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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Van Wormer

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 449-450 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.]

Jasper Van Wormer, son of Peter Van Wormer and Mary Van Dyke, was born near Crane's Village (Glenville), Montgomery county, New York, May 23, 1822, and for the greater part of his life resided in Albany, where he became one of the leading men of the city.

He was of the old Dutch stock which settled the provinces of New York and New Jersey, and in the line of descent, extending over more than two centuries since arriving in America, he lost none of the best traits of their sturdy character — was energetic, progressive, strictly honest and most companionable.

Henri Van Wormer was the original American ancestor of this family, who came with a brother from Wormer, Holland, about 1655, and first settled in New Jersey; but later on moved up the Hudson river and located in this locality, after which time the descendants spread throughout the northern part of New York state. The same family was ably represented in the revolution by Lieutenant Henry Van Wormer, of the Continental army, of the Fourteenth Albany County Regiment, and his son Abram served in the war of 1812 with distinction. In this way the family turns to imperishable records connected with the founding of the nation.

When Mr. Van Wormer was twenty-one years of age he came to Albany to make his way in the world, that is, expecting better opportunities than in mid-state, and he not only found these, but made excellent use of them as they were presented to his attention, for his life work was a success. His more active business career dates from the year 1847, when he became associated with Michael McGarvey in the retailing of stoves. About twenty years later, in 1866, the firm then known as Van Wormer & McGarvey built a foundry of some size and commenced the manufacture of stoves. At this time Albany was becoming recognized throughout the country as a great stove manufacturing center, and in large measure it was due to the factory of this firm, who were practically among the pioneers and supplied the enormous western trade. After the death of Mr. McGarvey, in 1876, the business was conducted under the title of J. Van Wormer & Co., and it then expanded considerably until it was regarded as one of the prime industries of the city. In 1905, Mr. Van Wormer, in advanced age, retired, but continued his interest in banking affairs.

Upon the organization of the Albany County Savings Bank in 1874, Mr. Van Wormer was made a member of the board and was elected its vice-president. In 1883 he was chosen president of this bank, which office he held up to the time of his death, and three years after his election the bank took steps towards erection of its handsome edifice on the historic site of the birthplace of General Philip Schuyler, which ancient building then gave way for this step in improvement of property. Mr. Van Wormer was regarded by the leading business men of Albany as an excellent adviser in banking matters, one who could be progressive and at the same time hew close to the line of conservatism so as not to involve the institution with undue risk, and he was made a director of the Merchants' National Bank of Albany. He was also an incorporator of the Albany Trust Company, and retired from the board to be succeeded by his son. For more than twenty years he served as an inspector at elections of the New York Central railroad, which meetings were always held in Albany, and on retiring was again succeeded by his son.

He was deeply interested in the religious activities of the city, and was a member of the First Lutheran Church. He was an incorporator of the original Young Men's Christian Association, in 1867, and when he died there was only one survivor of that board. He was its treasurer from 1886 until his death. He was one of the earliest members of the Holland Society of New York, joining it October 25, 1886. He was a member of several other organizations, and held in highest respect by all his business associates in the most prominent affairs of the city. Although a man advanced in years and at times not enjoying very good health, he was to be seen nearly daily on the streets, and gave the appearance of one possessing considerable energy, active in movement, and keeping abreast of public matters up to the last. His residence, No. 252 State street, was among the handsomest in the city, and it was here that he died November 4, 1907.

Mr. Van Wormer married at Albany, New York, September 20, 1848, Mary Louise, daughter of John T. and Gertrude Bridges, and she was residing at No. 252 State street in 1911. Children, born in Albany, New York:

  1. William Henry, married, at Albany, Belle McGarvey.
  2. Julia, married, at Albany, Nicholas Swits Walls.
  3. Emma, educated at Albany Female Academy.
  4. Frederick, died at Albany, September 29, 189—; received his early education at the Albany Academy; graduate of Williams College, afterwards graduating from the School of Mines of Columbia University, and engaged in architecture with Marcus T. Reynolds, at Albany.
  5. Edwin, married Helen Adams, at Albany; educated at the Albany Academy.
  6. Mary Louise, married at Albany, April 18, 1895, George Comstock Baker, born at Comstock, New York, April 29, 1868, died there, February 2, 1908; attorney; was son of Hon. Isaac V. Baker, Jr.; graduate of Union University; post-graduate course at Cornell; engaged in law department of Delaware & Hudson railroad; member of Masters' Lodge; deputy attorney-general of New York; president of Albany Camera Club; president of New York Society of the Second War with Great Britain; member of Society of Colonial Wars; regent of Philip Livingston Chapter, Sons of the Revolution; member of the Fort Orange Club, Psi Epsilon and Phi Delta Phi societies.

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