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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Nathaniel Rochester

ROCHESTER, Nathaniel, pioneer, born in Cople parish, Westmoreland County, Virginia, 21 February, 1752; died in Rochester, New York, 17 May, 1831. He was a descendant. of Nicholas Rochester, who came to the colony of Virginia, from the county of Kent, England, in 1689, and bought land in Westmoreland county. When he was two years of age his father died, and when he was seven his mother married Thomas Critcher, and the family removed to Granville county, North Carolina, in 1763. His means of education were limited, but he lost no opportunity of his busy life to make good any early deficiencies. In 1768 he became a clerk in Hillsboro, North Carolina, and in 1773 entered into partnership with his employer. In 1775 he was appointed a member of the committee of safety for Orange county, and in August, 1775, he attended, as a member, the first provincial convention in North Carolina, and was made paymaster, with the rank of major, of the North Carolina line, consisting of four regiments. On the reassembling of the convention in Nay, 1776, the provincial force was increased to ten regiments, and a resolution was passed, 10 May, "that Nathaniel Rochester, Esquire, be appointed a Deputy Commissary-General of military and other stores in this county for the use of the Continental army." He entered upon his duties at once; but his health failed, and he was compelled to resign. The same year he was elected to the legislature of North Carolina. He filled other useful offices, and was a commissioner to establish and superintend a manufactory of arms at Hillsboro, the iron for which had to be drawn from Pennsylvania in wagons. In 1778 he began business again with Colonel Thomas Hart, father-in-law of Henry Clay, and James Brown, afterward minister to France, and in 1783, in connection with the former, he began the " manufacture of flour, rope, and nails" at Hagerstown, Maryland While living in that place he became in succession a member of the Maryland assembly, postmaster, and judge of the county court, and in 1808 he was chosen a presidential elector, and voted for James Madison. He became the first president of the Hagerstown bank that year, and at that time was conducting large mercantile establishments in Kentucky as well as in Maryland. In 1800 he first visited the "Genesee country," where he had previously bought 640 acres, and in September of that year he made large purchases of land in Livingston county, New York, near Dansville, in connection with Major Charles Carroll, Colonel William Fitzhugh, and Colonel Hilton. In 1802 he purchased, jointly with Carroll and Fitzhugh, the "100-acre or Allan Mill tract," in Falls Town (now Rochester), and in May, 1810, he removed from Hagerstown and settled near Dansville, where he remained five years, building a paper-mill and making various improvements. In 1815 he removed to Bloomfield, Ontario County, and in April, 1818, took up his residence in Rochester, which had been named for him. In 1816 he was a second time chosen a presidential elector, in January, 1817, he was secretary of a convention held at Canandaigua to urge the construction of the Erie canal, and in the course of the year he went to Albany as agent of the petitioners for the erection of Monroe county, but did not succeed in his mission until 1821. He was the first, clerk of the new county, and its first representative in the state legislature of 1821-'2. In 1824 he was prominent in organizing the Bank of Rochester, and was made its first president. Shortly afterward he resigned the post and retired from active life. He was in religion an Episcopalian, and was one of the founders of St. Luke's church in Rochester. --His grandson, Thomas Forteseue, physician, born in Rochester, New York, 8 October, 1823; died in Buffalo, New York, 24 May, 1887, was graduated M. A. at Hobart (then Geneva) college in 1845, and studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He was graduated M. D. in 1848, and after serving for a year as interne in Bellevue hospital, New York, continued his studies in Europe for a year and a half longer, and then began practice in New York city. He married, on 6 May, 1852, Margaret Munro, daughter of Bishop William H. De Lancey. In 1855 he established himself in Buffalo, where he took the chair of the principles and practice of medicine, together with that of clinical medicine, in the Medical department of the university of Buffalo. From 1855 till 1885 he was attending physician to the Sisters of Charity hospital, and in 1861 he became consulting physician to the Buffalo general hospital. In March, 1868, he was appointed a special inspector of field hospitals, he was president of the New York state medical society in 1875-'6, and its delegate to the International medical congress at Philadelphia in 1876. Besides many technical papers on professional topics, he published "The Army Surgeon " (Buffalo, 1863); and " Medical Men and Medical Matters in 1776" (Albany, 1876).--Another grandson, William Beatty, soldier, born in Angelica, New York, 15 February, 1826, entered the United States service as major and additional paymaster of volunteers on 1 June, 1861. He was transferred to the permanent establishment as paymaster on 17 January, 1867, and on 17 February, 1882, was appointed paymaster-general of the army, with the rank of brigadier-general. See "Early History of the Rochester Family in America," by Nathaniel Rochester (Buffalo, 1882).

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