The History of New York State
Biographies, Part 8

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam



The president of the Van Motor Company of Kingston, John David Schenck, is a descendent of one of the old Pennsylvania Dutch families who settle din this country during the colonial days and have continued to be good citizens ever since. He is the son of John Henry Schenck, who was a butcher in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His mother was Mary (Maroney) Schenck, daughter of David and Mary Maroney. David Maroney was born in the county of Cork, Ireland, and came to this country in 1840, where his worked in the old iron mines near Verbank, which have long since been closed.

John David Schenck was born in Stapleton, Staten Island, May 21, 1886. He was educated in the public schools at Patterson, New York, and graduated from the high school. He then went through several automobile schools, where he became thoroughly versed with dif-

Page 46

ferent makes of automobiles. He came to Kingston, and became agent for several makes of high-grade automobiles and formed the business of the Van Motor Company. This was in 1914. In June, 1920, the business was incorporated, and Mr. Schenck is the president and treasurer. During the twenty-two years that Mr. Schenck has been interested in the automobile business, he has served in many lines of the trade, and in other departments of the constructive side of the business, and in many different plants and cities. This knowledge makes him one of the best-informed men in the trade of automobile construction and especially well equipped to carry on his business. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the United Commercial Travelers, and is president of the Automobile Dealers of Ulster County. He is a member of the roman Catholic Church.

On November 16, 1910, at Patterson, New York, John David Schenck married Helen E. Watts, daughter of Daniel and Catherine (Casey) Watts, of Pawling, New York. They have one child, Mary Catherine.


In 1914, Henry Wheeler, cashier of the Union National Bank, of Troy, was tendered a dinner at the Troy Club by the officers and directors of the bank, in honor of his completion of half a century of continuous connection with the bank. He entered the bank a lad of fourteen years, December 12, 1864, and by steady application to his duties and absolute fidelity to every trust reposed in him, he has gradually risen, occupying every position in the service of the bank to president, the position which he has now held for many years. Affable, courteous, kindly, and helpful, few men of his city hold a higher position in the esteem of their fellow-men than he. As a banker of executive ability and keen financial insight he has won the entire confidence of the public, and has acted as administrator of some of the largest estates in Troy.

The wheeler family has figured notably in the history of Connecticut since the earliest years of the New Haven colony. In 1638, Moses Wheeler, an Englishman of considerable wealth, according to the standard of that period, and evidently a man of weight in the community, settled in New Haven and was among the first to receive an allotment of land. He subsequently settled in Stratford, where he was a leader in public affairs until his death. Moses wheeler was the first of the name to settle in Connecticut, and his descendants have been of more than passing prominence in the public, professional, and industrial life of the State. The English family of which Moses Wheeler is believed to have been a member was seated in the county of Kent four centuries prior to the coming of the Pilgrims to New England. The name Wheeler is of the class of names derived from an occupation, and signified literally "the Wheelwright." The name "Hugh le Welere" appears on the Hundred Rolls (1273), his residence in Cambridgeshire. The family armorial bearings were:

Arms--Vert. On a fesse or, three lions rampant of the first.
Crest--Out of a mural crown or, a griffin's head issuant argent.

Henry Wheeler, of Troy, New York, is a son of James Wheelock Wheeler, and a grandson of George Wheeler, of the New Hampshire branch of this ancient and honorable family. George Wheeler was born November 2, 1782, and died in 1870, in Troy, New York. He was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and a lawyer of great prominence in his day. He married, June 6, 1816, Mary Wheelock, who was born July 15, 1788, and died in 1828. She was the daughter of James Wheelock, who was a son of Eleazer Wheelock, founder of Dartmouth College, born in Windham County, Connecticut, son of Ralph and Ruth (Huntington) Wheelock, a great-grandson of Ralph Wheelock, a graduate of Cambridge University, England, and a famous preacher, who left Shropshire, England, in 1637, settled in Dedham, Massachusetts, and later in Medfield, where he spent the remainder of his life teaching and preaching. Eleazer Wheelock, a son of Rev. Ralph Wheelock, was a captain of militia during King Philip's War and, being later a man of prosperity, left a sum of money for the education of his grandson and namesake, Eleazer Wheelock, founder and first president of Dartmouth College. The latter was a graduate of Yale, class of 1733, studied theology, and became a teacher and preacher to the Indians. He founded Dartmouth college under a charter dated December 13, 1768, and confirmed by King George a little later. Later, President Wheelock took up his abode in the township of what is now Hanover, living in a hut in the woods, and two weeks later was joined by his students, some thirty in number, who came to him on foot. In 1771 there was a class of four, including the president's son, John Wheelock, who succeeded his father in 1779, the year of the latter's death. His second wife, Mary (Brinsmaid) Wheelock, was the mother of President John Wheelock.

Page 47

Both these first presidents of Dartmouth were remarkable men.

George and Mary (Wheelock) Wheeler were the parents of four children: James Wheelock, of further mention; Lucia P., born April 16, 1819; Mary Eliza, born August 26, 1820; and Abigail K., born July 24, 1823.

James Wheelock Wheeler was born in Hanover, New Hampshire, March 23, 1817, and died in Troy, New York, June 29, 1896. He was educated in Hanover schools, the moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he was engaged as a bookkeeper with a leading mercantile house. In 1861, he settled in troy, New York, where he was engaged in the manufacture of shirts and collars for five years, as a member of the firm, Wheeler, Colburn & Company. In 1867, he retired in Troy until his death, thirty years later. He married April 10, 1849, Mary Sargeant, born September 4, 1827, daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Kingsland) Sargeant, both of Parsippany, New Jersey, and both parents members of the Second Presbyterian Church, of Troy. Their children were: Henry, of further mention; Margaret Burt, born March 1, 1852; Edmund S., born March 8, 1856; and James S., born February 3, 1862.

Henry Wheeler was born in Glenville, Connecticut, February 21, 1850, and at an early age moved with his parents to Brooklyn, New York, and in 1861 to Troy, New York, which has ever since been his home. He attended school and did a boy's work around the shirt factory operated by his father until December 12, 1864, when a lad in his fifteenth year he became office boy at the Union Bank, of Troy, then a State bank, now the Union National Bank. The years brought him just reward for his fidelity to the interests of the only institution which has ever commanded his services, and he reviews from the president's chair his career from that day, sixty-two years ago, when he began his long and honorable connection with the bank. From office boy he was made assistant bookkeeper, teller, 1874-1897; cashier, 1897-1915; president, 1915 to the present, 1927.

He is also a trustee of the Troy Savings Bank; a governor of Marshall Infirmary; one of the founders and for seventeen years president of the Troy Boys' Club; treasurer and trustee of Troy Cemetery Association; and in all these he has been an untiring worker. He was for six years treasurer of Troy Chamber of commerce and is yet an active member, participating in all the movements conducted under the auspices of the chamber to aid in Troy's commercial development. During the World War, 1917-1918, he took an active part in the various drives and movements to aid the government, serving as treasurer of the Red Cross War Fund for the Troy district, he being most zealous in his loyalty. He is a member of Troy Lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Commercial Travelers' Association, and the Troy Club and Republican Club. His favored church is the Second Presbyterian, of Troy.

Henry Wheeler married, January 31, 1894, Rebecca Robinson, daughter of John and Mary (Moore) Robinson, of Troy.

Such is the life-story of one of Troy's eminent citizens, a self-made man in the best sense of the work, and one held in the highest esteem by his fellow-citizens of the city to which he came a lad of eleven years, in 1861. He has won his way to the highest position in the institution which he entered in the lowest position, and has never had a promotion which was not fully earned. In his work outside the business world his deepest interest has been in boys, and he has ever been a strong, unfailing friend of the boys' Club and long was its faithful president. His life has been a worthy one, and may encourage every boy to strive for advancement, no matter how lowly placed in rank.


With the adoption of his present realty interests at Newburgh by Nelson Burton Lent, in 1910, in partnership with Colonel George A. Cantine, he entered a field of business that has been developed both tot he benefit of the community and his patrons, and to his own satisfactory returns, as a result of his thorough study and survey of realty locations and values. For a long period a printer, publisher, writer and compiler, previous to his present activities, Mr. lent established a repute in that direction that has continued to be of service to him throughout his successful career. With practical intelligence he has directed the affairs of public office, and his attainments in genealogical and historical study are those of the lifelong student and investigator.

Nelson Burton Lent was born May 1, 1856, at Peekskill, a son of Nathaniel Lent, a Peekskill farmer, who died in 1891, and of Rachel (Lent) Lent, a very remote connection of his father's family, who died in 1895. Mr. lent attended the Peekskill public schools, and began a system of reading of the

Page 48

best literature that he was continued to the present. Learning the printer's trade, at first with the Highland "Democrat," at Peekskill, he continued afterwards at Scranton, Pennsylvania, in similar lines, where he founded a printing plant, and then, in company with W. C. Tunstall, a cousin, he purchased the Providence "Register," a weekly publication near Scranton, which he sold out to Mr. Tunstall after two years. Then, returning to the Highland "Democrat," he resumed work on the newspaper where he had learned his trade at Peekskill; and he also was employed by Edward M. Rutterber in the printing of historical pamphlets, later removing to Newburgh, where for twenty-seven years he was associated with the Newburgh "Daily Journal." In 1910, Mr. Lent in partnership with Colonel George A. Cantine, established himself in his present real estate operations. Mr. Lent's affiliations with the Republican party have found him long in service as an election officer and active in its work; and during 1902-1903, he served as clerk of the State Assembly.

A complete inquiry by Mr. lent into the origin of his family name and its genealogy was begun in 1903, an after eight years he was enabled to bring together the results of his research and compilation in his "History of the Lent Family in America," with its beginnings in Holland, from which country three brothers of the name came in 1638 to New Amsterdam, New Netherland. Mr. Lent, who is now engaged in publishing a revised edition of his work, is one of the most prominent members of the Newburgh Historical Society. Besides his membership in the Newburgh Historical society, Mr. lent is affiliated with Newburgh Lodge, No. 309, Free and accepted Masons, which he joined in 1886; the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which he joined in 1885, and in whose local lodge he has occupied all the chairs of office; Empire State Society, Sons of the American Revolution, of which he was for many years secretary; and the patriotic Order, Sons of America; which he assisted in organizing at Newburgh. He organized the Rebecca Degree Lodge, Sons of America. He is a member of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, and he was formerly a member of its board of stewards.

Nelson Burton Lent married, December 23, 1881, at Boscobel, Westchester County, Frances Viola Stone, who died April 23, 1923, daughter of Herman and Mary Stone, of Danbury, Connecticut. They were the parents of six children, all born in Newburgh: 1. Bertram Nelson, born May 9, 1884. 2. Winfred Foss, born December 23, 1888; served as a major in World War activities, and was attached to General Pershing's staff, at Washington, District of Columbia; he did not go overseas, and, after the war, had charge of the United States Veterans' Bureau for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. 3. Roland Depew, born May 23, 1892. 4. Hobart Townsend, born June 6, 1896. 5. Sebring Round, born June 26, 1898. 6. Mildred Stone, born October 18, 1899.


At an age when most young men are preparing for their life-work, George Elmer Lowe was already bending above the architect's table, doing important work for well-known architects and at the same time was carrying on advanced studies top perfect himself in the professions which he had chosen for his future career. Before he had reached his twentieth birthday, he had to his credit several years in the offices of Percival M. Lloyd, Poughkeepsie, New York and Arthur C. Longyear, a New York architect.

There are strains of Dutch and German blood in Mr. Lowe's veins. His great-grandfather, John I. Lowe, came to America and settled in Sullivan County before the Revolutionary war. The tongue of the fatherland was used in the family, and Mr. Lowe's grandfather, James T. Louw, never lost his facility of expression in the language of his ancestors. The spelling of the name was later changed to the present form. The parents of George Elmer Lowe are Elmer L. and Margaret K. (Bigler) Lowe, the latter born at Port Ewen, New York, daughter of Elenora Bigler, who had come from Germany in 1802. His father, a native of Ulster Park, New York, is a machine blacksmith, employed since 1895 by the Cornell Steamboat company, of Rondout, New York.

Mr. Lowe made his selection of a profession very early in life, and as a boy secured work in the office of Thomas P. Rice, where he remained two years. he carried on his studies in architectural drawing and designing with the International Correspondence Schools, and continued his practical training with Arthur C. Longyear, a New York architect, who had charge of the designing and construction of the Kingston High School, St. Mary's, St. Joseph's and St. Peter's schools, and other

Page 49

large buildings in Kingston. For this work Mr. Lowe served as the only draftsman and it was he who drew up the specifications for the erection of the buildings. For a time after this, he was associated with Percival M. Lloyd, an architect of Poughkeepsie, drafting also fro him churches and public buildings. He returned to Mr. Longyear for other work in Kingston, before he became draftsman for Myron S. Teller, also of that city. the work which bears his own name entirely began in 1912, when he severed connections with all other architects and opened his own offices in the city, where he was already so well known. The plans for the Governor Clinton Hotel were the work of his pencil, as were those for the Kingston city Hospital, and many of the churches, schools, public buildings and theaters of Kingston. In the erection of the beautiful Broadway Theater, he was associated with Douglas P. Hall, of New York. He has also designed some of the city's most artistic homes.

Mr. Lowe, who is a licensed architect in the States of New York and New Jersey, is a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals of Kingston, and of the City Hall Commission, appointed to restore or build a new City Hall, in place of one destroyed by fire in 1927. During the World War, Mr. Lowe's active service to his country was as a member of the new structural division in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where for fifteen months he was engaged in designing structural steel for ships. He also gave efficient assistance in the various drives and campaigns for relief work in Kingston.

Mr. Lowe's fraternal relations are with the Masonic order. He holds membership in Rondout Lodge, No. 343, Free and Accepted Masons; Rondout Commandery, No. 52, Knight Templar; and Mount Horeb Chapter, No. 75, Royal Arch Masons. He is a director of the Kiwanis Club and of the Young Men's Christian Association. Politically, he gives his support to the Republican Party.

On June 13, 1914, George Elmer Lowe married Margaret F Mambert, daughter of Dr. A. H. and Fannie (Dereich) Mambert, of Kingston. Dr. Mambert was, until his recent retirement, a practicing physician and president of the Homeseekers' Cooperative Saving and Loan Association for thirty years. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Lowe: 1. George Elmer, Jr., on May 15, 1918. 2. Helen E., on January 30, 1921.


In the annals of Albany's civic and business activities during the more recent period of the city's advancement, Henry Newman was a distinctively representative type of citizen, rendering a service of association and counsel with a number of those institutions and organizations that stand foremost in municipal affairs. A man of remarkable business abilities, prominent in financial and educational affairs, and both learned and gifted in literary study, Mr. Newman was a leader and well qualified as such in literary, historical and art matters. He was a son of Charles Newman, a wool merchant and banker, who died in 1918, and of Mary (Page) Newman, who died in 1884.

Henry Newman was born March 15, 1858, in Albany, where he died December 23, 1923, and is buried in Rural Cemetery. He attended the Boys' Academy, where he won the Van Renssalaer Classical Medal, and he was a member of the class of 1880 at Yale University, where he received literary honors. Ill health, forced Mr. Newman to relinquish study, and he then spent four years in Colorado, and upon his return he engaged in the wool business in company with his father. This business was founded in 1781, and continued in the family as Charles Newman and Company until his father's death in 1918, shortly after which it was suspended. Henry Newman continued with the business from 1884 to its close; and he was also a trustee of the Farmers' Savings Bank, succeeding his father. He was Democrat in his political convictions.

Mr. Newman was a member of the Fort Orange Club, charter member of the County Club, and one of the founders of the Historical and Art Society. He was a member of the sons of the American Revolution through the Lyman family on the paternal side, and on the maternal side from Nathaniel Page, who was one of the Minute Men at Concord, while several others of the Page name served at that period. At the Concord (Massachusetts) Museum, is a flag that was owned and carried at the Concord fight by members of the Page family. Mr. Newman was also a member of the Yale Alumni Association, of the Old Guard of Company A, New York National Guard, and of the Association of Centenary Firms.

Mr. Newman married, July 21, 1907, at East Greenbush, a suburb of Albany, Katherine Louise Douw Kirtland, who was born October 18, 1871, in New York City, a daughter of William Hathorn and Harriett Maria Douw (Townsend) Kirtland, both of whom are now deceased. William Hathorn Kirtland, who engaged throughout his life in the men's cloth-

Page 50

ing business in New York City, as Kirtland and Paret, was born in Augusta, Georgia. The family originated in Scotland, and Samuel Cook Kirtland, his great-grandfather, was one of the first Presbyterian Episcopal clergymen in Connecticut. Mrs. Harriet Maria Douw (Townsend) Kirtland was a member of the Townsend family of Albany, many of whom fought in the Patriot Army, and the first of the Douw family came from Holland and fought in the American Revolution. Mr. and Mrs. Newman were the parents of Mary Kirtland Newman, who was born August 21, 1908, in Albany. Mary Newman graduated from the Albany Girls' Academy and then went to Miss Porter's School.

Henry Newman, who was one of three children of Charles and Mary (Page) Newman, namely himself and another son, William Page, who is also deceased, and a daughter, Mrs. Willis G. Tucker, was an ardent student of classical literature throughout his life. Aspiring to a journalistic career, he wrote much for diversion, and was a frequent contributor to the Albany "Argus."


Though originally engaged for some fourteen years in the practice of law, Mr. Van Loon, since 1912, has been president of the Albany foundry company and of the Troy Nickel Works, and since that time has been considered one of the leading and most successful business men and manufacturers of Albany, New York. Under his very able and progressive management, the two companies, of which he is the head, have prospered greatly and have constantly expanded their business. He is also connected with several other corporations and financial institutions and has always taken a keen interest and an active part in the civic, fraternal, social and religious life of his native city, Albany. In spite of the heavy demands made upon his time and energy by his important business interests, he has found it possible to give considerable attention to the farm on which he makes his home and on which he maintains a herd of pedigreed cattle.

William G. Van Loon was born at Albany, March 5, 1875, a son of William H. and Caroline M. (Stark) Van loon, and a member of an old family of Dutch origin. His father was a successful stove contractor to the time of his death in 1910, being survived at that time by his son and by his widow. Mr. Van Loon was educated in the public grammar and high schools of Albany and at Williams college, from which latter graduated in 1896 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He then took up the study of law at the Albany Law School, completing his course in 1898, when he received the degree of Bachelor of Law. Admitted tot he bar in the same year, he immediately commenced the practice of his profession in which he continued with marked success for a number of years, until 1915. In 1912 he bought control of the Albany Foundry Company, acquiring the interest of this company's founder, John E. Gately, who had established it in 18989 and who was an inventor of considerable reputation. Mr. Van Loon has been president of this company since 1912 and also occupies the same office in respect to the Troy Nickel Works, a corporation affiliated with the Albany Foundry Company. The latter had always been located at the foot of Greene Street and is engaged in the manufacture of ornamental castings and similar products, among which are included lamp posts, of which commodity the company is one of the largest manufacturers in the country. The plant covers five and a half acres and employs upward of one hundred and fifty people. The Troy Nickel Works manufactures stove trimmings and hardware and its product is sold all over the civilized world. Associated with Mr. Van Loon in the management of the companies are L. K. Devendorf, vice-president; Carl H. Graf, treasurer; and A. P. McNamara, secretary. Mr. Van Loon is also a director of the New York State Fire Insurance Company and of the Orleans County Trust Company, and treasurer and director of the Townsend Furnace & Machine Company. In former years he was a member of the Third Signal Corps, New York National Guard, and Troop B. He is a member of the Albany County and of the New York State Bar Associations, as well as of Masters' Lodge, No. 5, Free And Accepted Masons, Cyprus Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; and the several other Masonic bodies up to and including the thirty-second degree. Ever since his college days he has been a member of the Zeta Psi Fraternity, while his clubs include the Albany Country, the Fort Orange, and the University, all of Albany. His religious affiliations are with Methodist Episcopal Church, and more particularly with Grace Church, of Albany, in which he is a member of the official board.

Mr. Van Loon married (first) Louise Hart, now deceased; and (second) Alice La Dow, a daughter of Charles La Dow, the latter a well-known inventor. He is the father of six children, three by his first marriage and three by his

Page 51

Second: Louise S., a graduate of Vassar College and a writer of classical songs; Lorraine, a student at Vassar College, class of 1929; William H.; Marion H.; Edward H.; and Alice. The family home is located at Altamont, Albany county, where Mr. Van Loon occupies a house built in 1850 and also is engaged in farming and Guernsey cattle breeding on a tract of three hundred and sixty-five acres.


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

HTML by Debbie Axtman

You are the Visitor to this USGenNet Safe-Site™ Since September 5, 2004.


[Index][Book Index][NY][AHGP]