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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Jeremiah Vosburgh

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 782-784 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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"The story of his life is the story of honest industry and thrift", says a writer, and this may as truly be said of the subject of this sketch, Jeremiah Vosburgh. He was born in Stone Arabia, on January 4, 1839, his parents being Samuel and Margaret (Strayer) Vosburgh. Samuel Vosburgh was born in Columbia county, (Taghkanick), New York, on December 19, 1811, and died in Fort Plain, on August 9, 1895. He was a tanner and farmer, and was the son of Jacob C. and Christina (Pulver) Vosburgh. Jacob C. Vosburgh was a farmer and was born on February 16, 1768, in Stone Arabia and died in the same place on September 1, 1853. His wife, Christina (Pulver) Vosburgh, was born in Columbia county, New York, on November 27, 1775, and died about 1863. Her father was a musician in the Revolutionary war. The parents of Jacob C. Vosburgh were Cornelius and Fytze (Halenbeek) Vosburgh. Cornelius Vosburgh was born in Linlithgo, New York, about 1725, the son of Abram and Claarytze (Bresee) Vosburgh. Abram Vosburgh was born about 1680, at Kinderhook, New York, the son of Jacob and Dorothea Jane (Van Alstyne) Vosburgh. Jacob Vosburgh was born in Albany, New York, about 1654 and died there in 1732. He was the son of Abram Petersen and Geertrury Pieterse (Coeymans) Vosburgh. Abram Petersen Vosburgh was born in Holland about 1620 and died on September 21, 1659, at Esopus, New York. The name Vosburgh is of Holland Dutch descent.

Margaret (Strayer) Vosburgh, mother of Jeremiah Vosburgh, was born in Stone Arabia on December 19, 1811, and died in the same place in October, 1855. She was the daughter of John, Jr., and Margaret (Diefendorf) Strayer. John Strayer, Jr., was born in 1786, and died in Stone Arabia in 1871. His wife, Margaret (Diefendorf) Strayer, was born in Stone Arabia in 1787 and died in the same place in 1858. She was the daughter of Captain Jacob Diefendorf of Revolutionary fame. His wife, Christina Diefendorf, died on April 22, 1812, and was buried in Sand Hill, now the Fort Plain cemetery. John Strayer, Sr., was born in 1744 in Germany and died in 1800 at Stone Arabia. He was a private in the Revolutionary war. His wife was Nancy Schutz of German descent. Jeremiah Vosburgh is the second cousin on his mother's side to Webster Wagner, the inventor of the Wagner palace and drawing-room car. Mr. Wagner was one of Canajoharie's most prominent citizens and resided at Palatine Bridge, just across the Mohawk river from Canajoharie.

Jeremiah Vosburgh attended the district school at Stone Arabia, then began as an apprentice harness maker at the age of eighteen with his father, who was a tanner and harness maker, and he has spent the most of his life in that line of business. Part of his time was spent at Fort Plain and at Utica, prior to his coming to Palatine Bridge in 1872. Of late years he has been engaged in agriculture.

On July 1, 1863, at Stone Arabia, Jeremiah Vosburgh was united in marriage to Miss Mary Christman, who was born in Stone Arabia, on December 2, 1839, and is the daughter of John and Eleanor (Miller) Christman. John Christman was born in Stone Arabia, in November, 1808, and died in that place, on December 21, 1890. He was a farmer. His wife, Eleanor (Miller) Christman, also died in Stone Arabia. John Christman was the son of Jacob I. and Mary (Gray) Christman, the former a soldier in the War of 1812 and a private in the battle of Sackett's Harbor. He died on December 29, 1866, at Stone Arabia. He was a hotel man and farmer. His parents were Jacob, Jr., and Anna (Hall) Christman. Jacob Christman, Jr., was born on January 2, 1755, and died on August 2, 1826, on the farm deeded to him by King George in 1722 and still in possession of the Christman family. His father, Jacob Christman, was born in 1706 and died in 1789. John Gray, father of Mary (Gray) Christman, was born in 1768 and died in 1843. He has the record of killing nine Indians while ambushed behind a big poplar tree near Fort Paris during the Revolutionary period. Mary (Snell) Gray had a sister, Louisa Catherine Snell, who was the wife of General Herkimer, the hero of the battle of Oriskany. Mrs. Jeremiah Vosburgh is a member of St. Marks Lutheran church of Canajoharie, and is identified with the democratic party. On July 1, 1923, Mr. and Mrs. Vosburgh pleasantly celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of their marriage with their family and many friends.

Two daughters and two sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Vosburgh: Emma was born in Fort Plain, New York, on March 21, 1866, attended the Palatine Bridge high school, is a member of the Monday Evening Club of Canajoharie, takes an active part in church work, and is a democrat in her political views; Ella was born in Stone Arabia on September 1, 1868, attended the Palatine Bridge high school and the Oneonta State Normal School at Oneonta, New York, graduating from the latter in 1895. She then taught in the primary department of the Palatine Bridge high school for three years, and then went to Bay Shore, Long Island, and taught for three years in the high school at that place. She then went to Cortland, New York, as supervisor of drawing in the public schools, where she served for twenty years. For the past three years she has been the pastor's assistant in the First Presbyterian church at Cortland; John C. was born on May 13, 1872, and was educated in the Palatine Bridge public school. In December, 1897, he was married to Miss Lelah M. Kilts, daughter of Anthony and Helen (Lipe) Kilts. In early life he farmed but is now in the vinegar and cider manufacturing business in Canajoharie. Mr. and Mrs. John C. Vosburgh have two sons: Charles W. and George Otto: Charles W. was born on January 13, 1899, attended the public union school, at Palatine Bridge, and graduated from the Canajoharie high school in 1918. He attended Syracuse University for one year and became a member of the Students Army Training Corps. He enlisted on October 1, 1918, in Company H, Syracuse University, and was honorably discharged on December 20, 1918. A year later he took a six months' business course in the Albany Business College and since that time has been associated with his father in business; George Otto was born on January 11, 1900, and was a student in the public union school at Palatine Bridge, and later the Canajoharie high school, graduating in the class of 1918. He then attended Cornell University for one year, where he joined the Students Army Training Corps on October 9, 1918, and was honorably discharged on December 16, 1918. He attended Union College at Schenectady, New York, for one year, and is now associated with his father in business; George Otto, youngest son of John C. Vosburgh, was married to Miss Llora E. Diefendorf of Johnstown, on June 28, 1924. Charles Herbert Vosburgh, brother of John C. Vosburgh, was born on January 31, 1876. He was educated in the Palatine Bridge high school, graduating in the class of 1892. He then entered Union College and graduated in 1896, and is now principal of the Jamaica high school, Long Island, New York. On January 28, 1905, he was united in marriage to Helene Fitzgerald, the daughter of Desmond and Helene Fitzgerald. Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Vosburgh had two children: Gerald Desmond, born on January 28, 1905, is now a student in Princeton University; Mary Helene Vosburgh was born on April 4, 1910. Mrs. Vosburgh was born in Fort Edward, New York, on September 10, 1881, and died in April, 1915.

Jeremiah Vosburgh was president of the village of Palatine Bridge, for fifteen years, and president of the board of education of Palatine for the same length of time. He was chief of the fire department of the village for five years, and excise commissioner of the town of Palatine for fifteen years. He is a Mason and a member of Hamilton Lodge, Number 79, A. F. & A. M. of Canajoharie, and master for five years, and also a member of Hiram Union Chapter, No. 53, R. A. M., of Canajoharie, and was high priest for four years. Mr. Vosburgh has been a Mason for fifty-nine years, joining Fort Plain Lodge, No. 433, in 1865. He is the last survivor of the number who were members of the lodge at the time he joined. Mr. Vosburg's church associations are in St. Mark's Lutheran church at Canajoharie. He is a democrat and in reading finds his chief diversion. The success of Mr. Vosburgh has resulted from effort intelligently applied, and his kindness has not been impelled by a sense of duty but by sincere interest in his fellowmen.

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