Mr. Van Dusen was a descendant
of the old and distinguished American family of this name, whose ancestors
came from Holland at a very early period in our history. He was born at
Claverack, on the 15th of January, 1774. He was three times married, and
left six children at his death. His first wife was a Miss Fonda, his
second an Elting, and his third a Whitbeck. This is all the information we
have been able to obtain respecting them.
Mr. Van Dusen lost his father in early boyhood, and was thus thrown upon
his won resources for his fortune in life. He first located at the village
of Johnstown, in the town of Livingston, Columbia county, where he became
a successful and prosperous country merchant, and did a large business for
nearly forty years. Among his other enterprises, he bought the mills now
known as the Bingham mills and carried on extensive flouring, together
with a large interest in real estate.
In 1842 he removed to Greenport, in this county, and settled on the farm
now owned and occupied by Mr. Henry A. DuBois, where he died in 1854. His
improvements on this place were by no means inconsiderable.
During his residence in Livingston he was not only the leading merchant
for many years in the southern part of the county, but a prominent and
influential public man, being fifteen or twenty years a member of the
board of supervisors and representing Columbia county in the Legislature.
He was an officer in the old New York State militia, in the cavalry branch
of the service, and was a superb horsemen. He was one of the
founders of the Hudson River Bank, and one of its directors for many
years. He was one of those men who, without capital to start with,
commence business in a small way, and by energy, industry, and strict
business habits build up a fortune and carve out a career for themselves.
Such was Mr. Van Dusen; a man of strict integrity, excellent judgment, and
great business enterprise. Those who knew him will long remember him as
one of the most worthy and influential of the old citizens of Columbia