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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.

Charles Tracey

Hon. Charles Tracey descends from a long line of influential Irish ancestry, and has achieved through his own personality a more than local prominence in business and political aflfairs. His father, John Tracey, a man of high character, came to this State from Canada in consequence of the so-called Patriot war in 1837. Settling in Albany he became officially connected with many financial and charitable institutions, was esteemed and respected as a citizen, and on one occasion was candidate for State senator. He died in the capital city July 13, 1875. The death of his wife, Maria, occurred in 1880.

Charles Tracey was born in Albany on the 27th of May, 1847, and was graduated from the Boys' Academy in 1866. While there he became deeply interested in elementary military tactics, and was elected captain of the battalion of cadets. In 1866 he started on a trip through Europe, Egypt and the Holy Land, visiting the chief centers of art, history and science. There he entered the Pontifical Zouaves and served two years. He returned to Albany in 1869, but in 1870 went to Rome, Italy, where he was captured and retained some time as a prisoner during the siege of that city. Returning to the United States again, after his release, he was for a time engaged in business in New York, where he organized the Catholic Union, which soon had over 10,000 members, and of which he was the first secretary. After his return from Europe Pope Pius IX conferred upon him, in recognition of his military services, the order of St. Gregory the Great, with rank and title of chevalier.

General Tracey finally returned to Albany where he has since resided, and where he soon became an active and influential member of the Democratic party, whose principles he has always upheld. He also held several honorary offices, and was aide-de-camp with rank of colonel on Governor Tilden's staff and commissary-general of subsistence under Governor Robinson. His high personal qualities, his well known executive ability, and his ardent devotion to true Democracy eminently fitted him for responsible positions, and with unusual rapidity he won distinction and honor in his party's councils. In 1887 he was nominated for representative in congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Congressman Kane, and was elected by 1,659 majority over Hon. John M. Bailey, Republican. There was also a labor candidate in the field. In Congress he served on various important committees, pushed forward succesfully a number of needed measures, and was especially active in the establishment of the Watervliet Arsenal, making a speech in June, 1888, in support of a liberal appropriation for "the continuance of the manufacture of large cannon at Watervliet." This act was passed and became a law in September of that year, and was mainly due to the efforts of General Tracey. September 22, 1888, he was renominated for Congress and in November was again elected, this time by a majority of 2,306. His second term was marked by conspicuous effort. He originated the project to deepen the Hudson River to permit sea-going vessels to ascend to Albany and Troy, and introduced bills (which became laws) to change the designs on United States coins, to make Albany a port of immediate transportation, for relief of the State of New York to refund $42,000 duties paid on arms in 1863, for the relief of enlisted men in the ordnance corps, allowing them to collect bounties, and to enforce the eight-hour law on government premises. In 1890 he was unanimously renommated and re-elected to Congress by a majority of 5,078, and during his third term in that body served with the same fidelity and increased usefulness to his constituents.

General Tracey is actively identified with many business and other institutions of Albany. Since its organization in 1886 he has been president of the Columbia Distilling Company, which he had managed for ten years previously, and which was founded by his father in 1838. He is also vice-president of the Consolidated Car Heating Company of Albany, a life member of the Burgesses Corps, and a member of the Catholic Union, the Fort Orange and Albany Clubs, the Albany Press Club, the Dongan Club, and the Manhattan and Reform Clubs of New York city. He has been manager of St. Peter's Hospital since 1882, is a trustee of St. Agnes's Cemetery and the Albany Savings Bank, and a director of the National Commercial Bank of Albany. He was appointed a trustee of the House of Refuge at Hudson, N. Y., by President Cleveland, who also tendered him a diplomatic position as minister abroad, which he declined. General Tracey is a public spirited citizen, a good organizer of measures, a pleasing and forcible public speaker, and a man endowed with attributes of a high order. During the presidential campaign of 1896 he was especially conspicuous, serving as the New York member of the Democratic National Committee of the sound money wing of his party.

General Tracey was married in 1883 to Miss Hermine, daughter of Colonel Duchesney, of Montreal, Canada. They have had five children: Marie T., Charles, Jr., Philip D. , John, and James (deceased).

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