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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Birdsall

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 1779-1780 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 first record of the Birdsalls in America is of Nathan Birdsall, who in 1657 lived near the north end of East Hampton, Long Island. In 1666 he purchased five acres of land at Matinecock, Long Island, of Mark Meggs, and in 1667-68 made further purchases of the Indians. In 1678, in company with Captain John Underhill, Matthew Pryor, James Cook and John Peaks, he formed the settlement at Killingworth, Oyster Bay, Long Island. In 1679 he purchased a tract at Jerusalem (Little Britain), and in 1679 land at Jerusalem called Birdsall's Swamp. He died 1696. He married, between 1640 and 1650, Temperance Baldwin at New Haven, Connecticut, daughter of Richard Baldwin and granddaughter of Sylvester Baldwin, who died in 1638 while coming to America with his wife, Sarah (Ryan) Baldwin, and his family. From Oyster Bay the family spread to other parts of New York state, being prominent in Westchester, Orange and Yates counties. The Steuben county branch settled at the village of Hammondsport at the head of Lake Keuka in the town of Urbana, where William Birdsall, grandfather of Rev. Paul Birdsall, of Albany, died, aged forty years. He was twice married, having issue by both wives. His second wife was Maria Theresa Trotwood. Children by second wife: John, Elias, of further mention, Hugh, Norman and another.

(II) Rev. Elias Birdsall, son of William and Maria Theresa (Trotwood) Birdsall, was born at Hammondsport, New York, February 21, 1830, died November 4, 1890. He was early called to the ministry, for which he prepared at Nashotah School of Divinity in Wisconsin, where he was graduated Bachelor of Divinity in 1857. In 1889 his alma mater conferred upon him the degree of Master of Arts. He was ordained deacon by Bishop Uphold, of Indiana, in the same year. He began his ministerial career at Elkhart and Mishawaka, Indiana, and in 1858 was ordained to the priesthood of the Protestant Episcopal church by Bishop Uphold. His first call was from St. Paul's, Evansville, Indiana, where he remained from 1861 to 1865. During this period he was sent as a delegate to the general convocation of his church, then meeting in New York. In 1865 he accepted a call from St. Athanasius' Church at Los Angeles, being the first settled rector in southern California. He later became assistant to Dr. Wyatt at Trinity Episcopal Church, San Francisco, from whence he accepted a call to St. John's Church at Stockton, California, where he served as rector three different terms, leaving on account of ill health each time, and accepting two recalls. During this period he again served as assistant to Dr. Wyatt, president of the standing committee of the diocese of California, then returning to St. John's. In 1880 he was called back to St. Athanasius' at Los Angeles, then became rector of a new church in that city, St. Paul's. This was his last charge. In 1889 he removed to Glendale, California, where he died in 1890. His work in southern California was most useful and lasting: through his efforts several parishes of the Episcopal church were established and great good accomplished. He was highly honored in the ministry and was often sent as delegate to the general convocations of the church. He married Cornelia Bennett, born at New Berlin, Otsego county, New York, September 7, 1834, who survives him, a resident of New York City.

(III) Rev. Paul Birdsall, son of Rev. Elias and Cornelia (Bennett) Birdsall, was born at Evansville, Indiana, June 4, 1862. He attended Trinity School and the public school of San Francisco, California. In 1882 he matriculated at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, whence he was graduated A.B., class of 1886. He prepared for the priesthood at Berkeley School of Divinity, Middletown, Connecticut, where he was graduated in June, 1890. In 1886 Trinity College conferred upon him the degree of Bachelor of Arts and in 1889 Master of Arts. He was ordained deacon, June 4, 1890, in Holy Trinity Church, Middletown, Connecticut, by the Right Rev. Dr. John Williams, bishop of Connecticut, and to the priesthood of the Protestant Episcopal church, May 18, 1891, in St. Thomas' Church, New Haven, Connecticut, by the same bishop. During 1890 and 1891 was deacon in St. Paul's Church, New Haven, Connecticut, and from 1891 to 1893 was rector of the Church of the Ascension in the same city. From 1893 to 1894 he was curate of St. John's Parish, Washington, D. C., in charge of St. Mary's Church. From 1894 to 1899 he was curate of St. Peter's Church, Albany, and in the latter year became rector of Grace Church, of that city. June 11, 1891, Rev. Paul Birdsall married Eliza Gerry, daughter of the late Dr. George J. Townsend, of South Natick, Massachusetts. Children: Townsend, Jean and Paul.

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