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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Geer

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 219-224 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

Thomas Geer, born 1623, was son of Jonathan Geere, of Heavitree, county Devon, England. Jonathan Geere was a descendant in the fifth generation from Walter Geere, of Heavitree, Devonshire, living about 1450, who married Alice Somaster. The parents of Thomas died when he was young, and he and his brother George were left in charge of an uncle, who in order to obtain possession of their property, which was considerable, shipped them to Boston, where they landed in 1635 without money and without friends. George became an early settler of New London, Connecticut, about 1651, and from him the elder branch of the family (the Connecticut Geers) are descended. Thomas had land granted him at Enfield, Connecticut, July 24, 1682. He married Deborah ———— had two children, Shubael, born about 1683, and Elizabeth, who died in infancy. Thomas Geer died January 14, 1722, aged ninety-nine years.

(II) Shubael, son of Thomas Geer, born about 1683, married Sarah, daughter of Thomas Abbe, January 27, 1702-03. He had land granted him March 5, 1700. Children (born Enfield, see Stile's Windsor, Conn., II, 285): Shubael, Jr., and Thomas, born July 1, 1722.

(III) Shubael (2), son of Shubael (1) Geer, was born 1717. He married and had children: Hannah, born 1738; Sarah, 1740; Shubael, 1743; Ebenezer, 1745; Ebenezer, 1747; Ebenezer, 1750; Hannah, 1753; Mindwell, 1756; Walter, 1759; George, 1761; Charles, twin of George.

(IV) Walter, son of Shubael (2) Geer, was born 1759. At age of nineteen (May, 1778) he enlisted with his brother Charles, aged sixteen, in Captain Jason Wait's company, Colonel John Stark's regiment, as from Marlow, Cheshire county, New Hampshire (Marlow adjoins Keene). (See State Papers N. H. XIV, Rev. War Rolls I,. p. 598.) The History of Charlestown, New Hampshire, states that Walter Geer married Lucy, born March 28, 1758, daughter of Benjamin and Peggy (Spafford) Allen. Children:

  1. Harmony, born Lebanon, New Hampshire, June 27, 1784;
  2. Dan, Windsor, Vermont, November 7, 1786;
  3. Lucy, January 29, 1789;
  4. Walter, Jr., see forward.

The History of Charlestown also states that Benjamin Allen married, November 6, 1751, Peggy Spafford, daughter of Captain John and Hannah Spafford, born June 30, 1735, children: Eunice, Oliver, Lucy, married Walter Geer.

(V) Walter (2), son of Walter (1) Geer, was born at Charlestown, New Hampshire, January 9, 1792. His boyhood and early youth were passed with his parents in Salem, Washington county, New York. About the time he reached his majority he removed to Union Village, where he was drafted and went with the militia of our eastern border to repel the British advance at Plattsburg during the war of 1812. He removed in February, 1816, to Schaghticoke, where he commenced business as a tanner and currier. At this time he appears to have been the associate and peer of such men as William L. Marcy, Jonas C. Heartt, Job Pierson; Moses Warren, James Livingston and B. P. Staats; men that for a generation exercised a controlling influence over the politics of eastern New York, and all of whom left their mark upon the dial plate of the world's progress. In March, 1820, he came to Glens Falls, New York, and resumed the business pursued at Schaghticoke. He soon afterwards embarked in trade with Abraham Wing and L. L. Pixley. Was afterwards a partner with George Sanford in the mercantile business. At the time of the enlargement of the Glens Falls Feeder (branch of the Delaware and Hudson canal), of which he was an active promoter, he had a contract with the state for some portion of the excavation, and also built the locks at Fort Edward. Not far from this time he went into the lumbering business with the late James D. Weston and John J. Harris. Their investments and ventures were so judiciously made. and the business so ably looked after and managed, that all these acquired a handsome competency. He was a magistrate in Queensbury, New York, from 1821 to 1826, and member of assembly in 1837, a year memorable in politics for its financial crisis, and the secession of the Conservatives from the dominant party. He was one of the principal originators and founders of the Glens Falls Academy; was instrumental in forwarding the erection of the Second Presbyterian Church building, which was destroyed in the great fire of 1864. He was a promoter of educational and religious enterprises, an active and influential politician, a man of indomitable will and inflexible purpose. He died July 16, 1855, and was among the first whose remains were deposited in the new cemetery, where a handsome and conspicuous monument has since been erected to his memory. (History of Queensbury, N. Y., p. 51.)

He married, in Northumberland, November 2, 1815, Henrietta Van Buren, born September 20, 1792, at Easton, New York, daughter of Elizabeth Newell and Martin Van Buren, cousin of President Van Buren and Elizabeth (Newell) Van Buren. Children:

  1. Elizabeth Van Buren, born January 29, 1817, died 1886, married John Younglove, February 3, 1847;
  2. Susan Cornell, January 16, 1819, died April 4, 1889, married James Rogers, September 12, 1850;
  3. Henrietta Van Buren, January 21, 1821, died August 31, 1898;
  4. Asahel Clarke, see forward;
  5. Walter, March 15, 1825, died October 28, 1848;
  6. Abigail, April 14, 1827, died 1894;
  7. Arabelle, April 14, 1829, died May 15, 1853, married L. H. Baldwin, November 13, 1849.

(VI) Asahel Clarke, son of Walter (2) Geer, was born January 6, 1823, at Glens Falls, New York.

The New York Tribune of July 23, 1902, states:

"A. C. Geer, of Washington, who was stricken with apoplexy at his summer home at Williamstown, Mass., on Thursday, July 17th, died there on Monday night. Mr. Geer was born at Glens Falls, N. Y., on Jan. 6th, 1823, and was the oldest son of Henrietta Van Buren and Walter Geer, Jr. He was prepared for college at Burr Seminary, Manchester, Vt., and entered Union College, at Schenectady, N. Y., from which he was graduated in 1843 with the highest honors. He received from his alma mater, three years later, the degree of A.M.

"After leaving college he entered the law office of E. H. Rosekrans, at Glens Falls, with whom he remained one year. He then completed his legal studies with Geo. A. Simmons, at Keeseville, N. Y., and was admitted to the bar at the General Term of the Supreme Court held at Rochester, in October, 1846. He practised for two years with H. Z. Hayner, at Troy, and in 1848 formed a partnership with Abram B. Olin, afterward member of Congress from Rensselaer county, and later judge of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. The firm name at first was Olin, White & Geer, and later Olin, Geer & Colby. His practice was a large one, the firm being counsel for the Troy and Boston R. R. Co. and other large corporations of Northern New York. From 1862 to 1868 Mr. Geer was Collector of Internal Revenue for the Fifteenth District of New York. On June 1st, 1868, he accepted the position of secretary and general manager of the Walter A. Wood Mowing and Reaping Machine Co., at Hoosick Falls, N. Y., with which he remained for eighteen years, until his retirement from active business in 1886. In January, 1886, in conjunction with the late Orlando B. Potter, of New York, he organized the N. Y. Architectural Terra Cotta Company, of which he was vice-president up to the time of his death."

After Mr. Geer's retirement from active business in 1886, he purchased the residence at Washington of the late judge A. B. Olin, where he and Mrs. Geer have since passed their winters, spending their summers at Hoosick Falls, New York, and at Williamstown, Massachusetts. He married, in Providence, January 24, 1856, Helen Augusta Danforth (see Danforth VII).

(The Danforth Line)

The maternal ancestor of the Geer family of Hoosick Falls, New York, was Nicholas Danforth, born in Frameingham [Framingham], England, baptized March 1, 1589, died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1638. His descent is traced to William, died 1512, and Isabel Danforth, through their son Paul, died 1538, and his wife, Katteryne Danforth, through their son Nicholas, died 1585, and his wife, Alice Danforth, through their son Thomas, married, January 24, 1585, Jane, daughter of Thomas Sudbury. Thomas and Jane (Sudbury) Danforth were the parents of Nicholas, "the emigrant," who is thus described by Rev. Cotton Mather in Magnalia, vol. II, p. 59: "Mr. N. Danforth: A gentleman of such estate and repute in the world that it cost him a considerable sum to escape the knighthood which King Charles I. imposed on all at so much per annum; and of such figure and esteem in the church that he procured that famous lecture at Frameingham in Suffolk, where he lead a fine mansion; * * * This person had three sons whereof the second was our Samuel, born in September, 1626, and by the desire of his mother, who died three years after his birth, earnestly dedicated unto the 'Schools of the prophets.' His father brought him to New England in the year 1634, and at his death about four years after his arrival here, he committed this hopeful son of many prayers unto the paternal oversight of Mr. Shepherd who proved a kind patron unto him."

Nicholas Danforth is mentioned in the town records of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1635, and in that year was chosen deputy to the general court. He died in April, 1638. He married Elizabeth ————, who died in Frameingham, England, where she was buried February 22, 1628. Children, all born in England:

  1. Elizabeth, married, October 1, 1639, Andrew Belcher, mariner, trader, vintner and painter; nine children.
  2. Mary, baptized May 3, 1621.
  3. Anna, baptized September 3, 1622; married Matthew Bridge, of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  4. Thomas, baptized November 20, 1623; recorder of deeds of Middlesex county, 1652; treasurer of Harvard College, 1650-69, and steward of same 1669-82; deputy to general court 1657; assistant or magistrate 1659 until he became deputy-governor in 1679, and again in 1689 until 1692. He married May Withington, of Dorchester; had twelve children.
  5. Lydia, baptized May 24, 1625; married William Beamon; seven children.
  6. Rev. Samuel, baptized October 17, 1626; member of the second class graduated from Harvard College (1643); "distinguished for the fervor of his piety and the purity of his life"; ordained assistant to Rev. John Eliot, September 24, 1650, and continued in office until his death, November 19, 1674; he was an astronomer and made almanacs, some of which "the historian" says he has seen. He married, November 5, 1651, Mary, daughter of Rev. John Wilson. They had twelve children.
  7. Captain Jonathan, see forward.

(II) Captain Jonathan, son of Nicholas and Elizabeth Danforth, was born in Frameingham, England, baptized March 2, 1627-28, died in Billerica, Massachusetts, 1712. His house in Billerica was made a garrison house "8th day 8th mo. 1675," and he was made master of the garrison. He was commissioned lieutenant for Billerica, October 13, 1675, and captain, 1683. He was one of a committee of three to consult the towns of Middlesex county as to fortifications and defence, "28th day 1st mo. 1675" (see History of Billerica). He was selectman, town clerk, deputy and captain of the militia company. He was a land surveyor and "transacted a large amount of business in town and state." He was one of the earliest settlers of Billerica, and the house he built and occupied was standing in 1878. He married (first) in Boston, September 22, 1654, Elizabeth Pawter (or Poulter), born in Rayleigh, Massachusetts, September 1, 1633, died in Billerica, Massachusetts, October 7, 1689. He married (second) November 17, 1690, Esther, daughter of Richard Champney (1) and widow of Josiah Converse, of Woburn. His gravestone in the old Billerica cemetery was in 1901 in a fair and legible state of preservation. Children:

  1. Mary, born January 29, 1656; married John Parker.
  2. Elizabeth, born May 27, 1657; married Samuel Hayward.
  3. Jonathan, see forward.
  4. John, died in infancy.
  5. John, died in infancy.
  6. Lydia, born June 1, 1664; married Edward Wright.
  7. Samuel, born February 5, 1665-66; married Hannah Crosby.
  8. Anna, born March 8, 1667; married Ensign Oliver Whiting.
  9. Thomas, died in infancy.
  10. Nicholas, died at age of twenty-three years.
  11. Sarah, born December 23, 1673; married (first) William French, by whom she had twelve children; (second) Ebenezer Davis, of Concord.

(III) Jonathan (2), son of Jonathan (1) and Elizabeth (Pawter) Danforth, was born in Billerica, Massachusetts, February 18, 1658-59, died June 17, 1710. He married, January 27, 1682, Rebecca, born May 27, 1661, died March 25, 1754, daughter of Jacob Parker, of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. She survived her husband and became the third wife of Joseph Foster. Children, all born in Billerica:

  1. Rebecca, married Thomas Parker.
  2. Thomas, married Rebecca Simonds.
  3. Lieutenant Jonathan, born March 22, 1688; married Elizabeth Manning.
  4. Elizabeth, born August 31, 1690; married Christopher Osgood.
  5. Samuel, see forward.
  6. Nicholas, born August 17, 1695, died 1748.
  7. Captain Jacob, born February 6, 1697-98; married Rebecca, daughter of Deacon William Patten.
  8. Sarah, born August 18, 1700; married Solomon Keyes, who was killed in the battle of Lake George in 1755.
  9. John, born June 3, 1703; married Tabitha Johnson.

(IV) Samuel, son of Jonathan (2) and Rebecca (Parker) Danforth, was born in Billerica, Massachusetts, September 16, 1692, died in the same town about 1749. The inventory of his estate included "one right in a township granted to the soldiers that weare in the Naragansett wars." He married, August 5, 1714, Dorothy, daughter of John and Sarah (Chamberlain) Shed. Children, all born in Billerica:

  1. Dorothy, married Walter Pollard.
  2. Rebecca, married Ephraim Davis.
  3. Samuel, died in infancy.
  4. Lieutenant Joseph, born June 30, 1720; married Mary A. Richardson.
  5. Samuel, born June 24, 1722; married Mary, daughter of Seth Ross.
  6. Thomas, born May 11, 1724; a revolutionary soldier; married Sarah Butterfield.
  7. Benjamin, living in 1749.
  8. Sarah, married her cousin, David Osgood.
  9. John, born February 14, 1730; married Elizabeth Wilson.
  10. Joshua, born February 24, 1732; married Kezia Reed.
  11. Jonathan, see forward.

(V) Captain Jonathan (3), son of Samuel and Dorothy (Shed) Danforth, was born in Billerica, Massachusetts, June 14, 1736, died in Williamstown, Massachusetts, February, 1802. He removed to Western (now Warren) and thence to Williamstown. He was sergeant in Captain Reuben Reed's company of minute-men which marched April 20, 1775, in response to the alarm of April 19, 1775, to Roxbury; service seventeen days; also captain, Colonel David Brewer's regiment; list of officers in camp at Roxbury, recommended in committee of safety, June 12 and June 17, 1775; that said officers be commissioned by congress; also, captain in Colonel Brewster's (Ninth) regiment, muster roll dated August 1, 1775, engaged April 24, 1776, service three months fifteen days; also, company return dated October 7, 1773; also, captain Eighth Company, Colonel Whitcomb's regiment, muster roll dated Camp at Ticonderoga; November 27, 1776; appointed January 1, 1775; reported re-engaged November 14, 1776, as captain in Colonel Wigglesworth's regiment; also list of captains Colonel Whitcomb's regiment from whose companies articles were stolen on evening of December 25, 1776. He married (first) at Warren, Massachusetts, April 22, 1759, Lydia Reed, died August 9, 1769. Married (second) September 13, 1770, Miriam Coowie, of Western (Warren). Children of first marriage:

  1. Joshua, born November 26, 1759, died in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, January 30, 1837; enlisted in his father's camp at age of fifteen; was corporal and surgeon's mate; ensign lieutenant 1778; paymaster and captain 1781; was at Bunker Hill, Ticonderoga, Saratoga, Valley Forge, Monmouth and Tappan Bay. In 1787 was appointed aide-decamp to Major-General Patterson; 1794 appointed postmaster of Pittsfield by President Washington and lived to be the oldest postmaster in the country. Was town clerk, treasurer, selectman, assessor, representative to the legislature five years, 1807 associate judge, 1808 chief justice of court of sessions, appointed by President Madison United States marshal, also principal assessor and collector of revenue for eighteenth Massachusetts district, 1827 member of governor's council, where he ranked as colonel. He married Salome Noble and had nine children.
  2. Colonel Jonathan, born March 2, 1761; soldier of the revolution and pensioner; married Abigail Johnson and had ten children.
  3. Lydia, married William Woodward.
  4. Dolly, married Ebenezer Billings; removed to Cambridge, New York.
  5. Phebe, married Barnabas Carey (2).
  6. Hannah, died about 1786.
  7. Coowie, died in infancy.
  8. Coowie, married Clarissa Tyler.
  9. Keyes, see forward.
  10. Clarissa, married John Hickox.
  11. William Woodward, married Cynthia Noble; was a farmer of Sodus, New York, where he died.

(VI) Keyes, son of Jonathan (3) and Miriam (Coowie) Danforth, was born in Wiliamstown, Massachusetts, June 6, 1778, died in the same town, October 6, 1851. He was for three years county commissioner, represented his district in the legislature several years, was widely known and esteemed for his sound judgment and firmness of purpose. For years he was leader of the Democratic party of Berkshire county. Three of his sons were lawyers, and his daughters were women of uncommon beauty, intelligence and education, all of them marrying professional men. He married, in 1800, Mary Bushnell, born in Saybrook, Connecticut, September 28, 1784, died in Williamstown, January 27, 1867, daughter of Ephraim Bushnell, of Saybrook. Children, all born in Williamstown, Massachusetts:

  1. Charles, born February 5, 1804, died at Washington D. C., December 14, 1885; graduated at Williams College; settled in Leroy, New York, in the practice of law; county judge; removed to Washington, D. C.; married (first) Charity Foster, of Leroy; (second) Diana E. Jones, of noted ancestry, who survived him, a resident of Forest Glen, Maryland.
  2. Ephraim Bushnell, born June 11, 1806; married Elizabeth Pingry Foster;
  3. George, born July 24, 1808; graduate of Williams College; studied law; settled at Ann Arbor, Michigan; state senator; postmaster; eminent in the law; married Mary B. Foster.
  4. Mary Bushnell, horn August 31, 1811; married Judge Abraham B. Olin, graduate of Williams College, member of congress four terms from Troy, New York, judge of the supreme court of the District of Columbia until he was seventy years of age; no children.
  5. Hannah Maria, born October 20, 1815; married Hon. Joseph White, graduate of Williams College, studied law in Troy, New York, partner of Judge Olin until 1848; superintendent of Massachusetts Mills; state senator, bank commissioner, secretary board of education, trustee treasurer and secretary of Williams College many years.
  6. Harriet Newell, born April 14, 1818; married Colonel George Huntington Browne, of Providence, Rhode Island; graduate Brown University; lawyer; member of state assembly, congressman, United States district attorney, delegate Democratic convention at Charleston, South Carolina; 1860, colonel Twelfth Regiment, Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry; state senator, elected chief justice supreme court of Rhode Island, but ill health forbade his acceptance; three children.
  7. Keyes, born January 11, 1822; graduate of Williams College; studied law with Colonel Browne; practiced in Williamstown; judge of local court; assistant treasurer Williams College; town treasurer twenty years, selectman, assessor, member of legislature, and an original member of Sons of the American Revolution. Married (first) Anna L. Lyon; (second) Caroline M. Smith, of Albany, New York.
  8. Helen Augusta, see forward.

(VII) Helen Augusta, youngest daughter of Keyes and Mary (Bushnell) Danforth, was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, January 31, 1828. She is a highly educated, intellectual woman, especially accomplished in the languages, one of the "finest types of the old New England woman." Lived the first ten years of her married life in Troy, where her pastor, Rev. Dr. Coit, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, pronounced her the "most accomplished woman of his congregation." Dr. John Lord said she was the "most remarkable woman he had ever known; her beauty and grace won all hearts." She was one of the earliest members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and in 1893 was vice-president general of the National Society. She married, in Providence, Rhode Island, January 24, 1856, Asahel Clarke Geer (see Geer VI), born in Glens Falls, New York, January 6, 1823, died in Williamstown, Massachusetts, July 21, 1902. Children, all born in Williamstown, Massachusetts:

  1. Walter, born August 19, 1857; graduate of Williams College, 1878; studied law in Washington, D. C.; was assistant manager of Walter A. Wood Company, Chicago office, now president of New York Architectural Terra Cotta Company of New York City and Ravenswood, Long Island. Married Mary, daughter of Orlando B. Potter.
  2. Danforth, see forward.
  3. Olin White, born June 25, 1866, died May 19, 1884, at Hoosick Falls, New York.

(VIII) Danforth, son of Asahel Clarke and Helen Augusta (Danforth) Geer, was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, May 25, 1859. He entered Williams College, where he was graduated B.A., class of 1879. After leaving college he entered the employ of the Walter A. Wood Mowing and Reaping Machine Company as office boy. He rose through successive promotions to the offices of assistant secretary, secretary and treasurer, vice-president and finally president, which important office he now (1910) most worthily fills. Since 1893 he has been a director of the company. The record from office boy to president of so large and important a corporation is one seldom equalled and should prove an inspiration to young men. He is a director of the Security Trust Company of Troy, and has other varied business interests. He is an active Republican and is solicitous for the welfare of the village of Hoosick, which he has served as trustee. He is also a member of the Public Improvement Commission, created by special act of the legislature, on the sewer commission, and president of Hoosick Falls board of trade. He is public-spirited, progressive, and a natural leader. He is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. His college fraternity is the Delta Psi. His clubs are the Hoosac of Hoosick Falls, of which he has been president since its organization, the Troy, of Troy, the University and St. Anthony of New York City. He belongs to the Sons of the Revolution, Society of Colonial Wars, Society of Founders and Patriots. He married, June 6, 1888, Amy, daughter of Willard Gay, born in Albany, died in Troy, April 1, 1891, treasurer of the Walter A. Wood Company from its incorporation until his death, cashier and then president of the National State Bank of Troy, New York. He married Ann Bishop, daughter of William and ———— (Suydam) Bishop. Children of Danforth and Amy (Gay) Geer:

  1. Danforth, born April 12, 1889; educated in public and private schools; entered Williams College, 1907, now (1910) in his senior year.
  2. Mary Ellis, born February 28, 1891; educated at the Misses Master's private school, Dobbs Ferry, New York.
  3. Augusta Danforth, born December 5, 1892; educated at Misses Master's school, class of 1910.

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