James H. (James Hadden) Smith.

History of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers online

. (page 89 of 125)
Online LibraryJames H. (James Hadden) SmithHistory of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 89 of 125)
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and was ever a reverant attendant upon the wor-
ship ofthe church and a liberal contributor to its
support. Thoroughly devoted to his country, in

all questions of a public nature he took a warm
interest, and on all such questions, whether per-
taining to City, County, State or Nation, he was
always found advocating an honest and liberal
policy. While as a member of the Whig and Repub-
lican parties, he was earnest in the advocacy of
poUtical positions and on one or two occasions de-
clined nominations tendered him for important
offices. His ambition was not to hold office, but
to do his duty to his country and neighborhood to
the best of his ability, and so through a long Ufe
he acquired and retained the respect and esteem
of all who knew him.


Johannes Bock^e resided in Albany in 1685. His
son Abraham, and wife Tanneke Van Driese, re-
sided in New York city in 170?. He died in 1716.
By will he disposed of lands in the Nine Partners,
Duchess County, and at Aquackanonk, East New
Jersey. Their children were : Johannes, who mar-
ried Rebecca Pearse in 1722; Jacobus, who mar-
ried EHzabeth Burger in 17 16, (after his death she
married Alexander Phoenix) ; Abraham, Isaac, Sa-
rah, Elizabeth, Mauritie, who married Sampson
Benson; Jaquemyntie, who married Hendrick
Brevoort ; Catalina, who married Derrick Benson ;
and Tanneke, who married Hendrick Pearse.
Abraham, son of the above named Jacobus, born
17 17, married Maria Carr (or Karr,) and removed
to the Nine Partners 1764, upon land purchased by
his grandfather in 1697. He was a merchant in
New York City and one of the justipes in this
county, under the Crown. His death occurred
Jan. 23, 1776, six days before that of his wife.
They were buried near the Moravian meeting
house, which stood between Pine Plains and Pul-
ver's corner. Within a few years their headstones
were removed to the family cemetery at the Square
or Federal store.

Jacob Bock^e, their son, was born Oct. 18, 1759,
and died Oct. 19, 181 9. He was educated at
King's College (now Columbia,) and served as an
officer in the Revolution under Col. Marinus Willet,
and was a Member of the Assembly in 1794, 'gs,
'96, and '97, during which terms of office, he, al-
though a slave-holder, practically demonstrated his
view of the system by introducing into the Legis-
lature a bill for the abolition of slavery in this
State. He organized the first Temperance society,
said to have been the first in the State, the right
arm of whose members was pledged to be the for-
feit of a broken vow. Of poetical, quiet and
scholarly tastes, he passed an honored and respected

In 1783, he married Catherine Smith, daughter
of Isaac Smith, ist, and his wife Margaret Piatt,
who resided near the Federal store. Of their chil-
dren, Phoenix was a Lieutenant in the war of 1812,
and died in Poughkeepsie, 1814. Maria married
Morgan Carpenter. Abraham the eldest son, born

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Feb. 3, 1784, graduated at Union College 1804,
and in 1809 married Martha Oakley, sister of
Thomas J. Oakley. He- resided and practiced law
in Poughkeepsie until 1815, when he retired from
professional life to the family homestead in North
East, where he resided until his death, June i,
1865. An abstract of his history is contained in
the following obituary notice in The Daily Press
of June 3, 1865:—

"Abraham Bockde, whose decease, at the ripe
age of eighty-two years, we noticed in our obituary
of yesterday, was we believe a native of North
East, in this county. Graduated at Union College,
in one of its earliest classes, he removed to Pough-
keepsie, where he studied law, and was for several
years thereafter engaged in the practice of his

He was here married to a Miss Oakley, sister of
the late Judge Thomas J. Oakley, and now djdng
leaves the bereaved partner of his entire wedded
life and five surviving children, to revere the memory
of a devoted husband, and a kind and indulgent
parent. Though in comparatively early manhood
Judge Bockde retired from active professional life
to his farm in North East, where he continued to re-
side until his decease, he never abandoned the
study of legal and political principles, but except
when called to the discharge of official duties, his
time, little consumed in the cares of agriculture,
was devoted to varied reading, to study and reflec-
tion, so that in later years, his mind was to
the neighborhood a living book of reference, and
his conversation, interspersed with history and
reminiscence was no less entertaining than in-

" In earlier life a Federal, he afterwards allied
his political faith with the Democratic party, and
represented the district in which he lived in the
Assembly of 1820, in the 2rst, 23d and 24th Con-
gresses of the United States, and in the Senate of
New York from 1842 to 1845 inclusive, and was
also First Judge of Duchess County in 1826
and 1846.

" There were perhaps few clearer minds in his
own or any other State — as a lawyer he could rise
above mere forms and technicalities and grapple
with the great principles that underlie both society
and government, and as a judge his opinions de-
livered in the highest court of this State, and many
of them reported by Hill, are an enduring monu-
ment of his ability. He seemed ambitious only to
perform with fidelity any duty or trust that de-
volved upon him, and never condescended to
seek official preferment, but, to his ability, learning,
and experience, had there been added the wily
shrewdness of the politician, he might have
adorned the executive chair of his native state, or
occupied a high and permanent seat in the temple
of justice."

Jacob Bockee the oldest son of Abraham
Bockde was born in 1814, and was graduated at
Union College,. 1836, and afterwards at the Uni-
versity of Pennsylvania, receiving the degree of
M. D. October 15, 1839, he married Catharine,

daughter of Robert Wilkinson. He practiced
medicine at Poughkeepsie for many years and in
1862 was appointed Brigade Surgeon of Volun-
teers and was Medical Director at Pensacola and
served as Surgeon in charge of the U. S. Marine
Hospital, New Orleans, four years or until the
close of the war.


B. Piatt Carpenter, son of Morgan and Maria
Bockee Carpenter (elsewhere referred to) was
born May 14, 1837, at Stanford, Duchess County,
N. Y., and has resided in Poughkeepsie since the
removal of his parents to that place in 1852.
Having received a thorough academical prepara-
tion in 1854, he entered Union College from which
institution he was graduated in 1857. He studied
law and was admitted to the bar in 1858. In that
year he was elected District Attorney of Duchess
County. In i860 he married Esther, daughter of
Stephen S. Thorn (now dead) of Poughkeepsie,
and has three children, Nina, Catharine and Ste-

In 1864 he was appointed assessor of internal
revenue for the twelfth Congressional District com-
prising the counties of Duchess and Columbia,
and held the office until 1869 when he resigned it.
In 1867 he was elected a member of the New York
State constitutional convention and took an active
part in the proceedings of that body. In 1872 he
was temporary chairman of the Republican State
Convention at Utica and his speech on that occa-
sion attracted attention throughout the State, hav-
ing been published and/circulated among the cam-
paign documents of that year. In 1875 he was
elected Senator for the eleventh district of the
State, and in 1877 having positively declined a re-
nomination as Senator, he was elected County
Judge of Duchess County, which position he still

He was a delegate in 1868 to the National
Republican Convention in Chicago, and in 1872 to
the National Republican Convention at Philadel-
phia, having a prominent position in the delegation
at each convention. He has frequently been a
delegate to Republican State conventions and is
now chairman of the Republican State Committee.
He has a large and influential State acquaintance.
He seldom takes part in the controversies concern-
ing local political nominations or appointments
but is fearless in the expression of his opinion,
which on account of his recognized probity and hon-
esty of purpose has much weight. His occasional
addresses, and among them his centennial address
at Poughkeepsie — delivered July 4, 1876, have
been noticeable for clear and compact statement
and purity and precision of style. He now devotes
himself exclusively to the practice of the law which
he has marked out as the work of his life.




One of our most brilliant essayists, comparing the
intelligence of our people with that of other na-
tions, says, that in estimating the quantity and
quality of mental energy we must ascertain the
different channels of work and production into
which it is poured, and that while work of some
kind is the measure of its power and the test of its
quality, we must avoid the fallacy of supposing
that art and literature are the only expressions of
a nation's intellect. American art and literature
represent but a meagre fraction of that vast out-
pouring from the brains and energies of our people,
which has made us known as a nation and given
us a quasi exclusive — a proprietary — right to our
peculiar characteristic of " go-aheadativeness," a
characteristic which has made itself known and
felt in every department, whether of art or science,
commerce or agriculture; a characteristic which
"has hieroglyphed," as Carlyle would say, "America,
her mark" on a whole continent. Nor is it with-
out reason that it has been said of us that " this
Anglo-American race is developing a finer organi-
zation than the stock from which it sprung, and
that while it is destined to be more sensitive to
art, it will be more abundant in nervous energy."
This preamble will be pardoned us, when our
readers know that the subject of our sketch has
been no rival of any in this galaxy of Duchess
county — brilliant enough in Uterary splendor to
easily grant a page or two to one who, leaving no
mean record behind him, and crossing the ocean
for a moment's respite from honorable work, left
in other lands still another record which becoming
part of his country's, made for a moment the pulse
of miUions of his countrymen beat more gladly,
and gave to the American heart one of those pass-
ing pleasures which have^of late been not infre-
quent ; of one who is an epitome of the national
characteristic we have named, coupled with that
" passionate patience of genius " of the Huguenot
Palissy; of one whom, if it be true that "the true
artist becomes a man of character only when he
identifies himself with his profession or art," surely
may well be commended to the imitation of his

Henry Frost Clark was born in the town of
Hyde Park, Duchess county, N. Y., in the year
1839. Unlike most of those who made the shores
of the Hudson their home, his ancestry was
English. As a boy, his favorite studies were nat-
ural philosophy and mathematics. Leaving school
at the early age of seventeen, he went to the city
of New York, not from necessity, or the consent
of his parents, but from a spirit of adventure, and
soon found himself an apprentice in a drug store.
After a three years' experience there he went to
Cincinnati, where he made the acquaintance in
i860 of the Chief Engineer of the Russian man-
of-war, the "General Admiral," then building in
Philadelphia. This acquaintance soon ripened
into friendship, and, with that intuitive apprecia-
tion of talent which Russian officials possess,

young Clark was soon enrolled on the list of the
Russian war-ship. Some disagreement between
the chief engineer and his superiors led to that
officer's resignation, or else we should probably
now have been chronicling our subject as an
Admiral in the Muscovite navy, or regretting his
premature isolation in the mines of Siberia. In the
same year he came to Poughkeepsie, and after four
years close application to the study of dentistry,
and honorable graduation, he opened an office and
commenced that successful career which has made
his name a familiar one in more than one capital
of the civilized world. That career may easily be
traced by the honors, medals, and diplomas he has
received for the splendid specimens of his dental
handiwork sent to the several world's exhibitions.
In the list of favored exhibitors at the Vienna Exhi-
bition we find the name of Henry F. Clark coupled
with that of Albert Bierstadt, the world renowned
artist, and the medals of both bear the same testi-
mony to " good taste," and the scientific dentist is
recognized, as he should be, as an artist. From
the Vienna Exhibition to the American Institute
Fair, in New York, seems but a step, yet the im-
mensely superior value of the silver medal awarded
him there can easily be appreciated by those who
are conversant with the history of dentistry in this
country. Not to be tedious we shall only mention
Dr. Clark's last and greatest triumph achieved at
the International Exhibition in Chili in 1875. We
were officially connected witlj that exhibition and
well reinember the pleasure we experienced in
seeing awarded despite innumerable competitors,
from all parts of the dental world, and by acclama-
tion too, the first prize to an American, and that
American, Henry F. Clark.

To those who know him, Dr. Clark's success in
these and similar efforts is easily attributable to his
indomitable perseverance, to his pride in his pro-
fession, and to a thorough knowledge of everything
pertaining to it, together with a genius for improv-
ing upon everything which comes under his hand.
But there was not sufficient scope in destiny alone
for his inventive genius. Nor has this been wasted
in endeavoring to become the happy discoverer of
the Blue Dahlia, the solver of the quadrature of
the circle, or the greater problem of perpetual
motion. His inventions have been many, but in-
variably of world-wide utility. Not to mention
those of a minor class, and with which his own
residence in Poughkeepsie is filled, and others by
which his fortunate friends have been benefited.
We can only and briefly refer to one which would
have made a millionaire of a more pretentious and
less modest inventor. That most valuable inven-
tion is a post-marking and stamp cancelling
machine, which ought to as completely revolution-
ize the present slow and tedious method as the
sewing machine has the needle and thread. In his
own profession he has made so many improvements
that to name and describe them would require
more space than is given to us. High up as he is
on the roll in that profession, having few if any
superiors, and gifted in an eminent degree with

IHiiiii;: iii.^:i^s"^-~iijiailil




Photo, by M. Smith, Poiighkeepsie.

Photo, by M. Smith, Poughkeepsie.



social qualities which go so far toward making life
agreeable and a success, he might yet not have
been accorded a niche in this Temple were it not
for that other record to which we alluded in the
early part of this sketch, and which brought him
so prominently before the world. As early as in
1862, Dr. Clark had joined Company A, of the
2ist Regiment, was soon elected Lieutenant, and
passing through the intermediate grades with honor
to himself and advantage to his Regiment, became
Lieutenant-Colonel in 1876, remaining in that
capacity for two years and a half, and resigning to
the great regret of his command, only that he
might have more time to devote to the long range
rifle practice, which had become with him, in a
very brief period, almost a passion. " When once
he decided, says a writer to whom we are already
indebted, to become an adept in long range shoot-
ing, he made a complete study of everything per-
taining to rifles, on which he has made many
valuable improvements. He is to-day sought by
riflemen all over the country for information, sug-
gestions and advice, regarding matters of this
nature, to all of whom he is ready to impart the
benefits of his experiments and inventions. Many
of our foremost manufacturers are in no small
degree indebted to him for the excellence of their
rifles." His first match was at Creedmoor in 1875,
where he made a brilliant record — his team win-
ning the first prize. The following year he again
won the first prize in a match of two hundred

In 1878 he made the highest score ever made -at
Creedmoor (in the International long range match)
again receiving a medal, while in the same year
another of bronze was awarded to him for superior
marksmanship by the National Rifle Association.
He had now a National reputation. In 1880, Col.
Clark was elected by the Empire Rifle Club (of
which he was president), to represent it at Dolly-
mount, Ireland, in the great International match.
Here he made not only the highest score of the
team, but the highest ever made in Great Britain
or Ireland. We all remember the God-speed our
country gave Col. Clark when he left us in June
of 1880, to take part in that memorable contest
for the world's championship ; nor will we easily
forget with what anxious hearts we watched the
progress of our noble team to victory. And, when
at last, the electric message, trembling across the
ocean, told us that America had won, and that
even among the victors our own fellow townsman
■was facile princeps, few can forget how our hearts
thrilled with the gladness of triumph.

While in Europe Colonel Clark made hosts of
friends, and his stay there was a continuous ova-
tion. The generous hospitality extended him by
our warm hearted " Cousins," his princely recep-
tion by Ireland's best and noblest sons, among
whom were the Lord-Lieutenant Earl Cowper, the
Lord Mayor, the Faculty of Trinity College, Sir
John Arnott, and others, whose name is legion, one
and all combining to make his stay, while there,
one of the brightest spots in the garden of mem-

ory. He also visited Edinburg as the guest of our
U. S. Consul, Colonel Robeson, of whom he
speaks in terms of the warmest gratitude and
friendship. After leaving Great Britain, a short
tour of the Continent, and a hasty visit to many
of its principal cities, he more than half reluctantly
turned his face toward the land dear to his heart,
America. His triumphant return to his home in
Poughkeepsie, the hearty cheers of welcome, the
warm congratulations of old friends, the fine recep-
tion and banquet given by the 21st Regiment to
their very own 219 will ever be remembered.

Colonel Clark married in 1865, Miss Katharine
Williams, a native of Westchester County, and
daughter of the late Arthur Williams. Two
interesting little daughters,Anna Louise and Alice,
brighten their home, and to a remarkable degree
inherit the versatile genius of their father.

We would willingly dwell longer on the life we
have hurriedly traced, but we have abready tran-
scended our limits.

In conclusion we can only assure our readers
that when Duchess County, like another Cor-
nelia shall be asked for her treasures and shall
point with honest pride to her sons ; while
among them will be found those high up on the
roll of Fame, men gifted with all that is great and
good and generous in manhood, there will be
found few nobler exponents of the American mind
and American character than Colonel Henry F.


It is always the subject of regret when the lives
of prominent men are permitted to end in influ-
ence as in duration, at the entrance of the grave.
A long career of useful labor is an object of con-
templation far too fruitful and suggestive to be
suffered to pass quickly from memory. The rest-
less waves of busy human hfe erase, in spite of us,
the most cherished recollection, unless gathered up
and crystallized into some more permanent and
abiding form.

It is for the purpose of arresting and in a meas-
ure preserving the memory of those whose honor-
able and virtuous lives demand reverence ; whose
usefulness, gratitude and whose faults are forgot-
ten in that excellence which challenges the action
of time, that the history of Duchess County is
given to the public. That the long, useful and
interesting career of James Bowne fully entitles
him to honorable mention in these pages, none
will deny ; for he was one of those who has aided
in giving Duchess County the proud name she
bears in the history of the Empire State.

He was born in Fishkill on the 25th of Decem-
ber, 1798. His father dying when he was four
years of age, he remained with his mother, work-
ing on the farm summers and attending the district
school winters until August 14, 1 814, at which
time he left home for Poughkeepsie with money



barely sufficient for his journey. The boy was
full of courage and energy, determined to work
his way into honorable success. He very soon
obtained a place in the hardware store of Albert
Cox, where he remained for two years, working for
his board alone. On the i6th of March, 1816, he
entered into the employ of N. Conklin, Jr. &
Bro., remaining with this firm about four and one-
half years, until his twenty-first birthday, for the
sum of $500 and his board. At the expiration of
this period the young man had so commended
himself to his employers that they made him a
present of $85, and engaged him as their clerk at
a salary of $500 a year with board. He contin-
^ ued in this firm until March, 182 1, when he was
given an interest therein, which then took the
name of Conkhn & Bowne. In 1835, Mr. S. B.
Trowbridge purchased the Conklin interest in the
firm and the business was carried on until 1848,
under the firm name of Bowne & Trowbridge.
The firm then dissolved, and Mr. Bowne having
purchased the store 318 Main street, continued
his former business, making, at last, the carpet
trade a specialty ; connecting with him in business
his nephew, Charles E. Bowne, who had been in
his family since 1826, or about his eighth year.
The firm took the name of J. Bowne & Co., and
continued its business until March, 1878, at which
time Mr. James Bowne retired, selling his interest
in the concern to his partner.

The active business life of Mr. Bowne thus covers
a period of sixty-seven years, and during it all, he
has held the esteem and confidence of men as an
honorable merchant and a trustworthy citizen. The
fatherless boy grew into respectable and virtuous
manhood ; from a home whose only books were the
Family Bible, Book of Common Prayer, and Her-
vy's Meditations, he was graduated into a career of
far-reaching usefulness.

In 1833 he became one of the Managers of the
Poughkeepsie Savings Bank, which position he
still holds; indeed he was one of the originators of
that institution. In 1852, he in connection with
Josiah Williams, Edgar B. Kelly, and George Van-
Kleeck, instituted proceedings which resulted in
the establishment of the Poughkeepsie Rural
Cemetery. Mr. Bowne, himself by personal solici-
tation raising $18,000 for the purchase of suitable
grounds and the proper inauguration of the enter-
prise. In the Poughkeepsie Bank he has been
director since 1853.

When the Hudson River Railroad project was
in agitation, and the people of Poughkeepsie were
in suspense as to its construction, it was through
the personal efforts of Mr. Bowne that James
Boorman of New York gave impetus to the under-
taking by the subscription of $125,000. Mr. Boor-
man was elected the first President of the Hudson
River Railroad and continued to hold that office
till his death.

The Orphan Home and Home for the Friend-
less was built under his superintendence and care ■
he having been adviser and counsellor of that in-
stitution from the beginning. In all matters of

general improvement he has been largely active,
and in this way his contributed to the prosperity
and desirability of Poughkeepsie as a place of

In i860 and 1863 he was one of the Supervis-
ors of the city, and during his term of office with
Mr. L. B. Trowbridge inaugurated movements
which gave the city a renovated Court House, the
new jail and the present almshouse. In 1861 his
fellow citizens honored him with the mayorality,
which office he held with commanding respect and

Online LibraryJames H. (James Hadden) SmithHistory of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 89 of 125)