Some History of the Winans Family

It Has Numbered Many Men of Distinction

November 20, 1912

Many Descendants in Different Branches are Residents of this Part of New York State


Newspaper article, dated, but without mentioning the newspaper it was published in. Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin.


The Cobleskill Index of last week had an interesting article entitled "Pen Pictures of Part of the Winans Genealogical Tree," written by Zilpha Couchman Richtmyer, of Conesville, which we believe will be of interest to many of our readers, so give it herewith in full:

The first Winans in America was a lawyer from Flanders, now Belgium, who settled in Maryland in 1640; from whom descended the beloved ancestress, Huldah Winans, wife of Jacob Chapman. His son, John Winans, was prominent among the "80 Associates" who founded and settled Elizabeth, N. J., in 1664; was well educated, had books when they were rare, had gold and silver plate and coat of arms. He married a daughter of Cornelius Melyn, Patroon of Staten Island, and resided there 20 years, then removed to New Haven, Conn.

Two of his grandsons, James and William, went to Dutchess county, N. Y., and are ancestors of the New York state Winans. William was grandfather of Mrs. Chapman. A son of John, named Isaac, was grandfather of Ross Winans, of Baltimore, who invented the camel-back locomotive and the eight-wheeled car, and established the Baltimore the largest machine ships in the United States. His sons, Thomas and William, were his partners in business. The three invented a system of steam navigation known as the cigar-ship.

Thomas was a civil engineer, and French engineers having declined as impossible the task of building a railroad in a straight line from St. Petersburg to Moscow, he with two other Americans, Eastwick and Harrison, undertook and executed the difficult contract, from which they realized enormous fortunes.

Ross and sons designed a tublar arrangement for feeding young trout. It works automatically, and we have seen it used in feeding poultry.

The son William settled in Kent, England, where his son Walter has splendid estates and shooting lodges and also in Scotland as well. His exhibition of horses at one international horse show won nearly $7,000 prize money. His stables were profusely decorated with flags and flowers.

Thomas was the father of the Ross Winans whose recent death in Baltimore and the terms of whose will excited so much interest and comment.

Samuel Ross Winans, who died in 1910, was dean of Princeton University from 1899 to 1903, and had been actively connected with the faculty since 1878, at the time of his death being professor of Greek.

The father of Mrs. Chapman had a brother, Lewis, whose grandchildren are residents of Rochester. In one family three sons enlisted in the civil war. Edwin died of pneumonia on the march from Chattanooga. Lewis was taken prisoner in battle, August, 1864, and incarcerated in Libby, Belle Isle, Pemberton and Salisbury prisons till the spring of 1865, when he arrived at his home so emaciated that he fell exhausted upon its threshold. Ira was promoted to the rank of major. He is engaged on a work of the genealogy of the Winans family, which book may we all live to read. William Wallace, a son of Ira, is a homeopathic physician of Rochester, and a year or more since we noticed in the Albany newspaper that he was president of Monroe Count Homeopathic Medical society.

At the learned professions are well represented in the Winans family, the clergy has its full ratio. Among those of this state is J. P. Winans, of the Christian Church, son of Seymour, of Freehold. By the way, Seymour had 18 children. But, by the rule of "loss and gain," he had had four wives. Last year the New York Methodist Episcopal conference lost by death William S. Winans, long a resident of Catskill. He leaves a son in the New York east conference who is its leading temperance advocate. Two ministers of the name are members of Troy conference, W. J., of Schenectady, son of Rev. Rodney, of Newark conference, is acting superintendent of Pacific coast district, American Sunday School Union. His son, Edward J., who won distinction as a Rhodes scholar and matriculated at Oxford, was last year sent by the New York conference to China, as professor of Latin at Pekin university.

But, to return to our own line of genealogy. John Winans, father of Mrs. Chapman, had four brothers and one or two sisters, we believe. Some years ago a comedy entitled "Solon Shingle" was having a great run in New York, in which Solon was ever boasting that his father had "Fit into the Revelewtion, a-driviní a baggage waggin" John Winans and all of his brothers fought in the Revolutionary War, not by driviní a baggage waggin, but as earnest patriots, valiantly contending for liberty. John Winans married Catherine Waters, became a minister of the Old Style Baptist denomination, and upon a farm near Preston Hollow reared a family of seven sons and four daughters, who were quite remarkable for their gift of song. The sons were: Holla, Aaron, Isaac, William, John, Peter and Stephen Van Rensselaer. The daughters were: Nancy, Lydia, Zilhpa and Huldah. Aaron and William found homes in the west. The others in the state of New York. But Aaron has descendents in Oneonta. A son of John, named Edwin, became governor of Michigan. The mother N. Bonaparte Chapman was Edwinís sister. Nancy Winans married Adam Mattice, who settled at Livingstonville. They had several sons and daughters. Mr. Mattice had extensive business interests and held the office of supervisor, sheriff and member of assembly. Their son John Winans was a lawyer in Albany, and at the time of his death owned considerable real estate at Slingerland, where some of his family still reside. Manly Burr Mattice, attorney at law, late of Catskill, was county judge of Greene county some years, and congressman one term.

The husband of Lydia Winans was Elisha Humphrey, of Livingstonville. They also had several sons and daughters. Philip was a merchant in Middleburgh at one time, then went west. Another son, Wesley, also of the west, was an eminent physician, and the son of Philip is a distinguished prescriber of medicine.

Zilpha Winans became the wife of Philip Couchman, of Preston Hollow. He was afterward known as "The Squire," as he had the office of justice of the peace a long time. A few years after their marriage they lived in Canada, near Fort Erie, and in the year of 1812 he was compelled to go to the defense of the fort, and with the rest of the garrison was taken prisoner by the Americans. Later the commander learned that Couchman was only in the enemyís service under strong protest, and he was allowed to pass through the lines, first secretly informing his wife of the intention and making arrangements for meeting on the opposite shore So she sold or otherwise disposed of her effects, took her three small children, one an infant a few months, and bravely paddling her own canoe across the Niagara river, enjoined her husband. Imagine, if you can, the joy of the reunion. They then settled upon a farm near Livingstonville, where they brought up a family of seven sons and three daughters. The sons, large in more than one sense, together weighted over 1400 pounds. Six of them were royal arch masons. Their father had also taken the same degree in the fraternity. Three sons were ordained ministers.

John Winans Couchman, who died at Cooksburg, although giving much time and labor to the Methodist Episcopal Church, preaching, baptizing and marrying, yet preferred to remain upon his farm, and being what we term an "all-around man," settled up estates, etc. He was assessor in the town of Broome and Rensselaerville 6 years, and was member of assembly one term.

Rev. Philip C. of the Christian church, preached with much acceptance many years, then retired to Schoharie.

Rev. Milo C. was an itinerant of the New York conference over forty years. The three brothers were very successful revivalists. In one of Miloís meetings a young man was laughing and whispering, and as reproof had no effect, the minister walked to the pew and inquired the meaning of the young manís misbehavior. He replied, "Why from what I heard, I expected to see miracles performed here." "O, no" was the response, "we donít perform miracles, but we do cast out devils," and taking firm hold of the coat collar he led the fellow to the door and threw him outside.

Peter Couchman was supervisor of the town of Conesville nine years, assemblyman from Schoharie county two terms, and in South Dakota was a member of the constitutional convention that framed the fundamental laws of the state; he was also delegate to the national convention that nominated Cleveland for president. He held the office of sheriff five years and later was Indian commissioner at Cheyenne.

The memory of Hulda (Winans) Chapman, mother and grandmother of a large cultured circle, is preserved with unceasing love and reverence by the families Chapman and Mann, and the whole community of Boucks Falls, where she passed so many useful years, ________ with the perfume of kindness, will gladly acknowledge and long remember her excellence.


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