This page conforms to the XHTML standard and uses style sheets. If your browser doesn't support these, you may not see the page as designed, but all the text is still accessible to you.

SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE

Bringing the heritage of Schenectady County, New York to the world since 1996

You are here: Home » Families » HMGFM Home » Westinghouse

Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Westinghouse

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

Go to previous family: Snell | next family: Cluett

[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 819-821 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.]

[Some material in this entry has been corrected on 9/28/2010 by researcher George Westinghouse IV, who may be contacted at westprop@comcast.net for more information.]

The Westinghaus family were of Leipsic, Germany, where they were seated before the fifteenth century. They were an important family and held an assured position in the city. During the wars and troubles of the centuries the family seems to have become broken up and scattered among the various sections of Germany and Europe. In the United States it became a household word through the inventive genius of the family who have connected it with such valuable and well-known electrical inventions in daily use everywhere. To enumerate them would require a volume. The best-known perhaps, is the Westinghouse air brake that controls the speed of nearly every railroad train in the world.

(I) John Hendrick Westinghaus was born in Germany, in 1740, died in Pownal, Vermont, in 1802. His father died and his mother married a second husband, John Walkrigger, who was a good father to her children. He was a man of force and character and possessed of both energy and ambition. With his wife and family he emigrated to the United States, and finally located at Pownal, Vermont, where they became possessed of large tracts of land and improved property, he becoming a wealthy, prosperous farmer of Pownal. He was twice married, his first wife being Anna Maria Brimmer [item 462 in communion records of Gilead Lutheran Church, Brunswick, Rensselaer County. This entry originally identified his wife as Christine Louise, who was his sister — GWIV].

(II) John Ferdinand, son of John Hendrick and Anna Maria (Brimmer) Westinghaus, was born in Pownal, Vermont, in 1780, died there 1834. He married Catherine Haner, of Pownal, who bore him two sons and five daughters; all reared families.

(III) George, son of John Ferdinand and Catherine (Haner) Westinghouse, was born in Pownal, Vermont, in 1809, died in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He settled, in manhood, at Central Bridge, New York, where he had a machine shop and works for the manufacture of farming and other machinery. Here his sons developed their taste for mechanics and received their first lessons in manufacturing. George Westinghouse carried on his business at Central Bridge, and later removed to Schenectady and established the business that bears his name. After his retirement from active pursuits he went to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, passing his remaining years with his son George (2), then becoming well-known and famous. George Westinghouse married Emeline, daughter of Albert and Polly Vedder, of Glenville, Schenectady county, New York, a descendant of the early Dutch Vedder family. She died in Pittsburg at the age of eighty-five years, and he died at the age of seventy-five. Children:

  1. Catherine, deceased; married Spencer Moore; left sons: George W. and Frank W. Moore.
  2. Jay, see forward.
  3. Mary, died unmarried.
  4. John, married Harriet Bradt; both deceased; left issue:
    1. Margaret, died young;
    2. Harriet Ann, married Charles W. Stone, of the General Electric Company; children: Clara Catherine and Margaret Ann.
  5. George, see forward.
  6. Henry Herman, died in infancy.
  7. Elizabeth, deceased; unmarried.
  8. Herman H., of the Westinghouse Air Brake Company.

(IV) Jay, eldest son of George and Emeline (Vedder) Westinghouse, was born in 1835, died in 1890. He was reared in Schenectady, and entered Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, took a full course in engineering and graduated C.E. After the death of his father he succeeded him as the head of Westinghouse Manufacturing Company, of Schenectady, New York, holding this position until his death. He was connected with many other enterprises. He was of the highest type of manhood, generous, kind-hearted and sympathetic. He was a man of proverbial integrity, and his large business interests were constructed on the strictest principles of justice and fairness to all. He resided for many years in Schenectady, where he was influential and honored, dying deeply regretted. He was a member of the Masonic Order, Chapter and Commandery, and of the Odd Fellows. He married, in Port Jervis, New York, November 20, 1859, Lovantia A. Hall, born in Sanford, Broome county, New York, daughter of William Gould and Salina (Spofford) Hall. Her father, William G. Hall, was born in Hallsville, Otsego county, New York, married in Cherry Valley, New York, and with his bride settled at once on the large estate owned by his father, where he died at the age of forty-five. He was a son of Seth and Polly (Manchester) Hall, of Puritan stock, and early settlers of Otsego county. Mrs. Salina (Spofford) Hall died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Jay Westinghouse, aged eighty-six years. She was a daughter of Elisha Spofford, of Cherry Valley, New York, who was a son of Jehiel Spofford, a soldier of the revolution, and descendant of John Spofford, the emigrant ancestor, who was one of the proprietors of Rowley, Massachusetts, before 1643. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Scott. John Spofford died in 1678, leaving a large family. His son John (2) was one of the original settlers on Spofford Hill, now Georgetown, Massachusetts. Colonel Daniel Spofford, son of Captain John and great-grandson of the emigrant, was colonel of the Seventh Regiment, Essex County, Massachusetts, Militia, in the revolution; was representative to the general court in 1776; delegate to the state constitutional convention of 1780; deacon of the church 1781, and was the architect of several church edifices. Elisha Spofford, grandfather of Mrs. Jay Westinghouse, married Asenath Pierce, a descendant of Thomas Pierce, born in England, 1583-84, and came to New England in 1634 with his wife Elizabeth and settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Pierce is an old English family name of ancient origin, entitled to bear arms. Children of Elisha and Asenath (Pierce) Spofford:

  1. Salina, married William Gould Hall.
  2. Asenath, married (first) Daniel Burroughs, of Broome county, New York; (second) Reuben Hoyt; had issue by both.
  3. Dr. Ezra, a well-known and skillful physician of Otsego county, New York (Portlandville); married Adeline Winsor, no issue.
  4. Louisa, married Eli Van Etten, of Portlandville, no issue.

Children of Jay and Lovantia A. (Hall) Westinghouse:

  1. Charles Spofford, died in childhood.
  2. Albert Moore, died just before graduation at Union College, at age of twenty-one, at the commencement of a most promising career.
  3. Jay Chauncey, died in childhood.
  4. Emeline, married Clarke Winslow Crannell, of New York City, a graduate of Union College; children: Emeline, Herman, Clarke.
  5. Jay Alexander, died in childhood.

Mrs. Westinghouse is a member of St. George's Episcopal Church; active in the work of the Woman's Club; member of the International Society, Daughters of the Empire State, is interested in the church, social and charitable enterprises of her city, also of the College Woman's Club of New York City.

(IV) George (2), third son of George (1) and Emeline (Vedder) Westinghouse, was born at Central Bridge, New York, October 6, 1846. He removed to Schenectady, New York, in 1856, and attended the public schools; he spent much time in his father's machine shops, inventing a rotary engine in 1861; he served in the Twelfth Regiment, New York National Guard, and in the Sixteenth Regiment, New York Cavalry, 1863-64; was an acting ensign United States navy, 1864-65; attended Union College, 1865-66; his inventions include a device for placing railway cars upon the track, 1865; Westinghouse air brake, 1868; railway signals, electric machinery and many important engine improvements and devices. He settled in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, as a manufacturer, and erected the Westinghouse building and the immense plants of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, at East Pittsburg, Wilmerding, and at Newark, New Jersey; also plants in England and other European countries. He is president of all companies bearing his name except the Electric Company, presidency of which he relinquished in 1910. He received the decoration of the Order of Leopold from the King of Belgium in 1884; Royal Order of the Crown of Italy in 1889; degree of Ph.D. from Union College, 1890; Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1901. He is an honorary member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers; trustee of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, June 10, 1905. He is a member of managing boards of numerous hospitals in Washington and Pittsburg; member of the National Geographical Society; National Society of Fine Arts; American Social Science Association; American Forestry Association; Massachusetts Forestry Association; Archaeological Association of America; American National Red Cross Association. He is a member of the following clubs: Presbyterian, Twentieth Century, Pittsburg, Lenox Golf, Mahkeenac Boating (Lenox, Massachusetts), The Berkshire, Hunt, Pittsburg. His summer home is at Erskine Park, Lenox, Massachusetts; winter home Blaine House, Dupont Circle, Washington. Residence, "Solitude," East End, Pittsburg. He married, in Brooklyn, August 8, 1867, Marguerite Erskine, born in Clark's Factory, Delaware county, New York, daughter of Daniel Lynch and Eliza Smart (Burhans) Walker. She was educated at home, and graduated from the Roxbury Academy. Child:

  1. George (3), married Violet, daughter of Sir Thomas Brocklebank, of Liverpool, England, a noted ship builder.

Go to top of page | previous family: Snell | next family: Cluett

You are here: Home » Families » HMGFM Home » Westinghouse

http://www.schenectadyhistory.org/families/hmgfm/westinghouse.html updated September 28, 2010

Copyright 2010 Schenectady Digital History Archive — a service of the Schenectady County Public Library