John E. Newkirk

Biography courteously provided by Joyce Riedinger, Delaware County Coordinator.


JOHN E. NEWKIRK, of Roxbury, N.Y., a prominent business man and citizen of that place, is descended from a very old family of "genuine Knickerbockers", his early ancestors having come from Holland and settled in New York nearly two and a half centuries ago. His great-grandfather , Dr. Jacob Newkirk, who was of the fifth generation of Newkirks in this country, was born in Ulster County, N.Y., March 17, 1750. He was one of the first physicians in that place, and was very successful in his profession. The last years of his life were spent in Greene County, where he died in 1833. In 1778 he married Anna Person, and had two children-a daughter, Catherine, who married Abram A. Salisbury; and a son, John Person Newkirk, who was born in Greene County, April 30, 1780, in the midst of the Revolutionary War. John P. Newkirk was a physician and a merchant; and throughout his life he was , like his father, a member of the Dutch Reformed church. when he was twenty-two years old, he contracted marriage with Catherine Salisbury, who bore him these children; namely Abram Hasbrouck, Jacob, Ann, Catherine, William, Caroline, Mary, and Harriet. His death occurred February 17, 1855; but his wife survived him eleven years. Jacob Newkirk, the second son of John P. Newkirk, was born in Catskill, Greene County, February 22, 1806. Like his grandfather, whose name he bore, he chose the medical profession, and was very successful in his practice. He studied with the famous Dr. King, of Cairo, N.Y. More than sixty years ago, Dr. Jacob Newkirk, second, commenced his practice in Roxbury, where he remained to the day of his death. He was always a very prominent citizen, growing up with the town, and identified at all times with its progress. When he settled here, the district was little more than a wilderness; no roads had been thoroughly cleared, and his patients lived some distance apart. His first visits were made on foot, or on horseback, conditions under which few physicians of the present day have to labor. Sometimes in the middle of the night, and obliged to ride several miles through rain or snow to attend an urgent case, his profession was no sinecure. Yet he lived to a good old age, being eighty-eight at his death, which occurred August 13, 1894. His wife was Deborah M. Burhans. They had two children, one of whom, William S. Newkirk, is now dead.

John E. Newkirk, the surviving son of Dr. Jacob and Deborah Newkirk, was born January 15, 1838. He received an excellent education at Roxbury Academy and Delaware Institute, where he was graduated. At the age of eighteen he accepted a position as clerk for Mr. H. Burhans. After holding this position two years, he started a hardware business with his brother William, buying the establishment of Edward Burhans; and for six years they carried the business on under the name of J. E. & W. S. Newkirk. At the end of that time he bought out his brother's share, and has since run the establishment alone, except one year in which his son was a partner. He has built up a flourishing business, and has a large patronage. In addition to his hardware business, he also has an extensive plumbing trade, and has a large tin-shop.

He married Sarah C. Harter, of Herkimer County, where her father was a well-to-do farmer, who has since retired. Mrs. Sarah C. Newkirk died at the age of thirty-four, leaving five children, namely; Frank H. Newkirk, who is a train-dispatcher on the West Shore Railroad; William, who lives in Nebraska, where he is engaged in a prosperous insurance business; Jane, who married Mr. H.C. Londyear, and now lives at Pine Hill, in Ulster County; and Minnie and Margaret, who live at home. Mr. Newkirk has three grandchildren; John Jacob Newkirk, son of Frank H. Newkirk, who married Florence Fisher; and Frank H. and Sarah D. Longyear, the children of his daughter Jane.

Since the death of his first wife Mr. Newkirk has married again, his second wife being Josephine McGregor, the daughter of John McGregor, formerly of Hobart, N.Y. Mr. Newkirk is a long-life Democrat, and has held the office of Supervisor and Town Clerk in Roxbury. He belongs to several orders and lodges, is a prominent Mason, and is one of the most popular and respected citizens of the town. Mrs. Newkirk is a communicant of St Peter's Church [Episcopal] in Hobart.


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