Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

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Law School and was for years the honored president of that body. His opinions as
presiding justice of the Supreme Court evince great vigor and acumen. In 1878 he
was accorded the degree of LL.D. by his Alma Mater.


Ho.N. Allien Chester, youngest son of Alden Chester (born in New London,
Conn., May 26, 1803, died in Westford, N. Y., March 4, 18.57). was born in Westford,
Otsego county, September 4, 1848, and descends from Capt. Samuel Chester, who
came from England to Boston and settled in New London in 1633. Judge Chester's
mother. Susan G. Draper, descended from James Draper, who came from England
to Roxbury, Mass., about 1643.

Judge Chester vi-as educated at the Westford Literary Institute, taught therein and
became clerk in a store in his native village. When eighteen he was made telegraph

operator on the old Albany aud Susquehauna Railroad. He graduateil from Columbia
College Law School in 1871, was admitted in May of that year and came to Albany,
where he formed a law partnership with his cousin, Andrew S. Draper. From 1876 to
1883 Hon. William S. Paddock was a member of the firm, under the name of Paddock,
Draper & Chester; since 1887 Judge Chester has practiced alone. In 1874 and 1876
he was deputy clerk of the Assembly; for several years he was a member and secre-
tary of the Republican General Committee of Albany county; has been a member
and president of the Board of Public Instruction, and was appointed assistant United
States attorney for the Northern District of New York in 1882; resigned in 1885; was
appointed by Governor Morton in 1895 member of the commission to prepare a uni-
form charter for cities of the second class, and in November of the same year he was
elected justice of the Supreme Court for the term of fourteen years.


Rt. Ri;\. Tiio.M.vs BiRKK, M. A., was born m IS4(), and is the son of the late Dr.
Ulric Burke, of Utica, N. Y. He was educated in the school and academy under the
charge of the Christian Brothers in Utica, later in the college of St. Michael at
Toronto, and entered St. Charles College, Maryland, in 1856. Cardinal Gibbons,
Archbishop Kain of St. Louis, and the rector of the Catholic University of Washing-
ton, Bishop Keane, were students at the latter institution during Bishop Burke's
term. Upon graduating from St. Charles, Bishop Burke entered St. Mary's Semi-
nary, Baltimore, Md., where he was ordained on June 30, 1864. which conferred on
him the degrees of Master of Arts and Bachelor of Theology.

He came at once to Albany and remained about two months with Cardinal Mc-
Closkey at the Episcopal residence, and was appointed as assistant at St. Johns
church, Albany, on Se]>tember4, 1864. He remained at St. John's until April 4, 1865,
when he was transferred to the assistant pastorate of St. Joseph's church. In 1874
he was appointed pastor of that church, which pastorate he held until appointed
bishop of Albany in 1894.

In 1884 Father Burke was appointed theologian by the Most Rev. Apostolic Dele-
gate in the Third Plenary Council at Baltimore, in which he distinguished himself
by his eloquence and learning.

The ceremony of his consecration took place on Sunday, July 1, 1894, at the
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and was a most notable event. His Grace
the Most Rev. Archbishop Corrigan of New York was the consecrator, and the assist-
ing consecrating prelates were Rt. Rev. Bishop McQuade of Rochester, and Rt. Rev.
Bishop Ludden of Syracuse. The ceremony on the occasion was one of the grand-
est and most solemn that ever took place in this country.

In 1871, while at St. Joseph's, he was instrumental in having erected for school
accommodations for boys the commodious structure situated on the corner of North
Pearl and Colonic streets. It was largely through Bishop Burke's effort that the
Hawk street viaduct was erected.

Bishop Burke is a scholar, a forcible preacher, and an authority in theological law.
He spent the summers of 1871 and 1889 in Rome. In 1890 he was made a Knight of


the Holy Sepulchre by authority of Pope Leo. Immediately after his consecration
as bishop he was made a Knight of the Grand Cross of Jerusalem. In 1887 he was
appointed vicar-general of the diocese of Albany.

As an educator Bishop Burke has a remarkable record, particularly in the estab-
lishment of flourishing schools, which include St. Joseph's Male and Female Acad-
emy, which has a well-deserved and wide reputation for excellence.


Hon. Levi P.^rsons Morton was born in Shoreham, Vt., May 16, 1824. Mr.
Morton is a son of Rev. Daniel O. Morton, a Congregational minister, and is de-
scended from George Morton, who came to America from England in the ship Ann
in 1623. Mr. Morton's mother was Lucretia Parsons, whose father and grandfather
were both clergymen, and he was named after her brother, who was the first Ameri-
can missionary to Palestine. Owing to the small salary paid Mr. Morton's father,
only the elder son had a college education, Levi Parsons having to content himself
with a common school education.

When Mr. Morton was about eight years old the family removed to Springfield,
Vt., and four or five years later to Winchendon, Mass., where he first earned money
l)y rmging the bell of the church m the town in which his father preached. At the
age of fifteen he was employed in the country store of Ezra Casey at Enfield, Mass.,
where he r.emained two years. Then he taught a countr\- school. When seventeen
he entered the store of W. W. Esterbrook at Concord, N. H. In 1842 he was
made manager of a branch store at Hanover, the seat of Dartmouth College Two
years later he was given an interest in the store. For six years Mr. Morton re-
mained in Hanover, each year gaining in experience and knowledge. Mr. Ester-
brook was forced to suspend shortly after Mr. Morton became a partner, and J. M.
Heebe, of New York, the chief creditor, assumed charge and was so much pleased
with Mr. Morton that he gave him his support.

In 1849 Mr. Morton went to Boston, where, as a partner of Mr. Beebe he carried
on the dry goods business under the firm name of Beebe, Morgan & Co. In 1854 he
removed to New York and founded the dry goods house of Morton, Grinnell & Co.
Mr. Morton's partner in the firm of Morton & Grinnell was the son of Hon. George
Grinnell, a member of Congress from Massachusetts. The later failure of the firm
was largely due to the repudiation of Southern paper in 1861.

Near the close of 1863 Mr. Morton became a banker, the firm name being L. P.
Morton & Co. One of the members of the firm, Charles VV. McCune, withdrew in
1863. In 1868 George Bliss became a member of the firm, the name being changed
to Morton, Bliss & Co. The .same year a joint banking house was formed in Lon-
don, that of Morton, Rose & Co., the leading partner being Sir John, late
finance minister of Canada. It was through the efforts of these two houses that a
syndicate was formed to assist the United States in resuming specie payments, and
by their floating five per cent, bonds, it is estimated they saved the government $70,-
00(1,000. Mr. Morton's firms also exerted an influence in bringing about the removal


of the ill feeling between Great Britain and the United States by settling the Ala-
bama claims satisfactorily.

In 187S Mr. Morton was elected to Congress and his influence in financial matters
was very great. In 1880 President Garfield appointed him minister to France. Mr.
Morton hammered the first nail in the construction of the Statue of Liberty and de-
livered a speech on June 15, 1884, accepting the statue on behalf of the American
government. The commercial relations between France and the United States ran
smoothly during Mr. Morton's term. June 25 1888, Mr. Morton was nominated for
vice-president on the Republican ticket and was elected the following November.
After his term as vice-pre.sident Mr. Morton traveled and returned in the summer
of 1894. September 18, 1894, Mr. Morton was nominated for governor upon the
first ballot of the Republican State Convention at Saratoga, and was elected the fol-
lowing November.

Mr. Morton has been twice married. His first wife was Lucy Kimball, and they
had no children. In 1875 Mr. Morton married the daughter of William J. Street,
and they have five children, all girls. Mrs. Morton has been of great help to her
hu.sband during his political career and her sweet smile and cordial manner are
lovingly remembered by all who have met her.


The name uf this venerable Albanian will long be cherished as that of a truly
noble philanthropist. Modestly regarding himself as but a custodian of great wealth,
he has dispensed his charities with a liberal hand, yet wisely. He is the son of Syl-
vanus Pierson and Catherine (Barclay) Jermain, and is descended from a long line
of English and Scotch ancestry. He was born in Albany, 13. 1809. His
father settled in Albany at the beginning of the present century, and for many
years was a commission merchant in that city, gradually accumulating a large prop-

Deprived of his mother's care by her death in 1816, James became the protege of
his uncle, the Rev. Nathaniel S. Prime, by whom he was prepared for college. He
entered Middlebury College m 1824, subsequently attended Yale, which he was
obliged to leave on account of ill health, and later entered Amherst, from which he
was graduated in 1831. Soon after leaving college he began the study of law, and in
1836 was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

In 1843 he married Miss Catherine Ann Rice, of Cambridge, Wa.shington county,
N.Y. She bore him five children, of whom three daughters are now living. Mrs.
Jermain died in 1873.

Upon the death of his father in 1869 a large inheritance came into Mr. Jermain's
possession and to his wise dispensation ; to this duty he brought a cultured mind m
its matured strength and a noble heart. For the cause of practical Christianity, as
well as for a family memorial, he erected at Watervliet the Jermain Memorial
church, a structure of grace and beauty and an enduring monument. Bereft
of an only son, a young man of great promise, in 1883 he ei.dowed as a memorial
the B#-clay Jermain professorship in Williams College, his alma mater. Mr. Jermain's


local benefactions have been many and munificent. One of the most admirable of
them is the Home for Aged Men on the Troy road, of which institution he has been
the chief founder and patron. The magnificent Y. M. C. A. building in Albany will
long and fittingly commemorate the almost princely generosity of its founder. The
Fairview Home for Friendless Children owes its existence and continued usefulness
mainly to Mr. Jermain. It is beautifully situated on the hill above Watervliet, and
iK designed to shelter one hundred children.

It is hoped that years may yet be granted to a life so marked by unostentatious
philanthropy, and by the promotion of practical Christianity and the best interests
of humanity.

In 1892 Williams College conferred upon Mr. Jermain the degree of LL.l).


Dr. Bendei.l is a son of Fdward and Hannah- (Stern) Bendell, both na-
tives of Bavaria, Germany, and was born in Albany, N. Y., October 28, 1843. His
lather, who was born in 1809, came to this country in 1838, and died in 1891. His
mother still survives. Dr. Bendell received his rudimentary education in the public
and select schools of his native city. He read medicine with Dr. Joseph Lewi
(whose sketch appears in this volume) and at the Albany Medical College, which he
Jeft May 38, 1861, to enter the United States service as hospital steward of the 39th
N. Y. Vols. On September 1 of that year he was appointed acting assistant sur-
geon in the United States army. Returning to Albany early in the winter of 1862,
he received in December the degree of M. D. from the Albany Medical College, and
almost immediately rejoined his regiment at the front. On February 24, 1863, he
was commissioned assistant surgeon of the 6th N. V. Heavy Artillery, and on Janu-
ary 3, 1864, he became surgeon of the 86th N. Y. Vet. Vols., in which capacity he
served until the close of the war. On May 18, 1866, he was brevetted lieutenant-
colonel of New York Volunteers for faithful and meritorious services.

Dr. Bendell served in the field with his regiments, participated in nearly all the
battles fought by the Army of the Potomac, and during the last campaign of that
victorious army was in charge of its depot field hospital. He was also present at
Lee's surrender at Appomattox, and thus closed a brilliant military record extending
over a period of four years. After the close of the Rebellion he entered upon the
active practice of his profession in Albany, where he continued successfully until
1869, when he was appointed by President Grant as superintendent of Indian affairs
for the Territory of Arizona. In 1873 he resigned this post to accept at the hands of
President Grant the appointment of United States consul to Denmark, where he not
only served his country faithfully and efficiently for two years, but where he also de-
voted considerable time to the study of ophthalmology and otology in the University
of Heidelberg, receiving a special degree of proficiency in these branches. Return-
ing to Albany in 1876 he has since practiced these specialties with uniform success.

For two years Dr. Bendell was lecturer on physiology at the Albany Medical Col-
lege, and he is now clinical professor of otology in that institution. He is ophthalmic
and aural surgeon on the staff of the Albany City Hospital and at St. \'incent's and


St. Francis De Sales's Orphan Asylums, medical adviser of the Jewish Home Soci-
ety, and surgeon of the Third Brigade, N. G. N. Y., on the staff of Gen. Robert
Shaw Oliver, having been first appointed to this position in 1886 on the staff of Gen.
Amasa J. Parker. He is a member and in 1893 was president of the Medical Society
of the State of New York; a member and in 1884 president of the Albany County
Medical Society; a member and in 1885 president of the Alumni Association of the
Albany Medical College; a member and past master of Washington Lodge No. 85,
F. & A. M. ; and a member of Temple Chapter No. 5, R. A. M., De Witt Clinton
Council No. 22, R. & S. M., George Dawson Post, No. 63. G. A. R., and the military
order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

He is a prominent Republican, and has always taken a deep interest in educa-
tional matters, especially in the sanitary care of school houses and school hygiene,
in which he has rendered valuable service to the city. From 1880 to 1886 he was a
member of the Board of Public Instruction of Albany and for two years served as its
president. Upon the reorganization of the board in 1892 he again became a member
and still continues in that capacity. He was appointed by Mayor Thacher for a
term of seven years in January, 1897. He is widely respected and esteemed as one
of Albany's most successful surgeons and professional men, and enjoys the confidence
of all who know him.

In September, 1873, Dr. Bendell was married to Miss Wilhelmine Lewi, eldest
daughter of his medical preceptor, Dr. Joseph Lewi, of Albany, and they have three
children: Joseph Lewi Bendell, Myra Lewi Bendell, and Berta S. Bendell.


Hon. Abraham Lansing, son of Christopher Yates Lansing and Caroline May
Thomas, was born in Albany February 27, 1835. He attended school in Berkshire
county, Mass., and afterwards the Albany Boys' Academy, and entered Williams
College in the sophomore class of 1852, and was graduated with the degree of A. B.
in 1855. He then studied law in his father's office, and entered and was graduated
from the Albany Law School, and admitted to the bar in 1857.

He was appointed city attorney of Albany in 1868, and was the first reporter
of the Supreme Court under authority of law, having been appointed to that position
in 1869, under act of that year, by the governor, attorney-general and secretary of
state, and published the first seven volumes of the series of decisions of that court,
known as Supreme Court Reports. In 1874 he was appointed by Governor Dix as
acting state treasurer. In 1876 he was appointed corporation counsel of Albany,
and in 1882 was elected upon the Democratic ticket by a majority exceeding that of
any predecessor of his to the office to represent Albany county in the State Senate.
He was chairman of the railroad committee of the Senate and member of the finan-
cial committee, and was actively identified with the passage of the act providing for
a State Railroad Commission, and in the other important measures, which come be-
fore the railroad committee of the Legislature during his term.

He interested himself in the enactment of the act called the new Albany Charter,
and succeeded against most determined opposition in carrying that measure through



the Senate in 1883, and subsequently in 1883, when it liecame a law. He interested
himself in the remodeling of the scientific departments of the State, formed and
carried through the acts which accomplished that result, and placed the Capitol and
different buildings of the State at Albany m the control of a single superintendent.
He took charge of the measure in the Senate which provided for the reservation and
establishment of the State Park at Niagara Falls, and earnestly advocated that
measure upon the floor of the Senate.

He has been for many years a director of the National Commercial Bank, and in
term of service is the senior director of that bank, and also its counsel. He is a trus-
tee of the Albany Savings Bank, a member of the Board of Park Commissioners of
Albany, a trustee of the Albany Boys' Academy, one of the governors of the Albany
Hospital, a trustee of the Albany Medical College, a member of the Board of Trus-
tees of the Albany Rural Cemetery, and of the Board of Trustees of the Dudley
Observatory, and was a foundation member of the Fort Orange Club,- one of its first
Board of Trustees, and a member of its first House Committee. He was much inter-
ested in the formation of that club, drew its charter, and made the draft of its con-
stitution. Mr. Lansing is also a life member of the State Geological Society, a
member of the Century Association, and of the University Club and Bar Associa-
tion of New York city.

At the laying of the corner stone of the present City Hall he spoke for the county
and city He received the statue of Robert Burns for the Park Commission, and
made an address on the inauguration of the present Dudley Observatory on behalf
of its Board of Trustees, and at their request. He is a member of the Holland So-
ciety, and of the Albany Burns Club. Mr. Lansing was an active Tilden Democrat
and at one time chairman of the Democratic County Committee. He has been iden-
tified with the Tilden wing of the Democratic party, and has done some work in the
advocacy of its cause.

His father was a lawyer, a native of Albany, and son of Abraham G. Lansing,
who also held the office of state treasurer for many years, both by appointment and
election, and other public offices, in the early days of the city, and was the brother
of Chancellor John Lansing, jr. Mr. Lansing married Catherine, a daughter of Peter


Hon. Thomas J. Van Alstyne, whohasbeen active in business intercourse with the
citizens of Albany county for nearly fifty years, has so identified himself with its ad-
vancement that its history would be incomplete without reference to him. In line
of ancestry Mr. Van Alstyne traces, without break, citizenship in America, on both
paternal and maternal side, back as early as 1636. John Martin Van i^lstyne was a
freeholder in Fort Orange as early as 1657, from which time his lineal descendants
direct, down to the subject of this sketch, have been freeholders in either one of the
three adjoining counties of Albany, Columbia, and Schoharie, and the descendants
from this same head are to be found in several other counties of this State and many
other parts of the United States. Samuel Gile, Mr. Van Alstyne's first (American)


maternal ancestor, was freeman and freeholder in Haverhill, Mass., early in 1()40.
All of these first immigrants were intelligent and thrifty farmers who by industry
and frugality acquired wide stretches of real estate and considerable personal prop-
erty, which was mostly transmitted to their children, and became a fitting incentive
to them to emulate such example of their parents. As these men were successful
in their endeavors, public spirited in thought and action, so have their descendants
been good citizens and loyal to their fellows, — especially so at the period of the
' Revolutionary war. Two of the great-grandfathers of Mr. Van Alstyne did service
in council and in the field ; William Van Alstyne having been captain, and Moses Gile
a member of the Standing Committee of Correspondence of the county of Charlotte,
Vt., and at fifty-eight years of age, having done service in the field in the regiment
commanded by Colonel Marsh. Mr. Van Alstyne's grandfather, Thomas Van Al-
styne, at the age of sixteen enlisted and served in the regiment commanded by Col-
onel Clyde. This manifestation of active loyalty by both extremes, advanced age
and comparative youth, is, and should be considered, unchallengeable grounds for
pride in patriotic ancestry. In the late Rebellion, while Mr. Van Alstyne was pre-
vented by business interests and domestic obligations from entering the field in
person, he placed in the service on behalf of the Union a representative, and was an
active supporter of the government, so far as his influence could be exerted, in the
vigorous and speedy prosecution of the war.

Mr. Van Alstyne is the son Dr. Thomas B. Van Alstyne (formerly an eminent
physician and prominent citizen of the locality in which he lived), and Eliza Gile.
his wife, late of Richmondville, Schoharie county, N. Y., at which place he was born
July 25, 1827. Blessed with a vigorous constitution even in infancy, and continually
growing and developing in physical strength and activity, he spent the first seven
years of school life in the village school when in session, mastering the limited in-
struction there imparted, and during vacation baiting the tiny fishes of the brooks,
or hunting the squirrel and partridge in the neighboring mountain forests — being in
these times free from care, and in the full enjoyment of all those things that con-
stitute happiness in the boy.

At the age of thirteen years, the boy, while visiting the house of his brother-in-
law, a minister of a Baptist church m Cayuga county, conceived the purpose of ac-
quiring advanced education, and became a student in the academy at Moravia, dis-
tant three and a half miles from Locke. Seven miles was, by choice, the regular
school-day walk of the young student for months. After a year spent thus at Mo-
ravia, and a period at a select classical school, he became a student at Hartwick
Seminary, where he completed his preparation for college. With six others from
the same school he matriculated in Hamilton College, from which he graduated in
1848, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and in 1851 that of Master of Arts.
In the college course his class standing was good, and he especially excelled in
mathematics. In addition to the regular college course Mr. Van Alstyne with a
few others, took a private course in law, under the instruction of Prof. Theodore W.
Dwight, who subsequently became eminent as an instructor in the Law Department
of Columbia College of New York.

In 1848 Mr. Van Alstyne entered the law office of Messrs. Harris and \"an Vorst,
of Albany. By diligent attention to the business of the office he was enabled, with
his knowledge of the principles of law before ac(|uired, to pass, before the close of


the year, a satisfactory and successful examination for admission to [jractice in all
the courts of the State, the late Hon. John H. Reynolds, Hon. John K. Porter and
Orando Mead, esq., comprising the examining committee. Mr. Van Alstyne, how-
ever, retained his desk in the office of Harris & Van Vorst until 1850, continuing
with the exception of business personal to himself and his father, study and practice
as a student, devoting a reasonable portion of the time, however, to travel and va-
cation. After opening an office for public practice, he continued by himself until
1853, when he was invited to and formed a partnership with Mr. Matthew McMahon,

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 69 of 138)