Biography of Brinckerhoff C. Tharratt
Oneida County, NY Biographies





Regarded as a citizen and in his social and business relations Brinckerhoff C. Tharratt belongs to that public spirited, useful and helpful type of man whose ambitions and desires are centered and directed in those channels through which flow the greatest and most permanent good to the greatest number. He was born in Boonville, July 23, 1842, a son of Joseph Roger and Margaret (Brinkerhoff) Tharratt. His paternal grandfather also bore the name of Joseph Tharratt. The father was born in Loweth, Lincolnshire, England, on the 1st of January, 1819. He was a son of one of the landed gentry and had married the daughter of the high sheriff of Lincolnshire Joseph Tharratt, Sr., was a typical English gentleman and a member of a prominent and aristocratic family. He inherited vast estates but was given to excessive indulgence in the sports common in England in those days and thus lost most of his inheritance, after which he came to America.

Joseph Roger Tharratt was a lad of thirteen years when the voyage was made across the Atlantic. He came to rank as one of the most substantial and honored citizens of Oneida county. He was a man of marked energy and used his ability not only in furthering his own interests but also in advancing the public welfare, and was connected with every event or project which had for its object the growth, upbuilding and development of the community. For many years he served as supervisor of Boonville township, was also president of the village board, president of the Erwin Library at Boonville and president of the Boonville Cemetery Association. He ever regarded a public office as a public trust and no trust ever reposed in Joseph Roger Tharratt was ever betrayed. He took helpful interest in church work and taught by example as well as precept how much better it is to choose those things in life which are really worth while. For fifty seven years he was a teacher of the Bible class and was thoroughly versed in the Scriptures. Reading and meditation made the Holy Word so much a part of his life that the spirit of its teaching was expressed in all of his daily conduct and his relations with his fellowmen. While a man of high character he was still a man of charming personality, a most interesting conversationalist and a pleasing entertainer in social affairs. In the business circles of Boonville he figured as a wholesale grocer and druggist for many years, winning success along those lines, and eventually in 1864 established a private bank which afterward became the First National Bank of Boonville. He continued as its president from its organization until his death and formulated a policy in which conservatism and progressiveness were evenly balanced forces, making the institution one of the strong financial concerns of this part of the state. Through his carefully managed business affairs Mr. Tharratt became one of the wealthiest mean of the community. He was fortunate in his investments and his capability and persistency of purpose enabled him to carry forward to successful completion whatever he undertook. He was also financially interested in various railroads. Something of the confidence and high regard in which he was uniformly held is indicated by the fact that he was chosen executor of over thirty estates. He was as loyal in his friendships as he was faithful and honorable in his business relations and in public office he stood as a high type of manhood and citizenship, honored and respected wherever known and most of all where he was best known. He married Margaret Brinkerhoff a native of Fishkill, Dutchess county, New York, born in June, 1819, a daughter of Benjamin and Esther (Barton) Brinkerhoff, the latter of French and the former of Holland descent. The founder of the Brinkerhoff family in America was Joris Brinckerhoff, who came to the the new world in 1634 and settled on Long Island, the grant of land accorded him covering all of Staten Island. John Brinkerhoff, the great grandfather of our subject, was a colonel in the Revolutionary war and the grandfather, Benjamin Brinkerhoff, was a soldier of the war of 1812. He became the founder of the family in Oneida county where he settled in 1826. It was his daughter who became the wife of Joseph R. Tharratt and their family included a daughter, now Mrs. Loraine (Tharratt) Carrington, who resides on the old homestead in Boonville, where her parents lived for fifty seven years. Her present home is the one in which she was born.

Brinkerhoff C. Tharratt, spending his youthful days in a home of refinement and culture, was accorded liberal educational opportunities, preparing for college at Whitestown Seminary, but ill health intervened and he was forced to abandon his cherished desire of pursuing a college course. He afterward attended law school in Albany in 1861, completing the course in a year, owing to the fact that he had previously read law in the office and under the direction of Myron D. Faulkner, of Boonville. After completing his law course he went to Boone county, Indiana, where he formed a partnership with Judge Dougherty and engaged in the active practice of the law. In 1863 he was commissioned quartermaster and first lieutenant of the One Hundred and Sixteenth Indiana Regiment by Governor Levi P. Morton. After several attempts had been made to enroll the inhabitants of Worth township, Boone county, Indiana, all of which failed, Mr Tharratt volunteered to make the attempt. The people were mainly from Kentucky and Tennessee and resisted any effort that was made to force them to identify themselves with the north, but Mr. Tharratt succeeded where others failed, owing to his invincible and determined will to do what he undertook. It was after this that he was made quartermaster and lieutenant and subsequently General J. C. Kise appointed him aasistant adjutant general on his staff. He thus served until the close of the war, participating in a number of important engagements including the battles of Knoxville, Cumberland Gap, Strawberry Plains, Klinch River and others, and with his regiment, the One Hundred and Sixteenth Indiana, he was mustered out in March, 1865.

When the war was over Mr. Tharratt returned to Boonville where he entered into partnership with H. R. Hadley in the practice of law but ill health forced him to abandon his profession and later he engaged in mercantile and various other pursuits, notably in furnishing the material for the building of the Mohawk & Malone Railroad. He was also in the coal business as a wholesale dealer in Brooklyn and became one of the extensive land owners of his section of the state, having four hundred acres in a splendid stock farm which he calls Elmwood. There he raises thoroughbred Holstein cattle and has become recognized as one of the leading stockmen of this section. He is also president of the First National Bank at Boonville and throughout his life in every business venture in which he has engaged he is continuously pressing forward to the goal of success. He has never allowed obstacles or difficulties to bar his path if they could be overcome by persistent and earnest effort.

On the 22d of September, 1864, in Utica, Mr. Tharratt was married to Miss Louise Gilbert, a daughter of John and Sarah Gilbert, natives of Oneida county; the maternal grandfather, Elijah Easton, was a soldier in the war of 1812. They became the parents of two daughters, Jessica Louise and Margaret Josephine, but the latter died November 2, 1896. The former is now the wife of Frederic W. Best, and they have one child, Tharratt Gilbert, who was born in Denver, Colorado, and is now a student of Princeton University of New Jersey. Both, Mrs. Best and her son are extensive travelers and have visited many of the European countries. Mr. and Mrs. Tharratt hold membership in the Presbyterian church which has been the faith of the family for many generations. He belongs to Fort Schuyler and Arcanura Clubs and in his political allegiance is a republican. He has never cared to hold office himself though frequently solicited to do so. His advice, however, has been often sought and followed in the selection of good men for office and in the adoption of beneficent political measures. Mr. Tharratt takes great delight in traveling and not only has made extensive trips in this country and visited most of the places of interest in Europe, but has spent much time in sightseeing in Mexico. There is probably not a man of large private interests in the community who has felt a more hearty concern for the public welfare or has been more helpful in bringing about those purifying and wholesome reforms which have been gradually occurring in the political, municipal and social life of the city. The range of his activities and the scope of his influence have reached far beyond his business interests, important as they have been. His generosity is indicated by the fact that the pension which is his due for his war services, he distributes equally between the Boonville Post, G. A. R. and the Women's Relief Corps. He belongs to that class of men who wield a power that is all the more potent from the fact that it is moral rather than political and is exercised for the public weal reather than for personal ends. Those who know him recognize in him a warm hearted man of generous, helpful spirit, charitable, philanthropic and broad minded, who has extended aid to many and is ever willing to hold out a helping hand to a fellow traveler on life's journey.

From:
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


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