History of Westchester County, New York, Volume 3 (Biographical)

History of Westchester County, New York, Volume 3 (Biographical) – Jürgen Beck (Hrsg.)

Long before this work, here in an edition containing three volumes, two of them of biographical nature, was first published, the authors cherished the hope that it could be a genuine narrative history of the county and wanted to be personally instrumental in achieving so important a result. Their attention was especially directed to the matter by their observations during their connection with the schools, from which they became convinced of the extremely elementary character of the general knowledge of this county’s history, even in relation to the Revolution, whereof, indeed, anything like a well-coordinated understanding is most exceptional among the people, and quite incapable of being taught to the young because of the unsuitability for that purpose of all books heretofore published that bear on the subject. In formulating the plan for the present work they had fundamentally in view a lucid continuous narrative, thorough in its treatment of the outlines of the subject and reasonably attentive to local details without extending to minuteness. These lines have been followed throughout. This is volume three out of three, containing the second part of the biographies of hundreds of important persons.

History of Westchester County, New York, Volume 3 (Biographical)

History of Westchester County, New York, Volume 3 (Biographical).

Format: eBook.

History of Westchester County, New York, Volume 3 (Biographical)

ISBN: 9783849660031.


Excerpt from the text:



 The distinguished gentleman whose name introduces this memoir had passed his seventy-fifth mile-post when death released him from this mortal life, on December 6, 1898, and could look back with just pride over a public career replete with activity and usefulness. No one who has been a citizen of White Plains is more deserving of honorable mention in the present work than he.

 Mr. Robertson was born at the family homestead in Bedford, Westchester county, October 10, 1823, a son of Henry Robertson. His boyhood was spent on his father’s farm, and his early education was obtained in the public schools of the district in which they lived and at Union Academy, in Bedford. For some time he taught school in Bedford and Lewisboro. Early selecting the law for his profession, he pursued its study in the office of Judge Robert S. Hart, in Bedford, and in 1847 was admitted to the bar. In 1854 he formed a partnership with Odle Close, under the firm name of Close & Robertson, for the practice of law, and this association continued until his death.

The Judge’s taste for politics had its beginning while he was yet in his teens. He took a deep interest in the Harrison campaign of 1840, in 1844 cast his first presidential vote, for Henry Clay, and the next spring was elected to the position of superintendent of town schools, which he filled for several years. He was four times supervisor of Bedford and twice chairman of the board of supervisors.

 His legislative career began in 1848, when he was elected to the assembly, and he was re-elected the following year. In 1853 he was chosen to the state senate, where he at once took a prominent position. Among the public acts, he introduced a bill for establishing the department of public instruction, which may justly be considered one of the most important events in the educational history of the state. In 1855 he was elected county judge, was twice re-elected to that responsible position, and thus filled the office twelve years. He served six years as inspector of the Seventh Brigade of New York militia, was chairman of the military committee appointed by Governor Morgan in 1862 to raise and organize state troops in the eighth senatorial district, and was commissioned to superintend the draft in Westchester county. In 1860 he was a member of the electoral college, and voted for Abraham Lincoln. He supported him again in the national convention of 1864, and during his whole administration was one of his most loyal and faithful adherents. In 1866 he was elected a representative to the fortieth congress, and while a member of that body he voted for the impeachment of President Johnson, and took an active part in the legislation which led to the restoration of the southern states to the Union.

 Judge Robertson’s second term of service in the state senate began m 1872 and continued without interruption for a period of ten years, during the last eight of which he was president pro tem of that body. He served as chairman of the committees on commerce and navigation, rules, literature and judiciary, being for eight years at the head of the judiciary committee, a place of great responsibility, which he ably filled. In 1876 he was one of three gentlemen who, at the request of the president, visited Florida to supervise the counting of the votes for the office of president. On two occasions — in 1872 and 1879 — the personal and political friends of Judge Robertson made a strong effort to place him in nomination for governor of New York, and, while he was each time defeated, the support given him was indeed flattering.

 In February, 1880, Judge Robertson was appointed a delegate to represent his state in the national convention to be held in Chicago in June. A vote was passed at the state convention instructing its delegates to vote as a unit, the purpose being to enable the majority of the delegates to carry it en masse for General Grant. Soon after the adjournment of the state convention. Judge Robertson published a letter in the Albany Journal, in which he repudiated the principles of the unit rule, and declared for Blaine. The letter attracted attention throughout the country and gave its author great prominence in the opposition to the “third-term” movement. It is generally conceded that it was his leadership and organizing ability, more than those of any other man, that broke the power of the “unit” rule in Republican conventions and defeated the “third-term ” candidate.

 In March, 1881, Mr. Robertson was nominated by President Garfield for collector of the port of New York. His political acts having been distasteful to the senators from his state, they demanded the withdrawal of his nomination by the president. This being refused, a bitter contest followed, which was ended by the resignation of the senators in May and the confirmation of Mr. Robertson soon afterward. He did not, however, assume the collectorship until the first of August, and the legislature (he being in the senate) did not adjourn until late in July. His judicial and legislative experience had prepared him for the most difficult duty of the position, the consideration and decision of intricate points of revenue law, — and he discharged its obligations to the satisfaction of the importers and with the almost universal commendation of the public press.

Mr. Robertson was conspicuous and influential in local and state conventions for many years, took an active part in the national conventions of 1864, 1876, 1880 and 1884, and was for fifteen years a member of the Republican state committee. In his political life he was remarkably successful, having never been defeated when a candidate before the people, although his principal canvasses have been made in a district in which the party majority was against him, He achieved this result by the strength of his personal character, his fidelity to friends, his sincere and uniform courtesy, his unquestioned integrity and his legal and business ability. He possessed, in an unusual degree, the “genius of common sense,” an acute knowledge of human nature and thorough self-control. He was also of a literary taste and of studious habits, and valued no less than his political honors the degree of LL. D., which was conferred upon him by Williams College in 1876.

 In 1865 Judge Robertson married Miss Mary E. Ballard, a daughter of Hon. Horatio Ballard, who was a prominent lawyer of Cortland county. New York, and well known throughout the state. In 1869 he built the house at Katonah where he resided until his death. In the community where he lived he was a judicious and willing counselor of all who sought his advice, a liberal contributor to religious and charitable objects, a public-spirited citizen and a valued friend.




 The gentleman whose name furnishes the title to this brief biographical sketch is a rising lawyer and popular citizen of Yonkers, still young in years and with worthy achievements which foreshadow his future success. He received his primary education in the public schools of Yonkers and was graduated from the high school in 1891. He was graduated in the electrical engineering course at Cornell University in 1895, and in law from the New York Law School in 1897. Thus equipped educationally, and endowed with first-class talents intellectually, he entered upon the practice of his profession in Yonkers, determined that his career at the bar should be a successful one, and he is amply meeting the expectations of his most enthusiastic well-wishers.

 He early took an interest in political affairs and views national questions from a Republican point of view. He is financial secretary of the Republican Club of Yonkers, was secretary of the assembly convention of 1898, and has been a delegate to county, judicial and various other conventions. He has ably filled the office of justice of the peace since November, 1896.

 Mr. Rigby is a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon and other college fraternities, and of the Cornell University Club, of New York.

He was married April 6, 1897, to Miss Maude Lawrence, of Yonkers, daughter of William Fred and Mary (Weddle) Lawrence.

 Franklin H. Rigby, Mr. Rigby’s father, is a prominent resident of Yonkers, and is connected with the Prudential Life Insurance Company in New York city. He married Mary Mockridge, daughter of George N. and Marinda (Lyon) Mockridge. Her father was a wholesale hardware merchant in Newark, New Jersey, and her mother was a descendent of ” Robert Bond, the planter, ” of Elizabethport, and also of Henry Lyon, a founder of Lyon’s Farms, New Jersey, and a representative of another distinguished old family of New Jersey. Franklin Rigby’s mother was, before her marriage. Miss Mary E. Adams, who descended in the Virginia line of Adamses. Elihu Bond, one of the ancestors of Mrs. Franklin Rigby, was captain in the patriot army during the Revolutionary war, and performed gallant service for the cause of independence. Mr. Rigby has one brother, Frank Rigby, Jr., and three sisters, named in the order of their birth, Norma, Pansy and Florence.

 George N. Mockridge, after whom George N. Rigby was named, was a son of Elihu Mockridge, who was one of Newark’s wealthiest land-owners during the early part of this century. The old homestead, which is still standing on Franklin street, has been used by the family for over one hundred years, and is still entailed, somewhat after the manner of English estates.

 Elihu Mockridge was the son of William Mockridge, who came over from Wales as a boy some time before the Revolution. He married Jonnah Baldwin, who was a descendant of Joseph Baldwin and wife, née Sarah Cooley, who were among the first settlers of New Jersey.




 The subject of this sketch is one of the leading young physicians of Yorktown, New York, and belongs to a family which has long been identified with Westchester county. Hickson Field Hart, his grandfather, was one of the first settlers of the county. He married Mary Ann Knowlton, a native of the county, and their son Stephen L. was the father of our subject. Stephen L. Hart and his wife, whose maiden name was Jane Drake Morgan, are the parents of five children, namely: Hickson F., whose name heads this sketch; Alonzo K., of Peekskill, New York; Stephen B., engaged in business in Brooklyn, New York; Joseph Waldo and Georgianna. The father has long been a man of prominence in the county, affiliating with the Democratic party and taking an active interest in its cause. Several terms he has served as sheriff of the county. He is now engaged in farming.

 Hickson Field Hart entered the Peekskill Military Academy when a boy and is a graduate of that institution, with the class of 1882. Then he took up the study of medicine, pursuing his studies under the tuition of Dr. A. O. Snowdon, of Peekskill, New York, and in due time engaged in the practice of this profession. For six years he has been located at Yorktown, and has been successful in gaining a large and lucrative practice here. The Doctor is a member of the Westchester County Medical Society, of which he has served as vice-president, and is also a prominent member of the New York State Medical Society, at Albany.

 Dr. Hart was married, June 25, 1891, to Miss Mona Ward, a native of Albany, New York, and a daughter of Thomas Ward and Maria (Van Buren) Ward, his wife. Mr. and Mrs. Ward had six children, of whom four are living, two sons and two daughters, — Julia Robinson, Mona, Thomas Ward, Jr., and Albert. Dr. and Mrs. Hart have two sons, — Ward Van Buren, born October 2, 1893, and Morgan Drake, born January 8, 1899. Mrs. Hart was educated in Albany, New York, and is a woman of culture and refinement. She is a member of the Presbyterian church, while the Doctor is a Methodist, of which church his parents are members. Socially he is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and his political views are those set forth by the Democratic party.



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