Church, Walter S.

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Birth

Walters S. Church was born on November 13, 1813 in Canandaigua, Ontario County, New York, the son of Philip Church and Anna M. Stewart. His brothers and sisters were

  • Richard Church
  • Mrs. N. P. Hasuck
  • Mrs. John Warren
  • Mrs. Robert Hawley

Marriage & Children

Walter S. Church never married.

Death

Walter S. Church died December 08, 1890 in Albany, New York.

Obituary

Col Walter S. Church, who is well known in this vicinity by reason of his ownership of the anti-rent lands in this and Rensselaer counties, died at his home in Albany on Monday evening and was buried from St. Peter's church on Wednesday. He had been in failing health for over a year and his death was not unexpected. Col. Church was probably one of the largest landowners in the state. He built the Kushaqua hotel, near the village, which has become a noted summer resort, in 1885 at a cost of $75,000, which has been quite a help to our village. Although considered by many as grasping, owing to the persistency with which he pushed his claims, there are many who can testify to the honorable manner of his dealing and of kindly help extended. The Albany Daily Press gives the following sketch of his life:

Walter S. Church was born in Canandaigua, Ontario county, in 1813. His father was Judge Philip Church, a wealthy land owner of Angelica and one of the pioneer settlers of Allegany county. His mother was Anna M. Stewart. Deceased spent his early life in Angelica, with the exception of a few years passed at the West Point military academy. In 1850 he purchased the anti-rent lands in Albany and Rensselaer counties from the Van Rensselaer estate and at once commenced a vigorous crusade in the courts to prove his rights to the properties so purchased. From that year up to the time of his death he has been engaged principally in adjusting these claims, having hundreds of suits in the courts at a time. In 1864 he was chosen colonel of the old 25th regiment, New York State Volunteers, which position he held for four years. The title of colonel thus acquired remained with him up to the time of his death, and he was generally spoken of as Colonel Church. When Mr. Church took command of this regiment it was in a terribly disorganized condition. The state was not then on such a solid financial basis that it could advance the funds necessary to furnish the proper equipment, and it looked as though the time of dissolution had come. But Col. Church, with characteristic generosity put his ever ready purse into the breach and, at his own expense, the Twenty fifth was uniformed and equipped, so that it was thereafter regarded as the best equipped regiment in the state at the time. Mr. Church was an ardent democrat, but never sought a political honor. He never married. A brother, Richard Church, of Angelica, and three sisters, Mrs. N. P. Hasuck and Mrs. John Warren, of New York, and Mrs. Robert Hawley. of London, survive.

In the days following close upon the old Albany Regency, the controlling power in the democratic party, Col. Church was a prominent figure in that famous coterie of political magnates who managed state and local politics. That was before the picturesqueness of North Pearl street was married by the invasion of business progress, to any great extent and when palatial homes of leading citizens adorned that thoroughfare. Conspicuous among those homes was that of Col. Walter S. Church, which stood, we believe, where the store of B. Steak & Co. is now located. His hospitable residence was the council chamber of the leading men of his party in the state and nation. Some of the most important events connected with the democratic party in those days were conceived and adopted in the reception rooms of Mr. Church's palatial mansion. Like the lamented Peter Cagger and William Cassidy, he was a politician not for love of office, but for the success of the party with which he was identified. He never sought, neither would he accept office, believing that his influence was more potential in private council than in public place.

As a citizen, Col. Church was greatly respected by all who knew him. To the poor he was one of the most generous of givers. When he considered an appeal for charity Deserving, it was answered with the fullness of his heart, and many a man in this city to-day can attribute to Col. Church what ever success they have acquired through his friendly councils and financial assistance. He was a man religiously devoted to the advancement of Albany and its interests, and his works in this direction have accomplished much.

Altamont Enterprise December 13, 1890

Additional Media

Walter Church biography by Allen Deitz