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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Edwin D. Hager

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[This information is from pp. 248-250 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

Edwin D. Hager, a general merchant of Blenheim, Schoharie County, is prominently identified with the leading interests of this section of the State. He was born May 31, 1847, in Middleburg, N. Y., a son of Daniel J. Hager, and the lineal descendant, we are told, of one of four brothers who came from Holland to America in the seventeenth century, and assisted the settlement of eastern New York.

His paternal grandfather, Jacob Hager, was for many years an extensive farmer in Fulton, whence he and his wife, Cathern Feeh, removed with their twelve children to Oeland, Orleans County, N. Y., where both died when well advanced in years. The grandfather was active in local affairs in both counties in which he resided, and in both he owned and cleared large tracts of land. Six of his children subsequently returned to Schoharie County, and for a time lived in Breakabeen. They were Tunis, Jacob, John, Daniel J., Jane, and Margaret, none of whom are now living.

Tunis Hager married Rebecca Becker, and settled in Sharon Springs. Jacob married, and removed to Albany, and in 1849 he went with the gold-seekers to California. Returning from the Pacific Coast to Schoharie, he kept the public house known as the Wood House a few years, after which he conducted a hotel that occupied the site of the present capitol building in Albany, and then coming back to this county he farmed it in the town of Esperance until his decease. John went with his brother Jacob to California, came back with him to Schoharie, and after his marriage made a second trip to the Golden Gate. Returning East, he went into the livery business with Jesse Mills in New York City. In a short time he sold out to his partner, and opened a livery on his own account at 896 Broadway, and at the St. Nicholas Hotel, where he carried on a thriving business some years. Retiring then from the livery, he bought a beautiful farm in Rhinebeck, whither he removed with his wife and three sons, and there lived until his death, at the age of threescore and ten years.

Daniel J. Hager was born in Fulton, September 5, 1811. He learned the shoemaker's trade in his native place, and after his marriage, at the age of twenty-one, he continued to work at it first at Middleburg, then at Breakabeen, and finally in Blenheim, where he passed his last years, dying September 18, 1871. He was a loyal Republican in politics, and as a soldier in the Union army he participated in several of the battles of the Civil War. He married Eliza C. Zelie, who was a native of Fulton, being the eldest of a family of nine children — Eliza C., Lias, Christina, David, Jane, Ephraim, Harriet, Andrew, and Margaret — born to Peter Zelie, whose wife was before marriage a Miss Vroman. (Further ancestral history may be found on another page of this work, in connection with the sketch of Luther Zelie.) Mrs. Eliza C. Zelie Hager was born November 10, 1816, and died October 10, 1874. She had five children, namely: Mary C., wife of George Becker, the representative of an old family of Schoharie County; William S., a farmer in Blenheim; Peter Z., a farmer in Oswego County; Edwin D.; and Harriet A., wife of Peter Burgett, of Schoharie County. Both parents were members of the Methodist Episcopal church of Middleburg, in which the father held various offices.

Edwin D. Hager attended the district schools in his youthful days, and until he was sixteen years old he remained at home with his parents. He subsequently worked out by the day, sometimes as a farm laborer, for two years, after which he was employed by his brother-in-law as a clerk in Breakabeen for three years. The ensuing year he was engaged in the mercantile business for himself in Blenheim. He then sold out, and for two years was employed as a clerk or a teacher. In 1868 he went to Catskill, where he remained a year, when he returned to Blenheim, and for a year was here a clerk in a general store. Going then to Middleburg, Mr. Hager was with J. Nevill three years, and then, in partnership with the late Silas Sweet, he bought out the store of John Hager, in Blenheim, and carried on a successful business until the death of Mr. Sweet, three years later. The following spring he sold out the business, and the next year purchased a half-interest with Seneca West, and later formed a copartnership with Ira Haverly, to whom, at the end of four years, he sold out. Two years later Mr. Hager purchased the building which he is now occupying, and put in a new and complete stock of merchandise. He has now one of the largest stores in this section of the county, and carries the finest stock of goods in his line. Being one of the oldest merchants in this locality, and with two exceptions the oldest in the county, he is well known, and it is safe to say no man has a better reputation, or is more highly esteemed in business and social circles.

Mr. Hager is a strong silver man in politics, and takes a prominent part in local affairs. For eighteen consecutive years he was a member of the county committee, and was a regular attendant at all conventions. In 1882 he served as a delegate to the State convention held in Syracuse, and in 1883 as a delegate to the Congressional convention. He has served as Supervisor of the town four terms, in 1878, 1879, 1882, and 1883; and in 1884 he was appointed Postmaster by President Cleveland, a position to which he was again appointed in 1892. He is one of the trustees of the school district, and a stockholder in the Blenheim Creamery Company, of which he has been president since its incorporation. Fraternally, he united with the Middleburg Lodge, F. & A. M., in 1870, and is also a member of the Middleburg Lodge, I. O. O. F.

On November 16, 1876, Mr. Hager married Nellie E. Beckwith, of Springfield, Mass., daughter of Calvin and Lucy B. Balton Beckwith. Mr. and Mrs. Hager are the parents of three children, namely: Clyde L., who died at the age of twenty-two months; Eugene B., born August 28, 1877; and Florence A., born July 20, 1882. Eugene B. Hager, who was educated in the graded schools, was formerly employed as clerk in Brooklyn and New York City, but is now in business with his father. He married, December 15, 1897, Margie Dibble, who was born March 8, 1878, in Middleburg, a daughter of ———— ———— and Elizabeth (Dexter) Dibble. Mr. Hager and all his family attend the Methodist Episcopal church.

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