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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Staring John Walrath

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 180-182 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Staring John Walrath, the popular and efficient city treasurer of Little Falls, is one of the city's native sons, his birth having occurred on January 30, 1885. His family is one that is well known in the Mohawk Valley for its participation in the various wars in which the United States has been involved and its contributions to general progress in times of peace. His father, John Taylor Walrath, was born in the town of Danube, Herkimer county, September 25, 1853, and is now living in Little Falls, where he is connected with D. H. Burrell & Company as a foreman. He is the son of Isaac and Charlotte Irene (Taylor) Walrath, the former a native of Otsego county, where he was born in 1831 on the 28th of May. A carpenter and builder in his early life, he later took up teaching and farming, in which he was engaged until his death, which occurred in Little Falls, in June, 1900. Charlotte Irene Taylor, his wife, was born on February 25, 1833, at Middleport, New York, and was the daughter of Dr. Francis L. and Charlotte Irene (Sternberger) Taylor, the former a graduate of the Fairfield Medical College of Fairfield, New York, and a surgeon in the Union army. He died in Rochester, New York, in 1876, surviving his wife by many years. More remotely Charlotte Irene Taylor was descended from George Herkimer, brother of the famous general of that name. Isaac Walrath was the son of Moses and Margaret (Whilmosier) Walrath. Moses was a farmer by occupation and bore arms for his country during the War of 1812. He was born June 8, 1796, and died in the town of Danube, Herkimer county, April 12, 1866. Henry Walrath, grandfather of Moses, was a colonel in the Continental army during the Revolution and played an important part in the battle of Oriskany, in which he narrowly escaped with his life. He married a daughter of Captain George Henry Bell, another hero of that battle. Mr. Walrath's mother was Melissa A. Staring, a daughter of Peter A. and Catherine (Rosencranz) Staring, before her marriage to John Taylor Walrath. Her grandmother, Catherine Feeter Staring, was a daughter of Colonel William Vetter (or Feeter), one of the most substantial and influential early Palatine settlers. Another grandmother of Mrs. Walrath was Nancy Bell, wife of General Abram Rosencranz and granddaughter of Catharine Herkimer Bell, who was a sister of the famous General Nicholas Herkimer and wife of the patriot and hero, Captain George Henry Bell. Mrs. Walrath spent her life in Little Falls. Her death occurred on April 21, 1917. Four children were born to Mr. John Taylor Walrath and Melissa Staring Walrath: The first, Staring John Walrath, was born January 30, 1885; Madge Irene Walrath was born April 1, 1887, and married to Leland C. Wires, on September 19, 1918; Katherine Margaret Walrath was born December 19, 1893, and married to Lyman Stephen Timmerman, on November 15, 1920; and Florence Walrath was born July 3, 1890, and died on June 30, 1893.

Staring J. Walrath obtained a good general education in the public and high schools of Little Falls. When he was about twenty years old he became an employe of D. H. Burrell & Company of this city, working in their shipping room, where he eventually rose to the position of manager of that department. He had been with this firm a number of years when in 1910 he resigned to accept a position as bookkeeper with Sheldon F. Jones, a coal dealer, where he remained for about three years. Shortly afterward Mr. Walrath was elected city treasurer for Little Falls, and on January 1, 1917, took office for the first time. Since then he has been three times elected to succeed himself. It is a very significant fact that although Mr. Walrath is a member of the democratic party and was its candidate for his present office, he received the endorsement of the republican party as well. His course in the responsible public office he is filling has always won him the highest commendation and the citizens of Little Falls feel that they are most fortunate in having so able and trustworthy a man in charge of their municipal finances.

Mr. Walrath is gifted musically and has long been a member of the Little Falls Military Band, in which he has held the offices of manager, secretary, treasurer and vice president. As a Mason he is identified with Little Falls Lodge, No. 181, A. F. & A. M., and he is also a member of Little Falls Lodge, No. 42, B. P. O. E. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in St. Paul's Universalist church. All the wholesome outdoor sports have an enthusiastic advocate in Mr. Walrath, who believes that participation in such forms of recreation make for bodily vigor and mental health.

On November 20, 1918, in this city, occurred the marriage of Mr. Walrath to Miss Lona Mornelva Dygert, who was born in Little Falls, July 10, 1885, the daughter of Otis Warner and Alice Elizabeth (Dundas) Dygert, both of whom were natives and lifelong residents of this place. Mrs. Dygert, who was born March 19, 1862, and died July 18, 1900, was the daughter of Thomas and Nancy (Petrie) Dundas. Thomas Dundas was a Scotchman by birth, who settled in Canada when he first came to America, but later took up his residence in Little Falls. Nancy (Petrie) Dundas was the daughter of Captain Benjamin Petrie of this city, a veteran of the Revolutionary war. On her father's side of the family Mrs. Walrath is descended from one Werner Tyghardt, who came to this country in 1710 with a party of Germans known as the Palatinates. His age at the time of this migration is unknown, but he was evidently over twenty-one, as he was granted land in Stone Arabia, New York, in 1723, and bought land from William Coppernoll in 1730. In the year 1711 he fought in the second French and Indian war, often referred to as Queen Anne's war. His son, Severinus, was a soldier in the fourth and last of the French and Indian wars, having a company of his own composed of farmers from the Mohawk Valley, formed in the year 1757 to repel the advance of the French, who were at that time trying to extend their control from Canada down through New York state into the Ohio Valley. He married a woman bearing the Christian names of Anna Maria, and their son, Werner Deighert (as the name was then spelled) married Magdalena Herkimer, a sister of General Herkimer. Werner Deighert was a private in his father's company in the French and Indian war and was afterward a private in the Revolutionary war, fighting in the battle of Oriskany. He had a farm just below that of General Herkimer. He was killed and scalped by the Indians in 1780. He had left his house after dark, presumably to get firewood, and the light he carried was seen by Indians lurking in the vicinity, who killed him. Werner's son, Johan Jost Deighert, and his wife, Maria Elizabeth, had a son, Werner Dygert, born December 23, 1782, who died December 15, 1844. His son, Werner, born June 11, 1823, who died in May, 1878, was married to Elizabeth Van Slyk on February 12, 1845. She was born June 30, 1823, and died in 1867. Their son, Otis Warner (or Werner), was born in Little Falls, October 14, 1861, and died here February 14, 1907. He was a toolmaker by trade. Mrs. Walrath is the third of the four children born to Otis W. and Alice Elizabeth (Dundas) Dygert: Lester Thomas, born May 6, 1882; Otis Werner, born May 31, 1883; Lona Mornelva, born July 10, 1885; and Franklin Percy, born April 28, 1894.

Mr. and Mrs. Walrath have a daughter by adoption. She was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on May 25, 1918, to Mrs. Walrath's youngest brother and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Frank P. Dygert, but after the death of the young mother, little Ruth Ann was adopted on December 31, 1923, by her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Staring J. Walrath.

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