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Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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1!^63, he married Sarah MacWha.

Wait, A. D., who has been reappointed a member of the National Racing Board of
the L. A. W., is one of the most prominent citizens and business men of Cohoes.
He has been a resident here for the past cjuarter of a century and for fifteen years
has been in the employ of John Leggett & Son. paper box manufacturers, for the past
five years having managed their large establishment. Mr. Wait is a veteran wheelman,
having ridden since 1883. He is a member of the Cohoes Wheelmen, a most flour-
ishing organization. He is well known as a successful race meet promoter and takes
a lively interest in wheeling and everything pertaining thereto and enjoys well de-
served popularity. He was last year a member of the State Racing Board of the L.
A. W. and is now chairman of that body, having recently been appointed to that
position by Chief Consul Potter. In politics Mr. Wait is an active worker and al-
though he has never looked for political fame by seeking office he has nevertheless



been a faithful worker for the party to which he adheres. Mr. Wait is also a mem-
ber of the Cohoes Lodge F. & A. M., and an active member of the Hiram Chajiter,
K. A. M.

Gregory, Hon. Clifford D., judge of the County Court, was Ijorn in the city of
New York and liberally educated at La Fayette Institute and Columbia College. He
became an Albanian in 1873 and a student of the Albany Law School, graduating from
that institution two years later. He was for seven years associated with the firm of
Parker & Countryman, and in 1894 formed a copartnership with his late brother,
George Stewart Gregojy, which continued until the death of the latter in 1888. He
is a Republican in politics, but a politician of broad guage ; his popularity is universal.
His ability as a debater and his forcible and fearless advocacy of commendable meas-
ures, made him an acknowledged leader in the Board of Aldermen, to which he was
first elected in 1888 and again elected without opposition. Judge Gregory is a life
member of the Society of Colonial Wars, and vice-president of the Albany Chapter;
a life member and president of the Albany Club; a life member of the Fort Orange
Club; director of the Albany County Bank ; from 1890 to 1894 was president of the
Republican Executive Committee of- Albany County; and a life member and presi-
dent of the Ridgefield Athletic; Club. He is honored alike in political, professioual
and social life.

Masterson, Gen. John Philip, is the eldest son of Philip and Mary (Dolan) Master-
.-.on, natives of Longford, Ireland, who resided in Albany over fifty years, dying, the
father on April 29, 1877, and the mother September 30, 1877. He was born in Al-
bany, May 6, 1849, was educated in the public and private schools and in 1864 en-
tered the establishment of Taylor & Waterman carpet dealers. In 1867 he became li-
l)rarian of the Young Men's Association, which post he most creditably filled for five
years, when he was made chief managing clerk in Bradstreet's Mercantile Agency,
then under Samuel Moffat. In the sprmg of 1874 he was elected a member and secre-
tary of the Democratic General Committee and occupied that position until June,
1896. In 187.^ he was appointed clerk in the adjutant general's office under Gen.
Frederick Townsend and held that position four years, receiving while there the title
of '■ General." by which he has since been popularly known. In 1879 he was ap-
pointed by the Board of Supervisors clerk of the committee on coroners and physi-
cians, and later as clerk to all the committees of the board, and in 1884 became con-
fidential and chief clerk to the state engineer, a position he held until November 28,
1892. In 1893 and again in 1894 he was appointed police commissioner, but resigned
m the latter year to accept, in September, at the hands of President Cleveland, the
appointment of surveyor of customs of the port of Albany, to succeed Hon. John
M. Bailey, which office he still holds. Since leaving the Young Men's Association
in 1874, he has been an active, influential leader in the Democratic party. He is a
life member of the Catholic Union, vice-president of the Democratic Phalanx, a great
lover and collector of books, and resides in the homestead in which he was born at
No. 5 Chestnut street.

Milne, William James, Ph. D., LL.D., was born in the village of Forres in
the north of Scotland. His father, Charles Milne, was a Scotchman by birth and
a miller by occupation. His mother was Jean Black, distantly related to John
Black, the distinguished Scottish journalist. William J. Milne spent the first nine



years of his life studying in the parochial school of the Presbyterian church at
his birth place. In the autumn of 1852 Charles Milne with his family came to
America, and after a time settled in the village of HoUey, Orleans county. Here
William J. Milne attended the academy; he also spent four years as a clerk in a vil-
lage store and taught school two terms to enable him to prepare for college at the
Brockport Collegiate Institute. In 1863 he entered the University of Rochester and
was graduated m 1868. During his course at college he taught some in the Roch-
ester Collegiate Institute and by his teaching earned more than enough to
meet his expenses at college. During his college course the Brockport Collegiate In-
stitute became a normal school and Dr. Milne was elected professor of ancient lan-
guages. He occupied that position until 1871. when he organized the State Normal
and Training School at Geneseo, N. Y., and became its principal. There he re-
mained eighteen years and made the school one of the best of its kind in the coun-
try. In the autumn of 1889 Dr. Milne succeeded the late Dr. Waterbury as president
of the State Normal School at Albany, N. Y., and in the following spring this institu-
tion was chartered as a college to train none but teachers. Dr. Milne has brought
the college into the front rank of the educational institutions of the State. He is the
author of a series of mathematical text books and in addition has contributed many
articles to magazines and educational publications. He has also delivered many lec-
tures on the educational methods of the day. He received the degree of Ph. I).
from the University of Rochester and that of LL.D. from the Indiana Asbury Uni-
versity. He is an elder in the First Presbyterian church of Albany. In 1871 he
married Eliza Jeanet Gates, sister of President Gates of Amherst College, and they
have two children, a .son and a daughter.

Ten Eyck, James, was born in Albauy, N. Y., February 16, 1840. He is a son of
Vi.sscher Ten Eyck, who for a long time was cashier of the Commercial Bank. He
is a descendant of an old and historical family that came from Holland to America
240 years ago. About the year 1800 Mr. Ten Eyck's grandfather, Abraham R. Ten
Eyck, removed to Albany and for a great many years he was prominently identified
with Albany's interests. Mr. Ten Eyck attended the Albany Academy and was
graduated from Burlington College, N. J., in 1855. He passed the examinations
and was admitted as junior at Yale College, but owing to ill health he was compelled
to change his plans. He then started in mercantile life as a clerk in the office of the
Central Railroad. In September, 1857, he left the railroad and entered the employ
of Bacon & Stickney, dealers in coffee and spices. March 1, 1865, he was taken into
partnership and on the death of Mr. Bacon he became senior partner of the firm.
In 1864 he married the daughter of Mrs. Margaret T. Van Vechten of Albany, but
his wife lived only eight months. Mr. Ten Eyck never married again. He has
done much for the city of his birth and has been connected with all important organ-
izations. He is a member of St. Peter's church and the Fort Orange and Albany
Clubs. He IS also a member of the Albany Institute and the only honorary member
of the Acacia Club. In politics he is a Republican and has been chairman of
the General County Committee. He was at the head of the Citizens Committee
that had in charge the reception to President Harrison in 1891. Mr. Ten Eyck otii-
ciated at the laying of the corner stones of the State Armory, Harnianus Bleecker
Hall and the Albany Masonic Burial lot. also of the Burns Monument. April 'ii,



1889, he presided at the jubilee of the Masonic fraternity in celelirating the final
paymentof debt on the Masonic Temple of New York city. Mr. Ten Eyck is the oldest
33 Mason in Albany and has been actively identified with the fraternity since his
initiation in Masters Lodge No. 5, November 23, 1863. He was master from 1873 to
1877. having passed all the chairs. June 8, 1892, he was elected grand master of
Masons in the State of New York. He was also re-elected unanimously but de-
clined. Only one man in the world has a larger jurisdiction over Masons than Mr.
Ten Eyck and that man is Prince of Wales. When he was grand master Mr. Ten
Eyck presided over 80,000 Masons. The Prince of Wales, as grand master of Great
Britain has jurisdiction over about 150,000. It is needless to add that in capitular,
cryptic and chivalrous Masonry, Mr. Ten Eyck is held in the highest esteem.

Paris, Dr. Russel C, son of Urias G. and Cordelia E. (Rogers) Paris, was born
August 4, 1859, in Sandy Hill, Washington county, N. Y. His father was an eminent
member of the bar, and for eight years was surrogate of Washington county. Dr.
Paris was one of a large family of children. He attended the Sandy Hill public
schools and at the age of fourteen was appointed cadet midshipman, at the United
Stales Naval Academy, by Hon. James S. Smart, M. C. He was graduated in 1877
with a high standing and completed the extended course two years later. He stud-
ied medicine one year with the surgeon on the United States ship Constitution, and
in 1880 resigned from the navy and continued his medical .studies with his great-
uncle, Dr. E. G. Clark of Sandy Hill for one year. He then came to Albany and
studied vv-ith the late Dr. John Swinburne, attending lectures at the Albany Medical
College. He passed the Regents' medical examination in 1883, and has since prac-
ticed in Albany. He is commander of Admiral Farragut Garrison, No. 135, of the
Regular Army and Navy Union, and is a member of the Presbyterian church of
Sandy Hill. In 1889 he married Jessie Nichols of Albany, and they have one daugh-
ter, Grace.

Russell, George H., was born in Rochester, Windsor county, Vt , August 13, 1848,
of New England stock, his ancestors having gone from Northern Massachusetts into
New Hampshire and thence into Vermont, in the days when that State was first
settled. His parents, Horace and Abigail S. (Worcester) Russell, removed to Albany
in 1849, coming by their own conveyance, an uncle. Dr. Andrew W. Ru.ssell, being
in practice here for many years and dying in 1871. Dr. Russell's wife was a sister
of James T. Lenox and Lionel U. Lenox, the latter colonel of the 10th Regt. in the
war of 1861-65, James T. being one of the firm of Ubsdell, Pierson & Co., of New
York, who opened the New York store (now W. M. Whitney & Co.) May 7, 1859. In
this store on the first day of its opening, George H. Russell commenced work as a
cash boy, later as a clerk, continuing until the spring of 1863, when his parents re-
moved to Pittsfield, Mass., where his time was spent at the high school and in the
store connected with the woolen mills of L. Pomeroy's Sons. Thence he went as
superintendent of the mills run by Sarsfield & Whittlesey and then was for a time in
the employ of the American Express Company. In 1867 he returned to Greenbush
with his parents, his father being for nearly forty years in the employ of the Boston
\- Albany Railroad, and at the time of his death in 1889 one of the oldest conductors
connected with the road. Returning from Pittsfield and having finished a course at
the Albany Business College, he was for a year in the employ of Hinckley & Lewis,



98

shippers and forwarders. He was next emploj-ed in the office of the tobacco factory
of Benjamin Payn, which he left to go to Weslfield, Mass., returning to Greenbush
in November, 1871, where he entered the employ of Charles R. Knowles, then, as
now, a large fire insurance manager of several companies for New York State with
headquarters at Albany. In 1874, after eight months spent in travel in the Western
and Southwestern States, he associated himself with E. J. Knowles, who had been
appointed manager for the Stale for the Western Assurance Company of Canada.
In 1878 the firm of Knowles & Russell was formed for the transaction of the fire in-
surance business locally and this connection continued until January 1, 1897, when
the firm dissolved and Mr. Russell took over the entire business. He has represented
a large number of companies and has built up a very large and profitable business.
Mr. Russell is also connected with various business enterprises in Albany and Green-
bush. He is a past master of Greenbush Lodge No. 337, F. &A. M., past high priest
of Greenbush Chapter No. 274, R. A. M., companion of De Witt Council No. 22, R.
& S. M., and a member of Temple Commandery No. 2. K. T. He is a trustee of the
Albany County Savings Bank, the Albany Camera Club and the Greenbush Meth-
odist Episcopal church and was trustee for the Fourth ward two terms and president
of the village one term, declining a renomination. In 1875 he married Phebe A.
Hermance, a descendant of the old Columbia Dutch settlers. They have two chil-
dren: Mabel A. and Clarence H. Mr. Russell has resided for twenty-two years at
No. 14 Third street, Greenbush; he has also a summer cottage at Vischer's Ferry,
on the Mohawk.

Scherer, Hon. Robert G., was born in Albany, March 20. 1861, his father being
George Scherer, a prominent merchant well known for his extensive influence among
his German fellow citizens and his activity in all matters pertaining to their interests.
Mr. Scherer entered the public schools and was also for some time under the instruc-
tion of Prof. Carl Meyer; he also received a thorough business education. He en-
tered the law office of Messrs. Paddock, Draper & Chester (composed of Recorder
William S. Paddock, Andrew S. Draper, now president of the Illinois State Univer-
sity, and Judge Alden Chester) and remained as a clerk during the existence of the
firm. After taking a course at Cornell University, he entered Columbia Law School.
On his admission to thebarhe formed a partnership with John F. Montignani, which
continued several years ; he is now senior member of the law firm of Scherer & Downs.
Mr. Scherer has been connected with many important litigations, among which may
be mentioned the McPherson Collateral Tax Matter (104 N. Y., 306), decided ulti-
mately by the Court of Appeals, which became the leading case on the subject; he
was also counsel in the noted case People vs. Gilson (109 N. Y., 389), in which the
Court of Appeals unanimously sustained Mr. Scherer's views. His management of
the Milwain §20,000 bond robbery and his conduct of the Greer Will cases to a suc-
cessfull issue are well known. The Bender Will Case and the extensive assignments
of Ward and Byrnes, Nelson, Lyon, and Sullivan & Ehlers are among others of im-
portance; he was also connected with the Appell impeachment proceedings before
the judiciary committee of the Assembly in 1895 and secured the acquittal of Judge
Appell. In politics Mr. Scherer has always been a Republican, and in 1889 made a
creditable run for surrogate. From 1885 to 1889 he was a member of the Board of
Public Instruction and introduced many reforms in the school system. He was a



90

member of the State Legislature in 1896 and 1897 ; in 1886 he served en the jrdiciary
committee and the committee on codes, and in 1897 was chairman of the judiciary
committee. Mr. Scherer is a member of the Fort Orange Club and of the committee
on law reform of the State Bar Association. In 1883 he married Anna, daughter of
James T. Story of Albany, and they have one daughter, Grace M.

Tucker, Willis G., M. D., son of the late Luther Tucker, editor and agricultural
writer, was born in Albany October 31, 1849. He was educated at the Albany
Academy, graduating in 1866 read medicine with the late Prof. James H. Armsby,
and was graduated from the Albany Medical College in 1870. During this period he
devoted much of his time to the study of chemistry and other natural sciences. In
1871 he was appointed assistant professor of chemistry inthe Albany Medical College,
and in 1874 and 1875 lectured on materia medica also. When the faculty was re-
organized in 1876 he became professor of inorganic and analytical chemistry, and in
1887 the department of toxicology was al.so assigned to him. In 1882 he was made
registrar of the college, which position he still holds. Since 1874 Or. Tucker has
been lecturer on chemistry at St. Agnes School, and at different times professor of
chemistry at the Albany Academy, the Albany Female Academy, and from 1876 to
1887 in the Albany High School. In 1881 he was largely instrumental in founding
the Albany College of Pharmacy, a department of Union University, and has served
it as professor of chemistry and as secretary and president of its faculty. In 1881
he was appointed one of the public analysts to the State Board of Health, and since
1891 has been director of the laboratory of the board. He was one of the originators
of the Alumni Association of the Albany Medical College in 1874 and has ever since
been its secretary. He is a fellow of the Chemical Society of London and is a mem-
ber of various scientific societies in this country.

Whitbeck, Dr. Ansel McK., was born in Columbia county, N. Y., February 16,
1H36. His father was Dr. Volkert Whitbeck, for sixty-two years a physician in Hud-
son, N. v., and his mother, Caroline Rockfeller. Dr. Whitbeck's ancestors were
Holland-Dutch, who came to America during the early colonization and who played
an important part in the American Revolution. Dr. Whitbeck attended the Hudson
Academy, from which he was graduated in 1854 and then went to Rochester, N. Y.,
where he studied medicine for a year. Upon returning to Hudson he engaged in
the drug business continuing the study of medicine with his father, and subsequently
after attending a course of lectures at Bellevue Hospital, New York city, he received
in 1859 a practitioner's certificate from the Board of Censors of Columbia county.
He practiced in Hudson until 1881 when he removed to Albany, where he has since .
practiced most of the time, still, however, retaining an office in Hudsoi. He was
examining surgeon during the war and has been city physician and jail pliysician at
Hudson. In 1855 he married Sarah Edmonds Frary, daughter of Jonathan Frary
and niece of Dr. Frary of Hudson, She died in 1860, and in 1863 he married Eme-
line Ellis of Coxsackie, N. Y., by whom he had two children: Ansel R. and Emma
Louise.

Williams, Chauncey P., son of Josiah and Charity (Shaler) Williams, was born in
Upper Middletowi (now Cromwell), Conn., March 5, 1817. He spent his boyhood
days on his father's farm, attending school only in the winters, and showed a deci-
ded liking for mathematics and astronomj'. At the age of sixteen he went as a



100

clerk in the employ of his brothers, T. S. Williams & Bros., who were engaged in
commercial business at Ithaca, N. Y. In 1835 he was transferred to the Albany
house of the firm, then under the direction of Josiah B. Williams. In 1839, with
Henry W. Sage as his partner, he succeeded to the business of the Albany house,
also conducting the business at Ithaca and elsewhere. This partnership continued
through a long term of years. Mr. Williams was a student along lines of finance
and practical economics and wrote much on our banking systems and coinage. In
1861, at the commencement of the Civil war, he was asked to take charge of the Al-
bany Exchange Bank, and he met with such success that when the bank closed its
corporate existence as a State institution tobeco.mea National bank in 1865, the entire
capital was returned to the shareholders with fifty-four per cent, of the surplus earn-
ings. During the Civil war his hank was made the agent of the Treasury in dis-
tributing the loans of the government to the people. He continued as the financial
officer of the National Albany Exchange Bank, first as cashier and later as president,
during its entire corporate existence of twenty years, from 1865 to 1885. When the
bank closed after having declared regular semi-annual dividends, its whole capital,
with ninety-seven per cent, of surplus earnings was restored to its shareholders. In
1885 the bank was reorganized as the National Exchange Bank of Albany and Mr.
Williams was elected its president. In 1887 he withdrew from the bank and up to
the time of his death had charge of the business of the Albany Exchange Savings
Bank. Mr. Williams was elected alderman of his ward in 1849. The winter of
1875-76 he spent in England, France and Italy, studying the banking system of
those countries. From 1842 to 1857 he was the repeated candidate of the old Liberal
party for Congress from the Albany district. In 1868 he published a "Review of
tlie Financial Situation of Our Country." In 1875 he read a paper before the Albany
Institute on "Money, True or False," and in 1886 another paper on "Gold, Silver
and the Coinage of the Silver Dollar." In 1878 he contributed to the Albany Jour-
nal a series of papers on "The Greenback Question." October 13, 1887, he deliv-
ered before the American Bankers' Association at Pittsburgh, Pa., an address on
the National Bank and State Taxation. In 1842 he married Martha A. Hough of
Whitestown, N. Y., and they had two sons: Frederick S., who died September 9, 1870,
and Chauncey P., jr., who married Emma McClure, daughter of the late Archibald
McClure of Albany, and three daughters, one of whom died in March, 1877, one the
wife of Robert C. Pruyn, president of the National Commercial Bank, the other the
wife of Timothy S. Williams, formerly private secretary to ex-Governor Flower.
Mr. C. P. Williams died May 3(1. 1894, while on a pleasure excursion in the North
• Woods.

Wands,' James M., was born on the farm he now owns in 1844. The first of the
Wands to come to America were Ebeuzer and John ; they were Scotch Highlanders,
and were weavers by trade. They enlisted in the English army and came to Canada
to take part in the French and English war, having enlisted as volunteers; they
served their time and upon their discharge .started as pioneers through the woods
of New York to Albany, and finally located in New Scotland in 1763. Robert, the
grandfather of the subject, was the son of John, the pioneer. He was a prosper-
ous farmer in the town of New Scotland, owning the farm upon which James Wands
now lives. He reared a large family and lived to be over eighty years of age.



i



101

Ebenezer, the father of Mr. Wands, is now a resident of Chippewa Falls. Wis.,
and was born on his father's homestead farm in Xew Scotland in 1811, the third of
si.x children; he is a farmer; in 1890 he removed to Wisconsin where he owned
propert)-, and has since resided there ; he was twice married; his first wife was
Nancy McBride, and their children were Robert, who died March, 1896; Sarah, Alex,
died in 1888, Ralph, James M., Albert and Alfred (twins), Jennie and Emma. Of
these five of the .sons were soldiers in the war of the Rebellion. Mrs. Wands died
in 1854 and his second wife was Harriet, daughter of Everett Walley of New Scot-
land, by whom he has had rive children: Solomon, who died when a young man;
Burnside, who died when he was ten years old; Rufus P., William and Kate I..
His wife died in 1884. James M. Wands went to Voorheesville when eight years
old to live with an uncle, James McElroy, who was a nursery man. When eighteen
he enlisted as a volunteer in Co. D, 113th N. V. Infantry, under Captain McCul-
lough ; the regiment was later changed to the Tth Heavy Artillery; he served until
the close of the war. His regiment participated in the battles of Spottsylvania,
Wilderne.ss and Seven Days Before Richmond; the first year he was stationed near
Washington in defense of that city. In the spring of 1804 he was promoted from
non-commissioned officer to second lieutenant. He was also in the battle of Appo-
mattox. He returned to Albany July 4, 1865, and was engaged for ten years as a
foreman for Col. James Heudrick on his farm. In 1885 he purchased the homestead
of his father, consisting of eighty-eight acres of farm land upon which he does geli-
eral farming. He pays special attention to fruit culture, and also takes pride in



Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 93 of 138)