Biography of John Van Dusen


History of Columbia County, New York

By Captain Franklin Ellis

Published by Everts & Ensign

Philadelphia, PA



Page 216


        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 county.