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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father's business, he having been suddenly prostrated
by an attack of inflammatory rheumatism. This caused
him to abandon a previous determination to become



136 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

a professional man, and he consequently turned his
attention to farming, in which he is still engaged, be-
sides being a practical surveyor and lumberman. He
has held the office of Town Superintendent and Super-
visor where he resides, and has thus far proven him-
self a reliable and industrious member of the Assem-
bly. He is an ardent friend of free schools and edu-
cation; was formerly a Democrat of strong Free Soil
tendencies; and is now a zealous Republican. He
was married in 1845, to Miss Adaline, youngest
daughter of the late Henry Oakley, and attends the
Methodist church. To say the least, he is a promis-
ing young man.



CHARLES H. ADAMS.

Mr. Adams was born at Coxsackie, Greene county,
N. Y., on the 10th of April, 1824. His maternal
grand-father, Anthony Egberts, held the position of
Paymaster in the Revolutionary war, and his father.
Dr. Henry Adams, who died some years ago at Co-
hoes, in Albany county, was a surgeon in the war of
1812, and was enajaged, in his official duties, at the
battle of Sackett's Harbor. Mr. Adams received a
classical education, and was admitted to the bar in
1845. He practiced law some three years in Albany
and New York, and then turned his attention to
manufacturing, in which he is still engaged, carry-
ing on one of the largest hosiery mills at Cohoes, in the
United States. He has had some experience in mili-



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 137

tary affairs, and was an active member of Gov,
Hunt's staff, with the rank of Colonel. He was a
delegate to the National American Convention at
Philadelphia in 1855, and was an ardent advocate of
Mr. Fillmore's nomination for the Presidency. He
was, also, a delegate to the American State Conven-
tion in 1857, where he aided, as one of the Vice
Presidents of the Convention, in the selection of the
strongest ticket ever presented to the people by the
American party. He was elected to the present
House by a combination of Republicans and Ameri-
cans, and during the late contest for Speaker steadily
refused, under all circumstances, to vote for any of
the Democratic candidates. He was formerly a
Whig, and has always been a warm advocate of
American measures since the first organization of
that party. He is married ; makes a good practical
legislator; and attends the Dutch Reformed church.



C. W. ARMSTRONG.

Mr. Armstrong is of Yankee and Scotch descent,
and was born in 1827, in Hooosick, Rensselaer county,
N. Y. He received a liberal common school educa-
tion, and at the age of sixteen became a clerk in Penn
Yan, Yates county, where he spent about four years,
and then went into Wayne county, w^here his father,
Alvin Armstrong, still resides. Subsequently he
located in the city of Albany, where he has been en-
gaged in the produce commission business, and where



138 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

he now resides. He has always been a staunch, un-
compromising Democrat of the Hard ShelJ school, and
never held any public office previous to his election to
the present Legislature. He is an active, shrewd
business man; one of the recognized leaders of the
Democracy in the House; rather prepossessing in his
personal appearance, being tall, slender, and well-
proportioned, with dark hair, light blue eyes, and a
heavy mustache. He is kind and courteous; neat and
stylish about his person, and is still unmarried, though
very desirous of kneeling at the hymenial altar.



R. F. AUSTIN,

Mr. Austin is a native of Dexter, Jefferson county,
N. Y., and was born on the 27th of September, 1827.
He is a son of William Austin, and is of English and
Irish descent. He was educated in a common school,
and has always since been engaged in the mercantile
trade in Three Mile Bay, in his native county, where
he now resides. He has been Clerk in that town and
was Postmaster from 1853 till 1854, when he resigned
because he could not support *' Pierce, Kansas and
Nebraska." He was formerly a radical Free Soil
Democrat, and has acted with the Republican party
since its organization. In 1850 he married Miss
Anna D., daughter of Daniel J. Schuyler, and attends
the Baptist church. He is a good speaker; is quite as
well calculated for the stump as a deliberative body;
always addresses the House with earnestness and



UIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 139

ability; is an active, correct business man; discharges
his duties with tact and ability ; enjoys a high degree of
personal popularity; and was elected to the Assembly
by nearly four hundred majority.



AMOS AVERY.

Mr. Avery was named after his father, who died in
1818, in Charlemont, Franklin county, Mass., where
the subject of this sketch was born in 1807. His
grand-father distinguished himself in the Indian wars,
and one of his uncles was among the six Averys who
fell in the memorable struggle at Fort Griswold, Conn.
"With the exception of one term, which he spent at an
academy, Mr, Avery received all his education in a
common school. He was brought up a blacksmith,
and has been engaged in the manufacture of edged
tools, augers, &c., ever since the expiration of his
apprenticeship. He removed into New York in 1825,
and is now one of the best business men in Evans,
Erie county. He has also paid some attention to the
law, and although always pretty successful in the
practice, has secured the reputation of being an ad-
mirable peace- maker. Besides other town offices, he
has held that of Justice of the Peace two consecutive
terms, and has also at the same time been Collector.
He voted for Gen. Jackson in 1828; supported Wm.
Wirt in 1832; and, with rare exceptions, has ever
since opposed the so-called Democratic party. He
was married in 1836 to Miss Julia Bundy, and belongs
to the Congregational -church.



140 BIOGRAPRICAL SKETCHES.



GEORGE BABBITT.

Mr. Babbitt was born in 1818, in Rodman, Jefferson
county, N. Y., and" has always since resided in that
county, with the exception of three years which he
spent in Oneida county, and about two that he passed
on the Plains and in California. He is of English
descent, and a son of Deodatus Babbitt, a native of
Massachusetts, who died in 1828. He received a com-
mon school education, and at the age of fourteen was
apprenticed to the saddle and harness trade in Water-
town, where he spent about three years and a half,
and then completed his apprenticeship at Utica. 'In
1839 he commenced business for himself in the village
of Smithville, where he has since resided. He has
also a branch establishment in Marysville, California,
and is engaged somewhat in farming. He has held
various town and'village offices; was appointed under-
sheriff in 1850, which he afterwards resigned; and in
1853 received the appointment of Inspector of Cus-
toms. He has also been Postmaster six years, and in
every position to which he has been called has dis-
charged his duties in a creditable and satisfactory
manner. He was married in 1845 to Miss Harriet A. ,
daughter of the Hon. Elihu McNeil, and belongs to the
Congregational church. He is a thorough, practical
business man; a staunch, unyielding Republican, and
a good representative.



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 141



I) WIGHT BAG HELLER.

Mr. Bacheller was born in Worcester county, Mass.,
in 1804, and at the age of twenty-one removed to the
city of Albany, where he resided till 1829, when he
commenced a traveling tour which extended through
the southern portion of the United States, Mexico,
South America and the West India Islands, In 1831
he returned to Albany county, and has always since
resided in that county and the city of Albany, where
he is now engaged in the mercantile trade. He held
several responsible offices previous to his election to
his present position, and never failed to discharge the
duties devolving upon him with credit to himself
and entire satisfaction to his constituents. He was
formerly an old line Democrat, but early joined the
American party, and has always since been a warm,
ardent, consistent and uncompromising advocate of its
principles. His nomination by that party for the pre-
sent Assembly was endorsed by the Republicans of
his district, who had no hope of electing a candidate
of their own; but notwithstanding such endorsement,
he was elected as a genuine, unadulterated American.
Unlike most men he is actuated in his political con-
duct exclusively by a desire to advance the principles
of his party and what he esteems the consequent good
of the country. He is not a talking man, but does a
large share of sound thinking, and will doubtless leave
a clean, honest and consistent record behind him at
the end of the session,



142 BIOGRAPHICAL SK-ETCHES.

HEZEKIAH BAKER.

Mr. Baker was born on the 18th of October, 1819,
at Amsterdam, Montgomery countj% N. Y., and is of
English and Welsh descent. His father emigrated
from Rhode Island to New York about the year 1796,
and settled in Rensselaer county, from whence he
went into Montgomery county. His parents being
poor and having a large family to support, Mr. Baker
was placed, at an early age, in care of an uncle,
residing at Hagerman's mills, wifti whom he lived
some five years, attending a common school about
two months each winter. He then ran away from
his uncle and employed himself on a farm, at stipu-
lated wages, during about two years, at the end of
which time he worked nearly three years at the shoe-
making trade, and then began the study of the higher
English branches. Having pursued his studies some
time, he taught school till 1842, filling up his vaca-
tions by studying the classics, the higher branches of
mathematics, and mental, moral, and natural philoso-
phy. He subsequently studied law in the office of
Judge Mclntyre, in Johnstown, Fulton county, about
three years, and was then elected Justice of the Peace,
to fill a vacancy of some two years. He was admitted
to the bar of the Supreme court in 1846, and has
always since been an active and successful practi-
tioner. In 1847 he removed from Johnstown to St.
Johnsviile, Montgomery county, where he now re-
sides.

Mr. Baker commenced his political career in 1853,



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 143

when he was elected to the Assembly, where he dis-
tinguished himself by his opposition to the Maine
liquor law. He was again elected in 1855, and dur-
ing the session that followed renewed his opposition
to the Liquor law, and contributed much to the suc-
cess of Mr. Seward as a candidate for United States
Senator. He was re-elected in 1856 and again in
1857, discharging his duties, at all times, with
industry and ability. He was a staunch Whig till
the repeal of the Missouri compromise, when he
became a Republican. He has but little ambition for
political preferment, and shrinks, from public display
or notoriety. He is a man of indomitable perseve-
rance; loves equity and justice; shrinks from no
labor or sacrifice, imposed upon him by duty; always
sympathizes with the oppressed and defenseless; and
has an utter detestation of an enemy who will evade a
fair, substantial issue. He believes in the Bible; is
a bachelor; and is fond of children.



D. B. BALDWIN.

Mr. Baldwin is a native of Brutus, Cayuga county,
N. Y., where he was born in 1820. He is of Eng-
lish descent. His father, Andrew Baldwin, a native
of Connecticut, died when he was only about three
months old, and both his paternal and maternal
grand-fathers. Major Baldwin and Col. Boardman,
were soldiers in the Revolution. Mr. B. received a
common school and academical education, and at the



144 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

age of eighteen went on to a farm, which he culti-
vated six years. He then embarked in the grocery
and forwarding business, which he followed about
five years, when his wife died, and he entirely aban-
doned business some . two years, after which he
engaged in the lumber trade, and has pursued it ever
since. He never held any public position before his
election to the seat he now occupies, but has never-
theless proven himself a sound, practical man and a
safe legislator. He was formerly a Free Soil Whig,
and is now a zealous Republican. He married two
sisters, daughters of Archibald Ward, and has been a
widower above three years. He attends the Presby-
terian church and stands high in the community
where he resides.



W M . BALDWIN.

Mr. Baldwin was born in Halfmoon, now Clifton
Park, Saratoga county, N. Y., in 1811. He is par-
tially of English, Scotch, and German descent, and
his parents, who are now dead, were both from
Dutchess county. He received a common school
education and was a practical farmer until he was
twenty-eight years of age. He has, also, been some-
what engaged in farming since then. His parents
removed to Ballston when he was quite young, and
from thence to Halfmoon, where he lived some ten
years after his father's death. He then went' to
Crescent village, and in 1839 lemoved to Allegany



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 145

county, where he remained till 1844, when he went
into Livingston county. In 1848 he removed to
Oneida county; in 1849 to the village of Fulton,
Oswego county; and in 1852 to the city of Oswego,
where he now resides. Since he quit farming he has
been a large contractor, operating more extensively,
perhaps, than any other man in the employment of
the State, and is still so engaged, besides being largely
interested in shipping on the lakes. He never held
any public office till his election to the present legis-
lature. He has always been a Democrat of the
"Hardest" kind, and is a zealous party man. He
attends the Episcopal church, and in 1834 married
Miss Phoebe, daughter of James Ostrander, of Saratoga
county, who is now dead, and by whom he had two
daughters and five sons.



WASHINGTON BARNES.

Mr. Barnes was born on the 25th of March, 1809,
in that part of Windsor, now called Colesville, Broome
county, N. Y., and is descended from Puritan stock.
Both his paternal and maternal grand-fathers emigrated
from Connecticut to that comity, towards the close of
the last century, the former settling on the Susque-
hanna, and the latter on what is still locally known as
" The Hill." They were soldiers in the Revolution,
and his maternal grand-father, Nathaniel Cole, who
held a commission in the army, shared all the hard-
ships and sufferings of the retreat from Long Island.
13



146 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

Mr. Barnes received a common school education, and
taught from the age of sixteen until he was about
twenty-one, when he spent thirteen weeks in the
Franklin Academy. He worked on his father's farm,
devoting a portion of his time to the carpenter's trade,
until he was about twenty-one, when he removed to
Steuben county. He then worked as a journeyman
carpenter till his health failed, when he became a
clerk in a dry good store, where he remained a short
time, and then became a student in the law office of
Messrs. Cotton & Johnson, at Painted Post, where he
remained till 1836, when he was admitted to practice
in the county courts. He was admitted to the bar of
the Supreme court in 1840, and has ever since been
an industrious and successful lawyer. He never held
any prominent public position until he became a mem-
ber of the present Assembly, preferring to devote his
whole time and attention to his own private business.
He has belonged to the successive political parties
through which the Republican organization traces its
descent, and is unyieldingly and forever opposed to
the further extension of slavery. In 1836 he was
married to the youngest daughter of the Hon. John
Knox, of Steuben county, who died in 1839, and in
1842 married his present estimable lady, the youngest
daughter of Maurice Birdsall, of Chenango county.
He attends the Episcopal church, and is quite liberal
in all his religious views. He is an honest and in-
dustrious man, and a sound representative.



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 147



MOSES S. BEACH.

Mr. Beach is a native of Springfield, Mass., and is
the son of Moses Y. Beach, who was sole pro-
prietor and editor of the New York Daily Sun, from,
1835 until 1845. He was born on the 5th of October,
1822* His ancestors were English, and were among
the earliest settlers of New England. His paternal
grand-mother was descended from the founder of Yale
college, and his maternal grand-mother from Elder
Wm. Brewster, one of the Pilgrim fathers. At the
age of eleven Mr. Beach was sent to school at Monson,
Mass., where he spent nearly seven years, when his
sight failing him he was obliged to abandon his studies
and return home. He was then occupied in his father's
establishment, with exceptionable periods of absence,
until 1845. In 1840 he went to France, where
he spent nearly a year in learning the French Ian*
guage at an institution near Paris. On his return to
the United States he resumed occupation in his father's
office, devoting a portion of his time to the perfection
of a printing press which was afterwards superseded
by Hoe's patent. 'In 1845 he purchased one-half in-
terest in the Boston Daily Times, which he success^
fully conducted till the fall of the same year, when he
married Miss Chloe Buckingham, of Waterto wn,
Conn., and soon afterward returned to the city of New
York, where he was admitted, with his brother, to an
interest in his father's establishment. In 1848 he
and his brother Alfred, took exclusive charge of the



148 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

concern, and in 1852 he purchased his brother's inte-
rest, and has since been sole editor and proprietor of
the paper. He never held any public office until his
election to* the seat he now fills. He is a liberal
Democrat, and has never been strictly a politician.
He has resided in Brooklyn since 1854, and attends
Dr. Beecher's church. He is one of the shreu'dest,
most active and industrious members in the House,
and is emphaticall}^ a gentleman in every respect.



ISAAC BECKER.

Mr. Becker was born on the 23d of June, 1818, in
Cortright, Delaware county, N. Y. His ancestors
came from Holland, and his father, Peter J. Becker,
is still living in that county. He received only a
common schooling, and being the only son at home,
and his father's health being poor, was obliged to
take charge of the farm, on which the family were
living, at a comparatively early age. At the age of
twenty-eight he purchased the place, and cultivated
it six years, when he removed to Ulster county, where
he has always since been engaged in farming. He
has had some experience as a military man, having
arisen as high as a Captaincy, and in 1855 was elect-
ed a Justice of the Peace. He was elected to the
Assembly by a flattering vote, and has proven himself
a faithful and consistent representative. He was
never a partisan until the organization of the Ameri-
can party, to which he has since adhered with the



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 149

most unrelenting and patriotic tenacity. He was
married in 1846 to Miss Elizabeth Pollock, of Sing
Sing, and attends the Dutch Reformed Church.



ALFRED BELL.

Mr. Bell was born in New Hampshire, in 1810, and
is of Irish descent. His parents removed to Alle-
gany county, N. Y., in 1827, where they are both
still living. He received a common school education,
and was raised on his father's farm. At the age of
twenty-one he became a clerk in a dry good store, and
in 1838 engaged in business for himself, in Livingston
county. After eight years' experience as a merchant,
he tried his hand in the furnace and machine business,
which, after four years' trial, he exchanged for
farming and lumbering, in which he is still engaged.
His first vote for President was cast for Gen. Jackson,
and his next and last for Col. Fremont. He never
filled any important public position until 1856, when
he was elected to the Assembly, where he was Chair-
man of the standing committee on Charitable and
Religious Societies. He was again elected to the seat
he now occupies, in 1857. He was married in 1831,
to Miss Juliet Dibble, of Monroe county, and attends
the Presbyterian church. He is an unwavering Re-
publican; a quiet, gentlemanly man; and a bell that
has the ring of true metal, though without a noisy
tongue. "*



150 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.



GEORGE W. BLEECKER.

Mr. Bleecker was born in the city of New York, on
the 1st of January, 1800, and is, therefore, literally
one of the first men of the age. He is the son of a
Revolutionary sire, Leonard Bleecker, who was an
intimate personal friend of Gen. Washington, and a
descendant of Jan Jansen Bleecker, the only indivi-
dual of the name who is known to have come to
America, and who was born in 1641, at Meppel, near
the province of Overyssel, in the Netherlands. He
arrived at New York in 1658, and at Albany the same
year, and was Mayor of the latter place, in 1700. He
died in 1732, and his descendants are now numerous,
and reside chiefly in Albany and New York. Mr.
Bleecker received a classical education, and at the age
of twenty entered the United States navy, as* Midship-
man, which position he resigned at the end of five
years, and embarked in the publishing and book busi-
ness in his native city. In 1833 he turned his atten-
tion to teaching, which he pursued as Principal of
private female seminaries, at different points, until
1844, and during that period educated over fourteen
hundred females, from all sections of the country. He
subsequently held a position in the Appraiser's de-
partment, in the Custom house, seven years, as an
Examiner, and was afterwards Inspector in the Col-
Jector's department, until the 5th of January, 1858,
when he resigned and took his seat in the present le-
gislature.



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 151

Mr. Bleecker was married in 1821, to Miss Phebe
S. Jordan, who died in 1826, and in 1827, married his
present lady. Miss Ann Eliza Watson. He is an ex-
emplary member of the Baptist church; is deeply in-
terested in Sabbath schools, and all other religious
and benevolent enterprises ; and has been several years
Secretary of the New York Sunday School Teachers'
association. He has always been a consistent, con-
servative Democrat; is a. quiet, industrious and influ-
ential representative; and is deservedly popular at
home and abroad.



HENRY BLISS.

No man in the House, probably, has a finer and
more healthy appearance, or enjoys a higher degree of
personal popularity than Mr. Bliss. He is a native
of Addison co., Vt., and was born, in 1827. He is of
English, Scotch, Dutch, and French descent. His
paternal ancestors settled in Massachusetts, and his
mother's family in New Jersey. His father removed
to Vermont about the year. 1814, and thence to Chau-
tauque co., N. Y., where he now resides. Mr. Bliss
received an academical education, and at the age of
eighteen turned his attention to teaching which he
followed about ten years in Penns;flvania, Kentucky,
and the town where he now lives. He has been Town
Superintendent, and is now Justice of the Peace. He
was elected to the present House, by a majority of
nearly five hundred over the American candidate,
upon whom the Democratic and American strength



152 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

was united. He was formerly a Woolly-Head Whig,
and was a delegate to the Anti-Nebraska state con-
vention at Saratoga, in 1854, since which time he has
been a zealous Republican. He is a sterling tempe-
rance man ; and a reliable legislator.



CHAUNCEY BOUGHTON.

Dr. Boughtonwasborn, on the 21st of January, 1805,
in Nassau, Rensselaer co., N. Y. His ancestors were
from Connecticut, and his father, who died, in 1831,
was a native of Westchester co., and a commissioned
officer in the Revolution. His wife, the mother of
the subject of this sketch, was from Fishkill, N. Y.,
and died when near seventy years of age. Dr. Bough-
ton received most of his education in his native
village, and at the age of sixteen, commenced the
study of medicine, in Saratoga county, going to school
and teaching at intervals, until he was twenty-one,
when he attended his first course of lectures at Fair-
field, Herkimer county. Subsequently he began to
practice in Saratoga as a partner of Dr. Shaw, his
brother-in-law, and former preceptor, whose entire
office and practice he purchased about a year after-
wards. In 1833, -he attended lectures in Philadelphia
and New York, and returning to Saratoga, the same
year, resumed the practice, which he followed steadily
until about five years ago, when he turned his atten-
tion to farming. His career as a physician has been


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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 9 of 15)