Collection: Noted Living Albanians

Biography of John Boyd Thacher

JOHN BOYD THACHER Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. choose a state: Any AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY INTL Start Now 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...

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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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Biography of Thomas Markley Trego

THOMAS MARKLEY TREGO THE medical annals of Albany contain the names of not a few physicians who are well skilled in the profession, especially in some of its specialties. And among those who deserve to be included in this list of accomplished men is Dr. Thomas M. Trego, of No. 5 Ten Broeck Street. On the 31st of August, 1847, he first saw the light of day in the city of New York. He is the only surviving son of James and Maria Trego. His ancestry can be traced back for more than two hundred years. His father, who was born in Pennsylvania on the 1st of January, 1815, is of the eighth generation and descends in a direct line from his ancestor, James Trego, who was one of the oldest of three brothers and sons of Peter and Judith Trego, who were born in France about the years 1650-5. Being Huguenots and of French extraction, they escaped to England in 1685 during the persecution, and there formed part of the noble colony of William Penn, emigrating with him to this country, and finally settled in Chester county, Penn. Dr. Trego’s parents are still living at New Baltimore, N. Y. The maiden name of the doctor’s mother was Maria Houghtaling, who was born in Greene County, N. Y., on the 29th of December, 1814, and who is the oldest...

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Biography of Gilbert Milligan Tucker

GILBERT MILLIGAN TUCKER ONE of the most earnest, active and successful journalistic workers in Albany is Gilbert M. Tucker, one of the editors and proprietors of the Cultivator and Country Gentleman. He was born in Albany on the 26th of August, 1847, is a son of the late Luther Tucker, who, in the year 1831, established the old Genesee Farmer, now consolidated with the Cultivator and Country Gentleman. The elder Mr. Tucker, dying in 1873, left the management of the paper to his two sons, Luther H. and Gilbert M, The eldest son, Luther, is still at the head of the firm, while, during recent years, Gilbert has been the principal active member most of the time. The other son in this gifted family is Willis G. Tucker, the well-known physician and scientist of this city, a biographical sketch of whom is included in the present series. Gilbert M. Tucker, the subject of this sketch, inheriting the high literary abilities of his father, early evinced a great desire to lay out for himself a purely literary career. When about ten years of age he was sent to the Albany Boys’ academy, where he spent several years, and in 1865, at the age of eighteen, he had the satisfaction of entering the junior class of Williams College, Massachusetts. Applying himself with renewed ardor to his books, he was graduated in...

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Biography of Willis Gaylord Tucker

WILLIS GAYLORD TUCKER FORTY-ONE years ago an Albanian, who has already-gained an enviable reputation in the medical, scientific and educational world, first saw the light of day. Willis G. Tucker, the subject of this sketch, was born in Albany on the 31st day of October, 1849. His father, the late Luther Tucker, possessed talents of a high order, and his work as a writer and publisher, especially in the direction of agricultural science, has long been highly appreciated by the public. This noble pioneer in periodical literature established in 1826 the Rochester Daily Advertiser, the first daily newspaper published west of Albany, still continued under the name of the Rochester Union and Advertiser, a leading and successful journal. Fully impressed with the lack among American farmers of suitable agricultural information, Mr. Tucker established in the beginning of the year 1831, the Genesee Farmer, which soon won its way into general recognition by leading agriculturists throughout the land, and having purchased a farm near Rochester he took especial pride in its cultivation in connection with the management of his new publication. Removing to Albany in 1840 he combined the Cultivator of Albany with his journal, and issued the same as The Cultivator; a consolidation of the Cultivator and the Genesee Farmer. In 1853 he established The Country Cultivator, a weekly, with which, in 1866, The Cultivator was combined, and this...

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Biography of Albert Vander Veer

ALBERT VANDER VEER “A wise physician, skill’d our wounds to heal. Is more than armies to the public weal.” Pope – The Iliad. AN ALBANIAN who stands at the head of his profession as a surgeon, and whose fame is extended far beyond the limits of the city, is Dr. Albert Vander Veer. Born in the town of Root, Montgomery County, NY, on the 10th of July, 1841, his earliest days were quietly passed amidst pleasing scenes of rural life. He is a son of Abram H. Vander Veer, who in 1828 erected for tannery purposes the first building at what is now called Rural Grove. He comes from good old Holland stock, a race which has done so much in the interest of colonization, civilization and the development of moral and intellectual powers. His ancestors on his father’s side came from Alkmaar, Holland, in 1639, just nineteen years after the Pilgrim Fathers landed on Plymouth rock, where – “Amidst the storm they sang, And the stars heard, and the sea; And the sounding isles of the dim woods rang To the anthem of the free.” They settled first on Long Island, then in New Jersey. His ancestors on his grandmother’s side were also Hollanders of the name of Vancovenhoven, a name which was gradually abbreviated into that of Conover; and this was his grandmother’s maiden name. This estimable...

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Biography of John W. McNamara

JOHN W. McNAMARA A TRULY representative Albanian, who is actively engaged in a work highly conducive to the comfort and convenience of his fellow citizens, is John W. McNamara, the present efficient general manager and treasurer of the Albany railway. His career is interesting and instructive as showing a progressive mind with comprehensive views, and adaptability for filling with marked success different official relations of an intellectual or purely practical business nature. He was born on the 9th of January, 1839, at the town of Watervliet, Albany County, near what is now known as Karnerville. He is a son of Hugh McNamara and Ellen his wife, who, seeking to better their financial condition left the shores of their native land – Ireland – and sailed for America in 1832. On reaching this country they found their way to Albany, where they first located. After staying here for a brief period Mr. Hugh McNamara, who was a wide-awake business man and familiar with railroad matters, received the appointment of track superintendent on the old Mohawk and Hudson River railroad, and removed to the town of Watervliet before the close of 1832. Here in the midst of a rustic settlement John W. McNamara, the subject of our sketch, passed the first five years of his life, blessed with the tender care and filial affection of parents over whom the grave has...

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Biography of Edward A. Maher

EDWARD A. MAHER THE annals of Albany furnish several striking instances of the gradual rise of young men from the humbler walks of life to places of distinction and responsibility in political affairs. And among the number of such persons whose early aspirations have been crowned with success is included the name of ex-Mayor Edward A. Maher. His career is certainly a notable one, while it is full of inspiration and encouragement to young men. He was born in the city of Albany on the 20th day of May, 1848, little over forty years ago. He was not rocked in the cradle of wealth and luxury; and yet in his young, healthful, vivacious life there seemed to exist the elements which are necessary for the proper development of a genuine self-made man. While childhood’s days were passing over him he delighted not in the sports of reckless boys on the streets or in the fields, but was longing after something more substantial and elevating. His parents gave him all the advantages within their means of obtaining a good education. When a mere child they placed him in a public school of the city, where he was not slow in learning his lessons, or in forming the studious habits of mental discipline. As he grew older he became a pupil of the State Normal school, from which excellent institution he...

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Biography of James Hilton Manning

JAMES HILTON MANNING AN INDIVIDUAL who is deeply interested in the progress and advancement of the varied municipal interests of Albany is the Hon. James H. Manning, our present mayor. On the 22d day of September, 1854, he was born in this city, which he has ever since made his home. He is principally of English ancestry, and is a son of the late Hon. Daniel Manning, whose record forms so bright a page in our local and national history. His grandfather, John Manning, settled in Albany February 1, 1814, and died here April 3, 1837. His mother, whose maiden name was Mary Little, was born in Carlisle, England. A passing notice of the Hon. Daniel Manning will not be inappropriate here as preliminary to a sketch of his now distinguished son. Born in Albany May 16, 1831, he received an early education in the public schools of the city, and when he was twelve years of age, entered the office of the Albany Argus. His natural abilities soon became known and appreciated, and he gradually rose through the various grades until he became manager of the paper. In 1873 he was made president of the Argus Company. The study ?of our banking system also engaged his attention and he soon became well versed in all great financial matters and an excellent authority on difficult questions in this department....

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Biography of Frederic Gregory Mather

FREDERIC GREGORY MATHER AN ALBANIAN whose name shines with no dim lustre in the republic of letters, is Frederic G. Mather. Born in the city of Cleveland, Ohio, on the nth day of August, 1844, he is a son of Samuel Holmes Mather, LL. D., of that city. This cultured gentleman was born in Jj 1813, at Washington, N. H.; his father was Dr. Ozias Mather of fl East Haddam, Conn. In 1835, a year after his graduation from Dartmouth College, Samuel H. Mather removed to Cleveland, when the city was a village of only four thousand inhabitants, today it is a city with a population of two hundred and fifty thousand. In 1849, he established the Society for Savings, the first institution west of the Hudson River, on the plan of savings banks in New England and New York. It is now the largest institution of its kind in the west, the deposits aggregating over $20,000,000. He also organized the public library of Cleveland; and, besides being still an honored member of the Cleveland bar, he has for many years been president of the institution which he took such pride in establishing. In 1889, Dartmouth College gave him the degree of LL.D. His only brother, now deceased, was Henry Brainard Mather, who was for many years, a partner of the late Hon. Amos A. Lawrence, in Boston, under...

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Biography of Harmon Pumpelly Read

HARMON PUMPELLY READ AMONG the young men of note in our city whose ancestry has filled an honorable place in American history, and who by his interest in the prosperity of his native town and his extensive knowledge of men and things in other lands, is the genial and accomplished Major H. P. Read. Born in the city of Albany on the 13th of July, 1860, when the storm of civil war was fast gathering to burst over the country, he descended from a long line of illustrious ancestors. His father, General John Meredith Read, was born in Philadelphia on the 21st of February, 1837; was educated at a military school; graduated with honor from Brown university; attended the Albany Law school, and studied civil and international law in Europe. He was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia, and afterward removed to this city. When but twenty years old he was appointed aide-de-camp to the governor of Rhode Island, having two years previously commanded a company of national cadets from which many commissioned officers were afterward furnished to the United States during the rebellion. He was actively engaged in the presidential campaign of 1856 in favor of Fremont, and in 1860 he organized the wide-awake movement in New York, which was an element of great power in the election of Lincoln. In 1859 General Read was married at Albany...

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Biography of William P. Rudd

WILLIAM P. RUDD IN THE field of professional, educational and political labor, and as possessing the genuine qualities of a true manhood, no young man amongst us is entitled to a higher place in the estimation of his fellow-citizens than William P. Rudd, member of the law firm of Messrs. Harris and Rudd. Born in Albany on the 9th of June, 1851, he has always continued to reside here, manifesting a strong love for his native city and its cherished institutions, whose welfare he has ever at heart. His father, William T. Rudd, a man well acquainted with business matters and of strict integrity, was for more than forty years employed as bank messenger and passenger conductor on the New York Central railroad, and since he severed his connection with the company in 1881 he has been held in the highest esteem by its officers. The subject of our sketch received his early education in the public schools of this city and a special preparation for college at a private school here. In the fall of 1869 he entered the freshman class, classical course, of Union college. His student life was marked by devotion to his studies, and while carrying on his regular and steady work he gave much time to affairs outside the prescribed course. For two years he was on the editorial staff of the Union college...

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Biography of William B. Ruggles

WILLIAM B. RUGGLES WILLIAM Benjamin Ruggles was born at Bath, Steuben County, N. Y., on the 14th of May, 1827. He is the son of William and Mary Ruggles. At the age of thirteen he was in a Bath printing office, trying to work his way up from the printer’s case, with the determination of becoming some day an educated man. At the same period he attended a part of the time the public school of Bath, with a view of preparing himself for a collegiate course. ” We remember him,” writes one, ” when a boy, as a studious youth, and call to mind the hours when we found him stretched out evenings on the old ‘ bank ‘ of the printing office studying his books by the aid of a tallow dip, fitting himself for entrance to Hamilton college.” In 1846 he had the great satisfaction of entering Hamilton college, in the sophomore class, though still obliged during vacation to set type in order to secure the necessary funds to carry him through college. He went through, graduating in 1849, with the highest honors of his class. And we venture to say that no graduate ever left the halls of that excellent institution of learning with more scholarly pride and satisfaction than did young Ruggles with his diploma in hand. While he had experienced the truth that...

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Biography of Henry Russell

HENRY RUSSELL IN THE line of mercantile industries, Albany has its fair share of notable, solid men. And in a special department of trade none of our citizens enjoys a higher distinction than the subject of the present sketch, Hon. Henry Russell, whose career furnishes another remarkable example of what may be accomplished by those whose aims in life are high and honorable and over whose daily walk industry and perseverance have had a controlling influence. Born on the 7th of December, 1835, in the town of Broome, Schoharie county, N. Y., his life opened in the midst of ” rural sights and rural scenes,” so conducive to health, virtue and happiness. His father, John Russell, was a substantial farmer of Schoharie county, and a man of high character, who drew around him many true, admiring friends. His grandfather was of New England origin, and lived in Salem, Mass., till, stirred by the enterprising spirit of eastern men, he came, nearly a hundred years ago, as a pioneer to this state, and settled amidst the wilds of old Schoharie county, where, by the sturdy blows of his axe and the sweat of his brow, he cleared up the wilderness around him till the sunlight beamed upon his rustic habitation and his newly cultivated fields rejoiced with corn, wheat, rye and other grains, while his garden bloomed with fruits and...

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