Richard Mather Bayles.

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

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the same length of time. The cost of the double home was
s-j.000,000, and the art gallery was furnished at an additional
expense of $1,500,000. The collection of paintings, two hun-
dred in number, representing the best modern artists of France,
is said to be the most complete in the world. Mr. Vander-
bilt gave much attention to its construction, as a result of which
he probably secured for himself the finest private residence in
America.

The love of Mr. Vanderbilt for out door exercises, and especi-
ally for fast driving, was a theme of conversation in sporting
circles, not only throughout this country but also in Europe.
After the decease of his father he essayed to take his place upon
the road. He bought Lady Mac to match with Small Hopes,
and astonished the public by driving the team to a top road
wagon over the Fleetwood park course in 2.23J. This was the
beginning of the rage for fast teams. Others competed with
Mr. Vanderbilt, and the excitement on the boulevards and
avenues above Central Park was unprecedented. Discovering
that Small Hopes and Lady Mac would not be able to main-
tain his prestige, he secured Aldine and Early Rose, which
were driven together at Hartford in 2.16. Shortly afterward
Frank Work's team beat the record, and on June 14th, 1883,
Mr. Vanderbilt took his fastest ride behind his team, Maud S.
and Aldine, in 2.15, the wagon together with himself weighing-
four hundred pounds. This time has never been beaten. Among
other fast horses which Mr. Vanderbilt owned were Leander
and Lysander, and Bay Dick and Charles Dickens.

It is not nor will it ever be known how much Mr. Vanderbilt
gave to charities. His method of doing this was so secretive
that his contributions seldom reached the public ear. His hand
was constantly in his pocket. Realizing the fact that he had
duties toward those who were less fortunate than himself, he
performed them without hesitation. Old friends of his father
who were needy, employees of the Central suddenly afflicted or
disabled, he helped without stint. He added 200,000 to the



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 601

/

endowment of the Vanderbilt University, and gave $100,000 for
the Theological school. The latter went to build a hall which
was dedicated on the donor's birthday, May 8, 1881. Two
weeks before his death he gave $10,000 for the formation of a
library for use at the university. No one was more sensitive
to public opinion than was he. He studiously avoided public
honors, and always gave, where he could, to already established
institutions. In pursuance of this custom he gave to the
" College of Physicians and Surgeons" $500,000, to which his
daughter, Mrs. Sloan, and her husband, William J. Sloan, one
year later added $250,000. At the time of the Grant- Ward
failure, he made strenuous efforts, without avail, to induce Gen-
eral Grant to accept as a gift $150,000 previously loaned him,
but which obligation the general through unforseen difficulties
had been unable to meet. Among his minor gifts were $50,000
to remove the debt of the church of St. Bartholomew and
$10,000 to the Deem's fund for the education of poor young
men at the University of North Carolina. He also con-
tributed to the University of Virginia, and made innumerable
private donations of which the public has no knowledge. In
his will he left $900,000 to charity, and it is said that the last
check signed by him, within three hours of his death, was for
a charitable object. When spoken to in regard to the re-
moval of the obelisk to this country from Egypt, he immedi-
ately agreed to bear the expense, amounting to more than

$100,000.

In his latter days Mr. Vanderbilt' s health became much im-
paired, and he was disposed to lean upon his sons for counsel
and advice. He also took frequent and more extended vaca-
tions, sometimes going to Europe and returning on the same
steamer. It was partly for this reason, and partly to silence the
senseless clamor of the socialistic elements of society, that he
sold $35,000,000 of the New York Central stock, which he ac-
complished at one time without weakening its value or depress-
ing the money market. This immense number of shares was
purchased by a syndicate composed of the following: J. S.
Morgan & Co., of London, Drexel, Morgan & Co., August
Belmont & Co., L. Van Hoffman & Co., Morton, Bliss & Co.,
Winslow, Lanier & Co., Edwin D. Morgan, Cyrus W. Field,
Jay Gould, Russell Sage and others. They took 250,000 shares
at $120, ten points below the market price, on condition that



602 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

the syndicate should have a corresponding representation in the
directory of the Central, and that Mr. Vanderbilt should not
place any of the stock of the road upon the market for one
year. The 835,000,000 thus withdrawn was promptly reinvested
in government bonds, which, together with moneys already
placed in the same manner made a total of 853,000,000 in gov-
ernment bonds, of which Mr. Vanderbilt was the possessor.

During the construction of the " Nickel Plate" railroad, Mr.
Vanderbilt' s interests compelled him to make every effort to
prevent its completion. Finally, when these failed, he purchased
the road. His second son, William K., carried on the negotia-
tions, and was shortly afterward elected its president. After
this transaction, on May 3d, 1883, Mr. Vanderbilt resigned the
presidencies of the various railroads of which for more than six
years he had been the honored head. The event was heralded
by the press in all parts of the world, and various reasons were
assigned for the action. The truth of the matter was simply
that he was overworked and his health fatally impaired. De-
cember 8, 1885, three years after his resignation, he died at
his home in New York city, of paralysis, a second attack.

His latest operations were made in Chicago & Northwest-
ern, Omaha and Philadelphia & Reading. He also arranged
the details of the purchase of the bankrupt West Shore rail-
road.

Mr. Vanderbilt left behind him his wife, four sons and four
daughters. He had more than doubled the fortune left him by
his father, and was reputed at the tiine of his death to be worth
in the neighborhood of 8200,000,000. The manner in which this
was invested admitted of a more equal distribution than his
father had been enabled to make of his estate ten years before,
and of the eight children surviving him, not one received less
than 810,000,000. The two eldest sons, Cornelius and William
K., however, inherited the bnlk of the fortune, amounting to
nearly 8120,000,000. Of the two, the oldest, Cornelius, now in
his forty-second year and worth probably 880,000,000, is prop-
erly recognized as his father's chief successor. He has long
been looked upon in the financial world as a young man of far-
seeing and correct judgment, and he has already evinced great
skill and ability in his management of his immense estate.

In concluding this sketch of two individuals whose names
during the last half century of the country's history have at-



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 603

tracted so much attention and inquiry, it is perhaps proper for
us to glance a moment at the qualities which succeeded in gat h-
ering, and those which retained this greatest of all the vast
estates of which the world has any knowledge.

Commodore Yanderbilt, the founder, was a poor farmer's
son. He inherited a strong physique, indomitable energy and
an earnestness of purpose which is noticable through his whole
business career. To these he added ambition; one which en-
abled him to laugh at obstacles and even at defeat, and carried
for him many points which, had they gone adversely, might
have ruined his prospects forever. Armed thus, and with an
intelligence capable of grasping with ease problems which had
been the bane of financiers and statesmen for years, he stepped
upon the field of action at a time when the present all-pervad-
ing spirit of mercantileism was in its infancy. The h'rst issue
which stared him squarely in the face was the necessity for hard
work and earnest endeavor in his own behalf. Where others
might have bemoaned the ill fortune which compelled the ac-
tion, he accepted the world for just what it was, strove vigor-
ously, and, seizing the tide of fortune at the ebb, marched on to
usefulness and to success. No man ever exercised a more im-
portant influence on the times in which he lived than did he.
Many passages of his life read like romances and suggest the
providence of the Almighty in placing such a man in such a
position. For many years he busied himself in providing ways
and means for the transportation of population and commerce
to and from his native land, and finally, when he found the in-
ternal highways of his country blocked and in the hands of
wreckers, he made his entry upon the scene, and like the hero
in the play, struck boldly at the evil, and provided a sure
remedy. He and such as he are in the highest sense useful.
The} 7 may acquire fortunes which are looked upon by large
numbers with envious eyes, but they give to the state what they
ran never take away, far-reaching prosperity resting on a basis
sdiuid as their own judgment.

No less useful, but far different in his characteristics, was the
commodore's favored son and heir. The father was cold, gruff
and inclined to argument; the son the direct opposite in every
respect. Each seems to have been made for a special sphere in
life, and each to have occupied it. It is doubtful whether or
not, had the commodore lived till now, his naturally nncom-



604 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

promising disposition would have been able to deal as success-
fully with the railroad strikes, the Nickel Plate and West Shore
difficulties, or even the cutting of west-bound freight rates, as
did his son. That he would have met these troubles there is
no doubt, but his disposition would probably have led him to
tight them all to the bitter end, a course which, in the present
state of the country and of the transportation system, would
have proved a mistake. William H. Vanderbilt left behind him
the record of a life well led, a course well run. His lat-
ter days were not his happiest. The great fortune in his
hands was not a means of comfort. It weighed heavily
upon him as a public trust, and not as a source of pri-
vate gratification. He finally sank with a sigh of relief,
wearied beneath its weight. How appropriate that he should
be buried on Staten Island in sight of the very home in
which he spent so many happy hours with his loving wife
and children by his side. The same breezes which, as they
pass the vaults and headstones of gamblers and railroad wreck-
ers, shriek and groan disapprobation, smile as they take from
the costly mausoleum at New Dorp the clear records of Com-
modore Vanderbilt and his son and hurry them on to their de-
scendants in the metropolis beyond. A heritage of usefulness
such as they left to their children is of more value, and will be
justly considered so by thoughtful and conscientious people,
than all the dollars which Providence has placed in their hands.

CAPTAIN JACOB HAND VANDERBILT was born on the eastern
shore of Staten Island, on September 2, 1807. His ancestors
were of Dutch origin, and had resided on the island from the
earliest times. A few years before his birth, his father, Cor-
nelius Vanderbilt, had removed from the north shore, where
he had lived on the site of the present residence of Read Bene-
dict, Esq., and where the captain's brother, Cornelius, had been
born in 1794. The homestead on the eastern shore was located
on the west side of the shore road, in the settlement now known
Stapleton, and adjoined, on the south, the site upon which Com-
modore Cornelius Vanderbilt subsequently built a residence
for himself. Connected with it was a farm of about forty
acres, extending to the south and west.

In those early days of Staten Island neighbors were few, and
life quiet and simple.

Between Duxbnry's Point, a short distance north of the








r



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 605

United States Lighthouse grounds, and the Narrows there were
bur twelve houses, and these were occupied by farmers, who
also took no small interest in the neighboring fisheries.

The meal and flour for family use were ground at the Clove
mill or by the tide mill on the South beach, and each farmer
supplied his family with meat from his own cattle.

Doctors and lawyers were very few and rarely employed ;
there were no shops on the island, and the pedlar with his
pack, or the merchants of the neighboring city, who were visited
once or twice a year, supplied the various necessary articles
which a farming and fishing community could not produce.

A conch shell, sounded in the morning toward the hills from
the little wharf in front of the Vanderbilt homestead, hastened
the pace of the farm horse or the feet of the laggard that
bore to the ferry the traveller to the city.

The undecked periauger of farmer Vanderbilt, Senior, with its
two lug sails, would at last draw out from the shore, perhaps
have a brush with the rival boat of his near neighbor, Van
Duzer, and then settle down with a steady favoring breeze for
a six mile run to Whitehall slip in the city, or, perhaps, a slow
trip in a calm over the Jersey shallows where oars and poles
furnished the motive power.

Mrs. Phebe Vanderbilt, the mother, was a woman of ability,
force of character and piety. In her co-operation her husband
always felt that he had a powerful resource, and to the quali-
ties which she transmitted to her two sons they have been
largely indebted for the prominence and influence which they
subsequently attained.

Under these influences of surrounding nature and domestic
life young Captain Vanderbilt grew up, acquiring the common
school education of the times, and at an early age began to
"follow the water."

At the age of eighteen he had risen to the command of a
steamboat, and from that time onward he rose steadily in the
importance of his business engagements and adventures, which
were chiefly connected with the conduct of steamboat lines on
Long Island sound, the Connecticut and Hudson rivers.

In 1834 he married Euphemia Maria Banta, a descendant of
General Israel Putnam, whose personal and mental charms,
joined with her widespread benevolence, made her a leader in
society and, at the same time, beloved of the poor and dis-



606 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

tressed, from an early age until her death which occurred in
1877.

Three of Captain Yanderbilt's children are living: a son,
bearing his own name ; Ellen, widow of Herman D. Caesar, son
of Senator Cflesar, of Bremen, and Clara, wife of James Mc-
Namee, of the bar of New York.

Since the close of the rebellion Captain Yanderbilt has lived
in a beautiful home, known as "Clove Hill," on the heights of
Staten Island, in retirement from business, excepting that, in-
stead of completely ceasing from the activity of a long and
busy life, he lilled for nearly twenty years before 1884 the posi-
tion of president of the Staten Island East Shore railroad and
ferry.

Many of his contemporaries have passed away and men of
different training and stamp have come and are coming upon
the scene of business life, but to his many friends and acquain-
tances, who yet survive out of the multitude that have known
him, Captain Vanderbilt will always be known as a man of ac-
tion, sturdy integrity, modest disposition, yet great force of
character, kind heart, notwithstanding a certain direct and
sometimes brusque address, and always a comforter of the
desponding.

His love of horses is well known, and the furious speeding of
his favorite trotters over the " Lane," in New York city, and on
the roads of Staten Island will long be remembered.

The old-fa.shioned race of native Americans, to whose labor,
energy, disdain of ease and hatred of underhand business
methods this country is indebted for its foundations, has nearly
passed away.

To this class of men Captain Yauderbilt belongs, and to those
who know him and the history of his life, he is to-day the most
picturesque and interesting figure among all the residents of
his native island.

THE YAN NAME FAMILY.* The family of Yan Names, from
tradition, originally came from Holland, and the exact time
they came to Staten Island seems to be unknown, as it appears
no record can be produced to establish their authenticity of set-
tlement. This much we must rely upon from a church record
produced from Mr. John J. date's statement, which, however,
is incomplete in many instances.
* By David M. Van Name.



IIISTORT OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 607

The earliest mentioned, according to the records, is Evert,
who married Wintje (Wilhelmina) Benham. The number of
children by the union is not known, unless the subsequent
names taken from the records are his, which seems quite proba-
ble. These were : a son Joseph, baptized April 22, 1709 ; a
daughter August 31, 1718; Simon, born October 29, 1713; Sarah,
born August 15. 1717 (this was probably the daughter above
baptized); Aaron, August 11. 1718; and Moses, February 8,
1725. There also appear under the same, other members. For
instance, Simon and Sarah Prall had a daughter baptized Octo-
ber 30, 1716, which might possibly have been brother to Evert;
also an Englebert married, to Maria DeCamp; son John baptized
April 12, 1719; twin daughters, October 15, 1721; and a Johan-
nes had a son Peter, baptized May 18, 1718. According to dates,
Aaron and Simon must have been brothers, there being about
live years difference between their ages.

Aaron and Mary McLean had the following children : Aaron,
Catharine, Simon, William, Ann, Moses and Charles.

Moses (the son of Aaron) married Mary La Grange, and they
had the following children: John, Mary, Moses, Elizabeth,
Catharine, Michael, Sophia, Rachel, Aaron and Charles. Charles
(the son of Moses), married Elizabeth Mersereau, only daughter
of Judge Paul Mersereau, by whom he had the following child-
ren : Joseph H., Paul M., David M., Nancy M. and George W.
David M. (son of Charles) married Sarah M. Wyckoff, of New
Brunswick, New Jersey.

Charles, son of Aaron (who was a son of Simon), made his
will April 8, 1805, which was probated May 21, 1805, in which
he mentions his sons Anthony and Aaron, both minors.

Aaron, last named (son of Charles), had a son Cornelius, who
married Rebecca Corson ; the last named were the parents of
William Henry Van Name (now deceased\ who married Eliza-
beth Ann, only daughter of Benjamin Decker, of Mariners'
Harbor, and had one child, Counselor Calvin D. Van Name, of
Mariners' Harbor.

Moses (son of Aaron) was born February 23, 1760, married
June 9, 1782, died October 16, 1811 ; Mary La Grange (wife
of Moses) was born September 8, 1763, married June 9, 1782,
died February 3, 1846 ; John (son), was born June 18, 1783,
married Elizabeth Wright, died April 1, 1853 ; Mary was born
July 19, 1785, married April 15, 1803, to Edward De Hart, died



608 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

January 13, 1870 ; Moses was born April 9, 1788, married Janu-
ary 28, 1811, to Mary Pierson, died July 28, 1871 ; Elizabeth
was born June 30, 1790, married to Matthias De Hart, died July
25, 1873 ; Catharine was born February 16, 1793, married De-
cember 1, 1811, to Henry Simonson, died July 27, 1869; Michael
was born November 14, 1795, married April 20, 1817, to Ger-
trude Cortelyou, died June 5, 1883 ; Sophia was born August
29, 1798, married October, 1816, to William Lake ; Rachel was
born March 10, 1801, married September 4, 1821, to Peter Thatch-
er, died 1885; Aaron was born October 1. 1803, married January
24, 1827, to Mary Mersereau, died July, 1882 ; Charles was born
August 25, 1806, married November, 1832, to Elizabeth Merse-
reau (cousin to Mary), and died July 15, 1883. This generation
have all died, excepting Mary (wife of Aaron) and Elizabeth
(wife of Charles).

The family of Charles Van Name. Charles (son of Moses)
and Elizabeth, his wife, had the following children : Joseph H.,
born March 27, 1835, married December 31, 1856, to Caroline
Gibson ; Paul M., born June 12, 1837, married July 3, 1860, to
Elizabeth Scott, of New Jersey ; she departed this life March
4, 1872.

Family of John Van Name. John Van Name (son of Moses),
born June 18, 1783, married January 8, 1809, to Elizabeth
Wright, died April 1, 1853 ; Elizabeth, his wife, born July 2,
1792, died May 22, 1875. Their children were: Mary La Grange,
born October 12, 1809 ; Caleb Halsey, born February 7, 1813 ;
Judy Johnson, born September 2, 1815 (now dead) ; Moses J.,
born March 9, 1818 ; Catherine, born October 27, 1820 ; Sophia
Lake, born May 9, 1823 ; John Poiner, born February 2, 1826 ;
Andrew Wright, born July 11, 1828; Elizabeth Jane, born April
28, 1831, died May 23, 1855 ; Charles Joseph, born January 28,
1834.

David M. (son of Charles), born January 1, 1840, married
November 18, 1869, to Sarah M. Wyckoff, of ISIew Brunswick,
N. J.; Nancy M., born November 24, 1842, married May 10,
1865, to John Todd Crittenden, of Virginia ; George W., born
October 20, 1845. married April 10, 1870, to Kate A. Van Name.
She departed this life April 10, 1881.

The family of David M. Van Name. David M. and Sarah M.,
his wife, had the following children : Travilla, born October 1,
1870 ; Lizzie Irene, born April 3, 1872 ; Ada D., born February



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 609

11, 1876 ; Florence Adelaide, born September 20, 1879 ; Sara
Vida, born June 14, 1882.

Family of Joseph H. Van Name. Joseph H. and wife had
one child, a son George, who married Louisa Ricard.

Family of Paul M. Van Name. Paul M. and wife had the
following children: Alice Jane, married to Thomas' Simonson;
Charles Winiield (dead); Edward Everett; Zenetta, married to
A. Luske; Frances Marion; Paul M. (dead), and Charlotte
(dead). The last two were twins.

Family of Nancy M. Crittenden. Nancy M. and husband
had the following children: Pauline, born July 28, 1866; J.
Howard, born November 7, 1871.

Family of George W. Van Name. George W. and wife had
the following children: Edgar, Irving and Pearly Louise.

The family of Van Names have ranked as a very prominent
class of people from the ancient name in Holland down to the
present day, and have lived and labored mostly during all these
years at their island home of nativity. Charles was a merchant
for forty years, and educated his sons in the same line. Joseph
H. and George W. are pursuing the course of their father,
Paul M. may be found at Jewett's white lead factory, and David
M. is a commission merchant in New York city. Charles was
supervisor of the town of Northfield daring the late civil war.
He was always active, and discharging his duties in the most
honorable manner, was beloved by his towns-people and re-
marked for his courteousness with all.

VAN PELT. We read of individuals of this name in New
Utrecht several years before we meet the name in connection
with Staten Island. Thus, W outer (Walter), Anthony and Aert
Van Pelt are mentioned as early as 1687, living on Long Island.
The first Van Pelt we meet in the Staten Island records is Hen-
drick, who had seven children born between 1696 and 1701. He
was probably connected with the Long Island families, as we
find' their names perpetuated on Staten Island. At or about the
same time there was a Peter Van Pelt, who had a son Jan bap-
tized October 21, 1707, and a son Samuel July 25, 1710. This
John and Jannetje (Janet) Adams had: A daughter, baptized
March 28, 1736; a son William, April 13, 1742, and a daughter,
April, 1744. Jacob and Aaltje (Alida) Haughwout, his wife,
had a son John, baptized October 15, 1727, and a daughter Cat-
alyntje, September 27, 1724. John and Susanna Latourette,
39



610 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

his wife, had twins, John and Susanna, baptized May 25, 1729.
Tunis and Maria Drageau, his wife, had the following children:
Anthony, baptized October 9, 1729; Johannes, baptized Febru-
ary 14, 1731; Maria, baptized June 3, 1734; Joost, baptized May
19, 1737, and Tunis, baptized November 19, 1738.

Peter had a son William, baptized November 23, 1715; a son
Samuel, April 16, 1717. Simon and Maria Adams had a son Peter,
baptized May 23, 1749, and a daughter, April 18, 1743. John (An-
thony's) son and Susanna Latourette, his wife, had Joost, bap-
tized April 4, 1736, and Anthony, baptized April 30, 1733. This
Anthony married Janneke Simonsou, and had a daughter, bap-
tized June 11, 1760. Peter and Barber tloulton had a daughter,
baptized April 18, 1743, and a son David, baptized October 12,



Online LibraryRichard Mather BaylesHistory of Richmond County (Staten Island), New York from its discovery to the present time → online text (page 59 of 72)