Genealogical & Family History of Northern, NY
Pages 757-764

William Richard Cutter, A. M.
Editorial Supervisor

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam


KNOWLES. The surname Knowles is identical with the ancient English Knollys, which is found spelled ina great variety of ways in both English and American records.

(I) Thomas Knowles, immigrant ancestor, was born in England and was in New Haven, Connecticut as early as 1645. He sailed from New Haven in the new ship "New Haven," for Liverpool in January, 1646, and was lost with that ship. His widow, Elizabeth, of New Haven, married (second), in 1650, Nicholas Knell. Children of Knowles, born in England: 1. Thomas. 2. Eleazer, mentioned below.

(II) Eleazer, son of Thomas Knowles, was probably born in England. He settled in Stratford, Connecticut, and married Jane Porter. Children: 1. Eleazer. 2. Thomas. Perhaps others.

(III) Eleazer (2), son of Eleazer (1) Knowles, was born in Stratford, Connecticut, about 1650. He was one of the original signers of the compact for the settlement of Woodbury, Connecticut, February 16, 1672, and was one of the first settlers on the Pomperague plantation, as it was originally called, about 1673. He died January 3, 1731. His wife, Mary, died October 24, 1732, at Woodbury. Children, born at Woodbury: 1. Thomas, December 26, 1683. 2. Isaac, died young. 3. Mary, born March 22, 1686-87. 4. Ann, January 5, 1688-89. 5. Samuel, April 15, 1691, mentioned below. 6. Isaac, July 28, 1696. 7. Elizabeth, March 30, 1697-98.

(IV) Samuel, son of Eleazer (2) Knowles, was born in Woodbury, April 15, 1691. He married (first) Huldah Mitchell, who died February 1, 1727; (second) Elizabeth Brown; (third) October 28, 1744, mary Wooster, widow. Child of first wife, born at Woodbury: 1. Eleazer, May 29, 1726, died young. Children of second wife: 2. Thomas, baptized at Woodbury, July 28, 1728. 3. Huldah, born June, 1730. 4. Ann, August 5, 1732. 5. Mary, November 16, 1734. 6. Eleazer, March 22, 1737, mentioned below. 7. Betty, baptized November, 1739. 8. Mercy, baptized May 16, 1742.

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(V) Eleazer (3), son of Samuel Knowles, was born in Woodbury, March 22, 1737, died in 1814. He was commissary in the American Army during the Revolution, in a Connecticut regiment. In March, 1786, he removed to Lotana, afterward Freehold, now Greeneville, Greene County, New York. He married, in 1764, Hannah Mitchell. Children: 1. El (son, the first syllable of the name Eleazer, so common in the family), baptized at Woodbury, October 4, 1767. 2. Liberty Washington, mentioned below. 3. Eazer (son--second syllable of Eleazer).

(VI) Liberty Washington, son of Eleazer (3) Knowles, was born in Southbury, formerly Woodbury, Connecticut, November 5, 1774. He went with his father's family to Greeneville, Greene County, New York, and attended the district schools there. He was graduated from Williams College and began the study of law in the office of Dorance Kirtland, at Coxsackie, New York. He was admitted to practice in the supreme court of the state of New York in 1809, and opened his law office June 14, 1809, at Potsdam. He was successful in his profession, but in middle life was obliged by ill health to abandon his profession. He turned to agriculture and found pleasure and profit in his farming. He was one of the first to experiment with Potsdam sandstone as a building material. He also engaged in manufacturing in the village and on the Pacquette River. He was a citizen of much enterprise and public spirit, leader of men naturally. The village owes to him the splendid elms that adorn Market and elm Streets. He was a prime mover in organizing various religious and educational societies. In religion he was a Presbyterian, in politics a Federalist and Whig. He was strongly antislavery and outspoken in his views when anti-slavery sentiment was not only unpopular but dangerous to hold. He was an earnest promoter of public education. For thirty years he was president of the board of trustees of St. Lawrence Academy and among the largest donors in establishing that institution. Whenever additional funds were required by the academy, he was a ready and liberal contributor. The instructors always found in him a kind and wise adviser and the students a friend when in trouble. He aided many young men to get an education. In 1811 he erected the dwelling house on the east side of Market Street, now the head of Depot Street, and lived there until his death, January 7, 1859. He married, in February, 1812, at Richmond, Massachusetts, Melinda, daughter of Paul and Rachel (Stevens) Raymond. She was exceedingly capable, helpful and wise, an earnest Christian, kindly and charitable, and greatly beloved. Children: 1. Catherine, born November 12, 1813. 2. Henry L., June 23, 1815, mentioned below. 3. William L., February 26, 1818; graduate of the University of Vermont; was admitted to the bar and practiced for a time; then turned his attention to the insurance business. He married (first) Miranda Partridge; (second) Sarah Bramen, and has two children, Mary and Catherine. Mary married George Gardner, of Worcester, Massachusetts, and has three children. 4. Augustus L., May 11, 1821, died October 19, 1824.

(VII) Henry L., son of Liberty Washington Knowles, was born in Potsdam, June 23, 1815; died March 2, 1892. His early education was received at St. Lawrence Academy. In December, 1831, at the age of fifteen years he entered the University of Vermont, at Burlington, changing afterward to Union college, from which he graduated in the class of 1830.

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He immediately began to study law at Potsdam, completing his studies in New York City, and being admitted to the bar in 1839. He began to practice his profession in his native town, succeeding his father. He had, from the first, an excellent and interesting clientage and he rapidly won his way to a place of leadership at the bar. He pursued his study of law diligently in conjunction with his practice and became one of the soundest lawyers of this section of the state. With unusual native ability and enthusiasm for his profession, he possessed high ideals and conscientiousness. In politics he was originally a Whig, but in its early days he joined the Republican Party, accepted its principles and supported its candidates and platforms earnestly. He cast his first vote for president William Henry Harrison and his last for President Benjamin Harrison. He never south or wished for public honors, yet in 1863 was elected county judge and was on the bench until 1872. He was an able, just and impartial magistrate. From the age of sixteen he was an active member of the Presbyterian Church. In 1867 he was elected a ruling elder and he continued in that honorable office until his death. He often represented his church in the presbytery and general assembly and was one of the most prominent and influential Presbyterian laymen in northern New York. He married, in January, 1841, Jane L., born in Vergennes, Vermont, 1817, died in Potsdam, March 7, 1807, daughter of Alexander and Serviah (Spencer) Brush. Children: 1. William G., died young. 2. Rosa A., born Potsdam, New York, 1844; resides at the homestead of her father, Potsdam. 3. Frances S., born Potsdam, 1846; married C. H. Wheeler, real estate broker in Minneapolis; child, Walter H. 4. Henry B., born 1849, died February, 1905; married Elizabeth Orr; children, William Henry and Margaret Jane. 5. Winifred G., born 1852; resides on the homestead Potsdam. 6. Grace R., born 1854, resides on the homestead, Potsdam. These three women are all workers in the church and Sunday School as well as the temperance societies.

GIFFIN. There is considerable evidence that this name was originally Griffin, as brought to America. Several immigrants bearing that name were early in Massachusetts, and it seems likely that this family is an offshoot of that early located in Charlestown, Massachusetts, though the family tradition places its origin in Northern Ireland, where the name in its present form is found. The records of Boston show the name in many forms, including Griffin, Giving, Givin and Given, and numerous marriages are recorded between 1730 and 1750.

(I) According to family tradition, Simon Giffin, born 1711, was a native of northern Ireland, and settled early in life at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he died September 9, 1774. He married (first) at Boston, Massachusetts, January 21, 1739, Jennet Lechman. In the records at Boston the publishment of intention makes the names Griffin and Leachman. It seems quite probable that Simon Giffin was born and reared near Boston and went to Nova Scotia after his marriage. He seems to have been industrious and thrifty, for he was possessed of about 3,500 acres of land in and near Halifax at the time of his death. A silver button worn on his clothing is still treasured by a descendant. His first wife died December 27, 1752, at the age of thirty-four years, and he married (second) a widow, Janet Brown, who died December 8, 1775. Children by first wife: 1. John. 2. George. 3. Elizabeth. 4. Simon.

(II) Simon (2), youngest son of Simon (1) and Jennet (Leachman) Giffin, was born July 5, 1740, probably in Halifax, and died November 6, 1820, in Wethersfield, Connecticut, where he was for many years a manufacturer of spinning wheels. 

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He was a quartermaster-sergeant in a Wethersfield Company, in Colonel Samuel B. Webb's Regiment of the Revolutionary Army, and received a pension from the government late in life. He married (first) march 24, 1761, Abigail, daughter of Elisha and Hannah Higgins. She died November 24, 1768, and he married (second), December 12, 1771, Lydia Crane, born May 23, 1741, died December 20, 1813. There were three children of each marriage, namely: Edward, James, David Dodge, George, Ann and John.

(III) David Dodge, third son of Simon (2) and Abigail (Higgins) Giffin, was born September 8, 1766, in Bennington, Vermont, and resided for a time in Hardwick, Vermont. In 1800 he settled on land in Oswegatchie township, St. Lawrence county, New York, where he purchased land on the St. Lawrence River, six miles above Ogdensburg. He was a blacksmith by trade, and operated a shop, while clearing and tilling his large farm. He was active and successful and built five miles of the road from Morristown to Ogdensburg, under contract. An intimate friend of Nathan Ford, agent of the Ogdens at Ogdensburg, he was associated with the latter in securing and locating settlers, and named one of his sons for him. As captain of the local militia hew as active in protecting the river front in the War of 1812, for which he was especially fitted by a thorough knowledge of the territory on both sides of the stream. He died April 2, 1840, in his seventy-fourth year. He married in 1794, Jerusha Thompson, born March 29, 1771, died December 13, 1849. Children: 1. Harriet, born March 30, 1794; married James Stewart, a farmer; resided at Waterloo, New York. 2. David, February 5, 1796, at Fort Ann; died October 4, 17880, at Brier Hill, St. Lawrence county. 3. George, born February 2, 1798, died May 11, 1870; buried at Morristown. 4. Almeda, born March 4, 1800, wife of John F. Davies; lived in a farm on Black Lake, in Oswegatchie. 5. Henry B., born November 22, 1802, died May, 1871; was a farmer. 6. Nathan Ford, mentioned below. 7. William C., born February 27, 1809, died April 21, 1849. 8. Jerusha T., born August 6, 1813; wife of J. J. Mason; died October 18, 1845; buried at De Peyster.

(IV) Nathan Ford (1), fourth son of David Dodge and Jerusha (Thompson) Giffin, was born December 6, 1805, in Oswegatchie, and died September 12, 1891, at Heuvelton, where he was long an active and prosperous business man and manufacturer. As a young man he spent a short time in Seneca County, New York, where he learned the trade of tanner and currier, after which he operated a tannery in his native town in association with his brother William. They sold out in 1830 and Nathan F. located in that year at Heuvelton, where he engaged in manufacturing on the Oswegatchie River. At one time he conducted a general store, tannery, saw, shingle, and flour mills, a shoe and harness shop, and also manufactured pot and pearl ashes. A man of positive character, he was firm in principle and action, never acting without reflection, genial and social by nature, and was respected and esteemed. An active member of the Methodist Church, he was among its most liberal supporters, and in public matters acted with the Whig and republican parties. He did not desire public honors, but served four years as justice of the peace. He married (first) April 20, 1831, Mary Galloway, who was the mother of his children. He married (second) in April, 1864, mary Southwick, of Keeseville, Essex County, New York. Children: 1. Mary Elizabeth, born March 11, 1832, married David B. Thurston, and died January 5, 1904, at Fremont, Nebraska. 2. Nathan Clark, born October 10, 1833; is a lawyer at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where he has served as probate judge. 3. Charles Henry, September 18, 1835, died June 5, 1886, at Heuvelton. 4. Dan Spafford, mentioned below. 5. David, February 3, 1841, resides in Idaho. 6. Edwin Wilmot, born September 26, 1844, died July 3, 1800. 7. William Milford, born February 14, 1850; is a teacher in Chicago. 8. Leverett Wright, February 6, 1853; was a practicing physician in Chicago, and died march 25, 1902, in Chicago, and was buried at Neenah, Wisconsin.

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(V) Dan Spafford, third son of Nathan Ford and Mary (Galloway) Giffin, was born May 19, 1838, in Heuvelton, and died January 30, 1907, in that town. He was educated at Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary and Union College, class of 1861. After teaching school he entered the law office of Morris & Vary in Ogdensburg, and qualified himself for practice, being admitted top the bar in 1861, upon which he entered upon practice at Heuvelton, where he continued through life. He was a member of Company G, 142d Regiment, New York Volunteers, in the Civil War, becoming a lieutenant and later captain, and was discharged on account of a wound received at the battle of Drury's Bluff. Returning to Heuvelton, he engaged in mercantile and manufacturing business and was subsequently active in the practice of law. An earnest Republican, he was frequently called to the public service at home and at Albany. He was a member of the school committee of District No. 1, served many years as justice of the peace, as school commissioner of St. Lawrence County, and was assistant clerk of the assembly in 1884 and 1889. A gifted and scholarly man, of genial and cheerful nature, he was welcomed in every circle in which he moved, and affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and the Grand Army of the Republic. He married, March 3, 1862, Mary C. Shepard, New York, daughter of Rev. Hiram and Amanda (Butterfield) Shepard. The father was a Methodist clergyman and presiding elder, and resided at various places in northern New York. Mrs. Giffin now resides at Verona, New Jersey. Children: 1. Gertrude Theresa, became the wife of William Pitt Rich, of Verona, New Jersey. 2. Clarence Shepard, resides in the far West. 3. Nathan Ford, mentioned below.

(VI) Nathan Ford (2), youngest child of Dan S. and Mary C. (Shepard) Giffin, was born August 29, 1875, in Heuvelton, where he attended the public schools in youth. He was graduated from St. Lawrence University at Canton in 1895, and immediately entered the New York Law School, where he received his degree in 1897. He entered upon practice at once in New York City, where he has since been established. His office is No. 31 Nassau Street. With honor in Manhattan, he is a member of the New York County Lawyers' Association, the City Club, Montclair Golf Club, and the St. Lawrence County Society in New York. While a Republican in political principle, he is not active in political movements. Mr. Giffin is unmarried.

BURKHART. Joseph Burkhart, a well-known mill owner of Greig, Lewis County, New York, is a descendant of a highly respected family, of Baden, Germany.

(I) Martin Burkhart was in active service during the War in Russia in 1812. He married Elizabeth Auer.

(II) Ludwig, son of Martin and Elizabeth (Auer) Burkhart, was born in Oftershein, Baden, Germany, November 1, 1817. He was educated in the common schools and followed the occupation of farming during the active years of his life. He married, 1843, Anna Peistel, and they had children: 1. Elizabeth, married Philip Warns, and died in 1909. 2. Joseph, see forward. 3. Peter, married Minnie Case. 4. Margaret, married Cornelius Link. 5. Mary, married Joseph Karnel. 6. Katherine, married William Rink, and was drowned in Morse River in 1888. 7. Anna, married Jacob Kline, and resides at Old Forge, New York. 8. Eva, married Bennett Weaver, and died in 1899. 9. Sophia, married Adam Thenis, and resides at Utica, New York.

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(III) Joseph, second child and eldest son of Ludwig and Anna (Peistel) Burkhart, was born at Oftershein, Baden, Germany, June 2, 1848. His school education was acquired in the public schools of his native town, and then he served an apprenticeship of three years to learn the miller's trade. Having thoroughly mastered all the details of this calling he followed it for a time in Germany, and them emigrated to America in April, 1883. He arrived at New York City, and from there went directly to Lewis County, in which he has since that time lived. He found employment at Koster's pulp mill, in Lyonsdale, but at the end of one year purchased a farm in that town and devoted his time and attention to its cultivation. He pursued this occupation for some years, and in 1899 disposed of his farm, bought the milling property in the village of Greig, and removed there with his family. During the spring freshets of 1905, which were unusually severe, the ice became jammed on March 29, causing the dam to burst, and the will was carried away bodily. Of two boys who were playing in the mill at the time, one was killed and the other barely escaped with his life. Mrs. Burkhart, who was in the mill at the time, felt the trembling of the floors and had just stepped beyond the doorway when everything was carried away by the flood. The destruction of the mill was a severe blow to Mr. Burkhart, as the money loss was total, but with undaunted courage he erected a new and better mill on the site of the old building, and is now engaged in a prosperous business. Mr. Burkhart is one of the substantial men of the township, and has the well-earned reputation and confidence of all who have had business dealings with him. He gives his political support to the Democratic party, and he and his family are members of the Catholic Church.

Mr. Burkhart married, September 14, 1871, Elizabeth Miller, born in Baden, Germany, November 7, 1851, daughter of Joseph and Margaret (Stoll) Miller, the former born in 1819, and died in 1886, the latter born in 1811, and died in 1870. Mr. and Mrs. Burkhart have had children; 1. Joseph, born in Germany, November 7, 1872; is a miller, and lives in Port Leyden; married Hannah Ripp, and has children: i. Mary, ii. Verrena, iii. Leo, and iv. Sylvester. 2. Peter, born in Germany, February 19, 1874. 3. Philip, born in Germany, march 14, 1876; is owner and manager of the Opera House at Lyons Falls; married (first) Louise Phillips, and had one child, Harold; married (second) Frances Donnelly, of Constableville, New York, and has children: i. Margaret, ii. Florence. 4. Elizabeth, born in Germany, April 14, 1882; married Frank Van Namee, and resides in Lowville, New York. 5. Lena, born at Lyonsdale, New York, March 28, 1885; married Jacob Shaver, and resides at Old forge, New York. 6. Herman, born at Lyonsdale, January 29, 1892. 7. Aloysius, born at Lyonsdale, October 7, 1895. The two last named are at home with their parents.

COLLINSON. William Collinson was born in Essex County, England, and came, when a young man, early in the nineteenth century, to Canada. He made his home in Leeds county, Ontario, and followed farming for his occupation. In politics he was a conservative, and in religion a member of the Church of England. He married, in Scotland, Christina Wallace, of the ancient and distinguished Wallace family of Scotland. Children: 1. John. 2. William. 3. Thomas. 4. David. 5. Elisha C. (mentioned below). 6. Hiram. 7. Sarah. 8. Mary 9. Hannah.

(II) Elisha C., son of William Collinson, was born in Leeds county, Ontario, Canada, January 16, 1844. He was educated there and has followed farming for his occupation. He married, June 20, 1881, at St. George's Cathedral, Kingston, Ontario, mary Ann Chapman, born November 10, 1864, at Leeds, daughter of William Chapman, a prominent politician and lumberman of Collins Bay, Ontario. He is a member of the Episcopal Church. In politics he is a staunch Conservative. Children: 1. Dr. Thomas Jefferson, mentioned below. 2. Myrtle C., born August 19, 1886, married Ray W. Merrill, attorney-at-law, Carthage, Jefferson County, New York.

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(III) Dr. Thomas Jefferson Collinson, son of Elisha C. Collinson, was born in Leeds County, Ontario, April 12, 1883, and attended the public schools of his native town, and the high school at Athens, Ontario, where he was graduated at the age of fifteen years. In 1903 he entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, and was graduated with the degree of M. D., in the class of 1908. He was then on the staff of the Hamot Hospital at Erie, Pennsylvania, and of the hospital at Randall's Island, New York City, and at Dr. Hills' Maternity Clinic, 216 East 76th Street, New York City. He became a member of the staff of the New York State Hospital at Utica, New York, March 9, 1909, and continued there until December 1, 1909, when he began to practice in the village of Lyons Falls, Lewis County, New York. He is a Republican in politics, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has been a member of Rideau Lodge of Free Masons since April 12, 1904. He married, at Kingston, Ontario, March 30, 1910, Alice M. Sands, born in Kingston, February 24, 1885, daughter of Captain J. C. Sands, formerly of the Canadian Royal Field Artillery

HOSKINS. The first Hoskins of record in Lewis County, New York, is Cyrus Hoskins, a farmer of Lewis County, town of Turin. He married Jemima Post. Children: 1. George H. 2. Samuel M,. see forward. 3. Joseph.

(II) Samuel M., son of Cyrus and Jemima (Post) Hoskins, was born in Turin, Lewis County, New York, May 4, 1830, died September 8, 1894. He married Armenia Schwartz, born in Essex county, New York, January 31, 1833, daughter of Henry and Belinda (Jenks) Schwartz, and granddaughter of Captain Jenks, who was captain of a company of United States soldiers stationed at Sacketts Harbor during the Was of 1812. Henry Schwartz was, on the paternal side, descended firm one of two brothers, who came from Germany. These brothers were sons of a German nobleman, but were disinherited on account of their leaving Germany without serving in the army. Henry Schwartz's grandfather, on his mother's side, was commodore Pierre Dupont, commander of part of French Fleet that aided the United States during Revolution. Children of Samuel and Armenia Hoskins: 1. Cyrus H., born March 25, 1854, died 1859. 2. Ida, October 3, 1859; married James Howie. 3. Frank, see forward. 4. George H., April 19, 1866. 5. Edgar C., October 30, 1869. 6. A. Minerva, September 6, 1873, died April 15, 1882.

(III) Frank, son of Samuel M. and Armenia (Schwartz) Hoskins, was born in Greig, Lewis County, New York, March 30, 1863. He obtained his education in the public schools, and for five years after leaving school was engaged in farming. He then became interested in the building trades, and soon was contracting and superintending the erection of buildings, public and private. Many of the large mills in the county, and numerous private residences, have been erected under his supervision. He was in charge of the construction of the paper mills of Moyer & Pratt, Moyer & Williams, Moyer & Palen, Moyer & Son, Moyer Bros., and a large portion of the business blocks of Lyons Falls and vicinity. His building operations have been extended to adjoining towns and counties, and his reputation as contractor is more than local. In connection with his building and contracting business, he owns and operates a saw and planing mill at Lyons Falls, New York.

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He is well known and highly regarded in his community. He is a republican in politics. For three yeas he was president of village corporation of Lyons Falls, and a member of the Board of Water Commissioners. January 1, 1908, he was elected to the Lewis County board of supervisors, representing the town of West Turin, serving until January 1, 1910. He is a member of the Lyons Falls, Tent, 1910, Knights of the Maccabees. He married at Port Leyden, New York, June 3, 1885, Rose L., daughter of John and Eloise (Manigold) Chaufty.

His wife was descended from French families of considerable distinction. Her father, John Chaufty, was a native of France; came to the United States, and settled in Jefferson County, New York, at about the time Joseph Bonaparte acquired his lands in that section of New York. Eloise Manigold was the daughter of Peter and Margaret (Rasair) Manigold, a soldier of the Great Napoleon, and at one time his secretary. he received this appointment during one of Napoleon's earlier Italian campaigns, through the correct solving of a difficult mathematical problem in competition with others who attempted it in response to a call from Napoleon for volunteers to attempt the solution. His readiness and ability pleased his chief, and he was rewarded with the position of Secretary. Margaret Rasair, was daughter of Eugene Rasair and Margaret Mouen, a French noblewoman. Monsieur Rasair came to this country, and is buried at Evans' Mills, New York. Children of Frank and Rose L. (Chaufty) Hoskins: 1. Marion E., born December 27, 1886. 2. Eva L.., June 4, 1889; married, December 24, 1908, Buy F. Harris, and has Frances, born November 12, 1909. 3. Frank L., April 9, 1892; entered the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 1, 1910, as cadet. 4. Carrie A., July 23, 1894. 5. Fred M., May 8, 1897. 6. Florence, June 13, 1900. 7. Clarence C., September 11, 1902.


Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1910

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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