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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Lally

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 903-904 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.]

Prior to 1690 this was a small but very prominent, influential family, seated around Kildare, in the central part of Ireland. They were a warlike clan and became embroiled in the wars of the period, unfortunately on the losing side. Their lands were confiscated by William of England in 1690, and since that period they ceased to exist as a landed family. The family is Norman-Irish, as the name indicates. The most conspicuous member of the family was Count Lally, commander of a regiment of the famous "Irish Legion" in the service of France. He was a dashing, gallant officer, who led his forces into India about the time the English under Lord Clive were conquering that country. He had the misfortune to create powerful enemies, who brought about his downfall. He lost his life during the "Reign of Terror" in France. The family scattered after the confiscation of their estates in 1690, and the son of one of the Kildare Lallys, John Lally, came to America. He settled in New York City, and when the rupture with Great Britain came, enlisted in the continental army. He continued to reside in New York City after the revolution, and is to be found in the directory of New York City subsequent to 1800, where he was a cabinet-maker and engaged in the furniture business. His wife's name is not given, but he had two sons, George A., and James, who had gone into business in New York, and on the death of the father he admitted his brother to his home and business. The family were always prosperous and in the new world retrieved their fortunes, so badly shattered by the tyrannical edict of confiscation, which it may be added was a breach of the terms under which Limerick and the Irish forces surrendered.

(I) The founder of the Lally family in Troy, New York, was George Abbott Lally, born in New York City, May 20, 1818, died in Lansingburg, June 27, 1881. His parents died when he was a mere child, and in early life he had but few advantages, but he was ever a close observer and student, in fact, exactly the "self-made man." He was cared for in youth by an only brother, James Lally, who died in 1839, George A., who had been trained in the business, succeeding him and carrying on shoe manufactories at New Orleans, Louisiana, and Norwalk, Connecticut, under the firm name of Lally & McCracken. In 1847 he visited Chicago while returning from a business trip to New Orleans. His journey was up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers to the then small town of Peru, Illinois, overland to Chicago, where he arrived June 16. His keen eye detected the natural advantages of Chicago, then slowly rising to the dignity of a town, and just beginning to connect by railroad with the outside world. With his usual business foresight, he selected a location, returned east, closed out his interests there, and the following year returned to Chicago, where he opened a real estate office on Clark street, where now stands the Sherman House. He was remarkably successful, and personally invested in several tracts in different parts of the city, and erected several buildings. He took a very active part in the development of the city and was among the foremost in all public-spirited enterprises. He was one of the promoters and largest stockholders of the Western Plank Road Company, a wonderfully profitable company, a stockholder in the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, the first steam railroad running out from Chicago. At the age of forty he had acquired a fortune and was able to retire from active business. In 1855 he removed East and located in Lansingburg, New York. He did not dispose of all his Chicago interests and retained much of his real estate. In Lansingburg he promoted the Troy & Lansingburg horse railroad and was a director of the first board. In this enterprise he was deeply interested, and supported it in critical times with his private means. He lived to see it upon a sure and sound paying basis. For twenty years he was a director of the Troy & Cohoes road, and a director, and for several years vice-president, of the old Lansingburg Bank, and trustee of Lansingburg Academy. He was also interested in the sugar industry of Louisiana, and owned Belaire plantation, one of the largest in the state, extending for three miles along the Mississippi, and back from its banks into the interior one mile and a half. He was a vestryman of Trinity and a generous supporter.

He married (first) Frances B., daughter of Buckingham St. John, of Norwalk, Connecticut. She died in 1884, leaving a son, James Lally, a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who died at Riverdale-on-the-Hudson, July 15, 1878. He married (second) Harriet P., daughter of Captain Richard Hanford, of Lansingburg, who bore him two sons and a daughter. She was a descendant of Thomas Hanford, born in England, died in Norwalk, Connecticut, 1693, first minister of Norwalk, 1652-93. Children:

  1. George Hanford, unmarried; manager of the Chicago property and the Belaire plantation.
  2. Frederick; see forward.
  3. Frances St. John, died in infancy.

(II) Frederick, youngest son of George A. and Harriet P. (Hanford) Lally, was born in Newburg, New York, November 13, 1855, died in Troy, New York, June 23, 1905. He was educated at the high schools and at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and on the death of his father became manager of the large estate he left. He was a good business man and managed the estate with good judgment until his death. He was a member of Trinity Church, and acted with the Republican party. He married Mary E., daughter of Francis H. and Elizabeth (Catton) Leonard, who survives him. Children: Marion Leonard, Edith, George Leonard, Dorothy.

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