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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Peltz

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 1780-1786 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 Peltz is derived from the German, and signifies hides, pelts or skins of animals, and was originally applied to a hunter or else one who dealt in these. For the first one hundred years in Albany, at the time when the place was known as Beaverwyck, Fort Orange and Rensselaerwyck, the chief men of the colony were engaged in the hunting and traffic of beaver and other skins, and by this means made their fortunes which entitled them to be classed among the wealthy and most respected merchants or burghers of the settlement in the wilderness. So prominent was the trade that the skins of any number of animals passed current as money, and the ancient trading-books of some of these old burghers show that they kept their accounts in a peculiar, pictorial fashion, to be understood by the Indians with whom they dealt, and in them the column of figures gave way to lines of rude sketches of various skins, for each variety had its special value.

The progenitor of the Peltz family in America was John Peltz, who came to this country from Hesse, in Germany, and settled first in Philadelphia. He had had his own convictions in the other country about affairs of that period, and to stand by these and not be enrolled in the army in opposition to his principles, he was forced to locate elsewhere, hence he selected this country as a refuge, as had hundreds of others who sought relief from religious persecutions abroad. He was born May 19, 1714, died November 19, 1791. He married, while in Germany, Gertrude Grau. She was born in that country, 1717, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 27, 1787. They had among those of their small family a son named Philip.

(II) Philip, son of John and Gertrude (Grau) Peltz, was born August 10, 1762, died at Philadelphia, February 25, 1846. He resided most of his life in that city, and accumulated a fortune of good proportions. It was he who inaugurated the Peltz Family Bible, which was owned in 1911 by William L. Learned Peltz, of Albany, New York. He married (first) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 3, 1789, Rebecca Brown, born January 2, 1770, died at Philadelphia, January 18, 1830. He married (second) September 24, 1833, Elizabeth Scheiner, who died April 6, 1838. Children:

  1. John, born November 21, 1789, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where all the children were born), died there May 17, 1790.
  2. Philip, June 1, 1791, died in Philadelphia, April 26, 1793.
  3. William, September 2, 1792, died February 2, 1826; married, November 4, 1813, Elizabeth Lyle.
  4. Elizabeth, March 29, 1794, died February 7, 1836; married, June 3, 1816, George Marquert.
  5. Richard, see forward.
  6. John, April 1, 1797, died April 16, 1797.
  7. Rebecca, February 21, 1798, died at Philadelphia, February 16, 1830; married, October 16, 1817, Dr. Henry Klapp.
  8. Mary, January, 1800; married, August 15, 1816, Samuel Eskel.

(III) Richard, son of Philip and Rebecca (Brown) Peltz, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 1, 1795, died there February 25, 1847. He married, in Philadelphia, February 8, 1816, Sarah Lentz, born May 3, 1797, died in Philadelphia, September 15, 1846. Children:

  1. John, died February 16, 1876; married Mary Young.
  2. Rebecca, died September, 1904; married Joseph Anthony.
  3. Philip, see forward.
  4. Sarah, died in 1892, unmarried.
  5. Gertrude, married Samuel Stringfellow.
  6. Richard, born July 11, 1832; married Annie Stevens.
  7. Samuel, married Margaret Shelly.
  8. Elizabeth, died at Coeymans, New York, married Theodore Robb, of that place.
  9. William, married Elizabeth Cole.

(IV) Philip, son of Richard and Sarah (Lentz) Peltz, was born in Philadelphia, December 16, 1823, died in Coeymans, New York, June 26, 1883. He was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. His parents dying when the children were young, he looked after the welfare of his brothers and sisters. He was a minister of the Dutch Reformed church, and officiated first at Coeymans, then at New Paltz, also at Paterson, New Jersey, and other places. He became secretary of the board of missions. Ill health, before reaching advanced age, caused him to retire from active engagements, and he returned to his Coeymans home, where he lived an estimable life for the remainder of his days. He married (first) at Philadelphia, Annie Sailor. He married (second) at Albany, March 17, 1852, Mary De Witt. She was born in Albany, February 19, 1819, died there January 15, 1903. She had married previously Stephen Van Dyck, in 1843, who died in 1846, leaving two children, Abraham, who died aged fifteen months, and Sarah, who died the day of her birth. She was the daughter of Rev. John and Sarah (Schoonmaker) De Witt.

Rev. John De Witt was born December 15, 1788, died at Albany, October 11, 1831, and was the son of John I. and Mary (Breestede) De Witt. He was a man of varied scholarly attainments and of versatile talents. It is said that he was acquainted with nine languages, among them Hebrew and Arabic. He was graduated at Rutgers College, New Brunswick, New Jersey, and at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary. He was much devoted to botany and had considerable musical talent. He was an eloquent public speaker; was of fine personal appearance, somewhat over medium height, and had a remarkably handsome head and face, as may be seen from his portrait, the original of which, painted in oil, is in Rutgers College. He had a cheerful temperament, high spirits and genial social qualities. It is a tradition in the family that his father had intended that he should be a lawyer, but he himself felt his vocation to be the ministry. In 1814 he accepted a call to the pastorate of the Reformed Dutch church of Albany, which was then what was styled a "Collegiate Church," a system, in accordance with the custom in the larger cities in the United Netherlands, of having under one organization two or more church buildings with as many pastors as there were houses of worship, they officiating alternately in the different church buildings. The Albany church was, in the early part of the nineteenth century, the most important in the denomination outside the city of New York, as Albany was the city of second size and importance in the state. There were, in 1814, two houses of worship belonging to the Albany Collegiate Church, one on the west side of North Pearl street, corner of Orange, finished in 1798, and the other on a large lot extending from Hudson avenue to Beaver street, east of Pearl street, completed in 1810. The latter edifice was an imitation of the Church of St. Martin's-in-the-Field, London, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and was regarded (razed about 1890) as a fine example of church architecture. When Rev. John De Witt became pastor in 1814, the Rev. John M. Bradford, D.D., was his colleague. In 1815 the collegiate form of pastorate was discontinued, a new corporation was formed for the more southerly church, and the landed property of the old corporation, which was considerable, was divided into two equal parts, each of the church organizations taking one part. It was determined by lot which of the two pastors should take the north and which the south church, and the result was that John De Witt became the first sole pastor of the South Church, then so called, and Dr. Bradford sole pastor of the North Church. On account of the population moving westerly, a new edifice was erected on Madison avenue, to which the congregation removed in 1881, and the old building sold for mercantile purposes. In the interior of the new church was erected a marble tablet to his memory and also one in the Dutch Church of New Brunswick, where he was buried, the latter reading:

"To the Memory of the Rev. John De Witt, D.D., Professor of Sacred Literature and Biblical Criticism in the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Dutch Church, and of Logic and Belles Lettres in Rutgers College, who, after discharging the duties of a Christian Pastor with much zeal and success, during several years at Albany, entered September, 1823, upon his Professional Labour, which he executed with distinguished ability, and died Oct. 11, A.D. 1831, aged 41 years and 10 months. This monument, erected by the general synod of the Reformed Dutch church, is designed to express their high regard for the Deceased. Ah! nimium cites decessit."

His wife, Sarah Schoonmaker, was the daughter of Tjerck Schoonmaker and Jane Breestede (or Braisted), the latter a daughter of Peter Breestede. His second wife, Anna Marcia Bridgen, born October 10, 1796, died at Albany, April 12, 1843, daughter of Charles and Maria (Ten Eyck) Bridgen.

The father of Rev. John De Witt was John I. De Witt, born May 13, 1760, died February 19, 1816; lived at Saugerties, New York, where he owned property, which was the site of the Exchange Hotel in 1910, and he married, July 6, 1782, Mary Breestede, born May 9, 1766, died October 18, 1853, daughter of Peter and Sarah (Mynderse) Breestede. Regarding him, Simeon P. De Witt writes:

"I can well remember his features. He had the most commanding and noblest physiognomy of any De Witt I have ever seen, — when once seen, never to be forgotten. He was a very intellectual man; owned a sloop which he used in the transportation business on the Hudson River; made money rapidly, and at last sold his sloop, and purchased property, mills and farms at Catskill, N. Y. This was of course before the era of steamboats."

John I. De Witt's father was Captain John Lucas De Witt, born April 18, 1731, died May 27, 1803; married, May 13, 1758, Anna Maria De Witt, born March 8, 1730, died July 1, 1814, daughter of Peek and Maria (Dunges) De Witt, whose name was otherwise written Teunis and also Deunies, and was the widow of Jacob De Moot. John L. De Witt was called "Captain" and was captain of a military company during the revolution, which served for the special purpose of protection of the Kingston district, of whom his grandson, Simeon P. De Witt, writes:

"He became conspicuous as a captain of infantry under Colonel Pawling in the Northern Division of the American Army in the war of '76. At the death of his colonel, he acted in that capacity through the war, at the taking of Burgoyne at Schuylerville and Cornwallis at Yorktown, and in many other bloody battles."

Captain John Lucas De Witt's father was Lucas De Witt, who was baptized September 5, 1703; married, January 17, 1729, Catrina Roosa, baptized February 16, 1709, daughter of Evert and Tietje (Van Etten) Roosa. Lucas De Witt's father was Lucas De Witt, who married, December 23, 1695, Antje De Iva, daughter of Anthony and Jannetje (Hillebrants) De Iva (or Delva). This Lucas De Witt was the son of Tjerck De Witt, the progenitor of the family in America, who was born in Holland, died February 17, 1700; married, April 24, 1656, Barbara Andriese.

Philip and Mary (De Witt) Peltz had issue:

  1. John De Witt, born, Coxsackie, New York, June 26, 1853; died at Albany, New York, May 7, 1904 (see forward).
  2. Sarah, born, Coxsackie, June 26, 1853 (twin); died at Coeymans in 1883, unmarried.
  3. Richard, born September 19, 1857; died at Paterson, New Jersey, July 23, 1859.

(V) John De Witt, son of Philip (q. v.) and Mary (De Witt) Peltz, was born in Coxsackie, New York, June 26, 1853, died at his home, No. 323 State street, Albany, New York, May 7, 1904. He passed his boyhood and received the rudiments of early education in New Paltz, New York, where his father was pastor. After that he entered Rutgers College, from which institution he graduated in 1815, and, engaging in the study of law, graduated from the Albany Law School in 1876. He studied law in the office of De Witt & Spoor, a then famous law firm in Albany. On account of the ill health of his wife, he removed to Colorado Springs, where he engaged in practice and became the city attorney and leading corporation counsel. His wife died in 1888, but he remained there until the fall of 1890, when he returned to Albany, and resided there until his death. He enjoyed a very extensive law practice, with offices in the Volckert Building on State street. He was a member of the State Bar Association and the second vice-president of the Albany County Bar Association. He was vestryman of St. Peter's Episcopal Church; trustee of the Albany Rural Cemetery Association and of the Union Trust Company; first vice-president of the Albany Exchange Savings Bank; director of the Albany Insurance Company; trustee of Rutgers College, and a member of the Fort Orange Club of Albany and of the University Club of New York City. He was a progressive and patriotic citizen, a good lawyer, kind and affectionate husband and father, a true and sincere friend. The announcement of his death was made that morning at a special term before Justice D. Cady Herrick, by Hon. Simon W. Rosendale, and a large number of the members of the bar were present. After remarks by Justice Herrick, Mr. Rosendale and Corporation Counsel Arthur L. Andrews, all of whom spoke feelingly of the loss sustained by the Albany bar, court was adjourned out of respect to the memory of Mr. Peltz.

He was vice-president of Philip Livingston Chapter, Sons of the Revolution, which placed on its records a minute expressive of the sad loss to that body by his death, stating that he was an excellent citizen, one whom the people had frequently desired to run for the office of mayor of Albany, one who could well be proud of his ancestry as well as of his own clean record; who did always what was for the best in life; liberal in culture, a gentleman in his treatment of others and a lawyer the equal of any in his city. The Albany Insurance Company recorded its estimate of him as "an upright citizen, loyal friend in perfection of manhood," and that "truth and honor lived in him, for he was just, honorable, courageous, gentle and yet strong." The board of the Union Trust Company spoke of him as a faithful director, showing pronounced interest in that institution's welfare. The directors of the National Commercial Bank resolved:

"For many years a member of the executive committee, no one was more faithful in attendance, more willing to apply his labors and influence in its behalf. His record in this city is one worthy of emulation and his life's history may well stand as an encouraging example to the young men of this day and generation. Depending upon his own efforts and exertions, he was a generous and helpful friend, responding to the great confidence placed in him, and was at the head of our largest business concerns."

John De Witt Peltz married (first) at Albany, New York, April 16, 1881, Mary Marvin Learned, born at Albany, April 16, 1856, died at Colorado Springs, Colorado, November 23, 1888, daughter of Judge William Law and Phoebe Rowland (Marvin) Learned. Children:

  1. William Law Learned, born at Albany, graduated from Albany Academy and Yale, 1904; married, at Albany, April 29, 1907, Katharine, daughter of Dr. Edward Reynolds Hun, and had Caroline, who was born at Albany, and William Learned, who was born at Albany.
  2. Philip, born at Albany, April 20, 1884, died there, May 26, 1892.

John De Witt Peltz married (second) at Albany, New York, April 5, 1894, Catharine Barnard Walsh, born in Albany, daughter of Augustus Henry and Laura Spencer Walsh. Children:

  1. John De Witt, born in Albany and residing there in 1911.
  2. Catharine Walsh, born in Albany and also residing there in 1911.

(The Walsh Line)

Dudley Walsh was the progenitor of this family in America. He was born in Dublin in 1756, and came to this country soon after the revolution, settling in Albany, New York, where he was a general merchant, and died there May 24, 1816. He formed the firm of Walsh & Staats, which dealt in domestic products, imported articles and landed property. Transportation in this state was in a very primitive condition in those days, large wagons and sloops being used instead of steamboats and rail lines. Their business grew rapidly, and becoming extensive, his brother Charles joined him, but died after a few years' residence. His sister Alice, who lived near Dublin, died unmarried, and another sister married an officer in the British army, named Palmer, who was killed in the battle of New Orleans.

Dudley Walsh was a faithful member of St. Peter's Episcopal Church at Albany. His sagacity, energy and integrity rendered his business career very prosperous, and he closed his life with the record of ranking among the most prominent merchants in this country. He had often to contend against adverse conditions, but his great ability enabled him to surmount all obstacles. On the retirement of Mr. Staats from their business, he took into partnership Harry Beekman, of New York City, and for many years had branch offices there in lower Broadway, as well as in Albany, doing much banking business and being well known in London. The late Myndert Van Schaick, president of the Croton Aqueduct board, said he was one of the first men in this country. He was president of the Bank of Albany, the earliest institution of the kind in that city. He loaned large sums of money to General Stephen Van Rensselaer, the last Patroon. He was a contributor to the founding of Union College in 17951 and also contributed to the founding of the Albany Boys' Academy. He imported his carriage from London, and his porcelain was brought from China by Captain Stewart Dean aboard his sailing vessel, which was the first to engage in traffic with that distant country, sailing around "the Horn." This rare and beautiful old china is preserved with reverence by the family, as is the Napoleon clock brought from Paris and the celebrated Walsh wine from Madeira. He advanced to Sir William Poultney, afterward Earl of Bath, about twenty thousand English pounds sterling, to finance his land purchases in this country, and had much difficulty and considerable delay in getting his money back at a discount from that shrewd and eccentric man.

Dudley Walsh married, Albany, New York, September 24, 1793, Sarah Stevenson, born at Albany, September 25, 1772, died at the Manor House of General Pierre Van Cortlandt, at Croton-on-Hudson, June 22, 1816, and her body was brought to Albany in a sloop for burial there in the Stevenson vault. Sarah Stevenson's parents were John and Magdalena (Douw) Stevenson. John Stevenson was born in Albany, March 13, 1735, died there April 24, 1810. He was the first president of the Albany St. Andrew's Society, organized October 19, 1803, composed of Scotchmen of good standing in the community. Upon his coat-of-arms, displayed on a copper plate, a gold seal and an old silver salver, still in possession of his descendants, appears the pious legend: Coelum non solum; Heaven, not Earth. John Stevenson was a neighbor of Philip Livingston, the Signer, living on State street prior to the revolution, and tenants in common of an estate of more than eight thousand acres on the Mohawk, called Lilac's Bush. The original deed of Livingston to Stevenson for half of this property was in the famous autograph collection of the late Rev. Dr. William Buel Sprague. He also owned other large tracts of land, and a curious record in his family Bible sets forth that some of his male slaves ran away and one was incarcerated. His earlier married career was clouded by the loss of several of his children, but despite all adversities he was known as a man of engaging character and well-beloved by brother Scotchmen. His sister married General Gabriel Christie, of Montreal, who had a seigneurie near Rouse [i.e., Rouse's] Point, New York. His son, James Stevenson, was born at Albany, November 25, 1788, died there, unmarried, July 3, 1852, and was the thirty-sixth mayor of Albany, officiating twice, 1826 and 1827, when he resigned office. His son was a warden of St. Peter's Church, trustee of Albany Boys' Academy, one of the first governors of the Albany Hospital, a man of wealth and a polished gentleman. One of John Stevenson's daughters married General Pierre Van Cortlandt, a patriot of the revolution, and known widely as one of nature's noblemen. John Stevenson married, Albany, August 30, 1770, Magdalena Douw, born May 25, 1750, died December 20, 1817, daughter of Mayor Volckert Petrus and Anne (De Peyster) Douw, her grandfather being Captain Petrus Douw, who married Anna Van Rensselaer, and was thus descended from the first Patroon, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer. Magdalena Douw was also a descendant of Anneke Jans. Through her grandmother De Peyster she was descended from David Pieterse Schuyler, who was a brother of the celebrated Pieter Schuyler, first mayor of Albany. She was also descended from Olof Stevense Van Cortlandt, who came from Holland and settled in New Amsterdam, and established the Van Cortlandt Manor, on the Hudson. John Stevenson's father was James Stevenson, born in 1697, died February 2, 1769, who married, December 9, 1729, Sarah, daughter of Johannes Groenendyk, born March 24, 1675, sheriff of Albany county, who married Delia Cuyler.

Dudley Walsh and Sarah Stevenson had issue, all born in Albany, New York:

  1. Margaret, born June 23, 1794, died at Albany, October 3, 1794.
  2. John Stevenson, born October 14, 1795, see forward.
  3. Margaret, born September 24, 1797; betrothed to Peter Gansevoort; died Albany, November 5, 1817.
  4. Infant.
  5. Ann, born July 20, 1800, died May 1, 1811.
  6. William, born January 23, 1802, died December 1, 1863; married Mary Bay.
  7. Catharine, born April 25, 1803, died in 1876; married Hon. Daniel Dewey Barnard, United States minister to Prussia in 1852, by whom,
    1. Sarah Walsh, born March 3, 1835, died Albany, August 17, 1903.
  8. Sarah, born December 20, 1805, died May 5, 1842; married Richard Varick De Witt.
  9. Charles, born May 9, 1807, died at Murfreesborough, North Carolina, November 8, 1828, unmarried.
  10. James, born June 21, 1809, died at Albany, October 23, 1835, unmarried.
  11. Dudley, born November 5, 1810, died at Albany, July 2, 1811.

(II) John Stevenson, son of Dudley and Sarah (Stevenson) Walsh, was born at Albany, New York, October 14, 1795, died there February 15, 1857. He was a graduate of Yale in 1820; attended St. Peter's Church; had the rank of major, being appointed to the staff of Governor William L. Marcy. After his marriage he went into the mercantile business, but soon retired and removed to Mulberry Hill, at Normansville, Albany county, which had been the residence of Mrs. Walsh's grandfather, Judge Ambrose Spencer, who was also mayor of Albany. About five years before his death he came back to Albany. He was kind, generous and manly, his sympathies ever alive to the wants of the suffering. He was the kindly, cordial host at many an entertainment, and he lived a life of purity and benevolence. In the latter years of his life a German wished to repay him a loan of two hundred dollars made some thirty years previous. Mr. Walsh had intended it as a gift and did not recognize his caller. The latter requested him to examine his books and receive the four hundred dollars which had brought him wealth and he was glad to be able to repay it.

John Stevenson Walsh married, Albany, April 27, 1831, Laura Spencer Townsend, born at Albany, April 16, 1811, died there September 15, 1863, daughter of John and Abby (Spencer) Townsend. John Townsend, born at Sterling Iron Works, New York, June 14, 1783, died at Albany, August 26, 1854; was the thirty-seventh mayor of Albany; president of the National Commercial Bank; incorporator of Albany Savings Bank and its vice-president; organizer of Albany Insurance Company; president of Albany Exchange Company; president of Albany Water Commission; adviser of Governor De Witt Clinton in the project of the Erie canal, and was much esteemed. An uncle of Mr. Townsend's, Peter Townsend, made the great chain stretched across the Hudson at West Point to prevent the English from going up the river. This chain was made at Sterling Iron Works. He married, Albany, July 7, 1810, Abby Spencer, daughter of thirty-fifth mayor of Albany, Judge Ambrose Spencer, who was born at Salisbury, Connecticut, December 13, 1765, died at Lyons, New York, March 13, 1848; came to Albany from Hudson, New York, in 1802; was attorney-general in 1802-04; judge of supreme court, 1804; chief justice, 181823; member of constitutional convention, 1821; member of congress, 1829-31, a most capable, honest citizen. Mr. Spencer's father-in-law, the Hon. John Canfield, was for many years a judge of the court of Litchfield county, Connecticut; in 1777 he joined Major Sheldon's troop of Light Horse. He served as adjutant in the battle of Saratoga and finally became brigade major. Children of John Stevenson Walsh and Laura Spencer Townsend:

  1. Laura Spencer, see forward.
  2. John.
  3. Dudley.
  4. Abby, born in Albany.
  5. Dudley, born in Albany.

(III) Laura Spencer, daughter of John Stevenson and Laura Spencer (Townsend) Walsh, was born in Albany, New York. She married, at Albany, New York, Augustus Henry Walsh, who was the son of Henry Jansen and Mehitable (Bull) Walsh. Henry Jansen Walsh was the son of Thomas and Margaret (Brush) Walsh. Thomas Walsh was the son of Thomas and Mary (Higginbotham) Walsh. Thomas Walsh was the progenitor of his family in this country, to which he came about 1710. Augustus Henry Walsh graduated from Union College when he was nineteen years of age, in 1849. He studied law in New York with the Hon. Charles O'Connor, and was admitted to the New York bar in 1852. He had offices at Wall and Hanover streets, New York. Later he moved to Albany, where he was residing in 1911. His ancestors fought in the colonial and revolutionary wars. His grandfather, William Bull, served as captain in the regiment of Colonel Oliver Spencer in the revolution. His grandmother, Bethia Reeve, was a relative of Judge Tapping Reeve of the Litchfield Law School. Judge Reeve's niece married Governor Alston, of South Carolina. He was also related to the Peppards of Castle Peppard, province of Ulster, Ireland. He is a collateral descendant of Peter Bull, who came to America about 1705 from Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England.

Children of Augustus Henry and Laura Spencer Walsh:

  1. Laura, died young.
  2. Catharine Barnard, born in Albany; married John De Witt Peltz (see Peltz V).
  3. Henry Stevenson, born in Albany, was educated at the Albany Academy; he is teller in the Mechanics' & Farmers' Bank, and is a member of the Fort Orange Club, the Young Men's Christian Association, Ridgefield, Burns and Country clubs.
  4. Richard Varick De Witt, born in Albany, prepared for college at the Albany Academy and graduated from Harvard in 1889; member of Fort Orange and University clubs, and is in the insurance business.
  5. Julia Stevenson, still living.
  6. Townsend, born in Albany, graduated from the Albany Academy and from Harvard University in 1895; interested in the drama and newspaper work, and has traveled extensively in Europe and America; member of the Players' Club, New York.

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