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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Charles Voss

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[This information is from pp. 104-106 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.]

Charles Voss, merchant and Postmaster at Tannersville, Greene County, N. Y., was born in Holstein, Germany, February 14, 1849, son of Frederick and Maria (Retting) Voss. His great-grandfather, Hans Van Voss, who was a native of Holland, removed to Holstein, and after living there a short time had the name changed to Voss. He was a farmer and drover, and followed these occupations until his death, which occurred when he was sixty years old.

John Voss, grandfather of Charles, was born in Holland. He also followed farming, and was one of the largest drovers in his vicinity. He had a large family of children, among them being Frederick, Henry, Horace, Andrew, and Louisa. He died at about sixty years of age. Frederick Voss, father of Charles, was also a farmer and cattle dealer. He shipped cattle from Denmark to England, doing an extensive business in that line; and he tilled the soil of a large farm successfully until he was about sixty years old, when he retired. He then removed to Altona, near the city of Hamburg, where he died at seventy-eight. He made three visits to his son Charles in America. His wife, Maria, was a native of Holstein, where her father, Adolph Retting, followed farming, and where he died at over seventy years of age. She was the mother of eleven children, nine of whom — namely, William, Edward, Charles, Mary, Ida, Andrew, Otto, Ernest, and Theodore — are still living, four residing in America. Mary the eldest sister, married Fred Koch; Ida married a Lieutenant in the German army; Otto resides in Florida; and Ernest is in Philadelphia. Theodore is a carpenter and builder in Phoenicia, N. Y. The others were Frederick and Dona. The mother died in 1896, being over eighty years old. The parents were members of the Lutheran church.

Charles Voss spent his early years in his native town, and acquired his education in private schools. After finishing his studies he learned the trade of a miller and a cabinetmaker. He began his three years' apprenticeship at the latter at the age of sixteen, and worked as a journeyman one year. In 1869 he came to America, sailing from Hamburg and landing in New York, where he at once secured employment in a bakery. He next went to Phoenicia, N. Y., and he was employed in the Chichester Chair Factory for one year. At the expiration of that time he went to Sullivan County, Pennsylvania, and was engaged for two seasons in peeling hemlock bark. Returning to Phoenicia, he spent another year in the chair factory, and passed the next in Germany. Upon his return to the United States in 1876, he attended the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, and, remaining in that city the entire summer, he was employed as conductor on the Chestnut Street line of cars. Going to Delaware County, Pennsylvania, in the fall of that year, he worked on a farm, and also ran a milk route to Philadelphia, following this occupation for two years, when he sold out and returned to Phoenicia. He later became manager of the store owned by the Chichester Chair Company, which position he occupied for nine years. Removing to Hunter, he erected the hotel known as "The Belvidere," which has accommodations for one hundred and twenty-five guests. After conducting this hotel for eight years, he sold the property. Later he repurchased it, and still owns and rents it. He owns two dwelling-houses, one of which adjoins the hotel, and is used by him as a residence. In 1892 he rented the store formerly occupied by Jacob Fromer. This he conducted for five years, when he was obliged to make an assignment; but he soon settled with his creditors, and again started in business. The building he now occupies he erected in 1894, as an annex to his large establishment, and it was used for the hardware and plumbing departments. Upon the expiration of his lease of Mr. Fromer's property, he removed the annex to its present location, where he now carries groceries and notions. The post-office is located in his store; and on July 1, 1898, he received the appointment of Postmaster for four years.

In 1880 Mr. Voss was united in marriage with Jennie E. Haner, daughter of William M. Haner, of Prattsville. Her great-grandfather, Martin Haner, who was a native of Dutchess County, moved from there to Prattsville, and was a pioneer farmer. Her grandfather, also named Martin, went from Dutchess County to Prattsville, and settled upon a farm two miles from the village on the road to West Kill. He died at the age of seventy-five. He married for his first wife Elizabeth Shumaker. They had seven children, three of whom are living, namely: Lawrence, who married Judith Spencer; William M. Haner, Mrs. Voss's father; and Jemima A., who married Henry Palmer, of Gilboa. Mrs. Elizabeth S. Haner died at the age of fifty.

William M. Haner, after cultivating a farm in Prattsville some time, moved to the town of Roxbury, where he continued to till the soil until his retirement. He is still living, and is now seventy-six years old. His wife, Cornelia Maginnis, a native of Prattsville, is a daughter of Jacob and Jennie (Stanley) Maginnis. His family consisted of eight children, four of whom are living, namely: George Haner, M. D., who resides in Tannersville; Jennie E., who is now Mrs. Charles Voss; Homer, who resides in Omaha; and Clark R., a book-keeper in Tannersville. The mother attends the Methodist Episcopal church. Mrs. Voss was educated in the common schools of Prattsville and at Jewett Academy. She is the mother of three children — Ralph, Ethel Ann, and Mollie M. Ralph is attending the high school in Hunter, and Ethel Ann has attained the highest rank in her class at school the present year. Mollie M. Voss, now a student in the Hunter High School, is considered the champion girl trick bicycle rider in the State.

Mr. Voss is a Republican in politics, and has taken an active part in public affairs. He was Supervisor in 1892 and 1893. He was greatly interested in the incoporation of the village, and was Trustee in 1897 and President in 1898. He has been a member of Kingston Lodge, F. & A. M., for over twenty-five years; is a charter member of Catskill Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, and also belongs to the Royal Arcanum. The family attend the Congregational church as well as the Sunday-school, in which Mrs. Voss is a teacher.

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