My mother’s name was Sarah McIntosh Clark Eaton (1909-1991). I take great pride in this link to my Scottish heritage. Mom kept an honored place in our home for a chair that was always referred to as the “VanVechten” chair. These two names, McIntosh and VanVechten, have drawn me to beautiful Allegany County, New York.
My mother’s sister, Ruth Clark Hamilton (1913-1998) was our treasured family historian and recorded most of the data that I provide. I sincerely wish that she, who possessed a great literary talent, was writing this story. Much of what follows I credit to her research.
Armed with her information, imagine my surprise when I checked the McIntosh Family Genealogy Forum on the Internet and discovered that Diane Ione Michell of New York City was researching this same family! We quickly learned that our great grandfathers were brothers and that we possess identical family photos! (Ed. note: Diane is also an AHS member)
But there was still that VanVechten chair. How did that tie in? More research.
My great-great grandfather, Daniel McIntosh, was married to DeLana VanVechten. Hmm. With the assistance of Almond historians, we learned of Jean Kellogg, who is of the VanVechten lineage, and is our 5th cousin, once removed. Upon learning this, we knew that we had to plan a trip to Almond.
It was in September, 2003 that Diane Michell, Jean Kellogg of Hornell, NY, Sally Hamilton Atkins daughter of Ruth Clark Hamilton of Rochester and I met in Almond. We spent time at the Hagadorn House, we uncovered inscriptions of some family members in the Karr Valley cemetery, we paused at several family markers at the Woodlawn Cemetery, and paid a special visit to the McIntosh House, 7 Angelica Street in Almond once occupied by my great grandfather, Charles Webster McIntosh (1837-1907). The owners, Larry and Sarah Zeliff , were our gracious hosts.
Charles Webster McIntosh lived, during his childhood, at the home of C.W. Van Vechten. His mother DeLana (Van Vechten) died when he was only two years old. Charles and his brother Elmer Daniel McIntosh were both veterans of the Civil War. Charles enlisted August 6, 1862 as a private in the 130th New York Volunteer Infantry (1st. NY Dragoons) and was promoted to Sergeant, 1st Sergeant, 1st Lieutenant, and ultimately the rank of Captain in 1868 for “meritorious service on the battlefield”.
On April 1, 1888 he was declared permanently disabled, and unable to perform manual labor due to severe injuries sustained to his side and back when he “fell with his horse” against a stump during the war. It was determined that he sustained three fractured ribs in the back right side. He was hospitalized in Mt. Pleasant Hospital ,Washington, DC, , with these injuries for two months as a result of this accident, which occurred at Trevillian Station, VA on June 12, 1864. (He was in the cavalry under the command of General Sheridan when they encountered the confederates. Each side suffered over 1000 casualties in this battle. It was said that the horses in the cavalry were weakened due to the stresses of battle and had little forage for food. ……Harpers Pictorial History of the Civil War.) Charles was present in Appomattox when General Lee surrendered in 1865.
He returned to Almond and rejoined his wife Martha Madelia Upson who died a few years later in 1872. In 1875, Charles married again to Sarah Elizabeth Lewis Bartlett, a widow. Together they had a son Wallace who succumbed to “spinal fever” at age two. Their daughter, DeLana Violetta McIntosh, is my grandmother.
Charles was a farmer and active in Almond community affairs. Following the War, he held the office of School Commissioner, was a Justice of the Peace, Assistant Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, and County Committee man. He was appointed Postmaster of Almond in 1898 and was a Mason. It was written in his obituary that he was one of Almond’s foremost citizens and was held in very high esteem.
Where his brother Elmer spent his childhood remains a mystery. An infant when his mother died, our next information on Elmer is found in his military service. He enlisted in the Union Army September 10, 1861 (age 23) in Almond, New York. He initially held the rank of Private, was assigned to Company “D”, 86th Infantry Regiment New York. He was promoted to Full Corporal on May 1, 1862. He was discharged May 4, 1864. He served as a Hospital Steward in Washington DC beginning in 1864. He was deemed unfit for battle as he had three deformed fingers on his right hand from an injury sustained before his enlistment. Elmer married Sarah Hackney in Washington, DC where he remained throughout his life. Elmer is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, DC.
Sarah E. Lewis McIntosh, (1839-1907), second wife of Charles Webster McIntosh, was the daughter of Ethan Allen Lewis and Violetta Paine Lewis of Elmira, NY. Ethan was the son of Capt. Abraham Lewis, Jr., and Violetta the granddaughter of Col. Brinton Paine, both American Revolution Patriots.
Sarah, too, was very active in community affairs. It is recorded that she was Postmaster of North Almond Valley in 1871. A woman with entrepreneurial spirit, she acquired a patent from the Federal Government in 1883 for “Mrs. Cary’s Compound”, a medicinal preparation. In 1892 she applied for and received a patent for the manufacture of “McIntosh Flavorings”. She wrote several poems which have been passed down much to the delight of her great grandchildren. Her poetry bares light on her deep love of God and country.
On July 4, 1896, CW McIntosh delivered the following speech to the citizens of Almond:C. W. McIntosh, School Commissioner, Justice of the Peace, member of the Board of Supervisors, Postmaster, and Civil War Veteran The Fourth of July is distinctly an American holiday, celebrated only by the American people. Other nations celebrate their holidays which we also celebrate, but no nation has any claim to this, our own holiday. Of the events which made this a memorable day to the American, it is unnecessary to speak. Those events have been proclaimed by the 4th of July creators for more than 100 years, taught in our public schools and churches, and in fact, all along the line of American manhood, from the nursery to the Presidential chair, have the lessons of the patriotic reverence for this day been taught. He is unworthy the name of American who does not revere the memory of the daring, noble, self sacrificing band of men who dared to proclaim to the government of Great Britain and the world, their right to self government, …that their connection with said government is, and ought to be, dissolved. For the support of these declarations, and with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. They sealed these pledges with their blood and gave to us this government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Other nations looked upon this determination to establish free government as “experimental” to say the least, if not foolhardy. They declared that if established at all, a republican government could not long remain. More than a century has passed, and the expectations of more than a hundred years ago are the participations of today. Although at times threatening clouds have arisen, peace has been disturbed, internal war has deluged the land, saddening the hearts and homes of the people, and missiles of destruction have been hurled against the bulwarks of liberty, threatening to rend in twain the nation and the government, the Goddess of Liberty turned her face from the scenes which were then being enacted and wept tears of bitter grief for fallen heroes. But, upheld by loyal and patriotic hearts and hands, truth, and the “right” at last prevailed and the government of our fathers was again restored. Peace came again to bless the land, and today the stars and stripes float over an undivided nation, a united people, the greatest nation on earth. The most wonderful, the most powerful, the most aggressive: Excelling all others in agriculture, in commerce, in manufacturing, in resources, and in wealth. We have better schools, more and better churches, better facilities for education in all branches. Our navy is not the best, but is, or soon will be, equal to any. Our soldiers are the best in the world, the bravest, and most heroic. For proof of this assertion, I have only to cite the history of the war of rebellion. We have also, the greatest of diversity of climate and soil. In the north producing grain and vegetables and in the south, cotton, rice, sugar and tobacco.. In minerals we have an inexhaustible supply. Iron, coal, copper and lead with silver and gold and diamonds in abundance. When we consider the wonderful development of this country during the past one hundred years or a little more, with an area of 800,000 square miles, are we not justified in asking ourselves “What will the future bring?” If we, like Patrick Henry, are to judge the future by the past, who can comprehend the possibilities that lie before us and who can foretell the dangers that await us, dangers that slumber, only waiting to burst like a volcano and carry destruction before them. Dangers have arisen , which for that period of time threatened the very existence of the nation. Liberty trembled and our boasted free institutions were in great peril. But those have passed and we are today a united, happy and prosperous people. Shall these conditions remain? Shall we transmit to future generations the blessings we today enjoy? If answered in the affirmative, much of the responsibility rests with us. We have a duty to do. Washington, in his farewell address, warned us against the dangers of sectional and party strife. Many statesmen of both political parties that have controlled the government during all the years from Washington on have entertained the same fears. Senator David B. Hill in a recent speech in the US Senate on the Tariff Bill deprecated the “unfortunate tendency of the times” to drift towards English Law and ideas, and further notified his party that he could not follow the leadership which shifts and turns and temporizes upon every public question which stands ready to adopt every passing ism of the hour which surrenders “principle for expediency” and pursues no persistent course from one year to another. Senator Hill has struck the keynote of alarm, the “surrender of principle for expediency”. He might have added the surrender of “principle for bribery”. If he spoke the truth, and no one will doubt it, are our legislators the kind of men to represent us? to make our laws? Are they the men in whose hands and upon who to a great degree hang the destinies of our nation? If ought we not to be careful in regard to whom we select? In state and in nation we should be careful with whom we place these responsibilities. Men of the highest known integrity, above reproach, and men who will not surrender “principle for expediency”. With such a class to legislate, justice would be meted to all. Elections would not be curried with money and legislation would not be in the interests of Trusts, syndicates and Wall Street sharks and against the laborer and poorer classes. Then would the danger from this direction be averted. But, there arises still another danger, from a class of people, who, if Americans at all, are only such by adoption. Claiming to be political parties and designated as Populists, Socialists, Coxeyites, and perhaps Anarchists, each are demanding legislation in the interests of a class, or more properly against a class, for example, the wealthy. They all attend on the same platform, substantially the main plank of which is a demand that the rich shall divide with the poor, the government shall take care of the people instead of the people supporting the government. And the government to own and to operate Railroads, telegraph lines and build the roads and loan money to the poor on mortgage at 2% annum, etcetera. Among those will be found the soreheads of the two old parties. The men who have failed in business, the cranks, with an occasional honest, but misguided man. These men are weltering their efforts to revolutionize the government, and failing of success, the anarchist steps in and with stiletto or bomb slays the president or some other high official, or places a bomb to sacrifice human life to atone for some imaginary wrong he or his friends has suffered. Here lies the danger from this class, but the people will arouse themselves and avert these and our country, so great, so magnificent, so glorious in the past will continue its onward march and the present is but the dawn of a more glorious future. That the progress of the last 25 or 50 years is but the beginning of an era that shall be surprisingly grand and the next generation, spurred on by the achievements of the present, will laugh at defeat and mock at impossibilities. Then will be realized the dream of the inventor, the scientist and the philosopher of this age. The steam locomotive will give way to the electric motor. Electricity will propel the road carriage, the bicycle, and the farm implements. The airship will be used to cross the ocean. Distance will be annihilated and the peoples of this earth will be in telegraphic communication with the peoples of Mars. Who will dare to say that even greater achievements than these are not in store for the future generation? The growing boy of 10 today knows more than the sage of 60. He will live by his wit, while his father was compelled to labor. And why should he not? He will harness the lightening for agricultural purposes if he be a farmer. He will need no hens, as eggs will be manufactured cheaper than he can produce them. He will find it more than foolish to keep sheep with their tariff off the wool. He will need no horses, unless he might have an aged mother, or old maid, or decrepit father, who would not dare to ride in an airship or carriage propelled by electricity. The housewife will find little to do but visit only, getting home in time to get ready the evening meals which will be easily and quickly done with the aid of electricity. She will not find it necessary to split and carry wood. The cradle, if she has one, will be rocked by electricity She will no longer be compelled to stand with one foot on the rocker while she stands over the washtub. In fact, she will have no washtub. The labor of washing in the future will be nothing but play. All this and much more may be expected. You fathers and mothers of today, comfort yourselves with assurance that your sons and daughters will not be compelled to toil as you have toiled for a livelihood. May your lives be one continuous holiday uninterrupted by the necessity of labor. You young men and maidens! Rejoice in the hope that in the future you will not be compelled to labor from 8 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon with only three or four hours a day for recreation and amusement. All the day may be spent as your inclinations lead you, either in playing the piano or in playing ball. If you should choose to take a ride for pleasure, your lady love will not be obliged to hold the reins while you hold her close. Those will be glorious days indeed, with no care, no labor. Then will mankind cease to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. The long expected millennium will surely have come.