The Seabury Chronicles

Here is the Biblio of my Great Grandfather Chief of Police Nathaniel Newcomb Seabury of Peekskill city, NY

 

Biography of Nathaniel Newcomb Seabury

(1st Police Chief of Peekskill City, New York)

 

Born in Peekskill on Nov. 25, 1875 to James Henry Seabury Sr. and Nathania Travis.

 

Schooling:

 

  1. Private school South St., Peekskill
  2. Old Howard St. School, District No. 8

Corner of Howard and North James St.

School moved to New- Oakside site.

  1. Left Oakside School at 14 yrs. Of age.
  2. Entered Peekskill Military Academy 1887- for

Two years until he turned 16 yrs. Of age. Left school

To go to work.- 1889.

        

 

Work Experience:

 

  1. At age 16 he went to work as a plumbers assistant with Andrew

McNish for six months and then left.

  1. Assisted his mother in her delicatessen and Candy store on North

Division street, Peekskill, NY.-1892

  1. Shipping clerk at the Phoenix Tube Company of Brooklyn- 1893

* Married 1895 to Ida Leverich at age 25.

  1. Peekskill Hat factory until April 17, 1900.
  2. April !7, 1900- Appointed to the Peekskill Police Force. NOTE: Nathaniel was a very formidable figure at 6ft. 5 inches tall and a muscular figure. He was the kind of person that did not take any crap from anyone. He was known to be an honest man and his reputation was well known around Peekskill.
  3. March 12, 1901, one year later Democrats won office in Charter

Election and removed Republican Nathaniel Seabury and appoint successor William Pointer.

  1. Return to work at the Peekskill Hat factory 1901.
  2. Office Wm. D. Cole resigned to resume business and Nathaniel Seabury was reappointed by the Democratic board based on his good record previously as a Policeman. 1902.
  3. New Policy law goes into effect for Peekskill Police force reorganized and civil servant law applied. Nathaniel made Sergeant and became next in command to Chief Oakley. Oakley stayed in office only six months and resigned.

10. Nathaniel’s police record;

  1. Durrin brothers burglary-Mar. 11, 1902, shot and killed in self defense.
  2. Member of Washington Drum Corp.
  3. Feb. 9, 1916 raid on 65 criminals
  4. Feb. 26, Frank Cunningham murdered by Frank De Sammone
  5. Jan. 29, 1916 Robbery at Guardian building Church of the Assumption, stolen tool box.
  6. Held office as Inspector of Elections.
  7. Oct. 31, 1902 promoted to Chief of Police after Oakley left with just six months as Chief. Salary $18.00 a week.
  8. During Nathaniel’s tenure Police force received first motorcycle Police position, Civil service installed, New Police Station built.
  9. Suspension Proceedings by Democratic Mayor elected in 1916 with trumped up charges to get around the civil rights law for dismissal. Mar. 18, 1916- April 1, 1916.
  10. Suspended Mar. 16, 1916 and replaced by a Democratic Mayor’s personal choice.

h.  1916- returned to Buchanan Hat factory as security guard.

I.   Built home at Lake Oscanawa, Putnam Valley, NY during the 1930’s from lumber donated by a friend. Made some money by building canoes and renting them out as well as renting out a converted boathouse.

J. Worked up to the age of 72 and retired.

K. Died at age 78 at Lake Oscanawa from choking on a chicken bone.

l. Grave is located at Hillside Cemetery in Putnam Valley, NY

 

Family relations:

 

Nathaniel and Ida had two children, James Henry Jr. named after his grandfather and Madeline H. . Ida spoiled James Henry to the point that his father felt that he was not a man’s man. Madeline attending finishing school and learned to play the piano.

Madeline met Kenneth James Meade at the Herald Tribune Fresh Air camp on the other end of Lake Oscawana when she was around 16. Kenneth was 3 inches shorter than Madeline who was overly protected and controlled by her father. Kenneth changed his name to Pelham Kenneth Mead and dropped the e at the end of his name. His father was an Irish Catholic and a Lithographer who divorced his mother Fanny (Francis) Kohler and that caused Kenneth to hate his father. Fanny later on remarried to a Mr. Mosso of New Jersey and was always known as Grandma Mosso to family members.

 

Kenneth and Madeline eloped since her father would never approve of her marrying a poor guy from Brooklyn, NY. His oldest son Pelham Jr., my father told me that when ever they painted the apartment it was time to move. They were poor and Dad moved 21 times to different schools. He passed the entrance exam to Brooklyn Tech school, one of the best in NYC, only to have to drop out to work and help his brother finish school and help his parents survive. He and his father worked in Nedick’s hotdog and orange drink places in Manhattan.

 

Dad said that he, Nate and Madeline spent almost every summer at Lake Oscanawa with their grandfather Nathaniel and grandmother Ida. He learned to swim and fish there and they called him “sunny.” Having the children stay all summer at lake Oscawana got them out of Brooklyn and made it easier to survive on Pelham Sr. salary. They were low middle class or poor all their formative years according to my father.

 

Grandma Ida had 13 brothers and sisters and many cousins that always dropped by for dinner or fishing at the lake. Dad, Nate, and Madeline grew up in a family with many upstate New York relatives. Nathaniel made canoes from scratch without any power tools and must have shown Dad how to work with wood since he was so talented with woodworking all his life.

 

I remember Grandma Ida using just a dropline and catching yellow and white pearch, sun fish, and eels on Lake Oscawana and cooking them all up for dinner for guests that evening. Grandma Ida was liberate but could play a mean game of Rummy. When I was a kid I watched my dad play rummy with Great Grandpa Nathaniel and Great Grandma Ida for hours on end after dinner. The house had a manual pump for water and no bathroom in the house or electricity or plumbing. An outhouse across the property was used. For washing up in the morning a basin of cold water was sitting on the floor.

The only heat in the house was the big fireplace on the first floor of a two story home.

 

After Great Grandpa died and did not leave a will, James Henry and Madeline kicked their mother out of the house and sold it and everything in it for money. She came to live with us on Long Island for a while until Grandma Werts told her a lie that she was not wanted. She left and went to her daughter Madeline Mead’s house, and died there all alone and sad in Dundalk, Maryland. She is buried next to Nathaniel in Hillside cemetery directly behind the main office on the edge of the hill. Nate Jr. had name plates put in since they had no headstones erected by collecting from Dad and Penny.

 

The Church that James L. Seabury helped build sits in the cemetery and it looks the size of a chapel, rather than a full sized church like St. James downtown Peekskill. A pew is named for the Seabury family in that little chapel in the old section of the Hillside cemetery. James L. Seabury and his wife and Cornelius and James H. are all buried on ave. B in the old section.

James L. Seabury has a stone sitting on a bolder in the ground and all the bodies were cremated and enclosed in portions of the above ground memorial. Cornelius and James are in the surrounding ground with stones saying Dad. Next to James L. Seabury’s memorial is Judge Wm. Valentine the husband of Christina Seabury the daughter of James L. Seabury. Helen is written on the side of James L. Seabury’s memorial for his granddaughter Helen Seabury who seems to never having been married. She was 18 and still living at home when her father James H. Seabury died in 1898.

 

Where did all of James L. Seabury’s wealth go? The story was told to me that his personal account stole all the negotiable bonds in 1869 and fled and was never caught. James L. had to drop out of his partnership with Sanford at the Ironworks and sell both his house in the city of Peekskill and the farm and 100 acres on the top of Division street. Mr. Sanford went on to become a mayor of Peekskill years later. The Peekskill Ironworks made plows and pots for ten years using all the iron ore mined out of the Peekskill mountains at the time and shipped down the Hudson river to New York City and other locations. James L. died with only $200 dollars left in his estate which was claimed by his son James H. Seabury. He was living on Brown St. when James L. Seabury died according to the Peekskill Highlander News.

 

 

 

 

 

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