became one of the
organizers of the United League.

Dr. Lewi is an ex-president of the Albany County Medical Society and the senior
member of the Board of Censors of the State Medical Society. He has devoted much
time to the Albany Hospital on the staff of which he is still consulting physician.
He never aspired to public office but accepted the position of member of the Board
of Public Instructions for a term of three years. He served in the position with
characteristic conscientiousness and was returned as his own successor three times,
and after a service of twelve years declined a nomination.

He was married in New York city in 1849 to Miss Bertha Schwarz of Hesse Cassel,
the daughter of Josepeh Emanuel Schwarz, a theologian and composer of sacred
music. Mrs. Lewi is an ideal woman, a model wife and mother. Fourteen children
blessed the union of Dr. and Mrs. Lewi, of whom nine are married. Of the six
sons, two have followed their father's profession. One, Dr. Maurice J., practices in
New York and is the secretary of the State Board of Medical Examiners, and the
youngjest. Dr. William (»., is in practice in Albany where he is a member of the
Albany Hospital staff and a lecturer in the Medical College. One son, Theodore
J., is a pharmacist; Isidor is a writer on the staff of The New York Tribune, and
Edward J, and Franklin L. are in business. Of the eight daughters the oldest, Wil-
helmine, married Dr. Herman Bentlell, who was a student in Dr. Lewi's office, and
Martha Washington married Dr. Alois Donhauser, who was a graduate of the



Albany Medical College and died in Albany while in charge of the United States
Signal Service in that city.



GEN. FREDERICK TOWNSEND.

Gen. Frederick Townsenu, son of Isaiah and Hannah (To wnsend)Townsend, was
born in Albany on the 21st of September, 1825. The original ancestor of this branch
of the family in America was Henry Townsend, who, with his wife, Annie Coles,
and two brothers, John and Richard, came from Norfolk, England, to Massachusetts
about 1640. Soon afterward they were among the earliest settlers of Flushing, Long
Island, where a patent was granted to John Townsend and others by Governor
Kieft in 1645. Political and religious difficulties with the old Dutch governor, Peter
Stuyvesant, soon forced the Townsends to remove to Warwick, R. I., where they all
held municipal office and became members of the provincial assembly. In 1656 they
obtained, with others, the patent of Rustdorp, now Jamaica, and once more attempted
a settlement on Long Island, but m the following year Henry, a leading spirit in the
colony, was arrested, imprisoned and fined "one hundred pounds Flanders" for
harboring Quakers in his house— an act which illustrates the persecution borne in
those days by the denomination of Friends. This unjust treatment caused Henry
Townsend and his brothers to remove in 1657 to Oyster Bay. L. I., then only par-
tially in the jurisdiction of New Amsterdam. Here Henry died in 1695. General
Townsend's maternal great-great-great-grandfather, James Townsend, was deputy
surveyor-general of the province. His great-grandfather, Samuel Townsend, was
actively engaged in the English and West India trade until the war of the Revolu-
tion, and had also served in the Provincial Congress in 1775. At the close of the
war he resumed his seat and continued in public life until his death in 1790. He was
also a State senator and a member of the first Council of Appointment under the con-
stitution of 1789. In 1776 he was one of fourteen members of the Fourth Provincial
Congress appointed " to prepare a form of government for the State." This com-
mittee reported March 12, 1777. and on April 20, the first constitution of the State of
New York was adopted. General Townsend's maternal grandfather, Solomon Town-
send, conducted a large iron business in New York city, having extensive iron works
at Chester, Orange county, and Peconic River, Suffolk county. He served several
terms in the State Legislature, being a member thereof at the time of his death in
1811. The general's paternal grandfather was Henrj' Townsend of Cornwall, N.
Y., who married Mary Bennet, and died in 1815. Isaiah Townsend, son of Henry,
was a prominent merchant of Albany, where he died in 1838, aged sixty-one. He
married his cousin, Hannah Townsend, of New York city.

Gen. Frederick Townsend first attended a private infant school in Albany and
afterward the Boys' Academy. Later he was sent to Bartletfs Collegiate School at
Poughkeepsie for two years, and at the early age of fifteen entered Union College,
from which he was graduated in 1844. He then read law in the office of John V. L.
Pruyn and Henry H. Martin (Pruyn & Martin) in Albany, and was admitted to the
bar at the general term of the Supreme Court in this city in 1849. After completing
his studies he spent several years in travel, visiting first the gold fields of California



39

and other places in this country and then going to Europe. In 1854 he returned
home and in 1856 began the practice of his profession as a member of the firm of
Townsend, Jackson & Strong. He also turned his attention toward another sphere
of usefulness. He had long manifested a strong attchment for military science, for
which he had a natural taste. Mastering the general details he became an author-
ity on military tactics. He was made captain of Co. B, Washmgton Continentals.
He also organized and became colonel of the 76th Regiment of Militia, and later was
captain of the Albany Zo\iave Cadets (Co. A, 10th Battalion, N. G.). With consum-
mate skill he successfully placed these organizations upon a high plane of efficiency
and discipline, and no man was more respected or esteemed. In the year 1857 he
was appointed by Gov. John A. King adjutant-general of the State of New York.
At this time the old militia system of the State had, with few exceptions become
wholly disorganized and useless. General Townsend immediately set about its re-
organization, infused new life and vigor in the regiments, and successfully raised the
system to a degree of efficiency worthy of the Empire State. In his first annual
report, the first one prepared in many years, he made recommendations to the com-
mander-in-chief which were speedily put into practice. In 1859 he was reappointed
by Gov. Edwin D. Morgan, and continued to give his undivided attention to the
great work he had so faithfully inaugurated. In 1861 he promptly tendered his ser-
vices to his country, and in May was commissioned colonel of the 3d N. Y. Vols.,
which he organized, and which he gallantly commanded on the battlefield of Big
Bethel on June 10. On August 19 he was appointed by President Lincoln a major of
the 8th U. S. Inf., one of three new battalion regiments of the regular army, and
was assigned to duty in the West, where he joined the forces under General Buell
and later those under General Rosencrans. He commanded his troops in the recon-
noissance at Lick Creek (or Pea Ridge), Miss., April 26, 1862, at the siege of Corinth
on April 30. and in the occupation thereof on May 30. On October 6 he was in the
advance of the Third Corps, Army of the Ohio, driving the rebel rear guard from
Springfield to near Texas, Ky. He also participated in the battle of Perryville or
Chaplin Hill, Ky., October 8. After the first day of the battle at Stone River, Tenn.,
from December 31, 1863, to January 2, 1863, he was placed in command of the^ left
wing of the regular brigade, all his senior officers having been shot except his brigade
commander. He was also in the aft'air of Eagleville, Tenn., March 3. 1863. In all
these various engagements he displayed great bravery and heroism, and was suc-
cessively brevetted lieutenant- colonel, colonel, and brigadier-general in the regular
array. In May, 1863, he was detailed as acting assistant provost marshal-general at
Albany, where he remained until the close of the war, being promoted m 1864 lieu-
tenant-colonel of the 9th U. S. Inf. Obtaining a leave of absence he again visited
Europe, and returning in 1867 was ordered to California and placed on the staff of
General McDowell as acting assistant inspector-general of the department, in which
capacity he inspected all the government posts in Arizona. In 1868 he resigned his
commission and returned to Albany, where he has since resided.

General Townsend has been a director of the New York State National Bank and
of the Albany and Bethlehem Turnpike Company since 1864; a trustee of the Albany
Orphan Asylum since 1879; a trustee of the Dudley Observatory since April 22, 1880;
and a trustee of the Albany Academy since May 11, 1886. He was a trustee of Vas-
sar College from June 27, 1876, until November 28, 1892, and of Union College from



40

July IT, 1876, to July, 1887, resigning each position on account of a pressure of other
duties. In all these capacities his services have been of great value, not only in the
line of business management, but in the equally important sphere of progress and
moral elevation.

Iu'l878 he was elected brigadier-general of the 9th Brigade N. Y. S. N. G., which
post he resigned to accept the appointment by Governor Cornell of adjutant-general
of the State of New York, an office he had formerly filled with such remarkable
ability and efficiency. Again turning his attention to the development of the State
military system he inaugurated and successfully established a number of improve-
ments which to this day are in active use. Among the important measures which
he organized and perfected was the " camp of instruction " at Peekskill, N. Y. This
worthy enterprise was originated, inaugurated, developed, established, and organized
in detail by him, and to him is due the sole honor of its present existence. He formu-
lated and carried out the idea, personally directed and supervised the movement from
its incipiency to its actual and final establishment, and was the chief guardian and de-
veloper of its earlier welfare. He also provided the present service dress uniform
for all the troops in the State. These and other innovations in the militia were car-
ried out and perfected by him against strong opposition and in the face of many
difficulties, but the wisdom of his judgment and foresight has often been vindicated
in the efficiency of the National Guard on occasions of riot and disorder. The prin-
ciples inaugurated and laid down by him are now the mainstay of the various militia
organizations of the Empire State

General Townsend is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Society
of the Army of the Cumberland, and the jnilitary order of the Loyal Legion of the
United States, and Society of the Sonsof the Revolution. In 1880 he was nominated
by the Republicans and elected presidential elector, and as a member of the Electoral
College cast his vote for James A. Garfield and Che.ster A. Arthur for president and
vice-president. He has never taken an active part in politics, though often urged to
do so, but he has been distinctively a military man, imbued with the highest sense
of patriotism and the loftiest principles of a soldier.

November 19, 1863, he was married to Miss Sarah, only daughter of the late Joel
Rathbone, a prominent merchant and banker of Albany. They have two children:
Sarah Rathbone Townsend, the wife of Gerrit Y. Lansing, of Albany, and Frederick
Townsend, jr., who was graduated from Harvard College in 1893 and is now a stu-
dent at the Cambridge Law School, class of 1897.



GEORGE L. STEDMAN.

Geori;f. Lavatkr Stedman descends on his father's side from Thomas Stedman,
who settled in New London, Conn., in 1649. One of his ancestors, while command-
ing a company of dragoons, was killed in the Pequot war. His father, John Porter
Stedman, who married Thais Hooker, was a prominent manufacturer and banker of
Southbridge, Mass., where he served as assessor, selectman, etc. The Hookers de-
scended from Thomas Hooker of Hartford, Conn. , and one of the line, Amos Hooker,
grandfather of Mr. Stedman's mother, died in the Revolutionary army in the siege




4.J^Z.



■11

arouiui Boston. Mr. Stedniau's mother was a direct descendant o£ Kenelm Winslow
of the Plymouth Colony. George L. Stedman, born in Southbridge, Mass., Novem-
ber 8, 1831, was graduated from Brown University in 1856, came to Albany the same
year, attended the Albany Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1857. He
read law with Shepard & Bancroft, and after the dissolution of the firm was asso-
ciated with S. O. Shepard many years. He was later a partner with Osgood H.
Shepard until January, 1885, and then with David A. Thomp.son and Arthur L.
Andrews till January 1, 1896, his son George W. al.so becoming a member of the
latter firm in December, 1887. January 1, 1896, Mr. Stedman and his son formed
the pre.sent firm of Stedman & Stedman. Mr. Stedman was the nominee on the
Republican ticket for State senator and in 1893 for delegate to the State Constitu-
tional Convention, but was defeated by small majorities. He has taken a very active
interest in the affairs of the town of Colonie, where he has lived many years and
drafted the law by which the town was separated from -Watervliet and has since
been its legal adviser. Upon the separation the committee in charge of the matter
suggested several names for the new town, but finally left it to the pleasure of Mr.
Stedman to name the new town, which he did, givmg it the present name of Colonie.
He is president of the New York Baptist Union for Ministerial Education (the legal
body of the Rochester Theological Seminary) and the Hudson River Baptist Asso-
ciation north, a trustee of Colgate University and Emmanuel Baptist church of Al-
bany, and prominent in Baptist circles. In 1863 he married Adda, daughter of the
late George A. Woolverton, of Albany, and they have four .sons: George Woolver-
ton, Frank White (see sketch elesewhere in this volume), John Porter and Charles
Summer. George W. Stedman, born m Albany, September 9, 1864, was graduated
frpm the Albany Academy in 1883 and from Rochester University in 1885 (is presi-
dent of his class), read law with Stedman, Thompson & Andrews, and was graduated
from the Albany Law School with first honors and admitted to the bar in 1887.
Since December 1887, he has been associated in practice with his father. On the
formation of the town of Colonie (June 7, 1895), he became a justice of the peace
and a member of the town board. He is a trustee of Colgate LTniversity and was
the first president of the Alumni of the Albany Academy, an office he has held
since its formation in 1895. John Porter Stedman, born in Watervliet (now
Colonie) April 7. 1872, was graduated from the Albany Academy in 1890, and has
since been interested with his brother, Frank W., in the co^ business. Charles S.
Stedman was born in Colonie, November 6, 1874, was graduated from the Albany
Academy in 1893 and from Brown University in 1896, and is now a law student with
his father and brother. While at Brown University he was editor-in-chief of the
Brown Daily Herald and a correspondent of the Boston Globe and Albany Journal.
These sons have a peculiar relation to the war of the Revolution, for while Silvanus
Wilcox, the great -great-grandfather of these four brothers, was participating in the
battle of Saratoga, his son, afterward known as General Wilco.N, their great-grand-
father, was in the battle of Oriskany.



GEORGE ROGERS HOWELL.

George Rogers Howki.l, State archivist, was born iu the town of Southampton,
Long Island, N.Y., June 15, 1833. and is a son of Charles and Mary (Rogers) Howell,
highly respected citizens of that place. The first American ancestor of the family
was Edward Howell, of Marsh Gibbon, Buckinghamshire, England, who came to
Boston with his family in 1639 and soon afterward became one of the earliest .settlers
of Southampton, the first town settled by the English in the State of New York.
The old stone manor house of Edward Howell is still standing at Marsh Gibbon and
inhabited as a residence.

Professor Howell first attended the district school and the Southampton Academy,
and very early manifested a great love for books and a strong desire t



Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 61 of 138)