From the Biographical Review, Volume XXXIII, located at the Durham Center Museum.
Transcribed by Celeste MacCormack
ROBERT ELLIOTT, whose death occurred on January 6, 1899, was for many years a representative citizen of Hunter, N.Y., being well known in the third quarter of the century as a general merchant, and later as the builder and proprietor of the Kaatsberg. He was of Scotch-Irish parentage, and was born on June 24, 1822, in Ireland, where his father, whose name was Thomas, spent his entire life engaged in agriculture.
Thomas Elliott and his family were staunch members of the Presbyterian church, and he was an Elder for many years. He lived to be eighty years old. His wife, Jane McLane Elliott, was of Scotch descent, and one of a large family. She was the mother of the following named children: Robert; John, who lives in Kansas; Thomas, Jr., also of Kansas; Samuel, Harriet, and James, all three deceased; Helena and Jane, who are living in Ireland; and Adam, who went to Australia. James Elliott was educated for the Presbyterian ministry at Belfast. He subsequently taught in Canada.
Robert Elliott inherited from his parents those sterling qualities which ever characterized his dealings, and which were such potent factors in shaping his successful business career. He was educated in the national schools of Ireland. At the early age of eighteen years he took the place of a professor in one of those schools, and performed the duties of the position for six months in a highly creditable manner. At the end of that time he set sail for America. He soon obtained a position in a tannery, and after a short time he entered the employ of Mr. Edwards, who belonged to the prominent Hunter family of that name, and who was descended from Jonathan Edwards family of Massachusetts. Mr. Elliott kept books for Mr. Edwards until that gentleman died, and he then entered the employ of his brother, Colonel William W. Edwards, with whom he came to this town in 1848. Colonel Edwards carried on a large tannery here, and Mr. Elliott had charge of the accounts of the concern until his employer went out of business.
In 1853 Mr. Elliott opened a general store, and for the next twenty-five years he conducted a large and successful business. At the end of that time he sold out, and later bought the lot upon which he erected the beautiful Kaatsberg. This fine house he built in 1883 – the finest house in Hunter village. He ran this as a summer boarding-house up to 1897, when he gave up the management to his son, Robert G. Elliott. All built under Mr. Elliott’s supervision, it is a monument to his thoroughness and is admired by every one.
In 1855 Mr. Elliott married Mary A. Caldwell, a lady of Canadian birth. Of the six children born of this union, four are living; namely, Helena, Elmore E., Clara, and Robert G. Elmore E., who is a prominent physician in Catskill, married Mabel Sanderson, a daughter of Judge Sanderson, of Catskill, and has two sons – John Sanderson and Robert Caldwell. Clara resides with her mother. Helena is the wife of Dr. C. P. McCabe, of Greenville. Of her three children one is living, a daughter Dorothy.