Richard Mather Bayles.

Prominent men of Staten Island, 1893 online

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a New York daily.

Later, he was employed for many years on the
Staats-Zeitung , and in 1883 he established himself in
New York under the firm of Meyer & Kessler, which
firm to-day is prospering at 91 Cliff street.

Mr. Kessler was married on Stateii Island in 1871 to
a niece of Capt. Meyer, and since that time, with the
exception of a few years, he has been a resident of
the Island.

At the urgent requests of many prominent Staten
Island Germans, Mr. Kessler established a German
newspaper on the Island the German Staten Island
Post in 1888, which paper has rapidly grown and is
still increasing ii "latioii, beside being an excel-

lent advertising mecu^ m.

Mr. Kessler is a member of Klopstock Lodge, No.
760, F. & A. M., vS. I. Quartette Club, Erheiterung,
Turnverein, and also an active member of the Arion
Society of New York. He is very popular in German
and American social circles.




Proprietor WEST EXD HOTEL, Totteiiville.

This hotel, standing between the Perth Amboy ferry
and the Staten Island railroad station, is the most,
central and conveniently located, as well as the
largest, and most commodious hotel in the village.

During the present season Mr. Streeter has built a
large new dining-room with kitchen attached. The
bar-room, reading-room and restaurant have been re-
furnished and redecorated, the sleeping-rooms have
been furnished in oak, and every part of the hotel has
been put in first-class order.

Mr. Streeter's dinners and clam-bakes are known
all over the Island, and the hotel is a favorite resort
for wheelmen, excursionists and sailing parties.

Benjamin E. Streeter was born in Springfield, Mass.,
in 1847 an( l came to Staten Island in 1866 and was for
several years conductor on the Stat^-n Island railroad.
In 1 88 1, Mr. George Bechtel pur- 1 the West End

Hotel from Mr. Nicholas Killr-.^yer and leased it to
Mr. Streeter who had previottsly had experience in
several large city hotels such as the Massasoit House,
Springfield, Bagg's Hotel, Utica, and Stanwix Hall,
Albany, and has been able to make the West End a
success from the beginning.




ANDREWS ABRAMS, architect, carpenter, builder and
contractor, Tottenville, was born in Sweden in 1842,
and learned his trade in his native town.

At the age of 18 years, he entered the Ancient Ma-
rine service and two years later joined the United
States Navy, and served on the Virginia, of the Gulf
squadron, and assisted in the capture of fifteen block-
ade runners. At the close of the war he was honorably
discharged from the service and settled in Tottenville.
He immediately went to work at his trade and soon
established himself as a master builder, contractor
and architect. Mr. Abrams estimates the number of
houses he has built at nearly two hundred, and has
built nearly all the houses on Johnson and Wood
avenues and Centre street.

His enterprise has kept pace with his industry and
he is the owner of eleven houses in Tottenville, most
of which are double.

Mr. Abrams is a member of Lenhart Post G. A. R.,
and one of the trustees of the village of Tottenville.




SLAIGHT & DECKER, grocers, Rossville. Elmer E.
Slaight and Alvin S. Decker, both of Rossville, formed
a co-partnership in 1891 and began business in the
old store occupied for many years by the late Isaac

Mr. Slaight had been for nine years a clerk in the
store of Seguine & Decker at Rossville, where he
made a wide acquaintance, which with his personal
popularity, had brought a large trade to the firm of
Slaight & Decker.

Tn 1892, they built the large store which they now oc-
cupy, corner of Richmond road and Winant avenue.
In Febrtiary 1894, Mr. Slaight was appointed post-
master, the first change in the office in twenty-three

Mr. Slaight and Mr. Decker are both members of old
Staten Island families, and from the first enjoyed the
confidence of the community in which they estab-
lished their business, and have received a liberal

1 62



THOMAS WILLIAM MOORE, JR., ycmiigest son of Capt. T.
W. Moore, Sr., was born at Annadale in 1870. At the
early age of seventeen years he succeeded his father
in the grocery business, and a few years later pur-
chased the store and adjoining property.

Mr. Moore is one of the energetic, pushing young
men of Staten Island and has succeeded in very large-
ly increasing the business, and now has a trade in
groceries, provisions, flour, feed, hay, straw, etc.,
with customers all the way from New Dorp to Totteii-

1111892, he married Miss Gertrude K. Howell, of
Huguenot, and has one child, Kitty.

The business w r as established in 1872 by Capt. T.
W. Moore, Sr., who was also a native of Staten Island,
and held the office of postmaster for nineteen years,
from 1875, until it was removed to the Annadale
station in the spring of 1894.

The family have always been staunch Republicans,
and have considerable influence in that part of the



HORATIO JUDAH SHARRETT was born in Brooklyn in 1870.
In 1873, his father moved to West New Brighton, and
later, to Port Richmond.

Mr. Sharrett was educated in the Port Richmond
High School and was graduated in 1887, at the head of
his class and was honored at being chosen its valedic-

His first business experience was obtained as clerk
in the office of the well-known and popular real es-
tate agent, the late Clarence M. Johnson. On the de-
parture of Mr. Johnson in 1890, for the West, Mr.
Sharrett succeeded to the large business of his former
employer, and by dint of careful management, energy
and liberal advertising, he has succeeded in making
for himself a reputation and business as one of the
leading real estate agents on the Island.

In 1894, during a hotly contested campaign, Mr.
Sharrett was elected town clerk of Northfield on the
Republican ticket.

He is a member of different orders and societies,
among them the American Legion of Honor, Ancient
Order of Foresters, Order of American Firemen,
Port Richmond Engine Co., No. 3, and of Trinity M. E.




THERE is no person to whom the village of Garret-
sons owes more of its rapid growth and prosperity
than to Wilson A. Cleveland, architect and builder.

He is a large property owner in the place and has
built many of the dwellings there. He also built and
owns the block in which the post-office is located, was
instrtimental in having the post-office established
there and was himself appointed postmaster in 1890,
an office which he still holds.

Mr. Cleveland was born at Harwich, Mass., May iSth,
1847. On Feb. 28th, 1865, he married Miss Laura J.
Watson, daughter of the late Capt. C. H. Watson of the
U. S. navy. They have four children, two sons and
two daughters.

Mr. Cleveland came to Staten Island in 1872 and his
enterprise and thorough knowledge of his trade soon
enabled him to take first rank among the builders of
Staten Island, and during the twenty-two years that he
has lived here, he has worked on many of the finest
residences in the county, such as Sir Roderick Cam-
eron's at Arrochar, and David J. Tyson's at Todt Hill.
He also superintended the building of Moses Beach's
mansion at Peekskill-on-the-Hudson.




EDMUND G. SCHAEFER, Stapleton, dealer in furniture,
and upholstering goods, carpets, oilcloths, etc.

Mr. Schaefer was born in Stapleton in 1869, and was
educated in the German. Lutheran private school. In
1887, he was made partner with his father in the fur-
niture business, a business which his father had es-
tablished in 1860. In 1891, he purchased the entire
business, and since that time has been sole proprietor.
He has been very successful in enlarging the business,
and in increasing the patronage of the store, which
justly ranks as one of the first and largest of its kind
011 the Island. Mr. Schaefer has an exceptional busi-
ness capacity, and is thoroughly conversant with every
branch of the trade.

1 66



CORNELIUS A. SHEA, cigar manufacturer, Pleasant
Plains, was born near Kreischerville in 1845. His
father was also a native of Staten Island. His grand-
father, William, was one of the most prominent citi-
zens of Rossville and was justice of the peace, notary
ptiblic, commissioner of deeds and general adviser of
the entire community. Shea's lane, now New York
avenue, was named in his honor.

In 1870, Mr. Shea was married to Miss Mary E.. Cole,
daughter of John H. Cole, of Richmond Valley. The
same year he opened a cigar factory in the building
which he still occupies. He has been clerk of the
school district for thirteen years, trustee for nine
years, and is now a member of the board of education.
He has been trustee of St. Mark's Church for thirteen
years and superintendent of the Siinday-school for
seventeen years. Mr. Shea has always been an ear-
nest and active Republican but would never accept the
nomination for any public office.




A. MORD, Bay street and Vanderbilt avenue, Clifton,
dealer in drygoods, clothing, men's furnishing goods,
notions, etc.

Mr. Mord established himself in the drygoods and
clothing business on. Staten Island in 1876, driving his
wagon all through the interior of the Island from
Clifton to Kreischerville. In iSSi, he opened a store
at 43 New York avenue, where he conducted business
until 1889. He then purchased, at a cost of $12,000,
the large store which he now occupies, enlarging and
improving it, putting in a glass front, and now has a
store 30x60 ft. filled with one of the most complete
stocks of drygoods, clothing, etc., to be found on
Staten Island. His customers come from every part
of the county, and his wagons are out every day de-
livering goods from St. George to Kreischerville.

Mr. Mord and his sons deserve great credit for the
industry and perseverance with which they have
pushed their business; and they have had the satisfac-
tion of seeing it grow from a very small beginning
to a large and prosperous trade.

1 68



WILBUR & MANEE, grocers and coal dealers, Pleasant
Plains, Prince's Bay P. O.

CHARLES F. WILBUR, senior partner of Wilbur & Manee,
was born at Saratoga, New York, in 1854. He came to
Staten Island with his father's family in 1857, when
his father, John W. Wilbur, came here as contractor for
the building of the Staten Island railroad. On the
completion of the road, his father was made superin-
tendent, a position which he held, with the exception
of a few years, tintil the opening of the Rapid Transit
road in 1886. In 1878, the subject of this sketch was
appointed conductor on the railroad, which position
he held until his resignation in 1887.




CHARLES C. MANEE, the junior member of the firm of
Wilbur & Manee, is a descendant of one of the old
Huguenot families, which settled on Staten Island
probably about the close of the seventeenth century.
He was born at Pleasant Plains in 1858 and has always
resided on the Island. In 1876, he was graduated from
the Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie. In
1888, the firm of Wilbur & Manee was formed and the
business of Sebastian L,aForge at Pleasant Plains was
purchased. Both members of the firm had a wide ac-
quaintance and many personal friends in Westfield,
and rapidly built up a large and lucrative business.
In 1889, they opened a coal yard, and this branch of
the business has also proved successful. The firm
has always been known for its fair dealing, and court-
eous treatment of customers.



STEPHENS HOUSE, Pleasant Plains, Capt. Stephen H.
Slover, proprietor, is one of the best known and
best kept road houses in Westfield. It was built by
Mr. Slover in 1886 and was the first hotel ever opened
in the village.

Capt. Slover is a descendant of the Slover family
which settled in the old colonial days. He was born
at Old Bridge, Middlesex county, N. J. , in 1854, a son
of Capt. Joshua Slover. He was graduated from
Rutgers College in 1872 when only 18 years of age. He
spent the first five years of his business life as clerk
in a store and then went into the steamboat business,




and was for ten years captain on the Lehigh Valley
Railroad boats plying between Perth Amboy and New

In 1883, Mr. Slover married Armenia, daughter of
William DeWaters, and granddaughter of the late
Abram Latourette. His first hotel venture was as
proprietor of the Union hotel, Tottenville. This hotel
he kept for two years and during that time he pur-
chased the land and built the hotel which he now oc-
cupies. This last venture proved successful beyond
his highest hopes, and Mr. Slover is now one of the
most prosperous hotel men on the Island.




LEVENGSTON SNEDEKER, JR. , of Port Richmond, although
a yoting man, is recognized as one of the foremost
business men of the north shore. He is engaged in
the real estate, general insurance and steamship
agency business at the long-established agency of A. Z.
Ross, deceased, 133 Richmond terrace, near the Port
Richmond post-office, where, although but a short time
in business, he has not only kept the bulk of the trade
of the old concern, but has largely increased it in vol-
ume: this is due to his untiring zeal and activity and
to his strictly fair and honest dealings with his pa-

Among the different re-liable and old-established
companies for which he is agent, are: Royal, Com-
mercial Union, and Westchester Fire Insurance Com-
panies, New York Life Insurance Company, Travelers'
Life and Accident Insurance Company, United States
Mutual Accident Association, Lloyd's Plate Glass In-
surance Company and the American and White Star
steamship lines.

The possession of the above valuable agencies is

SUPPLEMENT 1894. 173

a guaranty that any fire or other risks entrusted to
him will be placed in first-class companies.

In addition, he is well known and noted as a fine
rmisician and an athlete, being- the solo cornetist of
the famous Apollo Band of which he is a charter
member and was at one time conductor; and is also a
member of the athletic corps of the Seventh Regi-
ment, National Guard, New York state. As arrmsician,
he is self-taught; as an athlete, he ranks among the
best of amateurs as a runner, having won several prizes
in running races, and now holds the championship of
the Seventh Regiment.

Mr. Snedeker does not, however, allow any of the
above pastimes to interfere with his legitimate busi-

As a further mark of the esteem and confidence in
which Mr. Snedeker is held, the Co-operative Building
Bank of New York has selected him as its repre-
sentative in Port Richmond, where he has established
a branch of the parent company.

All persons having any business in his line, may feel
assured that, if entrusted to him, it will receive
prompt and careful attention.

Mr. Snedeker was born in Elizabeth, N. J., twenty-
three years ago, but when about five months old,
with his parents, he came to Stateii Island, where
he has since resided and become identified with its in-
terests. By marriage he is connected with the old Van-
Duzer family whose ancestors for generations were
born 011 Staten Island, and on his mother's side he is re-
lated to the Vanderbilt family, thereby more closely
allying himself to Richmond county.

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SUPPLEMENT 1894. 175


THE ATLANTIC INN, Grant City, E. C. Werthmuller,
proprietor, is one of the largest and finest new road-
houses on Staten Island, and is a favorite stopping-place
for the members of the L,. A. W., for family parties,
driving parties, etc. It has wide shady verandas, elegant
rooms handsomely ftirnished, and its bar and table are
always supplied with the best the season affords. The
proprietor spares 110 pains to make his guests com-
fortable and to supply them with everything they may

The hotel is also provided with ample sheds and
stables for the horses and carriages of both permanent
and transient guests.

The hotel stands in a healthful location and com-
mands a magnificent view of the bay from Sandy Hook
to Coney Island, and is the nearest point to the Van-
derbilt mausoleum, said to be the handsomest and
most costly tomb in the world.



FRED WILKINS, proprietor of the Oriental Hotel and
Oriental Park Hotel, may well be called the founder of
Eltingville. When he located there twenty-eight
years ago, there were but two houses in the village.

He purchased a plot of two and a half acres of
swamp land adjoining Eltingville station, drained it
and filled it in, and with his own hands planted the
trees which now form what is probably the finest
grove and picnic grounds on Staten Island, and in 1874
he built the Oriental Hotel.

When he planted the grove, looking forward to the
time when it would become a favorite resort for picnic
parties and clubs from New York, his friends re-
marked that he would never be able to compete with
the parks and play-grounds of New York for popular
favor, but he replied lhat by the time his trees were
grown picnic parties in the New York parks would be
a thing of the past. Time has proved Mr. Wilkins'
prophecy to be correct and fully justified his enter-
prise and farsightedness in expending the large sums
of money required to redeem the swamp and make it
a delightful summer resort.

In 1876, Mr. Wilkins built in the centre of the grove
what at that time was the largest and finest dancing
pavilion on Staten Island, with bowling alley, shoot-
ing gallery, etc., attached.

In the spring of 1894, he rebuilt the old grocery on
the corner of Amboy avenue and EltingvilJe avenue,
and transformed it into the Oriental Park Hotel, one
of the finest road-houses in the county.

Mr. Wilkins kas always had great faith in the future
of Staten Island and has spent his money liberally to
improve and beautify his property.




MARSENA COUNSELLOR AYRES, harness-maker, Richmond
Valley (Tottenville P. O.), keeps a full line
of robes, blankets and all kinds of horse fur-
nishings. The business was originally established
in 1 86 1 by his father, the late Michael C. Ayres, pre-
viously of Rahway, N. J. The business has been con-
tinued in this same location for thirty-two years; from
1 86 1 to 1871 by the late Michael C. Ayres, from 1869 to
1886 by Mr. Ayres and his son, the present proprietor,
and since that time by the latter. Mr. M. C. Ayres,
the founder of the business, was, during his lifetime,
one of the best known and best respected men of Tot-
tenville. He was for over twenty years clerk of the
South Baptist Church, and for several years was a
member of the board of town auditors and took an
active part in all matters pertaining to the welfare of
the general community. His death occurred in 1886
and was a great loss not only to the South Baptist
Church, but to the entire community.





JAMES D. KEELEY, town clerk of the town of Southfield,
was born Aug. 2oth, 1868, is a native of Clifton and
son of Daniel Keeley, ex-supervisor of the town of
Southfield. He was educated in the public schools
of Staten Island, and is a solid Democrat. Mr. Keeley
is a builder by trade, and is one of the prominent
builders of Southfield, where he has built a number
of handsome buildings.

He also holds the office of school collector of his
district, and was elected town clerk at the last election.
He has the distinction of being the youngest man ever
elected to the office which he now holds.




BUTLER BROS. , architects, contractors, carpenters and
builders, Tottenville. This firm consists of Israel
Butler, Jr., and David J. Butler, and was established in

The first building erected by the firm was the resi-
dence of ex-Sheriff Vaughart on Fisher avenue, Totten-
ville. From the first this firm has been one of the lead-
ing of Westfield and has put up some of the largest
and finest buildings in the town, among which we may
note the large residences of Richard Berg, at Annadale;
Arthur W. Browne and George L. Harrison, at Pleasant
Plains; R. C. Watson, H. S. Bedell and Geo. Cunning-




ham at Tottenville; and Claus Wilkins at Kreischer-

This firm also built the large hotels of Christian
Nielson and Mrs. L,orretta Killmeyer at Kreischerville,
Amicitia Hall at Pleasant Plains, the Aquehonga club-
house at Tottenville, and Elmer T. Butler's coach
house and stables 011 the south shore.

Both members of the firm are young and enterpris-
ing men, sons of the late Israel Butler, Sr., who was a
prominent builder in the earlier days of Tottenville,
and bid fair to do their part to building up the west
side of the Island.




JACOB S. ELLIS & SON, ship and boat builders, Totten-

Jacob S. Ellis was born near Rossville, in 1820, was
brought tip and educated on Staten Island and
learned his trade in Webb's shipyard in New York. In
1850, he located at Belleville, N. J., where he carried
on the business of building- freight schooners until
1 86 1, when Mr. ElHs returned to Staten Island and
purchased the shipyard now owned by J. S. Ellis &Son,
and where for over thirty years he has carried on a
large and sxiccessful business.

Hampton C. Ellis, the junior member of the firm,
was born in Belleville, N. J., in 1860, while his father
was in business at that place. He was reared and




educated on Staten Island, and at the age of twenty-
one years was taken into partnership with his father.

Among the vessels which they have built and
which are still in service are the following: Pilot boats,
Thos. D. Harrison, Jos. F. L,oubat, Wm. H. Starbuck;
tugs, Chas. Runyan, Rambler, E. E. Heipershausen,
Jos. Peene, Jr., D. S. Asnot; brigs, Nettie, Robert Dillon;
bark, John Zittolosen; schooners, L,uola Merchison,
E. S. Porrel, Sunny South, HarryKnowlton, Asa Lyons,
Oliver Schofield, Helen A. Hoyt.

The firm have always enjoyed an excellent reputa-
tion, not only for honesty and responsibility, but for
skill and designing vessels, and promptness and enter-
prise with which their contracts are executed.


SUPPLEMENT 1894. 185


JOHN B. WOOD, justice of the peace of the town of West-
field, was born in Perth Amboy, N. J., in 1840, son of the
late Joseph B. Wood. Although born in New Jersey
Mr. Wood conies of a long line of ancestors who have
been prominent in the official and business life of
Staten Island.

After obtaining a thorotigh public school education,
Mr. Wood learned the trade of ship-carpenter with his
uncle, after which he learned the trade of steam-
heating and gas-fitting under John W. Sneath, engi-
neer of the well-known firm of Mason & Dodge, of New
York, pioneers in the steam-heating business.

Mr. W T ood was for a long time employed on steam-
heaters for the Jewett oil-cloth factory, at Elizabeth-
port, N. J., and helped to fit up P. T. Barnum's old
mtiseum, and was for years superintendent of the
steam-heating machinery department of Stewart
Greer & Co., sugar refiners, of New York. He was
also the first engineer employed at the Sayre & Fisher
fire-brick factory at Sayreville, N. J., and in 1890 de-
signed and stiperintended the building of O. H. Bar-
nard's silk mill at Richmond Valley, put in the en-
gine, boiler, gas plant and all the machinery.

In 1872, Mr. Wood moved to Tottenville, and two
years later was appointed justice of the peace to fill a

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Online LibraryRichard Mather BaylesProminent men of Staten Island, 1893 → online text (page 8 of 9)