George W. Philip

Biographical Sketch


Columbia County,

New York

By Captain Franklin Ellis455



    The reader will notice, on another page of this work, a very fine landscape-view, with the Philmont reservoir, bridge, and hosiery-mills and residence of George W. Philip in the foreground, and the Catskills and intervening landscape in the distance.  The residence of Mr. George W. Philip stands on an elevation overlooking the villages of Philmont and Mellenville, with an extended field of view embracing the whole range of the Catskills.

     Our subject comes of a long line of ancestors, whose origin is almost lost in the impenetrable obscurity of the past.

     The paternal grandfather of Mr. George W. Philip, George Philip, was born at Claverack, Columbia county, in 1752, and his wife, whose maiden name was Jan Ostrander, was born at Mumbackus, in the same county, in 1755.  They were the parents of eight children, viz., John, William, Peter, James, Henry, Margaret, Eva, and Catharine.  George Philip died in 1806, aged fifty-three years, and his wife died in 1828, at the age of seventy-three years.  George Philip was a man of marked ability.  He was by occupation a black-smith and farmer, and he participated throughout the war that gave independence to this great republic as a captain, and in the commissary department.

     His father's family were among the first settlers at Hard Scrabble, now known as Mellenville, and here he lived until his death as stated above.

     William G., the second son of Captain Philip, was born at the old homestead in Hard Scrabble in 1781.  He in the early part of his life followed surveying and selling goods, and afterwards farming and manufacturing woolen goods, in connection with his brothers, James and Henry, at the place now known as Philmont.  He also became a man of great influence among a large circle of acquaintances, and very useful in the various duties of a conveyancer.

     He was married in early life to Miss Christina Storm, of the same county.  She was born in 1788.  They were the parents of George W. and Catharine (who were twins), and Peter S. and Jane E.  Mrs. Christina Philip died in 1819, age thirty years.  In 1820, William G. was married to Miss Catlina Funda, of Claverack.  By this marriage there were two children,--Abram and Emma.  This lady is still living, an aged lady, she having been born in 1797, in the city of Albany.  William G. died in 1833, at the age of fifty-one years.

     George W. was born at Hard Scrabble, on the 30th day of March, 1809.  In his boyhood he attended the common schools of the day and assisted on the farm.  In 1820, at twenty years of age, he was united in marriage to Miss Anna M. Miller, of Claverack.  He continued on his father's farm for the next year, and then for the next two years he carried on the farm for his father-in-law.  He then purchased a small farm in Claverack, where he remained four years.  He then sold out and purchased of the heirs the old homestead in Mellenville, which he kept two years, and then disposed of it.  His next move was to buy a grist-mill in Philmont, which he ran two years, and then changed it to a paper-mill.  At the end of four years he exchanged his paper-mill for a farm of six hundred and forty acres in Greene county, four miles from Catskill village.  He retained this property four years, and then exchanged it for a carpet-mill in the village of Philmont.  He manufactured carpets in this mill for two years, and then changed it into a knitting-factory.  In 1872, Mr. Philip met with a severe loss financially in the burning of his mills.  His losses by this fire were over forty-seven thousand dollars, and in addition to this he lost the same year over twenty-five thousand dollars in other directions; but with the energy of his more youthful years he is trying to recover his losses, having erected a new and substantial brick mill on the site of the old one.  In July, 1872, just previous to the fire, he met with the loss of his wife, who died at the age of sixty-four years.  She was the mother of nine children, named as follows:  Andrew, Christina, William, Jane, Margaret, John, Catharine, Gertrude, and Emma.  Of these all are living except William and Jane, and all are married and have families.  On the 28th day of December, 1875, Mr. Philip filled the vacancy in his home by a second marriage.  He was united in marriage to Miss Cynthia R. Cowperthwait, of Pemberton, N. J.  Mr. Philip is a man now advanced in life, but very active and enterprising, and in the full enjoyment of good health,--the fruit of a long life of frugal and temperate habits.  Of a nature naturally sociable, kind, and sympathetic, with consistent Christian views--a long time member of the Reformed church--in politics a Republican, and among men always a gentleman.