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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Wakeman

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1041-1043 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 word Wakeman is defined in Worcester's dictionary as "the title of the chief magistrate of the town of Ripon, Yorkshire, England." At Ripon the title descended from father to son and gave rise to the surname Wakeman. From 1473 to 1479 William Wakeman was priest of the Chapel of St. Mary at Kidderminster, near the northern border of Worcestershire. John Wakeman was Bishop of Gloucestershire from 1441 to 1479. Armorial bearings were granted Richard Wakeman in 1586. The American history begins with John Wakeman, born in Bewdley, England, who came to America in 1631 with his brother Samuel. They were sons of Francis Wakeman of Bewdley. They came in the ship "Lion," under Captain Pierce. Samuel settled at Roxbury, November 4, 1631, and was made a freeman the following August. He was one of the founders of the Roxbury church.

(I) John, son of Francis Wakeman, of Bewdley, England, was an early member of the colony of New Haven. His name is first mentioned there in the list of freemen of "Ye Courte of Newhaven," held June 4, 1659. He was chosen deputy of the New Haven colony in 1642, and treasurer in 1656-1661, when he was made magistrate, but died before taking oath of office. His wife was Elizabeth Hopkins, daughter of John Hopkins, of Bewdley, "a gentleman of rank and fortune." While in New Haven they lived on the corner of Chapel and York streets. Elizabeth Hopkins died 1658, and was buried in the rear of Center church, in the green, New Haven. Her headstone, marked "E. W. — 1658," is two feet wide and eight inches thick. The footstone is marked "E. W. — 1658." John Wakeman died September, 1661. The original will of John Wakeman is on file in the probate office in Hartford. Several children survived him.

(II) Rev. Samuel, son of John and Elizabeth (Hopkins) Wakeman, attended Harvard College. October 29, 1656, he married, at New Haven, Hannah, daughter of Stephen Goodyear, deputy governor of the colony. The following year they moved to Fairfield, and he was ordained September 30, 1665, and became a very prominent divine. His election sermon was "A solid and awakening discourse," preached at Hartford, on the Connecticut, in New England, May 14, 1685, being the day of election there. The sermon lasted all day excepting an hour at noon. At a court of elections held at Hartford, May 14, 1685, Major Gold was appointed to give the Rev. Wakeman the thanks of the court for the great pains he had taken in preaching the election sermon, and to desire him to grant a copy that it might be printed. This by order of the general court, and was signed by John Allyn, secretary. Mr. George Brinley, of Hartford, has a copy of this noted sermon. Samuel Wakeman died March 8, 1692. The will of Rev. Samuel Wakeman reads as follows: "In the name of God Amen." "Forever adored and magnified be his Grace in Jesus Christ to poor Sinors, and to me, of whom I am Chief. I have had many thoughts, having had a long time of warning, to do what is Duty as to ye disposal and settlement of ye temporall estate God has given me, but not being able as things have been and are circumstanced with me, thoroughly to accomplish it to my own satisfaction and for other reasons which are to myself. Yet being sufficiently myself, do will and bequeath as followeth these particulars as my dieing will." After the above prelude, he disposed of his estate amounting to about one thousand pounds, which at that time was considered quite large. His wife, being a daughter of Deputy Governor Goodyear, was well off. Governor Goodyear owned Shelter Island for about ten years, when he sold it for one thousand six hundred pounds of muscovado sugar. John Winthrop, Stephen Goodyear and John Wakeman were closely connected in many business enterprises.

(III) Captain John, son of Rev. Samuel and Hannah (Goodyear) Wakeman, was born in 1659. He married, April 24, 1687, Martha Hubbell. He held many prominent positions of trust, and was made captain of the train band or company in the east and of the town of Fairfield by Governor John Winthrop, May, 1705. He had seven children.

(IV) John (2), born August 27, 1705, son of Captain John and Hannah (Goodyear) Wakeman, married, April 8, 1730, Catherine Gilbert, born 1706, daughter of Moses and Jane Gilbert. They had eleven children.

(V) Ebenezer, son of John and Sarah (Gilbert) Wakeman, was born at Greenfield Hill, Connecticut, May 3, 1764. He married (first), May 3, 1784, Elizabeth Webb; (second) Sarah Shelton, born 1744, daughter of Daniel and Mary (Hubbel) Shelton. They had nine children.

(VI) Jonathan, son of Ebenezer Wakeman, of Greenfield Hill, Connecticut, and his second wife, Sarah Shelton, died at Albany, New York, July 6, 1843. He married, August 28, 1815, Clara, daughter of Thaddeus and Esther Bradley Wakeman, and maternal granddaughter of Daniel and Mary (Burr) Bradley. Thaddeus Wakeman was a son of John and Sarah Gilbert Wakeman. Children of Jonathan and Clara Wakeman:

  1. Abram, see forward;
  2. James, married (second) Rebecca Outhout of Albany, New York;
  3. Thaddeus Burr, removed west, where he was a successful lawyer and farmer;
  4. Caroline, a successful educator and devout Christian worker.

(VII) Abram, son of Jonathan and Clara Wakeman, born May 24, 1824, in Greenfield, Connecticut, married (first) Mary E. Harwood, daughter of Cyrus and Mary (Lee) Harwood. Cyrus Harwood was a descendant of George Harwood, first treasurer of the Massachusetts colony, and Mary Lee, daughter of Stephen Lee, son of Thomas and Mehitable Peck. The Lees settled in Hartford in 1633, as did Mary Little, who was closely connected with many of the old families of Washington county, New York. Abram Wakeman was one of the contemporaries of William H. Seward, Thurlow Weed, Horace Greeley, Henry J. Raymond and Preston King, in the organization of the Republican party. Much of his early life was spent on the farm. He attended the school founded by Timothy Dwight at Fairfield, who later became president of Yale University. At fourteen he started out to make his own living teaching school at Rochelle and Lockport, New York. He studied law with Capron & Lake, at Little Falls, going to New York in 1846, where he was admitted to the bar and became a partner of Horace Holden, taking an active part in politics and supporting the Whig party. In 1850 he was elected from the fifth ward a member of the legislature and re-elected in 1851. He distinguished himself in his successful efforts to secure a revision of the public school laws. He also supported Hon. Hamilton Fish in his election to the United States senate. In 1854 he was elected as alderman from the twelfth ward on the reform ticket. In 1856 he was a member of the Republican national convention and a member of the national committee from his state during twelve succeeding years. He was elected to congress in 1856. He was a candidate of the Free Soil and American parties that later merged into the Republican party. He continued the practice of law, his firm being Wakeman, Latting & Phelps, with offices at 59 Fulton street. Mr. Phelps, the junior partner, was minister of the United States to the Court of St. James during President Cleveland's first administration. Mr. Wakeman attracted the favorable attention of Mr. Lincoln during the campaign of 1860. They became warm personal friends and remained so until the death of Mr. Lincoln. At the outbreak of the civil war Mr. Wakeman raised a regiment of volunteers, the 81st Pennsylvania, and was appointed its colonel, but at the request of President Lincoln he resigned in favor of his friend Colonel Miller, who was killed in a small skirmish on going to the front. President Lincoln and Secretary Seward wished him to accept the ministership to the Court of St. James, but he found the expenses connected with the honorable office would not admit of it. He became postmaster of New York City. His outspoken Union ideas made him a mark for many dangers. It was through his efforts that a plot was discovered to destroy the city. Suspecting some correspondence that was passing through the mails, he seized the same, and through the assistance of a cypher expert the plot was revealed. During the draft riots he remained at the post office, sending to the navy yard and obtaining arms, and garrisoned the building. Arrangements were made with the Evening Post, who had offices opposite, that in case of an attack steam from the boilers was to be thrown on the mob. In the meantime his own residence in Eighty-seventh street, situated on his property which covered the entire block from Fifth to Madison avenues, was destroyed by the mob, including his private library, then one of the largest in the city. For several days he was unable to find trace of his family, who had escaped to Astoria, Long Island. As postmaster he reorganized the service and established the district stations and letter collection boxes. During President Lincoln's second term he was made surveyor of the port. The pride of his later life was that he had retained the trusted friendship of Lincoln, Seward and Weed. After his retirement from politics he organized the Bay Ridge and Manhattan Beach road, and was interested in developing Coney Island. In 1864 he purchased the General Orville Clark place at Sandy Hill, which has remained in the family ever since. He was married twice. His first wife and daughter Rosamond were burned in the Cambridge apartments, New York City, March 7, 1883. The courage displayed by Rosamond Wakeman at this fire was most heroic. After assisting the old nurse (who had been in the family for over thirty years) to escape, and believing her mother following, she discovered her mistake when they had reached the street, she at once returned in the face of certain death, and both were lost. Abram Wakeman died at his residence, 46 East Twentieth street, New York, June 29, 1889. His children by his first wife were:

  1. Harwood, born 1849; married, May 10, 1872, Sophia Murphy, of Sandy Hill, daughter of Elijah and Mary Murphy. He was a prominent physician of New York, graduating from Bellevue Medical College, and studying under the famous surgeon, Lewis H. Sayre. His death was most sad, he being drowned while bathing in Blue Mountain Lake, in the Adirondacks. Although his wife and friends were nearby on the shore, their excitement was so great that it was impossible to save him. His wife died October 10, 1907.
  2. Abram, born April 23, 1850 (see forward).
  3. Mary C., born 1859, died November 3, 1910, at Lake Shelan, Washington.
  4. Rosamond B., October 25, 1861.

He married (second), Kate Billings (widow), daughter of Dr. Price, of Utica, New York. There were no children by his second wife.

(VIII) Abram (2), second son of Abram and his first wife Mary (Harwood) Wakeman, was born April 23, 1850, in Troy, New York. He was educated at the Rev. Joseph D. Hull's Institute, New York City, and at General Russell's School of New Haven, he also attended the Peekskill (New York) Military Academy. He is one of the oldest coffee merchants of New York City, having been in the business since boyhood. In his knowledge of the methods of cultivating, harvesting, handling and marketing, he is without a superior. He spent four years among the coffee plantations of the West Indies, and has invented several machines for cleaning and handling coffee, and has spent a business lifetime in the coffee market. His knowledge is not theoretical, but intensely practical. Upon the organization in 1883 of the New York Coffee Exchange and Lower Wall Street Business Men's Association, he was chosen secretary, a position he held for many years. He is a Republican in politics, and is an active member of the party which his father helped to organize and so loyally supported. His colonial descent has gained him membership in the Society of Colonial Governors, and the patriotic order Sons of the Revolution. He married, April 10, 1872, Louise, daughter of George O. and Helen N. (Shaw) Vail. Children:

  1. George V., married Bonnie Gallagher.
  2. Annette, married, October 24, 1908, Erskine C., son of General James C. and Elizabeth (Coleman) Rogers.
  3. Elizabeth, married September 3, 1906, Lieutenant Willis G. Mitchell, United States Navy.
  4. Harwood.

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