This page conforms to the XHTML standard and uses style sheets. If your browser doesn't support these, you may not see the page as designed, but all the text is still accessible to you.


Bringing the heritage of Schenectady County, New York to the world since 1996

You are here: Home » Families » HMGFM Home » Hartley

Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

Go to previous family: Avery | next family: Clizbe

[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 782-785 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.]

In the county of York, England, the family of Hartley was one of great antiquity, where as well as in Dorset, Berkshire and Cumberland are several distinguished families of this name, also claiming a common origin to the Hartleys of Chorton in Lancashire and having essentially the same insignia and motto. The ancestor of the Cockermouth branch was (I) Henry Hartley, who lived in the middle of the sixteenth century. He was succeeded by his son (II) Anthony Hartley. By the marriage of the latter's granddaughter, sole heiress of her father (III) Christopher Hartley, the family name in the elder line became extinct and the estates diverted. The line is resumed with (V) Rev. ———— Hartley, vicar of Armley, in York, who was third in descent from Anthony (II), and the more immediate progenitor of the Hartleys of New York. The vicar's son (VI) James Hartley was a woolen manufacturer, as were his son (VII) Robert Hartley and his grandson (VIII) Isaac Hartley, the American ancestor and first to settle in the United States. It is from Isaac of the eighth English generation and founder of the American branch that Reuben M. Hartley of the third American generation descends. Intimately connected with the Hartley history is that of Robert's wife, Martha (Smithson) Hartley. They were an Anglo-Breton family that can be traced back to the eleventh century. In Domesday Book the name is written Smethton. Hugh Smithson, Esq., of Stanwick, county York, becoming famous for his devotion to the King during the civil war, was created a baronet. Second in descent from Sir Hugh through his second son was Isaac, father of Martha (Smithson) Hartley. In the line of the elder sons was Sir Hugh Percy Smithson, the fourth baronet, who married Lady Elizabeth Seymour, only daughter of Algernon (?) Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Earl of Northumberland, who succeeded to the same titles, which are still continued in the Smithson family. Close allied to Isaac by the ties of blood was James Smithson, who bequeathed $500,000 for the establishment of a national scientific institution in the United States. The wonderful Smithsonian Institution at Washington, D. C., is the outgrowth of that bequest and very properly bears his name.

(II) Isaac, son of Robert and Martha (Smithson) Hartley, was born at Cockermouth, Cumberland county, England, December 30, 1765, died in Saratoga county, New York, October 6, 1851. Like his father and grandfather he was a woolen manufacturer, learning and following the lines followed for generations. He was industrious, prudent and frugal in the management of his affairs, and of a contented mind. He did a good business, and shipped extensively to the United States, and his American customers getting behind in their accounts, he resolved to come over and collect his dues, see the country for himself, and be governed by his own opinion. The result of this visit was that he never went back after his arrival in New York, July 4, 1797. He purchased lands in Charlton, Saratoga county, New York, and at once began arranging for the settlement of his family in this country. In company with his brother Thomas, later a wealthy Pittsburg manufacturer, his wife and four children arrived in New York, September, 1799. Isaac met them there, but as the yellow fever was raging in that city they proceeded up the river to their new home in Saratoga county, then almost an unbroken wilderness. He was not fitted for the life of a pioneer farmer, and after two years he abandoned it and returned to a manufacturing life, in Schenectady, New York. Later, after the death of his wife, he bought a farm at Broadalbin, on Chuctenunda creek, erecting a mill that he equipped with machinery for the manufacture of woolen fabrics, and divided his time between mill and farm until his death at Broadalbin, in his eighty-sixth year. He married, in England, in 1787, Isabella, daughter of Joseph Johnson, Esq., of Embleton, near Cockermouth. She was a woman of fine literary attainments, then in her twentieth year. She was born in 1768, and died in Montgomery county, New York, September, 1806. Children, the first four born in England:

  1. Martha, born February 16, 1789, died January 26, 1856; was wife of Alexander Ferguson.
  2. Isabella, born August 5, 1792, died July 10, 1875, unmarried.
  3. Jane, born December 25, 1794, died April 19, 1836; married (first) William Anderson (second), a Mr. Swart.
  4. Robert Milham, (see forward).
  5. Mary, born September 15, 1801, died May 11, 1871; married John Barlow.
  6. Isaac, born in 1804, died April 22, 1880; married Sarah Barlow; he married (second), 1812, Catherine Vedder, a widow, born in Schenectady county, New York, 1767, died February 22, 1846, without issue.

(III) Robert Milham, son of Isaac and Isabella (Johnson) Hartley, was born in Cockermouth, England, February 17, 1796, died in New York City, March 3, 1881. He was but three years of age when he was brought by his mother and uncle, Thomas Hartley, to join his father in New York. His childhood was spent in Saratoga and Montgomery counties, New York, where he received his early schooling. He grew up under the guidance of a godly mother whose gentle teachings had their result in his later life. He was taught the business of his father and was well equipped for the duties of a woolen manufacturer. He was not a natural business man; his nature was spiritual, and his ambition was for the ministry. Guided by his father's wishes, however, he remained in business with and near him until he was twenty-three years of age. At that time he entered Fairfield Academy, intending to prepare for the ministry, but his health failing, was obliged to give up his dearest wish and returned to business life. He later located in New York City, in the dry goods business, and that was his home until death. His after life was devoted to his Master's service, and, although in a different way, it was work for humanity that he could not have done had his ministerial ambition been gratified. He became widely known as a Christian philanthropist and was untiring in his work for the poor and afflicted. He was the colleague and coadjutor of those wealthy men who were always ready to supply the funds needed to carry forward or consummate his benevolences. He was vitally associated with several institutions, but his best service was given to the one that lay nearest his heart, "The Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor." He was one of the founders and was the most important officer of this association from 1843 until 1876. He was the founder of the New York City Temperance Society and its secretary for nine years. He founded the Working Men's Home, the De Milt Dispensary, the Juvenile Asylum, the Society for the Ruptured and Crippled, and the Presbyterian Hospital. He published many articles and essays on religious, sanitary and scientific subjects. He was ruling elder of the Broome Street (afterward Madison Square) Presbyterian Church. He was a man of the deepest piety, and most gentle, loving and sympathetic nature. He was most happy in his married and home life. He married, September 12, 1824, in New York City, Catherine, daughter of Reuben and Abigail (Wilsey) Munson (see Munson VI). Children:

  1. Isabella, born February 9, 1826, died January 28, 1900; was wife of John Sherwood, also deceased.
  2. Marcellus, born September 23, 1827, died in New York City, January, 1902; he was a prominent business man of the metropolis and became very wealthy; married, November 15, 1855, Frances White, who recently died, leaving a vast fortune to his heirs.
  3. Joseph Wilfred, born January 9, 1829, died December 28, 1905; for thirty years he was engaged in New York in the foreign shipping and commission business; he married Florinda Morton, who died March 20, 1871.
  4. Isaac Smithson, D.D., born September 24, 1830, died July 3, 1899; he became a minister of the Gospel and was the beloved pastor of Christ Church, Utica, New York, later was rector of St. James Episcopal Church at Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where he died; was an author of considerable note.
  5. Reuben Munson, see forward.
  6. Mary Barlow, born December 26, 1834, died September 21, 1884; married Colon F. Brown.
  7. Abigail Ann, born February 23, 1836; wife of Fred B. Wightman, a prominent attorney of New York City.
  8. Catherine, born July 8, 1838; received fatal injuries from fire, December 9, 1850.
  9. Martha Jane, born July 14, 1840, died September 15, 1893; was widow of Nathaniel Cowdrey, a very wealthy man of New York City, who died in 1885.
  10. Caroline Adelia, born September 18, 1843, married John Lefoy Brower, a prominent business man of New York City.

(IV) Reuben Munson, fifth child of Robert Milham and Catherine (Munson) Hartley, was born in New York City, May 15, 1832. He was educated in the schools of that city until reaching seventeen, when he was sent to the town of Florida, Montgomery county, to live and complete his education at the Amsterdam Academy. He became interested in country and farm life, and later purchased a farm in the great Mohawk Valley, and has ever since lived this life and followed the occupation of an agriculturist. He has inherited the tastes and virtues of his excellent father and mother, and his life has been full of good works. He is a member of the Dutch Reformed church, and in politics is a Republican. He married, March 8, 1858, Jane Vanderveer, born June 16, 1831. Children: i. Mary B., born March 14, 1859; married Horace Walrath, a successful farmer of Montgomery county, New York, near Minaville, Florida; child, Jennie H. Walrath, born June 15, 1902. 2. Robert Milham, born January 12, 1862; is an enterprising farmer of the town of Florida. He was educated in the common schools and Amsterdam Academy. For about three years he was bookkeeper, in the broom shop of D. A. Devendorf, at Fort Hunter. He was supervisor of the town of Florida from 1891 to 1898, and has held other town offices. He was one of the Charter Members of Tienonderoga Tribe, No. 176, I. O. R. M.; a charter member of the Montgomery County Historical Society, and has been one of its trustees since its incorporation; historian and vice-president of the Society for four years, and at present is president. He is a natural-born antiquarian and collector. His museum contains valuable collections of U. S. stamps and coins, geological and mineral specimens, and civil war relics. His largest collection is local Indian relics, which number over 5,000 specimens. Another most interesting collection he has personally made, is a large and unique collection of British and American numbered buttons found upon the battle grounds and camp sites of the revolutionary war. He is considered an authority upon local history and Indian relics, and has literary and artistic tastes. He married, March 11, 1897, in town of Glen, Montgomery county, Fannie Pierce, born January 18, 1870. 3. Garret Vanderveer, born January 1, 1863, resides in Florida, where he is engaged in farming. He attended the local district school and later Amsterdam Academy. He has a mechanical turn of mind, is interested in numismatics, Indian relics, etc., and has a large collection. He married, September 26, 1888, Clara Luke, born April 11, 1871; children:

  1. Abby May, born October 23, 1889;
  2. Elmira, August 21, 1892.

(The Vanderveer Line)

The Vanderveer American ancestry begins with Cornelis, who married Catherine Mandeville and came from Alkmaar, Holland, to America, February, 1659, in the ship "Otter," and settled at Flatbush, Long Island.

(II) Dominicus, son of Cornelis Vanderveer, settled on Raritan river, New Jersey, was born in 1679.

(III) Tunis, son of Dominicus Vanderveer, was born in 1704. He married Alche Schenk.

(IV) Jacob, son of Tunis Vanderveer, was born in 1728; he married Alche Wichoff.

(V) Garrett, son of Jacob Vanderveer, was born in Montgomery county, New York, 1765, died in 1813. He married, in 1789, Rachel Covenhoven.

(VI) Jane, daughter of Garrett Vanderveer, married Reuben M. Hartley (see Hartley III).

(The Munson Line)

The English Monsons belonging to the peerage have a recognized history extending through five centuries. According to Burke, John Monson was living in 1378. From him sprang William Monson, of Lincolnshire, England, who died in 1558. It is from this fine old English family that Thomas Munson, the American ancestor and immigrant, sprang.

(I) Thomas Munson, born about 1612, died May 7, 1685, first appears in America at Hartford, Connecticut, in 1637, performing service in the Pequot war. He was a pioneer settler of New Haven, Connecticut, where he was chosen one of seven townsmen, May 3, 1657. He was a carpenter by trade, held many civic offices, was deputy, member of the plantation and jurisdiction courts, sergeant of the train band, lieutenant and captain in the standing army of the colony. He fought in King Philip's war, and was prominent in the church. His wife Joanna bore him two daughters and a son Samuel.

(II) Samuel, son of Thomas and Joanna Munson, was baptized "ye 7th 6mo 43" (see First Church records) and died in 1693. He was a shoemaker and tanner. He was a freeman in 1667 of New Haven, and one of the founders of Wallingford, where he was chosen townsman and appointed ensign. He was a schoolmaster, a musician, rector of Hopkins grammar school, and held many of the town offices. He married Maria Bradley, who bore him ten children.

(III) Samuel (2), eldest son of Samuel (I) and Maria (Bradley) Munson, was born February 28, 1669, died November 23, 1741. He was town clerk of Wallingford, treasurer, lister, school committeeman, fence viewer and townsman. He had much land and property. He married (first) Martha; (second) Mary Preston, widow of Caleb Merriman. He was the father of thirteen children, eight by the first wife and five by the second.

[Thanks to researcher Stephen Merriman, a descendant of Caleb Merriman, for providing the surname of Mary Preston from a 1913 Merriman genealogy.]

(IV) William, fourth child of Samuel (2) and Martha Munson, was born October 13, 1695, died July 21, 1773. He was of Wallingford, now Cheshire, Connecticut. He married Rebecca, daughter of Thomas Curtis, of Wallingford. Their children were eight in number.

(V) Peter, fourth child of William and Rebecca (Curtis) Munson, was born November 22, 1735, died February 3, 1830. He was a freeman of Cheshire, Connecticut, chosen December 21, 1771; one of a committee of eleven to "procure clothing and other articles for the soldiers of the Continental army." He entered the revolutionary army, was soon taken sick, and was discharged for that reason. Another authority says he was a drum major and captured by the British, but soon set free. He married Elizabeth Hall, who bore him nine children.

(VI) Reuben, fifth child of Peter and Elizabeth (Hall) Munson, was born September 28, 1799, died at Flushing, Long Island, September 29, 1846. He lived for a time in Virginia and Maryland, but for nearly fifty years resided in New York City. He was an extensive manufacturer of tortoise shell and horn combs. He traded extensively with Mexico. He was very successful, became wealthy, and lived in great style. In his later years he retired to a large farm at Flushing, Long Island, where he ended his days. During the war of 1812 he helped to fit out the privateer "Saratoga." He was in command of troops during that war, stationed at Fort Greene, Brooklyn. He was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati. He was prominent in New York City public affairs; he was alderman from the tenth ward 1813-20, and a member of the state legislature, 1820-22. He was one of the founders of the House of Refuge. "He was remarkable for kindness and benevolence, for love of truth, love of justice, and love of peace." He married Abigail Wilsey, born July 21, 1781, at Rhinebeck, New York, and died April 23, 1865, at Williams Bridge, New York. They had fourteen children, one of whom, Catherine, born September 23, 1804, and died September 7, 1873, married Robert M. Hartley (see Hartley). "She was of medium stature, in person inclined to roundness, of blonde complexion, light hair, an expressive countenance, enlivened by blue eyes. Her domestic virtues were most exemplary, industry and economy were conspicuous in the care of her family." She is buried in the family lot at Greenwood, Brooklyn, New York.

Go to top of page | previous family: Avery | next family: Clizbe

You are here: Home » Families » HMGFM Home » Hartley updated March 30, 2015

Copyright 2015 Schenectady Digital History Archive — a service of the Schenectady County Public Library