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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Frank X. Straub

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[This information is from pp. 56-60 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.]

Portrait of Frank X. Straub

Portrait: Frank X. Straub and granddaughter, Mildred Wells

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Frank X. Straub, the founder and manager of the telegraph line and business in Middleburg, N. Y., is of German birth and parentage. He was born in Altheim Oberamt Horb, Würtemberg, on June 1, 184, son of Michael and Wallpurga Noll (Von Hürrlinger) Straub. His father, who was born in Würtemberg, of an ancient and honored family, came to this country in 1851.

In the Fatherland Michael Straub had been a farmer and the owner of a large vineyard, where he manufactured wine on quite an extensive scale. He was a man of note in his native place, and esteemed by all who knew him. After coming here, he settled in Williamsburg, on the outskirts of Brooklyn, where he kept a hotel until 1863. His wife, who was one of twins, was born in 1816, and died on June 28, 1852, not long after her arrival in America. Both parents were members of the German Catholic church. Of their five children one, Rosa, is deceased. Those living are: John; Carl A., who has been for thirty-two years in the regular army; Marie S.; and Frank X., of Middleburg, whose personal history is given below.

Frank Straub received his education in a German school in Brooklyn, N. Y. He learned the machinist's trade in that city. Later he joined the Union army and was stationed at Fort Schuyler under General Schofield. At the close of the war he learned the barber's trade in New York City, and there worked at it for some years. Coming to Middleburg in 1868, he opened a barber shop here, and has since been in active business in this town. He has been interested in every important movement which has touched closely the welfare or progress of the town during the last thirty years.

The fire department, which is considered one of the best volunteer organizations in the State, owes him a special debt of gratitude. It was started on December, 31, 1887, by a vote of the village trustees. A commodious brick engine-house was built at a cost of two thousand dollars, and a steamer and a hook and ladder company formed. Mr. Straub raised fifteen hundred dollars for the hook and ladder company, and made a personal contribution of one hundred dollars toward the steamer. He was foreman of the old Eagle engine, and was foreman of the hook and ladder company under the new organization. He has always since been connected with the fire department, and takes an active interest in all matters connected with it. He was also a pioneer mover in behalf of the water company, and together with Mr. James C. Borst laid the first line of pipe on October 26, 1894. He assisted in surveying and in making maps at the time the village was incorporated. For twelve years he had control of the telephone and of the local office of the United States Signal Service. The telegraph line, which he manages and operates, was built in June, 1889. This is patronized by all the leading business men in Middleburg, and is now regarded as an indispensable element in the transaction of daily business.

Mr. Straub was married in 1870 to Emmarette E. Gernsey, daughter of Montreville Gernsey, of this place. She was born in Middleburg. Her father is a native of this county, and her mother, whose maiden name was Alida Becker, was a native of Breakabeen. Mrs. Gernsey died at the age of thirty-six, having been the mother of nine children. Of these the following-named six are living: Mrs. Straub, Julia, Edith, Rosa, Roxy, and Lett. Mr. and Mrs. Straub are the parents of three children — Inez, Charles A., and Arthur F. The first of these is the wife of Frank Wells, a well-known druggist of Middleburg, and is the mother of one child, Mildred. Charles A., who is a graduate of the Union College of Pharmacy, is a druggist in Troy. Arthur is a baker in Albany.

Mr. Straub is a communicant of the Episcopal church and a vestryman. He was confirmed in St. Luke's Church, Middleburg, in 1869, by the Right Rev. William C. Doane. All the members of his family were baptized in the Episcopal faith. In 1886 Mr. Straub made a trip to Europe and visited his birthplace, where he was accorded a most generous reception.

Mr. Straub is a Mason, an Odd Fellow, and a member of the Colunmbian Literary Society and of other fraternal organizations. The following record is of interest in this connection:

He was elected Quartermaster Sergeant of Steuben Zouaves, Twenty-fifth Regiment, Company I, in 1865; joined Good Templars, Albany, in 1867; raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason at Middleburg Lodge, No. 663, F. & A. M., in 1877; secretary of same lodge from 1881 to 1886; trustee of lodge from 1896 to 1901; elected to membership of La Bastille Lodge in 1882, and elected secretary of La Bastille Lodge in 1885; reorganized Eagle Engine Company and elected foreman of same in 1884; organized Scribner Hook and Ladder Company in 1888, and elected foreman of Scribner Hook and Ladder Company for two years; elected assistant chief of Middleburg Fire Department, and elected member of Oncongena Tribe, No. 242, Improved Order of Red Men, 1898; elected member of Middleburg Encampment, No. 129, 1894; appointed under Governor Morton Notary Public, 1895 to 1901; elected Trustee and Collector of village of Middleburg, 1897.

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