Collection: Noted Living Albanians

Biography of William L. Learned

WILLIAM L. LEARNED AN ALBANY jurist whose long and interesting career has reflected no little credit upon himself as well as upon the city of his adoption, is the Hon. William Law Learned, of the supreme court. He was born on the 24th of July, 1821, at New London, Connecticut, and is the son of Ebenezer Learned and Lydia Coit, his second wife. His ancestry is of English origin. His ancestors emigrated to this country at an early day, and settled in Charlestown, Mass. The first admission to the First church of Charlestown was that of his ancestor, William Learned, in 1632. Both his grandfathers, Amasa Learned and Joshua Coit, were men of excellent character, learning and ability in their day; and both of them were members of congress about the beginning of the present century. The father of the present judge was for many years a practicing lawyer, and later in life became a cashier in one of the state banks of Connecticut. He was a man of sound and excellent judgment, and of the purest integrity. At an early age he was graduated from Yale College, and after teaching school for a few years he entered in the practice of his profession at New London. In the pleasant town of New London, William L. Learned spent his earliest years, under the careful and tender instruction of intelligent...

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Biography of George W. Kirchwey

GEORGE W. KIRCHWEY AMONG the younger members of the Albany bar, whose attainments, not only in his special profession, but also in the wide range of general literature, have already gained for him distinction and honor, is George W. Kirchwey, of the law firm of Eaton & Kirchwey, and dean of the Albany Law School. Born on the 3d day of July, 1855, in the city of Detroit, Mich., he is the oldest child of honored parents who are still living in our midst. He was reared in an atmosphere of ideas, and does not remember the time when he did not have a book in his hands. He would have been a dull boy if he had not been something of a philosopher even in childhood. But he was not a dull boy and he made good use of the advantages which were thus afforded him. Home education in Detroit was followed by regular instruction in the schools of Chicago, to which city Mr. Kirchwey removed with his family soon after the outbreak of the civil war, in 1862. Nine years later, in the fall of 1871, the family removed to Albany, which has proved to be its permanent home. After arriving in Albany George spent a year in one of the public schools and then entered the high school, where he received his preparation for college. He...

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Biography of William H. Keeler

WILLIAM H. KEELER IN THE development of a particular branch of industry in Albany one of the most striking and successful examples is presented in the career of William H. Keeler, the founder of the well known and popular oyster-house of this city. While many other Albanians have attained distinction in literature, science and art, or secured the emoluments belonging to some of the learned professions or the laurels of the successful politician, it has been his chief aim in life to cultivate and master an important branch of physical science which will always be popular while the world exists; and that is the art of properly preparing delicious food for the hungry. He is, therefore, a representative Albanian, standing at the head of the caterers of the day, whose name is familiar as a household word to our citizens as well as to thousands all over the land, and who has supplied more of the wants of ” the inner man ” than almost any one else in the same line of business. From an humble origin and small beginning, like many of the successful men of our time in different vocations and professions, he has steadily advanced to the front rank of restaurateurs and hotel-keepers of the land. The career of such a man is notable from the fact that it shows a large amount of executive...

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Biography of James Barclay Jermain

JAMES BARCLAY JERMAIN A VENERABLE Albanian, whose name will be cherished by thousands of his fellow-citizens as a noble philanthropist, long after he shall have passed from the scenes and activities of earth, is James Barclay Jermain. His career as a benefactor to his race affords a happy illustration of what is true, spiritual and beautiful in Christianity. Favored with large pecuniary means he has not been slow to use money liberally in such ways as he believes to t s effective in accomplishing the greatest amount of good to the largest number of individuals in elevating them socially, intellectually and morally. He was born in the city of Albany, N. Y., on the 13th of August, 1809. His father, Silvanus P. Jermain, was a native of Sag Harbor, Long Island; but in 1802, removed to Albany, where he became successful in mercantile business, and accumulated a large property. He was, moreover, a man highly esteemed and respected for his many sterling qualities. The mother of James Barclay Jermain was Catharine Barclay, a pious and excellent lady, daughter of James and Janet Elizabeth Barclay, natives of Scotland. They emigrated to this country at an early day, and made Albany their permanent home. Losing his mother when he was but seven years of age, young Jermain was placed in the family of his uncle, the Rev. Nathaniel S. Prime, D....

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Biography of James Wesley Hutt

JAMES WESLEY HUTT ONE OF the most thorough-going and competent men in the express business is James W. Hutt, general superintendent of the National Express Company, whose head-quarters are in Albany. He belongs to a substantial old family of Schoharie county, N. Y., of Holland-Dutch origin, who early came to this region and took an active part in the civilization and progress of the country and afterward in defending their homes in the attacks of British and savage foes. Those old pioneers were men of the simplest habits, loyal in their attachment to the principles of civil and ecclesiastical liberty and earnest in their endeavor to cultivate the virgin soil and to turn the wilderness into fruitful fields. The great-grandfather of the present Mr. Hutt was John Hutt, one of those revolutionary patriots who was actively engaged in the border warfare of Schoharie county. In 1776 we find him enlisting as a private in the Fifteenth regiment, first company, of the united districts of Schoharie and Duanesburg. He served in the lower fort under Captain Stutroch at the time of Johnson and Brandt’s invasion. And among other instances of his valor in 1782, we see him displaying heroic courage in the defense of the house of Major Becker when it was surrounded by a party of Indians under Captain Crysler. He was near the house when the alarm was...

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Biography of George Rogers Howell

GEORGE ROGERS HOWELL AMONG those Albanians who have devoted their time and talents more exclusively to the pursuits of scientific, linguistic and literary research a man who ranks high among American scholars, is Mr. George R. Howell of the state library. Born in the town of Southampton, Long Island, on the 15th of June, 1833, he passed his boyhood in that interesting locality. The first American ancestor of this name was Edward Howell, of Marsh Gibbon, Buckinghamshire, England, who came with his family to Boston in 1639, and soon after removed to Southampton as one of the earliest settlers of the place. The old stone manor house of Edward Howell is still standing at Marsh Gibbon, and is still inhabited as a residence. We may remark here that Southampton, Long Island, was the first town settled by the English in the state of New York. The parents of Professor Howell were Charles and Mary Rogers Howell, highly respected citizens of Southampton. Young Howell first attended the district school and then the academy at Southampton, He very early manifested his love for books and a strong desire to gain a knowledge of various languages which he acquired with remarkable facility. After due preparation at the academy he entered the sophomore class in Yale college in 1851, at the age of eighteen. In this excellent and renowned institution, then under the...

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Biography of Galen R. Hitt

GALEN R. HITT IN THE ranks of the younger democratic Albanians no A man has risen more rapidly in the estimation of his party during the past few years than the subject of our sketch, Hon. Galen R. Hitt. He belongs to the sturdy race of New Englanders, and was born on the 16th of August, 1843, at Pawlet, Vt. There he passed his childhood days attending the district schools of his native place, playing on the green fields of his father’s farm, inhaling the pure, invigorating air of that delightful, healthful region of country, growing up a vigorous youth, with strong love for sports and pastimes, and evincing at the same time a disposition to become an educated man. In 1859, after receiving a good common school education, he entered the Troy Conference academy at Poultney, Vt., where he remained four years, making commendable progress in his studies and taking a special interest and pride in declamation. Apt in learning, he always stood high in his class, and left the academy with an honorable record. Having decided to enter upon the law as a life-long profession, he accordingly began his legal studies at Rutland, Vt., and finished them in Albany, where he was admitted to the bar by the general term in the spring of 1865. In the fall of the same year he married Miss Sarah J....

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Biography of David Bennett Hill

DAVID BENNETT HILL A PROMINENT figure in our political annals is David B. Hill, governor of the state of New York. His ancestors were of New England origin, and he was born in the beautiful and romantic village of Havana, Schuyler, then Chemung county, N. Y., on the 29th of August, 1843. His father, Caleb Hill, was a native of Windham county, Conn, but while a young man, removed to Havana, where he carried on the business of a carpenter and joiner. His mother’s maiden name was Eunice Durfey. She was a woman richly endowed with the gifts and graces of a true life. Both parents were strongly devoted to the welfare of their children and strove hard, with their very limited pecuniary means, to give them a good common-school education. These intelligent, industrious and affectionate parents, so pleasant in their lives, were not long divided in their death – Mrs. Hill died in Elmira, August, 1882. and Mr. Hill – after living to see his son elected lieutenant-governor of the empire state – followed her to the grave in December of the same year. David, the youngest son, and the subject of this sketch, was naturally fond of books and made an excellent use of the limited educational advantages afforded him by his parents. At the Havana academy, beautifully located in the open fields a short distance from...

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Biography of Hamilton Harris

HAMILTON HARRIS A DISTINGUISHED citizen of Albany, whose fame as a lawyer, a scholar and a statesman extends far beyond the limits of his residence, is the Hon. Hamilton Harris. Born at Preble, Cortland county, N. Y.,on the 1st of May, 1820, he passed his boyhood amidst the beautiful natural scenery of his native place, engaging in the healthful exercises, sports and pastimes of a life in the country. His father, Frederick Waterman Harris, a native of the state of New York, but of English origin, was one of the sterling pioneers of Cortland county. His mother, whose maiden name was Lucy Hamilton, was of Scottish ancestry and possessed many of the noble qualities of that race. The parents of Hamilton Harris had removed from Charleston, Montgomery county, N. Y., in the year 1808 to Preble, and settled on a farm of several hundred acres. This large farm presented a rich and varied surface of hill and valley and plain, and was carefully cultivated and improved by the elder Harris. Near the old house yearly bloomed gardens of flowers, while orchards rich with autumnal fruits formed a leading attraction of the delightful spot. Here the happy days of the youth of Hamilton Harris were spent in laying the foundation of a strong constitution, and in receiving his first lessons in a literary cases, both far and near Ten years...

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Biography of Charles Darius Hammond

CHARLES DARIUS HAMMOND ONE of the prominent railroad officials of our city, whose services have been of great value to the corporations with which he has been connected, is Charles D. Hammond, the present superintendent of the Northern department of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company’s railroad. His ancestors came from England to this country at an early date and settled in Massachusetts. His grand-father afterward moved to Rushford, Allegany county, N. Y., where he was born on the 1st of March, 1844. He is a son of the Rev. S. Y. Hammond, a member of the Genesee Conference of the Methodist Episcopal church, who for half a century faithfully discharged the regular duties of a pastor in different parts of this state, and who is now, at the age of eighty-one, rounding a life of consecration to the cause of his Divine Master in the noblest of all professions, calmly and hopefully awaiting that Master’s summons to a blessed immortality. The maiden name of his mother was Martha Adams, a devoted Christian lady, who departed this life in 1863. Charles D. Hammond, the subject of this sketch, is of the fifth generation in a direct line from the original settlers of that name in this country. The earliest years of his life were spent in Western New York, under the parental roof, and in attending the district schools...

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Biography of Charles Roswell Hall

CHARLES ROSWELL HALL AMONG the young men of Albany, who, by a steady and unfailing devotion to the principles of professional and official duty, deserve a just recognition for representative character, is Charles R. Hall, deputy superintendent of the banking department of the state of New York. He is another example of many of those descendants of Connecticut pioneers who have helped so much to develop the resources and advance the civilization and prosperity of this country. He was born on the 17th of September, 1853, in the town of Guilford, Chenango county, N. Y., where his father, John P. Hall, owned and cultivated a farm, and where he lived for many years and until his death in 1875. This branch of the Hall family originally came from England in the early part of the seventeenth century, and settled in Connecticut, where they endured with heroic spirits the privations and trials incident to other pioneers in the wilderness of the new world, surrounded by roving tribes of Indians and often exposed to their murderous attack. The maiden name of the mother of Charles R. Hall was Sarah Hart Purdy. She was a descendant of the noted Mead family, who were also early settlers about Greenwich, Conn., and whose genealogy has been given to the public in an interesting work. Mrs. Hall is still living to receive the affectionate care...

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Biography of Matthew Hale

MATTHEW HALE A MAN of fine legal attainments and of high personal character, who has been a steady resident of Albany for the past twenty-two years is the Hon. Matthew Hale, On the 20th of June, 1829, in the little town of Chelsea, in the state of Vermont, this well-known jurist first saw the light of day. His ancestry is in every respect a notable one – including admirable combinations of intellectual, moral and religious principles. His father, Harry Hale, was a descendant of one Thomas Hale, an English yeoman, who immigrated to this country in 1638, and settled in Newbury, Mass. Harry Hale was a leading citizen in his day, and a man of great excellence of character. He was born in 1780, and when about twenty years of age formed a partnership with his brother Nathan, and became a country merchant, first at Windsor and afterward at West Windsor, Vt. He removed to Chelsea, Vt., where he still carried on a country store under the firm-name of Hale & Dickinson. A few years before the birth of his son Matthew, he retired from trade and devoted himself to the management of a grist mill and to farming. He was a captain of the militia, held various town offices; and in 1828, ’32, and ’36, represented Chelsea in the Vermont legislature. He was also for several years county...

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Biography of James W. Eaton

JAMES W. EATON A TRULY representative Albanian who has contributed largely to the architectural adornments of the city of his adoption, and whose name will always be favorably associated in the construction of the new capitol, is James W. Eaton. His life is specially interesting and instructive as presenting the more solid characteristics which are essential in the formation of a type of true manhood – a type which will ever be a blessing to any community. He was born at Somerville, N. J., not far from the city of New Brunswick, on the 22d of August, 1817. His ancestors were among the Puritans of the old Massachusetts Bay colony, who in 1629, with five shiploads of colonists under their leader, John Endicott, landed at Salem and Charlestown, just nine years after the settlement at Plymouth. Here, breathing the purer air of liberty in civil and ecclesiastical matters than they enjoyed in the old world, actuated by a spirit of piety, and filled with noble impulses, they engaged manfully in the trials and struggles incident to pioneer life in a new wilderness land. The father of the subject of this memoir was Josiah Eaton, a native of Keene, N. H., who after Hving several years in the old granite state removed to New Jersey and took up his residence in the town of Somerville. The mother of James W....

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Biography of Dudley Farlin

DUDLEY FARLIN THE RECORDS of American biography furnish numerous instances of persons rising to high and honorable stations in life, commanding the respect and admiration of the public and performing many noble deeds in the interests of humanity. Among the causes which operate to produce this grand result are natural talents, constant industry, strict economy, high moral principle, with Che many golden opportunities afforded by our free institutions for the encouragement and development of material and intellectual greatness. Albany has its fair share of representative men of this class; and among the list we have one who is now a resident of this city – a public-spirited man, actively engaged in some of its large business concerns – Dudley Farlin, general freight agent of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company’s railroad, president of the Young Men’s association, etc. He was born on the 20th of December, 1835, in the town of Warrensburgh, Warren county, N. Y. In that rural healthful, romantic region he passed his earliest days under the watchful care of affectionate parents. He is a son of Myron B. Farlin and Harriet W. Farlin, both of whom have passed away. His father was for several years engaged in the lumber business at Warrensburgh, where he was highly respected by all who knew him for his many excellent traits of character. His grandfather, Dudley Farlin, one of the...

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Biography of Douw Henry Fonda

DOUW HENRY FONDA AN ALBANIAN who has long been actively and successfully engaged in an important, special commercial interest in this city, and who, at the same time, has taken an active part in the promotion of sound education and municipal prosperity is Douw H. Fonda, the popular, enterprising wholesale druggist, of Nos. 70 and 72 State street. Born on the loth of September, 1831, in the picturesque village of Fonda, N. Y., he comes from a substantial line of Holland ancestry, noted in the olden times, some of whose members have held important and responsible public positions in this state, and aided largely in the development of the material and intellectual resources of the country. He is a son of the late G. T. B. Fonda, a highly esteemed citizen of the town of Fonda, N. Y. The maiden name of his mother was Rachel Polhemus, who was married to Mr. Fonda about the year 1829, and who died July 5, 1844. His grandfather was Douw Adam Fonda, also of Fonda, N. Y., who was a member of the assembly from the counties of Montgomery and Hamilton in 1833, and who died July 5, 1855, leaving a high record as a useful, honorable, public-spirited citizen. His great-grandfather was Adam Fonda, a son of Douw Fonda, an early settler of Fonda, which in his time bore the Indian name...

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