Arthur Chapman Cheney
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.

ARTHUR CHAPMAN CHENEY—Throughout the entire period of his active career Arthur Chapman Cheney, president of the A. C. Cheney Piano Action Company, of Castleton, New York, has been identified with piano action manufacturing business, and there are none in the country who are more thoroughly familiar with that specialized branch of the piano manufacturing industry than is he.

The Cheney family, whose name is derived from Chene, an oak tree, has long been a noted one in England. There were families of the name in Devonshire prior to the beginning of the thirteenth century, and Devonshire historians state that the manor given to Ralph de Pomeroy by William the Conqueror passed to the proprietorship of the Church of Rouen, "from which it passed to Sir Nicholas Cheney in the reign of Henry III" (1207-1272). In old London records and also in Essex (from which section came a large number of the group which settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts), one Robert Cheney, yeoman, of Essex, had sons, John, Raufe, William, and Robert, and there were several who bore the name John Chayne, in Hertfordshire. Burke states that the original coat-of-arms was:

Arms—Ermine, on a bend sable three martlets or.
Crest—A bull's scalp argent.
Motto—Le mieux que je puis. (The best that I can).

The geneaologist who compiled the Cheney geneaology (Charles Henry Pope) states that no link has been found which connects William of Roxbury or John of Newbury with any English family, and that it is not known whether or not the two were related to each other.

(I) John Cheney, immigrant ancestor of the branch of the family to which Arthur Chapman Cheney belongs, came to this country in 1635, bringing with him his wife, Martha, and four children. A fifth child was born in February, 1636, and during the following year he removed to Newbury. These facts are found in Rev. John Eliot's records of the Church in Roxbury, but where he lived in Roxbury is not known. He received large allotments of land in Newbury, served on the Board of Selectmen, and was one of the energetic and highly esteemed citizens of the town. He died July 28, 1666. He and his wife Martha were the parents of ten children: Mary; Martha; John; Daniel; Sarah; Peter, of further mention; Lydia; Hannah; Nathaniel; and Elizabeth.

(Il)Peter Cheney, son of John and Martha Cheney, was born in Newbury about 1639, and died in January, 1695. He married, May 14, 1663, Hannah Noyes, daughter of Deacon Nicholas and Mary (Cutting) Noyes, and their children were: Peter; John, of further mention; Nicholas; Huldah; Mary; Martha; Nathaniel, died young; Jemima; Nathaniel; Eldad; Hannah; Ichabod; and Lydia.

(III) John Cheney, son of Peter and Hannah (Noyes) Cheney, was born in Newbury, Massachusetts, May 10, 1666, and died September 2, 1750. He was a carpenter, also a miller and cloth finisher, and lived for a time in Sudbury, but later returned to his native town. He married, March 7, 1693, Mary Chute, daughter of James3, (James1, Lionel2) and Mary (Wood) Chute, and they were the parents of six children: Edmund, of further mention; Martha; Mary; Sarah; John; and Judith.

(IV) Edmund Cheney, son of John and Mary (Chute) Cheney, was born in Newbury, Massachusetts, June 29, 1696, and died March 14, 1761. He married (first) November 18, 1714, Mary Plumer, of Rowley, Massachusetts; (second) Ann Poor. Children: Moses, of further mention; Nathaniel; Edmund; Peter; Mary; Martha; John, died young; John; and Sarah

(V) Moses Cheney, son of Edmund and Mary (Plumer) Cheney, was born in Newbury, November 26, 1715, and died February 21, 1759. He married, October 23, 1740, Sarah Whiton, of Rowley, and their children were: Elias, of further mention; Moses; Sarah; Jonathan; Sarah; Mary; Edmund; and Rachel.

(VI) Elias Cheney, son of Moses and Sarah (Whiton) Cheney, was born in Newbury, February 20, 1742, and died in March, 1832. He enlisted March 7, 1781, in Captain Chamberlain's company, Colonel Davis' regiment, and marched for Rhode Island; time of service eleven days. He resided (first) in Byfield (Rowley), and about 1785 removed to Campton, New Hampshire; owned land also in Londonderry and Chester, New Hampshire; later removed to Thornton, New Hampshire. He married (first) September 7, 1762, at Rowley, Jane Plumer; (second) March 9, 1768, at Newbury, Ruth Jackman, of Byfield. She died, February 19, 1774, and he married (third) June 8, 1774, Hannah Pike, also of Byfield. Children: Mary; Jane; Ebenezer; Eliza; Paul Jackman; Ruth; Hannah; Sarah; Samuel, of further mention; and Lydia.

(VII) Samuel Cheney, son of Elias and Hannah (Pike) Cheney, was born in Thornton, New Hampshire, March 12, 1778, and died September 20, 1829. He was a farmer, and resided in Thornton until 1814, when he removed to Derby Line, Vermont. He married Mary Treadwell, daughter of Captain Treadwell, of Ipswich, and their children were: Alfred, of further mention; Elias; Samuel, no issue; Joseph Pike; Mary, married Horace Emery; Sally; and Charles, died unmarried.

(VIII) Alfred Cheney, son of Samuel and Mary (Treadwell) Cheney, was born in Thornton, New Hampshire, December 29, 1804, and died September 15, 1878. He spent his boyhood in Thornton and in Derby Line, Vermont, and in 1825 removed to Boston, Massachusetts, where he resided during the remainder of his life. He married, in April, 1827, Harriet Crawford, daughter of Josiah and Lydia (Vowdy) Crawford, who was born in Orrington, Maine, August 24, 1805, and died in Boston, February 23, 1869, and their children were: George Arthur; Margaret; Mary Elizabeth; Jane Eaton; Helen L.; Alfred; Samuel, of further mention; Ellen H., married Hobart Cleveland, of Orange, New Jersey; Frederick Maurice, who served in the Civil War; Frank; and Henry W., who married Imogene Simond.

(IX) Samuel Cheney, son of Alfred and Harriet (Crawford) Cheney, was born in Boston, July 18, 1842. He received a practical education in the public schools of his native district, and upon the outbreak of the Civil War, enlisted in the 44th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Upon the close of the war he returned to civilian life and learned the piano action manufacturing business. Later he became a manufacturer of piano keys and action, and of ivory goods. For forty years he was connected with the Comstock, Cheney Company, at Ivoryton, Town of Essex, Connecticut of which his brother, George Arthur Cheney, was president. He married Sarah Louise Chapman, a descendant of John Alden, and of Revolutionary stock, and they are the parents of two children: Arthur C, of further mention; and Harry C., a physician in Palmer, Massachusetts, who was born in Ivoryton, Town of Essex, Connecticut, May 20, 1877.

(X) Arthur Chapman Cheney, son of Samuel and Sarah Louise (Chapman) Cheney, was born in Essex, Connecticut, September 6, 1868. After attending the public schools of his native district he completed his preparation for an active life by taking a course in the Vermont Academy, at Saxton River, Vermont, where he completed his studies in 1888. Meantime, however, when he was thirteen years of age, he had begun to learn the art of piano action manufacture with Comstock, Cheney & Company, of Ivoryton, Connecticut. He remained there until 1902, in which year he removed to Castleton, New York, and purchased an interest in the Gorgen Piano Action Company. He was made secretary and treasurer of the concern, and the following year the name was changed to A. C. Cheney Piano Action Company. The concern is a well known one and does an extensive business. They manufacture grand, upright, and pneumatic piano actions, and send their product to all parts of the country. At the present time the personnel of the firm is as follows: H. H. G. Ingalls, president; Seth Wheeler, vice-president; and A. C. Cheney, secretary and treasurer, and the directors are the officers, and Frank B. Smith, Carlos D. Morgan, general superintendent. In addition to his responsibilities in connection with the A. C. Cheney Piano Action Company, Mr. Cheney is president of the Castleton Public Library; vice-president of the Castleton Building and Loan Association; also of the Castleton Auto Club; the Albany Auto Club; and of the National Exchange Bank, of Castleton, New York. He has always taken an active interest in the public welfare of the various communities in which he has resided, and during the World War he served as chairman of the committee which managed the work of the Red Cross drive in Castleton, and was also active in the Liberty Loan drives. He is well known and highly esteemed both in Castleton and in Essex, Connecticut. His religious affiliation is with the Emmanuel Reformed Church of Castleton-on-Hudson, which he formerly served as a member of the board of elders. Mr. Cheney owns a farm of three hundred acres, on which he has a beautiful residence. He owns seventy Guernsey cows, twenty horses, and 2,500 poultry.

On June 7, 1905, Arthur Chapman Cheney married Anna Weir, of New York City, daughter of James Boyd and Frances Elizabeth (Wood) Weir.

Send comments or suggestions to:
Debby Masterson

Go Back to Rensselaer Co. Biographies
Go Back to Home Page