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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
John Enders Van Derveer

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 293-294 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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For thirty-three years Amsterdam has numbered John Enders Van Derveer among its valued citizens and he is now living retired, enjoying the ease and comfort purchased with a life of industry and thrift. He was born October 22, 1859, in Glen, Montgomery county, New York, and is one of the four children of Tunis and Eleanor (Enders) Van Derveer, the others being Virginia, Ira and Henrietta. The father was born December 6, 1822, on the homestead in Glen, and was one of the seven children in the family of John and Anna (Voorhees) Van Derveer, of the town of Florida, New York. Tunis Van Derveer, the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was a native of New Jersey and in early life moved to New York state, settling in Glen when that region was largely a wilderness. Eleanor (Enders) VanDerveer was one of the nine children of Peter and Eleanor (Newkirk) Enders of Florida, New York, the latter a daughter of Garrett and Rachel (Gardenier) Newkirk. Mr. Enders was born January 21, 1760, and his wife was born on the 24th of February, 1763. Tunis Van Derveer was called to his final rest in 1898, and the mother passed away the following year.

Their son, Ira Van Derveer, was born in Glen, November 7, 1850, and was reared on the Willowdale Stock Farm. It was owned by the Van Derveer brothers and became noted for its blooded imported Percherons and French coach horses. On June 25, 1890, Ira Van Derveer was married to Cora, one of the three children of John and Sarah (Stokes) Lewis of Johnstown, New York. His death occurred on June 23, 1924, when he was seventy-four years of age.

His brother, John Enders Van Derveer, attended the public schools of Glen and continued his studies in the Hungerford Collegiate Institute at Adams, Jefferson county, New York, also completing a course in the Troy Business College. He aided his father in operating the home farm until he reached the age of twenty-eight years and in 1887 entered the business world, opening a general store in Glen. He conducted the business until 1891 and then moved to Amsterdam, becoming associated in the hardware trade with I. J. De Graff, and later with E. Larrabee. In 1912 Mr. Van Derveer withdrew from business activities and has since devoted his attention to the supervision of his investments, which include valuable city real estate and desirable farm land. He is an astute business man and his foresight and sagacity have enabled him to utilize to the utmost every opportunity for advancement, while his integrity has never been open to question.

One June 24, 1891, Mr. Van Derveer was married to Miss Libbie Van Horne, a daughter of Joel C. and Alice A. (Putnam) Van Horne. The latter was a daughter of Abram V. Putman of Glen, and passed away February 22, 1887. Mr. Van Horne's second union was with Miss Kate Morford, a daughter of John N. and Margaret (Ingersoll) Morford. She had taught school in California for several years prior to her marriage, which was solemnized June 11, 1888.

Mr. Van Horne was born June 16, 1828, in the town of Glen, New York, in which his grandfather settled in pioneer times, and his parents were Jacob and Sarah (Faulkner) Van Horne. Six children were born to them, four sons and two daughters. The family through three generations have been farmers, contributing in substantial measure to the development of the agricultural resources of Montgomery county. When only eleven years of age Joel C. Van Horne began working on farms near his home and his wages amounted to four dollars per month, his board being included. Through industry, perseverance and frugality he accumulated sufficient capital to enable him to establish a business of his own and became one of the largest shippers and dealers in hay in the country. At one time he was a director in a bank at Johnstown and also at Fultonville, New York. He settled in Amsterdam in 1888, but still retained his interest in agriculture, owning two valuable farms in the town of Glen. He traveled extensively in this country as well as in foreign lands, thus gaining "added windows for a broader outlook on life", and from the storehouse of memory he was constantly drawing interesting incidents that enriched his conversation. He considered his spoken word as binding as a written agreement, and his ability, integrity and public spirit won for him the unqualified respect and confidence of his fellowmen.

A lifelong resident of the Mohawk valley, Mr. Van Derveer has witnessed remarkable changes in this region as the work of progress and civilization has been carried forward, and has borne his share therein. He belongs to the Montgomery Historical Society and takes a keen interest in the activities of that organization. Mr. Van Derveer has a wide acquaintance in Amsterdam and enjoys the esteem of many friends, who admire him for those qualities which have made possible his success.

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