Pioneers of Utica
One of the prominent men of Oneida county while the county was yet new was Arthur Breese. He was born in Shrewsbury, NJ September 16, 1770, and was the second son of Samuel and Elizabeth Breese. His paternal grandfather, a native of Shrewsbury, in England, and of Welsh parentage, had been an officier in the British navy, and a Jacobite, but resigned his commission after the Pretender's defeat, and came to America. An extremely social man in his lifetime and noted for giving good dinners, at which he always sang songs and told stories with much spirit, -- he lies buried in Trinity Church yard, NY, beneath an epitaph made by himself, and which reads as follows:
Ha! Sidney, Sidney,
Lyest thou here?
I here lye
Till time is flown
To its extremity.
Arthur Breese's mother was the grand-daughter of Rev. James Anderson, first minister of the Wall Street Presbyterian Church, New York. He was graduated at Princeton, studied law with Elias Boudinot, and was admitted an attorney of the Supreme Court in August 1792. As early as 1794 he removed to Whitesboro, where he became a partner in practice with Jonas Platt. He acted also as deputy clerk of the county, Mr. Platt being clerk, was a master in chancery, and in 1796-7 was a representative in the Legislature. Upon the organization of the new county of Oneida he was appointed surrogate, and held the office so long as he remained at Whitesboro. But when a clerkship of the Supreme Court was established at Utica, in 1808, he was made clerk and removed thither. The building he occupied stood where now stands the office of the county clerk, to which it has but recently given way. He soon built for his dwelling a large stone house directly opposite, and next above Jeremiah Van Rensselaer's, a site now filled by the Miller, or step-ladder row. On the death of its first president, Mr. Breese also held for a time the position of president of the Ontario Branch Bank. He was himself cut down in the very prime of life, having died August 14, 1825, at the age of fifty-three, in the city of New York, whither he had gone to seek for the restoration of his health.
By nature inactive in temperament and easy of disposition, Mr. Breese was yet possessed of strong sense and much personal worth, of sterling integrity, of large hospitality, and generous in his care for the religious, educational and other important interests of the town and neighborhood. He bore his part among the founders of the Oneida Bible Society and the Utica Academy, and as trustee of the village corporation, and of the Presbyterian Church, of which latter he was a communicant.
He was somewhat of an epicure, and fond of the delicacies of the table, his larder and ice-house being always well supplied, and he never so happy as when surrounded by his friends, to enjoy with him his good cheer. A capital judge of wines, his cellar was liberally stocked with choice kinds, of his own important. In manners he was quiet and rather taciturn, though cheerful and genial, with the looks and bearing of a thorough gentleman. His features were regular, his eyes large and expressive, and though, in later life, a little beyond embonpoint, he was in his younger days remarked for his personal beauty.
Mr. Breese was twice married, and the father of a large family of whom some have risen to distinction, and all were highly respectable and well connected. Catharine, his first wife, was the daughter of Harry Livingston, of Poughkeepsie. She died August 21, 1808, very soon after their removal to Utica, in her thirty-third year. She is represented to have been a faithful guide to her household in the path of duty, and an example of Christian meekness and piety. Endeared to all her acquaintances, she was universally lamented.
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Her children were Samuel Livingston, rear admiral of the Navy of the United States, who entered the navy in 1810, and after sixty years of duty, including the war of 1812, the Mexican war, service at the Norfolk and Brooklyn navy yards, and as commander of the European Squadron, was placed on the retired list; he died December 17, 1870; Sarah (Mrs. B.B. Lansing, and afterwards Mrs. James Platt;) Elizabeth (wife of William Malcolm Sands, purser of the United States Navy;) Catharine Walker, (widow of Captain Samuel B. Griswold, of United States Army); Sidney, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and United States Senator from Illinois; Susan (Mrs. Jacob Stout, then Mrs. P.A. Proal, died 1863.) Henry Livingston, died at the age of 14; Arthur, died in Florida, 1838; Mary Davenport (Mrs. Henry Davis, of Waterford).
Mr. Breese married the second time in 1810, Miss Ann Carpender, of New York, of English descent. She survived her husband many years, and died May 17, 1857, in the seventy-third year of her age. A woman of marked vigor as well as vivacity of intellect, she managed her property with skill and prudence, so that, left a widow with no superabundance of means, she greatly increased her income, and reared a large family, with all the surroundings befitting the position that was always accorded her. Though her habits and tastes were eminently domestic, her society even to the last was desired by both old and young, for she shone among the most refined in social life, was admired for her playful wit, her dignity, culture and grace, and esteemed for her consistent discharge of Christian duty.
She had six children, as follows: Sarah Ann (Mrs. Thomas R. Walker); Josiah Salisbury, merchant of New York, died February 11, 1865; William Gregg, merchant of Cincinnati, afterwards and until his death, which occurred June 15, 1841, a resident of the city of New York; Frances Helen, died June 4, 1847; Robert Lenox, died July 15, 1835; Aquila Stout, died August 31, 1825.
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UTICA SENTINEL AND GAZETTE NEWSPAPERS
OBITUARY ARTHUR BREESE
Oneida County, NY Vol. 1
14 June 1825 - 6 June 1826
Died on Sunday morning the 14th inst. at New York, in the 53rd year of his age
Arthur Breese Esq. of this place. At a very early period in the settlement of
this section of the country, he established himself at Whitesboro in the
profession of the law. On the creation of the Clerkship of the Supreme Court
for the Western District, he received the appointment of Clerk, and remained
the incumbent until his death. He was a man of much personal and private
worth, of sterling integrity, and exemplary piety; and his loss is deeply felt
by his friends and fellow citizens and by a numerous and interesting family.
The New York State Historical Association
ARTHUR BREESE (Princeton 1790.)
Arthur Breese was a native of New Jersey, studied law in the office of Elias Boudinot,President of the
Continental Congress, was admitted to the bar in 1792 and located at Whitesboro in 1793. He was
a brother-in-law [Error: nephew-in-law] of Jonas Platt and by virtue of
this relation became Deputy County Clerk of Herkimer County. He was elected to the Assembly in 1796,
became first Surrogate of Oneida County and held the office until 1808, when his Federalist principles
made him obnoxious to the Council of Appointment, which put another in his place. Upon his removal to Utica
he was made one of the clerks of the old Supreme Court and Court of Chancery. He held the latter office
until his death. He does not seem to have been very active in the practice of the law, but
he was a man of fine personal character, of cultivated and scholarly tastes, who left a
family the members of which filled very useful and honorable positions in life. His son, Samuel,
was a Rear Admiral in the Navy; another was the wife of Captain S.B. Griswold of the United States Army, and
his son Sidney, after graduating at Union College, studied law with Gold and Sill and settled in Illinois,
where he became United States District Attorney, Reporter of the Supreme Court of Illinois, Circuit Judge and
later United States Senator, finally terminating his career as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois.
Families of Olde Whitesborough 1784-1824 p. 33
Arthur Breese was born in Shrewsbury, New Jersey on Sept. 16, 1770. He was the second
son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Anderson) Breese (his second wife).
His immigrant ancestor and paternal grandfather was Sidney Breese (1709-1767), a native of Shrewsbury,
England and his wife Elizabeth Penkethman who came to New York about 1750.
His father, Col. Samuel Breese was an officer in the American Revolution, was the Col. of the 3rd Regiment
Monmouth County Militia 1775/6 and his home was between two lines of two armies and he suffered great losses
by the enemy in 1779.
Arthur Breese graduated from Princeton University and received his honorary Bachelor's Degree from Yale
College in 1789, and following in the wake of the westward migration settled in Whitesboro in 1793. In 1808
he moved to Utica.
In 1801 Arthur Breese served jointly as the Inspector and also as Brigade Major of the 2nd Brigade of
Cavalry of the New York State Militia.
He married Catherine Livingston whose sister was wife to Jonas Platt (q.v.)
[Helen Livingston was aunt to Catherine].
Catherine was his first wife, she was the daughter of Henry Livingston and Susan
Conklin of Poughkeepsie, NY [those were her grandparents].
Catherine died on Aug. 21, 1808 very soon after their removal to Utica, in her 33rd year. He married
second, in 1810, Ann Carpenter of New York who died May 17, 1857, at the age of 73 years.
His home was on Main Street opposite the Village Green. After his arrival in Whitesboro in 1793 where he
became a partner with Jonas Platt, he also served as Deputy Oneida County Clerk. Jonas Platt was the Oneida
County Clerk at that time.
In 1796 he was elected to the New York State Assembly. In 1798 - 1808 he served as the first Surrogate
Judge of Oneida County NY.
On March 23, 1799 he was a member of the Aqueduct Association of the future Village of Whitesboro. He was one
of the first Trustees of The United Presbyterian Societies of Whitestown and Old Fort Schuyler in 1804 and 1805.
Arthur had 15 children: Nine by his first wife and six by his second wife.
1. Samuel Livingston, b. 1794
He was appointed midshipman in the navy in September of 1810, participated in the Battle of Lake
Champlain in the War of 1812. He became a Lieutenant in 1816 and a Commander in 1835, and rose to Captain
in 1841. In the Mexican War he commanded the Frigate Cumberland and also commanded the Mediterranean
Squadron 1856-1859. He was made Rear Admiral in 1862. He died Dec. 17, 1870, and his body rests in
Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica.
2. Sarah, b. Whitesboro, NY
She married first, Barent Bleecker Lansing, son of Col. Garrit [Gerrit] G. Lansing and Maria Antill.
Sarah and Barent had five children: Arthur Breese, Henry Livingston, Henry Seymour, Manette Antill and
Barent Bleecker, Jr. She married second, James Platt. Sarah died in 1879.
3. Elizabeth, b. Whitesboro NY
She married William Malcolm Sands, Purser of the U.S. Navy.
4. Catherine Walker, b. Whitesboro, N.Y.
She married Capt. Samuel B. Griswold of the U.S. Army.
5. Sidney, b. July 15, 1800, Whitesboro, NY.
He attended Hamilton College and graduated from Union College in Schenectady in 1818. He then
moved to Illinois where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1820, was U.S. District
Attorney for Illinois, held several commissions in the militia and participated in the Black Hawk War
in 1832. He was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate, March 4, 1843 to March 3, 1849, and was an
unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1849. A member of the House of Representatives in 1851 and 1852
and Chief Justice in 1867, 1870, 1873 and 1874. He died June 28, 1878, Pinkneyville, Illinois and is
interred in Carlyle Cemetery, Carlyle, Illinois.
6. Susan, b. Whitesboro, NY.
She married first Jacob Stout and second P.A. Proal. She died in 1863.
7. Henry Livingston, b. Whitesboro, NY.
He died at the age of 14.
8. Arthur, b..
He died in Florida in the year 1838.
9. Mary Davenport, b.
She married Henry Davis of Waterford NY.
Claire C. Sperry, Charles B. Sperry, Whitesborough, NY, 1984.
Dictionary of American Biography p. 14
OBITUARY ARTHUR BREESE
Oneida County, NY Vol. 1
14 June 1825 - 6 June 1826
Arthur Breese was a descendant of the pictureque soldier-merchant who was a master of the port of New York on the eve of the American Revolution (E.E. Salisbury, Family Memorials, 1885, II, pp. 477, 503)
Arthur Breese received an honorary bachelor's degree from Yale College in 1789, followed in the wake of the westward migration, settled at Whitetown in 1793, later removed to Utica, and for seventeen years was clerk of the supreme court of Western New York. He built a spacious home where he entertained Lafayette and other notables who visited that part of the country.