Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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work in the banking department and its action upon his naturally nervous temper-
ament, and since then he has been obliged to relinquish active business.



NoTHiNC. in the catalogue of "civic virtues" has, perhaps, so largely contributed
to the high municipal reputation of the city of Albany and enabled her to conserve
her status, in a moral as well as in a geographical sense, as Capital of the Empire
State, as the recognized ability and exemplary character of its legal fraternity. No
higher standard of forensic excellence is anywhere exhibited, and nowhere else are
the hands of counsel cleaner or freer from taint. No suspicion of shadiness or
questionable methods in the practice of the profession is here permitted and nothing
in the nature of the shyster's business is allowed to hamper the proceedings of court.
Here the annual reunion of the State Bar Association occurs and here the Albany
lawyer is justly presented as the exemplar and ideal of all that is admirable and
imitable in the profession. The leaders of the bar in Albany have erected this
standard in themselves and the names of many of national reputation may be found
upon the guidons that mark off the avenues of fame and fortune in this free republic.

Among them, occupying an honored position in the working and active ranks of
the body as well as in the counsels of the leaders is found the name of Eugene

With as much the force of fact as that of incidence it was observed by a reputable
journal of Albany in reference to his nomination for the position of district attorney
at the last State election: " The election of Mr. Burlingame means for Albany city
and county honest elections and the capable and efficient administration of the duties
of the office." The moral of this significant utterance is found in the fact that
Eugene Burlingame is now (in 1897) serving the third year of his term of district
attorney. This expression of public opinion might serve as the epigraph of his
memoir, though it would not cover or include all his higher characteristics. It is
not as the prosecuting attorney of a district or the representative in that capacity
of a political party that he is best known, but as the conscientious advocate, the
able counsel and the scholarly gentleman. In manj' other ways is he known in
social and domestic life and all redounding to his credit, but they do not come within
the scope or necessary limitations of this article.

Eugene Burlingame was born in Willett, Cortland county, N.Y., January 24, 1847,
and is the son of Westcott and Melinda (Eaton) Burlingame, and is descended of
good New England stock both on the paternal and maternal side. The genealogical
tree is of no fanciful growth, for its roots "spread deep and wide through pilgrim
.soil." His earliest American ancestor of the male line was Roger Burlingame, who
came from England some time prior to 1650 and was known to be a resident of
Stonington, Conn., as early as 1654. He resided at Warwick, R. I., in 1660, and
later at Providence, in the same State. The line is followed from Roger Bur-
lingame through Thomas, Joshua, Eleazer and Altitius to his father, Westcott, and
himself, while the history of his grandmother's ancestry in the same line runs back
into many of the old and prominent Rhode Island families. She was the daughter
of Augustus Ellis and Desire Slocum. and was the sixth in descent from the family
of the latter name. The subject of this sketch also traces his descent through his
grandmother on the paternal side, through the Hull and Dyer families to Mary
Dyer, who suffered martyrdom at Boston " for conscience sake" in 1660. Thomas


Burlinganie, the son of Roger, married Martha Lippitt, daughter of Moses and Mary
(Knowles) Lippitt, and Eleazar, Mr. Burlingame's great-great-grandfather, married
Rhoda Briggs, of an old Rhode Island family. His mother was Melinda Eaton, a
descendant of William and Jane Eaton, of Dover, England. Nicholas, the son of
William, who was born in 1573, was warden of St. Mary's church, Dover, and mayor
of his native city. His son John, Mr. Burlingame's first ancestor on the maternal
line who came to this country, was born at Dover in 1611 and with his wife and chil-
dren came to America in 1635, settled in Dedham, Mass., and became the founder
of the " Dedham Batons." The descent in this line is continued through John to
his son Thomas, who married Lydia Gay in 1697, settling in Woodstock, Conn., to
Nathaniel, who married Esther, daughter of Capt. John Parry, in 1704, to Elijah, to
John, who married Lydia Preston, to Melinda, the mother of our district attorney.

In a single maternal line the ancestry of this distinguished Albanian is traceable
to George Bunker, after whom Bunker Hill was named, for he was the owner of the
top of that historic mound one hundred years before it had been made memorable
by the famous battle of the Revolution. This is history to be proud of. The lineage
in this direction is followed from George to Martha Bunker, who married John
.Starr, to Lydia Starr, who married Nathaniel Gay, to Lydia Gay, who was married
to Thomas Eaton. The late Prof. Amos Eaton of Troy, N. Y., identified with the
earlier history of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, his son, the late Gen. Amos B.
Eaton, U. S. A., his grandson, the late Prof. Daniel C. Eaton, of Yale College,
Hon. Dorman B. Eaton, of New York, and Gen. William Eaton, distinguished for
services at Tunis, were all descended from this stainless stock.

Coming to his immediate, ancestors it will be of interest to state that his grand-
father, Altitius Burlingame, was born at West Greenwich, Rhode Island, September
27, 1790, and with his great-uncle, Arnold Thomas and their families, removed from
their native place to Willett in the State of New York in 1809. They were among
the earliest settlers of that town. Mr. Burlingame's father, born in 1806, was, con-
sequently, only three years old at the time. Grandfather John Eaton — the other
side — and great-uncles Peter Eaton and Robert Tennant with their families removed
to Willett from Cherry Valley, N. Y., about 1814. His mother, Melinda Eaton, was
born at Cherry Valley, November 6, 1812. The locality where they settled has since
been known as " Eaton Hill." The marriage of Melinda Eaton and Westcott Bur-
lingame took place at Willett, N. Y., March 27, 1836, and the issue included five
children: Miles Eaton, Ogden, Lydia, Lucy Agnes and Eugene (all now living,
June, 1897.) The late Anson Burlingame was descended from the same stock.

Although the early training and subsequent career up to the time of his entrance
into public life, of Eugene Burlingame, had not been unusually eventful, they were
not unmarked by circumstances that were, in a measure, in the nature of events that
" cast their shadows before." In all were evinced the " mens proposititenax"— the
quiet determination to prove worthy of the best traditions of family and race. His
early education was received in the public schools of his native town, followed by a
two years course at the Cincinnatus Academy in Cortland county. In 1866 he en-
tered the State Normal College at Albany and was graduated with honor in July,
1868. It is worthy of record that at the close of his studies in this institution he
accepted the position of principal of the Athens Union School, and though hardly
yet having attained the years of manhood conducted it so successfully for a period


of two years thai his resignation at the end of that time was a source of general
public regret in that section.

But the ambition of the young teacher soared beyond the contracted limits of the
class hall, and within the vast domain of the legal profession he discerned a broader
view for his aspirations and a wider field for his talents. In the general scope of
his earlies studies the literature of the law had for him a peculiar fascination, and it
was not as a callow or uninformed neophyte that he entered the Albany Law School
in 1870, being then in the twenty-third year of his age. As it always happens with
the adventurous soldier of fortune in any field, he found competent helps at hand.
Among them was the eminent Isaac Edwards, then dean of the college, and Judge
Ira Harris, a famous lecturer on constitutional law. Among the existing faculty
also were numbered Judge Amasa J. Parker and Judge William F. Allen of the
Court of Appeals. Under such distinguished instructors the earnestness and apti-
tude of young Burlingame were brought into play and so rapidly responded to their
broad and liberal treatment that in a little over a year he obtained the degree of
LL.B., and was ready for practice. But with the wisdom so rare at his years he
realized the importance of the most thorough preparation before entering upon his
professional work, and entered the law ofhce of Newkirk & Chase at Hudson, N. Y..
an admirable school for a young lawyer, where he thoroughly familiarized hmiself
with the business features of his calling. By his ready intelligence and willingness
to work he won the confidence of his associates and was intrusted with much im-
portant business of the concern. Thus, fully equipped for the forensic arena, he
entered, in 1872, on the full and formal practice of the profession, in partnershijj
with Charles W. Mead of this city. After five years of legal collaboration, during
which he performed very important professional work, he opened an office for him-
self at No. 452 Broadway. It may be noticed in this connection that while he is
frequently consulted and as counsel tries many cases for other attorneys, he has
made it a custom to try and argue his own cases and generally with pronounced
success. He enjoys at present one of the largest and most lucrative practices in this
part of the State, being engaged on one side or the other in most of the important
causes tried in our courts.

March 29, 1875, he married Emma Patten Watsun, the accomplished daughter of
the late Hon. Rufus W. Watson, a prominent lawyer of Catskill, N. Y. They have
four children living; Eugene Watson, Elizabeth Jenkins, Francis and Westcott.
A fifth, Harriette Sylvia, died in infancy.

There is little room to touch upon the manners or methods by which Mr. Burlin-
game has attained his remarkable eminence at the bar, but through each and all of
them is discerned the dominant note of carefulness and the abiding sense of respon-
sibiHty. " For conscience sake " appears to be his motto as well as that of his mar-
tyred ancestor and he is prompt to apply it to the light as to the weightiest case with
which he may iic entrusted. In direct and cross examination his questions are form-
ulated with scholarly precision. Impressed with the conviction that truth and accu-
racy are one and indivisible and that the gravest issues often hang upon apparently
the most trivial questions, he is wont to weigh his words with the greatest delibera-
tion and insist upon the most direct and definite answers. Although a master of
technique he treats the witnesses with the utmost fairness. His end and aim is to
get at the truth and elicit it in the interests of justice. Even in his capacity of Dis-


trict Attorney he has been known to turn the search light of truth upon the case of
the people and by interposing on behalf of the accused, but with no diminution of
the dignity of the office, has often stopped an expensive and unjust prosecution. In
the less restricted sense of speaker and advocate his language is refined and elegant
but always within the comprehension of his hearers. His reasoning is logical
and incisive, but he has never recourse to glittering sophisms to compass the end of
the public prosecutor. His eloquence is the eloquence of truth; his force the force
of conviction. In bearing he is calm, dignified and impressive and entirely free
from any of the ad captandum methods sometimes known to the profession. He is
the type of the classical orator cast in the practical mold of the modern lawyer. His
oratory is aided by a charming personality, graceful action and quietly fervid man-
ner. He is, altogether, an attractive and commanding figure in the front rank of his

Mr. Burlingame's position in politics is somewhat unique. While distinct iu char-
acter from the hustling partisan, he is looked upon by his party as the ideal repre-
sentative of Republican polititics and is highly trusted and esteemed in that capacity.
This is exemplified by the fact that in 1884 he was chosen chairman of the Albany
County Republican Committee and in 1887 was elected a member of the Republican
State Committee. In 1891 he was one of the Republican counsel in the celebrated
election cases of that year, involving as they did the election of four State senators
and the consequent control of the State Senate, and rendered valuable and efficient
service in the interest of honest elections and good government. "Certainly," said
Mr. Burlingame, in the course of an able argument during these remarkable trials,
"as citizens, not as partisans, we are all interested in keeping those avenues that
lead up to the exercise of the greatest right and duty of an American citizen pure
and undefiled."

As an evidence of his influence in literary, social and religious circles it goes in
the record that he was President of the Young Men's Association of Albany in 1884
which is justly regarded as a great honor, inasmuch as the society with its library
and hall, has, for many years, been intimately associated with the literary life of
Albany. He is also a member of the Albany Historical and Art Societj-, President
of the Burns Club and member of the Fort Orange and Press Clubs and member of
the State Bar Association. He is Past Master of Masters Lodge No. 5, F. & A. M.,
and also trustee of that Lodge. He is a director and counsel for Fairview Home for
Friendless Children, a director of the Charity Organization Society of Albany, and
Vestryman of St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Albany. He is a Curator of the Albany
Institute, the leading literary and scientific society of Albany, and member of the
faculty of the Albany Law School, lecturing on Real Properly and Criminal Law.

Physically Mr. Burlingame is slightly above the middle size, of a compact and well-
knit frame and with clean cut regular features. His bright blue eyes have a direct
and searching light in them that seek first to know you and being satisfied beam
kindly upon you His manner is courteous and cordial with a very nice sense of
situation and a blending of dignity and benevolence that impresses the stranger and
endears him to his friends. Albany is justly proud of Mr. Burlingame, as a citizen,
lawyer and public official.




Stark, Moses, son of Myer and Barbette (Nussbaum) Stark, was born in Albany,
February 11, 1851. His parents came from Germany in 1840 and first settled in
North Adams, Mass., whence they moved about 1842 to Albany, where the father
(lied in 1889. Myer Stark was for many years a dry goods merchant. Of his seven
children four sons are living; Bernard, born January 1, 1846, now a manufacturer of
ladies' wrappers; Moses, the subject of this sketch; Leopold, born in October, 1854,
a bookkeeper for his brother Moses ; and Louis, born May 24, 1856, a member of the
New York Tailoring Company. All reside in Albany. Moses Stark was educated
m the public and German schools of Albany, was for three years a clerk for Mann,
Waldman & Co., and in April, 1868, formed a partnership with his brother Bernard,
under the firm name of B. Stark & Co., and engaged in the fancy dry goods business
in the old Tweddle Hall building. In 1882 they removed to No. 13 North Pearl
street, where they made extensive improvements, putting in a large millinery de-
partment, and where they were burned out in the fall of 1895. The business was
then divided, Moses Stark continuing the millinery branch, which is located in the
Y. M. C. A. building at the corner of North Pearl and Steuben streets. It is one of
the best known establishments of the kind in Albany. He is a member of Wash-
ington Lodge No. 83, F. & A. M., and Gideon Lodge No. 140, I. O. B. B., and a
charter member of the Adelphia Literary Club. March 22, 1874, he married Minnie,
daughter of Morris Herman of Albany, who died August 26, 1889, leaving three
children: Herbert M., Mae and Hattie.

Seelmann, Andrew G., was born in Albany, N.Y., May 6, 1861. His parents were
George and Rosa (Drach) Seelmann, natives of Germany. Mr. Seelmann was edu-
cated in the Holy Cross School and Christian Brothers' Academy of Albany and
took an evening course at the Albany Business College. After finishing his educa-
tion he entered the law office of Wickes & Gutmann and while there was admitted to
the bar in 1882. June 8, 1885, he was appointed superintendent of the money order
department at the Albany post-oftice and held the position until March 1, 1890. He
then opened a law office at No. 93 State street and later moved to No. 69 State
street, where he is now located. In 1891 Mr. Seelmann was clerk to the Assembly
Committee on Judiciary and Codes, and in 1892 was clerk to the Committee on
Judiciary and Railroads. He was president of the German Lyceum during its ex-
istence and was one of the organizers and is now president of the German Young
Men's Democratic Club. He is a member of the executive committee of the Dem-
ocratic Association of Albany county and is also a member of the Democratic Pha-

lanx, the Catholic Union and the C. B. A. Alumni. His business is chiefly real estate
law, and Surrogate's Court practice.

Brewster, Frederick C, son of Cortland and Rachel (Mors) Brewster, was born in
Waterford, Saratoga county, N. Y., August 11, 1860. He was educated in private
schools and was graduated from Claverack College in 1879 and from the Troy Busi-
ness College in 1880. He then went as bookkeeper to the office of his uncle and
grandfather, lumber dealers. West Troy, where he rapidly rose to the position of
confidential clerk. In January, 1894, he opened a real estate office at No. 1595
Broadway, West Troy, and purchased the insurance agency of Clute & McAllaster.
Mr. Brewster has been a member of the Troy Citizens Corps for fifteen years, having
served ten years as an active member in the National Guard and five years as a
member of the Old Guard. July 20, 1887, Mr. Brewster married Eliza, daughter of
John H. Crocker of West Troy.

Armstrong, Rev. J. B., was born at Johnsburg, N. Y., in 18.54, and a son of
J. W. Armstrong, who was a farmer of Scotch-Irish ancestry. He was twenty years
of age when he decided to enter the ministry, and was graduated in 1876 from
Fort Edward Institute. He taught several years in the public schools, and then
natural science at the Troy Conference Academy, and also taught higher mathe-
matics. In 1883 he took his first charge at Ames, Montgomery county, where he re-
mained for three years. Thence he proceeded to East Greenbush, then to Johnson-
ville and to West Troy in 1891, where he is pastor of the Third Avenue M. E. church.
He is a man of rare attainments, of liberal views, and is an eloquent speaker. Dur-
ing his sojourn here he has labored faithfully and effectually for the upbuilding of
the church of God. Among the fruits of his pastorate may be noticed a vigorous
growth in all departments of the church work, largely increased membership and a
new and modernized temple of worship.

Toner, J. Seymour, was born in Green Island, Albany county, in 1860, and has
always been a resident of that village. He was educated in the public schools there
and at an early age became a member of the village fire department, of which he
has filled all the positions connected with same and for one year was chief engineer.
He served four terms (eight years) as village trustee, the longest term .served by any
man, although a Democrat in a village having a large Republican majority, he re-
ceived flattering majorities at each election. He has been connected with the account
department of Cluett, Coon & Co., of Troy, for sixteen years, and is now occupying
the position of paymaster for that concern.

Dayton, Lewis W., son of Jesse C. and Carrie L. (Weed) Dayton, was born in
New York city, March 34, 1866, and is of English descent, his original paternal an-
cestor in this country, Ralph Dayton, having come from Bradfordshire, England, in
the seventeenth century and settled at East Hampton, L. I. Major Nathan Dayton
moved from Long Island in 1800, and settled on a farm near Rensselaerville, Albany
county. Lewis W. Dayton's grandfather, Samuel, lived at Rensselareville until
1850, when he moved to Watervliet, now the town of Colonie, and established the
old homestead where Lewis W. Dayton now lives. His son, Jesse C, was engaged
in business in New York city when Lewis W. was born and moved to Watervliet,
Albany county, in 1870. IJe was a staunch Democrat and represented Albany

county as State senator for one term and was supervisor of the town of Watervliet
from 1872 to 1878. Lewis W. Dayton was graduated from the Albany Academy in
1884 and spent one year as clerk in the Anchor Iron and Steel Works in Kentucky.
He returned to Albany county and engaged in farming in the town of Watervliet
until 189.5, when he was elected justice of the peace of the town of Colonic. He is a
member of the Citizens Corps of Troy and also a member of the Sixth Separate Com-
pany, N. G. S. N. Y., and is an active member of the Farmers' League and was its
corresponding secretary for two years. Mr. Daj-ton was very active in the dividing
of the town of Watervliet into the town of Colonic and has always been an earnest
worker in the Republican party.

Carroll, George H., owns and conducts a grocery at No. 74 Oneida street, which
his father, the late William C. Carroll, established in 18.J0. The latter, a pioneer
here, came from New Hampshire, and was the leading grocer of his day. He was
also a central figure m the development of the city of Cohoes, and an advocate of all
matters pertaining to the advancement of his fellowmen. His death occurred in
1884, aged seventy-four years. George H. is a native of Cohoes, born in 1851, and
was associated with his father in the grocery business, and .since his death has con-
tinued in the mercantile business. His wife was Sarah Harwood of Schaghti-
coke, N. Y.

Reavy, Frank C, has been one of the leading undertakers of Cohoes since 1870.
His father was John Reavy, a merchant who went from Montreal when Frank was
born in 1843, to Chicopee, Mass., in 1844, coming here in 1858. Mr. Reavy began
business life at fifteen years of age. After remaining in the cotton mills for a few
years he learned the carpenter's trade, spending three years in New York at the
business before establishing for himself. He served as school commissioner, super-
visor, city hall commissioner, and many minor offices. He is a member of the Busi-
ness Men's Association, of the A. O. U. W., the A. O. H., and K. of C.

Courchaine, William, was born ia St. George, P. V., in 1856, and is a son of Will-
iam Courchaine, coming here in 1863. In 1865 he entered Harmony Mills, remain-
ing until twenty-two years of age as a weaver, later he peddled vegetables, and in
1880 established his present grocery. He served his first public office as hospital
commissioner. Mr. Courchaine is president of St. Jean Baptist Society ; it is a
social and benevolent organization. He has for nine years been trustee of the
Church of Sacre Coeur. He is supervisor of the Sixth ward of tlie city of Cohoes,
and proves a very efficient and popular official.

Conway, Cornelius, is the elder son of the late Hugh Conway, a life-long resident
of Cohoes. The latter at the time of his death, January 14, 1896, was operating in
the partnership of Mr. Hugh Graham, the largest and finest grocery in the city.
They came to the present location, 13 and 15 Willow street, in 1884, and erected the
large and commodious double store. Mr. Conway began business as a humble clerk
for (Sraham & Stanton, but in 1871 he purchased Mr. William Stanton's interests.
Mr. Graham retired soon after the death of Mr. Conway and the firm is now known'
as Conway & Co.

Heney. William H., was born in Oldham, Fngland January 31, 1863. Two years
later he came with his parents to this country ; after a two years' residence in Water-

ford, N. y., they removed to Troy, N. Y., remaining there about five years. They
then took up their residence in Cohoes, which has since been the home of the subject
of this sketch. At the age of nine years he entered the Harmony Cotton Mills as an

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 79 of 138)