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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Rathbone

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 183-187 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 Rathbone is derived from the Saxon language, and signifies an early gift.

There have been various spellings of the name in this country, but some of them are by mistake, and it is best to speak only of those who, belonging to the same family by various lines of descent, have adhered to definite forms. It is declared, with good authority, that the similar name of Rabone (Raburt) was of the same origin, as was also Rawsbone and Rathbun. In "James Savage's Genrealogical Dictionary," prominent mention is made of George Rabun, and in "Belknap's History of New Hampshire" it is stated that this was probably a mistake for Rathbone, who was in Exeter in 1639. The year previous he had sympathized with the Rev. Mr. Wheelwright, a man of considerable learning, piety and position, and the brother of Mrs. Anne Hutchinson. With him, Rabun, or Rathbone, was banished from Boston for defending his religious opinions. Having been deprived of his privileges, he combined with some others suffering the same fate, about thirty-five in all, and set up an independent government at Squamscot Falls, New Hampshire, naming the place Exeter. The Rathbone arms consist of a shield argent, three doves azure. Crest: A dove proper, holding an olive branch. Motto: Suaviter et fortiter.

Regarding the origin of the family in America, there were several accounts formerly current. It was asserted that this family descended from Thomas Rathbone, who came from England in 1621. A second statement is to the effect that those of the name came from John Rathbone, a member of a Liverpool family who came to America in 1625. Another explanation is that they are descended from an elder brother of Colonel John Rathbone, who was an officer of the parliamentary army of 1658, noted for his devotion to Republican principles.

The earliest authentic records point to the Rev. William Rathbone as the first of the name appearing in America, and allusion is made to him in a work published in 1637, which item was reprinted in the "Historical Collections of Massachusetts." This man was an author. It is shown that his doctrinal views were not in accord with the members of the Massachusetts colony, and it is believed that he and likewise his descendants were not admitted into the New England church, with the consequence that they were not permitted to participate in the general public affairs.

The Rhode Island colonial records mention John Rawsbone, of New Shoreham, as one who was admitted to full political rights as freeman, on May 4, 1664, being the same person whom the Block Island records name John Rathbone. The latter was one of those who met at the house of Dr. Alcock on August 17, 1660, to confer regarding the purchase of Block Island, and was one of the original sixteen purchasers of that island from Governor Endicott and three others, to whom it had been granted for public services, hence he will long continue to figure in the country's history.

John Rathbone was chosen in 1676 one of the surveyors of highways. He occupied a place in the Rhode Island general assembly, in 1682-83-84, as representative from Block Island. He was one of the petitioners to the King of Great Britain in 1686 in reference to the "Quo Warranto," and was one of the Rhode Island grand jury in 1688. He had an interesting experience during the French and Indian wars which has been handed down with authenticity as family history. In the year 1689, in the month of July, Mr. Rathbone had a narrow escape from the French, who had come in three vessels and were then pillaging the island. They inquired of some one or more of the people "who were the likeliest among them to have money." They told them of John Rathbone as the most likely. The French proceeded to capture him, as they supposed, and demanded of him his money. The captive denied having any but a trifling sum. They endeavored to make him confess that he had more and to deliver it to them by tying him up and whipping him barbarously. While they were doing all this to an innocent man whom they mistook for the monied John Rathbone, the latter made his escape with his treasure. They had mistaken the son for the father, who by submitting to this cruelty in the room of his father saved him from being robbed.

That the lives of the early Rathbones who settled on Block Island were fraught with severe hardship and almost continuous danger may well be believed from all accounts. In his history of Rhode Island, Arnold makes this reference: "The local history of Block Island, truthfully written, would present an interesting study. The traditional history of the aborigines is full of the romance of war. Their authentic history in connection with the whites abounds in stirring incidents, the pecularities of the English settlers and their posterity, their customs, laws and domestic institutions are among the most singular and interesting developments of civilized life, while the martial defense of a people, within and around whose island there has been more hard fighting than on any territory of equal extent in America, and where the horrors of savage and of civilized warfare have alternately prevailed, almost without cessation from the earliest traditionary period down to a recent date, would altogether furnish material for a thrilling history that might rival the pages of a romance. The dangers of the sea and the sterner perils of war united to produce a race of men whose courage and hardihood cannot be surpassed. It was out of such material that naval heroes were made." Of this character were the men and women also of the earlier generations of the Rathbone family.

(I) John Rathbone, of Block Island, was born about 1634, died there between February 12, 1702, the day on which he signed his will, and October 6, 1702, the date on which Simon Ray, warden, took oath that William Hancock, Jr., James Welch and Roger Dickens appeared before him to testify "that they were testimony to the signing and sealing." It is an interesting family document, and a portion of it is worth citing. "I give and bequeath to my son Samuel Rathbone the table and cubbard which stand now in his house as for are lomes (heirlooms?) — to the house, and I leave my wife Margaret Rathbone my executrix of all my movable and household goods, houses and chattles, cattle, sheep and horse kind; and I leave (her?) the income of my house at Newport for her lifetime, and at her decease the westward (end?) of my house at Newport, and the leanto of that end so far as the post that the door hangs on, and the shop to be left for my son John Rathbone's son John, and his heirs forever, and the eastward end of said house and the rest of the leanto to be left for my son William Rathbone's son John and his heirs forever, and the yard to be equally for their use. And I leave to my wife for her life-time the twenty acres of land which I bought of Henry Hall, and the running of two cows and a horse and the end of the house which I now live in; and I leave that my four sons shall pay to my wife during her life-time forty shillings a piece a year. * * * And I leave to my wife during her life-time my nigger man and at her disposing, and at her decease to my son Thomas Rathbone for three years, and at the end of the three years, to give him as good clothes as his mistress leaves him, and then to set him free." It may be said in this connection that the family lands at Newport greatly increased in value, as did the estate situate in Block Island, and while he gave evidence of abolition tendencies by his provision for his negro, he did not care to put his ideas into effect while he yet lived.

John Rathbone married Margaret Dodge. Children:

  1. William, married, December 18, 1680, Sarah ————.
  2. Thomas, married, April 21, 1685, Mary Dickens.
  3. John, see forward.
  4. Joseph, married, May 19, 1691, Mary Mosher.
  5. Samuel, married, November 3, 1692, Patience T. Coggeshall; died January 24, 1757.
  6. Sarah, born June 10, 1659; married (first) December 20, 1678, Samuel George; married (second) September 1, 1710, John Ball.
  7. Margaret. 8. Elizabeth.

(II) John (2), son of John (1) and Margaret (Dodge) Rathbone, was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1658. He was admitted a freeman by the assembly of Rhode Island, May 5, 1696. He received from his father, just previous to his marriage, a deed for sixty acres of land on Block Island, the nominal consideration for which was "one barrel of pork on demand." It may be concluded that this farm was therefore a wedding present or settlement. It is known that the father, some years before his death, settled his sons on farms on the island where he lived, and entertained great hopes that his descendants would forever dwell there. Their grandchildren, however, scattered, leaving Samuel Rathbone's descendants the only one of the name on that island. The original settler's grandson, Jonathan, son of John Rathbone, Jr., removed to Colchester, Connecticut, and is the ancestor of the Rathbones of Albany, New York, as well as those of Otsego county, New York. Joshua, another son of John, Jr., settled at Stonington, Connecticut, and is the ancestor of the Rathbones of New York City. Other sons of the same, John, Benjamin, Nathaniel and Thomas, settled in Exeter, Rhode Island. Elijah, son of Samuel, settled in Groton, Connecticut, and in this way the family spread to various sections of the country, while very few represented the old stock at the place of original settlement. On December 13, 1698, "Great James" and Jane, his wife, two Indians, bound their daughter, Betsey, to John Rathbone, Jr., and his wife, as an indented servant for eighteen years, the consideration being only one gallon of rum and one blanket in hand, and five years after one gallon of rum, and yearly thereafter, and if she remained five years, then the said Rathbone was to pay four blankets and one every third year thereafter. John Rathbone, married, January 10, 1688, Ann Dodge. Children:

  1. Mary, born October 3, 1688.
  2. Jonathan, see forward.
  3. John, born December 23, 1693; married, December 20, 1720, Patience Fish.
  4. Joshua, born February 9, 1696; married, February 16, 1724, Mary Wightman.
  5. Benjamin, born February 11, 1701.
  6. Annah, born August 9, 1703.
  7. Nathaniel, born February 6, 1708.
  8. Thomas, born March 2, 1709.

(III) Jonathan, son of John (2) and Ann (Dodge) Rathbone, was born May 22, 1691, died April 1, 1766. Possessing the same sort of pioneering spirit which had so largely characterized many of his ancestors, while still a young man he set out for other parts, removing previous to 1715 to that part of New London county in Connecticut formerly known as Colchester, later the town of Salem. Here he purchased a tract of land from the Mohegan Indians, on which he settled, and a portion of this estate has continued uninterruptedly in the possession of his descendants of the same name for two centuries. He was a member of the Baptist church there in 1726. He married Elizabeth ————. Children:

  1. John, born January 1, 1715, died November 27, 1755; married, March 30, 1737, Anna Tennant.
  2. Benjamin, married, November 11, 1742, Mary Cohoon.
  3. Jonathan, married, November 8, 1744, Abigail Avery.
  4. Joshua, see forward.
  5. Isaiah, born September 7, 1723; married, May 9, 1764, Fanny Lamphear.
  6. Joseph.
  7. Elizabeth.
  8. Probably others.

(IV) Joshua, son of Jonathan and Elizabeth Rathbone, was born September 7, 1723, being twin brother of Isaiah. It is said that "he was a godly, truth-seeking man," and was always known as "Deacon Rathbone." He married, December 4, 1745, Sarah Tennant. Children:

  1. Elizabeth, born June 9, 1747.
  2. Tabitha, born August 4, 1749; married (first) ———— Treadway; children: Sarah and Mary; married (second) 1806, ———— Holmes; child, Clarissa.
  3. Joshua, born May 7, 1751; married Eunice Martin.
  4. Sarah, born November 23, 1752; married Chamberlain; removed to Richfield Springs, New York.
  5. Moses, born November 12, 1754; married Olive Ransom.
  6. Samuel, see forward.
  7. Anna, born September 12, 1758; married ———— Holmes.

(V) Samuel, son of Joshua and Sarah (Tennant) Rathbone, was born September 12, 1758, and was twin brother to Anna. He died at Colchester, Connecticut, February 16, 1831. His life had been spent on a farm ofseveral hundred acres which had been bequeathed to him by his father. He married Lydia, daughter of Simon and Lydia (Brown) Sparhawk, March 1, 1785. She died July 13, 1825, aged sixty years. Children:

  1. Samuel, born August 8, 1786, died October 9, 1787.
  2. Valentine Wightman, born September 13, 1788, died May 18, 1833; married, in 1814, Nancy Forsyth.
  3. Jared Lewis, Salem, Connecticut, born October 2, 1791; a successful merchant of Albany, New York, who for several years was elected to the common council and was thrice called to fill the position of mayor of the Capital City, being the last mayor chosen by the council, and the first elected by the vote of the people. He assumed that office first as the forty-first mayor, January 24, 1839, and the third time, on election by popular vote, on May 12, 1840, at which time only four thousand five hundred and eighty-eight votes were cast at that important municipal election; he resided at No. 28 Eagle street, corner of State street, Albany; married, June 26, 1834, Pauline Noyes, daughter of Joel Penney, of Buffalo, New York; children: Charles, Henry R., Anna Pauline and Jared Lawrence.
  4. Lydia, born March 21, 1794, died August 7, 1873; married, November 17, 1819, William W. Reed.
  5. Samuel, born November 6, 1796, died unmarried October 17, 1818.
  6. Sabria Lewis, born July 3, 1799; married, February 10, 1818, Clark Ransom.
  7. Anna, born November 6, 1803; died November 12, 1865; married David Jewett, no children.
  8. Joel, see forward.

(VI) Joel, son of Samuel and Lydia (Sparhawk) Rathbone, was born in Salem, Connecticut, August 3, 1806, died in Paris, France, Sunday, September 13, 1863. He came to Albany, New York, to reside in the fall of 1822, as a clerk to his brother, Valentine W. Rathbone, who then kept a wholesale grocery store on the corner of Hudson avenue and Quay street, then the busiest section of the city. Two years later he became associated with him in business. In 1827, as one of the firm of Hermans, Rathbone & Company, he commenced the wholesale stovebusiness. By reason of certain modifications and improvements in the patterns of stoves made under his direction, he secured a very large and lucrative business, which became known all over the country, and doubtless was the most important concern of the kind then in America, and destined to make the name of Rathbone known for the century or more. Following the death of Mr. Hermans, in 1829, Mr. Rathbone succeeded to the entire business, which he continued in his own name until 1841, when at the early age of thirty-five years, with a well-earned fortune, he retired from active mercantile pursuits to the enjoyment of country life. He purchased a large estate bordering the southern end of Albany, which he laid out and made beautiful, and "Kenwood" became his residence for a number of years. Although he had retired from business cares so early, he was still connected with many of the public enterprises of Albany, being vice-president of the New York State Bank, the oldest institution in the city, president of the Exchange Company, doing business where the Federal Building was located in 1910, and an active co-operator in and a generous contributor to most of the benevolent enterprises of Albany. He was known as a conscientious and consistent Christian, a gentleman of unusual taste and refinement. He married, May 5, 1829, when twenty-two years of age, Emeline Weld, daughter of Lewis and Louisa (Weld) Munn, and she died in Newport, Rhode Island, August 25, 1874. Her father, Lewis Munn, was born December 14, 1784, died July 8, 1810. Her mother, Louisa Weld, was born April 1, 1791, died December 6, 1808. Children:

  1. Jared Lewis, born April 23, 1830, died August 20, 1831.
  2. Erastus Corning, born January 1, 1832, died February 2, 1832.
  3. Joel Howard, born June 11, 1835, died single, March 29, 1865.
  4. Sarah, born December 5, 1837; married, November 19, 1863, General Frederick Townsend, born in Albany, September 21, 1825; graduate of Union College, 1844; admitted to practice 1849; adjutant-general of New York state, 1857-61; raised and commanded the Third Regiment, New York Volunteers, May, 1861; brevetted brigadier-general, and resigned from army, 1868; appointed adjutant-general by Governor Cornell in 1880, serving until January 1, 1883, and died at Albany. She died, Albany, March 13, 1910. Children:
    1. Annie Martin Townsend, born in Paris, November 1, 1866;
    2. Sarah Rathbone Townsend, born March 23, 1869, in Albany;
    3. Frederick Townsend, born October 28, 1871;
    4. Joel Rathbone Townsend, born October 13, 1879, died October 15, 1879.
  5. Albert, born May 27, 1841, died single, December 10, 1865.
  6. Clarence, see forward.
  7. Edward Weld, born October 20, 1848, died July 30, 1849.

(VII) Clarence, son of Joel and Emeline Weld (Munn) Rathbone, was born on his father's handsome estate, "Kenwood," on the southern outskirts of Albany, New York, November 17, 1844. He received his education at Farmington, Connecticut, and at Charlier's French Institute in New York City. He entered the Naval Academy, then located at Newport, Rhode Island, in September, 1861, and was graduated the fifth in his class of 1863, having successfully undertaken the three-year course in the space of two years. He received his commission as an ensign in the United States Navy, and was ordered to the "Niagara" in the fall of 1863, and was then on duty at Newport. In June, 1864, he was ordered to New Orleans, where he was given duty in the squadron of Admiral Farragut. He served during the latter part of the war of the rebellion, taking part in the celebrated battle of Mobile Bay, where he was wounded slightly. Subsequently he served on blockade duty off Galveston, Texas. At the termination of the civil war, he returned to New York, June, 1865, and shortly thereafter resigned his commission on account of his being left the only son of his widowed mother upon the death of his brothers, Joel Howard and Albert, which had occurred in 1865. For several years following this period of his life, he was the head of a large manufactory of stoves but while still in the prime of life retired from concerns. He is a trustee of the Albany Savings Bank, and trustee of Albany Medical College, and the Dudley Observatory. When first married he resided at No. 5 Elk street, his handsome residence fronting on the Academy Park, and later removed to his present spacious home nearer the city outskirts, No. 576 Western avenue. He is an Episcopalian, and in politics a Democrat. He is a past master of Masters Lodge, No. 5, Free and Accepted Masons. Mr. Rathbone is a member of the following clubs: Army and Navy and Manhattan of New York, the Loyal Legion of America and Graduates Association of the United States Naval Academy.

Clarence Rathbone married, at Albany, New York, September 11, 1866, Angelica Bogart Talcott, born at Albany, February 24, 1846. Her father was Sebastian Visscher Talcott, son of George and Angelica (Bogart) Talcott. He was born in New York City, November 24, 1812, and died at his residence, No. 748 Broadway, Albany, November 10, 1888. He attended Yale, and became a civil engineer, doing considerable excellent work in the survey of the boundary line between the United States and Canada, and also in the improvement of navigation in the Hudson river near Albany, which work has endured as a specimen of the best construction of its nature along the length of the entire river. He was appointed quarter-master by Governor Horatio Seymour, in 1862, with the rank of brigadier-general. Mr. Talcott has left an enduring memorial of himself in several volumes of genealogies which he prepared with indefatigable labor, notably his Genealogical Notes of New York and New England Families, published by him in 1883. Her mother was Olivia Maria (Shearman) Talcott, who married S. V. Talcott, November 23, 1843. She was born in Utica, New York, October 14, 1823, and died in Albany, January 29, 1888. She was the only child of Robert Shearman, son of Robert and Honor (Brown) Shearman, who was born at South Kingston, Rhode Island, September 10, 1790, died at Westmoreland, New York, September 6, 1838; and Anna Maria Sherman, daughter of Watts and Olivia (Gillson) Sherman, who was born September 17, 1800, died at St. Augustine, Florida, March 9, 1825. Children:

  1. Albert, see forward.
  2. Joel, see forward.
  3. Angelica Talcott, see forward.
  4. Ethel, see forward.

(VIII) Albert, son of Clarence and Angelica Bogart (Talcott) Rathbone, was born at Albany, July 27, 1868, and in 1910 was a resident of New York City. He received his early education by attending the Albany Academy for about ten years, and then entered Williams College, where he was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. He commenced the study of law, graduating from the Albany Law School. After practicing a few years in his native city, in the firm of Tracy, Cooper & Rathbone, he removed to New York, where he is a member of the prominent firm of Joline Larkin & Rathbone. He married, at Albany, April 14, 1891, Emma Marvin, daughter of Thomas Worth and Emma (McClure) Olcott. Children:

  1. Grace Olcott, born in New York City, December 9, 1894.
  2. Anna Talcott, born August 14, 1897.

(VIII) Joel, son of Clarence and Angelica Bogart (Talcott) Rathbone, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the summer home of his parents, September 12, 1869. He was educated at the Albany Academy. He entered the employ of the National Commercial Bank of Albany, and afterwards was the treasurer of the Albany Railway Company. In 1895 he left for New York City, where he is first vice-president of National Security Company. He married, in New York City, October 4, 1894, Josephine (Hanbury) Norwood. Child: Carlisle Norwood, born in Saratoga Springs, July 26, 1895.

(VIII) Angelica Talcott, daughter of Clarence and Angelica Bogart (Talcott) Rathbone, was born in Albany, New York, March 13, 1871. She received her education at St. Agnes' school in her native city. She married, in New York city, December 25, 1899, Dr. Charles Russell Lowell Putnam, of Boston, Massachusetts, who is now practicing medicine in New York City. Child: Patrick Tracey Lowell Putnam, born in New York City, September 15, 1904.

(VIII) Ethel, daughter of Clarence and Angelica Bogart (Talcott) Rathbone, was born in Albany, New York, December 11, 1877. She married, in Paris, France, March 14, 1907, Jean Marty, son of Jean Marty, of Carcassonne, France, and his wife, Marie Claudine (Chaumien) Marty, of Alligny en Moreau, France.

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