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Henry Brace - Obituary

Author of the Local Historical Sketches on the Town of Catskill originally published in the Catskill Examiner between the years 1876 and 1879. Obituary extracted from one of the Brace scrapbooks located at the Vedder Research Library. Transcribed by Barbara Bartley.

“The Examiner", 13 July 1901 


Died in this village, Wednesday, July 10, Henry Brace. He was the son of Dr. Abel Brace, for so many years “the beloved physician” of Catskill and vicinity. It was still the custom in those days for those admitted to the medical profession to take “the oath of Hippocrates,” in which the Christian principle of living for others was so largely inculcated, and this principle Dr. Brace illustrated with his life. The poor and needy found in him a friend, and he endeared himself to all who knew him. His faithfulness and kindness are still remembered and appreciated by those who knew him, and by their children.

Dr. Brace had come to Catskill, when yet a lad, from Litchfield, Connecticut. His wife was Betsey Doane. And in the atmosphere of their happy home their children were reared, heredity and environment conspiring to make them what they became. In this home Henry Brace was born May 20, 1828. He was a youth of more than ordinary ability, and was graduated from Yale College before he had reached the age of 20 years. He chose the legal profession, and was engaged in practice in New York city until within a few months of his decease. He married, November 8 1855, Emeline Crane Demarest. Their only child is Henry Martyn Brace, M. D., who has been for several years in the practice of his profession at Perth Amboy, N. J.

Henry Brace was a man of unusual literary culture, as well as of esthetic tastes. He recognized that life is made up of little things. He was an intelligent admirer of the beautiful in porcelain and tapestry. His appreciation of the scenery of the Hudson and the Catskills, though judicious and discriminating, was intense; and he was successful also in impressing upon others the consciousness of the privileges enjoyed by those born amid such scenery, as well as of the obligation which grows out of such privilege to cultivate the sense of the true, the beautiful, and the good. He was fond of birds and flowers, and enjoyed the study and care of them. He was fond of planning and conducting excursions to the nooks and dells with which he was familiar, and was careful to select, not only the time of year, but also the hour of the day, most suitable to visit each locality.

No other man can compare with him in what he has done to rescue from oblivion important facts in the early history of the Catskill region, as readers of The Recorder well know. Knowing well that “history is philosophy teaching by example,” he remains unequalled in portraying the lives of the early settlers. He was unwearied in tracing history from its source in genealogy, through biography, to the acts which constitute history. The quarto “ History of Greene County” owes its principal value to contributions from his pen, compiled from the large collection of civil, ecclesiastical and family histories which he had been so many years in making.

Essays of his were read before historical societies and contributed to various magazines. And his conversation was as interesting as his writings. From the treasury of a well-stored mind he would bring out things old and new for the edification of the friendly circle that always enjoyed the sound of his full, rich voice. He kept up his scholarly and literary tastes even to the last, aiding the young in their Greek studies, reading with them even the lighter literature of the day, and cheering them with the humor which never forsook him.

He was gentleman of the old school. Recognizing the fact that kindness is true politeness, his courtesy never failed. He was unwearied in his endeavors to promote the happiness of those about him. He was an altruist, in the truest and best sense of the word. He thought, not of himself, but of others. Those who knew him best loved him best, and will miss him the most.

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