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From: "Bill & Cathy McGrath" <>
Subject: [GEN-NYS] Interesting Biographies - Number #1
Date: Thu, 19 May 2011 14:56:29 -0400


One of the newer projects on the Troy Irish Genealogy Website - is the Troy Newspaper Project. Click on PROJECTS and then click on TROY NEWSPAPER PROJECT. This new project has added thousands of marriage and death records to the website that were transcribed from various Troy newspapers.

Wouldn't you like to know something about the lives of some of the people that are mentioned in this database? A number of the names on the list cover individuals that are important in American History and TIGS would like to share their stories with you.

The following names are from the Troy Daily Whig 1834-1838 death data base on the TIGS website:


Simeon DeWitt was born December 25, 1756 in Wawarsing, Ulster County, New York and died December 3, 1834 in Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York. He was the Geographer and Surveyor General of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and Surveyor General of the State of New York for years from 1784 until his death.

Simeon was one of 14 children of Physician Dr. Andries DeWitt and Jannetje Vernooy DeWitt. He was the only graduate in the class of 1776 at Queens College (now Rutgers College of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey). After the capture of New Brunswick by the British during the war, DeWitt fled to New York City where he joined the Revolutionary Army.

In 1780, DeWitt was appointed to his post as Geographer and Surveyor of the Army and in 1784 he was appointed New York State Surveyor General where he died in office 50 years later. Although he was a first cousin of DeWitt Clinton and a Democratic-Republican, he was never removed from office. Both Federalists and Bucktails recognized his outstanding qualification for the office. Form 1810 to 1816 he was a member of the first Erie Canal Commission.

DeWitt was married three times. In 1789 he married Elizabeth Lynott (1767-1793, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth VanValkenburgh Lynott), and they had two children. In 1799 he married Jane Varick Hardenbergh (died 1808, widow of Abraham Hardenbergh (1756-1794) and sister of Richard Varick). Their son Richard Varick DeWitt became a prominent civil engineer.) His third marriage was to Susan Linn


John Marshall Gamble was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1791 and died in New York City on September 11, 1836. Lieut. Col. Gamble was an officer in the United States Marine Corps during the early 19th century and he was the first and remains the only U.S. Marine to command a U.S. Navy ship, commanding the Greenwich during the War of 1812.

He was appointed Second Lieutenant on January 16, 1809. Holding the rank of Captain, he was stationed in the South Sea during the War of 1812 and distinguished himself in many enterprises, including encounters with people of the Marquesas Islands and sailing a seized ship with only a four-man crew and without benefit of a chart in a 17-day voyage to the Hawaiian Islands.

He was brevetted a Lieutenant Col. on March 3, 1827. The destroyer USS Gamble was named for him and his brother, U.S. Navy Lieut. Peter Gamble.


Moses Hale, MD, was born June 12, 1780 and died on January 3, 1837.

Doctor Hale began the study of medicine with Dr. Josiah Kitridge, of Walpole, New Hampshire and became a pupil of the celebrated Dr. Nathan Smith. In 1804 he came to Troy and having obtained his license on July 12th of that year, began practicing in the village.

In 1818 he, with Prof. Amos Eaton and Dr. Ira M. Wells, of Troy, perfected the incorporation of the Troy Lyceum of Natural History. At the first meeting of the association, Nov. 9, 1818, he was chosen, with Dr. I. M. Wells and Dr. Amatus Robbins, a curator. The Hon. Isaac McConihe, in an address on his life and services before the lyceum, said, "This was a position of great labor, requiring the greatest knowledge of science to superintend and preserve all the property, arrange in cases, name scientifically, and enter into proper books all mineralogical, botanical, and other specimens. Dr. Hale was the first to make a report, and the first who made a donation to the Lyceum of Natural History. Hardly a year elapsed from the commencement before it numbered among its members some of the most celebrated men now in the country, and the publication of its transactions were commented on and printed from one end of the country to the other. This was the first society of the kind in this country. The celebrity of this one brought into existence a thousand others." Dr. Hale was one of the most ardent of its members and supporters, and at his death was its vice president. Several of his essays on scientific subjects are to be found in the transactions of the society published in the Ploughboy, a paper printed in Albany, at that time under the able management of Solomon Southwick.

Dr. Hale was deeply interested in the establishment in 1824 of the "Rensselaer School" (now the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), and was its secretary at the time of his death.

Several times he was elected president of the Rensselaer Medical Society, and was frequently sent as a delegate to the State Medical Society, meeting in Albany. In 1830 he was elected a permanent member of the latter body. The University of Vermont conferred upon him the honorary degree of M. D. in 1825, and in the same year he was elected a corresponding member of the French Society of Natural History, of which Baron Cuvier was president.

In his disposition, it is said, Dr. Hale was eminently social and generous. He attached no value to money for itself, but gave it freely with his services to all who were in want. His dress was dimple, his manners dignified and courteous, and in his treatment of his patients cheerful and decided. His style of living was plain, with the exception of his table, where he gratified a somewhat Epicurean taste.

Dr. Hale suffered from many years from an aneurysm of the aorta and hypertrophy of the heart, from which he died suddenly on Jan. 3, 1837.


Elias Kent Kane was born in New York City on June 7, 1794 and died in Washington, D.C. on December 11, 1835 . He attended public schools and graduated from Yale College in 1813. Kane was one of the first U.S. Senators from Illinois.

After he studied law, he was admitted to the bar and started practice in Nashville, Tennessee and then moved to Kaskaskia, Illinois in 1814. He was appointed a judge of the Territory of Illinois and was a delegate to the first state constitutional convention in 1818.

After an unsuccessful 1820 campaign for election to the 17th Congress, he became Illinois' first Secretary of State, and served from 1820 to 1824. He was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1824, and in the same year to the United States Senate. He was reelected in 1831 and served from March 4, 1825, until his death in Washington, D.C., in 1835.

On January 16, 1836, the Illinois legislature formed a new county, Kane, in honor of Elias Kent Kane


William, the son of Hugh and Mary McManus, was born in Brunswick, Rensselaer County on November 28, 1780 and died in Troy, Rensselaer County on January 18, 1835. His funeral was conducted by Rev. H. B. Judah of St. John's Episcopal Church in Troy. He was buried January 20, 1835 in a cemetery on the McManus farm. This cemetery was later excavated and all the bodies were removed to a plot in the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, Rensselaer Co.

William was educated at Lansingburgh Academy and started his legal career in the office John Bird of Troy, N,Y.

McManus was married on February 24, 1805 in Greenbush, Rensselaer County to Catherine Coons, the daughter of Philip and Elizabeth Wheeler Coons. William McManus was a prominent lawyer in the Town of Brunswick & City of Troy, New York for many years. He served as justice of the peace, surrogate judge, district attorney and as a member of the House of Representatives in the Congress of the U.S. 1825 to 1827. In addition to his political activities William ran a brick yard, worked as a surveyor and farmed the "drowned lands" (wet lands) between the Villages of Eagle Mills & Clum's Corners in the Town of Brunswick.


Col. Albert Pawling, a native of Dutchess County, New York, was born April 22, 1750. He died on November 10, 1837.

He was the son of Col. Levi Pawling, an officer of the American army. Col. Albert Pawling also joined the army as second lieutenant in a regiment commanded by Col. James Clinton and went to Canada, where he served under Montgomery in the fatal expedition of 1776. In 1776 he was appointed a brigade major under Gen. George Clinton. As such he served till 1777, when he was made a major in one of the sixteen additional regiments under Col. William Malcolm.

Pawling was a distinguished officer of the revolution, commanding a company of Swiss for the defense of the New York frontier. He was the first mayor of Troy, New York; and one of the first directors of the Bank of Troy. His brother, Henry Pawling, born April 22, 1752, appearing as lieutenant Nov. 21, 1776; he was taken prisoner at the capture of forts Montgomery and Clinton; was confined in the prison ships of New York harbor for two years; was released, and appears again as captain May 11, 1780, and again in 1783. His descendants are settled principally in Steuben county, N.Y.

Pawling Avenue in Troy perpetuates Albert Pawling's memory in the city of his adoption.

It is hoped that list members will find this continuing series of biographies interesting.

Bill McGrath

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