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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Tracey

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 255-257 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.]

The American chronicle of this branch of the Tracys begins in the early part of the nineteenth century with Dr. Daniel Tracey (who changed the spelling of the name). Of an Irish branch of the well-known English family, and by much the eldest of four orphaned children, a graduate of Trinity College and of its medical school, he was a practicing physician residing in Kings county, Ireland, when the accidental death by drowning of a younger brother, to whom he was fondly attached, led him to decide on a change of residence to Canada. After a shipwreck in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, he arrived in Montreal in the year 1825, having with him his brother, John, then a lad of fourteen years, and his sister, Ann, aged fifteen. This sister afterwards married Charles Wilson, who later became mayor of the city of Montreal, and a senator for life of the Dominion, and was made knight commander of the Order of St. Gregory by Pope Pius IX.

Canada was then in an agitation over public grievances growing out of the "Family Compact," and other abuses of administration. Dr. Tracey, espousing the popular cause, founded at Montreal and edited The Vindicator, the leading anti-government newspaper in the English language published in the lower province. He attacked the government so fiercely that he was arraigned before the legislative council on a charge of contempt, and, refusing to retract, was committed to prison. A local history of Quebec relates that on the night of his condemnation, the jail was surrounded by a crowd cheering and singing patriotic songs. Some of the youthful patriots in this crowd afterwards became leaders of the Conservative party and government ministers. In the spring of 1832 Dr. Tracey was put up for parliament for Montreal West, and after an exciting election, lasting thirty days, was elected by a majority of three votes. He died of the cholera in 1832 without taking his parliamentary seat. In 1837 the rebellion broke out. It was speedily crushed. After hanging all the leaders that could be caught, the English government granted the principal reforms contended for by the rebels.

(I) John Tracey, who as a child had been an inmate of his brother's home, had obtained his education and was engaged in business at the beginning of the rebellion. Although he took no part in the outbreak, word was brought him privately that an information was to be lodged against him. He quickly left Canada and came to the United States, settling in Albany in 1839. After traveling in the South, he decided on New Orleans as a location, but did not long remain there. He returned to Albany, where he later became established in successful business and prominent in civic public life. He was a member of the Democratic party, a friend of Governor Seymour and other public men of his day, receiving and entertaining them socially at his home. His residence in Albany for twenty-four years was the old Schuyler Mansion, in which he had a life tenancy during the lifetime of Mrs. Millard Fillmore, widow of President Fillmore. He served as alderman from the old First ward; member of the board of police commissioners and of the board of education; in 1872 was defeated by a narrow majority as a candidate for the state senate; was a trustee of the Albany Savings Bank, was a member of the board of trade. He was a Catholic in religion, and deeply interested in the welfare of his church and the various charities under her control. He was trustee of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, St. Agnes Cemetery, St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum and a governor of Albany City Hospital. He married, in Canada, Maria McCarthy, daughter of a retired English army officer, Lieutenant Charles McCarthy, a soldier under Wellington, debarred from higher rank through his religion and refusal to take the oath of abjuration. John Tracey died July 12, 1875. Maria McCarthy Tracey, born in the Isle of Wight in 1812, died February 5, 1880. There were nine children of this marriage, four only of whom survived infancy.

(II) Colonel John (2) Tracey, son of John (1) Tracey, was born November 29, 1843. He graduated at Mount Saint Mary's College, Emmettsburg, Maryland, where he took his A. B. and after a course at the Albany Law School was admitted to the bar and began practice in the office of Peter Cagger. After the breaking out of the civil war he entered the army as a lieutenant, and served on the staff of Brigadier-General Michael Corcoran, commander of the Irish brigade, seeing hard service in the Army of the Potomac and being mentioned in dispatches for conspicuous gallantry. He was mustered in as major of the Eighteenth Regiment, New York Light Cavalry, October 15, 1863; was commissioned lieutenant-colonel, December 28, 1864, with rank from November 25, 1864. He was mustered out June 12, 1865, at New Orleans, Louisiana, with the brevet rank of colonel, being then in command of his regiment. In 1867 Colonel Tracey married Katherine Clinion Vernam, who survives her husband, and resides in New York City. Their children are Minnie, Ernest Clinton and Katherine.

(II) Charles, son of John (1) Tracey, was born in Albany, New York, May 27, 1847, died in the same city, March 24, 1905. He attended primary schools, then entered the Boys' Academy, where he was graduated in the class of 1866. He had a natural aptitude for military drill and was major of the cadet battalion. In 1866 he went abroad, visited the Holy Land, and remained in Europe some time, and during the period enlisted and served two years in the Pontifical Zouaves, returning home in 1869. In 1870 he went to Rome and took part in the siege of that city against the king's forces. He was captured and held a prisoner for a time. He returned to New York City and engaged in business. He there organized the Catholic Union, and became its first secretary. He then returned to Albany, which was ever after his home. After returning from his military career in Rome, Pope Pius IX. conferred upon him the order of St. Gregory the Great with the rank and title of Chevalier. His life from this time was devoted to the public service. He was an unwavering Democrat, and first held several entirely honorary offices. He was on the staff of Governor Tilden with the rank of colonel, and under Governor Robinson was commissary-general. In 1887 he was nominated and elected to congress to fill a vacancy. He at once took a leading position in the house, and the first fruit of his labor was the bill for "the continuance of the manufacture of large cannon at Watervliet." In September the appropriation for the Watervliet gun factory was passed and signed by President Cleveland. In 1888 he was renominated and elected for a second congressional term. He served that term with especial credit and benefit to his district. He introduced and forced to passage many important measures, one of which was "to enforce the eight-hour law on government premises." So well was his work appreciated that in 1890 he was again elected to congress. He was especially honored by President Cleveland, and was his spokesman on the floor of the house. He rounded out his last congressional term full of honors, leaving a record without a stain, and at the time of his death was the national chairman of the Gold Democratic party. He took strong ground on sound money, tariff and labor questions. He was quiet, unassuming in manner, sunny in disposition, firm in his opinions, an ideal, true and courageous standard bearer. He held many positions of honor and trust outside of his political ones. For nineteen years he was a trustee of the Albany Savings Bank, as was his father; was a director for fifteen years of the National Commercial bank; trustee of the Boys' Academy; St. Agnes cemetery; manager of St. Peter's hospital, trustee of the House of Refuge, at Hudson, appointed by Governor Cleveland and reappointed by Governor Hill. He was a Catholic in religion, and the beauty and purity of his life is thus expressed by a friend:

"He kept the faith, he chose the purer thought,
Upheld the truth and spoke with cleanly lips,
Untarnished walked the halls where men are bought
And served his country more than politics.
Tol'rant of weakness in his fellowmen,
Impatient only of the gross and vile,
His life was plotted on a noble plan,
He viewed the future with a trustful smile.
Gentle and true he leaves an honored name
More lasting in the hearts of friends than fame."

In 1853 General Tracey married Hermine, daughter of Colonel Duchesnay, of Montreal. They were the parents of four children, Marie T., Charles, Philip and John.

(II) Eliza, daughter of John (1) Tracey, is a member of the Franciscan Order, in which she has taken the name of Sister Ambrosia and is at present Mother Superior in charge of St. James' Hospital, Newark, New Jersey.

(II) James Francis, youngest son of John (1) Tracey, was born in Albany, New York, May 30, 1854. He was for four years a student at the Boys' Academy, and toured Europe for two years as part of his preparatory course. He entered on his return Georgetown University, where he was graduated A. B., class of 1874. He was graduated LL. B. from the Albany Law School, and was admitted to the New York bar in 1875. He studied in the office of M. T. and L. G. Hun, and in 1882 formed a partnership with James Fenimore Cooper, and his father, the late Paul Fenimore Cooper, who was senior counsel, under the firm name of Tracey & Cooper, which continued until 1893. In that year Albert Rathbone was admitted, and the firm became Tracey, Cooper & Rathbone, continuing until Mr. Rathbone's removal to New York City, when he withdrew. His place was taken by Frederick Townsend, the firm now being Tracey, Cooper & Townsend, conducting a general legal business. Mr. Tracey served as state examiner of corporations under John Bigelow when secretary of state, and was lecturer on the law of corporations at Albany Law School for fifteen years. In 1905 President Roosevelt appointed him associate justice of the supreme court of the Philippine Islands, and he took up his temporary residence in Manila. On January 8, 1908, the president sent his name to the United States senate as member of the Philippine commission with portfolio as minister of finance and justice. This appointment he declined, and on February 1, 1909, resigned from the insular service, and, returning to Albany, resumed practice of the law with his old firm. He is connected with various Catholic charities, and belongs to the Cathedral congregation. In politics he is a Democrat, and at times has taken an active part in political movements, but has never been a candidate for political office. From 1884 to 1886 he served as president of the Young Men's Democratic Club of Albany, which did effective work towards securing for Grover Cleveland the support of the party organization and in promoting his nomination. He belongs to the Fort Orange, University and Country clubs of Albany; the University and the Catholic of New York City, and the University of Manila. In 1910 he received the degree LL. D. from his alma mater, Georgetown University.

Judge Tracey married, May 10, 1893, Lucianne Bossé, of Quebec, Canada, daughter of Joseph G. Bossé, judge of the Court of Queens Bench (Court of Appeals), and his wife, Amelie de Salaberry, of an old French family which yet retains its ancestral seats upon the Loire, and at St. Jean Pied du Port in the Pyrenees. She is a great-granddaughter of Colonel de Salaberry, who commanded the British and Canadians at the battle of Chateaugay in 1812, when the Americans were defeated. Judge James F. and Lucianne (Bossé) Tracey have one son, Walter aged sixteen years.

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