James Hogeboom, M. D.
James Hogeboom, M. D.

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

The ancestors of this family, which fills a prominent place in the colonial and political history of the State of New York, and especially of the county of Columbia, were natives of Holland, and settled about the year 1720 in that portion of the county known then and now as the town of Claverack, on the site of the present village of that name, which, with the town of Kinderhook, then embraced all that portion north of the Livingston Manor. The immediate ancestor of the subject of these lines, James L. Hogeboom, removed to the town of Pittstown, Rensselaer Co., about the year 1790, and afterwards to Castleton in the year 1802, and engaged in mercantile and general freighting business. He was afterwards elected as a member of the State Convention of 1821 for the revising of the constitution, and subsequently a member of Congress for the Rensselaer district.

James Hogeboom was born Feb. 28, 1800, in Pittstown, Rensselaer Co., and early removed with his parents to Castleton, where, during his childhood, he received the usual - at that time limited - common-school education. Manifesting, however, an early fondness for learning, he was sent to a grammar and Latin school at Stuyvesant, under the tuition of John Frieze, and subsequently to the academy of Lenox, Massachusetts. After the acquirement of a fine academical education, he determined to prosecute the study of medicine, and entered the office of his cousin and friend, the late Dr. Barent P. Staats, of Albany. He attended lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, and completed his medical studies. Upon reaching his majority he commenced the practice of his profession at Ghent, Columbia Co. Here he remained in successful practice for about eight years, and here was consummated his marriage to Helen, daughter of the Hon. Tobias L. Hogeboom, Dec. 11, 1828, who survives him. In the following spring he again removed to Castleton, where he spent the remainder of a long and useful life. His death occurred March 3, 1870, after a painful illness of several months. Few men have died more regretted than he by those who knew him best, yet it seems strange (we were allowed to complain of the provisions of an all-wise Providence) that he who did so much and sacrificed so much of personal enjoyment for the alleviation of the sufferings of others, should not have had an easier release from the troubles and pains of this world to the joys of the infinite beyond. Of a family of four children, only two are living, - Dr. James L. Hogeboom, of Castleton, and Charles F. Hogeboom, of New York.

Dr. Hogeboom was a man of rare talents, gifted with a memory peculiarly retentive and fitted for the acquisition of knowledge, and of singular powers of generalization. Almost any subject which he brought his mind to think upon was sure to be thoroughly sifted and digested. Any sophistry with which it might be presented or clothed never failed to be entirely exposed by his clear, penetrative logic. His ridicule was keen, though good-natured; many a fine-spun theory, nicely woven and seemingly attractive, was often completely demolished by a few thrusts of his keen satire, which made the author of it, though discomfited, often laugh as heartily as himself. We have heard it spoken of him, by one who knew him and certainly was capable for forming correct opinions concerning others, that "he was one of the clearest thinkers he ever knew, and possessed a mind always as clear as a spring of water." He dearly loved his profession, and was a deep student of medical science, with its collateral branches: he read much and kept pace with their advancement. Even during his last weeks of sickness and pain he occupied his mind with reading and study. The works which attracted his attention most were those of Herbert Spencer, Draper, Huxley, and Tyndal.

He was one of the most charitable of men; no patient, however poor, was left to suffer for want of medical attendance, and in many cases book food and money were furnished in addition. In personal he was tall and lithe, and possessed of much physical strength and grace. His manners were genial and courteous, his conversational powers were brilliant, and his habits strictly temperate; yet above and beyond all, he was an honest man in every sense of the word; of deep religious feeling, though not connected with any church organization. He lived his religion daily, following both the letter and the spirit of the injunction contained in the Sermon on the Mount, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."

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