William Brinkman

Biography courteously provided by Joyce Riedinger, Delaware County Coordinator.


WILLIAM BRINKMAN, the competent Postmaster of Franklin, N. Y., is one of the best known and most highly esteemed citizens of this place. His father, Dedrick Brinkman, was a native of Prussia, where he was born in 1806, and learned the trade of cabinet-maker, at which he worked for seven years near the family home. In 1830, with no fortune except his own willing hands, he sailed for America, the voyage being an unusually quick and pleasant one. He married in this country Elizabeth Vareschorst, of Germany; and until 1844 they resided in Catskill, after which they removed with their three children to Roxbury, Delaware County.

Here for eight years Mr. Brinkman followed his trade, and then purchased a small farm in that town, which he sold at the expiration of two years to buy a larger one of three hundred acres near by. This the family occupied until the fall of 1865, disposing of it then, to remove to their new home of one hundred and sixty acres, about two miles above Franklin village. This, also, was sold two and a half years later, when Mr. Brinkman bought the farm on which he resided until his death, resulting from an accident with a runaway horse in 1880. His widow now lives with her daughter in Roxbury. Mr. and Mrs. Brinkman buried an infant, and reared ten children to maturity, seven sons and three daughters, of whom six sons and two daughters still survive. They are: Lewis, Otis, George H., and William in Franklin; Edward and Charles in the West; Mary, wife of George Silvernail, in Florida; and Eliza, wife of Joseph Dart, at Roxbury. One of the sons, Henry C. Brinkman, was a volunteer in the Civil War, enlisting in the Eighth Independent New York Battery, and dying of malarial fever at Whitehouse Landing, June, 1862, when but twenty-one years of age. A daughter, Clara, for many years a successful teacher, died in the prime of life.

William Brinkman was born in Catskill, Greene County, July 8, 1840, and received his early education at the district school and the Roxbury Academy. In October, 1861, he enlisted in the same company with his brother Henry as a private, re-enlisting November 21, 1863, and serving to the close of the war, when he was discharged, in June, 1865. Although he was in active service throughout the terrible struggle, with the exception of three months during which he was a patient at the Chesapeake Hospital, a victim to malarial fever, he escaped shot, shell, and prison, and, after peace again reigned in the land, returned to Roxbury, later removing to Franklin, where he was engaged on his father's farm. Mr. Brinkman then spent six months sight-seeing in Nebraska and the West; but, as this was at the time of the great grasshopper scourge, his impressions of that extensive region were not as favorable as they would have been under different circumstances.

October 5, 1869, he married Miss Marion E. Kingsley, of Franklin, who received her education at the Delaware Institute, and taught seven terms previous to her marriage. Mrs. Brinkman was the daughter of Bradford Kingsley, of Franklin, who died in 1877, aged seventy-three years, his father, Bradford Kingsley, Sr., having moved from Connecticut and settled on a farm in Franklin over ninety years ago. His mother Mary A. Greene, of Saratoga, passed away when seventy-eight years of age at the old homestead in Franklin, which passed out of the possession of the family only a few years ago. Mrs. Brinkman has two sisters and one brother, George B. Kingsley, of Coventry, now living. Her maternal grandfather was Roger Able, the first white person to be buried in the town of Franklin. He died at twenty-eight years of age, soon after settling here; and his remains were drawn on an ox sled to Bartlett Hollow, where it was then supposed the town would be built. The wife of Roger Able experienced an exciting adventure in the early pioneer days. She was riding her horse along the bridle-path just over the hill from Franklin, when a panther sprang before her with flashing eyes and open jaws. The screams of the frightened woman drove the ferocious creature from the path, and brought to her rescue a workman from the neighboring forest. In the excitement Mrs. Able had lost her saddle, but had clung to her horse. After her husband's death she removed to Saratoga County, where she died at an advanced age.

In 1873 Mr. Brinkman sold his farm and, with his family, removed to Franklin, of which town he was appointed Postmaster in 1885, serving four years, being reappointed in October, 1893, and still serving in that capacity. He is a charter member and First Adjutant of the Grand Army of the Republic, Post 132, of Franklin, of which he has been Commander for six years. He is an enthusiastic Mason, having belonged to that organization for the last twenty-nine years, and having served as Master of the Lodge at Franklin for five years. He is a Royal Arch Mason, being a member of Unadilla Chapter, No. 178, and also is a member of the Susquehanna Lodge, of the Scottish Rites degree. About thirteen years ago Mr. Brinkman purchased his present home in the village, where all are sure of a cordial welcome from him and his estimable wife, who is a valued member of the Congregational church. Mr. Brinkman is a modest, retiring man, who performs his duties in a strictly honorable, conscientious manner; and his bravery in the long service for his country, although never referred to by himself, will long live in the memory of his comrades and friends.


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