Rufus Pomeroy Birdseye

Submitted by Nancy Hauser



 
 
 
RUFUS POMEROY BIRDSEYE has been for many years one of 
the leading financiers and business men of Utica and, as Treasurer 
of the Savings Bank of Utica, is widely known throughout Central 
New York. His ancestry is an old and honorable one. The 
Birdseye family in America had its origin in John Birdseye, who 
came from England to Stratford, Fairfield County, Conn., in the 
early days of that colony. He finally removed to Middlefield, 
Conn., and died in 1694, aged seventy-four, leaving two children 
John, Jr., and Joanna. His wife was Phillippa, daughter of Rev. 
Henry Smith, of Weathersfield, Conn. John Birdseye, Jr., born in 
Stratford, March 28, 1641, married Phebe, daughter of William 
Wilcoxson, December 11, 1669, and died January 9, 1697. 
Joseph, their fifth child, born February 22, 1681, married Sarah, 
daughter of Ambrose Thompson, and died June 25, 1757. Their 
children were Dinah, Joseph, and Rev. Nathan. Rev. Nathan 
Birdseye, born on Lord's day, at noon, August 8, 1714, married 
Dorothy, daughter of Rev. Thomas Hawley, of Ridgefield, Conn., 
April 17, 1739, and died January 28, 1817, aged one hundred and 
three years, five months, and nine days. His wife's death occurred 
September 21, 1807, at the age of eighty-eight. 
   Ezra Birdseye, their fifth child, born in Stratford, Conn., January 28,  1749, married Phebe Curtis, and died December 28, 1832.
Their third child, Ezra, Jr., born at Stratford, May 19, 1773, married Lovina, daughter of Joseph and Anna (Clement) Martin, of Martinsburg, Lewis County, N. Y., April 14, 1797, and died in Trenton, Oneida County, November 5, 1830. He was probably the first to manufacture silk hats in Trenton, and successfully carried on that business there during his active life. His fifth child, Joseph Birdseye, was born in that village September 17, 1813, and learned and followed his father's trade. In 1833 he moved to Utica, where he subsequently settled with his family. There he manufactured hats and caps for many years for the wholesale trade, and died March 30, 1887. He was married August 30, 1839, to Helen E., daughter of Asa and Theodocia Pomeroy Rufus P. Birdseye is the only son and child of Joseph and Helen E. (Pomeroy) Birdseye, and was born in Trenton, Oneida County, August 17, 1842.
    He moved with his parents to Utica, where he spent his youth, attending the public schools and academy. Leaving the
academy, where he had shown great proficiency in mathematics and the English branches, he went to New York and
entered the canal transportation office. Two years later he returned to Utica and became bookkeeper for R. V. Yates
& Son, wholesale clothiers, and subsequently held similar positions with H. J. Wood & Co. and Oatley Brothers.
Afterward he was bookkeeper for Reynolds Brothers, shoe manufacturers, for a time, and in April, 1871, entered the
Savings Bank of Utica in the same capacity. Here he has risen by promotion to Teller, to Assistant Treasurer April 30,
1879, to Secretary of the Board of Trustees July 31, 1889, and Treasurer in charge December 26, 1894, and still
holds the last two named positions. He was elected a trustee of the bank in 1888 and has since been a valued member
of the board. Mr. Birdseye has been connected with the bank a little more than twenty nine years, and during that
period he has established a reputation as one of the ablest financiers in Central New York. Under his thorough and
efficient management as Treasurer this old institution, chartered in 1839 has never been in a better condition nor
exerted a wider usefulness in the community. He is also officially connected with the Mohawk Valley Cotton Mills of
Utica and the Oneida National Bank.
    Mr. Birdseye has long been prominent in social, fraternal, and charitable organizations, and is a prominent member of
the Fort Schuyler, Arcanum, and Masonic Clubs and the First Presbyterian Church of Utica. He is a 32° Mason
holding membership in Oriental Lodge, No.224, F. and A. M., and the Scottish Rite bodies. In politics he is a stanch
Republican.
    April 9, 1867 Mr. Birdseye married Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of James F. and Eunice (Wendell) Crosby, of Albany,
N.Y. They have two sons, both born in Utica, viz.: James Crosby Birdseye, born October 29, 1869, and Philip
Wendell Birdseye, born April 5, 1874.
Source:  'The Empire State in Three Centuries' Volume 3 Century History Company