Richard Mather Bayles.

History of Richmond County (Staten Island), New York from its discovery to the present time online

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justice of the village of New Brighton.

Lawyers residing in Richmond county, in 1886 :

Acker, Augustus, West New Brighton ; Alston, Lot C., Port

Benedict, Charles L., New Dorp post office, United States


district judge, Eastern district ; Birmingham, D. Walton,
Staplefon ; Bonner, George W., New Brighton; Boardman,
Albert B., New Brighton ; Butler, Aaron, New Brighton ; Butts,
Thomas W., Mariners 1 Harbor.

Collins, William A., New Brighton ; Clark, Lester W., New
Brighton ; Crook, John, ex-district attorney, Port Richmond ;
Crowell, E. B., New Brighton ; Gary, Melbert B., New Brighton.

Davison, C. Stewart, New Brighton ; DeGroot, Alfred, ex-
district attorney. Port Richmond ; DeKay, Sidney, New
Brighton ; Delavan, Edward C., New Brighton ; Delavan, Ed-
ward C., Jr., New Brighton ; Duer, John, New Brighton.

Everett, William, Tompkinsville ; Elliott, Walter T., Totten-

Finch, Richard L. N., Tompkinsville ; Fitzgerald, Thomas
W., Mariners' Harbor, Fitzgerald, Daniel H., Mariners' Har-
bor ; Frean, Theodore, Stapleton.

Gallagher, George, district attorney Richmond county, West
New Brighton ; Greenfield, George J., Stapleton.

Hubbe, Edward S., Stapleton ; Heydenreich, A., Tompkins-
ville ; Hornfager, W. S., Stapleton ; Hnebner, Max C., Staple-

Johnston, George H., Port Richmond ; Jones, Patrick H.,
Port Richmond.

Kenney, John L, New Brighton ; Killian, B. D., Totten-
ville ; King, J. Travis, Port Richmond.

McNamee, James, Stapleton ; Maccafferty, Augustus, Tomp-
kinsville ; MacFarland. William W., Stapleton ; Mackellar,
George M., West New Brighton ; Marsh, Nathaniel, Stapleton;
McCarthy, John A., Tompkinsville; McMahon, Thomas, New
Brighton ; Middlebrook, Charles T., New Brighton ; Mullen,
William M., Stapleton; Martin, John M., Port Richmond;
McNamee, Charles, Stapleton ; McKeon, Joseph I., Stapleton.

Openshaw, Edward, New Brighton.

Powers, William J., West New Brighton ; Prentice, Augus-
tus, New Brighton.

Rawson, Sidney F., ex-district attorney, Port Richmond;
Robinson, Robert E., New Brighton ; Rawcliffe, Henry Alonzo,
Stapleton ; Robinson, George W., Stapleton.

Stafford, Dewitt, Port Richmond; Scofield, George S., Jr.,
Stapleton; Stewart, William A. W., New Brighton ; Stephens,
Stephen D., Richmond county judge, New Brighton.


Talbot, John E., Stapleton ; Telfair, Jacob E., Tompkins-
ville ; Thompson, E. G., New Brighton; Townsend, William
B., Stapleton; Townsend, Henry D., Stapleton.

Ulman, H. C., Stapleton; Ullman Percival Gr., Huguenot,
Rossville post office.

"Vermilye, Theodore C., Tompkinsville ; Van Hoevenburgh,
James D., Tompkinsville; Van Name, C. D., Mariners' Harbor;
Van Ness, William E.. Mariners' Harbor.

Welch, Joseph A., New Dorp ; Warner, John Dewitt, New
Brighton; White, Elias M., Stapleton; Willcox, David J. H.,
New Brighton; Wyeth, Nathaniel J., New Dorp ; Whitehead,
A. P., New Brighton ; Winsor, Thomas, Rossville.

AUGUSTUS PRENTICE was born in New London county, Connec-
ticut, September 30, 1826. A genealogy of the Prentice family
in America, published in 1883, shows his ancestors on the
father's side to have emigrated from Essex county, England, in
the year 1631, and to have settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
In the year 1700 one branch of the family settled in the town
of North Stonington, Conn., and from this branch Mr. Prentice
is a direct descendant. His father (Asa Prentice) was born in
New London county, Conn., February 13, 1792, and at this date
(1887) is still living and in the enjoyment of good bodily health
and all his faculties. His ancestors on the mother's side were
also among the earlier settlers of New England. His great-
grandfather on the mother's side was a wholesale merchant
and extensive real estate owner in Newport, Rhode Island,
at the time the English bombarded that place during the revo-
lutionary war, and had several houses nearly destroyed by
English cannon balls.

Until he arrived at the age of about 10 years his father was
engaged in the dry goods business in Springfield. Mass., and
Muntpelier, Vermont, and in both places Mr. Prentice attended
the public school. His father then retired from the mercantile
business and purchased and moved to a large farm in Tolland
county, Conn., where Augustus continued attending the public
school for several years, after which he was sent for a year or
two to a private school. Here his inclination to study began to
show itself and he made rapid and thorough progress in the
more substantial branches. From this private school he went,
at about the age of 17 years, to Wilbraham academy, at Wil-
braham, Mass. His attendance at this academy extended over



a period of three or four years. During the winter months he
taught school at West Hartford, Farmington and Old Windsor,
in Conn., and one winter on Cape Cod. Having prepared him-
self for college and made all his arrangements, even to packing
his trunk preparatory to leaving the following day for college,
he was brought to a sudden halt in his course. He was seized
with violent hemorrhage which returned at periods for several
months. Medical aid seemed of little avail, as the doctors pro-
nounced his case one of enlargement of the heart. In the fall
of that year he came to New York city for the first time in his
life to procure further medical advice. He was advised that his
trouble arose from the lungs and that he must at once leave for
Florida, which was then just coming into favorable notice. This
advice was followed and though he had left home expecting to
return,. he immediately changed his plans, and late in Decem-
ber was rowed from the Battery to a Maine vessel anchored just
below bound np the St. John's river, Florida, for lumber. He
remained in Florida that winter, the following summer and the
second winter before he left the state. About May of the
second year he made a visit home and remained in New Eng-
land during the summer and in the fall returned to Florida and
spent his third and last winter in that state. Upon his return
he commenced the study of the law in the office of Thomas W.
Clerke, who was subsequently judge of the supreme court for
the city of New York. He continued in Judge Clerke' s office
until his admission to the bar in the fall of 1851. In the spring
of 1852 he commenced practice in the city of New York. He
was married at Gales Ferry, Connecticut, in June, 1855, to
Catharine A., daughter of William Browning, Esq., and they
commenced their married life in a house Mr. Prentice had just
purchased in the city of New York. His attention having
been accidentally called to Staten Island, and being much
pleased with the place they determined to rent their city home
and move to the island, which they did in the spring of 1858,
when he built the house on Tompkins avenue in the village of
New Brighton, where he has long resided. At that time there
were no incorporated villages on the island, the usual govern-
ment of towns alone existing. In the summer of 1865 Mr.
Prentice, having come to the conclusion that village govern-
ment was desirable for that end of the island, proceeded to
draft such a charter as he thought was suited to the wants of


the community. Late in the fall he issued invitations to many
of his neighbors and gentlemen active in public affairs to meet
at the St. Mark's hotel and hear the proposed charter for the
proposed village of New Brighton read, which was done, the
charter approved, and a committee appointed to go to Albany
and procure its passage. The village government first organ-
ized in 1866.

January 30, 1866, their only child was born to them and was
named Augustus Browning Prentice. Mr. Prentice has steadily
continued in the practice of his profession, through which he
early formed the acquaintance of a large circle of business
men in the city of New York. Through many years he has
retained the legal business of most of them. Various corpora-
tions have at different times come under his control as counsel,
among them the Artizans 1 Bank, the St. Louis and St. Joseph
Railroad Company, the St. Joseph and Denver City Railroad
Company, which he formed by consolidating several smaller
companies. In the construction of this railroad he formed one
of the executive committee. These corporations materially in-
creased his already well established practice. Mr. Prentice's
financial success has been due largely to his business tact and
his ability to make good investments, which he has confined
largely to real estate, and of which he is an owner both on Staten
Island and in New York city. He has a large income from his
real estate, to say nothing of his income from his profession,
from which alone he has made his fortune, as it is said he never
speculates. Though often requested to become a director in
different corporations, he has invariably refused. He did, how-
ever, after much solicitation, accept the position of president
of the Bank of Staten Island, which position he holds at

1806, five physicians met at the court house in the village of
Richmond, for the purpose of organizing the first medical
society in this county. Their names were Benjamin Parker,
Isaac Stewart, Richard Henderson, I. B. Halsey and John R. B.
Rodgers. This organization was the consequence of the enact-
ing of certain laws of the state (April 8 preceding) which were
deemed necessary to regulate the practice of physic and surg-
ery, pronouncing none but members of county societies whose
diplomas must have been filed in the office of the county clerk


to be regularly authorized physicians. Meetings of the society
were regularly held down to 1832, since which time there are no
records of the meetings until a reorganization was effected.
The records do not state who the first president was, but at a
meeting held July 17, 1807, Benjamin Parker was chosen pres-

On the evening of January 17, 1855, a meeting was held at
the Tompkins Lyceum, Tompkinsville. for the purpose of tak
ing preliminary measures to reorganize the " Medical Society
of the County of Richmond." The meeting was composed of
the following physicians : John S. Westervelt, James Harcourt,
Isaac Lea, John W. Sterling, William C. Anderson, James R.
Boardman, F. Campbell Stewart, Joseph Feeny, E. W. Prender-
gast, . Y. Hestizka, C. G. Rotha, H. R. Baldwin, Theodore
Walser, J. C. Cavelti and Edward C. Mnndy. A committee
was appointed to prepare or revise the constitution and by-laws
and report at a subsequent meeting. The chairman of this
meeting was Doctor Westervelt. At the next meeting, held at
the same place, February 2, 1855, the report of the committee
was presented and accepted, and the constitution and by-laws
prepared by them were adopted. Dr. John W. Sterling was
chosen president of the society.

The officers in 1886 were : R. Henry Golder, president ; F. U.
Johnston, vice-president; E. D. Coonly, secretary and treasurer;
J. Walter Wood, Herman Beyer, T. J. Thompson, censors.

The members are : J. K. Ambrose, Clifton; Frank Anderson,
U. S. N. ; J. A. Andrews, Clifton; Herman Beyer, Stapleton;
A. L. Carroll, New Brighton; F. E. Clark, West New Brighton;
J. G. Clark, West New Brighton; E. D. Coonly, Mariners'
Harbor; J. L. Feeny, Stapleton; R. H. Golder, Rossville; H. R.
Harrison, Port Richmond; G. C. Hubbard, Tottenville; F. U.
Johnston, Stapleton; I. Lea, Stapleton; Anna Lukes, West
New Brighton; F. E. Martindale, Port Richmond; I. L. Mills-
pangh, Richmond; Jefferson Scales, Stapleton; Thomas J.
Thompson, Clifton; J. J. Van Rensselaer, New Brighton; T.
Walser, New Brighton; W. C. Walser, Port Richmond; E. J.
Westfall, Tottenville; Rudolph Mautner, Stapleton; Mary R.
Owen. Eltingville; F. Walter Wood, Port Richmond; W. E.
Bowne, Tompkinsville.

In addition to those belonging to the medical society the fol-
lowing physicians are registered in the county : Henry E. Earl,


West Brighton ; Alice Avery, Nursery and Child's Hospital ;
S. V. R. Bogart, New Brighton; Samuel Adams Robinson, West
New Brighton ; Caleb Lyon, Rossville ; Robert Rogerson, Port
Richmond ; David Emory Holman, Stapleton (Seaman's Re-
treat) ; Eugene B. Sanborn, Quarantine ; Alva D. Decker,
Pleasant Plains ; James Oliver Van Hoevenberg, Eltingville ;
Gottlieb Stein, Stapleton ; William M. Smith, Clifton ; Thomas
Washington Donovan, New Brighton ; Ferdinand Gustav
Behme, New Brighton ; Thomas B. Newby, Stapleton ; George
Milton La Rue, Tottenville; James J. O'Dea, Stapleton; Thomas
Sheppard Goodwin, West New Brighton ; Theodore D. Lyons,
Port Richmond ; Edward Francis Arnonx, N. Y. city ; A. C.
Montgomery, West New Brighton ; Henry Mitchell Rogers,
Tompkinsville; Frank E. Wilson, Stapleton; Albert D. Jaupet,
West New Brighton; L. L. Doolittle, Stapleton; William Bryan,
West New Brighton ; William Francis Bowne, Tompkinsville ;
Edwin A. Hervey, Rossville ; Henry W. Sawtelle, Stapleton ;
Robert P. M. Ames, Stapleton ; William Rose, Stapleton ;
David Coleman, Tottenville ; Charles Wooster Butler, Port
Richmond ; Joseph Henry McDougall, New Brighton; Walker
Washington, Tottenville.

The following brief personal notes of some members of the
medical fraternity will be an appropriate sequel to the fore-
going :

I. K. Ambrose, lately a resident of Townsend avenue, Clifton,
but at present residing in New York city, still practices on the
island. He is a member of the Richmond County Medical So-
ciety, and was for a term county coroner. He was born in Ire-
land, about forty-eight years ago, received his early education
in colleges in Ireland and France, and graduated in medicine
and surgery at the Long Island College hospital, in Brooklyn,
in 1870. During his stay on Staten Island, he became a general
favorite, especially among the Irish, and had a large practice.
He was known as the "Irish Doctor," being the only one of
that nationality in the county at the time.

Dr. Herman Beyer was born in Coblentz, Germany, in 1836.
Having received a private Latin school education he studied phar-
macy in Westphalia, as a preliminary step to the study of med-
icine. In 1856 he served in the Prussian army as pharmaceutist.
He sailed for this country in I860. In April, 1861, he enlisted as
a private in the Eighth regiment, N.Y.V. In 1862 he was trans-


f erred to the medical department, where he served as pharma-
ceutist until the end of the war. He then began the study of
medicine at Bellevue hospital, where he graduated in 1869, and
took an extra course in 1877 and 1878, besides a private course
of Dr. F. Knapp's, in 1878 and 1879, in the Eye and Ear In-
firmary. He commenced practice at Astoria, L. I., in 1869,
and removed to Staten Island in 1880.

Alfred Ludlow Carroll was born in the city of New York on
the 4th of August, 1833, educated at sundry private schools,
and in the University of New York, studied medicine with the
late Dr. Valentine Mott, and was graduated M. D. from the Uni-
yersity of New York in 1853 ; removed to Staten Island in
1870; elected secretary of the state board of health in March,
1884 ; resigned February 1st, 1866.

Dr. Ephraim Clark, who for many years has been actively
and intimately associated with most of the prominent move-
ments and public enterprises of the island, was born in Rail-
way, N. J., in 1797. He studied medicine with Dr. Valentine
Mott, of New York, and afterward graduated in the college of
the state medical society at New Brunswick. In 1820 he came
with some friends on a gunning expedition to the island, and
was so well pleased with the people and surroundings of Port
Richmond that he decided to make that place his home. He
accordingly located there, and soon found himself in the en-
joyment of a lucrative practice. He grew into popular favor,
and, being a remarkably active and ready man, he naturally
fell into a prominent position in nearly every benevolent and
progressive movement of the day.

On the arrival of General Lafayette, on his last visit to this
country, Dr. Clark was a member of the committee that re-
ceived the distinguished soldier at the residence of Governor
Tompkins, who was then vice-president of the United States, at
the old mansion at Tompkinsville. The general came to Staten
Island before going to New York city, and remained at Gov-
ernor Tompkins' residence during his sojourn. On the evening
of his arrival a grand reception was given, and throngs of
people gathered at the place to greet the gallant Frenchman.
Among the guests were the leading men of the country. On
his departure for New York city on the following morning
business was suspended, shops and stores were closed, and the
people thronged the landing and the shore of the bay to see


him off, while the water was literally alive with all manner of
craft which came to witness or escort his passage from the
island to the city. Over the grand concourse of shipping, said
to be the most magnificent ever witnessed in New York bay,
floated the flags of all nations. On this occasion Governor
Ogden, of New Jersey, came to greet Lafayette. They had
been intimate friends during the revolution and as they met
now they squarely embraced each other, and Doctor Clark says
he never witnessed a more affectionate greeting than was mani-
fested by them.

Kossuth, on his visit to America, was a guest of Doctor
Doane, health officer at quarantine, and was entertained at his
residence. The reception committee were Doctor Westervelt.
Doctor Clark, Samuel French, Judge Clawson, and Richard
Adam Locke. The latter delivered the welcoming address.
General Garibaldi was present, and made a pleasing address.
Kossuth made an affecting reply, and the words of the great
patriot found a warm place in every heart. A large procession
formed and escorted the distinguished visitor to the old Dutch
Reformed church, now used as a carriage manufactory in
Tompkinsville, in which the Tompkins Guards, a local infantry
company, took the lead.

When General Jackson made his famous visit to New York,
Doctor Clarke was also a member of the reception committee
that met the old soldier at Port Richmond and escorted him to
New York city, where they landed near the present site of
Castle Garden. Other members of that committee were Colonel
Barton, Doctor Van Pelt, Doctor Harrison and Colonel Barrett.

Doctor Clark was with Doctor Harrison, an attendant physi-
cian to Aaron Burr, during his sojourn on the island. He was
also the committee appointed by the officers of the Reformed
church to secure the services of a pastor, and through his
agency the Reverend Doctor Brownlee was brought to this
church, which he has so acceptably served for more than half
a century.

Doctor Clark was appointed surgeon of the One Hundred and
Forty-sixth regiment of infantry by Governor Yates in 1823,
and having resigned that position was in 1837 appointed sur-
geon of the Sixty- fifth regiment, N. Y. militia, by Governor
Marcy. He was afterward an aid-de-camp, with the rank of
colonel, to the general commanding the second division of in-


fantry, receiving his appointment from Governor Seward.
During the rebellion he was appointed post surgeon at Camp
Sprague, New Dorp, and while holding that position examined
over 4,000 men. He was a delegate to the Charleston conven-
tion of 1860 that nominated Breckenridge and Lane ; and held
at different times offices of trust among his fellow citi-
zens, such as supervisor of the town, physician of the county
jail, a charter member of the first Masonic lodge on the island,
and others. His was a life of action, up to the very end. He
died at a ripe old age, in November, 1885.

Dr. Alva D. Decker was born at Marksboro, N. J., July 8,
1848 ; educated in public schools, and in the collegiate institute
of Newton, N. J.; studied medicine under Doctors Sayre, of
Newton, and Miller, of Andover, N. J. ; attended lectures at,
and received his diploma from the Long Island College Hos-
pital, Brooklyn, in the class of 1876. He located at Pleasant
Plains, S. I., in June, 1877, and is still practicing in the same
town, and also has a drug store in connection with his prac-

Henry E. Earl was born at Clapham, England, May 26, 1837.
He is a graduate of Columbia Veterinary College, April 23,
1879 ; also of the United States Medical College, March 4, 1880.
He is now president of the New York State Academy of Veter-
inary Science and Comparative Pathology, and second vice-
president of the National Veterinary Medical Association.

Older residents of Staten Island will recall, as they read this
sketch, the studious features and scholarly bearing of Dr.
Joseph Feeny, whose name was for many years conspicuous as
a leader in the social, business and intellectual life of Richmond
county. He was born at Sligo, in Ireland, March 19, 1813, and
was the first of his family to settle in America. A person of
more than average mental vigor, he gave his early years to the
acquirement of a thorough classical education (in Trinity Col-
lege, Dublin) which he afterward used with effect in his profes-
sion as a teacher. The obtaining of an education with him, as
with the majority of young men of his day. was a combined
struggle for knowledge and physical support. In 1836 he
entered the " University of the State of New York, College of
Physicians and Surgeons," from which he did not graduate
till 1850, his course being divided between the years 1837 and
1839, and again between 1840 and 1849. During these intervals


he was engaged in teaching, a capacity in which, perhaps,
though his later years were mostly spent in mercantile pursuits,
he will be best remembered on Staten Island. He was first
engaged as Latin and Greek tutor in the academy of Doctor
Fitch, but from 3841 to 1849 he conducted a highly successful
classical school of his own in which many of Staten Island's
most prominent men were prepared for college and business.

In 1849, shortly before his graduation, Doctor Feeny opened
a drug store at Stapleton, the first one in Richmond county.
It stood on the same ground as that now occupied by his son,
James Feeny, and is iu fact the same store, with alterations
necessary to the times. Previous to its establishment Rich-
mond county physicians had been obliged to supply their own
medicines, but the new enterprise revolutionized matters in this
respect. Doctor Feeny continued to conduct this store till 1863,
when he sold it to his son, James Feeny, who still conducts it,
and who received his diploma from the " Board of Pharmacy
of the City of New York," in September, 1872.

In 1863 Doctor Feeny began practicing regularly as a physi-
cian, removing his office to Jersey City in 1864. In 1865 he was
appointed health officer of that city, and on January 9, 1866,
he died.

In Jersey City, as on Staten Island, Doctor Feeny won the
esteem and approbation of his fellow citizens by his careful at-
tention to his own and the public affairs. At his death the
common council of the city passed resolutions of sympathy,
and many influential gentlemen took occasion to express their
sorrow at his loss. He was an unostentatious man. His man-
ners were quiet but impressive. A constant student, and one
who, during his life, took advantage of every favorable circum-
stance to increase his store of knowledge, he became and was
recognized as a man of culture and great attainments. During
his medical course he enjoyed the advantage of attending the
lectures of Willard Parker, Robert AVatts, Jr., Gurdon Buck
and Professor Gillman. This, together with his extended ex-
perience, made him an authority on medk-al subjects.

He had seven children, of whom four still survive. Of these,
three reside on Staten Island : James, who succeeded his father
in the drug business, John L., and Anna, who graduated from
the state normal school at Albany, and who is the wife of
Thomas Gordon of Stapleton. She was for some time principal



of district school No. 2, town of Middletown, and many who
studied under her have since achieved distinction.

John L. Feeny, M.D., present health officer of the village of
Edgewater, and one of the foremost physicians on Staten Is-
land, was born at Stapleton, May 29, 1845. His early educa-

Online LibraryRichard Mather BaylesHistory of Richmond County (Staten Island), New York from its discovery to the present time → online text (page 47 of 72)