Columbia County at the End of the Century

Volume II

Published and Edited Under the Auspices of the Hudson Gazette

The Record Printing and Publishing Co.

Hudson, New York

M C M (1900)



These biographies  in Part III begin after page 132 of Volume II beginning with page 3.

Abbreviations used: p. o. = post office

Page 190:

PIERCE, John K., p. o. Chatham, N. Y., was born in New Lebanon, N. Y., August 10, 1834, son of Jabe and Anne Mary (King) Pierce.  He was educated in the commons schools and at Kinderhook Academy.  In 1847 he removed to Kinderhook, where he has since followed the vocation of farming.  He was married to Elizabeth C., daughter of Madison J. Tuck, of Hallowell, Maine.  Jabe Pierce, father of John K., was a native of Plainfield, Conn., and removed to New Lebanon in 1814, and in 1847 removed to Kinderhook where he spent his life as a farmer, and served his town for a number of years as supervisor.  His wife was Ann Mary King, and their children were John K. and Rebecca (deceased, December, 1894).  Mr. pierce died in 1883.

Pages 190 & 191:

PIERSON, Henry C., p. o. Chatham, N. Y., is a native of Columbia county, born January 24, 1845.  His father, Charles Edwin Pierson, was born in Bridgehampton, Suffolk county, N. Y., and through life was a farmer.  He was married to Marietta Halsey in 1844, and Henry C. was their only offspring.  Charles Edwin died in April, 1867, and his widow in April, 1895.  Rev. Abraham Pierson of Yorkshire, England, who came to America in 1640, landing in Boston, was the first American ancestor of this family, and his son, also named Abraham, was the first president of Yale College.  The latter married Abigail, daughter of George Clark, of Milford, and they had two sons, Abraham and John.  John was the father of Abraham, of Bridgehampton, L. I, who was born in 1755, died in 1825, and who married Phebe Hunting.  Their son, Samuel Hunting, of Canaan, was born in 1789; he married Mary E. Pierson in 1815, was the father of Charles Edwin, referred to in the foregoing, and the grandfather of the subject of this sketch; he died in 1867.  Henry C. Pierson was educated in the common schools of his native place and at the Albany High School.  In September, 1873, he established a hardware business in Chatham, which, after a time, he sold, and engaged in the coal trade; at present he deals in coal, wagons and agricultural implements.  He was elected supervisor of Austerlitz in 1876 and served two terms, and is a member of Columbia Lodge No. 98, F. & A. M.  His wife was Clara E., daughter of Daniel Clark.

Page 191:

PIESTER, Abraham D., was born in the town of Gallatin, N. Y., November 22, 1851.  His father was Thomas Piester, and was born in the town of Hillsdale, N. Y., and was married to Margaret, daughter of Abram Bush.  He followed farming all his life and died in 1889.  The grandfather of Abraham D. Piester, named Peter, with two brothers, came from Holland and were among the pioneers of Hillsdale.  Abraham D. Piester received his education in public and private schools, and has devoted his life to farming.  He is a man of more than ordinary prominence and influence in his adopted town of Greenport, having held the offices of highway commissioner three years, and supervisor for a like period, and is ever awake to the best interests of the public welfare.  In 1875 he was married to Ella, daughter of Richard and Deborah (Hollenbeck) Becker.  They are the parents of two sons, Richard T. and John C. and one daughter, Gertrude A

Page 348:

PIESTER, Charles J., of Ancram, was born in the town of Gallatin, N. Y., April 23, 1861, a son of Adam B. and Mary (Hapeman) Piester, who had nine children, as follows:  Harriet, Lavina, Eliza, Charles J., Mary, Peter, Catherine, Thomas and Barnard, who died at the age of twenty-one years, all born in the town of Gallatin.  Charles J. Piester was educated in the common schools and when he arrived at his majority he purchased a farm in Dutchess county, where he lived for seven years, when he returned to Gallatin; was with his father one year, and then purchased the farm where he now lives.  Mr. Piester is a justice of the peace, an ardent temperance man, and interested generally in educational and religious affairs.  At the age of twenty-one he was married to Ida, daughter of Alfred Cornelius of Dutchess county, and they are the parents of nine children, namely:  Harry C, Mabel, Charles Jr., Frank, Mark, Agaliece, Jennie, Peter and Ruth.

Pages 191 & 192:

PLATNER, Martin, son of Jacob I. and Catherine (Gridley) Platner, of Claverack, was born October 15, 1842.  He was educated in the district school and Hudson River Institute.  His father was proprietor of the Hollowville Hotel for about thirty years, and at the same time was carrying on the business of drover, and Mr. Platner soon became interested with his father in driving sheep and cattle.  When his father retired from the hotel, he bought the place across the road and lived there for a number of years.  In 1862 Mr. Platner enlisted in the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth Regiment of New York and started for the front, but being under age he was sent home.  When he was twenty-one he enlisted in the Ninety-first Heavy Artillery, of New York, and served in this until the close of the war; he received his discharge in Baltimore in 1865 and then returned home.  The company he was attached to was taken out of the regiment and given three months' drill in heavy artillery practice and then sent on a cruising expedition, the regiment being engaged in the attack on Richmond on the south side of the railroad, and was there when Lee surrendered at Appomattox.  He is a member of Byron Lockwood Post, No. 118, G. A. R., of Philmont, and is senior vice-commander.  Upon his return home he took up his old business of driving for a time, and then assumed charge of one of his father's farms, which he conducted for fifteen years, and then went to Hollowville, where he lived for a time, then traded the property he had there for the place he now owns, consisting of 240 acres.  In 1865 Mr. Platner married Ellen Hart, of Greenport, daughter of William H. and Cornelia Hart, who bore him six children:  George, Maggie, Warren, Gertie, Clarence and Ralph.

Pages 192 & 193:

PLATNER, William B., M. D., was born in Taghkanic, Columbia county, N. Y., in 1860, son of Dr. Rensselaer and Helen L. (Boensteel) Platner.  Dr. Planter received his nonprofessional education at Claverack College and Hudson River Institute, and was graduated from the Albany Medical college in 1882.  He acted as physician at the Swinburne Dispensary in Albany three years, at the expiration of which time he began the active practice of his profession in Germantown.  His practice extends through the towns of Germantown, Clermont and Madalin, and he bears the reputation of being one of the leading physicians and surgeons in the county.  He is a member of the County Medical Society.  Dr. Platner's wife was Charlotte M. Whiting, a sister of Capt. William H. Whiting, of the United States navy, and daughter of William H. Whiting, the found of the American Bank Note Company, and the inventor of important and valuable improvements in the process of banknote printing.  Dr. and Mrs. Platner have no children.  They have a beautiful home, surrounded by seven acres of land, nearly all of which is devoted to fruit culture. The house overlooks the Hudson river, with enchanting views of the Catskill mountains and the intervening valley, and is considered one of the most attractive locations in Germantown.  Apart from the respect and confidence which the doctor has won in the community as a physician, he takes a commendable interest in the questions of the day and is in all respects an estimable, patriotic and progressive citizen.

Page 349:

PLEMLEY, William, was born in the town of Claverack, N. Y., February 14, 1830, son of Peter and Jane (Whitmore) Plemley, who were the parents of eight children, namely:  Catherine, Eliza, Laney, Martin, Margaret, Walter, William, and Hannah, all born in Claverack.  Peter Plemley was a son of William, a Revolutionary soldier of seven years' service, and who died at the age of ninety-eight years.  William Plemley, the subject of this notice, was educated in Claverack schools and was associated with his parents until he was forty years of age, when he hired a farm in the town of Ghent, which he conducted three years, and then bought the farm of 216 acres he now occupies, carrying on general farming.  In his early life he did considerable speculating in cattle, sheep, and various farm products.  He is a man of active faculties, and enjoys the esteem of his community.  When thirty-five years of age he was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Harry Stickles; they have one daughter, charity, wife of Cassius M. Pectal, and they have five children.  Peter Plemley was a veteran of the War of 1812.

Page 193:

POMEROY, George P. K., M. D., p. o. Stuyvesant, N. Y, was born at Clarksville, Albany county, N. Y., October 2, 1856, a son of Thaddeus and Catherine (Wiltse) Pomeroy.  He attended the common schools until he was thirteen years of age, when he entered Spencer's High School, of Clarksville, from which he was graduated when he was seventeen.  For three years he taught school, studying medicine during his leisure hours.  He matriculated at Albany Medical College, from which he was graduated in 1878, and the same year settled at Stuyvesant, where he has since resided and practiced his profession.  Dr. Pomeroy has won a high place in the esteem of the people of his community, not only as a physician but as a public servant.  He has always taken an unusual interest in matters pertaining to the education of the young; he is one of the most active members of the board of education, and was appointed superintendent of the erection of the new schoolhouse in Stuyvesant.  He was one of the incorporators of the "Firwood" Cemetery Association of Stuyvesant and is its president.  He is a member and has been president two years of the Columbia County Medical Society, a member of the State Medical Association and has been a health officer of the town of Stuyvesant since its organization in 1880.  He is a member of the Democratic County Committee and also chairman of the Town Committee.

Pages 193 & 194:

POTTS, Charles W., was born in the town of Clermont, December 18, 1844, a son of Jonas and Jane Eliza (Denerly) Potts, who were the parents of three children, as follows:  Margaret, wife of John H. Hover; Charles W. and Henry, who died at the age of three and one-half years.  Mr. Potts was educated in the common schools of the town of Clermont, and was associated with his parents until his father's death in 1877.  His mother died September 8, 1886.  After the death of his father Mr. Potts carried on the farm to within about five years, since which time he has lived a retired life.  He has a pleasant home in the village of Clermont, adjoining his farm of 130 acres.  On November 14, 1866, Mr. Potts married Ella, daughter of John Fingar, of West Camp, who bore him six children:  Hattie, wife of William L. Fraleigh, Jr.; Raymond, town clerk of the town of Clermont, and married to Marion Sheldon; Chauncey, married Fannie Barringer Feller; Jonas F., married Bessie Rockefeller; Charles H. and Wesley.  Mr. Potts has taken an active part in town and county affairs, though he has never aspired to political honors.  He is a liberal contributor and supporter of the Manor church in the town of Livingston.

Page 194:

POWELL, Jonathan, R., p. o. Chatham Center, N. Y., was born in the town of Chatham, N. Y., February 2, 1828.  His father was Henry J. Powell, a native of Dutchess county, who came to Chatham in 1824, and married Judith, daughter of Jonathan Rider, who bore him the following children:  Maria, Jonathan R., Louisa, (died in 1876), Henry J., Jr., (died in 1842), Wilson M., a lawyer in New York, and Albert G., of California.  Henry J. Powell died in 1888, and his wife in 1868.  Jonathan R. Powell was educated in the common schools and at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was graduated as a civil engineer, with the degree of Bachelor of Science.  For a time he was professor of natural sciences in the Mt. Airy Agricultural Institute at Germantown, Pa., also was employed as civil engineer on the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad, after which he engaged in farming.  He has served three years as supervisor.  He was married to Elizabeth A. Starks, of Troy, and they had one son, Henry A., a practicing lawyer, of Brooklyn, N. Y.   Mrs. Powell died in 1852, and he later was married to Anna Morrell, of Brooklyn, who has borne him three children:  Lefferts M., J. R. Powell, Jr., practicing physicians in Boston, Mass., and Anna M.

Page 194:

POWELL, Wilson M., p. o. Old Chatham, N. Y., was born in the town of Chatham, N. Y., December 7, 1834.  (See sketch of J. R. Powell for biography of parents.)  He graduated at Union College in 1859, and studied law in Utica.  Was admitted to the bar in New York in 1861, where he has practiced his profession ever since.  He was married to Sarah H., daughter of Samuel Brown , of New York.  Their children are Rachel H., Wilson M., Jr., and Elsie.

Page 349:

POWELL, James J., of Canaan, was born in Austerlitz, January 1, 1828, son of John (born in Hartford, Conn.) and Phoebe (Smith) Powell, who were the parents of three children:  Mary, Betsey Ann, and James J.  James J. Powell received his education in the common schools, and after leaving school engaged in farming.  He was engaged in the lumber business for a number of years and in 1870 engaged in the mercantile business; he was appointed postmaster in 1872.  He married twice, first, to Amelia De Graff, who died in 1871, and, second to Amanda J. Reynolds, who bore him one son, James J., Jr.  Mrs. Powell died in 1885.

Pages 194 - 196:

POWER, Hon. George H. -- The history of Hudson would fall far short of completeness were not due recognition made of the many interest connected with and thousands of dollars invested in ferries and river transportation.  The development of its various lines of river transportation and of its ferries was largely due to John Power and his son, George H. Power.  John Power was a native of Adams, Mass., whence he came to Hudson about 1790, and was one of the city's earliest merchants.  He first became connected with the transportation business in 1827, and until his death was an active factor in the business.  He became connected with one of the old county families by his marriage with Mary, daughter of Paul Hussey; she died in 1809, and for his second wife he was married to Phoebe Hussey, sister of his first wife; her death took place in 1820.  In 1824, he contracted his third marriage with Eunice Jenkins, who survived him after his death in 1833.  George H. Power, son of John and Phoebe (Hussey) Power, was born in Hudson, September 4, 1817.  He was educated in the public schools of the city, and early in life became connected with river transportation, and, surprising as it may seem at this day, at the age of seventeen was master of a vessel, in the employ of Jeremiah Bame.  About 1842 he formed a partnership with Colonel Darling in the lumber business, which was profitably conducted until the stock and fixtures of the yard were burned in 1848.  In 1850 and 1851 he was interested in the steamboat lines running between Hudson and Albany and Newburgh and Albany, and during the Civil War had a financial interest in a number of steamboats employed by the government, and in transportation between Hudson and New York.  In 1853 he organized what would to-day be called a syndicate, which purchased the rolling stock of the Hudson and Berkshire railroad, securing a lease of the road for thirty days, which was extended until the final sale of the property to the Boston and Albany Railroad Company, covering a period of twenty-two months, during which time the road was operated under his sole charge; after the sale, he continued in the same capacity until his resignation in 1862.  In 1880 he became the owner of the ferry between Hudson and Athens, and in 1883 established the ferry between Hudson and Catskill.  When the Hudson City Savings Institution ws founded in 1850 he was made one of the trustees, in which position he still continues.  Mr. Power has never been classed as a politician, but has felt it his duty to submit to the importunities of his friends and accept public office, though pressed with the cares of active business.   During the Civil War he was elected to the Assembly, and at various periods has served the city of Hudson as mayor, supervisor and alderman.  In 1838 he was married to Adeline E., daughter of Peter G. Coffin.  Ripe in years and rich in experience Captain Power is a monument to that forceful energy and sound judgment that builds great works from small beginnings, and exhibits to the world the results of industry, integrity, foresight and a well-trained intellect.  No man in Hudson possesses a larger fund of reminiscences, and now, in the evening of his life, he can rest content with a retrospective view of a life well spent.

Page 196:

PRATT, Frank B., p. o. Chatham, N. Y., was born in Essex county, N. Y., August 23, 1868, son of William R. Pratt, who was born in New Concord, N. Y., and is a postal clerk on the Boston and Albany railroad.  William R. was married to Fanny Belknap.  Frank B. Pratt, after attending the common schools, was a clerk in a store in East Chatham for seven years; he then came to Chatham as clerk in the post-office.  In 1892 he entered the employ of Mr. Palmer, where he continued until 1899, when he was admitted as partner in the firm of E. G. Palmer & Co.  He was married to Blanche Tripp, daughter of Elijah Tripp.

Page 196:

PROPER, David S., was born in the town of Livingston, N. Y., where he now resides, on January 8, 1846, the only son of Jacob H. and Mary Ann (Stall) Proper.  Jacob H. Proper was also a native of Livingston and a son of David and Helen (Weaver) Proper, who had four children:  Jacob H., Ursula, Rensselaer and Norman S., all born in Livingston.  David was a son of Jacob, and was born in Milan, Dutchess county, N. Y  The family settled in Columbia county, where David was married in 1823, and they have all been farmers.  David was active in the anti-rent rebellion, working with the Livingstons.  Jacob H. Proper served as supervisor many years, refusing, however, to take the "ironclad oath," but nevertheless, serving his term.  He served in the Assembly two terms, and one term as sheriff.  David S. Proper was educated in the schools of Livingston and at the Hudson Academy.  He was associated with his father until the latter's death in September, 1899, at the age of seventy-five years.  He served under his father as under-sheriff.   He was twice married; his first wife was Mahala, daughter of John P. Smith, who died, leaving one son, Jacob.  His second wife was Madeline, daughter of Samuel Ferguson, of Virginia.  They have four children:  Edith C., Miles G., Madeline F., and Irving F.  Mr. Proper is a member of Widow's Son Lodge, No. 335, of Livingston, and Royal Arch Chapter, of Great Barrington, Mass.  He resides at present on the old Livingston place, operating as a general farmer, and controlling the Linlithgo Mills.

Pages 349 & 350:

PULVER, John G., of Copake, was born in the town of Copake, N. Y., May 19, 1853, son of Peter S. and Sarah A. (Shufelt) Pulver, who were the parents of five children, namely:  Alice M., Philip P., George P., Emma A., and John G.  Peter S. Pulver was a son of Philip; and was a farmer and dealer in farm products, live stock, wool, etc., for shipment.  John G. Pulver was educated in the schools of Copake and at Claverack Academy, and when sixteen years old removed with his parents to the town of Claverack, where for six years his father ran the grist mill at Red Mills.  Son after his marriage in 1876 he returned to Copake and occupied the farm of 275 acres where he now lived, in the southern part of the town, and which was formerly owned by his father.  In 1876 he was married to Annie D., daughter of James J. and Evaline (Sagendorph) Ostrander; they have had three children:  James G., Alice M., and Sarah M., deceased at the age of nine years.  Mr. Pulver, apart from his dairy farming, buys farm produce, live stock, wool, etc., which he ships to different markets.  He is considered an excellent citizen and good business man.  He and his wife are supporters of the Reformed church at West Copake.

Page 350:

PULVER, William V., of Ancram, was born at Green River, Columbia county, N. Y., February 26, 1854, son of William and Eliza (Stupplebeen) Pulver, natives of Columbia county, who were the parents of eight children, as follows:  Ellen, wife of George Woodward; Peter L., Elizabeth, wife of the late Edward Woodward; Estella, wife of Stephen Trafford; William V., Ettie, wife of Arthur Whitehead, of Brooklyn, N. Y.; Mary and Charles, both deceased.  His grandfather was Peter, also born in Columbia county.  When William V. Pulver was a small child his parents removed from Green River to the town of Ancram, where he was educated in the common schools.  At the age of seventeen he started in life for himself as a farm laborer, and when nineteen began an apprenticeship at the blacksmithing and iron working trade at Ancram village.  In 1878 he came to Ancram Lead Mines and entered the employ of his brother, Peter L., who conducted a hotel at that place, where he continued until 1886, when he purchased the hotel property of J. L. Barton, of which he has since been the proprietor.  He is also interested in farming, making a specialty of dairying and stock raising.  Politically Mr. Pulver is a Democrat, and is active in the ranks of his party in the southern part of the county; he has served as town clerk, and held several appointive offices.  On December 31, 1884, he was married to Annie L., daughter of Jacob Shufelt, and they are the parents of six children, namely:  Peter R., born November 7, 1887; Frank, born August 16, 1890; Hazel, born July 6, 1892; Worthy, born May 23, 1896; Harry, born July 18, 1886, died June 30, 1899, and Mabel, born February 20, 1894, died January 15, 1898.

Page 197:

PURCELL, Laban, of Claverack, was born in Carmel, Putnam county, N. Y., February 17, 1842, a son of Platt and Arabella (Pinkney) Purcell.  His father died when he was nine years of age, and he went to live with his uncle; he stayed with him until twenty years of age, then went to Bedford Station to work as a clerk in the general store of H. H. & T. W. Fowler.  He remained with them four years, then returned to Carmel for a year in a store in that town.  He was next employed by W. Ketchum at Brewster, N. Y., as clerk in a hardware store, for eight years, then went to Purdy's Station for a short time and back to Bedford as baggage master for the Harlem Railroad.  After two years he was promoted station agent of the town of Ghent, and was employed as such for eight years, when he gave up railroad life to try farming.  He went to Catskill, Ghent and Austerlitz and, not finding what suited him in these places, came to Philmont in 1891 and bought the place he now occupies, where he has since lived.  He was elected justice in 1897 and commissioned to serve in 1898 for four years, and during the time he has had the position he has transacted a great amount of civil business.  On December 26, 1864, Mr. Purcell married Phoebe J. Griffin of Bedford, a daughter of John and Amanda (Moseman) Griffin.  They have one son, Fred A., born February 2, 1867; he married Ada Spellman, of Catskill, on September 18, 1889, and they have twins born to them, Alma Grace and Alice Ada.

Pages 197 & 198:

PUTNAM, Howard B., of Hudson, professor of music, was born in Woodbury, Conn., January 2, 1850.  His father was Luke S. Putnam, and his mother was Emeline Tompkins; the former was a native of East Montpelier, Vt., and through life was a hotel-keeper, and died in 1880.  The father of Luke S. Putnam was John Putnam, born in 1764, who at the age of eighteen enlisted in the Continental army and later became a Revolutionary War pensioner.  After the war he was a farmer at Montpelier, Vt.  He was descended from John Putnam, who came to America from England in 1634.  Howard B. Putnam was educated at Amenia and Poughkeepsie, N. Y.   His musical education was received in New York city, under such noted instructors as Dr. William Mason and S. B. Mills.  Mr. Putnam came to Hudson in 1898, and is prominent in the musical circles of the city.  He has made music his life-work, and has reached a high plane of excellence in his profession, his devotion to his art being characterized as that of a lover instead of a servant.  In 1882 Mr. Putnam was married to Miss Kate Layman; they have one daughter, Ethel.

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