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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Pumpelly

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 451-455 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.]

This family has contributed three generations to Albany citizenship, coming here from Owego, New York, before which time the family resided at Salisbury, Connecticut, and previous to that period lived in Pembroke, Massachusetts.

The Pumpelly arms: Argent chaussé azure on a pale gules, accosted by two roses in base (on the azure); a fleur-de-lis or; a chief of the last an eagle displayed sable. Crest: On an esquire's helmet, ornamented with a wreath of the colors and lambrequins of azure and argent, a ship on stormy waves. Motto: Telle est la vie (Such is life). To this description, which appears on the John H. Pumpelly tree, is added the following note: "The abovementioned crest was used by the representatives of Numa Pompilius far back in Roman times, first on coins, as the prow of a ship; and afterward as a full Roman galley. James Pumpelly, of Owego, used it on his seal in 1809; Harmon Pumpelly used it in 1825, and John Pumpelly, the father, used it on a seal, at Pembroke, about 1760."

(I) The first to bear the name of Pumpelly in America was Jean Pompili, whose family came from Avignon, and whose ancestors came there from Spoletto, Italy, in the train of Cardinal Abornoz. His son:

(II) Jean Pompili, was a sea captain at Plymouth, and was knocked overboard by a boom and drowned, a short time before the birth of his son, John Pumpely (Pumpelly, or Pompilie). His wife, who was a Miss Monroe, married (second) a Rev. Mr. Glover.

(III) John, son of Jean Pompili, ran away from home when about fifteen years of age, and was next heard from when he enlisted September 15, 1755, as a drummer-boy in Captain John Loring's company of His Majesty's Foot, serving until December 17, 1755. He was patriotic, for he enlisted time and again; made the entire campaign of the French and Indian war, and was made sergeant for distinguished bravery, carrying despatches alone; he was a member of Captain Samuel Thaxter's company, to Fort William Henry, at the southern end of Lake George, through a decidedly wild and hostile country, when the forest wilderness was practically filled with bloodthirsty savages. He was sergeant of Captain Abel Keen's company, at Lunenburg, March 30 to November 1, 1758. He was one of the Crown Point expedition, and at one time a member of Rogers' Rangers; also a messmate of Daniel Webster's father. He was engaged in the siege of Louisburg, and at the side of General Wolfe when he fell mortally wounded on the Heights of Abraham in 1759, assisting to carry that brave general from the firing line to die. He was a commissary under General Israel Putnam at the time of the battle of Saratoga, in October, 1777, with rank of third lieutenant. Another enlistment records that he entered Captain John Loring's company as drummer, April 22, and served until November 5, 1756. He took the oath of fidelity to the state, January 25, 1778. After his second marriage and taking up his residence at Salisbury, Connecticut, he became superintendent of the Connecticut Iron Mine and Furnace, an establishment engaged in casting cannon used in the revolution, and he had a corps of fifty men so employed under him. After leaving the army he was for a time an architect. In 1803 he removed with his family to settle at Danby, Broome county, New York, near Owego, where his son, Hon. James Pumpelly, had settled and become a man of wealth. During the latter part of his life he was a surveyor and also managed his farming interests. He died July 11, 1819. His portrait is yet in his granddaughter's house.

John Pumpelly married (first) Eppen Hillebranz Meijer, a lady of birth, of Dutch extraction, by whom he had the following children:

  1. Bennett, married E. Merrill.
  2. Barnet, served through much of the revolution.
  3. Elizabeth, died young.
  4. John, married Mary French.
  5. Eppen, married Seth Samson.
  6. Samuel, married Sarah True.

John Pumpelly married (second) Hannah Bushnell, of Salisbury, Connecticut. She was born in 1756, died at Owego, New York, December 31, 1832, daughter of Captain Samuel Bushnell, of Salisbury, who was a sea captain and came from Saybrook. The arms of the Bushnell family, used ever since coming to this country, are as follows: Argent, five fusils in fess gules, in chief three mullets sable. Crest: On a ducal coronet a wivern, sans feet.

Children of John Pumpelly and Hannah Bushnell:

  1. John, born at Salisbury, Connecticut, 1775, died at Owego, New York; married Mary Pixley Tinkham (daughter of Col. David Pixley and widow of Rev. Dr. Samuel Tinkham) who was born at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, May 11, 1777, died at Owego, New York, June 4, 1848; three children: George James, Lydia Abbey and Frederick Henry.
  2. Charles, born at Salisbury, Connecticut, 1776; removed to Owego, New York, in 1803; died there in 1855; married, September 2, 1803, Frances Avery, born January 9, 1775; children: John Charles, Mary Ann, Susan Isabella, Frances Eliza, Catherine Ann, Harriet Amelia, Stella Avery, Caroline Augusta, James and Lydia Abbey.
  3. Jerusha, died without issue.
  4. Maria, born 1786, died 1855; married, at Owego, Abner Beers; children: Harmon Pumpelly, Dr. Eli, David, Emma, Abner, Frances, John James, Mary Pumpelly, Charles, Edward, and John James.
  5. William, born at Salisbury, Connecticut, June 17, 1788; president of the Bank of Owego; died there in 1876; married (first) Sarah Emily Tinkham (died 1822), daughter of Dr. Samuel and Mary Tinkham; one child, Sarah Emily; married (second), October 24, 1824, Mary H. Welles (born Athens, Pa., May 6, 1803; died at Paris, France, December 4, 1879), daughter of George Welles; children: John Hollenbeck, Susan Mary, Marie Antoinette, Josephine and Raphael.
  6. Harriet, born 1791, died August 25, 1863; married, March 3, 1809, David Quigg, merchant, of Ithaca, New York, who was born June 2, 1781, died December 17, 1862; children: Benjamin D., Emeline, Harriet M., John William, James, Edward and Helen.
  7. Harmon, born at Salisbury, Connecticut, August 1, 1795, died at Albany, New York, September 28, 1882; married (first) Delphine Drake; (second) Maria Brinckerhoff (see forward).

(IV) Harmon, youngest child of John Pumpelly and Hannah Bushnell, was born at Salisbury, Connecticut, August 1, 1795. He resided in Albany, New York, most of his life, and when he died there, September 28, 1882, was one of the oldest men in that city, besides being one of the most conspicuous and esteemed.

At the age of six years he removed with his father's family to Owego, New York, where his youth and manhood were spent. He early learned to rely upon his own resources, and without much further education than that which he received from constantly reading well-selected books, he set out in the battle of life with an equipment in which sturdy energy and indomitable perseverance more than compensated for any lack of training. He was an omniverous reader, and from every book he gleaned some useful knowledge, laying it by for future service. Among other accomplishments of a practical kind he gained a knowledge of surveying, and at the age of twenty-one was found in that occupation in connection with his brother James, who had charge of the extensive Harper and Caton estates in the vicinity of Tioga county, New York. His energy of character and spirit of enterprise soon led him beyond the routine of surveying. He threw into everything he did his habits of promptness, forethought and integrity, and almost everything he touched prospered. Much of his time in those years having been occupied as land agent for several large capitalists of New York City, he began the purchase and sale of lands on his own account, and thus laid the foundation of his large fortune. Together with his brothers he dealt in lumber and cattle, always displaying unusual tact, and not infrequently clearing goodly sums in his transactions. He was made president of the board of trustees of Owego in 1835, and so long as he remained there was the foremost man of the place. He was captain of a cavalry company noted for the beautiful uniforms they wore and the fine horses they rode; before this he was lieutenant of riflemen.

About 1841 he married and then removed to Albany. Having no business save the care of his property, which had gradually accumulated on his hands, he had been but a few years in that city when he became identified with its three oldest business institutions, the Albany Savings Bank, the Albany Insurance Company, and the Albany Gaslight Company, and was soon elected president of all three of these large corporations. Aside from his private or social position, this gave him a prominence in the city's big affairs practically beyond all other men. The energy and prudence which he exercised in the administration of these concerns contributed much to their financial prosperity and the high position they have occupied in the confidence of the community.

After the death of his first wife he placed his two children at school and went to Europe, traveling in splendid style in a beautiful carriage with four horses and postillions in blue livery and an outrider also in blue. He went to Italy, Switzerland, France, England and Germany.

He continued to be successful in all that he undertook, and preserved all his mental faculties to the very last day of his life. He enjoyed excellent health, for he had been endowed with a wonderfully vigorous constitution. A great lover of good horses and an accomplished equestrian, he undoubtedly prolonged his life several years by his daily habit of horseback riding. He never lost his love of books, and notwithstanding his diminishing eyesight, was a constant reader until his fatal illness. His life was singularly happy, undoubtedly due in large measure to personal traits of character, moral and mental, which insured success and commanded respect of his fellow-men. He was an affectionate husband and father, a faithful and genial friend. He was truly all of these, and in every relation he undeviatingly proved himself a man of high principles and upright life. His Christianity was large and broad, well-informed. and based upon an earnest faith. For many years he was a vestryman of St. Peter's Episcopal Church at Albany, and for the last seven years of his life was senior warden of the parish. To his memory a beautiful window has been placed in the nave of that handsome edifice.

Following his death, the vestry of St. Peter's church bore testimony to the fact of "his even temper, his sagacity, his unyielding fidelity and his genial manner made him at once a wise counsellor, a discreet leader and a charming companion. He loved the church and contributed liberally towards its support. Though a man of strong will and positive opinion, he was broad and charitable towards those with whom he differed in deed and doctrine. He left a record of a life unsullied; in character a true, Christian gentleman."

The directors of the Albany Gaslight Company testified: "For the last thirty-six years, Mr. Pumpelly was president of this board and chief manager of the affairs of the company. He was a man of marked business capacity, of excellent judgment, of stern dignity, and of great fidelity to his trust. The prosperity it enjoyed is due to him."

Harmon Pumpelly married (first), at Owego, New York, November 16, 1830, Rev. Mr. Putnam officiating, Delphine Drake, and he married (second), at Albany, New York, October 19, 1841, by Rev. John A. Yates, Maria Brinckerhoff, daughter of Peter Brinckerhoff, of New York City, and his wife, Elizabeth Bleecker, daughter of Rutger Bleecker and Catherine Elmendorf. Maria Brinckerhoff was born in New York City, January 30, 1803, and died at the Pumpelly home, No. 1. Elk street, Albany; by her he had no issue.

Delphine Drake was born at Owego, New York, April 11, 1811, and died at Owego, February 27, 1839, aged twenty-seven years, ten months and sixteen days. She was the daughter of Judge John Reuben Drake and Jerusha Roberts. Judge Drake was born at Pleasant Valley, New York, November 28, 1782, and died at Owego, March 24, 1857. He was a projector of the New York & Erie railroad; supervisor, 1813; first judge of Broome county, 1815-1823; reappointed that year and served until April 18, 1838; member of congress, 1817-1819; member of assembly, 1834; president of Owego village, 1841 to 1845, inclusive; in 1823 was one of three commissioners to supervise the construction of the first Tioga county courthouse; a man of great vigor of mind and body, and throughout his life a factor in affairs of the county and that portion of the state where he lived; Master of the Free Masons' lodge of Owego. His father was the Rev. Reuben Drake, a Baptist minister, owner of large property, living in a fine, stone house, and married Phoebe Sherwood. His father was William Drake, a large land owner and a man of wealth. The coat-of-arms of the Drakes is yet to be seen on a ring belonging to Judge Drake; it is a shield argent, and a hibern tailel nowed sable.

Harmon Pumpelly and Delphine Drake had issue:

  1. Adeline Jerusha, born at Owego, New York, April 27, 1832; residing in 1911 at No. 7 Elk street, Albany; married at Albany, May 13, 1874, James Kidd; no issue (see forward). She is a woman possessing the kindest of instincts towards all with whom she comes in contact, and her unknown acts of charity are of daily occurrence. Her home is regarded as one of the leading salons in Albany, where people of note and refinement are wont to gather. Her regard for animals of every description is proverbial, which is not only evidenced by her special likes, but by her humanitarian views. Her summer residence is located at Lake Luzerne, Warren county, where she has gone for a score or more of years, and where she entertains visitors less formally than in her city house. Mrs. Kidd has been to Europe many times, and has met and been entertained by many of the most eminent of the nobility and great statesmen.
  2. Delphine Marie, born at Owego, New York, April 6, 1833; died at No. 128 Rue La Boetie, Champs Elysees, Paris, France, May 28, 1902. She married at Albany, New York, April 7, 1859, General John Meredith Read. He was born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 21, 1837, died at Paris, France, December 27, 1896, and was the son of Chief Justice John Meredith Read, of Pennsylvania, (who married at Boston, March 20, 1828, Priscilla Marshall), a grandson of Hon. John Read, and great-grandson of George Read, the signer of the Declaration. The signer married Gertrude Ross, daughter of Rev. George Ross, M. A., granddaughter of David Ross, Laird of Ballblair, and a direct descendant of the Earl of Ross. General Read was made Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer; was United States minister to Greece, where he became an intimate friend of King George; was United States consul-general to France, and throughout the siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian war, remained at his post, despite the fact that a cannon ball pierced his room.

Delphine Marie Pumpelly and General John Meredith Read had issue:

  1. Harmon Pumpelly, born at Albany, New York, July 13, 1860; educated at Paris, France, and Athens, Greece, also at St. John's Military School, and Trinity College; fellow of Royal Geographical Society of London, also of the Geographical Society of Paris; member of Historical Society of New York and of Pennsylvania; president of the Young Men's Association; inspector of rifle practice, National Guard, New York, with rank of major; Mason, thirty-second degree; captain-general, Knights of the Golden Cord, Ancient French Rite; Regent of Philip Livingston Chapter, Sons of Revolution; member of the Cincinnati of Delaware; governor-general of the Order of Albion; appointed by mayor of Albany to serve as acting chairman on committee to receive Duke of Veragua; secretary of a committee to welcome the Postal Congress, Hon. John Boyd Thacher, mayor; and in Republican circles his advice is often sought. He married, at St. John's Church, Stamford, Connecticut, August 24, 1889, by Rev. W. Tatlock, D. D., Mlle. Marguerite de Carron d'Allondans, daughter of Monsieur Jacques Frederic de Carron d'Allondans, municipal councillor (born in 1835, died in 1870), who married, October, 1865, Catherine Marguerite Pillard, and granddaughter of Monsieur Georges Frederic de Carron d'Allondans, warden of the Lutheran church, municipal councillor, a man of fine character and much respected. Arms of the Carron family are: Azure three carrons or (Tiles). Crest: Out of a coronet an eagle displayed bearing on the breast a tile or. Motto: Loyauté.
  2. Emily Meredith, born at Albany, New York, January 7, 1863; married (first) at Newport, Rhode Island, August 21, 1884, Hon. Francis Aquila Stout, president of the Nicaragua Canal Company, son of A. G. Stout and Louise Morris, of Morrissania, and he died at the Thousand Islands, July 18, 1892. Louise Morris was daughter of Colonel Lewis Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. She married (second) at Paris, Edwards Spencer, a descendant of Jonathan Edwards.
  3. John Meredith, born at Albany, New York, June 27, 1869; raised a regiment of more than two thousand men to aid the United States in liberation of Cuba in 1898, and a member of a number of organizations; married, at Rome, 1900, Countess Alix de Foras (daughter of Count Amedé de Foras, of the Castle of Thuyset), who was born at Thuyset in 1866; by whom: John Meredith Read (IV), born at Pontoise, November 12, 1901, presented to Deputy Mayor, November 15, 1901.
  4. Marie Delphine, born at Paris, March 9, 1873; married, at Paris in the Church of St. Philippe du Roule, November 5, 1895, Count Max de Foras, Knight of St. Maurice and Lazare, son of Count Amedé de Foras (Knight of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem), by whom: Countess Huguette, Countess Delphine and Count Joseph.

Arms of Foras: Or a cross azure. The Foras family were represented in the third crusade by Barle de Foras.

(The Kidd Line)

James Kidd, son of Archibald Kidd, of Ballston, New York, was a successful and prominent Albanian. In a number of ways he figured in the city's public life, as well as in its business affairs. When he died he was well classed as one who had been among Albany's most earnest and progressive citizens, and had contributed a full share to its leading interests.

He was paymaster general of the State, with the rank of colonel, January 1, 1847. He was Albany county treasurer for the three years commencing in 1848. He was appointed postmaster of Albany and held office 1858-61. He was in 1863 and for a number of years a member of the board of water commissioners, and did all he could towards the adoption of the system to yield an adequate supply. He was one of the first board of trustees of the Albany City Savings Institution when incorporated, March 29, 1850. When the Albany Railway Company was incorporated, September 14, 1863, he was a member of the board, and upon organizing was elected the first president of that concern, which was one of the most important in the city. He was a trustee of the Albany Savings Bank and a director of the Albany Insurance Company. In many respects he was a self-made man, imbued with public spirit and ever ready to help others to do as he had done. Charities likewise engaged his attention as a delight, and he gave to the Albany Guardian Society the site for its Home for the Friendless, which was opened, free from debt, May 5, 1870, at the corner of Clinton avenue and Perry street.

Securing a position in the dry-goods house of Isaac W. Staats, at the northwest corner of Broadway and Maiden Lane, on beginning his business career, he applied himself with such perseverance to his vocation, that he was enabled six years later to engage in the business for himself in the Athenaeum Building on Broadway, north of State street. After a few years he turned his attention to a new branch and opened a carpet store on the prominent corner of Broadway and State street. He was a Whig in politics, and when given office in recognition of personal worth and for efficient party services, always filled the same with unimpeachable integrity.

His home was at No. 7 Elk street, and he died there May 20, 1879. The Albany Gaslight Company's directors voiced the sentiment: "He had long been a member of the board and a constant and sagacious trustee of the many interests he was called to preserve. His judgment was always the result of careful consideration and his action was both prudent and wise." The Albany Savings Bank testified: "His excellent business qualifications and experience, his strict integrity and sound judgment, made his services useful, and the kindness of his heart made intercourse pleasant." The Albany Insurance Company directors subscribed: "An intercourse of many years has made this board the witness of his great integrity and stability of character, of his uniform courtesy and urbanity of manner; his sound and practical judgment, together with the: value and warmth of his friendship."

Probably no institution in Albany missed his assistance so much as St. Peter's Episcopal Church, of which vestry he was a member and which resolved: "With profound grief and a deep sense of personal bereavement, the Vestry of St. Peter's Church records the death. He was for many years one of the most influential citizens of this community. His quiet courtesy, his wise forethought, his high sense of mercantile honor and unimpeachable integrity, gave him an eminent position among his associates. He was a man of singularly sound judgment and honorable life, of large and discriminating charity, and of a thoughtful and intelligent concern in questions touching public good. He was devotedly attached to the parish of which he was for many years vestryman, and he had an unflagging interest in its welfare. He was prompt to aid every department of it religious and charitable work with judicious counsel and generous gifts, and at the same time unremitting in hi attendance."

James Kidd married (first) Jane Maria Shepard; by whom:

  1. James, the well known artist, and who held various military commissions.
  2. William, born at Albany, March 7, 1842; residing in Washington, D. C., in 1911; married, June 23, 1869, Caroline Minerva Martindale, who was born at Batavia, New York, October 17, 1851, daughter of General Martindale; by whom: Harry Martindale, and Jane Martindale, who married Amasa J. Parker, Jr.
  3. Robert, born at Albany, March 7, 1842 (twin).
  4. Howard, born at Albany; married Elizabeth (daughter of Judge Nott), who died at Scarsdale, New York, January 22, 1911.

James Kidd married (second), Adeline J. Pumpelly, at Albany, New York, May 13, 1874.

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