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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Behan

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[This information is from Vol. IV, p. 1684 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The Behan family of Albany descend from an Irish ancestry seated in Adare, Ireland. The grandfather of Thomas Frederick Behan, the representative member of the present day family, was John Behan, born in Adare in 1780; followed the occupation of a farmer; was a member of the Roman Catholic church; married, 1804, Katherine Cullen, and had children:

  1. Thomas, of further mention;
  2. James, born 1829;
  3. Katherine, 1831;
  4. Mary, 1833.

(II) Thomas, eldest son of John and Katherine (Cullen) Behan, was born in Adare, Ireland, August 15, 1827, died in Albany, New York, June 15, 1888. He began his business life as manager of a tobacco and snuff factory in Adare, continuing in that position until 1850, when he came to the United States, locating in Albany, New York. He again engaged in business as manager of the firm of Reed & Davis, one of the largest importing and wholesale wine and liquor houses in the state. In 1857 he resigned his position and established the same business under his own name, continuing until his death in 1888. He prospered exceedingly and in 1870 was rated one of Albany's wealthiest business men. Most of his fortune, however, was lost during the disastrous panic of 1872-73. He was a devoted member of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church and one of its greatest benefactors. When the new church edifice was erected in 1867, he was the business adviser of the Rev. Clarence A. Walworth, the pastor, who relied implicitly on his judgment in matters regarding the financing of the building, a large undertaking in those days. In 1866-67 he, in association with the late Peter Cagger and William Cassidy, acted as a committee in purchasing the property on the Troy road as a site for St. Agnes's cemetery, and was one of the original trustees of that corporation. He was a Democrat in politics and although tendered several local offices of importance by his party, steadfastly refused political preferment. He possessed a large library of carefully selected books and was a close student of the best in literature. He married, at Troy, New York, November 25, 1855, Winifred, born in Plattsburg, New York, April 1, 1831, daughter of James McManus. The McManus family came originally from the north of Ireland. James McManus, born in the town of Boyle, 1797, a school teacher, later teller of the Agricultural Bank of Boyle, emigrated to America in 1850 and settled in New York. His son, Thomas McManus, settled in Troy, New York, where he made a fortune in river transportation companies. During the civil war the steamers and barges owned by his companies were in the service of the government transporting men and supplies from northern ports to Fortress Monroe. He studied law and in 1871 was admitted to the bar, and became one of the leading lawyers of Troy, and held elective local office. He married, in 1867, Isabella Montague. Elizabeth McDermott, maternal grandmother of Thomas F. Behan, was born in 1796 in French Park, Ireland, daughter of Luke and Winifred (McDermott) McDermott (not related save by marriage). Thomas and Winifred Behan had children: Mary, Katherine, Winifred G., John V., Margaret, Emma R., Thomas F., of further mention, Joseph C., Jay W., all born in Albany, New York.

(III) Thomas Frederick, son of Thomas and Winifred (McManus) Behan, was born in Albany, New York, January 10, 1869. He was educated in public and private schools of that city. On completing his studies he entered the New York State Insurance Department at Albany as junior clerk. From his entrance in 1883 until 1905 he passed through several grades of promotion until he reached the grade of chief clerk. In 1906 he was appointed third deputy superintendent of insurance and served as such under the administrations of Otto H. Kelsey and William H. Hotchkiss, 1906-10. In 1906 Mr. Behan was admitted to the bar of the state, having prepared thoroughly and passed the necessary examination. He is a Democrat in politics; member of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. His club is the Albany, which he joined in 1897. In 1904 he was elected to the board of governors, serving 1904-05-06. He is unmarried.

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