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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
John H. Sternberg

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[This information is from pp. 164-166 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

John H. Sternberg, vice-president and director of the Sharon, Seward, and Carlisle Insurance Company, and a leading hop-grower of Seward, resides on the Lunenburg turnpike about three miles from Seward village. He was born on the Sternberg homestead in this town on April 17, 1832, son of Abraham and Anna M. (Wormuth) Sternberg, and is a representative of one of the oldest families in Schoharie County. His great-grandfather, Nicholas Sternberg, who was born in Schoharie, was a lineal descendant of Lambert Sternberg, who carne to America from Germany.

Nicholas Sternberg was one of the pioneer settlers of the town of Sharon, now Seward. He cleared land and built a log cabin near the site where John H. Sternberg now lives. He became very prosperous, and a prominent man in this section, and owned a flour-mill and some three hundred acres of land.

John Sternberg, son of Nicholas, and grandfather of John H. Sternberg, was born on the homestead and reared there. The property eventually reverted to him, and he spent his life in improving it. He built the present house. A man of intelligence and sound judgment, he was highly respected by all with whom he came in contact, and he was an especially valued member of the Lutheran church, in which he held at different times all the offices. His wife, whose maiden name was Anna Shafer, was a native of this region. She died at the advanced age of eighty years. All of the eleven children born to this worthy pair grew to maturity. One of the sons, named Levi, was educated for the ministry in the Lutheran church. John Sternberg served for a time as Coroner.

Abraham Sternberg was born in the house built by his father, and was educated in the public schools of this district. He assisted his father on the farm for some time, and eventually assumed full management, carrying on general farming. He cultivated about two hundred acres of land. As a citizen he was active and well-informed, and for many years served as Supervisor, holding the office during the trying days of the Civil War. He was also Town Clerk for some years. For many years he was a trustee of the Lutheran church, and was particularly active at the time the new building was erected. He also held other offices of public trust, and was one of the first to introduce hop-growing into Schoharie County. He was also one of the original incorporators of the First National Bank of Cobleskill. His wife, Anna, who is still living at the age of eighty-one, was one of a large family of children born to Henry Wormuth, of Sharon, an early settler here, and by occupation a tanner and currier. As was her husband, she has been a lifelong member of the Lutheran church. She has been the mother of eight children, of whom there are still living — John H.; James H., who is a physician at Waterloo, N. Y.; Irving, a physician of Gouverneur, N. Y.; Henrietta, who married Barnabas Eldred; and Jerome, who is a banker in Erie, Pa. Jerome Sternberg has two sons, who are in the same bank with him.

John H. Sternberg obtained a good practical education in the public schools near his home and at Hartwick Seminary. After completing his studies he was for some years engaged in farming on different farms away from Seward; but in 1892 he came back to his native place and settled on his present farm, where he has since been largely engaged in hop culture. He has about fifty-two acres devoted to raising this important crop. Mr. Sternberg was one of the incorporators of the Sharon, Seward, and Carlisle Insurance Company, of which he has ever since been a director and agent, and for the last six years vice-president. The company is in a very prosperous condition, and has a capital of a million and a quarter of dollars.

In politics Mr. Sternberg is a Democrat. He has been Collector of the town for some time, and for a period of eight years, beginning in 1890, he filled the office of Supervisor. He is the only man in the town who has held this important office for so long a time. Mr. Sternberg has been a lifelong member of the Lutheran church, and has officiated in all the different church offices. He is at the present time serving as a trustee of the society. He has also been warmly interested in the work of the Sunday-school, and was formerly a teacher therein. His wife is connected with the church, and has also been a worker in the Sunday-school. A number of their children are church members.

Mr. Sternberg was united in marriage on January 30, 1865, with M. Ellen Eldredge. She was born in Sharon, near Sharon Springs, daughter of Robert Eldredge, a native of Sharon Springs. Her grandfather, Barnabas Eldredge, was among the first settlers of that place, and owned nearly all of the land where the present village now stands. He kept a tavern, and was interested in the manufacture of saleratus. His seven sons, to each of whom he gave a fine farm, became prominent men in their section of the State, and some of them were well-known hotel-keepers. They were active in public affairs, and creditably perpetuated the memory of their father. Barnabas Eldredge died at the age of seventy-two. He was widely acquainted, and commanded the respect of all who knew him.

Robert Eldredge was reared in his native town. He sold the farm given him by his father, and bought another near the church in Sharon, comprising about two hundred acres, and located thereon a house and store. For twelve years he was in business there, a wellknown merchant and a successful one. He was at one time judge of the county, and usually went by the name of Judge Eldredge. He was also a Justice of the Peace, and his opinion and advice were eagerly sought on important occasions. He died at the age of fifty-three. Although not connected officially with any church organization, he was a man of straightforward Christian principle, and a believer in the doctrines of the Universalist church. His wife, whose maiden name was Margaret Adams, is still living at Cobleskill, in the full possession of all her faculties at the advanced age of ninety-one years. She was born in the town of Sharon. Six of her seven children grew to maturity, and four of them are living, namely: John A.; M. Ellen; Spencer, who resides at Dwight, Ill.; and James, who is a merchant and Postmaster in California. Horatio Olcott and Elizabeth are deceased.

Mrs. Sternberg resided with her parents until her marriage. She was educated in the common schools and in Cherry Valley Academy. She has three children; namely, Howard J., Charles A., and Robert E. The first of these, who married Anna Vorhees, is proprietor of a hotel at Seward. Five children have been born to him, of whom four are living, namely: Grace A., who is with Mrs. Sternberg, and is attending school; Julia A.; George V.; and Le Ray. Charles A. Sternberg married for his first wife Lizzie Clark, who died at the age of twenty-two. He married for his second wife Mamie Clark. He is a graduate of Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City, and is now in practice at Gloversville, having gone to that place from Howes Cave. Robert Sternberg married Louise Snedecor. They have one child, Florence Louise, born June 17, 1898. Robert Sternberg was born in Seward and worked on the farm until he was sixteen years old. He then attended Hartwick Seminary for three years, and subsequently took a four years' course at Cornell University, graduating in 1890 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. He then taught school in Blue Point, Long Island, for a time, and has since been appointed School Commissioner of the second district of Schoharie County, succeeding Thomas E. Finegan. He has held the office since January 1, 1893, and is regarded as one of the most efficient officers in educational work in this section of the State. He has filled in his leisure moments studying law, and was admitted to the bar in March, 1899.

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