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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Dow Fonda Vroman

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[This information is from pp. 361-363 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.]

Dow Fonda Vroman, a leading citizen of Middleburg and representative of one of the oldest families in the county, was born in this town on a farm adjoining his present dwelling-place on November 14, 1831, his parents being Henry and Catharine (Hagadorne) Vroman.

The first title to Schoharie lands known to have been recorded was obtained by his ancestor, Adam Vroman, from the Indians, and has since been known as Vroman's land. It is located two miles south-west of Middleburg. The conveyance is dated Schenectady, August 20, 1711. Adam Vroman obtained a royal patent to these lands from King George on August 26, 1714. On March 30, 1726, he obtained a new grant from the Indians. Twenty families of Hollanders settled here, and there was considerable friction between them and the Palatinates before friendly relations were established. Adam Vroman was born in Holland in 1649, and came to this country with his father, Hendrick Meese Vroman, in 1670, settling first in Schenectady. The father was killed in the massacre there in 1690. Adam's two brothers were named Jan and Bartholomew. He lived in Schenectady during the greater part of his life, and is buried there; but his death occurred in Middleburg in 1730, at the home of his son. He was three times married, successively to Engeltie Ryckman, Grietje Van Slyck, and Grietje Takelse Hemstreet. His first wife and her infant child were killed in the massacre.

Adam's son Peter was born in Schenectady on May 4, 1684. He came from that place, and settled in Middleburg, in the part now called Fulton, on the banks of the Schoharie River, where he cleared a large tract of land. His relations with the Indians were most friendly. He died in 1777. His wife, Grietje Van Alstyne, who was born in Albany of Dutch parentage, was the mother of twelve children, seven sons and five daughters.

Adam Vroman, second, son of the above named Peter, and great-grandfather of Dow F. Vroman, was born at Fulton on September 21, 1707, and died of consumption in 1754. Despite his feeble health, he was a man of much energy, and one of the most progressive farmers of this region.

Jonas Vroman, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born in Middleburg, now Fulton, on April 1, 1735, and died on April 16, 1804. Upon reaching his majority, he moved to the farm which adjoins Dow F. Vroman's property, and there built in 1792-93 the house, the main part of which is still standing. He was a lifelong farmer. His wife, whose maiden name was Deliah Hager, died in 1830, at the age of ninety-one. They were the parents of two sons.

Of these Henry, above named, was born on the farm his father had settled, and there he continued to reside thoughout his life. Upon the death of his father he came into possession of the property. He was a man of considerable prominence hereabouts, and was at different times Lieutenant and Captain in the militia. Both he and his wife Catherine were members of the Dutch Reformed church. The latter was a native of Middleburg, now Fulton, and daughter of John Hagadorne. She died at the age of seventy-nine; and her husband died on March 2, 1859, at the age of eighty-two. Of their family of ten children, three are living; namely, Dow Fonda, Adam, and Susan, who is the wife of Isaac Borst.

Dow F. Vroman received good mental training in the public schools, and resided at home with his parents until he was twenty years of age, at the end of which time he left home and travelled for about four years. Returning then to Middleburg, he purchased the farm of forty acres adjoining his father's estate, which has since been his home. In 1854 he married Margaret Smith, one of a family of ten children born to Martin Smith, a farmer of Albany County, New York. Of this union nine children have been born, namely: Eugene, who resides in Middleburg; Charles, who married Mary Best, and is engaged in business here; Henry, who is a farmer in California; Kate, who resides with her parents; Dow, a lawyer of Tonawanda, Niagara County, a graduate of Union College and Albany Law School; Smith, an engineer in California; Margaret, who resides with her parents; Guy, who is a civil engineer, a graduate of Union College, Schenectady, in the class of 1898; and Roy, who is attending the high school. Mr. Vroman is a man of superior intelligence, and possesses a wide and thorough knowledge of men and affairs. He has made a careful study of the family history, and is an authority on all points connected with it. In politics he is a Democrat; but, although he is one of the leading men in his party, he has never cared to hold public office. In 1890, 1891, and 1892 he served as Supervisor of Middleburg. His wife and two daughters are members of the Reformed church.

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