Biography of Henry Knickerbacker Viele


Viele, Henry Knickerbacker, Buffalo, was a lineal descendant of Cornelius Cornelison Viele, who came from Holland about 1630 and settled at Fort Orange (now Albany), N. Y. His father. John Ludovicus Viele, a distinguished lawyer and statesman, was born at Pittstown, N. Y., June 6, 1788, and died at Albany, October 19, 1832. Entering Union College in the class of 1811, John L. Viele remained one year, when he retired with an honorable dismissal at his own request, and then pursued a classical course of fourteen mouths under a private tutor at New Paltz. He was admitted as attorney and counselor in the Court of Common Pleas of Rensselaer county, October 2, 1812, as counselor-at-law in the Supreme Court August 13, 1817, and as counselor in the Court of Chancery January 22, 1822. He was State senator from the middle distrièt under the first State constitution in 1822 and from the fourth district under the second constitution from 1826 to 1829, and as senator sat in the Court for the Correction of Errors. His opinions are found in the reports for those years and show great judicial ability. He was a leading advocate of his section and when La Fayette revisited this country in 1825 he was chosen the orator to receive the distinguished guest on the battlefield of Saratoga. February 6, 1832, he was elected a regent of the University of the State of New York. In 1810 he married Catalina Knickerbacker, a granddaughter of Col. John Knickerbacker of Schaghticoke. (Colonel Knickerbacker served in the French war, was commissioned a colonel of New York militia October 20, 1775, was present at the battle of Saratoga and served in the Legislature of 1792. He was descended from John van Berghen, called Knickerbacker, the third son of Godfrey van Berghen, Count van Grimberghen. John van Berghen was a captain in the Netherland navy, and afterward came to the New Netherlands and died here in in 1656) Henry K. Viele was born at Waterford, N. Y., April 29, 1819, was graduated from the Albany Academy in the collegiate course, and when about eighteen years old came to Buffalo. Admitted to the bar at an early age he successfully practiced his profession until 1853, when he retired. He was a master in chancery as well as a counselor at law, and in 1850 was superintendent of schools. During the Civil war he was colonel of the 94th N. Y. Vols. He was an able lawyer and a man of brilliant social qualities. He died in St. Paul, Minn., August 8, 1881. His wife, Laetitia Porter Thompson, was a daughter of Sheldon Thompson, the first mayor of Buffalo elected by the people (1840), and a descendant of Anthony Thompson, who came with Governor Eaton and others from London, England, in 1637, in the ship Hector, and settled in New Haven, Conn. Another of her ancestors, Jabez Thompson, of Derby, Conn., was an officer in the French war, was a colonel in the Revolution, and was killed in the retreat from New York September 15, 1776.

Our County and its people
A descriptive work on Erie County, New York
Edited by: Truman C. White
The Boston History Company, Publishes 1898


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