Location: Albany New York

Biography of Charles H. Peck

CHARLES H. PECK There is a lesson in each flower, A story in each stream and bower; In every herb on which you tread Are written words, which, rightly read, Will lead you from earth’s fragrant sod. To hope, and holiness, and God.” Allan Cunningham. AN ALBANIAN who has manifested a high order of genius in a special department of science, and whose devotion to the study of the beauties and sublimities of nature is supreme, is Professor Charles H. Peck, the present botanist of the New York state museum of natural history. He was born in the town of Sandlake, Rensselaer County, N. Y., on the 30th of March, 1833. His father, Joel B. Peck, operated a saw-mill at that place, and when but fourteen years of age young Peck assisted him in running the mill during the summer months. In the winter he attended the district school – a much more congenial work for him than that of handling lumber. But this manual exercise was at the same time greatly beneficial to him in strengthening his naturally delicate constitution and fitting him for future usefulness in his later scientific researches. In 1851, at the age of eighteen, he entered the state normal school at Albany, where for a year he pursued his studies with the closest application and the most absorbing interest. It was here that he...

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Biography of Isaac G. Perry

ISAAC G. PERRY AN architect of high standing and great popularity in his profession is Isaac G. Perry, the regular capitol commissioner, whose official residence is now in Albany. Born in Bennington, Vt., of Scottish ancestry, on the 24th of March, 1822, he passed his earliest days amidst the grand, patriotic scenes of the Green mountains, breathing pure, invigorating air and laying the foundation of a strong constitution. His father, Seneca Perry, a native of White Creek, Washington County, N. Y., and a carpenter and joiner by trade, died in 1868. His mother, whose maiden name was Martha Ann Taggart, was born at Londenary, N. H., and died in 1860. She was ardently attached to the old Presbyterian faith. His grandfather was Valentine Perry, and his grandmother, Patient (Hays) Perry, both of White Creek. His grandmother on his maternal side was Mary Woodburn of Londenary, N. H. The Woodburns came from Scotland to this country at an early date, and settled in Londenary and its vicinity. His parents removed to Keeseville, Essex County, N. Y., when their son Isaac was a lad of seven years. There he attended the village school for several terms, and served an apprenticeship with his father as a carpenter and joiner, pursuing his studies in this line with the greatest enthusiasm from early morn until late at night. He may, in fact, be called...

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Biography of Cyrus Strong Merrill, M. D.

CYRUS STRONG MERRILL, M. D. AMONG the noted professional men of Albany no name shines with greater resplendency in a special department of science than that of Dr. C. S. Merrill, the eminent oculist and aurist. On the 21st of September, 1847, in the town of Bridport, Vermont, he first saw the light. His parents were Edward Henry Merrill and Sarah Wilson Strong, whose ancestors were among the earliest settlers of that state and exerted a marked influence on its affairs before, as well as since the revolution. From his earliest years the natural inclination of his genius was plainly manifested. While a mere boy he delighted in the studies of natural science, especially in anatomy, physiology and chemistry. He was thus, unconsciously, laying the foundation of his future celebrity as a physician; and while other boys of his age were indulging in the more boisterous sports of the town or field, or wasting their time in idleness, young Merrill was absorbed with books illustrative of the first principles of medical science. His parents, witnessing with pleasure his studious habits, determined to gratify his tastes by giving him a liberal education, and accordingly he was early placed under the care of competent private tutors. He was next sent to the Newton academy, where his acquisition of knowledge was very rapid, and where he was carefully prepared for college. In...

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Biography of Nathaniel Cleveland Moak

NATHANIEL CLEVELAND MOAK ONE of the brightest luminaries of the legal profession in Albany is Nathaniel C. Moak, whose career furnishes a striking example of what may be accomplished by hard study and unyielding perseverance under many surrounding difficulties. He was born on the 3d of October, 1833, at Sharon, N. Y. When old enough to labor he worked on his father’s farm till he had reached his sixteenth year. In the meantime he attended the district schools in the neighborhood during the winter terms. His thirst for knowledge when a mere boy was great, and while laying the foundation of a strong physical constitution by regular manual labor in the open field he was preparing himself for bearing up under the mental strain of the hard-working student. In 1849 he attended two or three terms at the Cherry Valley academy, where he pursued his studies with great diligence and success. Having now fully determined to gratify his tastes by pursuing, as far as possible, a thorough literary course, he entered the Cooperstown academy, having previously earned sufficient, by laboring upon a farm, to pay his expenses for about a year at this institution, then under the care of John Leach. While here, Mr. Moak resided in the family of Dr. Fox, where he obtained knowledge of anatomy and physiology. This knowledge has been of great advantage to him...

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Biography of George S. Munson, M. D.

GEORGE S. MUNSON, M. D. AN ALBANIAN who, by his talents and energy, has already risen to eminence in a special department of science, is Dr. George S. Munson, ophthalmologist and aurist. Born in the village of Waterford, Saratoga County, N. Y., on the 4th of April, 1856, he passed his infancy there. He is the son of Stephen Munson and Unice A. Munson, who were highly respected citizens of Albany. On his mother’s side he is a direct descendant of the celebrated theologian and metaphysician, Rev. Jonathan Edwards of Northampton, Mass., and afterward president of Princeton College, New Jersey. His mother was a native of Westfield, Mass., and possessed many of the ennobling qualities which have distinguished the women of the old Bay State. She died in March, 1886, at New Orleans, while traveling for her health with her youngest son. The parents of Dr. Munson removed to Albany when he was scarcely two years old. Here his father was then in the shoe manufacturing business on Broadway, and soon established the largest concern of its kind in the city. It continued to flourish from year to year, commanding a large patronage both in and out of the city. Here the tender years of Dr. Munson were spent under the parental roof, with the careful attention and instruction of loving and intelligent parents, who took a pride in...

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Biography of Samuel Lyman Munson

SAMUEL LYMAN MUNSON IT IS both interesting and profitable to trace the prosperous career of men of enterprise in our midst, whose highest aim is to keep abreast with the progressive commercial spirit of the day and to develop or carry on some important branch of industry. Of this class we have a notable example in the following portraiture of Samuel L. Munson, the well-known manufacturer in Hudson Avenue – a man of uncommon pluck, courage, executive ability and untiring perseverance in his business undertakings. He was born on the 14th of June, 1844, in the town that is now known as Huntington, Mass. He belongs to the old Puritan race that did so much toward the establishment, civilization and growth of New England as well as other portions of this broad land of free institutions. His father, Garry Munson, was a man of noble impulses and remarkable industry – a descendant in the eighth generation in America from old Thomas Munson, who came to this country in 1621, a year after the landing of the Pilgrim fathers at Plymouth Rock, and who was one of the founders of New Haven, Conn., just two hundred and fifty-one years ago. Garry Munson married Harriet Lyman, a descendant of Richard Lyman, another dauntless Puritan who crossed the Atlantic in a frail vessel, and who, as early as the year 1635, was...

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Biography of David Murray

DAVID MURRAY ONE of the most accomplished scholars and educators of our city and country is Dr. David Murray. Born in Bovina, Delaware County, N. Y., on the 15th of October, 1830, his earliest years were spent amidst the grand, rugged, picturesque scenery of his native place. He is of Scottish descent, his parents being William Murray and Jean (Black) Murray, natives of Ecclefechan, Scotland. In 1818 they emigrated to the United States of America. Possessing the sterling qualities of true, intelligent Scotch people, and impressed with the great value of education in its broadest sense, both moral and intellectual, they determined to give their children all the advantages of an education which lay in their power. Accordingly David, the subject of our sketch, was sent at a very early age to the district school of his rural home, and at the age of twelve we find him in the academy at Delhi, pursuing his studies with increasing interest and delight. He left this academy to engage in a brief business career, which was not so congenial to him as the calmer walks of science and literature. At the Fergusonville academy he was prepared for a collegiate course; and in 1849, at the age of nineteen, he entered the sophomore class of Union college, then in the days of its great prosperity and popularity under the presidency of Dr....

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Biography of Willis S. Paine

WILLIS S. PAINE IN the exacting, complicated, and responsible duties connected with the history and oversight of banking institutions in our state no man has gained a more exalted reputation or been more generally commended for his official acts than the subject of this sketch. His public services are well known, even beyond the limits of our own state, and his career is replete with interest to banking men and financiers. Born in Rochester, N. Y., on the 1st of January, 1848, he spent his childhood in that beautiful city; growing up under the tender and watchful care of cultured and highly esteemed parents. His ancestry is of the enterprising, solid and patriotic New England stock. Robert Treat Paine, one of the signers of the declaration of independence was a member of this old family. Willis S. is a son of Nicholas E. Paine, who was a distinguished lawyer of Rochester, and who on account of his forensic ability was elected district attorney of Monroe County, while yet a young man. In later life he held the offices of mayor and president of the board of education in Rochester. His mother’s maiden name was Abby M. Sprague, a descendant of the old governors, Bradford and Prince, famous in the colonial history of Massachusetts. In 1885 Nicholas E. Paine and his wife Abby celebrated their golden wedding in true New...

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Biography of Amasa J. Parker

AMASA J. PARKER AN ALBANIAN of high intellectual qualities, who has passed his four-score years, and who has been a resident of this city for forty-four years, adorning its history by distinguished public service and private virtues is the Hon. Amasa J. Parker. He is a true representative of those enterprising New England pioneers who came from their old homes to aid in the development of the then new state of New York and the great western territories. Away back amidst the howling wilderness, where the cheering rays of the sun scarcely ever beamed upon their humble log cabins, they lived and toiled for the good of their country, their families, and their cherished civil and religious institutions. Judge Parker’s ancestors were among those who defended their homes from the invasion of the red men during the old French and English wars, when many a deed of horrid cruelty was enacted by the savages – when the tomahawk and scalping-knife in the hands of murderous foes gleamed through the thick forests, and when fears prevailed on every side, through the light of day and the darkness of night. And when the declaration of American independence was proclaimed, those worthy ancestors were found fighting on the side of the colonists in defense of the just rights of free men; and they laid not down their arms until this new republic...

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Biography of Edward J. Meegan

EDWARD J. MEEGAN A DISTINGUISHED, representative man of Albany – an accomplished lawyer and a leader in politics – is Edward J. Meegan. The study of his life is full of interest and profit to the young men of our time, whose chief aim should be to cultivate manly qualities, industrious habits, and whatever tends to make useful and influential citizens. On the 28th of September, 1846, in the city of Albany he first saw the light. His parents were natives of Ireland, whence they emigrated to this country in the year 1824. After living some two years in Boston, Mass., they found their way to Albany. Much pleased with the appearance and location of this city they made it their permanent residence, becoming useful, hard-working, and highly-respected citizens. Discovering a strong love of learning in their son Edward, they early sent him to St. Joseph’s parish school, where he became a close, diligent and successful student, mastering the elementary principles of a general education. There seems to have been no hesitancy in his choice of a profession – that of a lawyer being early indicated and firmly adhered to. But on account of the limited pecuniary means of his parents, young Meegan was obliged to rely greatly on himself for the successful prosecution and completion of his literary and professional studies. He had scarcely reached the age of...

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Biography of Robert A. Maxwell

ROBERT A. MAXWELL THE HON. Robert A. Maxwell, superintendent of the insurance department, was born in Washington county, N. Y. , in 1838. He is a son of Alexander Maxwell, of Jackson, a prominent citizen of the town, and an intelligent and wealthy farmer. Robert was given the advantages of a liberal education by his father. After receiving a thorough instruction at the common schools in his neighborhood, he was sent to the normal school at Albany, where he finished his education at the age of eighteen. His rare qualities as an educator were unfolded while attending this excellent institution, and so he soon became principal of the union school at Greenwich, N. Y. Subsequently he taught school at Kenosha, Wisconsin. Determined to relinquish a professional career for mercantile pursuits, he removed to Chicago and engaged in the commission business – buying and selling grain and produce. For seven years he was an active member of the board of trade in that enterprising city. But too close attention to business, and climatic influences combined to impair his health; and coming east, he settled at Batavia, N. Y. Soon after his settlement in his new home he invested his ready capital in the malt business, and became a successful and public-spirited merchant, closely identifying himself with all those interests which are conducive to the welfare and prosperity of his adopted...

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Biography of Charles F. Tabor

CHARLES F. TABOR CHARLES F. Tabor, the present attorney-general of the state of New York, whose official residence is now in Albany, was born on the 28th of June, 1841, in the town of Newstead, Erie County, N. Y. His father, Silas Tabor, was a lawyer, and also attended to the cultivation of his farm in that pleasant township, and there, after spending many years both in mental and manual exercise, he closed an honorable and useful career in 1863, in the midst of the stirring and eventful scenes of our great civil war. He was a man of great probity and many other noble characteristics and left the legacy of a good name to his children. His wife, Betsy E. Tabor, was a woman of high character and amiability of disposition, whose presence enlivened and cheered the whole household. She died in 1881. Charles F., the subject of this sketch, worked on his father’s farm until he was about seventeen years of age, also attending, when he could, the common school of the neighborhood. After he had obtained a fair education in the elementary branches he taught a district school in the winters, and prepared himself for college at Lima, Clarence and Williamsville academies. He was naturally fond of books and delighted in study, but for want of sufficient pecuniary means he was obliged to give up his...

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Biography of John Boyd Thacher

JOHN BOYD THACHER HON. John Boyd Thacher was born at Ballston Springs, N. Y., September 11 1847. He is the eldest son of the late George H. Thacher, who was for many years mayor of Albany, and his mother was Ursula J. Boyd, daughter of David Boyd, Esq., of Schenectady. His first American ancestor was Rev. Thomas Thacher who was the first pastor of the old South church of Boston. His father’s maternal grandfather, Judge Hornell, was the founder of the important town of Hornellsville in this state. To ex-Mayor George H. Thacher it is needless to allude in this connection, more than to pay, in passing, a tribute of respect to one who was one of the most prominent business men of Albany, and who has been referred to as ” that old war-horse of the democracy, who, in years gone by, so often led the party to victory.” In nothing the elder Thacher ever did, did he show sounder common sense than in the education he gave his son, the subject of this sketch, an education so practical as to fully inform him upon the little understood conflicting claims of capital and labor. After the usual preparatory course, Mr. Thacher entered Williams College, from which institution he graduated with honor in 1869. Far too many college graduates and far too many fathers of college graduates imagine that...

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Biography of Frederick Townsend

FREDERICK TOWNSEND AMONG those who have taken a prominent part in the development of the military affairs of our state, and have also been conspicuous for gallantry in the war for the Union, is General Frederick Townsend, of Albany, where he was born on the 21st of September, 1825. He comes from a line of ancestors noted for their independence of character, high moral principles and true devotion to the cause of liberty. He is a son of Isaiah Townsend, a prominent and wealthy merchant of this city, who married his cousin, Hannah Townsend, of New York, and died, at his residence in Albany in 1838, at the age of sixty-one. The general’s grandfather, on his father’s side, was Henry Townsend, of Cornwall, N. Y. , who married Mary Bennet and died in 181 5. The original ancestor of this branch of the Townsend family in America was old Henry Townsend, who was married to Annie Coles, and with his two brothers, John and Richard, came from Norfolk, Eng., to Massachusetts about the year 1640. They did not remain long in the old bay state, but set out through the primeval forests for the shores of Long Island, where they first located at Flushing, of which place they were among the original settlers. The patent was granted to John Townsend and others by Gov. Kieft, in 1645. On account...

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Biography of Charles Tracey

CHARLES TRACEY A REPRESENTATIVE Albanian whose sterling qualities of the head and heart have brought him into popular favor, and who has already been honored by the bestowal of responsible political positions, is the Hon. Charles Tracey, our present congressman from this district. He is descended from a long and influential line of Irish ancestry. Born at No. 757 Broadway, Albany, on the 27th of May, 1847, he has thus passed his forty-third year, and is in the vigor of manhood, possessing the capabilities of performing efficiently the active and onerous duties of life. In 1838 his father, John Tracey, removed to this country from Canada, in consequence of the native rebellion then existing in that country. He lived in Albany till his death on the 12th of July, 1875. He was a man of high character, having served as a trustee in many local organizations, both financial and charitable; was once a candidate for state senator; was a most respected and excellent citizen, and his departure was deeply and widely regretted by his fellow-citizens. His wife, Maria Tracey, survived him five years, dying in 1880. The benevolent and charitable disposition of Mr. and Mrs. John Tracey will long be remembered by the citizens of Albany. Charles Tracey, the subject of our present sketch, was sent to school very early in life, and became an apt and diligent pupil....

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