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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Van Voast

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1166-1169 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.]

(III) Jacobus (James), son of Gillis Van Vorst (q. v.), was born in the log house erected by his father on Green street, Schenectady. He was baptized in the Dutch church, December 12, 1703; settled on a farm in Glenville, Schenectady county, where he died at an advanced age. He married (first) Anna Beck; (second) Sarah Fonda. Children, all by first marriage: Margareit, Caleb, Anna, Gillis, Engeltje, Johannes, see forward, Abraham and Jan Baptist.

(IV) Johannes, son of Jacobus (James) and Anna (Beck) Van Vorst, was born January 19 and baptized February 8, 1741. He grew to manhood and passed his long life of one hundred and three years on his farm in Glenville, where he died May 23, 1844. He married, September 11, 1762, Sarah, died February 1, 1832, aged eighty-nine years, nine months, twenty-three days, daughter of Joachim Kittel. Children baptized:

  1. Jacobus, May 23, 1763; died August 9, 1851.
  2. Joachim (Gershom in data), see forward.
  3. Annatje Beck, February 13, 1768; married Joseph Shurtteff. [Shurtleff?]
  4. Caleb, October 24, 1770.
  5. Adam, September 19, 1773.
  6. Jillis, January 12, 1777.
  7. Johannes, November 12, 1780, died March 15, 1844.

The farm owned by Johannes Van Voast, together with other property, laid in and near the city of Schenectady. Much of this land is still owned by the family.

(V) Joachim, son of Johannes and Sarah (Kittel) Van Voast (as the name appears in this generation), was born in Glenville, Schenectady county, New York, 1765, died there 1845. He was a large landholder, and a man of influence and wealth. Part of his land lay north and east of Union University, a section that has since developed and become a favored residential section. He was prominent in the Whig party and served as sheriff of Schenectady county. He held membership in the Masonic order, belonging to lodge, chapter and commandery. He was a generous, broad-minded man, a firm advocate of progress and development; strong in his own beliefs, yet generous to both friend or opponent. His religious connection was with the First Reformed Church of Schenectady. He married Nancy Annatje Vedder, born in Niskayuna, near Schenectady, May 3, 1767, died 1828, daughter of Albert and Hester (Van der Bogart) Vedder, a descendant of Harmen Albertse Vedder, the first settler and trader in Beverwyck prior to 1657; on the maternal side she descended from Harmen Myndertse Van der Bogart, born in 1612, came to New Netherlands in 1631 as surgeon of the ship "Eendracht"; continued in the West India Company's service until 1633; resided in New Amsterdam until appointed commissary to Fort Orange. He was a man of high temper, and died a violent death in 1647-48. Mrs. Nancy Van Voast was an active worker with her husband Joachim in the Reformed church. Children:

  1. Hester, passed her life in Schenectady, married Peter Bancker and left issue.
  2. John G., owned and cultivated his farm that is now within the city limits; he led a busy, useful life, dying at age of ninety-three; he married Maria Teller, who died at age of ninety; one of their children is Brigadier General James Van Voast, graduate of Union College, 1851, entered the military service, and is now a retired army officer; he lived in Cincinnatti, Ohio; is married and has issue.
  3. Albert, see forward.

(VI) Albert, youngest son of Joachim and Nancy A. (Vedder) Van Voast, was born on Front street, near Washington avenue, Schenectady, New York, 1797, died on his farm adjoining (now a part of Schenectady), in 1869. The acres then devoted to agriculture are now largely covered with beautiful dwellings, and traversed by broad, well-paved avenues and streets. He was a contractor and builder, member of the contracting firm of Boardman & Van Voast, of Albany, a partnership that existed from 1828 until 1849, when Mr. Van Voast retired. He passed his latter years in Schenectady, where he died. He contributed largely to the improvement of his native city, of which he was a useful, honored citizen. He was a Whig in politics until that party was superseded by the Republican, when he connected himself with the latter for his few remaining years. He was a member of the Reformed church. He married, in Schenectady, Maria Bensen, born 1800, died 1874, daughter of Garret and Maria (Van Vranken) Bensen, early Mohawk Valley families. The Bensens came to Schenectady from Paterson, New Jersey. David, father of Garret Bensen, was born in England about 1750, came to America, and owned a large tract of land, part of it now included within the city limits of Paterson. He was an ardent advocate of the cause of the colonies, suffered much from British depredation, and was practically ruined by the war. His son Garret saw the execution of Major Andre, his father having removed to the vicinity of Tarrytown. Garret Bensen settled early in Schenectady, where he died April 22, 1861, aged ninety-one years. He married Maria, who died October 29, 1845, aged seventy years, daughter of Dirk Van Vranken. They had eight children, of whom Mrs. Maria (Bensen) Van Voast was the second and the eldest daughter. The Van Vranken descent is from one of the two brothers, Ryckert Claase and Gerrit Claase Van Vranken. who early settled in Niskayuna. Albert Van Voast and his wife Maria Bensen had:

  1. Ellen, born 1828, died 1853; married H. B. Silliman, of Cohoes, New York, donor of Silliman Hall, Union College; a prominent merchant and philanthropist; after the death of his first wife, Mr. Silliman married her cousin, Mrs. Mary (Bensen) Kibbe, a widow; he had issue by both marriages; all deceased, unmarried.
  2. Bensen, born in Schenectady, 1831, died 1903 in New York City; he had large business interests in that city and in Schenectady; he was connected officially with the United States Express Company, and was a business and personal friend of the late Senator Thomas Platt.
  3. Albert (2), see forward.

(VII) Albert (2), son of Albert (1) and Maria (Bensen) Van Voast, was born in Howard street, Albany, New York, April 22, 1834, where he resided until 1849, when his parents removed to Schenectady. He was well educated in the schools of both cities. He was associated with his father in the management and development of his farm and suburban estate, farmed, and operated a sawmill, the product of his mill being used in the building operations of Boardman & Van Voast. He still retains a large land interest, but has retired from active business life. He is a Republican and a member of the First Reformed Church. He married, in Schenectady, June 10, 1863, Mary Vedder, born in Niskayuna, Schenectady county, February 14, 1844, died June 12, 1908, daughter of Major Aaron and Elizabeth (Spain) Vedder, and a descendant of the early Vedder family previously noted. Major Aaron was born 1811, died 1886. Elizabeth, his wife, was born in Bethlehem, Albany county, 1810, married, 1842, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Albert Van Voast, in 1890. Major Aaron Vedder carried the title of major for many years, but was not a military man. They were both members of the Methodist church. Children of Albert (2) and Mary (Vedder) Van Voast:

  1. Aaron, died at the age of three years.
  2. Albert B., born September 2, 1869; graduate of Union University, class of 1890; Albany Law School; now a practicing attorney of Schenectady; married Mrs. Louise (Story) Spaun; children: Albert, Louise.
  3. Harris S., twin of Albert B., graduate Union University, class of 1890; was recorder of Schenectady, and mayor, 1901-03; again elected and served 1908-10; he is now engaged in the insurance business; married Mary Slater, and has Marjorie, Frances and Harris (2).
  4. Libbie (Elizabeth), died at age of thirteen years.
  5. Ellen, born June, 1873; educated in public and private schools; married H. C. Ball, head of a department of the American Locomotive Works, Schenectady, and interested in building operations in the city; children: Catherine and Albert Ball.

(VI) John G. Van Voast, son of Gershom (Joachim) (q. v.) and Nancy Annatje (Vedder) Van Voast, was born in Schenectady, New York, 1794, on the Van Voast homestead, which is still in the possession of the family. He died at Schenectady in 1887. He was a prominent Whig and Republican politician of the county, and while he was a successful farmer, took a deep interest in public affairs. He was a leader of his party and served as supervisor of his town and as sheriff of Schenectady county. He was a very popular and prominent man. He was a liberal member of the Reformed church and a friend of all worthy causes. He married Maria Teller, born July 18, 1801, died 1891, daughter of Colonel Henry Remsen, and Maria (Lewillyer) Teller, both of the "Boght," who were married August 11, 1788. Colonel Henry R. Teller died February 28, 1829, in his sixty-fourth year; his wife died March 8, 1813, aged forty-four years. They had children: Rebecca; Jannetje, married Rev. Nicholas Marselis; John Remsen; James; Mary. Colonel Henry R. Teller was a descendant of Willem Teller, the first settler of the name in New Netherland, born in 1620. He arrived in 1639 and continued a resident of Albany from 1639 to 1692. After a trader's life of fifty years in Albany, he retired to New York City, where his sons resided. He was one of the oldest proprietors of Schenectady, and one of the five patentees mentioned in the first patent granted by Governor Dongan in 1684. He never lived in the village. A daughter of Willem Teller, Helena, married Cornelis Bogardus, son of the noted Anneke Jans and Rev. Everardus Bogardus. Mrs. Maria (Teller) Van Voast was a most remarkable woman, eminently religious, noted for her cheerfulness and unfailing good-natured kindliness. Children of John G. and Maria (Teller) Van Voast:

  1. Gershom, died in childhood.
  2. Gershom, died young.
  3. Henry, settled in Iowa and left issue.
  4. James, retired United States army officer; graduate of West Point; resided in Cincinnati, Ohio; married and had issue.
  5. Albert, see forward.
  6. Gerrit W., M.D., a prominent physician of Schenectady; died in middle life, leaving a daughter, Carrie.

(VII) Albert, son of John G. and Maria (Teller) Van Voast, was born February 18, 1830, died March 4, 1907. He was reared on the farm, and spent a few years in the west, but otherwise his life was spent in Schenectady and vicinity. He was a merchant of Schenectady, engaged in the lumber trade. He was prominent in the Reformed church, and a Republican in politics. He married, 1855, Julia R. Ramsay, born in New York City, 1832, daughter of Henry Ramsay, of French Huguenot stock. The name was originally Remi, and during the exile of the family in Holland, where they took refuge from their persecutors, became Ramsay. Henry Ramsay was a son of Frederick Ramsay, born in New York state; married Belle Quackenbush, and was prominent in New York City. Henry Ramsay was born in Albany county, New York, 1809, died in Schenectady, 1886. He was a graduate of Albany Academy, and teller of the State National Bank. After marriage he removed to Schenectady, where he followed his profession of civil engineer and surveyor. He married in New York City Isabella Westervelt, of the well-known Brooklyn family of that name. They had five sons and four daughters, among whom Julia R., aforementioned as the wife of Albert Van Voast, was the eldest. The others were:

  1. Wayne R., for thirty-five years cashier of the First National Bank of Madison, Wisconsin; he has, a son James D. and a daughter Sarah.
  2. Wilfred, superintendent of a department of the American Locomotive Company; married Sarah (Winne) Gibbons, and has a daughter Nellie.
  3. Anna, married Colonel C. C. Brown, a furniture dealer of Schenectady; children: Albert, Wayne, Theodore, Gertrude and Horatio.
  4. Henry, no issue.
  5. De Witt, of West Roxbury, Massachusetts; married Luella Converse; children: De Witt and Esther H.
  6. Isabella, unmarried, a resident of Schenectady.
  7. Mary, unmarried.
  8. Paul, of Colorado Springs; married and has a son Wayne.

Children of Albert and Julia R. (Ramsay) Van Voast:

  1. James A., graduate of Union College and Albany Law School; is chief counsel of Schenectady Trust Company and a prominent lawyer; married Mary Ward; child, Dorothea M.
  2. Harry R., educated in public schools; is a leading lumber dealer of Schenectady; married in Binghamton, New York, Clara L. Seymour, graduate of Smith College, daughter of Louis and Martha (Burgess) Seymour, cousin of Governor Horatio Seymour, of New York; children: Elizabeth, Julia Westervelt.
  3. Isabella, graduate of New England Conservatory of Music, and student under a prominent teacher in Leipsic, Germany; she is an extensive traveler, having toured Europe, the United States and Mexico; she resides with her mother in Schenectady.
  4. John C., graduate of Union University, 1887, and Albany Law School; practiced law for a short time; engaged in the lumber business in Schenectady.

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