Jacob Lansing Lane
Jacob Lansing Lane

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880. Many thanks to Bob McConihe for typing this biography.

JACOB LANSING LANE, the oldest son of Col. Derick Lane, was born at Lansingburgh on June 24, 1794. After his father had removed to Troy his education was such as the village of Troy afforded, and by means of it he received a preparation which enabled him to enter Union College at a very early age. He was graduated from that seminary of learning in 1813, and soon after commenced in this city the study of law, in the office of Dickinson & Mitchell. He subsequently pursued his legal studies with the Hon. John P. Cushman, and on June 2, 1818, was admitted to the bar and commenced the practice of his profession, being associated with the late Hon. William L. Marcy. At this time Mr. Marcy was much interested in political matters, and not unfrequently wrote for the newspapers in support of Democratic principles as they were then understood. Mr. Lane, who belonged to the same school of politics, was also an occasional contributor to the newspapers. For many years he was the secretary and actuary of the Troy Savings-Bank, and it was owing in a great degree to his prudence and good judgment that the affairs of that monetary institution were so managed as to win the confidence of the community, and to place it in the front rank of similar organizations in the United States. At one time the entire fund of the Savings-Bank, amounting then to over three hundred thousand dollars, was under his control; and it is a remarkable fact, due to the confidence reposed in him, that during the panic of 1837 there was no run on the bank and no alarm manifested by its depositors. In the practice of his profession Mr. Lane rarely appeared in the courts, and for many years previous to his death his time was much occupied with the management of several estates which were entrusted to his care. He excelled in conveyancing and in the drawing of wills, and as late as two weeks before his death dictated from his bed a will, in language as clear, concise, and legal as if he had drafted it in his own office surrounded by his books. For several terms he was loan officer of the county of Rensselaer, and while holding that position he discharged its duties with the utmost fidelity and circumspection. For many years he was a director in several of the monetary, business, and benevolent institutions of the city, and was always noted for the scrupulous care with which he discharged the duties of every trust committed to his keeping. Although energetic in conducting any business in which he was engaged, he was very methodical and painstaking in his modes of procedure, and was never an advocate, either in theory or in practice, of that inattentive haste which is too often likely to end in mistake or error.

In his domestic relations Mr. Lane was singularly happy. On Oct. 6, 1818, he was married by the Rev. David Butler, D.D., to Miss Caroline Elizabeth Tibbits, the only daughter of the late George Tibbits, and in her society secured that refined and intelligent companionship which filled his life with light and blessing. He was of a fine but massive build, and when in perfect health and at his best estate stood six feet and two inches in height, and weighed about two hundred and twenty pounds. Marked as was his personal beauty, he was also distinguished for the amiability of his disposition and for his strong practical common sense and sound judgment. He died on Saturday, March 26, 1859.

His wife was born in Troy, on June 25, 1800, in the dwelling which was formally situated at the northeast corner of River and Congress Streets. While yet a little girl she lived in the house now known as No. 51 First Street, and after the completion of the mansion at the head of old Congress Street, now occupied by the Day Home, moved there `with her father in the year1814. She received such educational advantages as the then village of Troy afforded, and being possessed of a vigorous mind, acquired with ease a knowledge of the studies she pursued. Her life, brightened by many circumstances which are regarded as advantageous, was never tinged, during its many years, with any manifestations of ostentation or superiority. In her youth the care of an invalid mother was her sweetest labor. Later on, to the duties which inhered in wedded life were added those which were connected with the requirements of an almost helpless father, and so on, through life, the ministry of consolation and relief was that to which her strength and her heart were devoted.

Among the organizations of beneficence which graced the early days of Troy was the ancient and honorable society known as "The Ladies' Benevolent Society of Troy," which was established Feb. 27, 1803, and of which the wife of the Rev. Dr. Jonas Coe, the first settled minister in Troy, was the first directress. Its object was to rescue indigent women and children from poverty and ruin, and among all its members, none, during its long history of quiet and unostentatious usefulness, was more efficient than was Mrs. Lane. As a member and officer of the Troy Orphan Asylum, and of the many benevolent organizations with which she was connected, the same statement is also true. But chiefly did her charitable nature find employment in visiting the sick and destitute, in ascertaining their wants by actual inspection, and in relieving the distress thus manifested by gifts offered by her own hands. Besides the afflicted who were thus aided by and through her care, she had on her list of beneficiaries certain kind friends whom she had known for long years, and to whom regularly, as the years rolled on, she sent remembrances of her bounty and her love.

Humility was another grace which, like an aureole of luminous glory, surrounded her life and made it saintly and beautiful. With a grand, heroic nature, firm always in the cause of the truth, acknowledging the brotherhood of man, and devoted to the care of humanity, she, in pure and simple lowliness of mind, was always ready to esteem others better than herself, and found her chief delight in that alms-doing in which the left hand is not permitted to know what the right hand does.

But the charm of charms which subdued with its tender power was her lovely nature, - the "sweet and virtuous soul" which pervaded her whole being, and which looked forth always in graceful beauty from her lovely and expressive face. It was this that retained for her, to the last, all the friends of her younger days that still survived, and that drew to her the respectful attentions of the youthful representatives of later generations. The sight of a young face always seemed to summon a benediction from her heart. It was only a few days previous to her death, and when it seemed as if consciousness had said farewell to the tenement in which it had so long dwelt, that the entrance of a little child into her room attracted her fast fading attention. With a smile and a motion of pleasure she expressed her delight at the presence of the little one, and as the latter came near to her she bent forward and kissed it.

During the greater portion of her life she was a communicant of St. Paul's Church in this city, and was an attendant upon the ministrations of all the rectors who have had the charge of that parish since its inception.

The beautiful characteristics that emphasized the life of Mrs. Lane were such as have their origin in a pure and unselfish nature. From the period of early girlhood, on through the life of youth, on through the days devoted to the care of those who were dear to her, on through years of gentle ministrations, on through later years when her name was tenderly framed with kind words on the lips of hundreds who loved her, on through the hours when she walked amid the coming shadows, always and amid all circumstances her hearty sympathy went out towards others, and the kind word and the helping hand were ever united in beneficent manifestations.

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