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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Luther Zelie

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[This information is from pp. 313-314 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.]

Luther Zelie, a wide-awake, enterprising business man of Fulton, Schoharie County, prosperously engaged as a general merchant in the village of Breakabeen, was born in this town on July 7, 1874. The son of Ephraim and Helen (Becker) Zelie, he is the representative of one of the earlier families of this part of the county, and comes of patriotic stock, his great-grandfather, Colonel Zelie, of the Revolutionary army, having had command of the Upper Fort in Fulton during the Colonial struggle for independence.

Peter Zelie, son of Colonel Zelie and grandfather of Luther, spent his entire life of seventy-five years in Fulton, and here married Eliza Vroman. He was a carpenter, and followed his trade until well advanced in years, when he retired from work, and spent his remaining days with his son Ephraim. His wife survived him, attaining the age of fourscore years. Both were devout members of the Reformed church. They had eleven children.

Ephraim Zelie, the father above named, was born in 1839 in Fulton, and obtained his education in the district schools. At the age of ten years he began working out, and from that time fought the battle of life for himself. When old enough to labor at the anvil, he learned the blacksmith's trade, at which he subsequently worked as a journeyman in different parts of Schoharie County. Going then to Cleveland, Ohio, he remained there three years, but preferring to establish himself permanently in New York he returned home, and in 1861 located in Breakabeen, where he continued at his trade for twenty years. From that time until his death, May 20, 1897, he lived on a farm in Fulton. He was a firm supporter of the principles of the Democratic party, and served for a while as Collector of Taxes. He married Helen Becker, one of the two children of Henry and Rebecca (Berg) Becker. Her father, who was a farmer, died at the age of fifty years, and her mother died at the age of forty-eight. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Ephraim Zelie, and of these two are living; namely, Luther and Laura, twins. Laura is the wife of Floyd Mattice, of North Blenheim. Both parents were active members of the Lutheran church, in which the father served as an Elder, besides holding other offices, being for a number of years a teacher in the Sunday-school.

Luther Zelie in boyhood and youth attended successively the village schools of Fulton and the Middleburg High School, and afterward completed the course of study at the Albany Business College. Returning to Fulton, he taught school a year in this town, and then began his mercantile career as a clerk in the store of Cottrell & Leonard, hatters and furriers in Albany, where he remained three years. Coming to Breakabeen in 1895, Mr. Zelie bought out the long-established business of Mr. E. Patterson, a well-known merchant, and has since conducted the store with eminent success. He has considerably increased the original stock, carrying now a complete assortment of groceries, provisions, boots, shoes, hats, gentlemen's clothing and furnishing goods, and also a full line of hardware, in all of which he has built up a substantial trade.

On January 26, 1898, Mr. Luther Zelie was united in marriage with Miss Keziah Shafer, daughter of Joseph A. Shafer, of Breakabeen.

Mr. Zelie is an Odd Fellow, being a member of Blenheim Lodge, I. O. O. F. In politics he affiliates with the Democratic party, and is now serving as Town Clerk. He and his wife are faithful members of the Lutheran church and of the Sunday-school connected with it, Mr. Zelie being the superintendent of the school.

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