RUFUS P. BIRDSEY
The Birdseye family in America had its origin in the person of John Birdseye, who came from England to Stratford, Fairfield county, Conn., in the early days of that colony. He finally removed to Middlefield, Conn., and died in 1694, aged seventy-four, leaving two children, John, jr. and Joanna. His wife was Phillippa, daughter of Rev. Henry Smith, of Weathersfield, Conn. John Birdseye, jr. was born in Stratford March 28, 1641, married Phebe, daughter of William Wilcoxson, December 11, 1669, and died January 9, 1697. Joseph, their fifth child, was born February 22, 1681, and married Sarah, daughter of Ambrose Thompson, and died June 25, 1757. Their children were Dinah, Joseph, and Rev. Nathan. Rev. Nathan Birdseye was born on Lord’s day at noon, August 8, 1714, married Dorothy, daughter of Rev. Thomas Hawley, of Ridgefield, Conn., April 17, 1739, and died January 28, 1817, aged 103 years, five months, and nine days. His wife ’s death occurred September 21, 1807, at the age of eighty-eight. Ezra Birdseye, their fifth child, was born in Stratford, Conn., January 29, 1749, married Phebe Curtis and died December 28, 1832. Their third child was Ezra Jr. who was born at Stratford, May 19, 1773, married Lovina, daughter of Joseph and Anna (Clement) Martin, of Martinsburg Lewis county, N. Y., April 14, 1797, and died in Trenton, Oneida county, November 5, 1830. He was probably the first to manufacture silk hats in Trenton, and successfully carried on that business there during his active life. His fifth child, Joseph Birdseye, was born in that village September 17, 1813, and learned his father’s trade. In 1833 he came to Utica, where ehe subsequently settled with his family, where he manufactured hats and caps for many years for the wholesale trade, and where he died March 30, 1887. He was married August 30, 1839, to Helen E., daughter of Asa and Theodocia Pomeroy, who survives at the age of seventy-nine.
Rufus Pomeroy Birdseye, only son and child of Joseph and Helen E. (Pomeroy) Birdseye, was born in Trenton, Oneida county, August 17, 1842, and came with his parents to Utica, where he spent his youth attending the public schools and academy of the city. Leaving the academy, where he had shown great proficiency in mathematics and the English branches, he went to New York and entered the canal transportation office. Two years later he returned to Utica and became bookkeeper for R. V. Yates & Son, wholesale clothiers, and subsequently held similar positions with H. J. Wood & Co. and Oatley Brothers. Afterwards he was bookkeeper for Reynolds Brothers, shoe manufacturers, for a time, and in April, 1871, entered the Savings Bank of Utica in the same capacity. Here he has risen by promotion to teller, to assistant treasurer, April 30, 1879, and to secretary of the board of trustees (July 31, 1889), and treasurer in charge December 26, 1894, and still holds the last two named positions. He was elected a trustee of the bank in 1888 and has since been a valued member of the board. Mr. Birdseye has been connected with the bank a little more than twenty-five years, and during that period he has established a reputation for being one of the ablest financiers in Central New York. Under his thorough and efficient management as treasurer this old institution, chartered in 1839, has never been in a better condition nor exerted a wider usefulness in the community.
Mr. Birdseye is a prominent member of the Fort Schuyler, Arcanum, and Masonic Clubs and the First Presbyterian church of Utica. He is a 32-degree Mason, holding membership in Oriental Lodge, No. 224, F. & A. M., and the Scottish Rite bodies, and in politics is a staunch Republican. He takes a lively interest in public affairs and in the progress and welfare of the community, and liberally encourages all worthy and benevolent enterprises.
On April 9, 1867, Mr. Birdseye was married to Miss Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of James F. and Eunice (Wendell) Crosby, of Albany, N. Y. They have two sons, both born in Utica, viz.: James Crosby Birdseye, born October 29, 1869, and Philip Wendell Birdseye, born April 5, 1874.
Pages 66-67 (Contributed by Linda)