The History of New York State
Biographies, Part 9

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam



For years William Archibald Van Valkenburgh, of Kingston, has been known as a versatile insurance man. Making a study of the needs of insurance for this community, he has been in position to supply insurance for every occasion. He is the son of William H. Van Valkenburgh, who was born in Kingston, in 1851, a machinist and a marine engineer. His mother, Catherine (Kain) Van Valkenburgh, was also born in Kinston, in 1853. William A. Van Valkenburgh was their only child.

William Archibald Van Valkenburgh was born at Kingston, on February 4, 1886. He was educated at Ulster Academy and at Spencer's Business College. As a young man, he engaged in the insurance business, and for twenty-six years has followed in that line. For the past seven years he has been in business for himself, and is general agent for the Globe Indemnity Company of New York. He writes all classes of insurance, consisting principally of life, fire, casualty and bonds, and has built for himself a big line of customers which is constantly growing. In operating this general agency, he covers an extensive territory, and is represented by many sub-agents throughout Ulster and Delaware counties. In addition thereto he is licensed by the New York Fire Insurance Exchange, and State of New Jersey Insurance Department. He is active in the Republican party, and for two years was alderman from the Ninth Ward. At another time, he served one term as supervisor from the Ninth Ward. He is a member of Rondout Lodge, No. 343, Free and Accepted Masons; Past Worthy Patron, Kingston Chapter, No. 155, Order Eastern Star; Past Watchman of the Shepherd of India Shrine, No. 12, White Shine of Jerusalem; Past Guard of the Aretas Lodge, No. 172, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; member of Franklin Lodge, No. 37, Knights of Pythias; Amaranth Court, Order of Amaranth; past president of the Kingston Kiwanis Club; treasurer of the Kingston Chamber of Commerce; treasurer of the Kingston Masonic Club; member of the Down Town Business Men's Association, and Central Business Men's Association. He is a member of the Fair Street Dutch Reformed Church. In 1927 he was appointed Assistant Lecturer for the Greene-Ulster District by the Grand Matron, Grand Chapter, Order of Eastern Star.

In Kingston, on August 21, 1904, William Archibald Van Valkenburgh married Mary E. Thomas, daughter of Henry W. and Elizabeth (Hornbeck) Thomas. Henry W. Thomas was a captain and owner of Hudson River boats. Both Mr. and Mrs. Thomas are now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Van Valkenburgh have one child,. Kathryn May.


The important and very considerable place that Ralph Weston occupies in the business life of Newburgh and its many branches of business, particularly in transportation and storage lines, is indicated in his capable proprietorship of the Weston Transfer Company, a concern that, with its central location near the Ferry landing, is on record for expert methods, absolute care, and accuracy, and conscientious supervision of transfer and safekeeping of property. Mr. Weston is prominent in the general business life of Newburgh, and his patrons and constituency are aware of the complete system that he maintains in the prosecution of the business of which he is the head.

Ralph Weston was born October 24, 1883, in Newburgh, a son of Wilbur Harrison and Mary Catharine (Hornbeck) Weston. Wilbur Harrison Weston, who was born February 11, 1851, at Manchester, New Hampshire, and died September 27, 1902, was president of the Central Hudson Steamboat Company, and f the Weston Transfer Company ,as well as agent for the New York Central Railroad, and carried on a successful coal and feed business in Beacon. He served as major of the 17th Battalion of Infantry that was formed in Newburgh after the Civil War; and he was a Past Master of Hudson River Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Past Commander, Hudson River Commandery, Knight Templar; Royal Arch Masons. He married Mary Catherine Hornbeck, who died September 27, 1919, and besides their son Ralph, they had one daughter, Justine, who was born August 22, 1885, was graduated at Quassaic hall, in Newburgh, and at this writing is touring Europe.

Ralph Weston attended Newburgh Public schools and Pennsylvania Military College, at Chester, Pennsylvania, and in 1902 began to engage in the coal business at Beacon, with his uncle, Weldon F. Weston, who is now deceased, and he continued with him six years. He then opened his present transfer and storage business at Nos. 64-66 Front Street, neat the Ferry Landing, in Newburgh, known as the Weston Transfer Company, and of which Mr. Weston is the sole owner. The plant consists of a commodious three-story warehouse, with all modern improvements, the headquarters for the firm's New York and long-distance trucking. Mr. Weston also has the ticket agency at the Ferry Building for the New York Central Railroad, at the Newburgh end of the ferry.

In political matters, Mr. Weston is a Republican. Fraternally, he is affiliated with the Blue Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Hudson River Lodge, No 607; Highland Chapter, No. 52, Royal Arch Masons; Hudson River Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar; Newburgh Lodge, No. 247, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; Sons of the American Revolution; and he is also a member of the Newburgh City Club, Powelton Gold Club, and the Rotary Club. He is a communicant of St. George Protestant Episcopal Church.

Ralph Weston married, June 23, 1913, at New York, Ethel L. Vanderhoff, who was born March 26, 1888, and died October 21, 1918, daughter of John P. and Mary (Lockwood) Vanderhoff.


Deputy Attorney-General Jonathan D. Wilson, Jr., of Newburgh, holds an office of increasing influence and activity in the legal interests of the State, his gradations from general practitioner and district attorney having been accompanied with well-affirmed proofs of his practical gifts in relation to those comprehensive matters that have to do with his profession both as a law advocate and in official place. He has upon all occasions honored his calling, and has the highest respect of his associates and constituency, and in civic and community matters his counsel and presence are welcome factors in the progress of Newburgh.

Jonathan D. Wilson, Jr., was born June 12, 1875, at Newburgh, a son of Jonathan D. Wilson, who was born May 8, 1850, in Delaware, Ohio, and of Catherine A. (Todd) Wilson, who was born in 1853, in Paterson, New Jersey, and died February 14, 1920, daughter of William and Mary Todd. Jonathan D. Wilson, Sr., a son of George Wilson, who was born in Hastings, England, and of Priscilla (Selmes) Wilson, who was born in France, was for many years president of the Newburgh Board of Education, and was a contractor and builder, now retired. He was mayor of Newburgh for ten years. He married Catherine A. Todd, in 1874.

Jonathan D. Wilson, Jr., attending the Newburgh public schools, was graduated at Newburgh High School in 1891, and, after taking a course at Sigler's Preparatory School, was graduated at Columbia College, in 1898, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He matriculated at the Law School of New York University in 1900. In June, 1907, he appointed assistant district attorney, and served six years. He served as district attorney from 1913 to 1915, and again from 1919 to 1925; and from January, 1925, to the present, Mr. Wilson has held the office of deputy attorney-general. A staunch Republican in his political views, he is chairman of the County Republican Committee.

I fraternal matters, Mr. Wilson is affiliated with Newburgh Lodge, No. 309, Free and Accepted Masons, of which he is a Past Master; Highland Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; the Commandery, Knight Templar; Mecca Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; and Newburgh Lodge, No. 247, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, of which he is a Past Exalted Ruler; Independent Order of Odd Fellows; and Knights of Pythias. He is also a member of the Newburgh City Club; Newburgh Wheelmen; and Powelton Golf Club. His religious faith is that of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Jonathan D. Wilson, Jr., married, April 6, 1904, at Newburgh, Edith Van Buren, who was born in Galeville, and was graduated at Newburgh High School in 1903, daughter of John Van Buren, who had been retired from business activities for thirty years, and of Sarah (Gale) Van Buren, whose ancestors founded the town of Galeville. They had one daughter, Catherine Van Buren Wilson, who was born January 8, 1905.


For exactly sixty years Samuel Lyman Munson has been head of the manufacturing concern he established and which is now known as the S. L. Munson Company. He has so engineered its progress that it is today known all over the country for the quality and quantity of its output. The Munson trademark on women's wear-

Page 53

ing apparel enjoys a widespread popularity. This progressive industry has, in the course of its long existence, given employment to more workers than any other industrial plant in the city. Mr. Munson has fund time and energy to help in the direction of several other institutions. He has taken a leading part in public affairs and has added the weight of his influence to good government and to every movement making for progress and educational advancement.

Mr. Munson was born in Norwich, now called Huntington, Massachusetts, June 14, 1844, son of Garry and Harriet (Lyman) Munson. His father was prominent in this locality, a large farmer, merchant, wool dealer, legislator, and trial justice of Hampshire County, which last position he held because of the general confidence in his ability and fairness. After his death in 1882, he was ascertained that he had been administrator of fifteen estates at one time. Harriet (Lyman) Munson was born in Chester, Massachusetts, and died in 1860. She was the mother of seven children, of whom Samuel Lyman Munson was the youngest of five sons.

He was educated at the district school, at Williston Seminary, Easthampton, Massachusetts, and at the Bryant & Stratton Commercial College of Albany. He received his first insight into the intricacies of commercial life by spending two years in the employ of Jordan-Marsh Company of Boston, where he received first two dollars and later four dollars per week. Following this he was employed by Weeks and Strong of Albany, with whom he remained for three years on their traveling staff. It was in 1867 that he was joined by two other young men, John A. Richardson and Lyman R. Dwight, establishing a business of manufacturing women's linen collars, the fist of the industry in Albany, although a great number of people were employed in the business in Troy. The business with the partners indicated continued until January 1, 1869, after which Mr. Munson continued the business alone for forty-two years until it was incorporated in 1911, with S. l. Munson as president and treasurer, Paul Babcock Munson as vice-president, and S. L. Munson, Jr., as secretary. On Paul Babcock Munson's death in 1912, S. L. Munson remained president and treasurer, S. L. Munson, Jr., became vice-president, and R. C. Folger was secretary. On the death of Mr. Folger in 1922, S. L. Munson remained president and treasurer, S. L. Munson, Jr., vice-president, and E. C. Doyle became secretary.

The business has grown and changed its nature in some particulars, but it remained much the same as in its early day, that is, in a general way, the manufacture of women's wearing apparel. As the business grew, larger quarters were necessary, the present one being built and occupied in 1886 and is very large and spacious. Other additions have been made at Cobleskill and at Richmondville, New York. This establishment was the first to use the button-hole machine on cloth garments.

Several hundred continue to be employed, some of the employees having been with the house for a long time. Conditions of fair treatment and friendly relationship with the managers of the company have prevented any difficulties arising between the house and its employees in its whole career.

Mr. Munson has had many other interests. he is the oldest living trustee of the Home Savings Bank in which he has occupied the positions of secretary, first and second vice-president, and president. He has been director of the national Exchange Bank; a member of the advisory board of the untied States Fidelity and Guaranty Company; president, treasurer, and owner of the Massasoit Wadding Company of Cohoes. He is trustee, and has been first vice-president of the Memorial Hospital. In 1900 he was Republican presidential elector by the vote of 650,000 of his fellow-citizens. He is president of the board of trustees of the Madison Avenue Dutch Reformed Church; he is director of the Albany Chamber of Commerce; he is a life-member of the Masters Lodge of Masons, and has been president of the Masonic Veterans.

Mr. Munson's very keen enthusiasm for the history of his country and the preservation of historical records is indicated by the fact that he has been regent of the Phillip Livingston Chapter of the Sons of the Revolution; a life-member of the New England Society of New York; American Museum of Natural History; American Antiquarian Society, of whose council he is a member. This society has given eleven of its members to the Presidency of the Untied States. He is a member of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. He has been an extensive traveler for many years. He has been twice around the world and frequently in various countries. He has talked before many societies of his travels, especially of his being wrecked in the West Indies, under very harrowing conditions.

Mr. Munson's fad is the collection of American Almanacs, of which he was 16,000, the largest collection in the world. His clubs are:

Page 54

The Fort Orange, the Country, of Albany, and the Republican of New York.

On May 21, 1868, Samuel Lyman Munson was married to Susan Babcock Hopkins, only daughter of Lemuel J. and Hannah (Babcock) Hopkins. There have been seven children born to him. 1. Harriet L., married to Robert Lyman of the managing end of the "New York World." 2. Annie H., deceased. 3. Edward G., married to Estelle Healey. 4. Paul Babcock, deceased. 5. Samuel Lyman, Jr., a graduate of Harvard. 6. Amy Treadwell, married John B. Benson. 7. Robert, married Mary Rowan. Mr. Munson is the grandfather of three boys, and five girls.


Engaged in a general insurance business since he completed his education in 1916, Allen David Potter, of Ellenville, is one of the rising young business men of the town and upstanding citizen of exceptional merit, and comes of fine pioneer stock.

He was born in Ellenville, April 10, 1894, a son of Frank J. and Libby May (Penny) Potter. His father was of English origin, his ancestors having emigrated to the United States in Colonial days, and many of them having served their adopted country during the War of the Revolution. Frank J. Potter, a native of Ellenville, was president of the village and a merchant of success. For twenty-five years he was president of the Ulster County Agricultural Society. He was also president of the Beaver Dam Club. His family founded the town of Potterville, Ulster County.

Allen David Potter received his education in the Ellenville public schools, and was graduated from the high school in 1911. Five years later he took a course at Eastman's business College, from which he graduated in 1916. He at once entered the insurance business, associating with John M. Watson, who retired in 1917, since which time he has carried the business alone, representing old line fire and life insurance companies. He is one of the founders of the Shawangunk country club, Incorporated, laid out its course, and is chairman of the greens committee. He is a director in the First National Bank of Woodridge, New York; a Republican in politics and takes a keen interest in political work. In 1918 he served as town clerk, by appointment. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and is affiliated with many fraternal organizations, among them being Wawarsing Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Royal Arch Masons, and the Knights of Pythias. He belongs to the Southern Ulster Fish and Game Club, is a member and a trustee of the Pioneer Engine Company and a member of the Orange County Country Club.

Mr. Potter married, in Circleville, New York, September 8, 1921, Helen Mills Santee, daughter of Milton H. Santee, a retired merchant, of French descent, and of Bertha (Mills) Santee of Colonial Dutch ancestry. Their children are: 1. Elizabeth Santee, born October 28, 1922. 2. Frank J., born February 17, 1924.


Continuous practice of the medical profession for more then half a century in Ellenville and its vicinity has brought to Benjamin Franklin Neal a glowing reputation for scientific excellence. Never deviating from his principle that the best is none too good for the victims of illness in any form. Dr. Neal began his work with a foundation of sound elementary and medical education, afterwards adding to the knowledge by extended courses under instructors of fame and by omnivorous reading of every sort of literature that gave promise of a broader education. A man of alluring personality, he has been ever a radiant light to those unfortunates who have availed themselves of his scientific knowledge, while his intense interest in all matters affecting his fellow-citizens has brought to him an added circle of friends in all walks, who illustrate their appreciation by unwavering faith and a pride in being one of that circle.

Dr. Neal was born in Lisbon, Maine, February 25, 1853, a son of Albert C. and Octavia Tibbits (Whitney) Neal. Albert C. Neal served during the entire Civil War as paymaster for the Government, with station in Washington, afterwards being employed in the United States pension bureau in the Capital City, where he was engaged in writing the records of every soldier of the Union Army, a task upon which he was steadily at work at the time of his death in 1915. The first Neal to come to this country was an English actor, who had abandoned his occupation to associate himself with the very early Pilgrims. The Whitney family also emigrated to this country in the very early days, coming here from Scotland prior to the year 1650. There were two children of the couple, Benjamin Franklin, and Mary Jane Neal Horne, the last named now a resident of Sommerville, Massachusetts.

Benjamin Franklin Neal received his education in the public school at Lisbon, afterwards attending the Portland Preparatory School and

Page 55

then going to Bowdoin College, from which he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He followed this course with one at Dartmouth College, from which he was graduated in 1876 with the degree of Doctor of medicine. Continuing his studies, he went to New York City, and there took the post-graduate course at the Post Graduate Hospital. He began his independent practice in Lincolnville, Maine, where he remained for six years, then removing to Gardiner, where he practiced for two years. Still unsettled, in his decision for a permanent practicing residence, he went to Belgrade for six years. It was at this time that he determined to take additional instruction, specializing in surgery and selecting the New York Post Graduate Hospital for this work. Returning from that city, he established himself in practice in Ellenville, in 1888, where he has since remained. Since 1924 he has been dean of the staff of the Memorial Hospital at Ellenville, where he has done the major portion of the operations performed in that institution. He also is a member of the staffs of the Benedictine Hospital, in Kingston, and the Thrall Hospital and Sanitarium of Middletown. In Ellenville he is health officer. He is a member of the Maine Medical Association; the Kingston Medial Association; New York State Medical association; since 1890 a member of the State Board of Pharmacy. He took post-graduate courses in Electro-Therapeutics, new York City, 1922 and 1925. His political affiliation is with the Democratic party. He is a member of and examiner for the Junior Order United American Mechanics; belongs to Wawarsing Lodge, No. 282, Free and Accepted Masons, and is Past Master of Chapter No. 246, Royal Arch Masons. His other fraternal associations are with Rondout Commandery, No. 52, Knights Templar; Lodge No. 500, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and Mecca Temple, of New York, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. His church is the Presbyterian.

Dr. Neal married, in August, 1881, Anna Hill Marson, daughter of Samuel Marson, of East Pittston, Maine.


Among the leading executives of New York State is Charles Gibson, head of Gibson-Snow Company, Incorporated, one of the largest concerns of its kind in the world, being reputed to handle a volume of business in excess of any other wholesale drug company in the United States, and with its main office in Albany, New York. Although this great concern takes up a large part of Mr. Gibson's time, he is never too busy to interest himself in any movement which tends toward civic betterment, and his financial resources, are also given to the cause of church and charity.

Rev. David Gibson, father of Charles Gibson, was born in Pocklington, Yorkshire, England, December 12, 1823, died in Poughkeepsie, New York, February 7, 1899. He received his early education in England and at the age of twenty-two years came to the United States, settling near Grand gorge, Delaware County, New York, where he began the study of theology, and it was here that he ordained to the ministry of the Methodist faith. He subsequently served as pastor of many churches, the old law of itinerancy necessitating frequent changes of ministers. The Rev. David Gibson was also a member of the New York Conference of Methodist churches. He married, in 1851, Caroline Mattice, daughter of Peter Mattice, of Middleburg, a direct descendent of a fine old Holland family of Schoharie County, New York, and they became the parents of four children: Ellen E., widow of George P. Humphrey, of Sidney, New York; Charles, of whom further; Eugenia, wife of Charles Mitchell of Albany; and Cornelia, deceased.

Charles Gibson, son of Rev. David and Caroline (Mattice) Gibson, was born in Davenport, Delaware County, New York, January 26, 1855, and was educated in the district schools and under the private tutelage of his father, who was anxious that his children should secure a fine English education. In 1870, at the age of fifteen years, Charles Gibson located in Albany and began his long connection with the drug business, which has lasted over a period of half a century. His first position was in the employ of A. McClure & company, wholesale druggists, and from the time of entering that company, February 28, 1970, he began almost immediately to advance so that in 1883 he was admitted to membership in the firm. At that time, Mr. W. J. Walker, a lifelong associate of Mr. Gibson's in the business, was also admitted to the firm, but the organization continued to do business under the name of A. McClure & company until the death of Archibald McClure in the fall of 1887, when the firm name was changed to McClure, Walker & Gibson, at that time the senior member being William H. McClure. In 1892, when Mr. McClure retired from the business the two partners continued as Walker & Gibson, and for twelve years, or until 1904, the business was conducted under that name, when Mr. Walker died, leaving Mr. Gibson

Page 56

sole owner, but continuing under the old name, until 1917, when the business was incorporated under the firm name of Gibson-Snow Company, In the meantime, the business had grown to vast proportions, including branches in Syracuse, Rochester, buffalo and troy, all handling drugs, druggists' supplies, chemicals, and essential oils. Located at first at No. 76 State Street, Albany, the firm moved to its present location on Broadway in 1914. The personnel of the company at the present time (1927) are: Charles Gibson, chairman of the board; William W. Gibson, president; George P. Evans, vice-president and treasurer; Willis A. Bellinger, secretary; and this great organization, which had been built up with the utmost care and under the highest business policies employs five hundred people and does business over an area of 75,000 square miles.

Fifty-six years of continuous service in the drug business with the same house and in the same city, involving the rise from office boy to his present position, is the story of Mr. Gibson's business career in a nutshell, and it needs no other record nor eulogy, for no greater praise could be bestowed than the mere statement of these facts. The growth of the business has been steady and consistently successful, the present corporation being a merger with the C. W. Snow Company of Syracuse. The principal seat of business is in Albany as it always has been, the Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo stores, being only subsidiaries of the parent company.

In spite of all the consuming demands made upon his time in this gigantic enterprise, Mr. Gibson has not confined himself entirely to interest of the drug business, for he is also vice-president and trustee of the National Savings Bank of Albany; director of the New York State Bank of Albany; president of the Albany College of Pharmacy; trustee of the Albany Medical College; president of the Albany Hospital; trustee for the Home of the Aged; trustees of Wesleyan University; trustee of the Union University; treasurer of the trustees of Troy Annual Conference; and when Albany Hospital made its appeal to the public for $300,000 a few years before the World War, Mr. Gibson was chairman of the committee in charge of that campaign. It was the city's first big drive for funds and Mr. Gibson put it "over the top" in such an efficient manner that when, during the World War, the Red Cross made its drive for funds in twelve counties, it was Mr. Gibson who was placed in charge of that, and he conducted a drive which netted approximately $2,000,000. He was also in charge of the Salvation Army fund and of the Near East Relief Campaign. He has never held nor sought public office. He is a member and a director of the Albany Chamber of Commerce; member of the Rotary Club; Albany Automobile Club; Wesleyan Alumni Association of Eastern New York; Albany Institute and Historical and Art Society; Albany Burns Club; Mendelssohn Club; St. George's Benevolent Society; Albany Country Club; Fort Orange Club; Chemists' Club of New York City; Drug and Chemical Club of New York City; Ausable Lake and Forest Club, Essex County, New York. His religious affiliation is with the Methodist faith, especially with the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church of Albany, with which he and his family are closely identified in its various activities.

On July 1, 1883, Charles Gibson married Anna E. Walker, daughter of John and Frances (Ginn) Walker of Albany, and sister if his former business associate, William J. Walker. Mrs. Gibson passed away November 8, 1911, after twenty-seven years of loving cooperation with her husband in his work and his philanthropies. She was, during her lifetime, especially prominent in church missions and philanthropies and a beloved figure among the women to whom the success of such movements is largely responsible. Mrs. Gibson was treasurer of the Women's Foreign Missionary Society of the Troy Conference and one of the board of managers of St. Margaret's Home and Hospital in Albany. To Charles and Anna E (Walker) Gibson. Were born four children: one son and three daughters: 1. William W., president of the Gibson-Snow company, Incorporated, was a captain during the World War, and married Helen Jones, from which union have been born three sons, William W., Jr., Charles (2), and Edward Jones. 2. Mary. 3. Clara, a graduate of Vassar College and now Mrs. Charles B. Heisler of Albany, and mother of Anna, Betty John Edward, Cornelia, Prudence and Mary Heisler. 4. Henrietta, also a graduate of Vassar. The family home is in Albany, and Mr. Gibson also owns a beautiful summer home called "The Poplars" at Keene Valley, Essex County, New York, where he delights in our-of-doors sports and whatever pleasures the region affords. He is a genuine, whole-souled American business man, who, whether he works or plays does it with a hearty will and so derives the maximum from life; but not selfishly, for every blessing which he enjoys he chooses to share with his friends whoa re legion, many of whom are less fortunate than himself.


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]