Isaac Showers

From the Biographical Review, Volume XXXIII, located at the Durham Center Museum.
Transcribed by Celeste MacCormack.


ISAAC SHOWERS, a retired civil engineer, was born in Hunter, August 27, 1827, son of Japhet and Sylvia (Butts) Showers. His first American ancestor was an emigrant from Holland, who settled in New Jersey, where he spent the rest of his life, and was a farmer. The next in line, John Showers, probably come to America with his father. After residing in New Jersey of a time he settled on a farm in Albany, N.Y., where he died at an advanced age. Michael Showers, son of John and grandfather of Isaac, was a native of Albany. He worked on a farm there until reaching his majority, when he came to Great Flats (now Lexington) and built a grist-mill, which he conducted a few years. He then took up a large tract of mountain land in what is now Jewett, and resided there with his family. He died in 1819, aged forty-nine years, leaving a widow and ten children. His widow, who again married, died at the age of fifty-three years.

Japhet Showers, above named, was born in a log house on the home farm in Jewett, seven miles below where his son Isaac now lives, and always resided in that locality. He was a farmer, and fairly successful. In politics he was a Democrat, and held some of the town offices. He died at the age of seventy. His wife, Sylvia, was a daughter of Isaac Butts, a well-to-do farmer of Lexington. Her father was twice married. By his first wife he had fourteen children; and by his second wife, formerly Mrs. Ruby Bellows, of Dover, N.J., widow with four children, he was the father of seven children. Isaac Butts and his second wife both lived to be about ninety-two years old. Japhet and Sylvia (Butts) Showers had a family of eleven children, of whom four are living - Michael, Isaac, Louisa, and Caroline. Michael is married, and resides on an adjourning farm, Louisa married Beasley Teasler, and Caroline is the wife of George Benn. The mother died at the age of seventy-one. She was a Methodist in her religious belief.

Isaac Showers at the age of eight years went to live at the home of a neighbor, with whom he remained five years, and spent another year upon a farm in the vicinity. At the age of sixteen he went to Jewett, and secured employment for six months at seven dollars per month. He next worked in a saw-mill, where he received one hundred and twenty dollars a year for ten years, and saved seven hundred dollars of his earning. After his marriage he located on a farm adjoining his present home, which is about one and a half miles from the village of Tannersville, on the road to Jewett, first purchasing one hundred and twelve acres and later buying more land. He remained there until 1891, and from 1846 to 1879 held the agency for the Hardingburgh Land Grant, Lot 25, consisting of twenty-eight thousand acres, surveying and selling about twenty-one thousand acres during that time. In 1879 he purchased seven thousand acres lying in Ulster and Greene Counties, which he surveyed and laid out in farms. It was in poor condition at the time he took possession, but he improved it to such an extent as to make it more desirable, and now besides a large number of farms the district contains four parts - Santa Cruz, Twilight, Sunset, and Elka - comprising in all twelve hundred acres. In 1857 he adopted the profession of civil engineering, and for the past forty years he has surveyed not only all the Hardingburgh patent, but a great many farms throughout this region. He has surveyed also land near the Hudson River in Ulster County, and has completed much work for the great quarries in that locality. He has also been called upon in many lawsuits as an expert; and, although in 1895 he was compelled on account of ill health to relinquish active work of this kind, his advice is still sought upon many important matters. In 1890 he sold the farm of two hundred and sixty-six acres adjoining his home property. He erected a new dwelling-house and other building upon his present farm, which contains seventy acres, used principally for dairy purposes. He also owns three other farms and outlying land, amounting in all to one thousand acres, and is one of the largest resident land-owners in the town.

In 1854 Mr. Showers was united in marriage with Merilla Loomis, daughter of Alvin J. and Harriet (Palmer) Loomis, of Windham. Her father, who was a butcher in that town, died at an advanced age; and her mother, who was a native of Ashland, died at the age of forty-nine. Mr. and Mrs. Loomis had eight children, of whom five are living; namely, Addison, Merilla, Chloe, Lovisa, and Julia. Merilla is now Mrs. Shower, Chloe married Jonathan Traphagen, Lovisa is the wife of William Young, and Julia married George Goodrich. Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Showers have had eight children. The four now living are: Cyrus, Emma, Henry W., and George H. Showers. Cyrus is a civil engineer. A sketch of him appears elsewhere in the REVIEW. Emma married Edward Osborn, a blacksmith in California, and has five children. Henry W. is attending the Albany Law School, and George Harding Showers is a student at the Polytechnic Institute, Troy. The others were: Jennie, who married Stephen Vining ,and died in California, leaving two daughters -Bertha and Mingie; Elmer, who died at fourteen; Isaac, Jr., who died young; and Irving, who died at the age of four years.

Mr. Showers is a Republican in politics, but had declined to serve in office. He was in 1848 a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church for fifty-five years, a class leader forty-three years, and has also been connected with the Sunday-school as teacher and superintendent. He assisted in building the churches at Tannersville and Jewett, and contributes liberally toward the support of both.


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