The History of New York State
Biographies, Part 10

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam

 

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DR. CHARLES OLIVER SAHLER.

A long and active life of professional and civic service was that of the late Dr. Charles Oliver Sahler, who since 1896 had been at the head of the Dr. C. O. Sahler Sanitarium, located at No. 61 Wall Street, Kingston. Here, for more than twenty years, Dr. Sahler had cared for nervous and mental disease, and for all forms of invalidism. He had been a practicing physician in Kingston for many years prior to found the beautiful sanitarium which bears his name, and throughout his life he had been an earnest worker for the cause of prohibition. It was cause of deep thankfulness on his part that he had lived to see the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Dr. Charles Oliver Sahler was born in Esopus, New York, June 22, 1854, and received his early education in the local public schools. When his preparatory course was completed he entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, and when his course there was ended engaged in general practice in Kingston. As time passed he continued to study as well as to practice, and added to his equipment by doing post-graduate work in the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia. He was one of the pioneers in psycho-therapy, and early became interested in mental and nervous diseases, in the treatment of which he became especially expert. As time passed he gave more and more attention to this class of cases, and became thoroughly convinced that special treatment under conditions which could enable the physician to control the environment of the patient would be most efficacious. In 1896 he founded the Dr. c. O. Sahler Sanitarium, located in the midst of one of the loveliest of Kingston's residential sections, and from then until his death devoted his time and his talents to the development of that institution, which now has accommodations for one hundred and fifty patients, Dr. Sahler accepted nervous and mental cases and all forms of invalidism, from whatever cause, and as one of the pioneers in psychotherapic treatment accomplished much, both for his own patients and for the profession in general. Along with his very successful professional career, Dr. Sahler was also one of the earnest and lifelong workers for the cause of prohibition, using his influence in every possible way and serving as candidate for many offices on the Prohibition ticket. He firmly believed in and worked unceasingly for the realization of the dream of his mature life, and was permitted to see at least the legal death of the liquor traffic. It was a source of keen gratification to him that the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment was accomplished before his death, and he passed on to his reward knowing that his sanitarium was well founded and that the cause for which he most earnestly worked was at last ready for practical realization. He was wise enough to know that some years must pass before the struggle could be ended, but he knew that it meant much that the traffic which he hated had at last lost its legal standing, and had been placed where he had so long known that it belonged, among the outlaws. Fraternally, he was identified with Kingston Lodge, No. 10, Free and Accepted masons; and with the local Commandery, Knight Templar; also with the Temple, Ancient Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. His religious affiliation was with the Dutch Reformed Church.

Dr. Charles Oliver Sahler was married (first) in Rochester, New York, to Jennie Sahler. She died, and in 1913 he married (second), in New York, Charlotte Atkins, daughter of Lemuel Atkins, a farmer of Wawarsing, New York, of English ancestry, representing the fourth generation in America, and of Cornelis (Van Wagenen) Atkins, the last mentioned of whom was of ancestry dating back to Colonial days in this country, but originally natives of Holland, from which place they came to Ulster County, New York, locating near Rochester. Several members of the Van Wagenen family served in the Revolutionary War.

JUDGE AUGUSTUS SHUFELDT

After nineteen years of general practice, Augustus Shufeldt, of Kingston, in 1925 was elected for a four-year term as city judge, and it is still an open question in the minds of his associates as to whether the gain to the bench and loss to the bar will be permanent.

Born in Kingston, New York, October 11, 1882, he was the son of George A. Shufeldt, who was born in Kingston, January 6, 1848, a gardener, for many years a member of the Kingston Board of Education and serving several terms as a member of the Ulster County Board of Supervisors. His mother was Caroline A. Askam, born at Clermont, New York, July 11, 1840, daughter of the Rev. William B. and Eliza (Wackerhagen) Askam. Her father was the pastor of the English Lutheran Church at Germantown, New York. His parents were

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married at Kingston, New York, August 1, 1878. His paternal grandparents were Alexander W. and Lucy (Wackerhagen) Shufeldt; his grandfather for some time being engaged in the manufacture of cement in Ulster County, and for several years was the State superintendent of the New York Life Insurance Company. His grand-uncle was Admiral Robert W. Shufeldt, of the United States Navy, who was a commodore, in 1881, was commissioned by the Untied States Government to negotiate a treaty with Korea. He went to China, enlisted the services of Li Hung Chang and with him proceeded to Chemulpo where, on May 22, 1882, a treaty between Korea and the Untied States (the first treaty between Korea and any nation) was consummated, which opened trade between Korea and the civilized world. At the last moment it was discovered that no such thing as a seal of the United States was in the possession of the expedition, and a twenty-dollar gold piece was pressed into service. Thus the treaty of 1882 with Korea will be found to bear the imprint, not of the great seal of the United States, but of the double eagle.

The maternal branch of the family antedates the Revolution. The common ancestor was George Augustus Wackerhagen, born in Prussia on July 12, 1734, who, on October 13, 1764, received at the hands of the emperor the distinction of having conferred upon him the title of Nobleman, being presented with the coat-of-arms of the mobility of Prussia, which his recorded in Rietstap's "Armory" and still remains a family possession.

Educated in the public schools at Kingston, New York, Augustus Shufeldt commenced the study of law with Judge Joseph M. Fowler in 1902-03, and then entered Union College Law School, at Albany, New York, where he was graduated in the class of 1905. The following year he was admitted to the bar before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court at Saratoga, and opened an office for the practice of his profession in Kingston in 1906. For three years he was associated with Frederick Stephen, Jr., then district attorney, and then formed a partnership with James Jenkins under the firm name of Jenkins and Shufeldt, which continued until 1920. Since that time he has practiced alone, representing among other important clients the London Guarantee & Accident company of New York and the Columbia Casualty Company.

From 1906 until 19813 he was a member of the New York National Guard, with the rank of corporal. He is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, Kingston Lodge, No. 10; Mount Horeb Chapter; Rondout Commandery, and Cyprus Temple, is also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Koschiusko Lodge, No. 86, in which he held all the chairs and was district Deputy for Ulster County; is a member of the Junior Order United American Mechanics, Charles De Witt Council, No. 91; is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Kingston Lodge, No. 550; a member of the Kingston Club, and a member of the Kiwanis Club.

On August 1, 1926, Judge Shufeldt married Betty Smith, of Washington, District of Columbia, daughter of the late Carl Smith, who before coming to he United States thirty-five years ago was a colonel in the German army. They are members of the Dutch Reformed Church.

CHARLES DE LA VERGNE

The name De La Vergne was written among those of the American colonists in the year preceding the Revolutionary War by Nicholas De la Vergne, a physician, who was born in France in 1702, came to America in 1722, and during the latter years of his life was Probate Judge of Dutchess County. He died in 1782. His son, Benjamin De La Vergne, also a physician, gave his service to the patriot army in this war for freedom, serving as a major with the Fourth Regiment of the new York Militia, and was a member of the Third Provisional Congress held in New York City. From this line, Charles De la Vergne is descended. On his mother's side he traces his American ancestry to the time when Louis du Bois, a French Huguenot, came to this country and settled first in Wiltwyck (now Kingston), but later, about 1670, moved to New Paltz, where he and eleven other Huguenots received a patent from the Dutch West India Company.

The father of Charles De la Vergne is Charles Henry De La Vergne, born in Kingston, in 1858, for twenty-five years in the service of the Delaware & Hudson Canal company at the general offices in Rondout, New York, and later became treasurer of the Kingston Savings Bank; for a time a member of the New York National Guard,; for forty years a member of the Masonic Order, and for many years secretary and treasurer of the Wiltwyck Rural Cemetery Association. the mother is Anne (DuBois) De La Vergne, daughter of Elijah and Elena (Overbaugh) DuBois.

Charles De La Vergne was born in Kingston on August 9, 1896, and was educated at the Kingston Academy, graduating in 1915. He received the degree of Bachelor of Science from Union College in 1919, and went to Columbia University to pursue his law studies, completing his course in 1923. His admission to the bar of New York State occurred March 4, 1924. The first active connection of Mr. De La Vergne with the legal profession was with the firm of Bigham, Engler & Jones, at No. 64 Wall Street, New York City, where he remained until October 1, 1926. He also gained admission to the Federal Courts of the United States. When he severed his connection with the New York firm, it was to take over the offices of Howard Chipp, at No. 280 Wall Street, Kingston, where Mr. Chipp had been established for fifty-four years.

It was during Mr. De La Vergne's college years that America became actively involved in the World War. He attended the Plattsburg Training Camp in 1916, and when war was declared he endeavored to enlist, an attempt which he repeated several times, but was rejected because he was a minor. On January 5, 1918, he went to Canada and was successful in signing up as a member of the British Royal Flying Corps at Toronto. After training in Canada, he was made second lieutenant and sent overseas on September 28, 1918. To complete his training he was sent to the Central Flying School, and while stationed there the Armistice was signed. His brother, Louis DuBois De La Vergne, who graduated from Union College as an electrical engineer in 1914, receiving a Master's Degree in 1915, followed his professional career by different activities in the service of the General Electric Company until the country's call for men to serve in the World War. He immediately volunteered for service and attended the first Officers' Training Camp at Madison Barracks, New York. He was commissioned second lieutenant and sailed for France in September, 1917, and, after a course of training in French and English artillery schools was assigned to the 51st. Regiment he saw continuous service at the front at Verdun, and with the American forces at St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne, from April, 1918, until the signing of the Armistice. During this period he was promoted to first lieutenant and subsequently to the rank of captain, also serving as adjutant of the 3d Battalion of his regiment. He was honorably discharged after the war was over and returned to America, and after many attempts to follow his professional pursuits, was forced to retire to the National Military Home, Marion, Indiana where he succumbed to the ravages of shell shock on august 24, 1925.

While at Union College, Charles De La Vergne was initiated into the Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity, and at Columbia university he joined the Phi Delta Phi Fraternity. He is a member of the Alpha Delta Phi Club of New York and the Kiwanis Club of Kingston. Politically, he is affiliated with the Republican party, and he holds church membership with St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church, of which he is vestryman and treasurer.

On august 4, 1925, at St. Paul's Chapel. Columbia University, in New York City, Charles De La Vergne married Carol Waters Dodge, daughter of Frank Hatton Dodge, Judge of Chancery Court at Little Rock, Arkansas, for many years a member of the State Assembly, assistant prosecuting attorney for Pulaski County, acting chairman of the State Democratic Committee, and chairman of the Democratic Central Committee. Mrs. De La Vergne, before her marriage, was a student at the University of Chicago and at Columbia University. For three years after finishing her studies, she was assistant to the general manager of the Astoria Mahogany Company, and has also had some success as a short-story writer. Her mother, Jennie (Waters) Dodge, is very active in Arkansas politics. She has on her record many years of splendid service as chief probation officer of the children's Court of Pulaski County; superintendent of rural schools of Pulaski County; president of the Patent-Teachers' Association of Little Rock; and is now (1928) president of the City Federation of Women's Clubs of Little Rock. On May 4, 1926, a daughter, Anne De La Vergne, was born to Mr. and Mrs. De La Vergne.

George HORNELL THACHER

Achieving notable success in several distinct fields of human endeavor, Mr. Thacher has been for many years one of the leading figures in the financial, industrial and social life of his native city, Albany, New York. As the head of the Thacher Car wheel Works, with which concern he has been connected continuously with the exception of four years, from 1880 to 1883, and of which he has been the sole owner since 1909, he has shown remarkable mechani-

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cal and executive ability and has been a prominent factor in the growth and prosperity of New York's capital. His very able and successful management of this important industrial establishment, however, is only one side of his busy and successful life. Over a very long period of time he has been actively identified with the banking interests of Albany and he is regarded in financial circles as a man of discrimination. As a writer, too, he has shown unusual talent and he is also widely known as a collector of autographed letters, portraits and historical documents. Though naturally his business and financial interests have always made heavy demands upon his time and energy he has never been slow to devote his interests and personal efforts to the successful culmination of any project promising to advance the welfare and prosperity of Albany, its people and its institutions. As an amateur musician, as well as a composer, he has shown unusual ability, while his lifelong love of and interest in outdoor life and sports has never lessened, and his participation in the social, fraternal and religious life of Albany has always received a full share of his time. In every respect he is considered on of the most prominent men of the city and he enjoys to an unusual degree the regard and confidence of the people of Albany.

George Hornell Thacher was born in Albany, November 20, 1851, youngest son of George Hornell (1) and Ursula Jane (Boyd) Thacher and a descendent of Rev. Thomas Thacher, the latter born in England in 1620, a distinguished divine and the first pastor of the Old South Church, Boston, Massachusetts. His father was one of Albany's most prominent business men and was elected mayor for four terms, the same office being later occupied for two terms by Mr. Thacher's brother, Mayor John Boyd Thacher, and being held, in 1926, by Mr. Thacher's son, named after his uncle, John Boyd Thacher. George Hornell (10) Thacher, the father, was a native of Hornellsville, Steuben County, and a son of Samuel Olney and Martha (Hornell) Thacher, the latter a daughter of Hon. George Hornell, after whom Hornellsville was named.

George Hornell Thacher attended Professor Whitbeck's private school at Albany and at the age of thirteen years was placed under the tuition of Professor Griffin, of Williamstown, by whom he was prepared for college. At the age of sixteen he entered Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, from which he graduated with the class odd 1872. After leaving Mr. Thacher took a short course at the Bryant & Stratton Business College and then entered his father's car wheel works as an apprentice and clerk. Possessed of much natural mechanical ability and deeply interested in his work, his progress was rapid. Before long he was made foreman, and in this position as well as in various other positions which he held from time to time he displayed great efficiency and lost no opportunity to add to this knowledge and skill in the mechanical arts. In 1880 he temporarily severed his connection with his father's plant and, as the representative of a group of Eastern stockholders interested in Colorado mines, he set out for this Western State. He arrived in Leadville, Colorado, during the most stirring days of its early boom and took an active part in the development of its mining industry. With his usual zeal and energy he engaged in mining operations on his own account, meeting with much success and continuing in this enterprise from 1881 to 1883.

In the autumn of 1883, a short time after the death of D. S. Thacher, one of the partners ofd the firm of Thacher, Lathrop & company, Mr. Thacher returned to Albany and became a partner of the concern, the name of which was changed at that time to George H. Thacher & Company. After the death of his father in 1887, Mr. Thacher, in association with his brother, John Boyd Thacher, continued the business, retaining the firm name of George H. Thacher & Company. Since the death of his brother in 1909, Mr. Thacher has been the sole owner of the business. His connection with Albany's banking interests covers a period of almost four decades and dates back to 1887, when he succeeded his father as a director of the Albany City National Bank.. In 1889 he was elected vice-president of this financial institution and in 1897 president, serving in the latter office with much distinction, until the institution would up its affairs in 1902. He was also a director of the Union Trust company and of the National commercial Bank of Albany, a vice-president of the Albany City Savings Institution, and president of the City Savings Bank and of the City Safe Deposit Company, in which last two offices he is the successor, since April, 1926, of the late Mayor Hackett.

Although a man of great public spirit and always in the forefront of those working for, and supporting in every possible way everything affecting the public interest, he has never sought or desired public office. The only time when he was persuaded to accept public office was in 1892, when he accepted the appointment by

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Mayor Manning as a member of the board of water commissioners of Albany. On this important body he did most excellent and entirely disinterested work, but his patriotic and earnest efforts, to give the city a new and abundant supply of pure and wholesome water, proved unavailing, and he resigned from the Board in December, 1894. He is a member and a former president of the Fort orange Club and a member of the Williams Club, founders and Patriots, American and National Geographic Societies, and New York State Geographic Society. For many years he has been prominently active in Masonic circles, being a member of the several Masonic bodies up to and including the Thirty-second Degree. His religious affiliations are with the First Reformed Church, of which hew as a trustee for many years.

Mr. Thacher is the fortunate possessor of an unusually pleasing and attractive personality. He is kindly and courteous to all with whom he comes into contact and he is a man of generous impulses and sincere charity. He has always been interested in outdoor life and sports and in his youth was a skillful boxer, ballplayer, oarsmen, swimmer and skater, and even in his mature life he has retained much of the athletic tendencies of his youthful days. He is also a lover of music, a fine cello player and a composer of considerable ability. He has written several books of much merit and has extra-illustrated one book, "Players of a Century," written by H. P. Phelps, a former fellow Albanian. His collection of autographed letters and other valuable historical documents contains a great quantity of priceless material, bought both at home and abroad, and is considered one of the most extensive and important of its type in this country.

Mr. Thacher married, January 1, 1880, Emma Louise Bennett, of Albany. Seven children were born to this union: 1. George H. 2. John Boyd, a sketch of whom follows this. 3. Thomas Oxenbridge. 4. Emma Louise, who died in childhood. 5. Roland Throckmorton, who died in childhood. 6. Kenelin Roland. 7. Edwin Throckmorton.

MAYOR JOHN BOYD THACHER

A member of an old Albany family and himself a native and lifelong resident of New York's capital, Mayor Thacher holds the unusual records of representing the third successive generation of his family in the office of mayor of Albany. By profession a lawyer, he has been engaged in the successful practice of law for more than fifteen years, ever since his admission to the new York Bar in 1906. He has also been very active in the fraternal, social civic, and religious life of his community, where he is highly regarded and respected and where he had been honored several times by election to important offices. Becoming mayor in March, 1926. As the result of the sudden death of the previous incumbent, he has given to his native city since then a very able, efficient and honorable administration and has made available contributions to the continuous growth, welfare and prosperity of Albany, its people and its institutions.

Mayor John Boyd Thacher was born in Leadville, Colorado, October 26, 1882, a son of George Hornell, a sketch of whom precedes this, and Emma Louise (Bennett) Thacher, both lifelong residents of Albany. His father, George H., is a prominent manufacturer and banker and president of the City Savings Bank of Albany. His grandfather, George h. Thacher, was elected mayor of Albany four times, commencing in 1862, and one of his uncles, John B. Thacher, was elected to the same office twice. Mr. Thacher was educated at the Albany Academy, and at Princeton University, from which latter he graduated in 1904 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He then took up the study of law at Union College, Schenectady, New York, from which he graduated in 1906 with the degree of Doctor of Laws. He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1906, having served during the intervening years as an assistant in the attorney-general's office at Albany during the administration of Attorney-General Carmody. After his admission to the bar he commenced the practice of his profession in Schoharie County, where he continued for one year. He then returned to Albany and there resumed the practice of law, in which he met with marked success and, in which he has continued to the present time. During the World War he saw active service with the Air corps and later with the Ambulance corps, being stationed for a considerable period of time in France. He has been a member of the Common Council of Albany, and also for four years, city treasurer. Upon the sudden death of Mayor Hackett, he succeeded the latter of his office, March 5, 1926, and so ably did he fulfill the duties of this office that on November 8, 1926, he was elected mayor for a term of two years, by a plurality of 21, 128 votes, the largest vote ever given to a mayor in the capitol district. He is a mem-

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ber of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, and the Albany County Bar Association. Mayor Thacher has also been active in fraternal affairs and is a member of Master Lodge No. 5, Free and Accepted masons; of the several others Masonic bodies up to and including the thirty-second degree; Cyprus Temple, Ancient Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, in which hew is a member of the board of trustees; and of the Loyal Order of Moose. Of his lodge he is a Past Master, while among the various organizations to which he belongs should be mentioned the Fort Orange Country Club, the Albany Club, the Aurania Club, the Albany Yacht Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club. His religious affiliations are with the Presbyterian faith, and more particularly with the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, of Albany, while in politics he is a supporter of the Democratic party, in the affairs of which he is very prominent locally.

Mayor Thacher married in 1918, Lulu C. Cameron, of Schoharie County, New York, a daughter of Frederick and Harriet (Abel) Cameron. Mayor and Mrs. Thacher have no children and make their home in Albany.

 

The History of New York State, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1927

This book is owned by Pam Rietsch and is a part of the Mardos Memorial Library

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

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