William D Murphy.

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

. (page 3 of 15)
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 3 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


four sons, of whom Truman is the third, Douglas
Boardman, recently Judge and Surrogate of Tompkins
county, being the youngest. He succeeded, by his
industry and perseverance, in the acquisition of
considerable wealth, during his lifetime, and the
subject of this sketch now owns, and is living upon
the old homestead place.

Senator Boardman was raised on a farm, and
received a liberal common school education in his
native place. He has always been an active, tho-
rough-going business man, but has occupied most of
his time in farming, in which he is still engaged. In
1849, the Whigs of the town where he resides pre-
sented his name to the people as a candidate for
Supervisor, and he was successful by a flattering ma-
jority. He was again elected in 1851 and '52, and,
in all, held the office three years, discharging his
duties with credit to himself and entire satisfaction
to his constituents. In 1851 he was a candidate for
the Assembly against Robert R. Steele, but was de-
4



38 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

feated, although polling an imusually large vote in
the district. In the fall of 1857 he was brought for-
ward as the Republican candidate for Senator from
the Twenty-sixth district, against W. W. Wright,
Democratic, and W. H. Lamport, the American can-
didate, and was triumphant by a fair plurality over
both his competitors. Thus far, he has proven
himself a safe counselor and a good legislator, and
although not so boisterous and talkative as some of
his compeers, has pursued a straight-forward, con-
sistent, quiet, and industrious course in the Senate,
which has doubtless not failed to have the proper in-
fluence upon the deliberations of that body. No one
is probably more punctual in their attendance at the
sittings of the Senate, and he has not been absent
from his seat more than once or twice since the open-
ing of the legislature.

Senator Boardman was always a Whig, until that
party lost its identity, when he became, and has
always since been, a member of the Republican or-
ganization. He makes no pretensions as a speaker,
but when once thoroughly waked up on a subject,
seldom finds it difficult to forcibly express his ideas,
in a proper shape. In arriving at conclusions on any
question, he advances cautiously and by a process of
sound reasoning, and when his judgment is once
formed, nothing less nor more will induce him to
change it, than a similar process of ratiocination.
He is frank and generous in character, and affable in
manner, and has many personal and political friends
wherever he is known.



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 39

In 1834 Senator Boardman was united in marriage
to Miss A. C. Whiting, of Litchfield county, Conn.
In person he is heavy, square, and stoutly built; has
black hair, and heavy, black whiskers, slightly mixed
with gray; a full, dark blue eye; and a round, healthy
face. His general appearance indicates excellent
health, and great powers of physical endurance.



BENJAMIN BRANDRETH.

Senator Brandreth, the celebrated pill manufacturer
and vender, whose medicine has given h-im a world-
wide reputation, is a nativeof Newtown, Derbyshire,
Enghnd, and is forty-nine years of age. He is a
grandson of the late celebrated Dr. William Brand-
reth, whose reputation as a physician in England
was for many years unequaled by any of his profes-
sional compeers, and is a fair representative of His
Majesty, John Bull. He possesses an excellent busi-
ness education, and was for a long time engaged in
the pill business, previous to his coming to the United
States. He introduced his medicines into this country
on the 18th of May, 1835, though they had been
before the public in Europe for nearly a century be-
fore. Some physicians in America have long regarded
his pills as admirably calculated "to make sound men
sick, and sick men kill;" but the rapid sale with
which they have met in this and all other countries,
and the immense amount of wealth resulting from



40 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

their sale, are certainly strong evidence that they are
an effectual remedy for

"All maladies,
Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms
Of heart-sick agony-, all feverish kinds;
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs;
Intestine stone and ulcers-, cholic pangs,
■ Demoniac phrensy, moping melancholy,
And moon-struck madness ; pining atrophy,
Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence:

Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums."

*

Senator Brandreth has never been much of a poli-
tician, it being too wide of his regular profession — an
occupation to which he has been schooled from his
earliest childhood. He has not much faith in the
professional politician, disdaining to become one,
himself, and with the poet, believes that *

" A politician, Proteus-like, must alter
His face and hahit; and, like water, seem
Of the same color that the vessel is
That doth contain it, varying his form,
With the chameleon, at each object's change,"

In 1849 the Democrats of the Seventh district
presented him to the people as a candidate for the
Senate, and succeeded in electing him by a compli-
mentary majority. During the two succeeding years,
which he spent in that body, he acquired considerable
reputation as a shrewd and somewhat sagacious re-
presentative, and at the expiration of his term of
office, returned to a grateful constituency. He then
remained a silent spectator in the political arena,



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 41

devoting his whole time to the manufacture and vend-
ing of his celebrated " life preservers " until the fall
of 1857, when his Democratic friends, in what is now
the Eighth district, entered him again as a competitor
for the seat which he now occupies in ^e Senate, and
achieved his election by upwards of one thousand
majority over a combination of Democrats and Ame-
ricans. Thus far in the present session he has ac-
quitted himself creditably, and no doubt satisfactorily
to his constituency.

In person Senator Brandreth is fine looking, and
peculiarly attractive in his general appearance. He
is about medium in height, with a well formed body;
has light, auburn hair, with an occasional streak of
silver running through it; a heavy, gray beard, neatly
trimmed; a pleasing, light blue eye; a full, round
face ; and an intelligent and benevolent countenance.

" By medicines life may be prolonged, yet death
Will seize the Doctor, too."



EDWARD I. BURHANS.

Senator Burhans was born on the 25th of March,
1804, in the town of Roxbury, Delaware county, N.
Y., one of the finest grazing sections of country in the
state. He is the eldest son of John E. Burhans, a
prominent and influential man, who emigrated from
Ulster county to Delaware when it was first settled,
and who resided there till his death in 1838. On his



42 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

father's side he is of Holland extraction, and on his
mother's, French. In early life he had no educational
advantages, having received all the schooling he has
at the age of twelve years, but since then he has been
a diligent stujjent, and by his own individual exertions
has succeeded in acquiring a good, practical business
education. In 1818 he was hired out to work for a
neighbor, by his father, who received his wages until
he had arrived at the age of twenty-one, when he em-
barked in the mercantile business, as a partner with
Col. Noah Dimmick, in the town of Middletown, and
remained in business with him until 1828, when he
engaged in the same trade with his brother, in Rox-
bury. This partnership existed till 1836, when he
went into the mercantile business on his own respon-
sibility, and has been so engaged ever since.

Senator Burhans has frequently been Supervisor in
the town of Roxbury, where he still resides. He was
elected a Justice of the Peace in 1829, and held the of-
fice sixteen years. During this period he was also
postmaster about thirteen years, and in 1844 was
elected to the Assembly, where he was an influential
member of the Standing Committee on Claims. In
1845 he was appointed one of the Judges of the county
of Delaware, by Gov. Wright, and held the office
until the new constitution went into effect. In 1857 he
was nominated with unusual unanimity as a candidate
for Senator from the Fourteenth district, composed of
the counties of Delaware, Schoharie and Schenectady,
and although the district is generally closely contested,
he was elected by about one thousand plurality. The



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 43

nomination was entirely unsolicited by him, he pre-
ferring to devote his whole time and attention to his
own private affairs, but it was nevertheless success-
fully urged upon him. He entered upon his new
position as Senator at the opening of the present
session, and if his past success in life can be taken as
an indication of the manner in which he will discharge
its duties, he will certainly do so with credit to him-
self and entire satisfaction to his constituents.

Senator Burhans has always been a Democrat, and
cast his first vote for Gen. Jackson, when Old Hickory
was first a candidate for President of the United States.
He has never been a politician, preferring his own
private occupation to the intrigue and turmoil of a
political life, and has always been emphatically a busi-
ness man. When he started in life his strong right
arm was his only capital, but, by industry, frugality
and hard labor, he has succeeded in the honest acqui-
sition of a competency for the remainder of his days.
He attends the Dutch Reformed church, and has never
been illiberal in his contributions to religious bbjects.
He was united in marriage in 1837, to Miss Mary
More, who died in April last, and by whom he has
two children. He seldom addresses the Senate, and
being desirous of disposing of the legislative business
of the state with as little talking as possible, would
doubtless be highly gratified to see his compeers follow
his example to a greater extent than they now do.

" In peace, there's nothing so hecomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility."



44 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

JOHN P. DARLING.

Senator Darling is a native of Berkshire county,
Mass. He was born on the 25th of February, 1815.
His father, Rufus Darling, emigrated to New York in
1818, and settled in the town of Lenox, in Madison
county. He was a practical farmer, and removed to
Cattaraugus county in 1824, where he resided till
1828, when he died at Black Rock, while absent from
home, at the age of forty-seven. His wife, the mother
of the subject of this sketch, is still living, and has
attained the advanced age of seventy-one. Her family
were from Wales, and her husband was of English
descent.

Senator Darling received all his education in an
old log school-house, in Cattaraugus county, where
his father lived. He advanced in arithmetic as far as
the Single Rule of Three, and was taught to about the
samg extent in some of the more ordinary English
branches of a common school. At the age of thirteen,
after his father's death, he remained at home with his
mother, working out occasionally for himself, until he
was about sixteen years old, w^hen he employed him-
self on the Alleghany river as a raftsman. In the
spring of 1831 he descended the river in this capacity,
to the Ohio, and thence to Louisville, Ky. During
the trip, which embraced a considerable period, he did
all his own cooking, and had scarcely any thing more
for a bed than, as he expresses it, *' the soft side of a
plank." In the fall of 183 1 he went on to Grand Island,
in the Niagara river, where he spent the greater por-



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. -45

tion of that winter in cutting cord wood, at a cer-
tain sum per cord. In the spring of 1833 he hired
himself out to work on a farm, in Otto, Cattaraugus
county, where he remained a large proportion of the
time, till 1834, when he became a clerk in a dry good
store in the village of Waverly, in that town. Here
he remaind about four years, when he went into the
mercantile trade as a partner in the same place, and
continued the copartnership until 1848, when he em-
barked in the same business on his own responsibility.
In 1851 he started a branch establishment at Cattarau-
gus, on the New York and Erie Rail Road, and in
1853 sold out at Waverly, and removed to Cattarau-
gus, where he now resides, and where he followed the
mercantile trade till 1856, when he finally disposed of
his business altogether.

In 1837 Senator Darling was appointed Inspector
of Elections, and held the place for several years. In
1838 he was elected Town Clerk of Otto, and held
the office at different periods for several years. In
1845 he was elected Supervisor of that town, which
position he also held several years. He was subse-
quently elected to the same office in the town where
he now resides. In 1850 he was appointed Postmaster,
under President Taylor, of the town of Otto, and
held the office during his and Mr. Fillmore's ad-
ministration. In 1851 he was elected Treasurer of
Cattaraugus county, and held the office three years.
In the fall of 1856 he was elected by a majority of
eight thousand to the Senate, from the Thirty-second
district, to fill the unexpired terra of Hon. Roderick



46 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

White, who died in the spring of that year. He was
again nominated by the Republican party in 1857, for
the same position, and was elected to the seat which
he now occupies by a majority of nearly four thousand.

Senator Darling has always been a zealous politi-
cian, and very early in life identified himself with
the Free Soil Whigs. He has always been strongly-
Free Soil in all his views and feelings, but never failed
to act with the Whig party while it had an organiza-
tion. Shortly after the American party came into
existence, he warmly espoused its leading princi-
ples, and continued to act with that party until Mr.
Fillmore was nominated for the Presidency, when he
abandoned the party, and subsequently took the stump
in behalf of Col. Fremont. Since then he has been
emphatically a Republican, strongly opposed to the
further extension of slavery. He labored pretty tho-
roughly throughout the Presidential contest of 1856,
and undoubtedly contributed his full share of strength
and influence to the Republican cause.

Senator Darling was married in the fall of 1838, to
Miss Abiah Strickland, by whom he has two child-
ren — daughters. Her father, John Strickland, was a
successful farmer, in Cattaraugus county, where he
died, in 1847 at the age of fifty-six.

The Senator is a tall, broad shouldered, fine look-
ing man, with black hair and whiskers ; a rather thin,
sallow countenance, sharp, black eyes, and is emphati-
cally a gentleman, commanding the unqualified respect
and esteem of all who know him.



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 47



ALEXANDER S. DIYEN.

Senator Diven was born on the 10th of February,
1810, about a mile west of the village of Watkins, in
what was then Tioga, afterwards Chemung, and now
Schuyler co., N. Y. Both his paternal and maternal an-
cestors were Irish, and his grand-parents were both
born in Ireland. His father and mother were natives of
Pennsylvania, and his mother's parents were among the
sufferers of the Wyoming valley. His father while
apprenticed to a mechanic, in the city of Carlisle, en-
listed in the Revolutionary struggle. He was among the
Pennsylvania volunteers in the forlorn winter quarters,
at Valley Forge, and joined Gen. Washington's army
on the day of the battle of Princeton. He speedily
rose to the rank of a Lieutenant, and received a Cap-
tain's commission immediately after the close of the
war. He was in command of a company detailed to
suppress the famous liquor insurrection during Wash-
ington's second administration, and subsequently set-
tled on Duncan's Island, a delightful spot of about
one thousand acres, situated in the Susquehanna, at
the mouth of the Juniatta river. Here he lived until
about the year 1790, when his title to the island having
been pronounced invalid, he removed to Western New
York, and purchased a farm on the west side of Sene-
ca lake, where the subject of this sketch was born,
and where he died, in 1842, at the advanced age of
eighty* six.

Senator Diven's education, until he was seventeen
years old was only such as the common schools of his



48 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

native town afforded at that early day. He did not
attend school constantly, however, and was obliged to
labor on his father's farm during the summer, in order
that he might go to school during the winter. At the
age of eighteen he left home, and spent a year at the
Yates County academy, which was then first opened.
"He shortly after entered the Ovid academy, where he
was finally enabled to complete his education, by
teaching in the summer, and keeping up with his class
during the winter. In the spring of 1831 he entered
the ofiice of H. Gray, at Elmira, as a student at law,
still dividing his time between study and school teach-
ing, in order to support himself, where he remained
until 1833, when he entered the office of F. M. Haight,
at Rochester. Here he remained about six months,
when he went to Owego, Tioga county, to lake charge
of the County Clerk's office, and remained there, de-
voting all his spare time to his legal studies, until the
spring of 1835, when he went to Angelica, Alleghany
county, and formed a law partnership with George
Miles, a lawyer of commanding ability and large prac-
tice. Shortly after, in 1836, he was admitted to the
bar of the Supreme Court of the state, and in 1838
was appointed District Attorney of Alleghany county,
which office he filled four years. About this time, his
partner removed to Michigan, where he was after-
wards Justice of the Supreme Court of that state.
While residing at Angelica Mr. Diven's practice was
large, and extended to many of the neighboring counties.
He speedily acquired a commanding position as a law-
yer in that section of the state, and for a period of



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. * 49

six years, there were few causes tried in Angelica Court
House, in which he was not on one side, and Judge
Grover, one of the best jury lawyers in the state, on
the other. In 1846 he left Angelica, and settled on "Wil-
low Brook farm," near the village of Elmira, where
he still resides. In 1847, he formed a law partner-
ship with Col. S. G. Hathaway and James L. Woods,
under the firm of Diven, Hathaway & Woods, which
still exists.

Since 1844 Senator Diven has been considerably in-
terrupted in the prosecution of his profession, by being
enlisted in various rail-road enterprises. In that
year he was solicited by the stockholders of the New
York and Erie rail-road to become a director in that
company, which was then insolvent, being indebted to
the state in the sum of three millions, and to other
creditors half a million of dollars; and so deeply were
the south-western counties interested in the construc-
tion of the road, that he consented to undertake, with
a company of efficient men in New York city, the
Herculean task of completing the road. Until this
object was attained, much of his industry and energy
were devoted to its accomplishment. At a later period
he became President of the Williamsport and Elmira
road during its construction, and contracted for the
road connecting it with the Reading road, and thus,
forming a direct line to Philadelphia. He was also*
interested in the construction of the roads running
north of Elmira; and is now engaged in the construc-
tion of an important road in Missouri.

Senator Diven cast bis first vote for Gen. Jackson,.
5



50 ' BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

at his first election. In the great contest of 1840 he
took the stump with a good deal of zeal in behalf of
the Democratic ticket; and in 1843 was the unsuc-
cessful Democratic candidate in his district for the
Assembly. He was not an active politician at this
time, but always continued to vote with the Demo-
cratic party, until it ^dopted the doctrine of Gen,
Cass's celebrated Nicholson letter, when he abandoned
the party. It is true, he was the unsuccessful Demo-
cratic candidate for the Assembly in 1854, in his dis-
trict, but he was only induced to allow his name to be
used by his friends who desired his election, in order to
secure some local improvements at the hands of the
Legislature. After leaving the Democratic party he
paid but little attention to politics, until the repeal
of the Missouri compromise, which at once aroused
him frona his political lethargy. He took a promi-
nent and influential part in the campaign of 1856, in
behalf of Col. Fremont, and canvassed all the counties
in the south-western part of the state, and in the
north-western part of Pennsylvania. He was nomi-
nated for the seat now occupied by him in the Senate
without his knowledge and against his consent, but
was triumphant by a handsome majority.

Senator Diven was married in 1835, to Miss
Amanda Beers, of Elmira, by whom he has eight child-
ren — four sons and four daughters. He is a member
of the Presbyterian church, having been reared in
that faith.



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 61



JOHN DOHERTY.

Senator Doherty was born on the 16th of January,
1826, on the corner of Jacob and Ferry streets, in the
city of New York. He sprung from genuine Irish
stock, and is the oldest of four brothers, all of whom
are still living. His father, Patrick Doherty, emi.
grated to New York from Ireland about the year 1811,
and took an active part in the war of 1812. His
occupation was that of a contractor, in which he was
eminently successful, and he died in 1849, at the age
of fifty-five. His wife, the mother of the subject of
this sketch, is still living, and is about fifty years
of age, although looking nearly as young as her son
John.

Senator Doherty was educated at a private select
school in his native city, and pursued a classical
course. Although, even then,

" Forever foremost in the ranks of fun,
The laughing herald of the harmless pun,"

he was not inattentive to his studies, and at the close
of his academic career, was a good practical scholar.
At the age of sixteen he entered the law ofi^ice of
Messrs. Sandsfords & Porter, a well known firm in the
city of New York, where he remained about six years,
when he was admitted to the bar. Shortly after, he
hung out his shingle, as one of the legal fraternity, on
the corner of Broadway and Wall street, and followed
the practice of his profession nearly two years, when
his father's death occurring, he was obliged to aban-



52 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

don his office, to take charge of the affairs pertaining
to his father's unsettled estate. About this time he
was brought forward as the Democratic candidate, in
his district, for the Assembly, but was defeated by a
very small majority. In 1850 he was nominated for
Assistant Alderman, and was again defeated, with
nearly all the candidates on the Democratic ticket.
In the following year he was nominated for Alderman
from the Nineteenth ward, which was then strongly
Whio-, and was elected. He served in the board of
Aldermen two years, and was associated in that body
with such men as Mayor Tieman. The canvass'
which followed his nomination for this office was pro-
T)ably the most exciting and warmly contested one
that had ever taken place in the city of New York.
He enlisted, however, in his cause with the will and
Jthe determination to triumph, closely contesting every
inch of political ground in controversy, and after a
hard fought battle, came out of the struggle victori-
ously. In the fall of 1857 he was nominated, against
strong influences and some very worthy competitors,
by the Democrats of the Seventh district, as a repre-
sentative in the Senate, and was elected to the seat,
now occupied by him in that body, by an overwhelm-
ing vote. During this campaign he was also, actively
engaged in the contest, and addressed his fellow citi-
zens at every prominent point in the district.

Senator Doherty has always been a staunch, un-
wavering Democrat of the Hard shell stamp. He
belongs to the Catholic church, and is still a single
man. He is of medium stature in person; is some-



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 53

what inclined to corpulency, and squarely built ; has
full, blue eyes, denoting large language; light hair,
and a goatee a la French style; and a full face, with
a droll, good natured countenance. He possesses
more than ordinary natural ability, and by confining
himself somewhat more closely to intellectual pursuits,
could easily climb higher rounds in the ladder of dis-
tinction. He is quite urbane and pleasant in his ad-


1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

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 3 of 15)