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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
William Rufus Rathbun, M. D.

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 713-714 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Dr. William Rufus Rathbun has gained recognition as one of the able and successful physicians of the central part of the state of New York and by his high professional attainments has the respect and confidence of his large clientele. He was born on the 13th of March, 1885, in East Springfield, New York, his parents being George B. and Fanny (Wykoff) Rathbun. The progenitor of the Rathbun family was Sir John Rathbun, who came from England and settled in Massachusetts following the Plymouth Colony. George B. Rathbun, father of William R. Rathbun, was born in East Springfield, New York, in October, 1864. He was a farmer and also owned a saw and grist mill but for the past fifteen years has had a summer resort known as the "Hyde Bay Picnic Grounds" on Otsego Lake, the beautiful lake called the "Glimmerglass" in the works of J. Fenimore Cooper. The paternal grandparents of William Rufus Rathbun were Levant W. and Lavinia (Van Deusen) Rathbun. Levant W. Rathbun was born in East Springfield and was a miller and farmer. His wife, Lavinia (Van Deusen) Rathbun, was born in the town of Middlefield and died at East Springfield. Fanny (Wykoff) Rathbun, mother of the subject of this sketch, was born in the town of Otsego, New York, in August, 1864, and is now living in East Springfield, aged sixty years. She is the daughter of Rufus and Martha (Drake) Wykoff. Rufus Wykoff was born in the town of Otsego in 1842, is now living in Fly Creek, New York, aged eighty-two, and is a farmer by occupation. His wife, Martha (Drake) Wykoff, was born in the town of Otsego and died at the same place in 1918. She was the daughter of Ovid Drake, who lived in the town of Otsego and died there.

William Rufus Rathbun received his early education in District School No. 8, at East Springfield, and in the academy at that place, graduating from the latter school in 1901. He then attended the Cooperstown high school, graduating in the class of 1903. For a time he taught district school in his home town of East Springfield, and in the fall of 1905 he entered the Albany Medical College at Albany, graduating in 1909, with the degree of M. D. In June of that year Dr. Rathbun began practice in Hartwick, New York, and remained there for nearly one and one-half years. In November, 1910, he moved to East Springfield, where he practiced his profession until November, 1919, when he came to Canajoharie, and opened an office at No. 27 West Main street, purchasing the property where he is now located.

In East Springfield, on December 29, 1909, Dr. Rathbun was united in marriage to Miss Lena Winnie, daughter of Alvin and Margaret (Webster) Winnie. She was born in East Springfield on May 6, 1882. Her father, Alvin Winnie, a carpenter and builder, was born in Schoharie county, on January 17, 1850, and died at East Springfield on June 22, 1903. Margaret (Webster) Winnie, mother of Mrs. Rathbun, was born in Cherry Valley, New York, on July 27, 1853, and died on September 12, 1889, at Gloversville. Her paternal grandparents were Garrett and Catherine (Van Derwerker) Winnie. The former was born in Schoharie county, New York, in 1825, and died in Sharon. His wife was born in Schoharie county in 1825 and died in 1916. John Webster, the maternal grandfather of Mrs. Rathbun, was born in 1820 in England and died in Cherry Valley on July 2, 1880. He was a Civil war veteran. His wife, Louise (Pepper) Webster, was born in 1828 and died on July 11, 1859, in Cherry Valley.

Dr. and Mrs. Rathbun have three children: Marjorie Helena Rathbun, born October 12, 1910, in Hartwick, New York; Robert William Rathbun, born February 12, 1912, in East Springfield; and George Alvin, born April 12, 1915, in East Springfield. Mrs. Rathbun is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Canajoharie and takes an active part in church work, was home missionary and is a member of the Ladies' Guild of the church. She is also a member of Springfield Chapter of the Eastern Star, and in politics is a republican.

Dr. Rathbun specializes in the use of the X-ray and in general practice. He was health officer in Hartwick, New York, during the time he resided there and also acted in the same capacity in East Springfield for the period of one year. He is a Mason and belongs to Evergreen Lodge, No. 363, of Springfield Center, New York, and also to Canajoharie Lodge, No. 516, I. O. O. F., as well as to Camp No. 1034 of the Modern Woodmen of America of Canajoharie. He is the examining physician for the Modern Woodmen, as well as for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His church associations are with the Methodist Episcopal church of Canajoharie, of which he is a steward. In political views and efforts he is a republican and he finds his chief diversion in hunting and fishing.

It is a well understood fact that it is the enterprise and character of the citizen which enriches the community in which he lives and as a man of marked ability and substantial worth Dr. Rathbun occupies a prominent position in the part of the state in which he makes his home.

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