Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Biography: Adrian Kissam

Adrian Kissam garnered an entry in Chapman Publishing Company's Portrait and Biographical Record of Orange County, New York. Adrian was the great-grandson of Benjamin and my great-great-grandfather. The following is his entry on pages 542 and 543:

ADRIAN KISSAM, Supervisor from the Fourth Ward of Newburgh, is a native of this city, his birth occurring November 27, 1847, and he is a son of Richard V. and Maria E. (Latourette) Kissam, the former a native of New York City. The latter was a native of Jersey City, but was of French-Huguenot descent, and her grandfather Latourette was captain of a merchant vessel during the Revolutionary War. She died in 1890, when past eighty years of age. Richard V. Kissam, the father, was of the old Knickerbocker stock, and the family was one of considerable wealth. The father, who was a graduate of Yale College, about 1835 located in Newburgh, where he bought a tract of land northwest of the city, consisting of fifty acres, all of which now lies within the city limits. He lived on this homestead until his death in 1869, being then past seventy years of age. Religiously he was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, and politically he was a stanch Democrat. His father was in the War of 1812. In the family of Richard V. and Maria E. Kissam were fourteen children, seven of whom grew to maturity, but only two are now living, our subject, and Anna, now Mrs. Blake, of this city.

Adrian Kissam grew to manhood in his native city and received his education in private schools. When but sixteen years of age he began traveling over the United States. He first went to California, by way of Mexico and Cape Horn, the journey, which lasted three months, being made in the steamers "Sacramento" and "Moses Taylor." For several years he spent the time on the plains and on the Pacific Coast; in fact, he traveled extensively all over the West, and after his father's death returned home by way of Panama to New York City. He took charge of his father's estate, settled it up, and ever since has continued to make Newburgh his home. He has a place adjoining the old homestead comprising thirty-three acres and lying within the city- limits, the family residence being located on Pierce Road.

In 1892 Mr. Kissam engaged in the livery business, purchasing the old Orange Hotel Stable, which was the oldest in the city, located on Third Street. In this business he has been eminently successful and is popular with all who have business with him in that line. Being an old settler himself, he is well acquainted with every one in all the region roundabout, and as a proof of his popularity it may be stated that in 1893 he was elected Supervisor from the Fourth Ward on the Democratic ticket, being the only one elected on that ticket. He was re-elected in 1894 without opposition, his name appearing on both tickets. He is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, of which he is a Director; a member of Newburgh Lodge No. 309, F. & A. M.; the Newburgh Gun and Rifle Association, of which he is a Director; and of the Orange Lake Club. He is a good shot, and stands at the head of the local rifle team. For fourteen years Mr. Kissam was connected with the New York Militia, as a member of the Nineteenth Regiment, and later of the Seventeenth. He has been a member of the fire department of Newburgh from a youth, and has been very active in all matters pertaining to its welfare. Politically, as might be inferred, he is a Democrat. Mr. Kissam and Miss Mary Donahue, a daughter of Patrick Donahue, were united in marriage in Newburgh, of which city she is a native. They have five children, Adrian, Jr., Richard V., Maria E., Benjamin and Charles.

Some interesting points:

    • Maria E. is my great-grandmother.
    • I haven't found a reference to Richard Varick Kissam serving in the War of 1812 but that was a cursory look at pensions which he probably didn't need.
    • I have to believe the move from Episcopalian to Dutch Reformed is the influence of Cornelia Roosevelt. Richard Varick Kissam was baptized in a Dutch Reformed Church.
    • Family legend has it that Adrian lost most of the Kissam family cash... at least that which had been passed down his line.
    • Anyone have a Google Maps link to where the property on Pierce Rd. was located?

1 comment:

willard dunwoody said...

i am a descendant of the roosevelts and kissams. my great grandfather william f. dunwoody married bessie kissam daughter of roosevelt kissam and maria. roosevelt was a son of richard varrick kissam and maria latourette i believe. my name is willard roosevelt dunwoody 3rd. my dad was jr and my grandpa wrd sr. grandpa was the son of willim f and bessie. i am interested in the kissams and roosevelts. i can be reached at willard@versales.com