John A. Erkson

Retyped from Beers "History of Greene County" by Annette Campbell



Prior to the war of the Revolution, driven to desperation by the drafts, impressments, taxes, and religious persecutions, arising from the frequent quarrels of the petty princes of those dutchies and provinces, whose moods were as varying and changeable as the winds of the Black Forest, there had immigrated to the peace-abiding shores of Pennsylvania hundreds of their peasantry artisans, to escape an ever annoying servitude and the injustices incident to these border frauds; to a land whose liberty of speech, action, and religion, was as a magnet---stronger than a love of kith and kin and childhood's home. Among these men were three brothers, from some Belgian province, who landed in Philadelphia, and from whom the Erksons (a quite uncommon name) of today sprang.  One was a teacher, the second a clergyman, and the third, at a later date than their arrival, infused with zeal for the American cause, enlisted as a private in the continental army. Taken prisoner by the Indians, he was delivered to the British in Canada, undoubtedly experiencing the sufferings and exposures incident to the tedious marches and imprisonment; and, escaping after several years, those of the return to the American lines, through the forests of Northern Vermont and New Hampshire, the stories of which, as related by others, are pitiful.  He soon settled as a pioneer in what is now Bovina, Delaware county, where he lived and died. From this latter brother, in a direct line of descent, the subject of this sketch traces his ancestry. Though reputed as emigrating from Belgium, well founded conjectures trace the linage of the Erksons back to Norman origin.
 
wpe1.gif (194916 bytes) Mr. Erkson was born in the town of Bovina, May 15th 1840, and was a son of Archibald C. and Nancy (Hamilton) Erkson, the latter a direct descendant of the Duke of Hamilton. Her grandfather was killed at the battle of Waterloo. He lived at Bovina until about December 1871, when he located at Prattsville, in the merchantile trade, in a small store opposite the commodious and well stocked store he now occupies. He purchased this latter eight years ago, and most thoroughly remodeled it upon a practical plan. By a natural adaptation to this business, he has built up for himself a large and extended trade, for a country town. Mr. Erkson is emphatically and active citizen of Prattsville. He was one of the originators and vice-president of the Prattsville Agricultural and Horticultural Society, and has held the office of supervisor, and as a democrat, stands high throughout the western portions of Greene county in the esteem of his party. Mr. Erkson married, January 1st 1863, Miss Emma Tyler of Roxbury, Delaware county, New York.

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