Tallman Bookhout and Ellen Ferris

Biography courteously provided by Joyce Riedinger, Delaware County Coordinator.


TALLMAN C. BOOKHOUT. In the annals of Delaware County the name of Bookhout is of frequent and honorable mention, and the gentleman whose name appears at the head of this sketch is a worthy representative of the first of that family to settle in this section of New York. Mr. Bookhout is a native of this county, and was born in the town of Roxbury, November 24, 1841. For many years he was identified with the agricultural element of Walton, and in the pursuit of his chosen occupation amassed a competence. He is a man of great energy, enterprise, and financial ability, and occupies an important position among the successful and influential business men of Walton. He is of German origin, and is a grandson of John Bookhout, a pioneer of the county.

John Bookhout was born in Krakow, Germany, and emigrated to America prior to the Revolution, settling in the Dutch settlement then called New Amsterdam, now New York. At the breaking out of the Revolutionary War he enlisted in the service of his adopted country, serving seven years; and the musket which he carried during that time is still in the possession of one of his descendants. After the close of the war he married Nancy Smart, and the first decade of their wedded life they spent in Dover, Westchester County. Following the tide of emigration to Delaware County, they located in the town of Roxbury, where he was one of the first settlers. He secured a tract of timbered land, on which the family camped until the customary log cabin was raised, and for a short time one end of that was used for a stable. Standing at his cabin door, rifle in hand, he had no trouble in shooting sufficient game to furnish himself and family with a dinner at any time. The nearest grist-mill was twelve miles distant, and he frequently carried his grist to and fro on his back. He and his faithful wife lived together for upward of sixty years; and both died in the town of Roxbury, he passing away at the age of eighty-two, while his widow survived him living until the venerable age of ninety-four years. They were the parents of nine children. Both were religious people, and were charter members of the Congregational church of Roxbury, of which the father was Deacon for many years.

William Bookhout, the father of the subject of this sketch, was the oldest son of his parents, and was born on the farm in Roxbury. He was a farmer by occupation, and in early manhood married Caroline Hull, a native of Connecticut, a daughter of William Hull, and a niece of the world-renowned Commodore Isaac Hull. They became the parents of a large family, as follows: Nancy married Urion McKay, and settled in Lenawee County, Mich., where both died. Sabra is the wife of Francis O'Conner, of Delaware County. Elizabeth is the widow of G. W. Plough, and lives at Roxbury. Isaac married Useba Craft, and they are residents of Roxbury. Mary, the widow of Urion McKay, also lives in Roxbury. Tallman C. is our subject. Margaret died at the age of four years. George W., a resident of Roxbury, married Adelia Bouton. John resides in Dallas, Tex. Rose died, unmarried, in Michigan. James, who resides in the town of Franklin, married Emma Hall, of Walton. The father was a life-long and much esteemed resident of Roxbury, and in his political views was a Jacksonian Democrat. The mother lived to the advanced age of seventy-two years, dying on the old homestead in Roxbury. She was a woman of superior character, and a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Tallman C. Bookhout assisted his brother John to obtain an education. The latter went to Texas, where in course of time he became wealthy, and paid his brother all he had expended for him. He was afterward unfortunate, and lost his all through the failure of a bank. He was fortunate, however, in having friends in the North who had confidence in him, and loaned him a few hundred dollars. With this money he purchased the site upon which the city of Dallas now stands. In the boom which afterward followed he made a vast amount of money, and is now one of the wealthiest men in the State. He married Ella Randall, of Dallas, where they now reside, and of which city he has been Mayor.

Tallman C. Bookhout, to whom we refer in this brief sketch, was reared to man's estate in the town of Roxbury, and received a liberal education. At the first call for troops he enlisted in defense of his country in Company I, Seventy-second New York Volunteer Infantry, being the first volunteer from his town. With his regiment he served in Sicles's Brigade, and was an active and courageous participant in many of the most important and decisive engagements of the Rebellion, among the earlier ones being the siege of Yorktown, battles of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Seven Pines, and the Peninsular Campaign. He was stricken with fever, and sent to the David Island Hospital, New York, where he remained five months. He rejoined his regiment at Brandy Station, Va., and was attached to General Hancock's corps at the battle of the Wilderness, but during the second day's fight was wounded and left for dead on the field of battle, which, says Draper, "was throbbing with the wounded." He was sounded in the left shoulder and left eye, the ball striking his gun and being shattered, three pieces entering his body.

Mr. Bookhout was a very courageous soldier and an expert marksman, and in relating the history of his army life often says that, if every Union man had killed as many of his adversaries as he did, there would not have been a rebel left to tell his side of the conflict. Among his victims was the rebel who killed the Major of his regiment, Mr. Bookhout shooting at him six times before killing him, and being shot at the same number of times by his opponent. He was subsequently sent to the hospital at Fredericksburg, narrowly escaping capture on the way thither. This was within fifteen days of the time for the expiration of his term of enlistment, and he was offered a furlough. He proceeded as far as Washington on his way home; but his patriotic impulses were in the ascendant, and he returned to Fredericksburg, starting from there on foot, with the hope of striking a train. Arriving at Fredericksburg, he found himself in the rear of Grant's army, and followed with his own regiment, which he joined at Cold Harbor. He went into the midst of the fray at that place with his arm in a sling, and without fire-arms, but soon procured the latter from the body of a dead comrade. He did heroic duty with his uninjured arm, probably firing as many effective shots as others with the use of both. He next went with his company to Ream's Station, at Bermuda Hundred, and was subsequently at the siege of Petersburg, this being after his term of service had expired. He was also in the engagement at Weldon Railroad, afterward retiring from active duty, and returning home the 8th of July, 1864. His wound was very painful, and gave him much trouble, not healing for more than a year, and costing him about one hundred and fifty dollars.

In the spring of 1866 Mr. Bookhout was united in the holy bonds of matrimony with Miss Ellen Ferris, of Ashland, Greene County, N. Y. Three children have been born of this union: Carrie is the wife of Lewis Benedict, of Walton, Alden is a student in Union College, and Sarah lives at home. In 1893 Mr. Bookhout returned from his farm labors, and removed into the village of Walton, where he is enjoying the pleasant leisure to which his previous years of toil entitle him. In politics he is a firm adherent of the Republican party, and, although not a politician, is deeply interested in local and national matters. Fraternally, he belongs to Ben Marvin Post, No. 209, Grand Army of the Republic, and is prominent in Masonic circles.


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