William D Murphy.

Biographical sketches of the state officers and members of the Legislature of the state of New York, in 1858 online

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eminent and successful, and within the last quarter of



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 153

a century he has traveled, on an average, in his
practice, over twenty thousand miles a year. He has
held various town offices, including that of Supervisor,
and was a member of the Assembly in 1846. He was
elected to his present position by a union of Ameri-
cans and Republicans, but is closely attached to Ameri-
can principles. He was formerly a Free Soil Whig,
and has alwjays been an active politician. He was
married, in 1827, to Miss Ida J. Smith, a native of
Vermont, by whom he has three children; and attends
the Baptist church.



NATHAN BOUT ON.

Mr. Bouton resides in Virgil, Cortland county,
N. Y., where he was born in 1802. His ancestors
were among the earliest settlers in New England,
and his grand-father was a Revolutionary soldier.
His father, who was a native of Westchester county,
N. Y., died in 1847, and his mother, who was born
in Connecticut, died in 1805. It was Mr. Bouton
who wrote, at the dictation of .his father, in Feb-
ruary, 1828, the first newspaper article that ever
appeared in public on the subject of the New York &
Erie rail-road. He received only a common school
education, but has been a successful practical sur-
veyor since the age of twenty. When about this age
he commenced farming for himself a short distance
from home, where he remained till about ten years
since, when at his father's death he purchased the



154 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

old homestead, on which he now lives. He held
various town offices previous to his election to his
present position, and has always been a quiet and
influential man in the community where he resides.
He is a zealous advocate of temperance, and all other
moral and religious reforms; was formerly a Whig;
then a member of the Liberty party; and is now a
confirmed believer in the Republican faith. He has
delivered numerous interesting addresses on the sub-
ject of agriculture, and has been three years president
of the agricultural society in the town where he re-
sides. He has, also, considerable literary taste, and
has written an interesting history of his native town.
He was married to his present wife, Miss Emma
Hubbard, in 1846, and has been a very worthy mem-
ber of the Congregational church since 1822.



WILLIAM BRIGGS.

Mr. Briggs was born in 1808, in Lisbon, St. Law-
rence county, N. Y., where he has always since
resided. He is of E;iglish descent. His father, who
died in 1832, was among the earliest settlers in the
valley of the St. Lawrence, and his oldest brother,
the first white male child born in the county. His
father was born in Dutchess county, from whence he
removed to Schenectady county, and his mother was
a sister of the father of Benjamin Tibbetts, of Albany.
After his mother's death, his father, who was a com-
missioned officer in the war of 1812, fearing to leave



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 155

his children exposed, in his absence, to the enemy,
placed them all in an ox cart under the care of a
trusty Frenchman who took them in that way to
Schenectady county, where they were distributed
among their relatives until the close of the war,
when they returned to St. Lawrence county. Mr.
Briggs received a common English education, and at
the age of twenty spent about eight months as a clerk
in a store, when his health failing, he returned home
and remained on the farm till his father's death.
The farm was then divided among the chidren, after
a protracted law suit in which the title to it was
closely contested, he taking charge of that portion
assigned him, which he has always since cultivated,
employing himself during the winter until 1838 by
teaching. He has held consecutively the office of
School Commissioner, Town Superintendent and
Supervisor, and was elected to his present position by
nearly a thousand majority. He was formerly a Free
Soil Whig; is strongly anti-slavery in his views; and
was among the first to take part in the organization
of the Republican party. He was married to his
present wife, Mrs. Ann Bosworth, in 1854, and is a
member of the Congregational church.



WILLIAM BUFFINGTON.

Mr. Buffington was born in 1817, in Cambridge,
Washington county, N. Y., and is of English and
Scotch descent. His parents were natives of Massa-



156 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

chusetts, from whence they removed to Maine, and
thence to Washington county. In 1818 they went
into Onondaga county, and in 1826 settled in Catta-
raugus county, where the subject of this sketch now
resides. Both his parents are now dead. Mr. B.
received a common English education, and engaged
in farming from the age of twenty till the opening of
the New York and Erie rail-road, when he built a
hotel where the village of Cattaraugus now stands,
which he still keeps. He has held various town
offices including that of Supervisor, and was elected
to his present position by a handsome vote. He was
formerly a Free Soil Whig; was among the first to
enlist in the Republican movement; is an active and
decided partisan, often taking the stump in support
of the principles of his party; an uncompromising
Temperance man ; and never drank a glass of liquor
in his life. He was married to his present, worthy
wife, Miss Eleanor Ballard, in 1850; is a believer in
the Calvanistic Baptist doctrine; and a useful man.



LESTER M. CASE,

Mr. Case is a native of Nelson, Madison county,
N. Y., and was born in 1819. He is descended from
English stock, and his parents came from Connecticut
to New York about sixty years ago. His father is
dead, and his mother still living, at the age of seventy.
He completed his education at the Cortland academy,
under the tuition of Prof. Woolworth, now secretary



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 157

of the Board of Regents of the Universit}-, and has
been a farmer ever since. He was married in 1845
to Miss Huldah, daughter of Judge Talcott Backus,
and usually attends the Presbyterian and Baptist
churches. He never held any public office till his
election to this legislature; was formerly a Free Soil
Whig, and early identified himself with the Republican
movement. He is a quiel, industrious and influential
politician; a reliable and attentive legislator; and a
man whose conduct is always based on principle.



JOHN W INT HROP CHANLER.

Mr. Chanler is a young man, in the morning of
life, and one of the most industrious and useful mem-
bers on the floor of the House. He is the son of an
Episcopal clergyman, and was born in 1827, in the
city of New York. He is a descendant of John Win-
throp, the first governor of Massachusetts, and Petrus-
Stuyvesant, the last director-gen-eral of New Nether-
lands, now New York. His father, Dr. Isaac Chanler,
who served as a volunteer on the medical staff during
the Revolution, and who died in 1853, was a native of
Charleston, S. C, to which place his father emigrated
in 1733, from Bristol, England. Mr. Chanler re-
ceived the rudiments of his education in Connecticut
and Troy, N. Y., and graduated at Columbia college,
as valedictorian of his class, in 1847. In the fall of
the same year he sailed for Europe, and entered the
14



158 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

law and philosophical department of the University of
Berlin. When the government closed the institution,
at the breaking out of the revolution in 1848, he
commenced a traveling tour through Europe; attend-
ed lectures at the University of Sorbonne, Paris;
and after an absence of a year, returned to the uni-
versity at Berlin, which had then been reopened.
After an absence of some three years, he returned to
New York city, and entered the law office of Edgar
S. Van Winkle. He was admitted to the bar in
1851, and has since been actively engaged in practice.
He never held any public position before his election
to the present Assembly, and has always been a
staunch, fearless Democrat of the national, conserva-
tive school. He is still single ; attends the Episcopal
church ; and is probably the most promising young
man in the House.



DAVID 1. CHATFIELD.

Mr. Chatfield was born in the city of New York,
in 1817, and is of English and Holland extraction.
His parents died when he was quite young, and at
the age of five he was placed in the old Orphan
asylum in his native city, where he remained till he
was twelve years old, when he was bound out to a
physician in Orange county, with whom he stayed
about eighteen months, and then returned to the
city. After working at the manufacture of willow
baskets about a year he entered the law office of



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 119

Daniel B. Talmadge, who was subsequently Judge of
the Superior court, and was admitted to the bar in
1839. He was a member of the House in 1847, and.
was elected to the present Assembly by a majority
of nearly eight hundred over the combined American
and Republican vote in his district. He is a reliable
Democrat of the national stamp; is married; has a
pleasant exterior; and represents his constituents
truly and faithfully.



DAVID M. CHAUNCEY.

Mr. Chauncey hails from the city of Brooklyn, and
was elected to the seat he now occupies by upwards
of twelve hundred majority over the combined Ame-
rican and Republican forces. Early in 1849 he went
to California, where he amassed an independent for-
tune, and was the first State and County Assessor of
San Francisco. In 1852 he was elected from that
city to the legislature, and after the adjournment of
that body returned to New York, where he spent a
year and then returned to California where he passed
another j^ear, and finally settled in the city of Brook-
lyn. He is an industrious, influential, correct, wide-
awake business man, and is now operating in various
financial enterprises in Wall street in the city of
New York. He is a frank, fearless, clever, inde-
pendent, open-hearted, and whole-soul feUow; a
liberal and zealous Democrat, of the conservative
school; and discharges his legislative duties with



160 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

credit to himself and fidelity to his constituents. He
is upwards of thirty years of age; still single; and
-has a neat, genteel, manly personal appearance.



NOAH A. CHILDS.

Mr. Childs is one of the most quiet, unostenta-
tious, and laborious men in the House, and com-
^mands a large amount of influence in the social and
political circles in which he moves. He hails from the
Green Mountain State, and was born in Bakersville,
Fairfield county, in that State, in December 1810.
He is of English descent, and his father, who is a
native of Massachusetts, is still living at that place.
Col. Childs who distinguished himself in the Mexi-
can war, is a relative of his, as are also Daniel Lee
Childs, of Boston, and Marcus Childs, of Canada
West, who was a member of Parliament for some
years previous to the Revolution of 1838. He is
likewise, a brother of Thomas Childs, Jr., who was a
•member of Congress in 1835. He was brought up in
a dense, uncultivated forest; received scarcely any
educational advantages; and at the ago of twenty-
three spent a short time in Boston, after which he
married Miss Lucia A. Fuller, and removed to the
city of New York, where he engaged in the milk busi-
ness. Having followed this about ten years he spent
some twelve years in distilling, when he again sold
out, and has since been exclusively engaged in travel-
ing. He never held any public office before his elec-



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 161

tion to the present House, and has always been an
unfalterhig Democrat, never refusing to contribute
liberally from his time and means for the advance-
ment of Democratic principles. He attends the
Congregational church, and has probably been more
generous in his contributions to religious and benevo-
lent objects than any other man in the community
where he resides.



ELIHU C. CHURCH.

Mr. Church was born in 1803, in Sutton, Worces-
ter county, 'Mass., and is a lineal descendant of Major
John Church, who is so well known in the history of
King Philip's war. His father, who was a native of
East Hadham, Conn., and who served through the
Revolution, acting, part of the time, as private secre-
tary to Gen. La Fayette, emigrated to Jefferson co.,
N. Y., in 1805, and died in 1831, at the age of seven-
ty-six. Mr. Church's educational advantages were
very limited, though he was qualified, at the age of
twenty, to take charge of a common school, which he
taught, during the winter, until he was twenty-eight.
He has been a constant and close reader of news-
papers since the age of fourteen, and has thus made
himself master of the English language. At the age
of fifteen he went to the manufacturing trade, which
he followed till 1835, since which time he has been
engaged in farming. In 1827 he married Miss Emily
Makepeace, a most admirable lady, by whom he has



162 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

three daughters and seven sons. He is a member of
the Methodist church, and two of his sons are mini-
sters. He has held various town offices, and was a
member of the House in 1842 and '43, and was again
elected to the seat he now occupies. Although now
acting wuth the Republican party,, he has always been
what he esteems a genuine Democrat, and is bitter in
his hostility to the accursed vice of intemperance.
He is distinguished, both in public and private life,
for his uprightness, honesty and integrity, and faith-
fully discharges his representative duties.



HOMER COLLINS.

Mr. Collins is a native of Meriden, Conn. He was
born on the 15th of May, 1789, and is the oldest
member of the Hous^. He is descended from Puritan
stock, and his paternal ancestors came from England
in 1630, and settled in Boston. His father, who was
a Revolutionary soldier, and a native of Connecticut,
settled, in 1797, in Lewis county, N. Y., where the
subject of this sketch has since resided. Mr. Collins
was educated at the Fairfield academy, in Herkimer
county, and at the age of twenty enlisted in the regu-
lar army as a member of the 29th Regiment, in which
he served a year and returned home. In 1819 he
married Miss Lucy Phelps, and engaged in farming,
which has chiefly been his occupation ever since. At
the close of the war of 1812 he became Captain of an
independent company of artillery, and was subse-



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 163

quently elected Major. He has held various town
offices where he resides, including that of Justice of
the Peace and Supervisor, and in 1822 was appointed
side Judge in Lewis county. He was, also, in 1820,
deputy Census Marshal, and took the census in that
county. He is an old-fashioned Democrat of the Jef-
fersonian school ; in 1848 supported Mr. Van Buren
for the Presidency; and is an active and zealous Re-
publican. He is an incorruptible legislator, and an
exemplary man._



WILLIAM COPPERNOLL.

Mr. Coppernoll was born in 1812, in Norway, Her-
kimer county, N. Y. He now resides in the town of
Ohio, where he located about thirty years ago. He
is of Holland and German descent, and his parents,
who are still living, emigrated from Montgomery
county to Herkimer about fifty years* ago. His grand-
father served through the Revolution and drew a
pension, after the war, till the time of his death.
Mr. C. received a common school education, and
worked at the carpenter's trade from the age of fifteen
until about six years ago, since which time he has
been a Justice of the Peace. He has held several
other town offices, and arose from a private to the
post of Colonel in the 4th Brigade of the 12th Regi-
ment of riflemen. He was formerly a Democrat, and
is now a zealous Republican. In 1832 he married
Miss D. M. Ash, and attends the Methodist and
Presbyterian churches. He is a worthy man.



164 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.



DUNHAM J. GRAIN.

Mr. Grain was born in 1831, and is, therefore,
one of the younge&t members in the House, He is
a native of Warren, Herkimer county, N. Y., and a
son of Hon. Wm. G. Grain, who was speaker of the
Assembly in 1846, and who was the author of the
law authorizing the call of a Gonstitutional conven-
tion, in that year. He sprung from substantial Re-
volutionary stock, and is a lineal descendant of old
Israel Putnam. He was prepared for college at Ox-
ford, Ghenango county, and graduated at "Old Union,"
in 1850, after which he entered the law office of
Richard Gooper, of Gooperstown, completing his
studies with the Hon. B. F. Butler, in the city of
New York, and was admitted to the bar in 1854. He
immediately began to practice, and is now doing an
extensive and lucrative business in New York, as one
of the firm of Stewart, Slallknecht & Grain. He
never held any public position till his election to the
present Assembly, and has always been a sound, un-
yielding Democrat, after the fashion of his father. He
is a permanent and influential contributor to the
Herkimer Gounty Democrat; a pleasant, sociable,
free-hearted and energetic young man; and possesses,
in an eminent degree, all those manly attributes, which
never fail to make good friends. He is a member of
the Episcopal church; still single; and the ladies say,
very good looking!



BIOGRArHICAL SKETCHES. 165



JOHN A. DAYTON.

Mr. Dayton is a native of Washington county, N. Y.,
and is fifty-two years of age. He is a lineal descend-
ant of Ralph Dayton, one of the Pilgrim fathers, who
came over in the Mayflower, in 1620. He commenced
business as a merchant, in the city of New York,
about thirty years ago, and now resides in Brooklyn.
He has always been a tenacious Democrat, of the con-
servative, national stamp, and is one of the most at-
tentive, industrious and incorruptible members of the
House. He is a good legislator; understands perfectly
the modus operandi by which laws sliould be enacted,
and was successful in preventing many a violation of
parliamentary law, during the late disorganization of
the Assembly. He is kind courteous, and affable in
his manner; and enjoys a wide circle of warm personal
and political friends.



ARTHUR J. DELANEY.

Mr. Delaney was born in the city of New York, in
1831, and is therefore one of the youngest members
in the House. He is of Irish descent, and the son of
John Delaney, who died in 1853. His education
which he received in the common and select schools
of his native city, was very defective, but he subse-
quently schooled himself and is now a good, practical,
business scholar. He is still an active member of a
debating society, which he joined some years ago, and



166 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

has succeeded in making himself a ready, fluent and
forcible speaker. He was educated to no particular *
occupation, but now claims to be a practical brick-
layer. He never held any public office before his
election to the present Assembly, and has always
been a sound National Democrat. He is still unmar-
ried; belongs to the Catholic church; and acknow-
ledges Rome as the principal seat of the church. He
is personally quite popular, and was elected to his
present position by nearly one thousand majority.
He is modest and unassuming, yet bold and unrelent-
ing, and no one in the House excels him in industry,
being seldom absent from his seat, whether the House
is in or out of session. It is in some respects a
national misfortune that the country can not boast of
more young men like Mr. Delaney.



•H. B. DURYEA.

Gen. Duryea was born in Newtown, Queens county,
N. Y., on the 12th of July, 1815, and is of French
Huguenot and Dutch descent. His ancestors were
among the first settlers on Long Island, where his
parents were both born. He studied law in the office
of Judge Greenwood, in the city of New York, who
was subsequently his law partner. He was admitted
to the bar in 1836, and immediately commenced
practicing in Brooklyn, where he is still engaged in
his profession. He became commander of the Fifth
Brigade of the uniformed militia of the state, located



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 167

in the county of Kings, in 1848, which position he
now holds. He was appointed Supremo Court Com-
missioner, under Gov. Seward, in 1842; subsequently
attorney to the corporation of Brooklyn; and was
District Attorney of Kings county from 1848 till
1854. He never held any legislative position until
he became a member of the present Legislature, and
was always in politics a Whig, until the repeal of the
Missouri Compromise, when he became an active
and ardent Republican.



GARRETT D Y C K M A N .

Lieut. Col. Dyckman, the gallant and worthy
recipient of the award of Gen. Jackson's gold snuif
box, was born in 1814, in Westchester co., N. Y.
His ancestors came from Holland about two hundred
years ago, and settled in the district he now repre-
sents. His grand-father was a soldier in the Revolu-
tion, and in 1818, his father removed to the city of
New York, where Col. Dyckman early received a
liberal education. After leaving school he went into
the mercantile trade, and was so engaged till about
the year 1845, when he became a clerk in the Regis-
ters office. At the breaking out of the Mexican war
he enlisted as a private under Gen. Ward B. Burnett,
who took command of the 1st Regiment of N. Y.
volunteers. He was subsequently placed in command
of company K. and landed on the island of Lobos,
just previous to the taking of Vera Cruz. On the



168 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

first Sunday after the landing at that city he led his
company as skirmishers on the sand plains near its
wall and held a position on the Orizaba road, under
fire from nearly all the batteries of the city, and
within hearing of the enemy, until after dark, when
ordered to retire behind a sand bank. On the follow-
ing evening he took possession of the Orizaba road,
and by judiciously posting pickets, prevented all
communication from the road to the city during that
night. He afterwards took a position with his com-
pa'^iy. within half a mile of six hundred of the enemy,
to prevent their entrance to the city, and performed
constantly scouting duty around the walls and roads
of the city during the same time. At Nueva Rancho
he engaged and sustained a charge of six hundred
lancers, holding the position until relieved by Col.
Burnett, and was unsurpassed at Sierra Gordo for his
gallantry and bravery. He led his company in the
celebrated charge at Cherubusco and remained in
advance of his command, under the sharpest fire of
musketry experienced during the war, cheering his
men on to battle, until he fell, as was supposed,
mortally wounded, by a ball received between his
shoulders, which still remains in his body. Whenever
there was any chance for a brush with the enemy, he
never said to his men - go," but always said " come,"
as he would never permit either officer or private to be
• in advance of him. For bravery like this he received
his subsequent distinguished promotions, and was
awarded Gen. Jackson's gold snuff box as " the most
valiant in defense of his country and his country's
rights."



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 169



VOLNEY EDGERTON.

Mr. Edgerton was born in 1815, in Cazenovia, Madi-
son county, N. Y., and is of English and Scotch de-
scent. His parents, who are now dead, came from
Connecticut and settled in Madison county, about
forty-five years ago. After his father's death, his
mother removed to the town of Phelps, Ontario
county, where he now resides. He has had the ad-
vantages of an academical education, which he re-
ceived wholly through his own exertions, after he
was tweijty years of age, at the Lima seminary, in
Livingston county. At the age of twenty-four he
married Miss Martha Sheriff, and about the same time,
engaged in teaching, which he followed till 1843,
when he removed to Michigan. He remained in that

r

state four years, engaged in the manufacture of the
oil of peppermint, and then returned to Ontario county,
where he has since been chiefly oc6upied as a farmer.
He has held various town offices; is now Justice
of the Peace; and in 1857 was the successful compe-
titor for the seat he now holds. He was formerly a
Democrat; supported Van Buren, in 1848, and Hale
in '52, and is now an industrious and influential mem-
ber of the Republican party. He is a member of the
Methodist church; stands high in the community
where he resides ; and is a very useful member of the
House.



15



170 ^ BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.



ALBERT EMANS.

Mr. Emans was born in 1818, at East Fishkill,
Dutchess county, N. Y., and now lives in Lagrange.
His parents were natives of that county ; his father
died in 1854, and his mother is still living, at the age
of sixty. He received a common school education,
and at the age of twenty-three married Miss Susan


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Online LibraryWilliam D MurphyBiographical sketches of the state officers and members of the Legislature of the state of New York, in 1858 → online text (page 10 of 15)