SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK.
by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER
Portraits of John Ham and Wife
The Ham family was originally of German descent, and one of their members emigrated to this country about one hundred years ago, and settled in what is now Rensselaer county, N.Y., the inhabitants of which, at that time, being mostly from the same part of the Old World. John was the third son of William and Lydia Ham, and was born in the town of Brunswick, Rensselaer county, November 9, 1815. His parents were both natives of Rensselaer county, and resided there until the year 1826, when they removed to Saratoga County, where they passed the remainder of their days. Both lived to a good old age, and are buried in the cemetery connected with the Methodist Protestant church in Wilton, and a suitable monument, erected by their son, marks the spot. His father's family being large, John, at an early age, was obliged to leave home and start for himself, and with no other inheritance but his own hands he commenced the battle of life. Becoming tired of single life, he was married, January 17, 1839, to Lucinda, daughter of John and Margaret Miller, she being born in the town of Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County, February 12, 1815. Three sons and three daughters came to bless their fireside and make their home pleasant. The eldest, Rebecca Adaline, was born January 8, 1840, and was united in marriage to James L. Howard, of Malta, January 20, 1857. The second, Caroline, was born April 5, 1842, and passed away April 10, 1859. Next came twins, Edgar and Edwin, born June 20, 1844. And when foul rebellion sought to crush our nation's honor, and trampled in the dust our flag of freedom, they both sprang to its support, the former being connected with the One Hundred and Fifteenth, the latter with the Seventy-seventh New York Infantry. They both served their country with honor to her and themselves. Being taken prisoners, Edgar was confined eleven months in Andersonville, and Edwin three months in Libby. At the close of the war, Edwin joined the regular army, and served a term of enlistment of five years, being a private in Company C, Sixth Regiment of United States Cavalry. Catharine was born September 23, 1846, and was married December 21, 1865, to Jesse B. Thorn, of Old Saratoga. The youngest child, John H., was born September 8, 1852, and married Isabella Shaver, September 2, 1875.
Mr. Ham is a member of the Republican party, and though, at various times, has been offered different town offices, has always refused to serve his townsmen in any political position. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Protestant church, and he has contributed largely of his means during his life for its support. His ancestors being descended from a nation that was early noted for honesty, frugality, and economy, Mr. Ham inherited these same traits of character; and, by attending strictly to them, has, at his time of life, the satisfaction of enjoying a comfortable and honorable competence, which has been obtained wholly through his own exertions.
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