The History of New York State
Biographies, Part 11

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam

 

BENJAMIN ROWE

Prominently identified with the legal profession of Saugerties, where he has practiced for twenty-five years, Benjamin Rowe is also one of the most substantial citizens. Of local birth, but English ancestry, Judge Rowe has all the best qualities of his race, to which has been added a keen mind and a special aptitude of the law. The foundation of his career was well laid down, and he has constantly added to his knowledge by the facilities afforded by one of the finest law libraries in this section of the country.

Benjamin Rowe was born in Saugerties, New York, November 17, 1879, a son of Albert and Sarah (Whitaker) Rowe. His father was a butcher and packing-house manager and served Saugerties as its mayor for eight years. he is now retired at the age of eighty-five (1928). He was born in Stone ridge, of English ancestry. His wife was of Dutch ancestry, her forbears coming to this country prior to the War of the Revolution, in which conflict some of them had active parts.

Benjamin Rowe received his early education in the public schools of Saugerties, and was graduated from the high school here in 1900. He took the full course at Princeton University, from which he was graduated in 1904 with the degree of Bachelor of Science. This was followed by a course at the Albany law School, from which he emerged with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, in 1906. He at once established himself in practice here and has conducted it independently ever since. He was one of the founders of the Ellen Russell Finger Home, for aged women, and has served as treasurer of that institution since 1925. In 1925 he opened and dedicated to the city of Saugerties, Prospect Street, which was in connection with an new addition which he developed in the residential section. In politics he is, like his father, a Republican. He holds membership in the lodge, Free And Accepted Masons; Mount Horeb chapter, No. 75, Royal Arch Masons, Kingston; is a Past Patron of the local chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. From 1908 to 1914 he served as Police Justice of Saugerties. His church is the Congregational.

Mr. Rowe married, in Brooklyn, New York, March 14, 1922, Alma Cordler, daughter of Theodore Cordler, a building contractor, and of Anna (Feshkens) Cordler, both of whom are deceased. They have one child, Olga, who was born February 3, 1913, and is attending the Saugerties High School (1928).

LEONARD CHARLES LINDSAY SMITH

Civil engineer of renown and dignified professional standing, Leonard Charles Lindsay Smith is one of the dominant figures of contemporary life in the Borough of Queens, and with the material, civic and spiritual progress of the county, its organization and people, has been prominently identified for a number of years. He is president of the Queens Borough Chamber of commerce, and is thought to be one of the most valuable of public-spirited citizens exercising forcefully for the benefit of Queens as a whole and Long Island City in particular. Unselfish effort for and loyalty to the interest of city and borough have earned for him the appreciation and respect of the citizenry at large. In his office as president of the Chamber of Commerce, he is presented with an opportunity large than that given the majority of citizens, for the practical employment. The putting in effect, of vision and this he has done most admirably. As an engineer, and notably in connect with the water supply, he has also exercised constructive vision; and this will be recounted hereafter, in its proper place.

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Born at an address in Forty-second Street, New York City, within the radius of shadow's distance from the Grand Central Terminal as it now towers upward toward the sky, Mr. Smith is a son of Joseph L. T. smith and Mary Elizabeth smith, who came to the United States from England in 1840. In the public schools of Manhattan Mr. Smith secured his preparatory education in academic subjects; then, imbued with a burning desire to make engineering his life's work, he matriculated at New York University, there to study civil engineering. One year after his father had come to New York city, he had established himself as an engineer (1841), and hence, when Mr. Smith had completed his courses in university, it was only natural that he should join in association with him. This arrangement continued for an extended period, but in 1888 Mr. Smith established additional offices independently in Long Island City; and in this city he has operated in his profession, and has resided, through the years that have succeeded. His record as engineer has been brilliant, maintained with large achievements in numerous fields of endeavor. Ten years after establishing of offices in Long Island City, Mr. Smith became engineer of water supply, for the Borough of Queens. He retained that position for thirteen years, from 1898 until 1911, then became consulting engineer to the borough president, and as such served until 1913.

As engineer of water supply, Mr. Smith was an important and decisive factor in the termination of suits involving several millions of dollars, brought by farmers of Long Island, who claimed that wells by which Brooklyn and queens boroughs were supplied with water were draining their lands of moisture, causing great damage to crops. Hundred of suits had been filed, and cases were pending en masse. After many months of research, examination of the wells which were driven throughout Long island, effects and causes, Mr. Smith was able to present evidence which conclusively proved to the cities' attorneys the fallacies of premises on which the litigation was founded. His evidence was conclusive--so conclusive, in fact, that the suits were quashed, and taxpayers were saved millions of dollars.

While he has been busily engaged as engineer, Mr. Smith has not neglected other connections. He is president of the Stamarith Construction Corporation, the Blue Point Construction Corporation, the Orman Corporation, and the Matolen Corporation. Fraternally, he is affiliated with the Free and Accepted Masons, in which order he is Past Master of Island City Lodge. Upon graduation from New York University, his scholastic excellence was such as to give him membership in Phi Beta Kappa. He retained membership also in Psi Upsilon Fraternity, and the American Society of Engineers; the Pomonok and Glen Oaks Golf and Country clubs, and the Bay Side Yacht Club. For years he has been Superintendent of the Sunday school of the Remsen Street (Long Island City) Reformed Church.

Mr. Smith married (first) October 4, 1893, Mary H. Remsen, daughter of Jackson and Sarah Remsen, of queens. To this union was born a son, Leonard Charles Lindsay Smith, Jr., on October 6, 1895. Leonard Charles Lindsay Smith, Jr., like his distinguished father, has taken up engineering as a career, and is now (1928) associated with him in his engineering and construction interests. Mary H. (Remsen) smith died, in 1916, at Brookville, Long Island; and Mr. Smith married (second) , June 10, 1926. Blanche Faye Roullier, daughter of the late G. a. Roullier. Mr. and Mrs. smith make their home at No. 59 Woolsey Street, Long Island city. Mr. smith's offices are at No. 444 Jackson Avenue.

H. WESTLAKE COONS

Among the leading members of the bar of Ellenville, H. Westlake coons holds a commanding position. He has practiced here since 1904, when he came from Mount Vernon, New York, after a legal career there, of about three years. His sound preparation for his profession has proved the value of this foundation upon which to build a successful edifice, and there are no limitations to the radius of action of such a man, whose career here invites the interest of the younger members of his profession.

He was born in Beacon, New York, February 9, 1877. His father was Alfred Coons, of Elizaville, New York, where the old coons homestead, built in 1710, still stands. The elder coons died in 1925 at the age of eighty-five years. he was a preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church for half a century, almost all of his work having been in this State. He was a presiding elder of the Kingston District, and a delegate to the General Conference of the church in 1892. John coons, his great-grandfather, was a captain in the army during the War of the Revolution. The mother of H. Westlake Coons was Hannah J. (Buckley) Coons,

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of Liberty, New York, a great-granddaughter of Luther Buckley, who established the first store in Liberty in 1807. Her father was Benjamin P. Buckley, originating in Connecticut, who was supervisor of Liberty in 1847 and 1851.

H. Westlake coons received his education in Kingston Academy, from which he was graduated in 1894. He then went to Weslayan University, from which he was graduated, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in 1899. This was followed by a course at the Albany Law School, which graduated him in 1902 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. After three years' practice in Mount Vernon, he came to Ellenville, where he established himself in practice and where he has achieved success. He is counsel for the Ontario & Western Railway, for the Ellenville Electric Company, and for the First National Bank. He has been mayor of Ellenville for three terms, and is director and vice-president of the First National Bank. His political party is the Republican, his church the Methodist Episcopal. He belong to the college fraternity of chi Psi, and is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, Wawarsing Lodge; Royal Arch Masons, and Knights of Pythias. He also holds membership in the Ellenville Noonday club.

Mr. coons, married, in Red Hook, New York, October 10, 1905, Mary N. Cookingham, a daughter of Dr. Harris L. Cookingham, a practicing physician, who was postmaster of Red Hook, president of the Dutchess County Medical Society, and member of the Dutchess County Historical Society. He was of German ancestry, his forbears coming to America before the War of the Revolution. His wife was Mary J. Nicks, whose father, Richard, was one of the early proprietors of the Red Hook tobacco Company. The children of H. Westlake and Mary N. (Cookingham) Coons: 1. Mary E, born august 8, 1906. 2. Alfred H., born March 9, 1909. 3. Horace W., born August 20, 1913.

EDWIN McCLELLAN

With the consciousness of having been made the medium of conveying manifold benefits upon his fellow-humans through the widespread distribution of a celebrated remedy, Edwin McClellan, late of Cambridge, New York, and London, England, became an internationally known figure. The remarkable work that he performed in the development of his humanitarian enterprise to great proportions, he supplemented with philanthropic endeavor on a very large scale. He accumulated great wealth, and seemed fully aware of the increased responsibility that was his on that account, for he bestowed both religiously and generously of his means upon numerous worthy objects, notable among which is the hospital of his founding in his home town of Cambridge, one of the finest institution of the kind in New York, and where the most skillful specialists of the State have now and again made their knowledge and services available for the afflicted of that region. built along broad lines, possessing business acumen of high order, Mr. McClellan made his business serve as a handmaid in his relations with this fellows. This side of his nature he manifested in a degree that bespoke the depth and breadth of his character, and the genuineness of his interest in matters not allied with purely commercial effort. His passing was the occasion of deep mourning on the part of a host of friends and beneficiaries on two continents.

MacLellan (McClellan) Arms--Argent, two chevrons sable, each charged with a plate.

Crest--A Moor's head and neck proper. (Burke's "General Armory")

Born in Hebron, Washington County, new York, April 25, 1861, Edwin McClellan was the son of John A. and Mary Jane (Gilchrist) McClellan, natives of that county. He was given every advantage of a liberal education, attending first the district school near their farm on Lake Lauderdale, five miles from Cambridge village, then pursuing his studies further at Washington Academy, Cambridge, and finishing his preparatory course at Claverack Institute, Claverack-on-Hudson, New York, and concluding his education at Yale College, class of 1884.

It seemed from the very first of his career that Mr. McClellan was destined to carve a name for himself in the world of business. A ready adaptability for publicity, salesmanship, and other details of intensive business methods made him stand out among his associates, and not long after he left college his services were commanded by the W. T. Hanson Company, of Schenectady, New York, in the capacity of advertising manager. His innate ability and great resourcefulness aided very materially in the growth of his superiors' business.

In 1898 Mr. McClellan entered that larger field with which he as to be identified for the rest of his life, when he became an associate of the Foster-Milburn Company, of Buffalo, New York, widely known manufacturer of a propriety medicine that came into popular use as

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a remedy for certain ills. This association proved of inestimable value both to Mr. McClellan and to the company. It gave him opportunity for the development of his powers that were to be accorded their proper recognition in the coming years. He active mind lead him out into a broader application of the business policy for which the Foster-Milburn company had become noted, and in association with Mr. Foster he acquired the British rights for the sale of a celebrated proprietary remedy, under the style of Foster, McClellan & Company, the concern carrying on its operating from headquarters established in London. Mr. McClellan took a resident in the British metropolis that me might the better direct the details of the business, which in time increased to a volume that commanded the attention of the business men and pharmacies in Great Britain, France. Holland, Belgium, Italy, China, Australia, and South America. His remarkable success in his foreign business relations and the cordiality of his welcome in highly placed commercial and social circles of London did not wean him away from his native America, and he made visits at frequent intervals to his beautiful estate, "Meikleknox," at Cambridge, New York. In fact, to the end of his days he maintained a lively and intimate interest in the people and affairs of the town where he had spent so many of his happy years, first as a young student and in after years as a citizen whose bond he never sought to sever.

Stewardship was ever a lofty aim with Mr. McClellan. When wealth, measured in figures of such large import as to gratify the ambition in the direction of men of his ideals, had come to him in return for the investment of brain, energy and capital, he sought to employ a part of that gain to good purpose. In 1916 having hit most happily upon this worthy project, he founded at Cambridge, New York, and dedicated on January 5, 1919, with fitting ceremonies, the Mary McClellan Hospital, so named as a tribute to the memory of his beloved mother., Here there was installed almost every kind of equipment and instrument known to modern surgery, in a building modernly constructed and appointed. From the largest cities in Eastern new York, and even from New York City, there have come in a degree approaching regularity the most skillful medical practitioners and surgeons, that they might render their services to those needing them who otherwise would not be benefited by these ministrations. Thus the hospital is a distinct blessing for the people of a great district, and Mr. McClellan during his lifetime was indirectly the agent for the bestowal of that benefaction. That the permanency of its perpetuity might be assured, Mr. McClellan made ample provision to that end with an endowment of two hundred and twenty-nine thousand dollars. In connection with the hospital is a nurses' home and training school, conducted on the same high plane as the parent institution, and erected by Mr. McClellan's brother Robert, and the latter's wife, Irene Ward McClellan. This nurses' home and training school, having affiliation with Skidmore College at Saratoga Springs, New York, and the Yale School of Nursing at New Haven, Connecticut, will equip nurses far beyond the training offered by the average nurses' course today. The nurses' home, like the hospital is complete in every detail and provides all that the word home implies. As this is written, work is going forward upon a new extension of the hospital, Mrs. McClellan carrying on the original plans which were drawn at Mr. McClellan's request. Through this new gift the scope of the institution's work is greatly enlarged and its purpose of service furthered through the devotion of Mrs. McClellan to the ideals she had shared with her husband for the future of the hospital.

The social instinct was well developed in Mr. McClellan, and his name was open sesame to a number of the most exclusive clubs of this country and London. He was a member of the Scroll and Key and Psi Upsilon societies of Yale University, the Yale Club, and University club of New York, the Mohawk Club, and Mohawk Golf Club, of Schenectady, New York, the Adirondack League Club, the Tourilli Club, of Canada, the Stoke Poges Club, of England, the American society of London, and a trustee of "Yale in China." He was a great lover of our-of-door sports, and hunting, fishing, and gold were his favorite recreations. His religious affiliation formerly was with the First Dutch Reformed Church, of Schenectady, but this later was transferred to the First Presbyterian Church, of Cambridge, new York, where he also served as a trustee. He was a member of the board of trustees of the Woodlands Cemetery Association of Cambridge.

Edwin McClellan married, August 4, 1904, Helen Livingston Mynderse, of Schenectady, New York, daughter of Dr. Barent A. and Albertina Sanders (Ten Broeck) Mynderse, both of pioneer Dutch families. The Livingston arms are as follows:

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Arms.--Argent, three Clinquefoils gules within a double tressure, flory counterflory vert.
Crest.--A ship in distress.
Motto.--"Spero meliora."
(Crozier: "General Armory.")

Mrs. McClellan was her husband's constant companion, and was ever deeply interest in all his philanthropies. She is endowed with an attractive personality, possesses a broad culture, and pleasing address,. As a hostess she is charmingly gracious and hospitable, having that ready tact which enables her guest to feel at ease. She is a woman of many generous impulses which are given expression in various forms of charitable work.

Mr. McClellan was called to lay aside the activities of a very busy and useful life, on January 30, 1924, at his London residence, and was buried from his Cambridge home, "Meikleknox," on February 13, 1924. In Woodlands Cemetery, in on of its most picturesque spots, in sight of his generous gift to posterity he sleeps among many of his friends and kindred, in the place he had helped to make so beautiful. He was naturally endowed with all the qualities that are the attributes of the true gentleman. He was kind and considerate, sympathetic, thoughtful, and prompt to perceive and act regardless of self; a man of great common sense, possessing a keen sense of humor, and imbued with a spirit of devotion and kindliness. His passing was deeply mourned by all who knew him.

Edwin McClellan Hall, the new dormitory on the Campus at Yale University, was the gift of Mrs. Helen Livingston (Mynderse) McClellan, of Cambridge, New York, and was named in memory of her husband, who was a member of the class of 1884. In their undergraduate days <r. McClellan was a roommate of Frederick S. Jones, '84 Dean of Yale college. They lived in Old South Middle, now known as Connecticut Hall, of which the long familiar brick building, McClellan Hall, is a counterpart.

In 1906 Mr. McClellan took an active part in the renovation of Old South Middle , thus helping to preserve the remaining building of Yale of Revolutionary days. Mrs. McClellan's gift provided not only for the memorial to her husband, but also for a tribute to Dean Jones, as it was stipulated in the gift that part of the income of the dormitory shall go towards paying the salary of the Dean of Yale College. This provision was made as a mark of respect and affection for Dean Jones, who was a life-long and intimate friend of Mr. McClellan.

Edwin McClellan Hall, erected in 1925, stands between Old south Middle and the University Library, being joined tot he latter by an archway. It houses fifty-six students, in cheerful, attractive apartments, with fireplaces in all study rooms, and is of material assistance in alleviating the need of an extension of living accommodations for students, for which the university is exceedingly grateful to Mrs. McClellan.

ROBERT McCLELLAN

With the passing of the late Robert McClellan, Cambridge lost one of its most public-spirited and progressive citizens, a man of liberality and generosity and one who ever had at heart the welfare and betterment of those around him. The name of McClellan stands high in the records of Cambridge and of Washington County, and will be long perpetuated by the Mary McClellan Hospital, a beautiful edifice built after the Georgian style on a mountain-side near Cambridge. This structure was the gift of Mr. McClellan's brother, Edwin McClellan, and was supplemented by the donation of Florence Nightingale Hall, erected in the rear of the hospital as a nurses' home and training school, presented by Mr. McClellen and his wife, Mrs. Irene Moulton (Ward) McClellan.

Robert McClellan was born in Paxton, Illinois, September 27, 1867, the son of John A and Mary Jane (Gilchrist) McClellan. John A. McClellan was born February 19, 1827, and died May 15, 1893. His wife, the mother of Robert McClellan, was born in Argyle, Washington County, June 5, 1834. Mr. McClellan's parents were resident in Paxton, Illinois, at the time of their son's birth, the elder McClellan being engaged in business there. In 1869 they returned to Washington county, which continued to be the family home.

After attending the local schools, Robert McClellan decided upon a business career, and entered the employ of the B. B. Fowler company, at Glens Falls, Warren County. With the Fowler concern he obtained an experience which was most useful to him in later years, when he accepted a position with the International Paper Company at Corinth, Sarataga County. In 1899 he left the paper company, and with his brother, Edwin McClellan, became associated with the Foster-Milburn company, of Buffalo. The firm's transactions spread around the world, covering the British isles, France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, China, Egypt, Australia, and South America. Edwin McClellan, who was six years older than his brother, Robert McClellan, took charge of an

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office which was established in London for the purpose of handling the European business, and there his brother joined him in due course, taking charge of the English office. He remained in charge there during the World War, and until he was compelled to retire in 1920, on account of his ill health. During the entire course of the war, Mr. McClellan endured the privations that were the portion of the average Englishman and was in London all of the war years. the strain, nervous and functional, was one of causes of his breakdown in health. He succumbed to an attack of pneumonia on December 18, 1924, at his home in Cambridge, and there was much deep and sincere mourning in Washington County, when the news of his death was made public. His brother, Edwin, who was born in Hebron, Washington County, April 25, 1861, died in London, England, January 30, 1924. The hospital which he gave to Cambridge in memory of his mother was dedicated in 1918, and was opened to public service January 1, 1919, with an endowment of $229,000. The Florence Nightingale Hall, which was donated by Mr. McClellan and his wife, has an equipment and training for nurses equal to any in this country. It is affiliated with Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, and this connection enables the Mary McClellan Hospital to provide a training course for nurses, unusual in its scope and thoroughness.

Mr. McClellan was affiliated with America Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of London, England. He was a prominent member of the American Society, of London; of the Stoke Poges Gold club, of London; the Northwood Gold Club; the Mastigouche Fish and Game Club, both of Canada, and the Adirondack League Club.

On august 28, 1906, Mr. McClellan married Irene Moulton Ward, daughter of Benjamin L. and Anna L. Ward, of Cambridge. Mr. and Mrs. McClellan were the parents of four children: John Ward, Helen Marian, Robert, Jr., and Margaret Ward. Mr. McClellan was survived by his widow, his four children, a brother, Frank W. McClellan, of Schenectady and two sisters: Mrs. Caroline Smith, of Cambridge, Washington County, and Mrs. Thomas H. Johnson, of Atlanta, Georgia.

In the death of Mr. McClellan, Washington county lost a worthy citizen and a great benefactor. His life of fifty-seven years was marked with many deeds of kindness and consideration for others and his memory for many generations will be a bright thought to the community for which he did so much.

 

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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