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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Myers

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 374-377 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 Myers family of Albany, New York, is one of the old Dutch line families of the province of New York, entitling its members to admission in the Holland Society of New York. The progenitor of the family in America was Stephanus Myers, or Myer, who came from Holland and settled first in New Amsterdam, now New York City.

(I) Benjamin Myers, a descendant of the progenitor, was born October 21, 1728, and died December 12, 1819. He married Leah Osterhoudt, the banns of which marriage were published August 13, 1756. She was the daughter of Teunis Osterhoudt and Catrina Legg. Children:

  1. Teunis, born 1756, died November 22, 1831.
  2. Christian, born June 5, 1759; died unmarried.
  3. Stephanus, born December 27, 1760, died March, 1841; married Helen Low.
  4. Petrus, born November 17, 1762, died March, 1841.
  5. Catherine, born April 10, 1769; married David Myer.
  6. Annatje (or Anna), born June 23, 1772; married Isaac Vandenberg.
  7. Marytje, born May 10, 1775; married Tjerck Schoonmaker, Sr.
  8. Solomon, born October 1, 1786; died unmarried.

(II) Teunis Myers, son of Benjamin Myers and Leah Osterhoudt, was born in 1756, and died November 22, 1831. He resided at Saugerties, New York, where he owned considerable property, and on which was a stone house, typical of the colonial period, and bearing upon its portal the date of its erection, 1746. This was not far from Mount Marion, in the Catskill mountains, and a beautiful location for a residence. This house was long and low, with an unusually steep roof, and was still standing in 1910. He married, in 1781, Cornelia, daughter of John Legg, who resided where in 1910 was the Sheffield place, now Henry Barclay's, Saugerties. Cornelia Legg Myers was an intimate friend of Governor George Clinton's wife, and when the British proceeded up the Hudson working devastation, she witnessed the burning of Kingston, New York, October 13, 1777. Children:

  1. Benjamin Teunis, born at Plattskill, New York, May 9, 1783, died at Saugerties, January 31, 1869; married, Plattskill, September 2, 1804, Sarah Snyder.
  2. Jane, born September 17, 1793, died November, 1872; married Peter G. Post, born January 19, 1792.
  3. Solomon, born July 14, 1798; married Elizabeth Goodwin.

(III) Benjamin Teunis Myers, son of Teunis Myers and Cornelia Legg, was born at Plattskill, Ulster county, New York, May 9, 1783, and died at Saugerties, New York, January 31, 1869. He was originally a farmer on a somewhat large scale, supplying the neighborhood and river towns with the produce from his estate; but in the later years of his life he was able to retire from business cares and all activities in Saugerties, where he lived the greater part of his life. He married at Plattskill, New York, September 2, 1804, Sarah, only daughter of Johannes Snyder and Leah Myer, and granddaughter of Colonel Johannes Snyder, of Ulster county, who was colonel of the First Regiment of Ulster, May 1, 1776; also delegate to the provincial congress, member of council of safety, member of assembly, president five terms of board of trustees of Kingston corporation. Sarah Snyder inherited a number of slaves as a portion of her dowry, one of whom, Flora, who taught Mrs. S. M. Taylor to knit, and another was known as "Old Rub." Child: John Benjamin, born at Brabant, New York, February 27, 1806, died at Mentz, New York, February 27, 1861; married, at Saugerties, New York, August 12, 1828, Arriet Gillespy (see forward).

(IV) John B. Myers, son of Benjamin Teunis Myers and Sarah Snyder, was born at Brabant, near Kingston, New York, February 27, 1806; and died in the town of Mentz, near Port Byron, New York, February 27, 1861. His birth took place on a farm rented of a Mr. Cockburn, by his father, who soon purchased a farm, where the other children were born. He resided at Mentz most of his life,where he had an extensive farm of his own; on his death, he was buried in Fort Hill cemetery, at Auburn, New York. He married, at Saugerties, New York, August 12, 1828, Arriet, daughter of Captain John Gillespy. He had a record as a fighter in the American cause, and was the son of Major John Gillespy,who engaged in the French and Indian wars, and afterwards was a participant in the revolution as a member of the Fourth Ulster county militia. Captain John Gillespy fought at the head of his company in the war of 1812 against the British. For a time he was stationed on Staten Island. Children:

  1. Benjamin Gillespy, born at Saugerties, New York, August 20, 1829, died at No. 372 Clinton avenue, Albany, March 5, 1901; married, Port Byron, New York, November 23, 1858, Minerva Kerns, by whom:
    1. Howard Gillespy, born at Port Byron;
    2. Leila Whitney, born at New York, New York;
    3. Lotta Wright, born at New York, New York.
  2. John Gillespy, August 4, 1832, died, Albany, December 1, 1901; married, Cayuga, New York, August 19, 1857, Mary Augusta Young (see forward).
  3. Sarah, September 21, 1833; residing in Albany in 1910; married, Port Byron, New York, May 28, 1863, Captain David Austin Taylor; by whom:
    1. John Myers, born near Port Byron;
    2. Lawrence Hartshorne, born at Camden, New York;
    3. Grace Brown, born at Oneida, New York;
    4. Ernest Chandler, born at Guineys, Virginia;
    5. Marion Lee, born at Albany, New York;
    6. Bessie Myers, born at Albany.
  4. Jason Gillespy, January 25, 1840; unmarried.
  5. Lavinia, died at Albany, October 29, 1885; buried at Auburn, New York.
  6. Elizabeth, born near Port Byron, New York, died young.
  7. Selina, married, Auburn, New York, July 10, 1878, S. Henry Atwater, by whom:
    1. Winifred Moore, born at Windham, New York;
    2. Donald Brown, born at Windham, New York;
    3. Reginald Myers, born at Canon City, Colorado.

(V) John Gillespy Myers, son of John Benjamin Myers and Arriet Gillespy, was born in Saugerties, New York, August 4, 1832, and died in Albany, New York, December 1, 1901. Until eight years old, he lived with his parents upon their farm in their typical Dutch farmhouse in the shadow of Mount Marion, of the Catskill mountain range. About that time his father picked out better land than the rocky soil of Ulster county, purchasing a tract near Montezuma, Cayuga county, and here his son aided him in agricultural pursuits. When fourteen years of age he returned to Saugerties and began his business career as a store boy and general clerk for his uncle, P. M. Gillespy. He had been accustomed as a youth to dispose of the fruits grown upon the farm, and he acquired a strong tendency for trade, made keen by his competition with other lads of the neighborhood. The connection with the store in a minor capacity simply interested and aroused him to make more rapid progress in something better; but until he became of age he remained in the employ of his uncle, excepting at such times as he was engaged in study in the little red school house. He was fond of reading and very quick to observe, so he acquired much knowledge even when not in school, and what he learned in this fashion he was sufficiently clever to turn to good account later in his life. Even in those days, he had a keen insight into character, a faculty for quick decision and rapid action. Those characteristics governed him all through his life.

When twenty-one years old, he became associated with two men in the conduct of a general country store at Port Byron, Cayuga county, New York, but this firm did not last long, and finally he was left in sole possession to dispose of the stock for the benefit of the creditors. He succeeded in carrying this out by means of a trip through the west, and the result was that by his ability every one was paid in full. After this he obtained a position in the large wholesale house of Clapp & Kent, clothing and dry goods merchants, New York City, and was rapidly promoted. At the begining of the rebellion he started in business for himself in New York, securing for a location the corner of Bleecker and Christopher streets, and here made some money. In 1865 he formed a partnership with Mr. William M. Whitney, in Albany, they succeeding the firm of Ubsdell, Pierson & Lenox, in the dry goods business, and the store on North Pearl street was known as "The New York Store." It was by all means the largest of any in Albany, and won a pronounced success. This partnership continued five years, when it was dissolved, each partner continuing the dry goods business by himself, Mr. Myers opening another large store at Nos. 39-41 North Pearl street. An incident in its history was a catastrophe on the morning of August 8, 1905, when during the course of repairs and alterations the floors sank, and as a result the handsome new building was erected immediately upon the same site, which is a leading adornment of the business section of the Capital City. But of far more importance than a beautiful building in showing the character of the merchant, stands the system inaugurated by him through which method the employees receive each year proportionate financial returns dependent upon the success of the year, and it is safe to say that no employees are more interested in doing their best by co-operation than are these, and at the same time he gained what he most desired — their good will and high regard.

The business career of Mr. Myers knew no wavering from that time on. His strict attention even to the details and possessing knowledge of each department's requirements to make for absolute success were the great factors which brought such excellent results. As his wealth increased, he became associated with the development of local enterprises, and his name was valued on different boards and companies, for it was a guarantee of high standard. While helping many institutions liberally, probably more so in some instances than any other citizen, he was decidedly averse to any publicity. He was one of the four special commissioners appointed from among citizens by the mayor in 1891 to investigate a means to secure an increased and purer water supply for the city, which was previous to the attempt to acquire a driven well supply and the installation of the filtration system.

He joined the Holland Society, December 7, 1888, as one of the earliest members, and always took a decided interest therein. He also joined Philip Livingston Chapter, Sons of the Revolution, and aided in all its movements. He was a member of the Fort Orange Club, and his religious association was with the Presbyterian faith. In politics he was a staunch Republican all through his life, and a firm believer in its policies. He was president of the Albany hospital, which probably interested him more than any other institution with which he was associated, and it received his most liberal support and thoughtful attention. He was a governor of the Albany Orphan Asylum; a director of the Albany Railway, vice-president of the National Savings Bank; elected vice-president of the Merchants' National Bank in 1880; trustee of the Albany Female Academy, latterly changed in name to the Albany Girls' Academy, in the erection of which new and handsome edifice he played an important part; was first vice-president of the newly organized Albany Trust Company, of which he had been a moving spirit in its inauguration as a leading business institution; vice-president of the Commerce Insurance Company, and a trustee of the Albany Rural Cemetery.

Mr. Myers' death occurred Sunday morning, December 1, 1901, at his home, No. 240 State street, Albany, following an illness of a few weeks. In his demise, the citizens as a body felt that from their midst had been removed one who had been respected among the best of them, and who had been a pillar of strength to many philanthropic institutions. His honesty and painstaking methods had brought about a success well merited and far beyond the average. His mode of living had been simple, although his home was one of the most beautiful in the city, and his benefactions were unostentatious acts of a man bent upon doing good. His associates in business admired his straightforward, manly methods, and those who met him socially were impressed by a charming personality. Both in public and in the privacy of his family he lived the conscientious, kindly life of a Christian. The Albany Hospital, having long received the benefit of his council and benefactions, felt his loss, and the board declared that "while his death is a loss to the whole city, it falls especially on the hospital board and on the benevolent work in which with them he was so deeply interested." He had been governor of this institution for many years, and both his wisdom and his liberality had been of the greatest service, with a record of never having been absent from a meeting when possible to attend. When the work of constructing the new hospital was begun, his contribution created one of the pavilions, and was also an encouragement to those struggling with the enormous undertaking. The Albany Evening Journal said editorially:

"Not only to the business community of Albany, but to the city as a whole, the death of John G. Myers causes a loss that will be felt. He was one of the city's most enterprising, progressive and successful business men, and because of the interest which he took in any movement for the promotion of Albany's welfare, one of its most highly valued citizens. The record of his life presents at once a model and an incentive to young men. He achieved conspicuous personal prosperity through honesty and liberality in his dealings with his fellow men; he was a kind employer, a generous giver to the poor — a liberal contributor to every worthy project; in short, a type of the best citizenship. His death has brought sorrow to a large circle of friends and acquaintances, and regret to many who were not personally acquainted with him, but knew him by repute."

One who appreciated his worth of character has left this tribute:

"We feel that the honesty of his life, the fidelity of his character, the thorough consecratedness of his thought, aim and purpose, pushed to a high standard, not only the life of our city, but the lives of her people as well. Built by nature upon a broad and generous plan, with a high conception of right and duty, that from his very boyhood characterized every impulse and movement of his life, we know that the life of Albany, and all who have felt the power of his inspiring influence are better because he lived in our midst. Like a tower of strength in the church he loved so well, and a help to his pastor, whom he aided and sustained, bows that church low with grief and loss. When these Gibraltars, representing as the name indicates, all that is highest, purest, most enduring and above all, Christlike, in that that stands for the best life, falls, we, who are left, feel more than words can tell, what his death means. His daily life exemplified that of his Master."

Among other tributes to his worth were these:

"As a member of the Albany Trust Co.'s board, he was direct and clear in the formation of an opinion, forcible and enthusiastic in its execution, and uniformly successful in results." "He was for nearly thirty-four years an earnest and faithful member of the State Street Presbyterian Church, and on its board of trustees for thirty-two years, for fifteen years its vice-president, and during the last four years of his life its president." "For more than twenty years an officer of the Merchants' National Bank, as director since 1881, and. as vice-president since 1887, and as such not there except for conscientious effort." "Through a long term of service he was a constant attendant at meetings of the Albany Orphan Asylum, never failing to show a promptitude and attention to detail, a thorough grasp of the situation, and a ready sympathy of heart. In his associaion with the board it was enough for him to know that a deserving charity needed assistance, and the deed followed hard on the knowledge." "He served on the board of directors of the United Traction Co. during the most eventful period which this company will probably ever experience, and the members were all edified by his calm and wise counsel; his dignified demeanor strengthening in the trying times which called for his services, none so gentle in giving counsel or expressing opinion, none so resolute in adhering to what he believed to be right."

John G. Myers married Mary Augusta Young, at Cayuga, New York, August 19, 1857, Rev. Frederick Starr, of Auburn, New York, officiating. She was born at Auburn, New York, February 22, 1833, died at her home in Albany, February 9, 1904, and was the daughter of Jacob Young, of Auburn, the son of Christian Young, who, enlisting at the age of sixteen years, served throughout the war of 1812; was engaged in the sortie of Lake Erie, and had his honorable discharge signed by General Washington after his participation in the war of the revolution.

Mrs. Myers suffered from failing health ever since the death of her husband, which was a severe shock to her, but her final illness covered a period of about two weeks. During their long residence in Albany they had cooperated with each other in philanthropic work, she making good use of the means placed at her disposal for the alleviation of suffering and comforting of the afflicted; but the good accomplished was not allowed to reach the public ear, for it was her own pleasure because akin to her nature. She carried on the work in the fields so ably prosecuted by her husband. She was a woman of sympathetic nature, and more than willing to listen to appeals. She was a member of the State Street Presbyterian Church, and aided in its various interests, belonging also to a number of local institutions. Of her it was said: "When the final honors have been paid to her mortality, and her last resting place on earth has become a reality, the world will know no more a woman who had benefited it by her being, and whose memory will long be cherished for the good that she did."

Children of John Gillespy Myers and Mary Augusta Young:

  1. Margaret Fuller, born at Mintline, Cayuga county, New York, May 6, 1858; married, at Saugerties, New York, September 2, 1891, Henry King Sturdee, born at London, England, August 13, 1859, son of Captain Edwin Thomas Sturdee, of the Royal Navy; by whom:
    1. Flora Margaret, born at Albany, November 27, 1892, and
    2. Georgianna Myers, born at Albany, April 7, 1894.
  2. Jessie Kenyon, born at Auburn, New York, October 19, 1859; married at Albany, September 14, 1899, Colonel George Porter Hilton, son of Charles Hilton and Mary Etta Mac Whorter, who was born at Albany, March 19, 1859, and died at his home, No. 240 State street, Albany, October 7, 1909; by whom:
    1. John Gillespy Myers, born at Albany, New York, May 11, 1901 (see Hilton).
  3. Georgianna Seymour, born at New York, New York, August 14, 1861, died at Saugerties, New York, June 13, 1893; married, at Albany, November 24, 1891, Walter Launt Palmer, A. N. A.; born at Albany, August 1, 1854, son of Erastus Dow Palmer and Mary Seaman.

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