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This biography is from Landmarks of Albany County, New York, edited by Amasa J. Parker of Albany, N. Y., Syracuse, N. Y.; D. Mason & Co. Publishers, 1897.

John I. Slingerland

The Slingerland family of Albany county, of which Hon. John I. Slingerland was one of the most distinguished members, is descended from (1) Tennis Corneliuse and Engeltie Albertsie (Bradt) Slingerland, of pure Dutch stock, who emigrated to America from Amsterdam, Holland, in 1650. He was one of the first settlers of Beverwyck (Albany), Kenwood, and Onisquatha (Slingerlands), where he purchased from the three tribes of Indians represented by the signs of the Wolf, Bear, and Turtle about 10,000 acres of land located in what are now the towns of Bethlehem and New Scotland. Much of this land is still owned and occupied by his posterity, large tracts of it having always remained in the name. He was born in 1617. His second wife, whom he married April 9, 1684, was Geertie Fonda, widow of Jan Bicker. The line of descent from the original pioneer to the subject of this sketch is as follows: (2) Albert, born 1666, died 1731, married Hester Becker; (3) Johannes, of Onisquatha, born 1696, married 1724 Anne Slingerland; (4) Albert, of Onisquatha, born 1733, died 1814, married 1760 Elizabeth Moak; (5) John Albert, born 1768, died 1850, married Leah Brett; and (6) John I., of Slingerlands. These and others of the family were mainly agriculturists —prosperous, substantial citizens, respected and esteemed, and prominent in the affairs of their several localities.

Hon. John I. Slingerland was born March 1, 1804, in New Scotland, Albany county; when a young man he took up his residence at Slingerlands (in the town of Bethlehem), which place was named after the Slingerland family, and received a good common school education. As a business man he devoted nearly his whole life to agricultural pursuits, residing on the site of his birth— the old family homestead. He accumulated a handsome competency, and was universally respected and esteemed, not honored only by those who enjoyed his acquaintance but by all who knew of him, He was honored for his social qualities as well as for his Christian faith. His was an unusually warm heart, and his purse was always open to the wants of suffering humanity. To the rich and poor, high and low, he was their friend, their leader — ever faithful and conscientious in the discharge of duty, and true to the best interests of his community and its inhabitants. No man was ever more popular among his constituents, and probably no man in the county stood so high in public esteem and confidence. As an illustration of his great popularity it is cited that, on one occasion, when he was a candidate for Congress, he received every vote in one of the towns of his district. He was honest; his word was never questioned; and even his political opponents accorded him that confidence which unswerving honesty always merits.

Mr. Slingerland was one of the foremost politicians of his time — not in the sense in which the word politician is now used, but along the lines of honorable leadership, pure and unselfish in its motives, and ennobling because of its lofty aims and public benefaction. In 1843 he was a member of the Assembly, and in 1860 he again represented the first assembly district of Albany county in that body. In 1847-49 he was a member of the 30th Congress from the thirteenth Congressional district. He served with distinction in these bodies, winning for himself lasting credit and honor, and for his constituents a number of measures for their permanent good. In each position he was faithful, honest, straightforward, and upright. In the trying times of slavery agitation he never lost sight of the fundamental principle of freedom, to which his votes and influence were ever directed, and to which he made every other political course subordinate. Loyalty to country and home was one of his chief characteristics. In a ringing letter of August 12, 1856, he boldly and fearlessly denounced "those twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery,' and advocated the election of John C. Fremont for President — an act which placed his name among the founders of the Republican party. His public life was unstained, his honor unsullied; and he exemplified those convictions bequeathed to him by an ancestry who poured out their blood in the cause of liberty and conscience.

Locally Mr. Slingerland was ever active in advancing public interests. He was one of the principal founders of the village of Slingerlands, named after his family, and was chiefly instrumental in securing the post-office and other institutions. But his greatest effort in this respect, and one that overreached all others in its subsequent benefits, was the Susquehanna division of the D. & H. railroad, which he, more than any other man, secured for the place. He zealously labored for the construction of this line along its present route, locally and in the State Legislature, by having bills passed, appropriations, &c.; and to him is due the chief honor of successfully attaining the desired ends. He died, where he had always lived, on the 36th of October, 1861.

Mr. Slingerland was twice married. His first wife was Elizabeth Van Derzee, who bore him three children; John, deceased; Harmon Van D., of South Bethlehem; and Miss Maria of Albany. By his second wife, Sally Hall, he had Elizabeth (Mrs. Adrian Safford), of Albany, and William, of Slingerlands. John Slingerland, a farmer on a part of the old homestead, was a prominent Republican, a good public speaker, and a highly respected citizen. He married Betsey, daughter of Joel Wicker Andrews, a manufacturer who made the steam apparatus which ran in Charles R. Van Benthuysen's printing-office in Albany the first steam printing press in America. She was a descendant of Lieut. Robert Andrews, an officer in the Revolutionary war, and of John and Mary Andrews, who came from Ipswich, England, to Farmington. Conn., in 1640. They had three children: Cora E. (Mrs. Clinton Cook), of New Scotland; Cornelius H., of Slingerlands; and John I., who died young.

Cornelius H. Slingerland, born in Slingerlands, April 23. 1861, received a private school education, and when seventeen began learning the printer's trade with George Wilkinson in Albany. Two years later he established his present printing-office in Slingerlands, where he has successfully built up, from a modest beginning, a prosperous general commercial printing business. He is a Republican, and a member of Masters Lodge, No. 5, F. & A. M., of Albany, and of the Sons of the Revolution.In April, 1883, he was married to Miss Nellie B. Mattice, of Slingerlands, a lineal descendant of one of the members of the Boston tea party. They have one daughter, Mary.

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