Getting to Know The Citizens of Stephentown

As with most towns and cities across our nation, there were interesting people who made up the citizenry of those places. Stephentown, of course, is no different. There were colorful people who spent their lives shaping the town of Stephentown. Some of their stories will be told here. If you have stories, pictures, any information on the people of Stephentown, please email me and I wll add their stories to this page.

Rev. Isaiah Bangs Coleman

May 7, 1809 - March 14, 1883

Married May 1, 1834


Anna Villette Dunham Coleman

March 21, 1813 - August 7, 1898

“Rev. Isaiah B. Coleman was born at Stephentown, in Rensselaer County, on March 7, 1809.(This date differs with the date in the Rensselaer County Cemetery Records) He was the fifth child and fourth son of Calvin Coleman, and a grandson of John Coleman, who was one of the pioneer settlers in the western part of the town.

Until he attained the age of eighteen or nineteen years, Mr. Coleman passed his life at home on the paternal farm, meantime enjoying the benefits of such education as the district schools of his locality afforded. With a mind eager for knowledge, industrious and ambitious, he soon fitted himself for teaching, and his nineteenth year found him in charge of a district school in Sand Lake, where he taught one term. He then passed to the charge of the school at West Sand Lake, where he taught four or five terms. From there he passed in turn to the school on Oak Hill (in the town of Sand Lake); the school at Snyder’s Corners, in Greenbush; the school sought of Oak Hill and to those at Alps (in the town of Nassau) and West Stephentown, making in all ten successive years of faithful and acceptable service as a public instructor.

In the year 1834, May 10th, Mr. Coleman was licensed by the Free-Will Baptist Church at Stephentown Centre, with which he was at that time connected, to preach the gospel, and on the 25th day of March following he was regularly ordained as an elder of the Free-Will Baptist Church. He commenced preaching for the church on Oak Hill, but his first regular pastoral charge was the Stephentown church.

Elder Coleman was one of the organizers of the Free-Will Baptist Church at West Stephentown, and became its pastor in 1844, a position which he has continued faithfully to fill ever since, with no stated salary, trusting alone to the liberality of his people, and without other compensation or reward than the free-will offering of the people and the consciousness that he was performing the master’s work cheerfully and conscientiously. He has been active in the organization of other churches in the county, is an honored and beloved member of the denomination, and has twice served as a delegate to the General Conference of the body.

In the year 1836, Mr. Coleman established a store at West Stephentown, which has been kept by himself or son till his son’s death, and since by his grandson. He has also filled the position of postmaster at that point for thirty years.

On May 1, 1834, Mr. Coleman was united in marriage to Anna V., daughter of Isaac Dunham, on of the early settlers of the town of Nassau. Two children were born of this union, -- Elbert I. Coleman, who located at West Stephentown, and died on October 23, 1878, leaving a family; and Isaac DeWitt Coleman, who was a member of the 125th New York State Volunteers in the late war (Civil War), and who was killed near Petersburg, Va., on June 5, 1864, while bravely battling for his country’s rights.

It will not be improper for the writer to add, that Elder Coleman is highly respected in the community in which he has passed his life, and bears a reputation for integrity and uprightness which all may envy.”

Lt. Isaac DeWitt Coleman

October 8, 1837-June 16, 1864

Joined the Army in August 1862 at Troy, NY, Co. H, 125th NYS Volunteers. He was a sargent upon enlistment, at the age of 24. He surrendered and was parolled in September, 1862 at Harper's Ferry; He quickly rose in ranks, making 2nd LT. in September, 1863; 1st LT in May, 1864. He was killed in action on June 16, 1864 at Petersburg, VA. He was 26 years old.

Coleman epitaphs as found in Stephentown Cemeteries. Epitaphs taken from "Epitaphs in the Only Stephentown on Earth" by Elizabeth W. McClave.

Hillside Cemetery

"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord"

"Oh the promises sweet
When Jesus are meet
His saints will receive
And be with him evermore"

There pain and sadness never comes
There grief no more complains"

"Safely over"


"I would not live always, so welcome the tomb
Since Jesus has been there I dread not its gloom
There sweet be my dust till He gid me arise
To hail Him triumphant descending the skies"

"When lingering pains her bosom tore
Resigned she kissed the chastening rod
Each mortal pang with meekness bore
And smiled in death to meet her God"


"Died in hope"

Lt. I. DeWITT COLEMAN 1838-1864
"Of the 125 Reg. NYSV
Killed in a charge
near Petersburg, Va.
He shall rise again"

"She rests in peace"

"To them who by patient
continuance in well doing
For glory and honour and
immortality claim you"

"His days and nights of distress
And weeks of affliction are o'er
He met with a happy release
And has gone to the troubled no more"

"Torn from thy family and home
Twas hard to yield thee to the tomb
Yet still we trust thou art at rest
Thy Saviour called, His time is best"

Stephentown Center Baptist Cemetery

"Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord"

Sylvanus Carpenter

"Sylvanus Carpenter is a grandson of Joseph Carpenter, who settled very early int he eastern part of the town. His father's name was Solomon. Of none children, Sylvanus was the fifth. He was born on NOvember 27, 1810, on the Solomon Carpenter place, near his present residence; passed his early life on his father's farm and attended the district school of his locality. He completed his education at the academy at Schenectady, taught by E. E. Huntington. At the death ofhis father, on November 23, 1834, he came into possession of the old farm, and has ever since remained there.

Mr. Carpenter is one of the most influential citizens of the town, though he lives a modest and retired life on his farm. He has twice been supervisor of the town. He has been twice married, - first to Charlotte Pierce of Hancock, Mass., October 20, 1836 and who died December 31, 1867; second to Alvira C. Bennett, and a granddaughter of Jesse Bennett, an early settler of the town. This lady is still living. Henry P. Carpenter, a son of the first wife, died in early youth. Fanny L. and Charlotte P. are young daughters, living at home."

From "The History of Rensselaer County" by Nathaniel Barrett Sylvester.

CARPENTER epitaphs as found in "Epitaphs in the Only Stephentown on Earth" by Elizabeth W. McClave:

Carpenter Cemetery (unless otherwise noted)

"With a gold harp in her little hand
An emerald dew upon her brow
She walketh the halls of the promised land
And hymneth a sweet chorus now"

"Sleep on thou sainted one
So Jesus slept, God's dying Son
Passed thro' the grave, and blessed the bed;
Then rest, dear spirit, till from his throne,
The morning break, and pierce the shade"

"And what is life, tis but an hour
Those moments fade at every breath
E'en man in all his pride of power
Must bow before the tyrant Death
Thou hast all seasons for thine own oh! Death
And life's idle throbbing cease
And pain is lulled to rest"

In memory of Experience Carpenter, wife of Thomas G.(Greenman) Carpenter and daughter of Samuel & Deborah Carpenter, who died Feb. 6, 1804 in the 48th year of her age and left her husband and eight children to lament the loss of a kind mother and a partner in life."

GEORGE W. CARPENTER 1808-1842(Hillside Cemetery)
"He asked for what________
Present __________________

"Weep not for the dead
Who tranquilly repose
Their spark of life is fled
But with it all their woes
His days were numbered in his youth"

So fades the lovely blooming flower
Though my son will not return
to me yet I shall go to him"

"She always made home happy"

LUCY R. ANDRESS CARPENTER 1815-1841(Garfield Cemetery)
"Sigh not for me your tears refrain
What you call loss to me is gain
I pass'd the gulf, the danger's oer
My soul has reached the heavenly shore"

(At top of gravestone is a hand pointing up)
"Mother at rest"

"Enter thou unto the joy of thy Lord"

"This monument is erected by Thomas C. Carpenter" (possibly Thomas G(Greenman) Carpenter

Dear spirit
Tis not the sculptur'd stone
Can speak thy worth
His sun went down at noon"

"Jesus the first in reserection
Prepaire the hope for mortal man
Than we through faith in his salvation
Might rise in triumph ore the tomb"
(spelled as it appears)

Famous Browns from Stephentown

"This is my ancestor and we have copies of correspondence that he
sent to my great-great grandfather Spencer C. Brown (1833-1907). Charles
and Spencer were first cousins; their fathers Joseph and Randall
respectively were brothers. Thought you could add this to your site.
Charles and his brother moved to Omaha together. Upon Charles' death he
was returned to Stephentown and is buried in the Former Brown Family
Cemetery, now the cemetery on Cemetery Hill Road."

Mike Brown -

HON. CHARLES H. BROWN, attorney-at-law, was born at Stephentown, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., and prepared for college at Williston Seminary, Massachusetts, and at Delaware Literary Institute, Franklin, N. Y.; entered Williams College and graduated from there in 1858; he studied law with Seymour & Van Santvoord, of Troy, N. Y. and was admitted to the New York bar in 1860; in June of that year he came to Omaha, and later in the year he crossed the plains on a freighting outfit, driving an ox team. He assisted in the construction of the Pacific Telegraph across the plains. In December, 1861, he returned to Omaha and engaged in clerking for his brothers until October, 1862; he was then elected prosecuting attorney for Douglas County, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of George I. Gilbert. Among the important cases he had was that of Cyrus Tator, who was convicted and hung for murder; that was the first legal Christian execution in Nebraska. Mr. B. was re-elected prosecuting attorney for 1863-64, and in the latter year was elected a member of the constitutional convention. In the fall of 1864 he was elected to the Legislature; In 1865-66 he was elected alderman, and in 1867 became Mayor of Omaha, presiding over the city court, tried over 4,000 cases during his term of office. In 1869 he received the full Democratic vote for United States Senator; he was one of the members of the convention which framed the present constitution, and in 1876 was elected to the State Senate, and re-elected in 1878, and is now engaged in the practice of law at Omaha.

J. J. BROWN, wholesale and retail dry goods merchant, Bond, Omaha, was born in Stephentown, Rensselaer Co., N. Y. He removed from there to Nebraska, and located at Omaha, in April, 1856. At that time he engaged in the mercantile business and has followed it to the present time. About six years ago he commenced the wholesale business. Mr. Brown has been interested in the Gas Light Co., in the Omaha Street Railway Co., and is now a Director of the Omaha National Bank and Treasurer of the Omaha Driving Park Association.
Brown epitaphs as found in "Epitaphs in the Only Stephentown on Earth" by Eliabeth W. McClave.

Garfield Cemetery

"Cease ye mourners, cease to anguish
Oer the graves of those you love
Pain and death and fright and anguish
Enter not the world above"

Stephentown Baptist Cemetery

CAPT. ADAM BROWN 1772-1845
"This monument is erected by his children to perpetuate the memory of the honour'd Father"

JOSHUA A. BROWN, JR. 1764-1846
"Asleep in Jesus, O how sweet"

"Farewell loved one, go dwell beyond
In the realm of pure celestial love"

"The thought of the grave and of death
Had no fearful effect on her mind
But calmly she yielded her breath
Her spirit to God she resigned"

SUSAN G. BROWN 1841-1846
"Ere sin could blight or sorrow face
Death came with friendly care
The opening bud to heaven conveyed
And bade it blossom there"

"The world was never fit for thee
It was not meant thy home to be
Thou was to us a season given
But thy abiding place is Heaven"

Bennett Cemetery

PHEBE BROWN 1804-1853
"That gentle voice is hushed in death
She closed her weary eyes
While angels ___ the __ough
That took her to the skies
For death, to break the golden chain
___ heard a welcome quest
And Death the green and ____ile
We laid her down to rest"

Rose Cemetery

"The sweet remembrance of Jesus
shall flourish
though they sleep in death"

Hillside Cemetery

WILLIAM H. BROWN 1830-1885
"Asleep in Jesus"

Amaziah Bailey James

"Amaziah Bailey James, b. July 1, 1812 in Stephentown; d. July 6, 1883 in Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County, NY. Amaziah moved with his father to Sweden, Monroe County, NY in 1814, where he pursued an academic course. At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to the printer's trade in Batavia, New York.
In 1831, he moved to Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County, NY and established the Northern Light, a weekly newspaper. Later he became part owner of the Times and Advertiser, the Whig paper of the county.
Amaziah was captain of the Ogdensburg Artillery in 1836. Afterwards, he was promoted to major general of the militia. He also studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1838. Shortly after, he started his practice in Ogdensburg. He was elected justice of the state Supreme Court in 1853, reelected in 1861 and again in 1869, where he served until 1876, when he resigned, having been elected a member of Congress. He was a member of the peace convention of 1861 held in Washington, D.C., in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending war. He was elected as a Republican to the Forty-fifth and Forty-sixth Congresses (March 4, 1877-March 3, 1881). While serving his second term in Congress he was stricken with paralysis, from which he partially recovered. He died in Ogdensburg, NY.

Found on Federal Census:

1850 Oswegatchie, St. Lawrence, NY

Abner James 38 Lawyer
Lucia 31
Henry 11
Edward 9

1860 Ogdenburg, St. Lawrence, NY

A.B. James 48 Justice Supreme Court
Lucia R. 41
Henry R. 21 Publisher St. Lawrence __
Edward C. 19 Studing Law
July Ripley 66 "Lady" b. CT.

1870 Oswegatchie, St. Lawrence, NY

Amaziah B. James 58 Judge Supreme Ct.
Lucia R. 51
Edward C. 29 Lawyer
Sarah W. 29 b. Penn.
Lucia 3
Sarah W. 7/12

1880 Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence, NY

Amaziah B. James 67 Member of Congress
Lucia R. 61
Edward 39 Lawyer Widowed
Lucia 13 granddaughter
Sarah W. 10 granddaughter
Coons, Sarah B. 60 Cousin Music Teacher

From the Cherokee County (Iowa) Biographical History - 1889

S. G. JAMES was born in Monroe County, New York, January 20, 1819. His parents were Samuel B. and Anna (Bailey) James, natives of Rensselaer County, New York. He is the youngest of four children; his eldest brother is the widely-known Amaziah B. James, who represented the Ogdensburg District in Congress for two terms as successor to Hon. W. H. Wheeler, when that gentleman resigned to accept the nomination to the Vice Presidency. He had early became an able attorney, and was elected a justice of the Supreme Bench of New York about 1852. He filled that position faithfully and honorably for nearly a quarter of century. It was his son, Henry R. James, a publisher of Ogdensburg, who nominated Mr. Wheeler Vice President at Cincinnati in a forcible and telling speech. Edward C. James, a prominent attorney of New York City, is the
only living son of Judge James. After two terms in Congress Judge James chose to retire from public life, and the remainder of his days were passed pleasantly at Ogdensburg in his elegant home, where he died July 6, 1885. His widow, who also comes form a remarkable family, still survives him. One sister, Mary L., was the wife of James G. Wilson, of Kalamazoo, MIchigan, where she died three years since. The remaining sister, Ann, wife of R. J. Marvin, resides in Garden City, Minnesota. The family is of Welsh origin, and settled at an early date in Rhode Island, where Amos James, S. G.'s grandfather was born. The subject of this notice, S. G. James, lost his mother when he was three years of age. He was taken by his grandfather, Amos James, to Rensselaer County, where he remained until he was fourteen years old. He then went to Ogdensburg where his brother, Amaziah, was publishing a paper called the Northern Light, an anti-Masonic organ. Entering this office he learned the printer's trade, and remained there seven years, the last four years being foreman. His brother sold out meantime, and the paper became successively the Ogndensburg Times and Advertiser and the Ogdensburg Sentinel. He then returned to Rensselaer County, New York, and in July 16, 1844, was united in marriage to Miss Emma C. Lewis, a native of that county. Mr. James engaged in farming and lived mainly in St. Lawrence County until 1854, when he emigrated to Wisconsin, settling in Fond du Lac County. He farmed for eleven years, and then was in the grain trade at Brandon, and about eight years in the lumber business at the same place. In the summer of 1876 he discovered that there was land beyond, and chose Iowa for his future home. He bought his fertile farm and began his improvements upon it. His place adjoins the town limits of Aurelia, and is situate upon a ridge of ground making it a most desirable tract of land. Mr. James and his excellent wife have reared a family of four children: Lewis M., the oldest, is an engineer, residing in New York City; Anna B., wife of Henry E. Durland; Fred S. and Charley E. Fred S. holds the responsible position of train dispatcher at Fort Dodge, on the Illinois Central Railroad. He is the youngest train dispatcher in the country, and his friends may well be proud of his rapid rise in his profession. He was but twenty years of age when called to fill this position. S. C. James cast his first vote for William Henry Harrison, and has missed but one Presidential election since that time, always supporting the Republican party. He has twice passed all of the chairs of the I.O.O.F. Lodge. Respected by all who know him, he stands for what he is; plain in speech, earnest in convictions of right and wrong, be it said to his praise that there should be more like him.

Alanson Douglas

American Biographical Library
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans
Volume 3 page 288

Douglas, Alanson, lawyer, was born in Stephentown, N.J., Feb. 11, 1779; son of Wheeler and Martha (Rathbone) Douglas; and a lineal descendant of Deacon William and Ann (Mattie) Douglas, who with two children inmigrated to New England from Ringstead, Northamptonshire, England, and landed on Cape Ann, removing to New London, Conn., in 1640. This William Douglas was born in Scotland. Alanson's mother was the daughter of the Rev. John Rathbone. He was educated as a lawyer and practised his profession at Lansingburgh, N.Y. He was for a time surrogate of Duchess county, N.Y. He was married, June 12, 1808, to Anna, daughter of the Hon. Solomon and Tamma (Thompson) Sutherland of Duchess county, N.Y. Mrs. Douglas died at Irvington, N.Y., Feb. 28, 1869. He was elected cashier of the newly organized Bank of Troy in 1811, and served the bank until 1827, when he went to New York city as cashier of the Chemical bank. In 1829 he returned to Troy and became cashier of the Merchants and Mechanics bank. He resigned in 1886 and was succeeded by his son, Charles Selden Douglas. He thereafter devoted his time to the care of his large private business interests and to the cultivation of his literary tastes. President Van Buren offered him the secretaryship of the treasury in his cabinet, which position Mr. Douglas declined. He assisted in organizing the Mercantile bank, New York city, of which his son, William Bradley Douglas, became first president in 1850. He died at Troy, N.Y., April 9, 1856.

[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 391-392 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in SCPL's Reference collection at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The earliest known ancestor in America was William Douglas, born in 1610, lived at Ipswich, Massachusetts, as early as 1641, died at New London, Connecticut, July 26, 1682; married Ann Mable (or Mattle), daughter of Thomas Mable, of Ringstead in Northamptonshire.

(II) William (2), son of William (1) Douglas, was born at Boston, May 2 (or April 1), 1645, died March 9, 1725, at New London; married, December 18, 1667, Abiah, daughter of William Hough.

(III) William (3), son of William (2) Douglas, was born at New London, February 19, 1672, died at Plainfield, Connecticut, August 10, 1719; married and was the father of nine children.

(IV) Asa, sixth child of William (3) Douglas, was born at Plainfield, Connecticut, December 11, 1715, died at Stephentown, New York (formerly Jericho Hollow, Massachusetts), November 12, 1792, where he had lived twenty-six years; married, about 1737, Rebecca Wheeler, born 1718, died 1809.

(V) Wheeler, son of Asa Douglas, was born at Stephentown, New York, April 10, 1750, died at Smithville,Connecticut, January, 1829; married, 1771, Martha, daughter of Rev. John Rathbun, and she died November 28, 1837. Ten children. Wheeler Douglas lived at Stephentown from 1750 to 1779, and from 1780 to 1798 was a merchant at Albany, New York. His property being consumed by fire, he bought a large tract of land from the Indians, near Brantford, Canada, where he lived the remainder of his life.

(VI) Alanson, fourth child of Wheeler Douglas, was born at Stephentown, New York, February 11, 1779, died at Troy, New York, April 9, 1856; married, June 12, 1803, Ann, daughter of Solomon Sutherland, of Stanford, Dutchess county, New York.

(VII) Mary Ann, daughter of Alanson Douglas, was born at Lansingburg, New York, February 7, 1807, died at New Haven, Connecticut, July 15, 1882; married, May 20, 1833, Hon. Samuel Miller, of Rochester (see Miller VII).

Colonial Families of the United States of America: Volume 7

WHEELER DOUGLAS, b. at Canaan, 10th April, 1750; he removed from Stephentown to Albany, New York, in 1780, where he opened the firm of Douglas and Wheeler with one of his cousins; in 1798 his property was destroyed by fire; he then went to Brant's Ford, Canada, where he remained about a year with the famous Chief of the Six Nations, Capt. Joseph BRANT; in 1799 he removed his family to Canada and settled on the Grand River, where Brantford is now situated; he made his home among the Indians for a few years, but later leased some five hundred acres, lying about eight miles west of their settlement from Brant; he and his wife both d. at the home of their dau. Harriet; he m. 7th August, 1773, at Stonington, Martha RATHBONE, b. 7th August, 1753, at Stonington, Connecticut, d. 1st December, 1837, at Smithville, Canada, dau. of Rev. John and Content (BROWN) RATHBONE.

Nebraska: the Land and the People: Volume 2

James J. Brown was born at Stephentown, Rensselaer County, New York, January 12, 1832, and he was one of the venerable and honored pioneer citizens of Omaha at the time of his death, in February, 1901. The schools of the old Empire State afforded Mr. Brown his youthful education, and he early gained practical experience by assisting in his father's general mercantile establishment at Stephentown. At the age of eighteen years he was given the management of this store and business, which he efficiently conducted three years. He then felt the lure of the great West, with the result that in 1856 he came to Nebraska Territory and established his residence at Omaha. Here he soon opened a general store in a small building that stood at the southeast corner of Douglas and Fourteenth streets, and in 1866 he removed his store to the three-story building that he had erected for the purpose and that formed the west end of the Caldwell Block.

Freling Smith

Freling H. Smith had a beautiful home in Stephentown but it was destroyed by fire in 1975. He was married to Emiline and Anna L. Platt (1841-1908)daughter of Anna Gardner Platt and Theodore Platt and had a son, Freling S. Smith, b. 1916.

William Russell on the left. John Russell, son of William & Mary Russell and his wife, Sarah Humphrey, on the right. John d. November 4, 1859 at 79y and Sarah d. in 1857 at 79y.

(top left) Antoinette E. C. Russell (1861-1929) was a physician in Stephentown. Her signature appears on many of my relative's death and birth certificates. She was unmarried.
(Top right) Harriet R. Russell, 1866-1897, married Byron Green. She was also a graduate of Waltham (Mass) Training School and was a professional nurse.
(Bottom left) Mary Russell, 1877-1944, married Horace W. Provost.
(Bottom right) Virginia 1857-1929, married S. A. Daboll.

To learn more about Dr. Antoinette E. C. Russell, click here.

Below is an abstract of the passport applications of Sarah E. and Antoinette E. C. Russell, dated October 11, 1922 and August 28 1919 respectively. They were the daughters of William F. and Harriet E. (Rogers) Russell.
Sarah E Russell
Name Prefix: Unmarried
Birth Date: 28 Jan 1865
Birth Place: Greene Chenango County, New York
RESIDENCE: Greene, New York
Passport Issue Date: 11 Oct 1922
Father Name: William F Russell
Father's Birth Location: New York
Passport Includes a Photo: Y
Source: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925 (M1490)

Name: Antoinette E C Russell
Birth Date: 1 Dec 1861
Birth Place: Stephentown Rens CO, New York
RESIDENCE: Philadelphia, Penn
Passport Issue Date: 28 Aug 1919
Father Name: William F Russell
Father's Birth Location: Stephentown, NY
Father's Residence: Now Deceased
Passport Includes a Photo: Y
Source: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925 (M1490)