Chapter Seven

Descendants of Isaiah Breakey of Lismagonway

*  *  *  *

Margaret Breakey Sutliff

Margaret Breakey was born 15 May 1846 (date taken from tombstone) to Isaiah Breakey and Emma Lockhard29

It is unknown when Margaret, known as Maggie to the family, immigrated to the United States.  Family legend is that she, as a teenager, came with another family as their nanny. In the 1905 New York State enumeration it is recorded she had been in the United States forty-one years; however, in the 1900 US Federal Census it is recorded that she had been in the United States for fifty years, immigrating in 1850.  It is quite possible that the   1905 New York State enumeration is most correct in that she possibly immigrated to the United States, as a teenager, with her father, Isaiah, and stepmother, Anne Jane Wilson Breakey (see previous chapter) sometime between 1860 and 1863/4.  Her marriage date to John Sutliff   would support this assumption.

Maggie married 9 February 1864 John R. Sutliff, born 9 September 1837, son of Walter and Sarah (Ellis) Sutliff.  Maggie and John resided in the town of Hadley, Saratoga County, New York.  John Sutliff, a farmer, died 9 September 1903.  Maggie died 19 September 1905 and is buried in the Lynwood Cemetery at Hadley.


i.          Grant Sutliff born 1865; died 1866

ii.         Sarah Sutliff born 1866; died 1870

iii.      Anna Sutliff born 1868; died 1935. Married  (?) Vandenburg and had


            Roy Vandenburg

            Earl Vandenburg

            Melvin Vandenburg

            Violet Vandenburg

iv.        Lester Sutliff born 1871; died 1955.  Married Elsie Meyer, stepdaughter of his uncle, Samuel Breakey, and had children:

Irene Sutliff

Louis Sutliff

Margaret Sutliff

Harold Sutliff

v.         Isaiah Sutliff born 1872; died 1954. Married Josie (?) and had children:

Miles Sutliff

Clarence Sutliff

John Sutliff

Bernard Sutliff

George Sutliff

Ernest Sutliff

Walter Sutliff

Donald Sutliff

vi.        Nelson Sutliff born 1873; died 1876/1877.

vii.       George Sutliff born 1878; died 1971.  Married Olivia (?) and had children: 

George Sutliff

Anna Sutliff

viii.      Charles Sutliff born 1882.  Married and had children:

Charles Sutliff

Norman Sutliff

Ethel Sutliff

ix.        Laura Sutliff born 1887

x.         Perley Sutliff born 1888



                                                                                Maggie, age 16 or 17                                  Maggie in later years

                                                                               Photo taken in Brooklyn

                                                                   Photograph courtesy of                                 Photograph courtesy of

                                             Margaret Miller &                                                  Eula Sutliff

                                                                         John V. Breakey


*  *  *  *


Samuel Breakey


Samuel Breakey was born 15 July 1851 to Isaiah Breakey of Lismagonway and Mary Lockhart.  He was baptised 13 October 1851 by Rev. J. Gordon Smythe in the First Presbyterian Congregation of Ballybay, County Monaghan.

One might assume Samuel immigrated to the United States as a youngster with his father, Isaiah Breakey, and his stepmother, Anne Jane Wilson Breakey. However, Samuel reported his year of immigration as 1878 in the 1910 United States federal census [See footnote number 34].

Family accounts have always mentioned that Samuel Breakey was a printer and bookbinder in Brooklyn after arriving in America.    The following entry taken from   the 1879/80 Brooklyn city and business directory by Lain & Co. may support this:

                             Samuel Brakey (sic) – bookbinder – h 62 Fulton

[Author's note: Lain & Co directories for Brooklyn are on microfilm and are copies of originals published by various publishers.  If the reader wishes to pursue how names are taken for Brooklyn directories, please   refer to the 8 May 1885 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.]

Samuel Breakey married Hettie Lockwood on 6 October 1880.   Data obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Health Department of the City of New York indicate the following:

              Samuel Breakey residing at 62 Fulton St., Brooklyn gave his age at next birthday as 30 years.  He is listed as a tradesman born in County Monaghan, Ireland, son of Isaiah Breakey and Mary Lockhart.  It was his first marriage.

              Hettie Lockwood residing at No. 5 Mangin St. [no location given]31,32 gave her age at next birthday as 21 years. Her place of birth is listed as the ‘City,’ daughter of Joseph Lockwood and Elizabeth Vought. It was her first marriage.

Witnesses to the marriage were: Joseph Eugene (surname appears as Watzer) and Sarah E. Lockwood33

The accompanying Certificate of Marriage indicates Samuel and Hettie were married by Reverend Daniel Potter who resided at 6-4 (or 64) 6th Street in the city.



Photographs of Hettie & Samuel from Various Family Albums

[One dated copy indicates it may have been around the time of their marriage]

Samuel  & Hettie Lockwood Breakey had children:

            i.          Samuel Breakey born 2 October 1883

            ii.         John Breakey born 28 December 1885

            iii.        Joseph Breakey born 25 February 1889; died 5 March 1889 34

[Joseph L. Brakey (sic) was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Lot 20118, Section 6; date of interment 7 March 1889]

Little is known, or recorded, of this family until the time of Hettie’s death in 1891. It is indicated on her death certificate that they were residing at 594 Quincy Street in Brooklyn. There were five families in the house and the Breakey family resided on the top floor.

 At the time of her death, Hettie had been treated for ‘phthisis pulmonalis’ and ‘asthenia’ [archaic medical terms for pulmonary tuberculosis and generalized weakness with lack of energy] for about two years.  Hettie died on the 7 January 1891 at about 8:00 AM.   Funeral services were held at the home on 594 Quincy Street at 2:00 PM. She was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Lot 20118, Section 6; date of Interment 9 January 1891.  [Cemetery records have her listed as Hety Breakey].   Her death notice was posted in the Brooklyn Daily   Eagle issue of 8 January 1891, Page 5.

Very little is known of Samuel Breakey, left with two young boys, after his wife died in 1891.  Family reminiscences are little, and varied.

According to John V. Breakey, Samuel’s grandson, we know that young John had been placed in a children’s home.  It is uncertain as  for how long, or whether John’s   brother, young Samuel, was at the children’s home with him (John V. Breakey to author, 21 December 1978).  One family account reports that when the elder Samuel returned to get the boys he found they had run away from the home and were living 'on the streets.' Yet another account   states that   after Hettie died, young Sam stayed with his father while John stayed in the children’s home until the elder Samuel remarried and moved north. 

On 20 July 1896 Samuel Breakey purchased from Orange E. Kathan, and his wife Francis, 220 acres of land (more or less)  in the Town of Day and County of Saratoga in upstate New York.  The purchase price was four hundred and fifty dollars.  This parcel of land was located in the Sacandaga River Valley slightly upstream from Conklingville. According to noted Adirondack Guide Ira Gray35, resident of Brooks Bay and near neighbor of the Breakeys, “the land owned by Sam was by far the largest individual ownership before the dam” [this in reference to the present dam known as the Conklingville Dam]. (John V. Breakey to author, 21 December 1978, after visiting with Ira Gray).

In 1896 Samuel Breakey married his second wife, Mrs. J. W. C. L. Meyer. (Certificate Number: 655) (


[Author’s note: The following lineage for Mrs. Meyer is included in this document for her   descendants still living as they have marriage ties to the Margaret (Maggie) Breakey Sutliff family.  The  following data has been taken from Bureau of Vital Statistic Records, a ‘Return of Marriage,’ Health Department of the City of New York].

Johanna Caroline Wilhelmina Louise Boyken, daughter of Anton Boyken and Johanna Bruno was born 1841/2 in Oldenburg [most probably, Germany]. Her first marriage was to a Mr. Heuncke, and they had a daughter: Pauline

Data from the previously mentioned records indicate the following:

Carl Wilhelm Ludwig Meyer, residing at 219 White Ave, Brooklyn, age 34 years at next birthday, Occupation – druggist, place of birth – Oldenburg, son of Dietrich George Meyer and Anna Wefer, for his first marriage, was married to:

Johanna Caroline Wilhelmina Louise Heuncke, maiden name, Boyken, residing at 137 West 25th St [no location], age 37 years at next birthday, place of birth – Oldenburg, daughter of Anton Boyken and Johanna Bruno, this marriage being her second.

[The Certificate of Marriage lists Johanna’s name as:  Johanna Caroline Wilhelmina Henriette (sic) Heuncke].

They were married in New York   on March 29, 1878 by pastor [name illegible] of St. John’s German Lutheran Church, his residence being 79 Christopher St.  Witnesses were Martin Hoffman and Mary Wannemaiker.

    Children of this marriage: Louis, Margretta and Elsie.

At some point between Johanna’s marriage to Ludwig Meyer in 1878 and her marriage to Samuel Breakey in 1896, she opened a business establishment.

Facsimile courtesy of Marcia Breakey, 10 May 2005


In the 1897 Lain Directory for Brooklyn, Samuel Breakey is listed as “Samuel Breakey, restaurant, 721 Wythe Ave.”   Mrs. L. Meyers is not listed in the directory.

Although Samuel is recorded in the 1897 Lain Directory at the restaurant, a conflicting account places him living with Maggie in Saratoga County until 1898 while the building of his house was completed on the new property.  There is no record, or family reminiscence, as to where the young sons were during this time.

The 1900 federal census indicates that Samuel Brakie (sic) and Johannah (sic) were living in Saratoga County, Town of Day when the census was taken on 6 June 1900.  Son John, age 14, and   stepdaughter Margretta Meyer, age 12, were    also shown as living on the premises.  There is no record of the young Samuel for 1900, although there are conflicting accounts for this census record.  It seems that young Samuel and John lived with Maggie a great deal of time.  According to 'Cousin John,'  "After Dad and Uncle Sam had left their father's farm to go to Aunt Maggie's, in a few days Grandpa  Sam came over to take them home with him and met a tigress.  He connected with the warning that he was not come back for them again" (John V. Breakey to author, 29 January 1979).


For further insight into the elder Samuel Breakey I turn now to correspondence   from ‘Cousin John’ that tells of   his visit with Ira Gray (John V. Breakey to author, 21 December 1978).

“Now, I did go to see Mr. Ira Gray, the 92 year old man whom I spoke of in my last letter.  (He lives at Brooks Bay on the Sacandaga about a mile from grandfather Sam’s farm) and after introducing myself I said, “I think you may have know my grandfather Sam.”  He said, “know him – I worked for him!  He had Sammy & Johnnie.”   He then went on to name Louis, Pauline, Greta & Elsie.  It seems that Elsie was the first girl he had ever danced with and he continued on with the story of grandfather Sam willing  the property to Lester, all without any prompting from me.  He remembered how Dad [the young John] and Uncle Sam had left home to go to live with Aunt Maggie and that Grandfather Sam had lived with her while his house was being built.  How a carpenter was filing a saw on the job and grandfather Sam stopped him, saying, “No worker files a saw on my time,” and that the man picked up his tools and walked off in spite  of  Sam’s entreaties to come back.  Never did come back.  How his father (Mr. Gray’s father), needed oil for paint and that he sent Ira to borrow some from Sam and he, Sam, let him have twice what he asked for.  He remembered that Dad [young John] when he left home had jumped from the bedroom window carrying with him his gun and a wild turkey which he had shot that day.  [According to family accounts, Sam, thinking about the possibility of TB, had already left his father's homestead for the Adirondacks and settled in Inlet, NY]. He remembered how hard Dad and Sam had had to work – having to begin with only Saturday afternoon off to go hunting and fishing – that he [Sam] changed the afternoon to Monday for some reason which I have forgotten.  He said that grandfather Sam wasn’t  mean but was a taskmaster for them,  but not for himself- he didn’t do much of anything himself.

All of the above he said in a matter of 12 or 15 minutes before I had a chance to say anything.

He told of how beautiful the house was and of the number of adventures grandfather Sam had tried as a farmer – first raising hogs – the beautiful hog pens and how he had failed because he had had to buy all the feed & grain which they required which made it unprofitable.  Next it was chickens which didn’t pan out – then it was strawberries, but then again a failure because he had to advertise for pickers which cut into the profit.  I   think his last venture was potatoes and I   gave you the result of that in my last letter.

To continue, “You recall that in my last letter I told that Grandpa Sam and his wife came to live with Lester [being Sam’s nephew] & Elsie [being Sam’s stepdaughter] for the winter months … From time to time he (Sam) would need money and since there was no income from the farm, mentioned that he would sell a portion to get money that he needed.  This idea, Lester discouraged and would let Grandpa Sam have two or three hundred at a time until the total sum was $1300.  This amount came out in writing as Grandpa Sam’s obligation to Lester’ (John V. Breakey to author, 11 December 1978).

During the winter 1919-1920, Johanna and Samuel were once again at Lester Sutliff’s home.  That February there were many sick with the flu. Family reminiscences recall that the week before Samuel died, Sam’s son, John, and a cousin, “stayed nights with him to give medicine on time, as everyone else at Lester’s was sick”…. [Dad] “stopped here to check on me because he had learned that I had the flu.  I remember his telling my Grandmother Benway that his father couldn’t live more than a couple of hours and that as he came from Lester’s a lawyer had come for the purpose of drawing a will” (John V. Breakey to author, 11 December 1978).

Samuel Breakey had been treated from 6 February – 15 February 1920 by Dr. L. A. Parmenter of Corinth, NY.  Samuel Breakey died   during the afternoon of   16 February 1920 with the cause of death listed as: chronic parenchymatons (sic) nephritis, the secondary cause of death being chronic myocarditis.

Once again there are conflicting accounts of what actually transpired as will be noted by the date of the following document:

Last Will and Testament

I, Samuel Breakey, of the Town of Day in the County of Saratoga and State of New York, being of sound mind and memory, do make, publish and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner following, that is to say:

            First – I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid.

            Second – I give, devised and bequeath unto my wife Johanna Breakey, the use, income and profit of all property of which I may die seized of possessed for and during the period of her life time, both real and personal.

            Third, At the death of my said wife, I give, devise and bequeath to my sons Samuel Breakey and John Breakey, the sum of One Hundred ($100.00) dollars, each.

            Fourth, At the death of my said wife, I give, devise and bequeath to Perley Sutliff, my nephew, the sum of Two Hundred ($200.00) dollars.

            Fifth, At the death of my said wife, I give, devise and bequeath unto my nephew Lester Sutliff, all the rest, residue and remainder of my property real and personal.

            Lastly, I hereby appoint Lester Sutliff executor of this, my last Will and Testament: hereby revoking all former wills by me made.

            In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name the 4th day of June, in the year One thousand nine hundred and seventeen

                                                                                     LS (Samuel Breakey)

We, whose names are hereto subscribed, Do Certify, that on the 4th day of June 1917 Samuel Breakey, the testator, subscribed his name to this instrument in our presence and in the presence of each of us, and at the same time, in our presence and hearing, declared the same to be his last Will and Testament, and requested us, and each of us, to sign our names thereto as witnesses to the execution thereof, which we hereby do in the presence of the testator and of each other, on the said date, and write opposite our names our respective places of residence.

LS (Salmon M Richards) residing at Corinth, New York

LS (Ada V. Wyman) residing at Corinth, New York


County of Saratoga

Surrogate’s Court

In the Matter of Proving the Last Will and Testament of Samuel Breakey deceased

On 15 April 1920,  Ada V. Wyman and Salmon M. Richards ‘being duly sworn in open court, … do depose and say, that they are subscribing witnesses to the last Will and Testament of Samuel Breakey late of the Town of Day in the County of Saratoga.”


24 March 1920  - Samuel Breakey residing in Hamilton County, New York, son of the deceased Samuel Breakey,  waived “the issuing, and the service upon me, as Citation for the Probate of the Last Will and Testament of the said decedent ….  And that the same may be fully admitted to probate and record, as a Will valid to pass both real and personal estate, whenever the same shall be presented to said Court for that purpose, without further or other notice to me.                                      LS. (Samuel H. Breakey)

In the presence of Fred N. Parquet

State of New York

Hamilton County

The above document was notarized on the same date in the presence of F E Tiffany, Notary Public.

16 March 1920 – John Breakey, son of the deceased, completed a similar waiver and affixed his legal signature.  However it is interesting to note that when the document was notarized, it was not his name, John Breakey,  written on the document:   “On this 16 day of March in the year one thousand nine hundred and twenty, before me, the subscriber, personally came Samuel Breakey, to me known to be the same person described in, and who executed the foregoing instrument, and he acknowledged that he executed the same.

Ada V Wyman, Notary Public


Johanna Boyken Huencke Meyer Breakey died 21 November 1923.


To fully appreciate the continuation of the saga for this particular family, one must have an awareness of the Sacandaga River Valley as Samuel Breakey knew it when he settled in Saratoga Country in 1898.  As author Larry Hart so aptly said: “The river Sacandaga flowed quietly for centuries in the ancient valley it had carved out of its niche in the Adirondacks.  Up from the northwoods country, nurtured by the mountain streams and spring runoffs, it came down through Northville and made its way along the rich farming country of the Sacandaga Valley … until it narrowed into the gap at Conklingville and shortly after joined the mighty Hudson” (Hart,  1.).  However, during excessive spring runoffs, the swollen river caused  great flooding with resulting damage to  localities such as Corinth, and as far south as Albany, Troy and Glens Falls.  “Industrial areas downriver had to shut down factories for a week or more until the water subsided enough to permit debris to be cleaned up,” whereas during dry spells factories would have to close for lack of  water (Hart, 57).  A particularly serious flooding condition occurred in 1922 causing epidemics, thereby resulting in the creation, by Legislature,   of the Hudson River Regulating District (op. cit).  This gave birth to the Sacandaga Reservoir created in 1930.  It is “29 miles  long with a maximum width of 5 miles and a surface area of about 42 square miles.  It has an average depth of 40 feet but is about 65 feet deep in the narrow channel approaching the dam at Conklingville” (Hart, 2).  Today the reservoir is known as the Great Sacandaga Lake.

In the decades that encompassed the building of the reservoir, the Sacandaga valley was transformed. Homes were moved, or demolished;  bridges crossing the river at various points were burned or destroyed, trees were cut for lumber; brush was burned; railway ties were taken up; the Conklingville Dam was built at the gorge [this being a short distance down river from Samuel Breakey’s property]; over three thousand transburials were necessary; and 1929 found many people driving the seventy-five miles of roads in the valley for the last time (Hart, 1967).


Following the death of Johanna,  Samuel Breakey’s wife, we find Lester Sutliff and his wife, Johanna’s daughter Elsie, in possession of the Breakey homestead.  How this came about once again conflicts with family accounts.

A copy of a deed indenture states (John V. Breakey to author, no date):

This indenture, Made the Third day of November, in the year One thousand nine hundred and sixteen, Between SAMUEL BREAKEY and JOANNA BREAKEY, his wife, of the Town of Day, County of Saratoga and State of New York, parties of the first part, and LESTER E SUTLIFF, of the Town of Corinth, County of Saratoga and State of New York, party of the second part, WITNESSETH, That the said parties of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of TWO DOLLARS, ($2.00), lawful money of the United States, paid by the second part, his heirs and assigns forever,

            ALL THAT TRACT OR PARCEL OF LAND, situate in the Town of Day, County of Saratoga, and State of New York, bounded and described as follows:  …..

            This description is taken from a deed given by Orange E. Kathan and wife to Samuel Breakey, dated July 20th, 1896, and recorded in Saratoga County Clerk’s office on the 25th day of July, 1896, in Liber 212 of deeds, at page 331….

The above instrument concludes with the following.

On this 30th day of may in the year One thousand nine hundred and seventeen, before me, the subscriber, personally appeared SAMUEL BREAKEY and JOANNA BREAKEY, to me personally known to be the same persons described in and who executed the foregoing instrument, and they acknowledge to me that they executed the same.

                                                                                    S. W. Richards, Notary Public

Recorded June 6, 1917, 1:05 P.M.

                                                                                    John F. Hennessy, Clerk


Another copy of a deed indenture states ( John V. Breakey to author, no date):


44 Howard Street, Albany, NY

OPTION                                 Parcel No. 66 

 Whereas, the Board of Hudson River Regulating District is about to construct a reservoir known as the Sacandaga Reservoir in the Counties of Fulton, Hamilton and Saratoga pursuant to the provisions of Article VII-A of the Conservation Law, and Whereas the plans submitted and approved by the proper  for such construction call for the acquisition of certain lands owned by me/us, and Whereas Article VII-A of the Conservation law provides that all lands necessary for the construction of the said Sacandaga Reservoir shall be acquired by said Board, Now,  therefore,  I/we the subscriber in consideration of the sum of $350.00 to me/us in hand paid, receipt whereof is hereby acknowledge, and OTHER VALUABLE CONSIDERATION hereinafter named, do hereby covenant and agree to deliver to the State of New York, a deed and sufficient title, free and clear from any and all encumbrances to

            ALL THAT PARCEL OF LAND owned by me and which lands were acquired by virtue of a deed from Samuel Breakey and wife, dated 3 day of Nov. 1916, and recorded in Saratoga County Clerk’s offices of Fulton, Hamilton and Saratoga Counties by the Board of Hudson River Regulating District, and for the further sum of $6650.00 in full payment of the land thus transferred, and I/we hereby further covenant and agree to execute and deliver to the State of new York, a good and sufficient  deed conveying such parcel of land at any time upon demand of the Board of Hudson River Regulating District.

This option to remain in full for a period of twelve months from the date hereof, or pending the clearing of the title.  Title to said premises is free and clear of all liens and encumbrances (except) Grantor to reserve all buildings, wood and timber, and shall be given notice of  90 days to remove same.  Grantor to have use of premises free of rent until needed for reservoir purposes.  This option is intended to cover  69 acres mores or less.

And I/we hereby further covenant and agree that the Board of Hudson River Regulating District, its agents and the contractor or contractors to whom any contract may be  awarded for the construction of said reservoir, together with the workman and employees, who immediately enter on the premises described herein for the purpose of construction of said reservoir without becoming or being held liable for trespassing or for any damage whatsoever to me/us and I/we do hereby waive any and all claims for damage for such entry or occupation.  It is also expressly understood and agreed that in the event this option is not exercised pursuant to the terms herein, the said owner of said property shall be entitled to and shall be  paid for all damage which may be  occasioned or accrue to him by reason of the occupation of premises herein under the terms of this option.

            In Witness Whereof, I/we have hereunto set my/our hand and seal this 16th day of February 1917.

                                                                                    LESTER E. SUTLIFF                  L S .

State of new York

County of Saratoga

            On this 16th day of February, 1927, before me, the subscriber, personally appeared Lester E. Sutliff, to me known and known to me to be the same person described in and who executed  the foregoing option and he duly acknowledge to me that he executed the same.

                                                                        Lester W. Fowler, Notary Public

Approved by Board of Hudson River Regulating District,

                                                                        Ranulf Compton, Secretary

Recorded April 21, 1927, 9:47 A. M.

                                                                        Charles J. Hennessy, Clerk


One other deed indenture exists, and it encompasses three typewritten pages, 246-248, of recorded deeds in Saratoga Country land records.  It begins as follows:

This indenture, made the fourth day of May in the year nineteen hundred twenty-eight between LESTER E. SUTLIFF   and ELSIE SUTLIFF, his wife, of the Town of Day, Saratoga County, New York, parties of the first part, and THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, party of the second part, WITNESSETH that the parties of the first part, in consideration of the sum of SEVEN THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($7,100.00) lawful money of the United States, paid by the party of the second part, do hereby grant and release unto the said  party of the second part and its   [illegible]ccessors and [illegible]gns forever:  All that tract or parcel of land that follows:

[Author’s note:  At this point I must apologize, for the remaining document is couched in surveyor terms and measurements; however, based on the original deed of Samuel Breakey and an old county map that indicates Orange Kathan’s property, from whom Samuel purchased his land, this indenture appears to include a portion of Samuel Breakey’s property.]


In returning to family reminiscences of this time period, John V. Breakey reports:  “At this time we are talking about several hundred acres of ground and a farmhouse, which in 1920 wasn’t valued too greatly, but soon after the legal papers were prepared, Lester sold just the lower portion of the land to the State for an undisclosed amount, and the upper portion was lumbered off.  Later the lumbered portion was sold as campsites and there were hundreds.  Lester worked with my Grandfather Benway at the mill and would brag of the amounts that he had received for batches of lumber he had sold. I remember that $1800 was one figure and $1600 was another; there were others but I couldn’t quote them. Also. That spring Lester sold 300 bushels of potatoes at $2.50 a bushel here in town which Grandpa Sam had raised – also a keg of whiskey almost 20 years old to Brady’s Hotel for $400.00, the above after the reading of the will, and they alone would have almost accounted for the $1300.00” (John V. Breakey to author, 11 December 1978).  “One family member who owned the last plot of ground on Grandfather Sam’s farm since Lester died received – brace yourself - $80,000.00” (John V. Breakey to author, 21 December 1978).

In returning to John’s visit with Ira Gray:  “I finally got in a question to him and asked what he would guess the total sale price of all the property would have netted Lester. He thought for a considerable time and then replied - $150,000, and if it were all being sold today, it would be $250,00.00.  He remembered that the State had bought most of the land through there for a song and that there had been a stipulation that the Town of Day couldn’t raise the assessment after they bought it.  Ira was an assessor at that time and for many years and knew that the State had taken the people into camp” (John V. Breakey to author, 21 December 1978).

Ira Gray provided the following small portion of map to ‘Cousin John.’  Ira penciled in the approximate property owned by Samuel Breakey, both the lower and upper portions.    The uppermost ‘dot’ indicates the house foundation that is underwater and that can be seen on some fall days when the water   level is down.  The ‘dot’ nearest the arrow point indicates the overlook cottage and was built almost entirely of lumber that came from the original Breakey farmhouse.   The location of the Conklingville Dam may be seen to the right of the Breakey property, and Ira lightly penciled in his place of residence near the Brooks Bay Store and to the left of the Breakey property.


Map  courtesy of Ira Gray



Samuel Breakey of The Sacandaga

1851 - 1920


Descendants of Samuel Breakey of the Sacandaga


Samuel Breakey was born at 8:00 AM, 2 October 1883 at 91 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY to parents Samuel Breakey and Hettie Lockwood Breakey. His father’s age was given as 33 years, birthplace – Ireland, occupation - printer; his mother’s age was   given as 23 years, birthplace – USA. Medical attendant’s name given as   W H Bates, residence   184 Remsen Street. Date of Return given as October 1883 (Vital Statistics Certificate, Certificate of Birth, Brooklyn, Number 8172).

[Author’s note: In later years Samuel incorporated the middle initial ‘H’ into his name. Everyone in my family said the middle initial stood for no name whatsoever.  However, being the ‘romantic’ that I am, I always wondered if it was in remembrance of Hettie, his mother].

Little is known of Samuel’s whereabouts until after he left his father’s home in Saratoga County, New York and appeared in the 1910 United States federal census records.  There he is listed as Samuel Breaky (sic), a boarder, age 26, born in NY, his occupation listed as a laborer and guide, one   who had not been out of work during 1909

 ( 9 March 2007.

Comments on the 1910 Census for Inlet, Hamilton County, NY cite: an entry for Samuel Breaky: “Sam once accidentally shot another man in a hunting accident.  My Grandfather Allen Murdock, was named the acting coroner for conducting the Inquest that followed”

 ( 9 March 2007.

*  *  *  *

[Author’s note:  The reader might wonder why I include   the previous entry of such a tragic   incident within this biographical sketch of my grandfather.   It is to clarify   the missing facts   of the circumstances   that I found recorded in a published book on Adirondack lore in a nearby bookstore under the entry, “Sam Breakey killed a man.”  As no particulars of the accident were given, I wish to relate the following for any other descendants who should come across the book.]

To return to ‘Cousin John’s’ visit with Ira Gray:

“Now for a story which Ira Gray sprung on me at my first visit with him and one which I hesitate to tell.  He said, “Did you know that your Uncle Sam shot and killed a man?”  He saw the look of amazement on my face, and hastened to assure me that it was purely by accident and then went on to tell how it happened.  It seems that Uncle Sam was a guide for a bunch of hunters up around Inlet and that while talking with one of them a wild turkey appeared and the man bet Uncle Sam that he could not kill it.  Uncle Sam replied that he could shoot his head off and proceeded to do so.  However, the shot not   spent hit a rock a and   killed another man who was walking towards them from another direction.    Uncle Sam was not held because there were witnesses to the shooting.  A few days later I mentioned the story to Clarence Sutliff, and he said the story was true, and that Uncle Sam had given the gun to Isaiah (Clarence’s   father), and that he (Clarence) has the gun now.  Whether [your family] ever knew of this happening, I don’t know, but I didn’t” (John V. Breakey to author, 10 February 1979).

After receiving ‘Cousin’   John’s letter I spoke with my father, relating the story.  There was no comment   as to whether he knew of the incident or not.  I realized it   was just not a topic for discussion.

[The author has tried to obtain the inquest proceedings, but have   been unable to do so.]

*  *  *  *

On 20 February 1912 Samuel H. Breakey married Pearl Agnes Hovey, born 29 January 1888, daughter of Dewitt Clinton Hovey and Theresa Colista Adams36, in Port Leyden, New York.    A second marriage ceremony took place on 22 February 1912 at St. Mary’s Church, Constableville, New York   in the presence of D. C. Hovey and Helena Hovey [Pearl’s sister].

Most of Sam and Pearl’s life was spent in the communities of Inlet and Old Forge   in the Adirondack Mountains of New York   with the exception of a brief period of time spent near Havre de Grace in Maryland, located at the mouth of the Susquehanna River on the Chesapeake Bay, when Sam went in pursuit of work during the pre-World War I era. It was during this period that his wife, Pearl, contracted malaria.

Pearl Hovey Breakey died 1 April 1946 and is buried in Riverview Cemetery, Old Forge.

Most of Sam’s life in the Adirondack Mountains   was spent as an Adirondack Guide or carpenter.  The Post Standard Syracuse, NY, 13 October 1940   issue   provides   an interesting glimpse into his life in later years. In an article titled “Hunting Not Always ‘Roughing It’ – Log Cabin Palace Sleeps   and Feeds Up to 20 in Luxury, “ Sam is noted as the busiest man on the premises. Located a mile east of the Moose River Plains, approximately   18 miles from Rocky Point Inn on Fourth Lake in the Adirondacks, this hunting camp, known as E J Turner’s get-away ‘Hot-Top,’ was referenced in the above mentioned article as the “log cabin Waldorf of the wilds” (Post Standard Syracuse, 1940).

When speaking of the ‘itchy feet’ of hunters, the article relates, “Another itchy fee sufferer is Sam Breakey, another employe (sic) of the Inn [Rocky Point Inn] and the camp cook.  His bacon is so delicious it disappears with rough handling and his flapjacks turn over by themselves.  A third patient is Sam’s son, John, pilot of the lodge packhorse; and a fourth is Francis, another son of Sam” (op. cit).

The article goes on to relate the menu fare Sam cooked up for the hunters.

“Off course the only man who has time to loll around is camp cook Sam Breakey.  All he’s got to do is have breakfast ready at 7 AM.  Breakfast is usually a light meal – just a few hundred pounds of pancakes, eggs, a half dozen   pigsworth of bacon, eggs, sausage and eggs.  The boys eat light because it’s hard to tramp around thru the woods with a full stomach.  The extra weight makes it easier for the deer to hear you or something. A light lunch is ready from noon to 2 PM.  The boys return in pairs or trios or alone, help themselves to whatever food has been prepared by Sam. There are usually only a few gallons of soup, all the beans in Boston and enough coffee to float HMS   Hood, battle cruiser. It is evident the boys are starving themselves, holding   their appetites in check, for the evening meal.  At this time everything in sight is eaten, which probably explains whey there is no bark in the bunkroom.  Even Sam the cook refuses to divulge details of dinnertime, but he hints that a New York Central spur line in to the lodge would permit the railroad to write off its funded debt within 14 days” (op. cit).

The camp, opening the first of November, closed at the end of the month, although  “during the winter some of the   boys    take a tractor back in the woods to haul out deer who had died of pneumonia or other diseases,” the carcasses then being shipped to the Conservation Department in Albany.  During some of the winter trips they also took food in for snowbound game in the area (op. cit).

Men of the Adirondacks with Carcass of Bear on Pack Horse

L to R: John Breakey, Francis Breakey, and Sam Breakey

16 October 1938

(Photograph from personal family album)

Having been a guide in the Central Adirondacks for years, in later years Sam was employed by Rocky Point Inn on Fourth Lake [of the Fulton Chain of Lakes] and spent winters in Florida.  The last year he remained in Old Forge due to ill health.  A member of the North Woods Lodge of Free Masons, No. 849, Sam died 1 August 1953 and is buried in Riverview Cemetery, Old Forge.

Children of Samuel  and Pearl Hovey Breakey:37

i.    Francis E. Breakey   born   26 February 1913; died 19 February 1982

ii.   Louise A. Breakey    born   10 August 1914; died 6 September 2005

iii.  John K. Breakey       born   27 April 1916; died 20 October 1987

iv.  George S. Breakey    born 30 July 1925;   died  19 January 1964

Sam Breakey with granddaughter, and author

(From personal family album)

Photo circa 1944



John Breakey was born   28 December 1885 in Brooklyn, NY to parents Samuel Breakey and Hettie Lockwood.  We know from his son’s correspondence (John V. Breakey to author, 21 December 1978) that John was placed in a home for children at some point following the death of his mother, and that John broke out of the children’s home at least once, and possibly more, and was found living on the street and surviving on garbage (John V. Breakey to author, 10 April 1979). John’s   next appearance in public records, although family accounts differ, is in   the 1900 United States federal census records. It indicates   that John was living in the Town of Day, Saratoga County, NY with his father and stepmother.


                                         Undated Photograph of John Breakey

(From personal files, contributor not noted)

John Breakey38 married Angelique May Benway, born 1886, daughter of Napolean Therrien Benway and Sarah Taylor. At the time of their son’s birth, John and Angelique   resided in Corinth, NY in the small house behind the large home that the   bride’s father had built and continued to own.

    i.   John V. Breakey was   born 3 April 1910 in Corinth, NY.  John resided in Corinth, NY, working for the International Paper Company for forty-two years.  John married and issue.  He died 13 July 1984.

Angelique Breakey died 28 May 1914 of typhoid. Following the death of his mother John Jr. lived with his Benway grandparents. John Breakey Sr. went to live with and boarded at the home of his cousin, Anna Sutliff Vandenburg.

According to a daughter from his second marriage, lack of work in the Corinth area prompted John Sr. to move to northern New York to find work, one time working at a TB sanatorium in either Lake Placid or Saranac Lake before arriving in Norwood in the early 1930s. It was there that he met and married Helen Katherine Morgan, daughter of Edson and Alta Marsh Morgan, on 1 September 1940. [They had three daughters].  John was employed as a machine tender at Norfolk and Raymondville paper mills for a number of years until his retirement in 1953. Helen Breakey died 28 September 1988; John Breakey died 9 May 1960.

Sons of Samuel Breakey of the Sacandaga:

[Samuel Breakey & John Breakey, after nearly a  twenty- year estrangement]

(Photograph, circa 1928, from personal family album)

37 This lineage continues to the present, but is omitted for reasons of privacy.

38 Once again a continuing lineage is omitted for reasons of privacy.




29 There is no explanation for discrepancy of mother’s name as it appears on Margaret’s death certificate. However, if one notes her birth date in the previous chapter, followed by the birth date of her brother, John, in November of the same year, the death certificate may be correct.  The family knew Maggie and Samuel as siblings.

30 This lineage continues to the present day, but is omitted for reasons of privacy.

31 Mangin St. was on the Lower East Side of Manhattan approximately two blocks from the East River and was a cross street between Delancy St. South and Delancy St.  Today a very short section of Mangin Street remains between the two sections of Delancey Street below The Williamsburg Bridge, aka The Delancy St. Bridge. The street has been marked with a street sign by the city  (“The Street Necrology of the Lower East Side.” < >.

32 The marriage date was obtained from a family Bible given by Hettie to her son, Samuel.

33 Sarah Lockwood, Hettie’s sister, was found in the 1880 federal census with her mother, Elizabeth, and Hettie.  The data is as follows:

Elizabeth Lockwood, self, marital status-widowed, female, age 42, birthplace NY, Occupation-keeping house, father’s birthplace- Ireland, mother’s birthplace- Ireland

Hattie (sic) Lockwood, daughter, female, age 20, birthplace NY, Occupation-composition, father’s birthplace-Ireland, mother’s birthplace-Ireland

Sarah Lockwood, daughter, female, age 17, Occupation-house work, father’s birthplace-Ireland, mother’s birthplace-Ireland.

Correspondence from Marcia Breakey to author, 24 March 2005, indicates that the girls Hettie and Sarah are listed in an asylum in the 1870 federal census.

34 Author’s Note:  I find the naming practices of these children of interest.  Samuel obviously named his first-born son after himself, his third-born son after Hettie’s father, and the second-born son after his grandfather, John Breakey of Lismagonway.  Does this perhaps indicate that Samuel and his father, Isaiah, were at odds, or in fact that Samuel remained in Ireland with his grandfather after Isaiah and Ann Jane Wilson Breakey immigrated to America?  The latter would be more in line with vague family history that indicates Samuel didn’t immigrate to America until circa 1880.  Further, Samuel provided his year of immigration as 1878 for the 1910 federal census.

35 R.F.H. “An Adirondack Guide.” The Conservationist: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, January-February, 1977.

36 Theresa Colista Adams, born 13 July 1860, was the daughter of Robert Adams   born 28 October 1808, County Kilkenny, Ireland and   Mary Whalen   born 3 January 1810 County Wicklow, Ireland.