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Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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Met; rath, Michael, was born in Ireland in 1835. His father was Thomas McGrath,
by trade a blacksmith. Michael learned the same trade in the old country, and when
a young man emigrated to America. He settled in Green Island, where for the past
lifty years he has been a prosperous man in the grocery business and at his trade,
and has been a familiar figure. He has served his town as trustee and was treas-
urer of the Board of Education, and has for many years been a pillar of St. Patrick's
church, and a lifelong Democrat.

Becker, De Witt E., son of Francis and Almira (Torrey) Becker, was born in Gal-
lupville, Schoharie county, August 0, 1863, and finished his education at Hartwick
Seminary in 1881. Coming to Albany in that year he was employed by Burhans
& Sutherland and two years later by Burhans, Sutherland & Co. In 1883 Mr.
Burhans severed his connection with the above firm and started in business again
with Mr. Becker as partner. In 1887 the firms of David Bradt & Co. and Burhans



& Becker consolidated, making the firm of David Bradt, Becker & Co., carrying on
a general produce commission business, dealing specially in poultry, eggs and butter.
Mr. Becker came to Albany without any capital and with the combined efforts of his
partners, David Bradt and William J. Skillicorn, a very large and lucrative business
was built up at their present place of business, 386 Broadway. The building is a four
story brick and contains the latest improved cold storage and freezing rooms. In
addition to their cold storage plant the firm rent cold storage rooms in Chicago, Buf-
falo and New York, the building in which they are located not being large enough
to accommodate their business. The firm is considered by all who know them to be
the largest wholesale dealers in poultry in Albany. Mr. Becker was elected two
terms in succession president of the Albany County Wheelmen without opposition.
He ie also director and secretary of the Consumers Ice Company. In 1887 he mar-
ried Emma E. A., daughter of David Bradt, of Albany, who died in 1890. In 1893
he married her sister, Harriet Myers Bradt. Mr. Becker has just finished a hand-
some residence on Western avenue, corner of Allen street where he now resides.

Van Meter, Archibald, son of Edmund and Jennett (Loyd) Van Meter, was born
in New Scotland. Albany county, March 13, 182,5, and about 1828 moved with his
parents to the city of Albany, where his father died soon afterward. The family
originally came from New Jersey ; the father of Holland and Scotch descent, and the
mother of Scotch descent. Mr. Van Meter was educated in the public schools of
Albany and as a youth, first engaged in gardening. In 1844 he engaged in the meat
busmess, in which he has ever since continued, being located at No. 378 Hudson
avenue, since 1877. For several years he has had a large wholesale trade, but now
carries on a retail business exclusively. He is member of Wadsworth Lodge, No.
417, F. & A. M.

Palmer, Frank Rockwell, son of Amos P. and Martha E. (Newton) Palmer, was
born in Albany, N. Y., November 21, 1868. He is descended from alongline of New
England ancestors, the first of whom came to America early in the seventeenth cen-
tury, and all of whom served most gallantly in the Colonial and Revolutionary wars.
He was graduated from the Albany Academy in 1888 and entered the employ of the
Albany City Savings Institution, where he rapidly rose to his present position of
teller. Mr. Palmer inherits a great liking for the military, as his record shows. In
the Albany Academy he was first sergeant of Co. A, later captain of Co. A, and
upon graduation was major of the battalion of Albany Academy Cadets. In No-
vember, 1888, he enlisted in Co. A, N. G. N. Y., in 1889 was promoted to sergeant,
in 1898 to lieutenant and in 1896 was elected captain. Mr. Palmer is a member of
Masters Lodge, No. 5, F. & A. M.

Hendrie, James H., born in Albany, October 19, 1855, is a son of George and
Margaret (Haddow) Hendrie, the former of whom came to Albany from Scotland
about 1853 and died here in 1892, being for many years foreman with Smith & Covert,
leather dressers. When fourteen Mr. Hendrie began learning the trade of book-
binder and blankbook manufacturer of his uncle, Robert G. Hendrie, who had es-
tablished business on the corner of Broadway and Hudson avenue in 1867. He re-
mained there until 1879, when he went to Cape Colony, South Africa, and engaged
in gold and diamond mining. Returning to Albany in 1887 he bought out his uncle,
gradually increased the manufacturing capacity fourfold and now carries on a large



21

business as a bookbinder and stationer and blankbook manufacturer. He is a mem-
ber of the Albany Caledonian Club and was its secretary three terms. In Septem-
ber, 18H9, he married Emily E., daughter of Henry Miller of Albany, and they have
one daughter: Emalie Miller Hendrie.

Cook, John B., was born in Troy in 1856, and was a son of Robert Cook, who
came from Scotland in 1854 and was in the employ of the Burden Iron Company,
then H. Burden & Sons, in the capacity of foreman until his death in 1873. Mr.
Cook served an apprenticeship to the machinist trade with that company. He re-
ceived his education in the public schools of Troy, and later took private lessons in
mathematics, mechanical engineermg and drawing. Mr. Cook has been associated
with the Watervliet Arsenal for twelve years as foreman of the metal work carried
on in the shops east of the canal, and has had charge of the construction of the
])lant at the gun shop under the supervision of the constructing engineer.

McNab, Dr. Duncan, son of Duncan and Sarah (Osborne) McNab, was born June
(i, 1870, in Troy, N. V., where he was educated in the High School. He was grad-
uated from the Albany Medical College with the degree of M. D. in 1892, and then
took an eight months' course in the New York Polyclinic Hospital and Medical Col-
lege. In 1893 he began his practice in Green Lsland, Albany county, where he has
since resided. He is a member of the Troy and Vicinity Medical Society, King Sol-
omon's Primitive Lodge No. 91, F. & A. M., and Watervliet Lodge, Knights of
Pythias. April 20, 1896. Dr. McNab married Millie, daughter of John B. Groat, of
Green Island.

Soderstrom, Charles E., came from Sweden to America in 1881, then about thirty-
three years of age. In his native country he had learned the trade of machinist,
and soon secured a position with the Albany Iron Works, with whom he remained
for three years. In 1884 he went to Watervliet as a machinist. He was a a member of
the Free church of Sweden, and here in America belonging to the Methodist Epis-
copal church, which granted him the freedom of speaking for his country-people.

Lenway. W. A., was born in West Troy, December 11, 1849. The late Alexander
Lenway, his father, came to West Troy about 1835. The paternal grandfather of
W. A. Lenway came from France. Mr. Lenway was carefully educated at select
schools and at the Troy Business College. He has been officially connected with
canal admmistrations since 1880. at which date he was appointed chief clerk to
John H. Hulsapple, then a canal collector. Before his a.ssociation with the canal
departments he was associated in a clerical capacity with F. B. Durant and William
Hollands in the fire insurance line. He spen' five years in the I). & H. freight oflFice
as clerk and was for a time mate of a river steamer plying between Troy and New
York.

Pickett, Robert, youngest son of William and Mary (Egan) Pickett, both natives
of Ireland, immigrating to America about 1823 and 1820 respectively, was born in
West Troy, Albany county, March 9. 1850, and received his education at the parochial
school of St. Bridget's church. His father died in West Troy in 1858, aged fifty-
three, and his mother in April, 1889, aged eighty-seven. They had six sons and
three daughters. When nine years old Mr. Pickett entered the factory of Roy &
Co., and in lS(i3 began making cartridges in the Watervliet Arsenal. In 1865 he re-



22

turned to the employ of Roy & Co. ; in 1869 he was employed on a Hudson River
dredge; in 18T0 he entered what is now the Troy and Rensselaer Iron Works;
in 1873 he found employment in the machine shop of the Arsenal; in 1874 he re-
turned to the steel works; and in 1876 he engaged in the grocery business in
West Troy. In 1883 he became a State patrolman under James Shanwahan, and six
years later again opened a restaurant, a business he had followed in 1881-82. No-
vember 18, 1894, he was appointed to his present position as inspector of customs
under John P. Masterson. October 11, 1878, he married Katie, daughter of John
Shaffer of Troy.

Visscher, Edward W., was born in Albany, April 5, 1870, and is descended from
one of the oldest families in this section. Bastiaen Visscher came from Hoorn, Hol-
land, to America, prior to 1644 and settled in what was then Rensselaerwyak, now
Albany. His son, Harmen B., was born there and had a son. Manning Visscher,
whose son Barent J. was baptized in Albany, March i:!. 1737. Johannes B. Visscher,
son of Barent J. was born here September 4, 1769 and died April 15, 1825. His son,
John B. Visscher, was born here August 31, 1825, and married first, Ann, daughter
of Abraham R. and Annetje (Visscher) Ten Eyck, and second, Alida, daughter of
Douw and Jane Ann (Lieverse) Lansing. He died January 31, 1890. and was
survived by Edward W. Visscher and William L. Visscher. Edward W. Visscher
was educated in the Albany Academy and in 1887 entered the Mechanics' and
Farmers' Bank, with which he has since been connected. He is a member of tlie
Holland Society of New York and of the Fort Orange Club. In January. \x\t!>, lie
married Miss Mame E., daughter of Eugene P. Palmer of Chicago, 111.

Colburn, E. S. , & Son. — Edwin S. Colburn, scm of Jonathan Colburn, was born in
Jewett City, Conn., January 5, 1829, and for about thirty years was engaged in farm-
ing at New Baltimore, N. Y., where he still resides. In 1884 he was engaged in the
commission business under the firm name of Colburn & Smith ; in 1886 he purchased
part of the present confectionery and ice cream business in ^'l^^i^y. and a partner-
■ ship was formed under the firm name of Rawson & Colburn, which in 1888, became
Rawson, Colburn & Co. In 1888 this firm was succeeded by Mr. Colburn as sole owner
and in 1894 he admitted his son, Edwin E. to partnership, under the pre.sent style of
K. S. Colburn & Son.

Hills, James W., was born in Watervliet, now Colonie, in 1841. He is the son of
the late John Hills, of English descent. He has always been engaged in farming
and gardening, and in 1875 purchased the farm of Newton, known as the Newton
I)lace, from whom the hamlet of Newtonville took its name. Mr. Hills is an up-to-
date and enterprising farmer, finding market for his product chiefly at Troy. Mrs.
Hills is a daughter of the late James McDonald of Delhi, Delaware county, brother-
in-law of the late Assemblyman John McDonald of Delaware county. Mrs. and Mrs.
Hills have two sons. Goldsmith and Donald E. Hills. They were educated at the
Troy Academy, State Normal and Albany Business College.

Heidrich, Charles A., born November 18, 1856, in Albany, is the son of John
Heidrich, a native of Germany, who came to Albany about 1854 and died here
in 1886, being a mason by trade and a prominent contractor and builder. After
finishing his education at the Albany Academy, Mr. Heidrich entered the architect-



23

ural office of John Cornelius and remained there five years. Meanwhile in 1H80 he
had associated himself with his father under the firm name of Heidrich & Son and
continued as a contractor until the latter's death in 1886, when he opened an
architectural office. Since then he devoted his whole time to architecture and
building and since 1882 has done a large amount of contracting, numbering among
his chief efibrts the Fourth Reformed and St. Matthew's churches. He is a member
of Guttenberg Lodge No. 737, F. & A. M, Temple Chapter No. 5, R. A. M. and
l)e Witt Clinton Council No. 22 R. & S. M. July 19, 1882, he married Elizabeth
llerzog of Albany and their children are Dora Elizabeth and Victor Carl.

Waters, M. B. , was born in Duxbury, Plymouth county, Mass., in October, 1831.
and is a descendant of good old Puritan stock. He had none of the advantages of
education so liberal in tbis day, but he was a great reader and seeker after knowl-
edge and always had a book with him, to which he applied himself durmg leisure
moments. His mind therefore became stored with very useful information, for he
read only those books from which he could derive practical knowledge and which
tended to strengthen his mind. He began railroading in 1851 on what was then the
Hudson River Road, now the N. Y. C. & H. R. R. R., and leaving there he went to
the Troy & Boston Railroad, now the Fitchburg Railroad, where he filled such posi-
tions as baggagemaster, ticket agent and freight and passenger train conductor.
He was also the first passenger agent and during the war was stationed in New
York with an office on Broadway. That office was abolished after the war and he
became connected with the N. Y. C. & H. R. R. R. as passenger train conductor. The
genial disposition and courteous manners which he showed in that capacity, emi-
nently qualified him for advancement and to-day he holds the position of general
passenger agent of the People's Line Steamers on the Hudson River. He has
traveled extensively throughout the United States, Mexico and the West Indies. Mr.
Waters is also a very interesting correspondent and has many times favored the
general public with letters to newspapers describing his travels. He was formerly
[iresident of the Railroad Conductors' Insurance Company of the United States and
Canada and is now an active member of that body. He is also a life member of the
various Masonic bodies, from the Blue Lodge to the Mystic Shrine, and is also a
member of the International Association of Ticket Agents, also a member of the
American Association of General Passenger Agents. He is a very public spirited
citizen and nothing which will improve his home city, Troy, escapes his notice; and
he has written many articles setting forth his views on public matters which have
always carried great weight. Mr. Waters was married October lo, 1866, at North
Dorset, Vt., to a daughter of the Hon. Welcome Allen.

Gleason, James M., was born in Troy, N. Y., August 25, 1860, and removed to
WestTroy and Watervhet in 1865, where he has since resided. He was educated in the
public schools, Troy Christian Brothers' Academy and Troy Business College. At
an early age he became an active member of the West Troy Old Volunteer Fire De-
partment and served as foreman of the J. C. Dayton Hose Company, and as assist-
ant chief of the department until its disbandment in 1883, and is an exempt fireman.
Before and since attaining his majority he has taken an active part in politics as an
enthusiastic Democrat and is prominent in his party organization in city and county.
Al the Watervliet town election in 1885 he was nominated and elected to the re-



24

sponsible office of collector of taxes and was re-elected in April, 1886. On January

1, 1887, he was appointed deputy court clerk by Hon. Robert H. Moore, county clerk,
and served for three years to January 1, 1890, when he was promoted and appointed
by Hon. A. C. Requa, county clerk elect, to the position of deputy county clerk,
which he held until the expiration of Mr. Requa's term of office December 31, 1892,
On December 4, 1893, he was appointed by Hon. Frank Campbell, State comptroller,
a commissioner to make an examination of the papers, books, records and docu-
ments in the office of the surrogate of Kings county, N. Y., relating to the enforce-
ment of the inheritance tax laws of the State of New York, and at the expiration of
his commission he retired to private life and engaged in business in Albany, N. ¥.,
where he is still located. Mr. Gleason was married February 16, 1886, and resides
with his wife, two sons and three daughters, on Sixth avenue, in Watervliet, N. Y.

Godfrey, James H., was born on the site of his beautiful home, in 1841. He spent
his whole life with his father, the late George A. Godfrey, one of the first settlers.
Mr. Godfrey is a farmer and a dairyman, and his home is located so as to command
extended views of the lovely landscape, of which the Mohawk Valley is widely famed.

Baldwin. H. W., the shoe dealer of 29 North Pearl street, is, like a large projior-
tion of Albany's prominent merchants, a self-made man. His business career com-
menced in New York city, where, when quite a young man, he laid the foundation
for the knowledge which was to be of great benefit to him in conducting an estab-
lishment of his own. He came here from New York in 1888 and started in business
at his present location, succeeding Sherman & Green. By close application and
acuteness in buying goods, he built up his trade to such an extent that up to the
present time he has had to enlarge his store three times, until now he occupies com-
modious quarters fitted up in the most modern style. Mr. Baldwin's last improve-
ment was made about a year ago when he nearly doubled the space of his main
floor. Mr. Baldwin's business acumen is hereditary. His father was one of the
largest lumber dealers in Buffalo and built one of the first houses on the famous
Delaware avenue of that city. Mr. Baldwin was born in Buffalo in 1855, and spent
his boyhood there.

McNeil, Thomas J., was born in Ireland, of Scotch ancestry, in 1860. He is the
son of John McNeil, a linen manufacturer, who came to America with his family
in 1866, and located in the city of Albany, N. Y. In 1872 they moved to Cohoes,
N- Y. McNeil, the elder, was employed by the Harmony Company as an overseer
and cloth expert ; he remained with that company for twelve years, when he re-
signed. After that time, and until his death in September, 1894, he was employed
by the Tivoli Knitting Mill Company. Thomas J. enlisted in the 7th Separate Com-
pany, State Militia, in 1880, being that time twenty years of age. His record in
that company is as follows; Private, May 15, 1880; sergeant, April 18, 1883; first
sergeant, June 18, 1884; second lieutenant, June 20, 1884; first lieutenant, March 15,
1889; resigned (honorable discharge), December 30, 1890; re-enlisted, January 12,
1891; corporal, February 16, 1891; sergeant, November 9, 1891; first sergeant. May

2, 1892. At the present time he is first sergeant of the company and also drill,
master. His rating as drillmaster and tactician is of the highest. He received the
appointment as armorer of the above named company in 1883, which position he



now so capably and acceptably tills. He was married January 21, 1885. to Elizabeth
Fisher Hume, a daughter of George Hume of Cohoes, N. Y.

Targett. Alfred E., is a pioneer in the laundry business of Cohoes. his establish-
ment being the first of its kmd here. It was first an adjunct to his hat and furnish-
ing goods business organized in 1873, and the washing was done by hand. Now the
extensive establishment contains all the modern machinery of an up-to-date laundry.
Mr. Targett was born in England in 1842 and was the son of Charles Targett. He
came to this country in 1846 and with his parents settled in Danbury, Conn. In
185;! he moved to Wisconsin, where he worked on a farm about two years, when he
returned to Danbury, Conn., and worked for a while in a fur factory; then went to
Bethel, Conn., and learned the trade of hat finishing, after which he returned to
Danbury and attended the academy and prepared for college, which he entered in
18G2 and graduated from the University of Rochester in 1866 with the degree of
A. B., being a classmate of Hon. George Raines of Rochester. After graduation he
returned to Danbury, Conn., went into the music business and also taught singing
in the public schools, an accomplishment he had acquired with his other studies.
He came to Cohoes in 1872, where he has ever been highly esteemed as a man, and
appreciated for his musical talent. He is an accomplished tenor singer, and sings
m various churches. He served for several years as alderman of the Third ward.

Wheeler, Frederick F., son of John C. and Adahne (Freeman) Wheeler, was born
in Oshkosh, Wis.. February 25, 1859, and was educated at the Vineland, N. J.,
Academy, where the family settled in 1864. In 1882 he came to Albany and the
same year established his present furniture business. He was one of the organizers
of the Albany Chamber of Commerce in 1890, and has since been a director and the
secretary. He organized the South End Bank, was continuously one of its directors
and during the first five years was its first vice-president. He is an associate director
of the National Life Association of Hartford, Conn., was one of the founders and is
vice-president and director of the West End Savings and Loan Association of Albany
and was an originator and officer of the West End Association, designed to effect
improvements in the western part of the city. In politics he has been from youth up
a Prohibitionist, casting his first vote (the only Prohibition vote cast in Cumberland
county, N. J.) for Neal Dow for president in 1880. He has never voted any other
ticket. In 1884 he was elected chairman of the State General and State Executive
Prohibition Committees and served five years, declining further service in this
capacity. During that period the Prohibition ticket received the highest vote ever
given it in this State. He is still a member of the Prohibition State Executive
Committee and in 1896 was elected a member of the National Prohibition Commit-
tee. December 24, 1879, he married Alice Am.sden of North Walden, Vt., who died
July 22, 1891. leaving four children : Herbert A., Fannie A., Alice A., and Effie A.
June 6. 1893, he married, second, Hattie Hall of Leslie, Mich.

Long & Sil.sby. — The carriage manufacturing firm of Long & Silsby was founded
ill 1847, by James Long and Henry W. Silsby, who succe.ssfully carried on an exten-
sive business until 1888, when Mr. Long purchased his partner's interest and became
sole owner. Mr. Silsby was a blacksmith and was born at sea about 1815. Mr. Long,
a native of Ireland, came to America in 1824 and spent his active life in Albany. He



was a practical vvagonmaker and after the retirement of his partner, carried on the
business alone until February, 1892, when his sons, Le Roy Y. and John S. , were
admitted. He died in November, following, and since then his two sons have con-
ducted the establishment, which is one of the oldest of the kind in this city. The
original firm name has always been retained. This concern is widely known, has
continuallv enjoyed an extensive trade of the best class and makes a specialty of the
finer work.

Keeler, John, son of Daniel and Margaret (Murphy) Keeler, was born in Albany.
N. v., January 7, 1843. He received a common school education and in 1865 went
to work in the restaurant of his brother William, on Green street. In 1871 he suc-
ceeded his brother in the management of the Green street restaurant and remained
there until July, 1884, when he and his brother formed a partnership and opened a
restaurant at No. 56 State street. In 1890 Mr. Keeler again assumed management
of the Green street restaurant and since then his sons, William H. and John, have
been the proprietors of the State street restaurant.

Harris, Julius F., son of Marvin C. and Huldah (Dickinson) Harris, was born in
the town of yueensbury, Warren county, N. Y., January 3, 18311. Thomas Harris,
born in 1576, came from England and ran the ferry from Boston to Winnisimmet and
Charlestown. Joseph Harris, who was directly descended from said Thomas Harris,
the great grandfather of the subject of this sketch lived in the town of Queensbury,
served in the Revolution and originally came from Dutchess county. William D.
Harris, the grandfather of Julius F., was a prosperous farmer living in the town of
Queensbury. Julius F. Harris was educated at the Fort Edward Collegiate Institute,
from which he was graduated in 1863. Soon after he removed to Albany, N. Y.,
studied law with Col. William H. King, was graduated from the Albany Law School
in 1882 and was admitted to the bar in the same year. He has since practiced law
in Albany. He is a member of Temple Lodge No. 14, F. & A. M., and is a class
leader in the Ash Grove M. E. church.

Dreis, L. Theodore A., son of Anthony and Catherine ((ieimer) Dreis. was born in
Albany, N. Y., January 24, 1868. He was educated in the public and private



Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 82 of 138)