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Family Sketches

Surnames Beginning with "K"

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These family sketches are from Landmarks of Albany County, New York, edited by Amasa J. Parker of Albany, N. Y., Syracuse, N. Y.; D. Mason & Co. Publishers, 1897.

Kane, Hon. Nicholas T., was born in Ireland in 1846. He came to America with his parents and settled in West Troy, Albany county, in 1848, and died there September 14, 1887. At an early age he actively entered the field of labor; when seventeen he enlisted in the Union army in the war of the Rebellion and served with gallantry and patriotism as a soldier. Returning home he rapidly rose in business until finally he formed a copartnership with his brother, Pierce Kane, and successfully engaged in the manufacture of knit goods, at Sand Lake, Rensselaer county. About 1883 he also engaged in brewing with Daniel E. and Henry A. Conway of Troy. In 1882 he was elected town supervisor and held that office several years, being at one time chairman of the board. In 1886 he was elected to represent his district in the Fiftieth Congress, a position he held at the time of his death. He was chiefly instrumental in locating the government gun factory (one of the largest in the United States) at the Watervliet Arsenal, and various other important measures received his earnest support. He was a member of Post Patrick Kane, No. 312, G. A. R., vice-president of the S. G. Gleason Hook and Ladder Company of West Troy, treasurer of the Wynantskill Knitting Company, and prominently identified with various other organizations. He was a typical self-made man, charitable, companionable, public spirited, enterprising and progressive, and enjoyed universal respect and confidence. In politics he was a staunch Democrat and in every capacity he was loyal, influential and popular.

Keeler, John, son of Daniel and Margaret (Murphy) Keeler, was born in Albany, N. Y., January 7, 1843. He received a common school education and in 1865 went to work in the restaurant of his brother William, on Green street. In 1871 he succeeded his brother in the management of the Green street restaurant and remained there until July, 1884, when he and his brother formed a partnership and opened a restaurant at No. 56 State street. In 1890 Mr. Keeler again assumed management of the Green street restaurant and since then his sons, William H. and John, have been the proprietors of the State street restaurant.

Keeler, William Henry, son of Daniel, was born in Albany, March 23, 1843, and received a public school education. When twenty he opened an oyster house on Green street, which soon became one of the most popular and famous in Eastern New York. This was the beginning of his wide reputation as a restaurateur and landlord. After successfully continuing the business for seven years he sold out. In 1872 and again m 1874 he was elected on the Democratic ticket as alderman of the Fourth ward and served in all four years. He was street commissioner five years and in 1882 was elected sheriff of Albany county, which office he held three years. In 1886 he purchased the building No. 26 Maiden Lane, handsomely remodeled it, adding dining rooms and other conveniences and opened it as a restaurant, which rapidly increased in popularity. January, 1890, he purchased the Broadway front, remodeled it on a handsome scale and has since conducted the combined structures as Keeler's Hotel, which now embraces eight buildings and fronts on three streets, and is the most popular hostelry between New York and Chicago. In 1877 Mr. Keeler married Catherine, daughter of Robert Taylor of Albany, and they have five children: John D., William H., Jr., Rufus P., Grace and Harriet.

Keenholts, Hon. James, of Altamont, was born in Guilderland, April 13, 1868, son of James Keenholts and Helen (Horner) Martin, grandson of Christopher, whose father was Christopher. James Keenholts was educated in the district schools and remained on his father's farm until he was sixteen years old, when he engaged in the meat business on his own account in Altamont. In 1866 he engaged in the fruit and produce business, which he still continues. From 1889 to 1893 he conducted a livery in addition to his other occupations. Mr. Keenholts is a Republican and active in politics; he assisted in the incorporation of the village of Altamont, and is now serving his third term as trustee thereof; he was a prime mover in establishing the Altamont Driving Park and Fair Association, of which he was made superintendent, and has been a director since the organization; on January 9, 1897, he was elected president of the association. In 1894 he was elected to the Assembly and re-elected in 1895. He is a member of the Voorheesville Lodge I. O. O. F. and Natawa Tribe of Red Men of Albany. In 1887 he married Delia C. Griggs of Cobleskill, daughter of C. L. Griggs. They have had three children: Ella, Anita and Helen J.

Keller, Robert B., son of Jacob and Harriet (Dibble) Keller, was born in Hudson, N. Y., January 7, 1846, and was of Holland and English descent. His grandfather, Jacob Keller, was born in Holland and came to America in the eighteenth century; his mother was born in Vermont and descended from an English family. Robert B. Keller was educated in the Hudson public schools and in 1857 commenced steamboating as a deckhand and rapidly rose until he became master of a steam vessel at eighteen years of age; he continued as such until 1885, when he was appointed United States local inspector of steam vessels, which position he now holds. In 1872 he married Emma M , daughter of James M. Hurd, of Chicopee Falls, Mass., and they have one son; Robert H.

Kelly, Hon. George T., born in Albany, May 12, 1864, attended the Christian Brothers' Academy, and later public schools Nos. 15 and 8, and was graduated from the Albany High School in 1883. He entered the law office of Peckhani, Rosendale & Hessberg, and subsequently became their managing clerk. In the mean time he took a course of lectures at the Albany Law School and Union University, graduating with the degree of LL. B. in 1886, being the honor man and the youngest member of his class. He was admitted to the bar at the General Term of the Supreme Court in May of the same year. On March 1, 1887, he formed a copartnership with Judge John W. Walsh, which continued until January, 1890, when Mr. Kelly resumed the practice of his profession individually. He is a man of refined tastes and of extensive reading in general literature. He is interested in all public matters and in politics is a Democrat. At the Democratic Assembly Convention of 1895 he was nominated for member of assembly of the Third Assembly District, an office which he filled with honor and ability. In 1896 he was re-elected to this position, being the only Democrat elected in Albany county. Mr. Kelly married the daughter of Hon. William C. McFadden of Harrisburg, Pa., and they have three children. He is a member of the Dongan Club, Catholic Union, C. M. B. A., and Phi Delta Phi Society.

Kelly, James J., born May 3, 1833, in Ireland, came to America about 1850 and settled in Albany, where he first learned the boat builder's trade, and later the trade of carpenter, which he has since followed. About 1865 he began contracting and building. He has considerable inventive genius, and on February 28, 1888, obtained a patent for a circular show case. In 1893 he invented and patented the "Capital City dumb waiter," which he manufactures in several dififerent styles and sizes. He has also originated a number of other mechanical devices, and is a member, trustee, and ex-president of the Carpenter's Union of Albany. In 1861 he married Delia Kiernan, and they have four children living: John T., Frank J., Mary A., and Cecelia.

Kelley, Patrick, one of the landmark citizens of West Troy, has been a resident for over half a century, in fact since 1844. He was born in Ireland in 1826, and came to America when fifteen years of age. In 1848 he went into the livery business in Hamilton, Ont., and since 1856 has been located at 1557 First avenue, in a venerable building erected by him in 1836. Mr. Kelley is without doubt the pioneer among the livery men of Albany county now living and hale and hearty.

Kemp, John H., the capable and efficient town clerk of the new town of Colonie, and postmaster of Newtonville, was born in the town in 1849, where his father, Michael Kemp, still resides. Prior to engaging in the mercantile business in Newtonville in 1876, he had been for a few years engaged in gardening in the town of New Scotland. Besides his store at Newtonville Mr. Kemp still operates a farm in the vicinity which is devoted to small fruit and vegetables. His election to the office of town clerk was by a very large majority.

Keneston, George, was born September 11, 1853, in Somersetshire, England, where he was educated, and in 1866 was apprenticed for seven years, in which he learned the trades of plumber, painter, and glazier; he came to America and settled in Albany in 1874 and found employment with the firm of Cundall & Brintnall, then located at 47 Clinton avenue. In 1876 he married Bridget Newcomb of Ballston, Spa, N. Y., and their children are seven in number: Joseph William, Albert Daniel, Frank Leo, Walter James Edward, George, Jr., Anna Clara and Arthur. He started in business in 1878, at 77 North Lark street; in 1880 he moved to 78-1/2 Broadway, and in 1881 to 161 North Pearl street; in 1890 he moved to 677 Broadway, where he is still located and carrying on the business of house and sign painting, also dealer in ready mixed paints, oils, glass, etc. In politics is a Republican.

Kennedy, Thomas, is superintendent of the celebrated Tivoli Mills, Root Manufacturing Company, with which he has had a long term of association, having first entered them in 1863. He has always been a machinist and acquired the trade at Gage's shops at Waterford. He also operates a factory at No. 49 Mohawk street, which manufactures special machinery for knitting mills, and is in charge of his son, T. Frank Kennedy. He was born in County Galway, Ireland, in 1842, coming to America in 1848. He was on the Board of Education in 1878-79. Mr. Kennedy is a prominent member of the Catholic church.

Kenyon, Lewis, was born in Rensselaerville, on the farm he now owns, June 15, 1843, and is a son of Simeon P. The father of Mr. Kenyon was a native of Rhode Island and came to the farm now owned by Mr. Kenyon in 1831, where he died in 1861. His wife was Susan Cross, born in Dutchess county and came to Rensselaerville after marriage, where she died in 1871. Mr. Kenyon was reared on a farm and educated in the common schools and Schodack Academy. He is a farmer and owns about 330 acres of land, the original homestead. He is at present justice of the peace and was supervisor for five successive years. In 1871 he married Frances M. Coggshall, and had one son, Clayton, educated at the Middleburg and Greenville Academies. Mrs. Kenyon died in 1882, and he married his second wife, by whom two daughters have been born, Etta and Nellie.

Kernan, William J., M. D., son of James and Mary (Reardon) Kernan, was born in Albany, N. Y., December 22, 1864. He was educated in the public schools, after leaving which he was for seven years a clerk in the State Department of Public Instruction. He resigned his position there to attend the Albany Medical College and at the time of his graduation in 1891 he stood at the head of his class. He served as physician at the Williard Insane Asylum for a few months and then removed to Albany, N. Y., where he has since practiced. Dr. Kernan was for a time district physician and police surgeon, but was compelled to resign these offices owing to pressure of professional duties. He makes a specialty of diseases of children. He is a member of the Albany County Medical Society, examiner for the Catholic Benevolent League and physician to the House of the Good Shepherd.

Kernochan, Edward L., was born in New York city, October 3, 1870. His parents were F. E. Kernochan and Abba E. Learned. His great-grandfather came from the North of Ireland and settled in Orange county. His grandfather was for many years a large dry goods merchant in New York city, with branches at Mobile and New Orleans. Mr. Kernochan's father was graduated from Yale in 1861 and followed the profession of lawyer in New York city until 1873, when he went to Pittsfield Mass and engaged in the manufacture of woolens. He died in Pittsfield in 1884. Mr. Kernochan's maternal grandfather, Edward Learned, was for many years one of the well known financiers of New York city and was at one time largely interested in railroad construction and mining interests. He furnished the stone for the foundation of the New York State Capitol from his Maine quarries. E. L. Kernochan engaged in business in a pulp mill at Madison, Me. Later he removed to Albany, N. Y., and was elected a director of the Taylor Brewing and Malting Company, and in 1895 was elected vice-president of the same company. Mr. Kernochan is a member of the Albany Country Club.

Kibbee, William Backus, son of Austin S. and Anna (Meeker) Kibbee, was born in Albany, N. Y., February 1, 1852, and was educated at the Albany Academy and Oberlin College. He is in direct line from Edward Kibbee, who, with his wife Deborah, were living in Exeter, England, in 1611. Their son Edward, with his wife, Mary Partridge, came to New England in 1640; in 1643 Elisha, the third child of Edward, lived in Salem, Mass., and in 1683 removed to Enfield, Conn., and was one of the founders of that town and a large land owner. His son Isaac was the first male child born in Enfield. He married Rachel Cook, and his son Edward with his wife, Dorothy Phelps, were among the first settlers of Somers, Conn. Thus it will be seen that the ancestors of the subject of this sketch played no small part in the early settlement of the country. The followmg names of ancestors, with dates of birth, show the Iine of descent: Edward, born May 11, 1611; Elisha, September 9, 1643; Edward, February 2, 1670; Elisha, February 25, 1697; Charles, May 11, 1737; Joel, September 15, 1764; Joel, March 1, 1786; Austin S., November 22, 1822; and William B., February 1, 1852. About 1875 there was a remarkable gathering at the old homestead of Horatio Kibbee at Ellington, when ninety children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren sat down together to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Mrs. Valorous Kibbee, who was the daughter of Allerton Cushman, and so a direct descendant of Thomas Cushman and Mary Allerton of Mayflower and Pilgrim fame. Mr. Kibbee is engaged in the lumber business with his father, Austin S., and they have one of the largest yards and businesses in the State. Mr. Kibbee married Carrie Staats, who is a descendant of Abraham Staats, a surgeon, who went to Rensselaerwyck in 1642 and who was one of the founders of Albany city. They have three children: Fanny Abbott, Austin Staats and Wilham Bertram.

Kiffin, Thomas S., one of the prominent and respected residents of New Scotland, and who for more than twenty years occupied the responsible position as store keeper for the Delaware & Hudson Canal Co., at Watervliet, was born in the south of Ireland in 1844, and came to America with his parents when seven years old. The family made their home in Clifton Park, N. Y., where he received a good academic education. In 1864 he became identified with the manufacture of cement pipe at West Troy, and was for eight years foreman for the Warner Lime and Cement Company. In 1868 he became an employee of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Co., and has by faithful and capable service made himself valuable to them.

Kimmey, Edson, manager of the Postal Telegraph Company at Albany, is of Holland Dutch descent and was born March 15, 1867, being the son of Philip and Jane A. (Hotaling) Kimmey. His father, an eminent citizen of Albany, was born in 1810 and died in 1893; he was State boiler inspector under Gov John A. Dix and in the fifties was a large property holder at Kimmey's Corners, in South Bethlehem, where he built the first saw and grist mill, the tall chimney of which, recently blown up by dynamite, was a landmark for many years. Edson Kimmey was graduated from the Albany High School in 1885 and shortly after took up telegraphy being first employed by the Commercial Union Telegraph Company, under whose direction he opened several branch offices in Northern New York. Later he accepted the managership of the Baltimore & Ohio Telegraph office at Long Branch and soon afterward became operator and clerk for the district superintendent of the same company, in New York city. Later he and several others incorporated the New York and Long Island Telegraph Company, which was the first extension of telegraph facilities ever put on Long Island in opposition to the Western Union. He was shortly afterwards chosen a director and still holds his interest in this capacity. He soon accepted a position as chief operator and was made district manager of various postal oftices in New York city. When the latter company absorbed the Commercial Union, he was selected as manager of the Albany office, which position he now holds. Mr. Kimmey was married in 1892. He has been prominently connected with the political interests of Albany. He is a member of Masters Lodge, F. & A. M., and is identified with the business affairs of the city.

Kimmey, John B., is the son of Richard Kimmey, who was formally years engaged in the produce shipping business at Cedar Hill, and was twice member of the Legislature. He died in 1879 and left two sons: William of New York and John B., who remained on the homestead and is a farmer and gardener, and is also postmaster. He has two sons, Myndart V. and Clarence. Mr. Kimmey's grandfather was Frederick, whose father, John Kimmey, came from Holland and settled in Bethle- hem.

Kimmey, William, was born in Bethlehem in 1829 and is the son of Daniel, and grandson of Jacob. His great grandfather came from Germany in 1755 and settled in Bethlehem, where he was the founder of the family which has always occupied a prominent position in the town and county. William Kimmey was supervisor of his town for five years, also town clerk, and was a member of the constitutional convention in 1894. December 37. 1854, he married a daughter of Frederick Hillebrant, and they have one son, William R., and two daughters, having lost two sons, John and Albert.

Kirkland, George W., born in Albany, February 22, 1858, is a son of Abram S., who was born in Albany county near Slingerlands, and was a farmer and cooper in Albany and in 1861 enlisted and served through the war of the Rebellion. George W. Kirkland went to Michigan with his parents in 1866 and in 1870 returned to Albany, where he finished his education in the public schools. He became a clerk in the drug store of Collins & Kirk and later a clerk for White & Co., lumber dealers. He subsequently learned the trade of wood carver and followed it till 1894, when he was appointed city marshal, which position he still holds. He is a member and past noble grand of Fireman's Lodge No. 19, I. O. O. F. In 1883 he married Margaret Fowler, daughter of Charles Fowler, of Albany.

Knickerbocker, Edmund Chase, is a lineal descendant of (1) John Von Berghan Knickerbocker, of Brabant, Holland, a captain in the Dutch navy, whose son, (2) Harmon Jansen Knickerbocker, born in Friesland in 1648, came to America about 1669. His American lineage is (3) Lawrence, of Red Hook, N.Y,; (4) Harmon, born 1719; (5) Harmon Jansen, born 1748; (6) Peter; (7) Edmund, born 1814; and (8) Irving, born 1839. The last two settled in Albany, where the subject of this sketch was born, February 18, 1867. Edmund C. Knickerbocker was graduated from the Albany Academy in 1884 as valedictorian of his class, and the same year entered Williams College, from which he was graduated with honor in 1888. He read law with Harris & Rudd, was graduated from the Albany Law School in 1890, admitted to the bar in May of the same year, and has remained in the office of his preceptors ever since, becoming a member of the firm in October, 1892. He was much interested in the renewal of the Y. M. A. Library and is recording secretary of the executive committee of that association. He is superintendent of the Madison Avenue Reformed church Sunday school, assistant superintendent of Olivet Sunday school and a member of the Republican Unconditional Club and the Chi Psi Society. He married, in 1893, Josephine, daughter of Hon. Vreeland H. Youngman of Albany, and they have one daughter, Winifred Chase Knickerbocker.

Knowles, Charles R., is a son of the late Rev. Charles J. Knowles, whose father, Eli Knowles, was one of the first settlers of Greenville, Greene county, N. Y. and whose wife, Vina, was a daughter of Jonathan Sherrill, another pioneer of Greenville; her brother, Hon. Eliakim Sherrill, was a member ot the Thirteenth Congress, State senator in 1854 and a colonel in the Union army; was killed at the battle of Gettysburg. Mr. Knowles was born at Riverhead, Long Island, on May 16, 1839. His early education was in the academies at Riverhead, L. I., and Greenville, N. Y., the latter being one of the foremost academies of the State. It was here Martin Van Buren and Lyman Tremaine and many others prominent in State and Nation received their early education; among the many eminent teachers of the academy was a brother of the late Hon. Amasa J. Parker, uncle of the editor of this work. Mr. Knowles has never lost his interest in Greenville or its material prosperity; he owns the old Sherrill homestead, where his mother was born, having modernized it for his summer home. He is the president of the Board of Trustees of the academy. His first business experience was as a clerk in his uncle's insurance office, in Washington, D. C, where he spent some three years; from Washington he entered the office of his cousin, Judge Knowles, of Potsdam, St. Lawrence county, as a law student. Before concluding his law studies, after the battle of Bull Run in 1861, he enlisted as a private in the 92d Regt., N. Y. Vols., organized a company and was elected its captain, and with his regiment served with the army of the Potomac, participating in its victories and defeats, its marches and countermarches through the Peninsula campaign, until after the battle of Fair Oaks, when sickness compelled him to resign. With returning health there came to him the appointment of judge advocate of the Mississippi squadron, with rank of acting master on the staff of Rear Admiral Lee. At the close of the war he settled in Albany, became general agent of the Commerce Insurance Company, and in 1868 was admitted to the bar. In the same year he was appointed manager of the New York State Department of the Insurance Company of North America, and Royal of Liverpool, and Pennsylvania Fire Insurance Company of Philadelphia. January 1, 1888, the Royal Insurance Company decided to unite the New York State department with the Metropolitan Department, under the management of E. F. Beddall, which left Mr. Knowles with the management of the North American and the Pennsylvania Fire Insurance Companies. January 1, 1890, the Philadelphia Underwriters was added to the list of his companies. A Republican in politics, Mr. Knowles has been the representative of his party in the Board of Supervisors and State Legislature, as well as a popular stump speaker in many a hard fought contest in the State. He is a director of the Merchants' National Bank, a trustee of the Albany City Savings Institution, trustee of the Emanuel Baptist church, acting president of the Fairview Home for Friendless Children, vice-president of the Board of Trustees of the Y. M. C. A., governor of the Albany City Hospital, a member of the Fort Orange Club, and of the N. Y. Commandery of the Loyal Legion of the U. S. In the Assembly he was chairman of the committee on commerce and navigation, and in that capacity was largely instrumental in saving to the cities of New York and Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Bridge, the charter of which was in danger of annulment. In 1862 he married Elizabeth F., eldest daughter of Hiram Gilbert, of Albany. Their living children are four daughters, Jane S., Margaret B., Elizabeth D., and MaryG., all of whom are or have been students of St. Agnes School, Albany, and Smith College, Northampton, Mass., and one son, Charles Piatt Knowles, a graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, class of '96.

Koonz, John F., was born in the town of New Scotland, November 5, 1839. His great-grandfather came from Germany and settled in the town of Westerlo. Peter Koonz, the grandfather, was born in Westerlo, where he became a farmer and spent his life. His wife was Catherine Cline, and they had thirteen children. She lived to be 106 years of age, and when 104 years, without the use of glasses, she hemmed a linen handkerchief for each of her granddaughters, the needle work on which would have been creditable to one half her age. She died in Albany. Samuel, the father of John Koonz, was born in the town of Westerlo in 1809. When a young man he went to Albany and learned the weaver's trade and soon after married Elizabeth, the only child of Jonathan and Hannah (Van Burch) Folmsbee of New Scotland. Mrs. Folmsbee was a first cousin of President Martin Van Buren. Immediately after his marriage Mr. Koonz moved on to the farm of his father-in-law, consisting of sixty-two acres, which he took charge of, and later added forty acres more to the farm, and here spent his remaining days. Their children were Mary, Hannah, Catherine, Peter (who died when two years of age), Phebe, John F., Abram, Peter, Samuel (who died in infancy) and Sarah. Mr. Koonz died December 29, 1871, and his wife in 1888. John F. Koonz grew to manhood on his father's farm and attended the common district schools. When twenty-one he married and began life for himself as farmer in the town of Guilderland on a rented farm; two years later he purchased a small farm of ten acres in the town of New Scotland, and in 1865 purchased his present farm of seventy-three acres, and here has ever since resided. Since 1875, in connection with his farm, he has been an extensive dealer in fertilizers, and for four years had his office in Albany, where he had a heavy trade. For fifteen years he spent the autumns and winters as traveling salesman, in the interest of his fertilizing business, the balance of the year being spent on his farm. Mr. Koonz is an active member of the American Protective Association. He has been twice married; his first wife was Nancy, daughter of Frederick J. Tygert of Guilderland, by whom he had seven children: Ellen J. (wife of Jacob Allbright), Libbie (wife of Fred Nickelson), Samuel C., John E. (who died when nineteen from injuries received on a railroad), Fannie, Frederick J. and Daisy. Mrs. Koonz died in October, 1888. In 1891 Mr. Koonz married Miss Jessie, daughter of William Vanderbilt of Iowa, and they have two children, Harlan and Harold.

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