Andrew Porter McKean
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.

ANDREW PORTER McKEAN—The place which Andrew Porter McKean occupies in the financial and civic life of Troy, New York, is not only a prominent one, but it is one in which he renders valuable service. Trained in the legal profession, he is also affiliated wath business institutions both in Troy and in North Adams, Massachusetts, and plays an important role in educational matters.

The McKean family is an old and honorable one, which traces its ancestry to William McKean, of Argyleshire, Scotland. After having been haled before a military tribunal and questioned as to his loyalty, William McKean, who was a covenanter and had escaped conviction only by his ready Scotch wit, fled to Ireland, where, with many other covenanters, he assisted in the founding of a Scotch colony in the County of Ulster. One of William's sons, James McKean, took part in the siege of Londonderry, Ireland, and this James McKean of Londonderry had three sons: James, Jr., William, and John. The McKean family had emigrated to Ireland with the understanding that there they might enjoy their religion free from the taxes and tithes of the Church of England. Finding that this was not the case, they sent delegates to this country to inquire into the state of religious freedom here. Reports were favorable and the three sons of James, James, Jr., William and John, prepared to lead a large group of their associates to the New World.

James McKean, Jr., landed in Boston in 1718, and after residing for a time in a town called Nutville, in New Hampshire, removed to Londonderry, New Hampshire, of which he was one of the first settlers and where he became one of the most prominent and influential citizens. He became the ancestor of a large branch of the McKeans of New Hampshire. William settled in New London, Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1727, in which locality many Scotch-Irish from the North of Ireland were living. James and John were partners in business in Ballymoney, Ireland, and the latter intended to accompany his brother James to this country. John died before preparations were completed, but his widow, Janet, came, bringing with her four children, John, Robert, Samuel and Mary. Of these sons of John, John, the oldest settled in Nova Scotia, and Samuel, the youngest, settled in New Hampshire. Robert, the second son, went to Chester County, Pennsylvania, where his Uncle William had settled, and circumstantial evidence is nearly conclusive that he later removed to Cecil County, Pennsylvania, and became the father of the James McKean, of Cecil County, from whom Andrew Porter McKean traces descent. Robert McKean fought in the French and Indian War, and was probably with Washington in 1754 or with Braddock in 1753. He was taken prisoner and put to death by the Indians.

James McKean, son (almost certainly) of Robert McKean, son of John, son of James, son of William of Argyleshire, Scotland, was born in Cecil County, Maryland, in 1745, and died in Burlington, Pennsylvania, January 4, 1797. About 1774 or 1775 he removed from his native place to Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and in 1789 he again changed his place of residence, removing to Chemung County, New York, not far from Elmira. His title to the land on which he settled proved to be fraudulent, and about five years later he settled in Burlington, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, where he became the owner of a large section of land on Sugar Creek. There he resided during the remainder of his life. He married Jane Scott, who came to this country from Glencoe, Scotland, when quite young and settled with her parents in Cecil County. James and Jane (Scott) McKean were the parents of ten children: Allen; William; James; Rebecca; Andrew, of further mention; John; Robert; Samuel; Benjamin; and Jane. The first three were born in Cecil County, Maryland, the others in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, except Jane, the youngest, who was born in Chemung County. New York.

Rev. Andrew McKean, fourth son of James and Jane (Scott) McKean, was born in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, July 28, 1777, and died in Mechanicsville, New York, December 19, 1863. He removed with his parents to Burlington, Pennsylvania, when about twelve years of age, and in 1802 was ordained a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, uniting with the Philadelphia Conference, but later by a change of boundary lines, became a member of the New York Conference, and in 1832, of the Troy Conference. His first appointment was the Ulster circuit, bounded on the eastward by the Hudson river, and during this time he preached the first Methodist sermon that was ever preached in Kingston, New York. Later, he organized the first Methodist Society there, and in 1807 he organized the first Methodist Society in Schenectady, New York. On large circuits he traveled many thousands of miles, mostly on horseback, enduring much hardship and exposure until his health became impaired, and he settled on a farm in Half Moon, Saratoga County. New York, in 1828, removing to Mechanicsville, New York, in 1863, where he resided during the remainder of his life. He married, April 3, 1814. Catherine Bedell, of Saratoga, New York, whose ancestors were French Huguenots, of Hempstead, Long Island, New York, and she died August 14, 1878. Children of Rev. Andrew and Catherine (Bedell) McKean were: 1. Julia. 2. Elmer. 3. Ruth. 4. James Bedell, known as Hon. James Bedell McKean, who became superintendent of public instruction in Half Moon, New York, when he was twenty-one years of age, was colonel of the 144th New York State Militia when he was twenty-three; was admitted to the bar in 1849; elected judge of Saratoga County in 1854, in which year he was one of the organizers of the Republican party; elected to Congress in 1860; organized the Seventy-seventh Regiment, also known as Bemis Heights Battalion, which, as colonel, he led to the front, and was with McClellan until ill health compelled him to resign July 23, 1863; sent as special envoy to Honduras in 1865; chief justice of the territory of Utah in 1870, which position he held to the time of his death, which occurred at Salt Lake City, Utah, January 5, 1879. 5. Samuel, of further mention.

Rev. Samuel McKean, second son of Rev. Andrew and Catherine (Bedell) McKean, was born in Saratoga, New York, May 19, 1826. He received his education in the public schools of Half Moon, New York, in Jonesville Academy, and in the Methodist General Biblical Institute, since merged into the Boston University, of Concord, New Hampshire, from which he was graduated in 1851. In the spring of 1852 he became a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, of the Troy Conference; his first pastorates were at Vegennes, Vermont; Greenbush, Amsterdam, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, Amsterdam (second term), New York, Lansingburg, West Troy, all in the State of New York except the first. In 1867 he was elected grand worthy patriarch of the Sons of Temperance for Eastern New York, and in 1869 he was chosen corresponding secretary of the New York State Temperance Society and urged to give his entire attention to the work of this organization. Accepting the advice of Bishops James and Simpson, he relinquished his pastorate and for three years devoted his time to the temperance cause, covering the eastern part of the State and editing the official organ of the society, "The Watchword." In 1872 he resumed his ministerial labors, becoming pastor of the Ashgrove Church at Albany. In 1874 he became pastor at Fort Edward, New York; 1877, presiding elder of Cambridge District; 1881, pastor of North Adams, Massachusetts; 1884, presiding elder of Troy District, his residence at Lansingburg, New York, where he continued to reside to the time of his death, April, 1910. Meantime, in 1879, he had received from Union College of Schenectady, New York, the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity; had been elected by his conference a delegate to the general conference of his church at Cincinnati, Ohio; and in 1884 had been chosen by the bishops to represent the church in the Centennial Conference held in Baltimore, Maryland, in December of that year. At the close of his term of service in the Troy District, in 1888, Mr. McKean asked to be released from regular ministerial duties in order that he might recruit his health and find time for special work. In March, 1893, he was elected president of the Rensselaer County Bible Society, and from the time of his release in 1888 to the time of his death in 1910 he was also constantly called upon to preach in various pulpits and for addresses on a variety of subjects. Dr. McKean was a man who made many friends and was greatly beloved by the people of his various pastorates. He was a man of sterling character and of unusual ability, eloquent and impassioned as a speaker but logical and convincing in the pulpit. He married (first) February 5, 1852, Sarah M. Prescott, daughter of Jeremiah Prescott, of Bristol, New Hampshire. She died in West Troy, New York, August 23, 1867, and he married (second) December 1, 1868, Katherine Porter, daughter of Nathan Porter, of West Troy, New York. Children of the first marriage were: Carrie and Willard Prescott. Children of the second marriage were: Andrew Porter, of further mention; and Samuel Howard.

Andrew Porter McKean, son of Rev. Samuel and Katherine (Porter) McKean, was born at Amsterdam, New York, December 29, 1870, After receiving a careful and preparatory education in Fort Edward Select School, North Adams Academy, and in Lansingburg Academy, he became a student in Williams College, from which he was graduated with the class of 1892. He then began preparation for the legal profession, and in March, 1897, was admitted to the New York State Bar. Since that time he has been continuously and successfully engaged in legal practice and he has also been actively connected with various business institutions, both in Troy and North Adams, Massachusetts. He is vicepresident and a member of the board of directors of the Arnold Print Works, finishers of textiles, in North Adams, Massachusetts; and he is also vice-president and a member of the board of directors of the People's Bank, director of the Union National Bank, and a trustee of the Troy Savings Bank, all of Troy. In addition to his professional activities and his various business responsibilities Mr. McKean has also found time for local public service. He has served as president of the city Common Council for two terms, and was a delegate to the last Constitutional Convention of the State of New York, held in Albany, New York, in 1915. He has rendered valuable service as a member of the board of directors of the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society, and is an active member of the Lansingburg School Board of Education. He is a member of the Zeta Psi fraternity of Williams College; of the Troy Club; the Van Schaick Island Country Club; Mohawk Golf Club; Williams Club, of New York; and the Nantucket Golf Club. He is also, in addition to the organizations and institutions already mentioned, a member of the board of trustees of the Troy Orphan Asylum; Marshall Infirmary; Emma Willard School; and Russell Sage College. Politically he gives his support to candidates and principles of the Republican party, and his religious affiliation is with the Methodist Episcopal church.

Andrew Porter McKean married, on March 22, 1899, in New York City, Susan Houghton, who is a daughter of Albert C. and Cordelia S. Houghton. Mr. and Mrs. McKean are the parents of two children: Cordelia Houghton, who was born March 15, 1900, and married Hobart W. Thompson, Jr., of Albany, New York, and has one daughter, Mary Cordelia, who was born February 26, 1920; Florence Porter, who was bornJanuary 5, 1903, and who married Ralph L. Tompkins.

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