Cortland County
Montanye Article
from Cutters


Dr. Johannes Mounies de la Montanye was born in Saintonge, France, 1595. He married Rachel De Forest, at Leyden, December 12, 1626. He came to Harlem in 1637, took up Montanye Flats, was secretary of the Harlem Colony, and later was in command at Fort Orange (now Albany), as vice-director, until 1664, when possession was taken by the British. He died in Holland, in 1670, having gone there with Governor Stuyvesant, after the British occupation of New York.

(II) Jan (or John), son of Dr. Johannes Mounies de la Montanye, came to Harlem soon after his father, and entered business with Vincent Pikes. He returned to Holland and married Peternella Pikes there, about 1654. Returned to New York in 1655, and soon after settled in Harlem and took up Montanye Point; was secretary and teacher at Harlem until his death, in 1672. His first wife died and he married (second) Maria Vermilye, June 10, 1661.

(III) Vincent, son of Jan or John Montanye, was born in Harlem, New York, 1657. He married, March 5, 1684, Adriana, daughter of Jan Thomas Aken. He was living in 1713, but died soon after.

(IV) Thomas, son of Vincent Montanye, born 1691, was shopkeeper in New York; lived and died in Prince street, New York; his death occurring October 12, 1761. He married, November 25, 1718, Rebecca Bruyn; she survived him; they had fifteen children.

(V) John T., son of Thomas Montanye, was born 1743; lived in New York on the breaking out of the war of the revolution. He married Mary Blain.

(VI) Peter, son of John T. Montanye, later called also Mintonye, born in New York, in 1775, with brothers, Isaac and Jacob, came to Western New York. Peter settled in Dryden, but later in Sempromius, New York, and died there, in 1856. He married ______ ________.

(VII) William, youngest son of Peter Montanye, was born in Dryden, New York, May 24, 1808; died in Florida, in 1880. His education was received in common schools; he learned the carriage maker's trade in Dryden, New York, and carried on wagon making, and later was a merchant in Freetown, New York, up to 1865, when he removed to Cortland, New York. He was supervisor of Freetown during the war, and for some years previous as a member of county board of supervisors. During the war he was active in enlisting men for the service and keeping up supplies for them. He married Betsey Fuller, daughter of Eleazer Fuller, of Freetown, a descendant of the Fullers who came to Plymouth in the "Mayflower." Here the name began to be "Mantanye." Children: 1. Cornelius, married J.H. Delavan, she died August, 1907. 2. William Jameson, see forward. 3. Austin F., living at present time.

(VIII) William Jameson, son of William Mantanye, was born at Freetown, Cortland county, New York, October 17, 1843. He remained at Freetown until the civil war. He attended the district school, and after he was twelve years old worked on a farm every summer. As a student he was quick to learn, and he was a great reader. In the fall of 1859, and again in 1860, he attended the Homer Academy, then one of the most famous schools in the state. In the winter of 1860-61, he taught school in the lumbering district, on the north fork of the Cowanesque, near Westfield, Tioga county, Pennsylvania, where a brother of his father resided, returning to farm work in the spring, intending to resume study at Homer the following autumn. But the civil war broke out that spring, and, after the disaster at Bull Run and on the first call for three years troops, he enlisted in Company D, Seventy-sixth New York infantry, at the age of seventeen, and served through the war at the front in the Army of the Potomac. He was wounded at second Bull Run, August 29, 1862, but not seriously, and returned to his regiment next day. At Gettsburg he was taken prisoner, July 1, 1863, and paroled on the field July 4, but as the government held the parole to be illegal he soon after returned to his company without exchange. In the fall of 1863 he was called to Washington to take a commission in the First Regiment of the United States Colored Troops, then being organized, but concluding he was not suited for the position, being then only nineteen years of age, he declined it and returned to his company. In January, 1864, he reenlisted as a veteran volunteer in his old company, and in October, 1864, on the expiration of the term of the regiment, he was transferred to the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York, thence to the Ninety-first New York, from which he was discharged, July 3, 1865, by reason of the close of the war. Thus he served nearly four years, first in the First Army Corps, under Reynolds and Doubleday, until that corps was destroyed at Gettysburg, where the Seventy-sixth New York, leading the Corps, opened the battle with the First Infantry fire. After that he served in the Fifth Corps, of which the remnant of the old First Corps formed the Third Division, and he was present at the surrender of Lee, April 9, 1865. During his army service, and particularly while in winter quarters, Mr. Mantanye continued his study and reading, and he also kept a diary which has since been used by writers on army life. On his return from the army, in 1865, Mr. Mantanye came to Cortland, his father having that year removed to Cortland. He entered on the study of law with Hon. Arthur Holmes, then one of the leading lawyers of the county. In May, 1867, he was admitted to the bar at Binghamton, and soon after commenced the practice of law, which he has ever since continued. Before his admission he had committed the code of procedure to memory, and he has always been an authority on practice, frequently consulted by other lawyers. In May, 1869, he removed to Marathon and opened an office, continuing practice there until 1888, when he removed to Cortland, which has since been his residence.

Mr. Mantanye has been a prominent Republican all his life, casting his first vote for Lincoln, in 1864, at the age of twenty-one, sending it from the front. He supported Horace Greeley, in 1872, as a Republican and one of the founders of the party, still holding to that party, and refusing to pass over to the opposite side, as so many did. His father was of the "Free Soil" party that supported Birney, in 1848, and John P. Hale, in 1852, and which, by the accession of Whigs in 1854-55, became the Republican party. In the first Republican campaign, in 1856, though only thirteen years of age, he was a leader in a band of boys at Freetown, organized into a "Fremont and Dayton" marching club, having a liberty pole and flag of its own in front of his father's wagon works. The flag is still retained as an interesting relic. After the war he was active in the party, frequently a delegate to state conventions, and a member of the Republican county committee, and a popular leader. In 1882-83 he was a member of the Republican state committee from the Onondaga, Cortland district, and of the executive committee of the state organization. He was never a seeker for office for himself, and never was a candidate until 1893, when, without any previous canvass, he was nominated as a delegate to the constitutional convention of 1894, from the twenty-fifth senate district, then composed of Cortland, Broome, Tioga, Chenango and Delaware counties, and was elected. In that convention he was prominent as a speaker and worker, and was a member of the important committee on powers and duties of the legislature, and on county and town offices. He introduced some amendments which were adopted, and two that were not finally adopted, but eventually will be a part of the organic law. One of these was to make the term of office of governor and lieutenant governor four years, and make them ineligible to election for the next succeeding term. This was at first agreed to in committee, but later was defeated. The other was a provision for biennial sessions of the legislatureóNo. 83 on the file. It was at first adopted by the committee, as appears by convention document No. 22, but later a rally of the politicians caused its defeat. In 1897 it was, on the suggestion of Governor Black, introduced in the legislature and passed, but failed in the legislature of 1898. He also advocated the amendment as to employment of convicts in penal institutions, forbidding their labor being sold out to contractors, and it was adopted. In June, 1895, Mr. Mantanye was appointed, by Governor Morton, as a member of the state commission of prisons, created by the constitution of 1894, with jurisdiction over all penal institutions, and having the duty of reporting a system for the employment of convicts under the revised constitution. Mr. Mantanye was at once elected vice-president of the commission, and reelected in 1896. As he was the only member who had given the subject previous study he was made chairman of the committee on annual report to formulate the new system. This he did in such a careful and reasonable way that the report was adopted by the commission and handed to the legislature of 1896. He was then put upon the committee on legislation, and had charge of the drafting and introduction of the proposed laws in accordance with the report. These laws changing the prison Labor system, with some amendments to the county law and penal code, were explained to the legislature by Mr. Mantanye and were enacted. By these laws the taking of convicts from without the state by penitentiaries to board was ended and the different institutions were relegated to their original purposes by requiring felons to be sent to the reformatory and state prisons, and misdemeanants to the jails, penitentiaries and houses of refuge. The labor of convicts is also to be utilized in producing supplies for the public institutions, so that the state has the full value of the labor in reduction of taxation, instead of selling it out to syndicates for small prices and thus enabling them to carry on a ruinous competition with industries of free labor. The system has proved successful, and is being adopted in other states. Great improvement was made in jails, penitentiaries and other prisons. The prisoners were classified and graded as required bv the law of 1889, with a view of introducing the reformatory system in the state prisons, which makes good citizens of law breakers, instead of putting them into a permanent criminal class, as under the old system. Mr. Mantanye continued as chairman of the committee on annual report of the commission, and drew the report for 1898, presented to the legislature of 1899. It was an interesting document, giving a retrospect of the conditions existing when the commission was appointed and of the many improvements and economies since inaugurated and carried on at the instance of the commission. To Mr. Mantanye, more than to any other one person, is owing the great reforms put in successful operation in the prison system of the state, and which are being copied in other states and countries. Yet he is modest and unassuming, claiming no special credit or honor for himself, but giving it all to the commission.

Since 1901, when he retired from the commission of prisons, he has devoted his time to his law practice, which is large, particularly in caring for and settling estates. While often consulted in party matters and having large influence he has retired from more active political work, feeling that forty years of activity has earned for him a rest. Mr. Mantanye is a member of the Tioughnioga Club; secretary of the Association of the Seventy-sixth Regiment, New York Volunteers, and was the first colonel of the Cortland Encampment of the Union Veteran Legion, of which he is still a member, and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, Grover Post, No. 98, Cortland, New York.

          Entry done by Marilyn Lane on July 1, 1998

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Created 02 July 1998

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