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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Gavit

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1039-1041 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 family name of Gavit, or Gavet, as it is sometimes to be found in old records, is derived from the title of a town in Savoy or Dauphiny named Gavet, a French province.

The first of the name to come to America was Phillipe Gavet. He is supposed to have been born on the Island of Guernsey, May 2, 1631, and he emigrated to this country about 1650. The earliest record shows that he married, at Marblehead, Massachusetts, September 6, 1681, Hannah Macchone, who died at Salem, Massachusetts, December 1, 1713, Phillipe being still alive at that date. There is a letter in existence, in his handwriting, telling of her death. It is thought he was a carpenter. Children:

  1. Ezekiel, removed to Westerly, Rhode Island and became the progenitor of the Gavitt families of that state, central New York, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan, with Mrs. George E. Gorham, Mrs. Samuel L. Munson and Mrs. William J. Halpen, of Albany, New York, descended from him.
  2. John, baptized at Salem, Massachusetts, June 21, 1696; married, February 1, 1716, Mary, daughter of John Carter and his wife Sarah.
  3. Joseph, born at Salem, Massachusetts, December 22, 1699; married (first) at Salem, May 20, 1725, Mary Williams, born December 19, 1699, died June 11, 1743; married (second), May 4, 1746, Widow Susanna Carwick.
  4. Hannah.
  5. Elizabeth.
  6. Samuel.
  7. Philip.
  8. Joseph.

Whether the Albany family is descended from John Gavit and Mary Carter, or Joseph Gavit and Susanna Carwick, is a matter of uncertainty, there being no absolute record, and the date of birth of a son, John, of Joseph and Susanna, and of John, grandson of John Gavit and Mary Carter, being so nearly alike, that it is impossible to state, absolutely, which is the correct one.

(III) Joseph, son of John and Mary (Carter) Gavit, was born at Salem, Massachusetts, August 4, 1723. He married, February 28, 1750, Lucy, daughter of Job and Rebecca (Diamond) Cressy, of Beverly, Massachusetts, she was baptized November 30, 1727. They had seven children.

(IV) John (2), eldest son of Joseph and Lucy (Cressy) Gavit, was baptized November 7, 1756, at Salem, Massachusetts. He had been apprenticed to an uncle at Salem, from whom he ran away to be a drummer boy in the revolution. Receiving his discharge near Marlboro, he took up his residence there. He married, March 9, 1777, a Miss (Catherine?) Bloomer, at Marlboro, and it is believed he died in New York. They had a son, named Joseph Bloomer Gavit, see forward.

(V) Joseph Bloomer, son of John (2) and Catherine (Bloomer) Gavit, was born in 1782, died in New York City in 1822. He married, in 1814, Eliza Brown, the latter marrying for her second husband, William Edmands, of New York City. Children:

  1. John Edmands, born in New York City, October 25, 1817, see forward.
  2. Daniel E., born September 22, 1819, died in New York City, March 1, 1875; he was one of the earliest daguerrotypists in this country; married, Albany, June 22, 1840, Clarissa J. Andrews, born November 11, 1819, died April 23, 1899, to whom were born the following, all in the city of Albany excepting the fifth child:
    1. Marietta, born January 23, 1843; married, Brooklyn, January 8, 1874, Dr. Arthur F. Johnson;
    2. Emma C., born November 23, 1845, died December 20, 1896; married, Albany, November, 1864, George F. Russell;
    3. Henry C., born December 9, 1847, died December, 1884; married, New York City, December, 1872, Theresa Mastives;
    4. Charlotte, born November 23, 1848, died September 30, 1897; married, March 13, 1867, George C. Covert;
    5. John E., born March 16, 1851; in 1910 residing in New York City; married, April, 1872, Julia Harigan;
    6. Dudley S. G., born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1853, died July 31, 1865.

(VI) John Edmands, son of Joseph Bloomer and Eliza (Brown) Gavit, was born in New York City, October 25, 1817, died there August 25, 1874. He became very prominent as an engraver, and founded the firm of Gavit & Company, of Albany, New York, in 1842. About 1863 he removed to New York City, where he was the principal organizer of the American Bank Note Company, of which he was the president at the time of his death. He was a foremost member and enthusiastic spirit of the old American Institute, devoted to and progressing its field of usefulness. He married, November 28, 1840, Margaret Sophia, born June 11, 1819, died in New York City, April 23, 1902, daughter of Dr. Gain and Chloe (Bradish) Robinson. Through her line the recent generations of the Gavit family traces descent to the "Mayflower." Children:

  1. John, born August 4, 1841, died August 28, 1842.
  2. Joseph, born at Albany, December 22, 1842, see forward.
  3. Margaret, born March 26, 1845; married, October 8, 1868, living in 1910, Charles Prentice Adams; children: Karl Joseph and Philip Lucius Adams.
  4. William E., born February 10, 1849, died May 26, 1905; married Alice ————; no children.
  5. Helen Elizabeth, born November 26, 1850, residing in New York City in 1810.
  6. Clark Robinson, born June 27, 1852; married Caroline Conkling; residing in New York City in 1910.
  7. Julia Niles, born February 22, 1854; residing in New York City, 1910.
  8. Chloe Bradish, born April 29, 1857; married, May 20, 1890, Theodore Keese, of New York City and Cooperstown; no children.
  9. Pauline, born February 3, 1860; married, October 4, 1892, Rev. Milo Hudson Gates, of the Episcopal church, New York City, in 1910; no children.

(VII) Joseph, son of John Edmands and Margaret Sophia (Robinson) Gavit, was born in Albany, New York, December 22, 1842, died in New York City, May 14, 1887. He received his education at Scramm's school, Sand Lake, New York, where he also taught for a time. In 1863, upon his father's departure for New York City, he took up the engraving business of Gavit & Cowell, in 1910 known as Gavit & Company, in which he continued to the time of his death. He was well known as a singer, being for many years the tenor soloist at the Cathedral of All Saints, and was a charter member as well as organizer of the Schubert Club. He was a member of the Albany Zouave Cadets, of which he became third lieutenant, after serving for a time as commissary-sergeant of the Tenth Regiment, National Guard Society of New York. He was also a prominent and energetic member of the old Albany Protectives, of which he was president at the time of the disbandment of the organization. He invented and put into operation in the Protectives' headquarters in Albany the first device by which the stroke of the gong unhitched the steamer horses and instantly released the doors. He was a lifelong Republican, and at one time an enthusiastic member of the Albany Yacht Club, sailing on its cruises in the "Quickstep."

Joseph Gavit married, at Albany, October 10, 1867, Fanny Breese Palmer, born at Albany, September 9, 1848, and was living there, No. 5 La Fayette street, in 1910, daughter of Erastus Dow and Mary Jane (Seamans) Palmer. Children, born at Albany:

  1. John Palmer, born July 1, 1868; educated in Albany; began active newspaper work in 1890; engaged in social settlement work in Chicago in 1896, and founded The Commons, a magazine; joined the staff of the Associated Press in 1902, and in 1904 had charge of its Albany bureau; removed, in 1909, with his family to Washington, D. C., where he accepted the flattering position of chief of staff of the Washington Bureau of the Associated Press; writer also of several plays which have been given stage production; married May 8, 1890, Lucy, born at Bullville, Orange county, New York, April 29, 1867, daughter of Rev. Thomas and Caroline (Jaynes) Lamont, children:
    1. Joseph Lamont, born in Chicago, December 8, 1898, and
    2. Lamont, born at Wilmerding, Pennsylvania, January 4, 1901, died there July 4, 1901.
  2. Henry Fassett, born June 15, 1871, died there May 30, 1872.
  3. Erastus Palmer, born July 22, 1872, see forward.
  4. Helen Palmer, born March 26, 1875.
  5. Joseph, born October 10, 1876; in 1910 holding a position in the New York State Library; married at Albany, September 17, 1903, Katharine, born October 1, 1872, daughter of Peter and Caroline (Cornell) Hulst, of Greenwich, New York; children:
    1. Frances Cornell, born Albany, July 2, 1904, and
    2. Henry Hulst, Albany, August 15, 1906.
  6. Mary Isabel, born April 21, 1882, died there September 25, 1882.
  7. Walter Palmer, born June 25, 1886; married, Albany, June 8, 1907, Elizabeth Groesbeck Montague, born May 11, 1887, daughter of Arthur Edgar and Cassie (Groesbeck) Montague; children:
    1. Helen Montague, born at Albany, March 5, 1908, and
    2. Mary Beverly Montague, Albany, December 25, 1909.

Erastus Dow Palmer, father of Fanny B. (Palmer) Gavit, was born in Pompey, Onondaga county, New York, April 2, 1817, died in Albany, March 9, 1904, having attained world-wide prominence as a sculptor. He attended the school in his native village until eleven years of age, when he began work as a carpenter and joiner, which occupation he continued until he was twenty-nine years old, when he turned his attention to cameo cutting. The first cameo made by him was one showing the head of his wife, which, with tools made by himself, he cut on a bit of shell. He removed to Albany in 1846, where he carved more than a hundred of these on the order of friends and a great number of persons of prominence, as shown by the accurate record kept by him. The first piece of sculpture created by him was the "Infant Ceres," executed in 1852. He then commenced making portrait busts of well-known local individuals, and from that was led into making full figures, both in life and heroic size. His statue of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, heroic size, stands in the Hall of Representatives in the National Capitol; the "Angel of the Sepulchre" was completed April 29, 1868, for the lot of General Robert Lenox Banks in the Albany Rural cemetery, and has been greatly admired. His statue, "The White Captive," was given the place of honor as one of the four gracing the corners of the entrance rotunda of the Metropolitan Museum, of Art in New York; his "Night" and "Morning," bas-reliefs. were commended at the Centennial celebration in 1876, as was also his "Faith" and "Indian Girl Contemplating a Crucifix," and the "Sleeping Peri" and several others are widely-known representations of his skill. He married (first) in 1839, Matilda Alton, born at Dunkirk in 1819, died there August 17, 1840. Married (second), August 17, 1843, at Utica, New York, Mary Jane, daughter of James Easterbrooks and Hannah (Cook) Seamans; she was born October 11, 1826, and was living at No. 5 La Fayette street, Albany, in 1910.

(VIII) Erastus Palmer, son of Joseph and Fanny Breese (Palmer) Gavit, was born in Albany, New York, July 22, 1872. He attended the Albany Boys' Academy, the city schools and the Albany high school. The following year he became connected with the car accounting department of the Delaware & Hudson railroad, continuing in that position for eleven years. In 1891 he became secretary to State Architect Heins, with office in the Capitol, which position he occupied until in July, 1904, when he was elected secretary and treasurer of the Municipal Gas Company of Albany. In politics he is a Republican. He is a member of the Fort Orange Club, of the Albany Country Club and Albany Club of his native city. He married, at West End, New Jersey, September 24, 1901, Flora Myers, born at Albany, daughter of Anthony N. and Marcia Ann (Myers) Brady. Children, born in Albany:

  1. Anthony N. Brady, June 22, 1905, died there June 25, 1905.
  2. Brady, July 4, 1906, died at West End, New Jersey, September 12, 1908.
  3. Marcia Ann, July 4, 1906.

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