Anna Laurella (Clarke) Giles
City of Troy

This biography is from Troy and Rensselaer County, New York, Volume III, by Rutherford Hayner, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York and Chicago, 1925. It was submitted by Debby Masterson.

ANNA LAURELLA (CLARKE) GILES—For more than four decades Anna L. (Clarke) Giles has been a resident of Troy, New York, and for many of those years Troy's charitable, philanthropic and religious institutions have benefited through her devoted and consistent interest. She is a daughter of Gaylord Judd and Frances Helen (Corey) Clarke, who, at the time of the birth of their daughter, were residents of Albany, New York.

Mrs. Giles had eight ancestors in the Revolutionary War. On her father's side was Jacob Clarke, who was a member of the Protective Band of Westchester County, and who with his brothers rendered material aid to our country against friends of the British troops stationed in New York City. He served under Colonel Thomas Thomas, and lost an eye in the service of his country. In the Department of Original Documents in the comptroller's office of the State of New York are receipts for monies paid for service in Colonel Thomas' regiment in Jacob Clarke's own handwriting. Also in the family records of her father's mother appears the name of David Reed, who, we find in "Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors," was commissioned lieutenant in 1776, of Lincoln County Militia, under Colonel Samuel McCobb. He rose to the rank of captain during his service. The Reed family came originally from England, settled in Maine, and were known for their religious zeal and patriotic fervor.

Mrs. Giles' grandfather on her mother's side was Allen Corey, born June 9, 1810. He was the son of Daniel Corey, whose father, John Corey, was an Englishman who had gone to France for business purposes relating to the silk industry. He became acquainted with some French Huguenots who were about to sail for America, and decided to come with them and to make this country his home. In 1770, with others, he settled in Galway, Washington County, New York. Being a man of means he erected saw and grist mills which were the only ones for miles around. He became a true patriot and at the call of his adopted country, spoke with eloquence and persuasiveness among his neighbors and friends, influencing many to join with them and go into the army. He fought bravely to defend the country's cause, enlisting in Colonel Van Rensselaer's regiment, and was promoted, becoming a lieutenant under Colonel Jacobus Van Schoonhoven. John Corey married Elizabeth Chase, the daughter of a Revolutionary soldier, and they had four sons: 1. Daniel, of further mention. 2. David, who became United States Minister to Port au Prince, and who died of yellow fever. 3. John, who married and became the father of the Rev. Daniel Corey, D. D., of Utica, New York; and Rev. Dr. Sidney Corey, of New York City. 4. Stephen, who died at the battle of Plattsburgh, September 11, 1814.

Daniel Corey, son of John and Elizabeth (Chase) Corey, married Hannah Allen Todd, daughter of Robert Todd, a Revolutionary soldier, and a minister of the Gospel. He was called upon before the battle of Bemis Heights to "make public intercession for the safety of the American troops and that God would give them courage and faithfulness of purpose in this great undertaking." Just before the battle Robert Todd carried his wife, Elizabeth (Allen) Todd, and their little daughter, Hannah A., into the block-house for safety. Robert Todd was in several battles and before the close of the war rose to the rank of major. He lived until he was ninety years of age and met his death by falling from a bridge. He was cared for in his declining years by his grandson, Allen Corey, who has a memory stored with incidents related by his grandfather. Mr. J. I. Taylor, of Canton, South Dakota, writing under date of August 6, 1893, says: "I well remember hearing my Grandfather Todd relate interesting anecdotes of the Revolutionary War, when his grandfather, John Todd, and uncle, Robert Todd, were in what was then called the 'Rebel Army.' He said : 'They are as familiar to me now as they were sixty-five years ago.'"

Hannah Allen (Todd) Corey, born and reared under those stirring conditions, became a strong, brave women. Her husband, Daniel Corey, died when he was but thirty-three years of age, leaving her with three small boys: David, who died young; John Addison, who later in life became Judge John A. Corey, of Saratoga Springs, New York, one of the projectors and founders of the Schuylerville Monument, and whose name is on the tablet; and Allen, the grandfather of Mrs. Giles, who married Ann Tifft Whipple, of Whipple City, now Greenwich, New York, daughter of David and Elizabeth (or Betsey) (Tifft) Whipple.

Elizabeth (or Betsey) (Tifft) Whipple, wife of David Whipple, was a daughter of David and Ruhama (James) Tifft. Her father served various short terms in the Revolutionary War, until October, 1781, under Captain Thompson, Lieutenant Clarke, Lieutenant-Colonel Potter, Colonel Myers, Major Dyer, and Major Maxon, his whole service covering a period of two years. He was in the battle of Long Island, and there lost a leg. He received a pension from the government, the claim being allowed on August 29, 1833. He was a native of Richmond, Long Island, and came of an old and prominent family. His father, William Tifft, was a justice of the peace in Colonial times, and married Mary Kenyon, in Rhode Island. When she was a girl she was stolen by the Indians, but later escaped and wandered about in the deep woods until she was found by a party of settlers. During that time she subsisted upon leaves and roots that she gathered. She was a very beautiful woman, described as having large blue eyes and hair "like spun gold." She said the Indians seemed to worship her hair for its unusual beauty, and they treated her very kindly. William Tifft, during the Revolution, served as commissary of Rhode Island troops during the whole of the war, being a man of great patriotism and executive ability. He received a personal letter of commendation from General George Washington for his "free and abundantservice in behalf of his country."

Gaylord Judd Clarke, the father of Mrs. Giles, was born in Owego, Tioga County, New York, February 25, 1836, and died December 7, 1870. He was a graduate of Union College, class of 1859, went South to practice his profession, and became a judge, residing for years at El Paso, Texas. Although but a layman, he was a founder of the first Protestant church in El Paso and read the first service. That church was called St. Clement Mission, at the request of Mrs. Clarke, to perpetuate the memory of their little son who had just died. There is now a St. Clement Church standing on the site of the little mission, and in it are beautiful stained glass windows and a bronze tablet placed there in memory of the founder by his daughter, Mrs. Giles, and his widow, Frances Helen (Corev) Clarke. The bronze tablet is thus inscribed: 'In loving memory of Gaylord Judd Clarke, Founder of this church; born February 25, 1836, died December 7, 1870—a just man and perfect—who walked with God." In that same church is a fine organ given in 1915 by Mrs. Giles in memory of her mother.

Frances Helen (Corey) Clarke, mother of Mrs. Giles, was a daughter of Allen and Ann Tifft (Whipple) Corey, and a granddaughter of David Whipple, a member of a fine old Rhode Island family, contemporary with Roger Williams and members of the Society of Friends. One of her ancestors was Job Whipple, who came from Cumberland Hill, Rhode Island, and founded at what is now Greenwich, New York, a village known as Whipple City, of which he was the first president. He there installed the first spinning frames and manufactured the first yarn, which later he distributed among the women of the surrounding country to be woven into cloth. These women, from as far as Whitehall, Granville, and even Vermont, rode on horseback to the village, and when the cloth was woven, delivered it the same way, taking their pay in yarn for the use of their own families. Mr. Whipple, an energetic business man, saw clearly the future of the village, and sent his son-in-law, Mr. Mowry, to England, to obtain English ideas and plans of knitting machines. He was denied admission to the English mills, but did secure ideas and enough knowledge to enable him to build knitting machines here, and thus began in Whipple City the industry that has more than any other made the prosperity of the country. This was the first attempt to manufacture cotton goods in the State, and the success of the enterprise caused the building of other factories in many locations.

Anna L. Clarke, daughter of Judge Gaylord Judd and Frances Helen (Corey) Clarke, was born in Albany, New York, January 28, 1861, but was educated at St. Mary's Episcopal School, and at Knoxville College, Knoxville, Illinois. She was graduated from the latter institution, class of 1879, and shortly afterward returned East, on December 15, 1880, being united in marriage with Leonard House Giles, of Troy, New York. The family home is the same as that to which she came as a bride more than forty years ago.

Mrs. Giles is a woman of attractive personality, of broad culture, and of pleasing address. In the social life of Troy she has been a leader for years, and her interests are many and varied. To the many useful lines of effort with which she is identified she brings a rare degree of enthusiasm, energy, and executive ability of a high order. She is a member of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, and of the City Planning Committee; is vice-president of the Young Women's Christian Association; secretary of the Troy Times Fresh Air Fund ; and treasurer of the Women's Auxiliary of the Young Men's Christian Association; she was twice State regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and is now a director of the State Association. Mrs. Giles is a member and vice-president of the Bethsheda Home for Aged Women; is an ex-president of the Troy Girls' Club; a member of the Troy Women's Club, and of the Ilium Literary Club of Troy; a charter member of the Thursday Morning Literary Club; and a life member of the National Geographical Society, the American Forestry Association, and the American Navy League. She is deeply interested in hospital work, and is manager of the Samaritan Hospital and member of the Rensselaer County Board of Child Welfare. In the civic affairs of her home city she is active, as well as in its religious life, her own church being the First Baptist, of Troy, the second oldest church in the city, which recently passed its one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary. This church, of which Mr. and Mrs. Giles are both members, has benefited largely through their personal efforts and their generosity, receiving from them, in 1920, in addition to their former gifts, the beautiful organ that has been in the church since that year, and which has recently been enlarged and greatly improved through their continued interest in the provision of the best instrumental music for the congregation.

Mr. and Mrs. Giles have traveled extensively, visiting many places of interest in the Southern seas, in Mediterranean Europe, and the Holy Land.

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Debby Masterson

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