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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Henry Van Dreser

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[This information is from pp. 96-97 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.]

Henry Van Dreser, a prominent dairyman and poultry raiser of Cobleskill, N. Y., proprietor of Eureka Stock and Poultry Farm, was born September 4, 1839, in Schoharie, Schoharie County, a son of John I. and Anna (Warner) Van Dreser. On the paternal side he comes of substantial Dutch ancestry. His grandfather, the Rev. Henry Van Dreser, a Presbyterian minister, emigrated from Holland to New York, and for seventeen years thereafter preached in Schenectady. He married Anna Fergueson, a fair Scotch maiden, who bore him thirteen children.

John I. Van Dreser spent a large part of his early life in Schoharie, where for seven years he kept a livery stable. In 1846 he removed to Cobleskill, and, buying a large farm, was here engaged in agricultural pursuits for a number of years. When well advanced in age and unalble longer to care for his property, he sold his estate, and from that time until his death, at the venerable age of eighty-seven years, made his home with his sons, J. W. and Henry. He was very successful as a farmer, and quite active in public life. He was a regular attendant at the Lutheran church, which his wife joined when a girl of sixteen. Her maiden name was Anna Warner. She was born in Warnersvil1c, a daughter of Jacob Warner, a well-known farmer and the first dairyman in Schoharie County. The first summer that Mr. Warner made a specialty of this particular branch of industry his herd of twenty cows produced a ton of butter, whichh he sold in the city of New York, whither he drove with a team. This transaction attracted such attention that for many years after he was known far and wide as "Butter Jake." Of the seven children born to John I. and Anna (Warner) Van Dreser, six grew to maturity, namely: Sarah, the widow of the late Peter Shaffer; Catherine, deceased; Jacob W.; Henry, the special subject of this sketch; Mary J., wife of Clinton Tillepaugh; Emma, wife of John F. Face; and Almira, wife of Adam V. Karkar. The mother died at the advanced age of fourscore and four years.

Henry Van Dreser was reared on the home farm, and educated in the district schools. Early becoming interested in the art and science of agriculture, he decided to make farming his life occupation. In early manhood he bought in partnership with his brother Jacob the farm on which he now resides, and for several years they worked it together. In 1895 Mr. Van Dreser purchased his brother's interest in the estate, which he has since managed alone. He has added substantial improvements, including the erection of the present conveniently arranged hen-house, it being the largest in Schoharie County, and in every department has met with eminent success in his undertakings.

He served as president of the Cheviot Sheep Breeders' Association of the United States and Canada for three years. He is authority on breeds and breeding of thoroughbred cattle, and has served in the capacity of judge at the different fairs in this and other States for many years. He has been employed for the last four years by the New York State Farmers' Institute as instructor in his special lines of agriculture. He carries on general farming, but makes somewhat of a specialty of the raising of stock and poultry, and dairy products. He has served ably as president of the New York State Breeders' Association, which is devoted to the improvement of the breeding of cattle, sheep, swine, and poultry, and is a charter member of the Barnerville Grange, before which he often lectures or reads papers of interest.

Mr. Van Dreser was married October 16, 1873, to Miss Emma J. Becker, daughter of the late James Becker, who died on his farm in Cobleskill, February 16, 1895, leaving a widow and four children. Mrs. Van Dreser is a graduate of the Normal College, a woman of culture and refinement. She holds a State certificate, and prior to her marriage she taught most successfully both in Cobleskill and Albany.

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