Founding Fathers


George Bradford Brainerd 

Birth Troy, NY

Death April 14,1887 Troy, NY

Buried in Rock Landing Cemetery on April 16, 1887 in Haddam Neck, Connecticut.

Census/Biographical Information:

Brother Brainerd’s ancestors helped found and establish the town of Haddam Neck. His family has a library named after them in the town and the library holds many family records and pictures. The Federal Record Center had many Brainerds listed but none showed any immediate ties to Brother Brainerd.

Brother Brainerd was in the Class of 1865 at RPI. He had been a Civil Engineer for the Purveyor’s Office, Brooklyn Water Works, Brooklyn, NY. The following was the obituary as it appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle dated April 14, 1887:

Brainerd: Thursday April 14 43 years old at death.

Funeral Service at his late residence; 23 Lafayette Avenue on Friday the 15th. inst. at 7 o’clock.

Interment: Haddam Neck, Connecticut on Saturday 16th.


[No Picture]

Samuel Buel Jr. 

Birth August 9, 1845 Cumberland, MD

Death July 2, 1912 Manhattan, NYC

Cremated at Rose Hill Cemetery on July 3, 1912 in Linden, New Jersey. He is in storage in the basement of the Crematory located at the cemetery.

Census/Biographical Information:

Brother Buel was a member of the class of 1865 at RPI. His death certificate clearly states his cause of death was Chronic Myocardiosis (Heart Disease). In 1866 he was an assistant engineer on the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad out of Pottstown, PA. In 1870 he become an engineer for the Michigan Bridge and Construction Co. in Detroit. In 1873, he moved to Manhattan and began a career as an engineer on the east coast. He resided at 1329 Broadway in Manhattan from 1884 until 1900 when he moved to 356 West 23rd. Street. One year before his death, he became the assistant engineer for the Erie Railroad at 11 Broadway in Manhattan.

Brother Buel was cremated. The most likely reason for this was he was single all his life and had no surviving family members to arrange his funeral.



Henry Harrison Farnum 

Birth April 3, 1844

Death October 23, 1924

Buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery on October 27, 1924 in Port Jervis, New York. He is located in Section B Lot 67 of the cemetery.

Census/Biographical Information:

Much like Brother Brainerd; Henry Farnum’s ancestors founded and established the town of port Jervis in New York State. there are many Farnums still alive in Port Jervis, much like the Brainerds. The following is the census record of Brother Farnum’s Grandfather in the 1830 census of New York State:

F655 Vol. 75 E. D. 12 Sheet 35 Line 50

Benjamin Farnum     Male     40 years old     Orange county, NY Port Jervis, NY Main Street

Emma Farnum     Female     35 years old    

William Farnum     Male     16 years old    

Della Farnum     Female     12 years old    

Samuel B. Farnum     Male     11 years old     (Father of Brother Farnum)

Mary G. Farnum     Female     5 years old    

Russel H. Farnum     Male     4 years old    

Some Farnums in the town were quite wealthy. One Farnum with the same initials as our founder; H. H. Farnum who was 42 years old in 1850 had a real estate value of $9,500.00 and just ten years later had a real estate value of $70,000.00.

We unfortunately, do not know what class Brother Farnum was a member of at RPI. He was the Chief Engineer of Sewers for Bronx, NY at one time. The following is an excerpt from the Home News of Bronx and Manhattan dated Sunday October 26, 1924:

Henry H. Farnum of 150 E 150th. street civil engineer died Thursday at his home in his 80th year. Parents: Samuel and Mrs. Farnum. The remains will be removed to Port Jervis, NY tomorrow where interment will be made in Laural Grove Cemetery. Services will be held this afternoon at 4 o’clock. He leaves a son; Dr. Waldo Farnum.

The following is an excerpt from the Port Jervis Union Gazette dated October 24, 1924:

Henry Harrison Farnum died at his home, 150 E 150th street, New York City on Thursday October 23rd, after a week’s illness. He was in the 81rst year of his age. He was an unusually fine citizen and neighbor and always had a host of friends.  Deceased was born in Mongaup April 3, 1844, and was the son of Samuel B. and Asenath C. Farnum. He was a civil engineer by profession, have been graduated from the Troy Polytechnic Institute at Troy, NY and was for many years in the service of the city of New York as chief engineer in charge of sewer development in the Bronx. He had been a resident of Port Jervis Prior to his going to New York City in 1889. On December 15, 1887, he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Beattle, daughter of Rev. Mrs. Hezekiah Beattle, of Salisbury Mills. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Port Jervis.  The surviving relatives are his wife and one son, Dr. Waldo B. Farnum, and two grand children of New York; two sisters, Mrs. R. F. Lord and Miss Katherine C Farnum, of Port Jervis and several nephews and nieces.  Funeral service will take place at the house in New York at 4:00 pm on Sunday, and at 21 Ulster Place, Port Jervis at 3 pm on Monday October 27. Interment will be Laurel Grove Cemetery.


Peter Henry Fox 

Birth July 13, 1836 Harrisburg, PA

Death August 2, 1909 Coffeyville, KS

Buried in Robbins Cemetery August 4, 1909 Coffeeville, KS

Census/Biographical Information:

Brother Fox was a member of the class of 1864. Soon after his graduation from RPI, he decided to pursue a career as an agriculturalist in Deering, Kansas. Brother Fox became a farmer after he left Rensselaer. He went to Deering Kansas and resided there for the rest of his life. The following is an excerpt from the Coffeeville Journal dated August 2, 1909 with his obituary:

Peter H. Fox Dead

Well known resident of Deering passed away Monday.  Peter Henry Fox, one of the best known residents of this country died at his home near Deering Monday morning at the age of 73. Mr. Fox was recently made postmaster of Deering, but has been sick almost all the time since his appointment and the duties of the office have fallen on his son.  Although a farmer, Mr. Fox was well known in Coffeyville as he was a man who took an active interest in all matters for the up building of this city. He was especially interested in education and was an advocate of good schools for this county. He served several terms on the board of county high school trustees and his integrity and judgment earned him the respect of all who were associated with him.  He was a loyal and consistent member of the Presbyterian church of this city and was an elder in the church at the time of his death having served in that capacity for a number of years. He was an especially lovable old man and all who knew him speak highly of his lofty Christian principles and his sterling worth as a man.  His death is an irreparable loss to the faithful son and daughter who have been his only companions in the home since the death of his wife several years ago. Mr. Fox leaves three children David of Pryor Creek; Henry and Lydia Fox who were home with him.  The funeral service will be held at the home Wednesday morning at 9 o’clock with burial at the Robbins Cemetery.


Ralph Gooding Packard 

Birth October 26, 1840 Niagra Falls, NY

Death March 23, 1928 Morristown, NJ

Buried in Evergreen Cemetery on March 26, 1928 in Morristown, New Jersey. He is one of the more stately people buried there. He has his own above ground mausoleum for him and other members of this wife’s family. Entrance to the mausoleum is permitted during office hours. The structure sits on a hill known as Packard’s Hill named after the founder.

Census/Biographical Information:

Brother Packard resided on Sussex Avenue in Morristown, New Jersey when he died. He was a member of the class of 1864. He married Harriet L. Parker on March 15, 1869 and had two children; Ralph Jr. and Lavini. He founded the Rensselaer Alumni Association in 1922 and was elected its first President. The following is an excerpt from the Herald Tribune in Morristown dated March 25, 1928 with Brother Packard's obituary:

R. G. Packard Funeral at Morristown To-marrow

Associates in Engineering and RPI alumni to attend.  Morristown: March 24-1928  Funeral services for Ralph Gooding Packard, retired engineer, big-game hunter and president of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Alumni Association, who died yesterday at his home on Sussex Avenue, will be held Monday at 2:30 pm at the home. Mr. Packard was eighty-seven years old and the only surviving founder and member of Theta Xi Fraternity, which he helped to start at his alma mater April 29, 1964.  E. P. Hamilton, of New York a member of the Grand Lodge of Theta Xi Fraternity will head a delegation attending the services, and Daniel L. Turner, consulting engineer of the New York Transit Commission. The RPI alumni, of which Mr. Packard was one of the oldest members and chief supporters, also is expected to send representatives.  Mr. Packard was graduated from RPI in 1864, and joined the Navy Department as an engineer at the New York Navy yard, where he became chief engineer within a year. After five years in the navy Mr. Packard went into private engineering, forming the Atlantic Dredging Company in 1871. This later became the R. G. Packard Company. He retired in 1918, and as recently as 1926 made a hunting trip to Alaska.  Among the Project in which he engaged were the construction of the river foundations of the Poughkeepsie Bridge across the Hudson and the dredging of Hell Gate. Mr. Packard was a native of Niagara Falls, NY.

The following is an excerpt from the New York Times dated April 24, 1944 listing Brother Packard’s son’s obituary:

Ralph G. Packard Jr.  Died April 23, 1944 at his home of Morristown, New Jersey. He leaves behind a wife, Helen Charlotte Packard and Brother Lavini A. Packard. Funeral is private.

Thomas Cole Raymond 

Birth September 12, 1845 Boston, MA

Death February 11, 1922 Cambridge, MA

Buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery soon after his death of February 11, 1922 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is buried in Lot 637 in a section of the cemetery known as Greenbriar Path.

Census/Biographical Information:

This is the 1850 census of Brother Raymond’s father: 

1850 census of Massachusetts page 285 of reel 335

Emmous Raymond     44 years old     Male     Occupation unclear     real estate: $27,000.00

Mehitable C.     40 years old     Female        


Mary J.     12 years old     Female        

Henry E.     10 years old     Male        

Thomas Cole     5 years old     Male        

Charles A.     6 months old     Male        


Elulhbette     72 years old     Female        

Eillen McHenry     25 years old     Female        

Delia Maher     20 years old     Female        

These last three entries in the listing are most likely related to one another and would be servants or boarders.  Having servants was quite common and with a real estate value of $27,000.00; it most likely seems that that is the case.  Brother Raymond was a member of the class of 1865. He is believed to have been born in Boston but he might have been born in a suburb known as Westboro, MA. In 1886, he resided at 95 Milk Street in Boston. He also resided somewhere in Cambridge. The following is an excerpt from the Boston Herald dated February 12, 1922:

In Cambridge on February 11; at his residence of 84 Ellery Street at 76 years 4 months 30 days. Funeral services are private; please omit flowers.


Nathaniel Henry Starbuck 

Birth July 16,1847 Troy, NY

Death July 4,1880 Troy, NY

Buried at Oakwood Cemetery on July 7 1880 in Troy, New York in Section H3

Census/Biographical Information:

The Starbucks were quite popular in the city of Troy. The family did not found Troy but many of the Starbucks resided there. First, here is the entry of Brother Starbuck’s family census:

1860 census of New York, city of Troy

Geo H.     36 years old     male     Father     Furnace Man

Emiline     35 years old     Female     Mother    

Richard H.     15 years old     Male     Brother    

Nathaniel H.     12 years old     Male        

Antonetta     10 years old     Female     Sister    

Margaret King     55 years old     Female     Servant     (born in Ireland)

This next entry is possible family member since the name is tied to Nathaniel and the occupation is the same. This might be Brother Starbuck’s grandfather:

1860 census of New York, city of Troy

Nathaniel Starbuck     82 years old     Furnace Man     $10,000.00 home

Nathaniel B.     41 years old     (possible uncle of Brother Starbuck)

Amelia     27 years old        

Anna     17 years old        

Henryett     15 years old        

Brother Starbuck was a member of the class of 1867 even though The Transit (college Yearbook) says he was a member of the class of 1868. He did not graduate RPI. After he left college, he became a salesman in Troy.

Christopher Champlin Waite 

Birth September 23, 1843 Maumee City, OH

Death February 21, 1896 Columbus, OH

Buried in Greenlawn Cemetery soon after his death of February 21, 1896 in Columbus, Ohio in Lot 36 Section D in the southeast part of the cemetery.

Census/Biographical Information:

This listing is of Brother Waite’s Father:

Waite 1850 Census of Ohio

Morrison R. Waite     33 years old     Father     Attorney     House: $1,500.00

Amilia C.     29 years old     Mother        

Henry     9 years old            

Christopher     6 years old            

Eumura or Eilmura     4 years old     (Brother since the entry states this person is a Male)

Brother Waite married Lillie Pamelia Gutherie on October 22, 1868. She died on November 1, 1905. They had two children; Harry S. born in 1874 and Ellison G. born in 1880. His father, the Honorable Morrison R. Waite, became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1874 under the Ohio Bar.

The following excerpt was a correspondace letter between Brother Waite’s son, Harry S. Waite and RPI:

 “My father was born in Maumee, Ohio, a small town near Toledo, on Sept. 24, 1843. His father was Morison R. Waite, and attorney in Toledo at that time and afterward, chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. His mother was a Melia Champlin. His early school training was at a school at Gross Isle; an island in the Detroit River, conducted by a Mr. Hunter. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1865 and was one of the charter members of the Theta PXI Fraternity. He was married in 1868 to Lillian Gutherie in Zanesvile, Ohio where he was then superintendent of the Cincinnati and Muskingum Valley Railroad (now a part of the Pennsylvania). He lived in Zanesvile from about 1870 until 1881 where both of this sons were born, the writer and my brother, Ellison G. Waite, the writer in 1874 and Ellison in 1880.  In 1881 he moved to Cincinnati as superintendent of the Little Miami Railroad (now a part of the Pennsylvania System). We lived there about a year, when father was made Assistant to the President of the Erie Railroad with headquarters in new York City, which position he held until about 1884 when he was made Vice President of the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad and we moved back to Cincinnati. The C. H. and D. R. R. is now a part of the Baltimore and Ohio.  In 1889 he was made President of the Hocking Valley Railroad with headquarters in Columbus, Ohio which position he held until is death, Feb. 21, 1896. The Hocking Valley Railroad is now a part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. His wife died on November 1, 1905 and my brother on December 3, 1905.”

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