Richard Mather Bayles.

Prominent men of Staten Island, 1893 online

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sterling business capacity and exquisite tact, render
Mm an extremely proper and fitting person to safe-
guard and promote the general interests of the town
in which he has lived so long, and which has conferred
upon him the distinguished honor of supervisorship.
With him that honor will remain intact and un-

The above prediction has been amply fulfilled.

Supervisor for Middletown.


JOHN L,. FEENY, M. D., is the second oldest son of the
late Dr. Joseph Feeny, of Stapleton, who opened in 1849,
the first drug store established on Staten Island, and
who was one of the leading physicians on the Island in
the early sixties. He afterward moved to Jersey City,
where his reputation as a successful physician had
evidently preceded him, as he was made health officer
of the city the next year after taking up his residence
there. Dr. Joseph Feeny was one of the most scholar-
ly men of the county, and before he began the
practice of his profession was the principal of one of the
most thorough classical institutes ever established
on the Island. He died at his residence in Jersey City
in 1 866.

Dr. John L,. Feeny was from his earliest boyhood se-
lected by his father as his successor in the medical
profession. At the early age of fifteen years he had ac-
quired an excellent classical education and began the
study of medicine under the late Dr. Thos. C. Moffatt,
at the same time getting a large practical experience at
the Seamen's Retreat Hospital, where he remained
until he entered the University of New York Medical
Department, from which he was graduated in 1866
among the highest in the class. During his college
course he studied under such famous physicians as
Valentine Mott, Alfred C. Post, William H. VanBuren,
Alfred L,oomis and John T. Metcalfe; also under Profes-
sors Budd, Paine and the Drapers. After leaving the
university he took a special and private course under
Professor Ayelette. It will be seen, therefore, that
his father, being a prominent physician himself, was
able to secure as instructors for his son, the most
famous physicians and teachers of that day.

Upon completing his course of study, he was ap-
pointed house physician to the "Seamen's Retreat,"
a position which he filled with honor until 1869, when
he resigned to enter on private practice in Stapleton.
In 1870, he was appointed physician to the metropol-
itan police, and is now surgeon to the Richmond
county police, has been health officer for the town of
Middletown and the village of Edgewater for many
years, and is a member of the Richmond County Med-
ical Society.

The thorough instruction which Dr. Feeny received
under the distinguished physicians at the University
enabled him to take a high rank in his profession, and to
be especially sought for consultation in intricate cases.
He has had, from the first, a practice second to none
in the county, and his success with difficult cases has


given him. the confidence of the entire community.

In the spring of 1893, Dr. Feeny was elected to the
board of supervisors and immediately began one of the
most searching and thorough examinations into the
finances of the county which has been made for many
years, and while the investigation is not yet completed,
enough has been established to prove that the county
will greatly profit by the doctor's services.

In private life the doctor is one of the most con-
genial and companionable of men and has a host of de-
voted friends. In his professional and official duties
whatever he has to do is done thoroughly and well,
not the smallest details being overlooked or omitted.

Of Dr. Feeny. Prestons History of Staten Island, pub-
lished in 1886, says:

"Dr. Feeny has now been in active practice more
than sixteen years, during which time many remark-
able cases have come under his notice and been treat-
ed by him. He adds to his large experience an in-
tense love not only of his profession but of all scien-
tific and artistic study. He is up in the classics, has
traveled considerably, and has taken a deep interest
in historical research. His cordial manners and
general intelligence have long been noticed by those
who enjoy his acquaintance, and have resulted in en-
dearing him to them."

"The deep interest which he has taken in the
health of the community in which he lives, and the
county at large and especially the freedom with which
he responded to a call made on him for lectures on
hygienic subjects during the recent cholera agitation
will long be remembered with pleasure by the people
of Staten Island."

And we may add that no physician on the Island took
a more active part in suppressing the smallpox,
which came near becoming epidemic on the Island a
few years ago.

Dr. Feeny was married June 9, 1870, to Miss Emma
Bateman, daughter of the famous engineer, John F.
Bateman, of Maine. They have four children living,
Mildred, Marguerite, Elsa and John 1^. Jr.



JOSEPH HOWARD VANNAME, present supervisor of the
town of Northfield, comes of a long line of Staten
Island ancestors, who have been prominent in busi-
ness for nearly two centuries.

Mr. Van Name is the eldest son of the late Charles
Van Name, and was born March 2yth, 1835. His father
was a merchant for nearly half a century. When he
retired from active life the btisiness was continued
by his two sons, Joseph H. and George W.

Mr. Van Name is a Democrat, but is better known as
a business man than a politician, although he has
several times been called by his neighbors to fill pub-
lic offices. He has served several terms as town clerk
of the town of Northfield, and in 1891 was elected to
the office of supervisor which office he has since filled
to the entire satisfaction of his constituents.

In 1856, Mr. Van Name married Caroline, the young-
est dattghter of the late Thomas Gibson. They have
one son, George.

County Enqineer of Roads.


HENRY PRENTICE MORRISON was born in Troy, N. Y., on
January I4th, 1858.

His early education consisted of a course in the pub-
lic schools of New York city, from which he was gradu-
ated in 1873. From here he went to Clark's Academy,
graduating- in 1876, when he entered the University of
the City of New York as a freshman, graduating in 1880
and having two degrees conferred on him, namely,
Bachelor of Science and Civil Engineer. While an
iinder-graduate of the University he was twice presi-
dent of the Philomatheon Society, a member of the
Psi-Upsilon Fraternity and was selected by the faculty
to represent the University in oratory at the inter-col-
legiate contest of 1880, receiving second award at the
contest, there being ten colleges represented.

After his graduation from the University Mr. Morrison
received a position with John S. Bogert, then secretary
of the American Society of Civil Engineers, as secretary
to that gentleman. His health being poor he sought
active field work and secured an engagement on the
Eastern Shore railroad of Maryland and there re-
mained until he was appointed to the department of
public works in New York city, being assigned to the
bureau of sewers. He followed sewerage engineering
for eighteen months and was then promoted and
ransferred to the paving department, becoming first
assistant to Horace L,oomis, then engineer in charge
of paving in New York city. For the past eleven years
he has made a specialty of paving and road building,
refusing all offers of transfer to other departments,
in many cases valuable, in order that he might stay at
his specialty, and has planned, estimated for, and per-
formed the engineering work on over six million dol-
lars' worth of pavement of all classes, an experience
in that line such as few engineers in the United States
have had. He has also built up a large private client-
age, among whom are some of the heaviest quarry and
iron contractors in the country.

In the spring of 1893, Mr. Morrison was appointed
county road engineer of Richmond county. Although
he has held this office bxit a few months the evidence
of his skill in road building is seen in every part of
the county.

It is safe to say that Richmond county has no more
industrious or competent official than Road Engineer

Mr. Morrison, when not engaged in his professional
duties, devotes his time to his family, a wife and two
daughters, Edna Belle, two and one-half years old, and
Ruth Von Eiff, four months old, "papa's boys " as they
are affectionately termed.

Superintendent of the Coumy Poor.


BENJAMIN J. BODINE was born Jan. jth, 1849, a ^ Cas-
tleton Corners. His father, Abram Bodine, was one
of the 1849 pioneers to the California gold regions.

Mr. Bodine was educated in the schools of Staten
Island. When only fourteen years of age he ran away
from home and enlisted in the Union Army joining
Battery C., 3rd U. S. Artillery, Regulars, then stationed
in the Shenandoah Valley, Captain D. R. Ransom com-
manding. He served in the Army of the Potomac un-
der Gen. Hancock, taking part in many of the impor-
tant battles fought along the Potomac and around
Richmond. After the close of the war he was sent to
the Platte Valley, Neb., where he served in the Indian
war until after the surrender of Spotted Tail. He
was mustered out in 1866, when he returned to Staten

In 1868, he entered into co-partnership with Mr.
John Smith, of Long Island, and carried on a fruit
commission business at Norwalk, Conn. In 1872, he
dissolved partnership with Mr. Smith and took the po-
sition of head salesman for Davis & Mayo, Hoboken,
N. J., ship chandlers.

In 1876, he entered into partnership with Geo. W.
Thackery, and again engaged in the fruit and
vegetable business, running a sloop between New
York, Elizabethport and Port Johnson. He remained in
this business, doing a thriving trade, for nine years,
until the death of Mr. Isaac Van Name, in 1885, made an
opening for him to enter upon a prosperous grocery
trade in the thriving village of Mariners' Harbor, as
the manager of his son and successor, Oscar Van Name,
where he remained until his appointment, in 1890,
to the office of superintendent of the poor, which posi-
tion he still holds.

A visit to this well-kept institution will show that
Mr. Bodine's military training in the United States
Regular Army has made him a model superintendent
for a large institution, such as our county almshouse,
and our board of supervisors have set the seal of their
approval on his management not only with their "well
done good and faithful servant," but have supplement-
ed their words of praise by a liberal increase of salary.

There was probably no man better fitted for the
position of superintendent of the almshoxise than Mr.
Bodine. His long experience in business had made him
thoroughly acquainted with the value of provisions
and the cost of supplies; and since he has been super-
intendent there has been no complaint of favoritism
in the purchase of goods either in price or quality, but
all the affairs of the almshouse have been managed
after careful business methods by an experienced
business man.



MARTIN HUGHES, second son of Robert Hughes, was
born in New York in 1857, and was educated at the
Brothers' school and at St. Francis Xavier's College,
after which he spent considerable time in the study
of medicine. In 1871, he came, with his father's fami-
ly, to Staten Island, where he has ^.esided ever since.
In 1885, he opened an undertaking office in Clifton,
and he has built up a large and successful btisiness.

In 1886, he was elected coroner on the Democratic
ticket, and at the expiration of his term, was re-elected,
and again in 1892, making three consecutive terms-
Among the important cases which he has investigated
as coroner, were the death of Miss Mary Tobin, the
mystery of which no skill has been able to solve; the
Emmons murder case, which resulted in the con-
viction of the murderer; the Crooke's crossing rail-
road accident, in which three persons were killed,
and many other important cases which attracted much
public attention, at the time.

Coroner Hughes' knowledge of medicine, gained in
early life, has proved a useful training, and enabled
him to conduct difficult cases to a successful issue.




GEORGE T. SCHAEFER, the eldest of fourteen children of
Carl F. Schaefer, was born in New York city in 1853.
He came to Staten Island with his father's family in
1859, and was educated in the public schools, with a
year's course in the German school.

When thirteen years of age, he entered his father's
shop to learn the trade of carpenter, cabinet-maker and
upholsterer. Having thoroughly learned all branches of
the trade, he started in business for himself at the age
of twenty-two years, establishing the business of un-
dertaker and embalmer, which he still conducts at 1 74
Bay st., Stapleton. In 1889, Mr. Schaefer was elected
coroner for Richmond county, an office which he still
holds, having been re-elected in 1892. During his
term, he has conducted many important inquests and
has made for himself an excellent record as a
thorough and careftil official.



JOHN J. VAUGHAN, JR., was born in Wales in il
When he was eight years of age his parents moved to
Rossville, Staten Island. At the age of fifteen years
he enlisted in the Union Army, itiRegt. 155 N. Y. Vols. of
Corcoran's Irish L,egion, which was then stationed at
Camp Scott, and was assigned to duty as drummer.

He participated in the battles of Deserted Farms,
Suffolk, Black Water, Eatonton Road, Spottsylvania
Court House, Mattapony, North Anna, South Anna, Cold
Harbor; assaults on Petersburg, June i6th, ijth, i8th
and 22nd, 1864; Ream's Station, Hatcher's Rim, Deep
Bottom; the breaking of the Confederate lines in front
of Petersburg, April 2nd, 1865; Burksville, and at High
Bridge, where he was captured, three days before the
surrender of General L,ee at Appomattox. He was
with L/ee's army at the time of the surrender.

Since the close of the war Mr. Vaughan has held
the office of under-sheriff two terms beside the
present one, and the office of superintendent of the
poor and of sheriff of Richmond county. He is also
vice-senior past commander of L,erihart Post No. 163,
G. A. R., and past chancellor of Richmond Lodge No. 80,
K. of P.


3 9


WILLIAM FIXLEY, clerk to the surrogate's court of
Richmond county, was born Oct. igth, 1854, at Staple-

He is the eldest son of the late Michael Finley, who
for over twenty years was manager of Mr. John Scott's
livery stable at Clifton.

The subject of the above sketch receive 1 his edtt-
cation at the Broad street school, Stapleton, and in
early life was employed as clerk by the firm of Arm-
strong & Frost.

His first ptiblic office was that of town auditor of the
town of Southfield to which he was elected for two
terms, and in 1878, 1879 and 1880 was elected tax
collector of the same town.

On Jan. ist, 1882, he was appointed by the Hon.
Stephen D. Stephens, clerk to the surrogate's court,
and was re-appointed Jan. ist, 1888.

Mr. Finley was married Nov. 29th, 1883, to Eleanor S.,
daughter of Justice John L,. Young, of Richmond, where
he now resides with his wife and three children, Susie
M. , Margaret and Eleanor.




THOMAS KENNY, JR., eldest son of ex-revenue collector
Thomas Kenny, of West New Brighton, was born at
West New Brighton in 1866. He was educated in the
Christian Brothers' School, of New York city, and the
De La Salle Institute. After graduating from the In-
stittite he completed a course in Walworth's Steno-
graphic College, New York, where he had one of the
most thorough masters and teachers in the pro-
fession. Immediately after receiving his diploma he
was appointed by the Hon. Stephen D. Stephens as the
official stenographer of the surrogate's court and
county court and court of sessions, which position
he still holds. He has the honor of being the young-
est court stenographer in the state, and young as he
is, he is rated as one of the leading, most careful and
correct men in his profession.

Mr. Kenny is also president of the Young Men's
Catholic Union, of West New Brighton, a position he
has held with entire satisfaction to the members of
the Union for the past seven years.

He is still unmarried and lives with his parents at
West New Brighton, the place of his birth.



FRANKLIN C. VITT was born in New York city, May
1853. In 1865, his parents moved to Stapleton, where
he completed his education at the public school.

In 1869,116 secured a position with a law firm in New
York, and his energy and natural ability soon raised
him to the position of managing clerk, a position, he
held until the dissolution of Ihe firm in 1876.

He was one of the promoters and founders of the
famous Middletown "Boys in White/' a Democratic
club which has been a conspicuous feature in every
Democratic campaign since its organization.

Mr. Vitt entered politics when quite a young man,
and has always wielded a considerable influence in the
councils of his, (the Democratic) party, and has often
been elected to county and congressional conventions.

In 1883, he was elected justice to fill a vacancy, and
in 1885 and again in 1889 and 1893, was re-elected for
full terms.

In Deceiiiber 1890, Mr. Vitt was appointed clerk of
the board of sttpervisors, a position which he still
holds, and the duties of which office he has performed
with such promptness, accuracy and fidelity, as to
earn for him the reputation of being the best clerk
the board of supervisors ever had.



ROBERT P. BROWN, postmaster of West New Brighton,
N.Y., was born in Railway, N. J., on Dec. 3ist, 1844,
and, when sixteen years of age, became a resident of
Stateii Island.

In 1862, he enlisted in Company C, 3oth Regiment N.
J. Volunteers, and, after serving continuously through
his term of enlistment, was honorably discharged,
and he returned to Staten Island, where he was en-
gaged in business pursuits until May 1882, when he
received his appointment to his present position of
postmaster from President Chester A. Arthur.

Mr. Brown performed his official duties with such
conscientious zeal, efficiency and courtesy, that he not
only won the respect and warm regard of all, but with
an increase of more than one-third in the population
the business of his office has been quadrupled under
his vigorous administration and the office promoted
from the thiid to the second class, and, on July ist,
1890, it was made a free delivery office.

The efficiency and zeal of Mr. Brown were made
known by his best patrons of both parties to President
Cleveland, who retained him in office through hio
first administration, and to President Harrison, by
whom he was re-appointed April gth, 1889. He has
therefore served as postmaster continuously for nearly
twelve years to the perfect satisfaction of his towns-
men and the post-office department.

Mr. Brown is a member of the M. E. church, of the
G. A. R. and of the American Legion of Honor; he is
also a member of the Masonic Fraternity and for two
years was master of Richmond L-odge No. 66, F. & A.



OLIVER H. GRIFFIN, whose portrait is herewith pre-
sented, fittingly exemplifies the American, idea of pro-
gression and enterprise, pressing forward with in-
domitable energy to the accomplishment of greater
things, each elevation being the stepping-stone to
something more advanced.

He was born in New York city, and came to Staten
Island when about six years of age. At fourteen
years of age he secured a position as clerk in M. S.
Tynan's saw-mill, but soon, having an opportunity
for a more lucrative position, he left the saw-mill
and took charge of Hall's coal business, which posi-
tion he held for ten years.

Mr. Griffin then was appointed ticket agent for the
S. I. R. T. R. R. Co., at Whitehall street, New York,
where his business aptitude quickly won him a high

On June loth, 1890, he received his commission,
under the Harrison administration, as postmaster at
Stapleton, which office he still fills to the entire satis-
faction of the people. It was through his instrumen-
tality that the handsome new post-office building
was secured.

Mr. Griffin is active in Masonic matters and the A.
O. U. W. , is a member of the Staten Island Quartette
Club, and for many years has been prominently identi-
fied with the Edgewater Fire Department.



WILLIAM BOWEN was born in Boston in 1840 and was edu-
cated in the grammar schools of that city. The family
moved to New York when William was fifteen years of
age. When he became of age he embarked in the
liquor business and, previous to his removal to Staten
Island in 1868, was owner of a wholesale liquor store at
31 Broadway. He was proprietor of the New York
hotel at Vanderbilt L/andingfrom 1868 to 1889, when he
retired from business and removed to his present
residence, the L/eaycraft homestead, on Simonsoii

In 1873, ^'I r - Bowen was appointed superintendent of
the poor of the town of Southfield, for one year, to fill
the vacancy caused by the death of Capt. Coppers. At
the expiration of his term he was re-elected on the
Democratic ticket and has held the office continuously
since except one term when the Democratic ticket
known as the "3-B v ticket, (Brown for sheriff, Brick
for member of assembly and Bowen for superintend-
ent of the poor), was defeated.

Mr. Bowen's term of office is noted in the annals of
Richmond county politics for the vigorous fight which
he and Mr. Clark made against the "poor-house com-
bine, " which resulted in securing an act of the legisla-
ture abolishing the office of superintendent of the
poor and reviving the office of poor-master, and making
the poor-master and the keeper of the alms-house
responsible to the board of supervisors.

One of the results of Mr. Bowen's fight against the
"poor-house combine" was the capture of the Demo-
cratic convention in 1889 by the ring politicians and
the defeat of Mr. Bowen for the nomination. He, how-
ever, received the unanimous nomination on the Re-
publican ticket and the individual endorsement of the
better class of Democrats. At the election he ran
over i, 600 ahead of his ticket and was elected by a
handsome majority.

A desperate effort was made to count him out by
forged election returns, but the work was so bung-
ling] y done that the fraud was discovered and defeat-



PAUL LATOURETTE, for many years the tax collector of
the town of Nortlifield, was born at Summerville, S. I.,
August nth, 1830, and belongs to the old Latourette
family which settled on Staten Island nearly two centu-
ries ago.

In his early life, Mr. Latourette followed the water
and was an oyster planter on a large scale.

He was collector for the town of Nortlifield in 1883
and has held the office continuously since that time,
except that he refuses the nomination every third

On July 2oth, 1851, he was married to Miss Jane Lyons.
They have four children:

Paul, Jr., born April yth, 1852, married June 7th, 1874,
to Miss Marietta Wheeler, and lives at Mariners,- Har-
bor. They have six children, May, George, Paul, Sadie,
Maude and Florence.

Alonzo, born Dec. 25th, 1853, married Jan. loth, 1875,
to Miss Carrie Smith, and lives at Summerville. They
have three children, Gertrude, Louis and Jane-

Christopher C., unmarried, living at Summerville.

Jane, born Jan. ist, 1860, married May 2oth, 1878, to
John Wheeler of Staten Island. They live in Brooklyn,
and have three children, Charles, Christopher and Paul.




CORNELIUS SIMONSON, JR., highway commissioner for

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Online LibraryRichard Mather BaylesProminent men of Staten Island, 1893 → online text (page 2 of 9)