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 91 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 91 of 125)
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whom his city and county may well be proud.
While we write as a friend%ve are sure that our es-
timate is not foreign to that of those who have
known him from the beginning, and we trust he
may long be spared to give to his fellow citizens
the ripened fruits of a long and rich experience.


These grounds, which are the residence of R. M.
Taggart, Esquire, are situated within one mile of
the Court House. Until 1857, they remained an
unbroken wild of thickets, rocks, hills and lowlands,
and were the property of eight different owners,
being a middle "common" between the inhabi-
tants of "Bicetown" and the village of Pough-
keepsie. Their beauty, which to a casual observer
was hidden beneath the rough exterior, had long
bfeen perceived by John P. H. Tallman of Pough-
kepsie, who in that year gradually obtained the
various titles and soon thereafter began to reclaim
them, bringing out their latent qualities and ad-
hering to nature in their development, uiitil they
have become unrivalled.

In i860 the dwelling and other buildings were
erected, and the place continued to be the resi-
dence of Mr. Tallman until 1869. In that year
their many attractions induced Robert M. Taggart,
the present proprietor, to purchase the buildings
and ten of the fourteen acres embraced in the
original purchases of Mr. Tallman. The grounds
abound in fruit and ornamental trees, having thir-
teen varieties of evergreen trees. The drives and
walks are of the most enduring and ornamental
character. The present stable was erected in 1881,
and in arrangement and finish is excelled by none
in the county, being supplied throughout with
city water and gas.

Mr. Taggart was a native of Paterson, N. J., and
resolving to select for a home that which would
combine health and all that makes home desirable,


















45 1

his decision finally and fortunately fell upon
"Cedar Hill" with its undulating lawns, hills,
dales, trees, overhanging rocks, mountain scenery
and city and rural views. The symmetrical cedar
at the base of the hill opposite the front entrance,
suggested to Mr. Tallman the name "Cedar Hill."
Mr. Taggart is grandson of Charles Danforth
the founder of the " Danforth Locomotive and
Machine Company," of Paterson, N. J., who spent
his boyhood in Matteawan, where he acquired the
rudiments of that power which led to his eminent


Samuel Tuthill was born in Blooming
Grove, Orange County, N. Y., April 2, 181 1.
He was next to the youngest of the ten
children of Samuel and Eunice Youngs
Tuthill. His father, who was a farmer by
occupation and originally from Long Island,
died when he was but twelve years of age.
He remained on the farm with his mother
and elder brother Hiram until his eigh-
teenth year, with no other educational ad-
vantages than those afforded by the com-
mon district schools of the time. He was
brought up in the Methodist Episcopal
Church in which his father and mother had
long been consistent members.

In 1837, Mr. Tuthill commenced the
study of medicine with Dr. Thomas Lap-
ham a well-known " Thomsonian " physician
in Poughkeepsie, and entered upon his pro-
fessional career in Kingston, N. Y.,in 1840.
In 1848, he returned to Poughkeepsie where
he has since successfully practiced in what ,
is known as the " Eclectic School of Medi-
cine," and in which he has risen to a high
rank ; having been licensed and honored
as an M. D., by the Syracuse Medical Col-
lege, and the Medical College of the City
of New York. Since the organization of the
District Eclectic Society he has been its President.
He is treasurer of the New York State Eclectic
Society, and has been its President.

Although never identified with the " Old School "
of medicine, he has uniformly enjoyed the confi-
dence and respect of its members. In addition to
a large city practice, he has an extensive country
ride, and probably no physician in the county is
more generally known than he.

Dr. Tuthill is a man of unusually fine physique,
dignified and courteous in manner and a general
favorite with all, on account of his kindness of heart
and good sense.

For years he has represented a respectable con-
stituency in the common council of the city as an
alderman, and in the "County Legislature" as a
supervisor, where he is known as a ready, witty and
direct speaker.

He married Sarah M. Kelley in 1833. Five of
their six children are now living, two of whom are

prominent physicians; Robert K. Tuthill, M. D., of
Poughkeepsie, and James Y. Tuthill, M. D., of
Brooklyn, N. Y. "Doctor Robert" was a surgeon
in the Union Army.

For many years he and his family have been in
the communion of the Cannon St. M. E. Church
of Poughkeepsie, and for many consecutive years
Dr. Tuthill has been one of the District Stewards
and Lay delegates in the New York Annual Con-
ference and is one of the present Board of Trustees
of the Poughkeepsie district.


*^ -




It may be truly said of him that he is a repre-
sentative man, in medicine, in politics and in the


Cyrus Swan was born of thorough New England
ancestry, in Sharon, Litchfield Co., Conn., March
15, 1820. His early education was obtained in
Burr's Seminary at Bernardston, Vermont, and at the
AmeniaSeminary,until in 1838 when he entered the
class of '41 in Yale College. After leaving col-
lege he followed the profession of his father, who
had been one of the Judges of his native county,
and commenced the study of law in Poughkeepsie.
He was admitted to the Supreme and Chancery
Courts of this State in 1843.

In 1845, in company with Matthew Vassar, the
founder of Vassar College, Mr. Swan spent a year
of travel in Europe. On his return he opened an



office, and began the practice of his profession.
During the year prior to the founding of the col-
lege he was intimately connected with Mr. Vassar,
and deeply interested in aiding him confidentially
and professionally in the formation and execution
of his plan for the higher education of woman.
He was appointed one of the original trustees of
Vassar College, and was the General Superintend-
ent and Secretary for several years preceding and
after the completion of the institution.

During the existence of the national bankruptcy
law he waff extensively employed in cases before
the District, Circuit, and Supreme Courts of the
United States. He was married in 1855 to Miss
Frances S. Walker of Lenox, Massachusetts, and
has two daughters and one son. In the Greeley
campaign of 1872, and for a few years subsequent-
ly he took an active part in local and state politics.
He was never a candidate for public office, and
never held one. In iSj^-'y^-jS, in connection
with his law business, he edited the Poughkeepsie
News, then under the proprietorship of the Hon.
John O. Whitehouse. On his withdrawal from
editorial responsibility he devoted himself entirely
to his profession, which involved large interests of
municipal, corporate, and individual character.

For many years he was the Secretary of the
Poughkeepsie Lyceum, and afterward he held the
office of President for a long time: He has al-
ways been recognized as one of the leading literary
men of the county, and is one of the most
prominent members of the Literary Section of the
Vassar Brothers' Institute. During a business
career of nearly forty years passed entirely in
Poughkeepsie, his reputation as a citizen and a
professional man has been honorable and without
just reproach.


It is only now and then that enough of unusual
interest and action can be found to m'ake the life
of any one prominent above the restless surging of
the present age. But some there are who catching
the first flood of the tide of our modern .life have
so well understood its . direction and so industri-
ously and successfully kept abreast of it, that they
fairly epitomize the movement and become its ex-
ponents. To such a life the subject of the present
sketch introduces us.

For several generations the ancestry of John P.
H. Tallman were inhabitants of Duchess County,
New York. He was born in the town of Wash-
ington in that county on the 19th day of March,
1820. His great-grandfather Darius Tallman
emigrated from Nantucket, married a Miss South-
worth, and settled on Chestnut Ridge near the
present residence of Benson J. Lossing. His
father's maternal grandfather was Capt. Harris
of the British army in the Revolution and his wife
was a Miss Velie, both of LaGrange. His mater-
nal grandfather was a Deacon Benham, of New
Haven, Conn., an American soldier in the Revo-

lutionary war, who became a resident of Wash-
ington, and married Miss Comstock, of Connecti-
cut. His father, Darius Tallman, Jr., and his
mother Almira Benham were united in marriage m
181 7, both of whom became octogenarians, and
there were four children of this union, a daughter
who died in infancy, and three sons, of whom John
P. H. Tallman was the eldest. His occupation
was farming until his fifteenth year, when he en-
tered Amenia Seminary— a flourishing Academy m
Amenia, Duchess County. His life at the Sem-
inary affords a glimpse of the resolution and
strength of character which have stood him so
well in stead on many occasions — for we find that
he remained there the three years required to ful-
fill his course, in considerable part upon moneys
borrowed for that purpose, and that out of the first
moneys earned subsequently in his profession as a
lawyer he discharged the debt thus incurred in his
minority. On leaving the Seminary he began read-
ing law in the office of James Hooker and Virgil
D. Bonesteel, in Poughkeepsie. He now had four
years reading before him to attain his profession,
having been allowed three years for "classical
study." Mr. Hooker was at that time Surrogate
of the County. Mr. Tallman's industry in ac-
quiring a knowledge of the duties of that office was
early rewarded by his promotion to the posi-
tion of the first clerkship of the office, and upon
the appointment of Robert Wilkinson, Esq., to
the Surrogacy in 1840, he became his managing
clerk, still reading law.

In 1843, he was at the General Term in Utica
admitted to practice in the State Courts, and was
also admitted in the District and Circuit Courts of
the United States. The nextyear he was appointed
Master in Chancery for Duchess County by the
Governor of the State, on the recommendation of
a County Convention of delegates ; Owen T. Coffin,
the present well esteemed Surrogate of Westchester
County, being his competitor, as was also the late
Gilbert Dean. In May, 1847, Mr. Tallman was
by the Democratic party unanimously nominated
to the office of Surrogate of the County ; his elec-
tion followed. His opponent was the Hon. John
Thompson, the nominee of the Whig party, who
was afterwards a distinguished Member of Con-
gress. During this canvass and especially subse-
quently during the administration of Mr. Tallman's
first term, he was assailed most violently by the
editor of the Whig organ, and so wanton and un-
merited were the attacks deemed to be that at the
close of that term his friends, quite independent of
party, insisted that he should become a candidate
for a second term. He consented, and was re-
elected by an increased majority, the nominee of
the opposite party then being Richard Peck, Esq.,
of Pine Plains. Aside from the considerations then
urged another term was not desired.

Prior to the constitution of 1846, which made
the office of Surrogate elective, that office had been .
regarded as a political one given as a reward for
party services, and naturally the people were dis-
posed to consider its occupant a political, perhaps

ptq'^ ay R££iiu. iiyj-ns 1} ^c'clay St HY



a party representative. This disposition of the
people was one of the weapons used in the editor's
vain attack. While no one ever deemed Mr. Tall-
man influenced by party bias in his official action
or determination, he was nevertheless efficient in
the leadership then thrown upon him — his rare
tact in party management rendering him almost
without a peer in that department. This was ac-
knowledged and attested by his prolonged chair-
manship of the County Central Committee and the
various party compliments bestowed upon him from
time to time, and the successful strifes through
which' his party and friends were lead under his
guidance. Public favor was manifest towards
him and for him the partiality of friends had
marked out a more enlarged sphere of political
activity ; congressional, judicial, and other honors
were at his apparent command. But the primary
consideration moving him to office was business
rather than politics, and while possessing in a
marked degree qualifications and adaptations to
public life, he had no desire for office, and as
soon as an opportunity for manly retirement was
presented he embraced it — having tested the truth
that it is sometimes more difficult to resign than
to obtain office, and at a comparatively early
period of life he cast off the responsibility of party
service and leadership to resume the practice of
the profession to which in boyhood he had aspired.
The prospects before him were those which indus-
try, probity and fair talent warranted when accom-
panied by a cheerful resolution. His first business
co-partnership was formed under the title of
Tallman & Dean, a firm which soon became well
and favorably known. Other co-partnerships
have followed, but not for most of the intervening

Captain Pelatiah Ward, who fell in the Union
Army, William I. Thorn, Esq., ex-District Attorney
of Duchess, and Hon. Homer A. Nelson, the
present member of the State Senate, were law
students in his office.

As a lawyer we may perhaps be permitted to
say that although no mean practitioner at the bar,
Mr. Tallman's chief strength lies in his comprehen-
sive grasp of any matter which he takes in hand,
and in such a cool and clear estimate of all its
bearings near and remote, such an extensive
knowledge and familiarity with legal points, that he
is eminently wise and trustworthy in counsel — while
his unflagging industry and unfailing interest in his
client's case leaves nothing to chance and nothing
needful undone. In addition to the general law
business which has in all these years been his base
of operation there has been confided to him a
special practice in the District and Circuit Courts
of the United States for the New York Districts,
as also the care and settlement of estates. During
the earlier years of his practice and anterior to the
period when that class of investments was taken
up by insurance and other large monied institutions,
his office was the medium of large annual invest-
ments on bonds and mortgages. A large circle
of acquaintances with investors was thus formed.

which resulted in his call to many positions of
responsibility and trust.

In 1856 the office of Treasurer of the then Iowa
Central R. R. Company, w^ tendered to him. The
road was projected from a point on the Mississippi
river where the city of Clinton now stands, to
Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Under another name it now
forms a part of the great line to California. He
declined the office, although he yielded to the re-
quest of the officers so far as to accompany the
reconnoitering party over- the section named ; he
drew the report of the commission to the company
as to the feasibility and location of the road, which
was accepted. In 1855 he established a Banking
House in Davenport, Iowa, in the name of Tallman
& Powers. Mr. Powers, who had been his clerk in
the Surrogate's court and a former partner,became
the resident partner in Davenport ; the credit and
extensive relations of the house were such as to
place its destiny largely in the hands of Mr. Powers.
It was formed for five years and so continued.

In 1859, Mr. Tallman was mainly instrumental
in founding the City Bank of Poughkeepsie, and
was chosen President ; this office he did not ac-
cept, and favored in his stead Joseph F. Barnard,
Esq., now a Justice of the Supreme Court, who re-
tained the office for a period of upwards of twenty
years. He was, however, upon the establishment
of the bank, appointed its attorney, and has con-
tinued to act in that capacity to the present time.

In railroad matters, other than that previously
mentioned, Mr. Tallman was actively interested
in the advocacy of the Hudson River R. R., the
Poughkeepsie & Eastern R. R., and the Pough-
keepsie City R. R., of which he was one of the
original incorporators. His attention and co-
operation have been given to the water and sewer
system of the city. In 1853, he was one of the
organizers of the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery,
was designated as a trustee, and so continues. He
was one of the People's Committee to procure the
location of the Hudson River Hospital for the
Insane, and was a member of its first Board of

In 1852, he was one of the founders of the
Home for the Friendless, then organized as the
Poughkeepsie Female Guardian Society, prepared
its act of incorporation and was one of the first
Board of Counsellors. He is also a trustee of
Vassar Brothers' Home for Aged Men.

From his youth up, Mr. Tallman has been iden-
tified with the temperance cause, signing, when
nine years of age what was then known as the par-
tial pledge. At the age of twenty he became an
officer in the Young Men's Temperance Society,
and soon after urged the total abstinence pledge.
Still later he was an officer in the Duchess County
Temperance Society, and occasionally delivered
addresses before it and kindred organizations. He
aided in founding the State Inebriate Asylum at
Binghamton, N. Y., for which he was several years
a trustee.

In the seventeenth year of his age, Mr. Tallman
united with the Methodist Episcopal church at



Amenia Seminary, under the supervision of Dr.
Merrick, now of the Ohio University, and Doctor
Clark, afterwards Bishop. In 1840 he was one of
the founders of the Second Methodist Episcopal
church, now of Cannon street, Poughkeepsie, and
from 1842 has been one of its trustees, sustaining
its various official relations; was its first repre-
sentative to the New York annual conference, and
was the presiding officer of the convention. He
was for some years an officer of the Duchess
County Bible Society. He was a member of the
first and only State Council of Methodists ever
held, which convened at Syracuse, February, 1870,
composed of a representation from most of the
churches of the denomination in the State, the
delegation numbering about 600, among whom
he was not inconspicuous. The council or assem-
bly voted over $200,000 for the Syracuse Univer-
sity, and instituted various reforms intended for
the State as well as the Church, among which was
the State Council of Political Reform, one of the
auxiliaries of which was a potent factor in the
overthrow of the notorious "Tweed Ring" of New
York city. He was a member of the State Exec-
utive Committee, and although a life-long Demo-
crat, he disregarded any prohibition inconsistent
with the platform of the council which declared :
"We leave the party relations of every man undis-
turbed, but when parties command the support of
bad principles, bad measures or bad men, we must
refuse to obey." His position in reference to the
Rebellion was well defined and pronounced.

To those who have only known Mr. Tallman as
a man of affairs, and absorbed through his hours
of professional labor in the interests of his clients,
it may be a surprise to learn that his " grand pas-
sion " has always been in that line which has made
Poughkeepsie a synonym for all that is pleasant
and inviting as a place of retired and elegant resi-
dence; — in this direction he has accomplished
more as a matter of pastime and recreation than
many have done who have made it the subject of
long study and arduous labor. The Cottage Hill
property on Garden street, and later and more
prominently the Cedar Hill place, now owned by
Robert M. Taggart, Esq., and described in other
pages of this history, are evidences and expres-
sions of his taste and great ability in landscape
gardening and rural architecture.

Personally, Mr. Tallman's kindness of heart has
ever been apparent in his countenance and con-
duct ; upright in principle and purpose, his benev-
olence arid friendship unselfish and enduring. In
every department of endeavor known to him he
has supplemented the efforts of the industrious
and deserving. As church, educational and char-
itable institutions have felt his favoring influence,
so not a few individuals owe their establishment
and success in life to his timely counsel and

It would hardly comport with proper delicacy
to advert at any length to the purity and excep-
tional happiness of all his domestic relations, those
only who have been the recipients of his hospital-

ities and enjoyed the friendship of his family cart
appreciate their rare excellence.

Mr. Tallman has been twice married; 111^1843, to
Mary Newman of Egremont, Mass., by whom were
two children now living, Mary, wife of Theodore
W. Davis, of St. Joseph, Mo., and Augusta, wife of
John F. Phayre, of New York city; in 1851, to
Sarah Anderson, of New York city, by whom were
two children, John Francis and Katharine EUot.
John Francis graduated from Syracuse University,
receiving the degree of A. B., in 1879, and was
admitted to the New York bar in 188 1. The hon-
orary degree of A. M., was conferred upon John P.
H. Tallman by the Wesleyan University in 185 1.

When it is considered what, to an earnest nature,
must have been the amount of work and means
involved in the relations already indicated, it may
well be concluded that the life of John P. H. Tall-
man has been neither idle, ignoble nor obscure.


John Osborn Whitehouse was born near the
village of Gonic, in the town of Rochester, New
Hampshire, on July 19, 18 17, and died at the city
of Poughkeepsie, Duchess County, New York, on
August 24, t88i. Both his father and grandfather
bore the christian name of William, and the father
succeeded to the farm of his ancestor, the genera-
tion to which Mr. John O. Whitehouse belongs
being the third which owned and occupied succes-
sively the same homestead.

Mr. John O. Whitehouse was one of a family of
thirteen children, two of whom died in infancy.
There were seven boys and six girls, Mr. John O.,
being the second in age. The oldest son remained
at home, but the other children who survived
infancy all came to this State at an early age.

The first to migrate was John O. Whitehouse,
who at the age of seventeen found his way to
Brooklyn, which then (1834) was but a village
suburb of New York city, if we compare it with its
present proportions in 1881. He there took a .
clerkship and a few years later another in New
York itself.

At the age of twenty-two he commenced the
shoe business in Brooklyn. At twenty-three he
there married Miss Fannie Smith, who is now his
widow. He very soon opened an additional store
in the city of New York, and. from that on, by rapid
steps he became a leader in the manufacture and
sale of shoes, maintaining large factories in Dela-
ware for the preparation of leather, and in Massa-
chusetts and the city of New York for its con-
struction into shoes. From a large warehouse in
the latter city he supplied the wholesale trade, and
from several retail stores at different points brought
his wares into private use. *

His early success tempted four other brothers
into the same line, until at one time there were five
separate establishments in New York City and


-Sly'Si) HlSaa i. Sna li Sanlmj SllfT



Brooklyn, conducted in the Whitehouse name, and
together practically controlling that business, and
all realizing the profitable fruits of exceptional sa-
gacity, activity and thrift, each manufacturing, buy-
ing and selling upon his own account, and meeting
with eminent success.

He was the father of four sons and two daugh-
ters, all born in Brooklyn. One son and one
daughter died before his leaving that city. In i860,

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 91 of 125)