NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people and the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
William Nellis, immigrant ancestor of this family, was born in Germany, and came with the early Palatines, landing in New York in 1710. He settled in Schoharie county, N.Y. His son Andrew was born there in 1715, and died in 1779; was one of the principal founders of the Palatine church, the oldest church in the Mohawk Valley. Andrew was a farmer. He was confirmed by the Lutheran pastor at Schoharie in 1735.
He married Catherine Fox, of German Flats. Andrew's son Philip was born Dec. 1, 1746, in Fairfield, and died in 1818; was a soldier in the revolution, and was father of Peter Phillip Nellis, who had some distinguished descendants.
The family became numerous before the revolution. In 1790 the federal census shows as heads of family, all living in the Mohawk Valley, mostly at Palatine town, Montgomery county: George, Adam, Andrew, Christian, David, George, Henry, Henwy W., John (2), John D., John H., Ludman, Peter W., Philip, Robert, William and Yost.
David, mentioned below, had two males over sixteen, one under that age and four females in his family.
(II) David, descendant of William Nellis in the third or fourth generation, was born at Herkimer, N.Y., Dec. 14, 1809, and died May 6, 1867. He married Barbara Small, born 1806, died Nov. 11, 1888.
(III) George W., son of David Nellis, was born May 30, 1835, at Herkimer, and died Oct. 27, 1906. He was a farmer nearly all his life in his native town, and a citizen highly esteemed by all who knew him.
Her married Melinda Witherstine (See Witherstine). She is living in Herkimer, in good health (1910). She joined the church in 1854, and her husband in 1863.
1. Irving Orlando, born July 9, 1856, mentioned below.
2. Bryon David, June 27, 1858, married Ada Casler.
3. Clara Margaret, July 7, 1860.
4. Emma Elnora, Aug. 4, 1862; died Nov. 17, 1865.
5. George W. Jr., June 20, 1865; learned the printer's trade in the office of the Herkimer County Record, of which he is now editor and proprietor; married Anna Post, of Middleville; child, Aubrey.
6. Walter W., born June 14, 1870, died Aug. 5, 1872.
(IV) Dr. Irving Orlando Nellis, son of George W. Nellis, was born at Herkimer, N.Y. July 9, 1856. He received his elementary education in the public schools of his native village, and prepared for college at the Fairfield Seminary. He was a member of the Calaeopeson fraternity in the seminary. He studied his profession at the University of Vermont, from which he was graduated with the degree of M.D. in 1882. He was marshall of his class at commencement.
He began to practice immediately after graduation in his native town, and has been very successful, and has taken high rank as a physician. He is a member of the American Medical Association, the New York State Medical Society, the Herkimer County Medical Society, and was coroner of the county from 1884 to 1887 and 1890 to 1892. During his first term he held the famous Druse inquest into the crime known as the "Durse Butchery," the most horrible on record.
He was a member of the sewer commission that constructed for the village what is probably the most complete system of sewarage to be found in the state, outside of the large cities. He was health officer of the village from 1884 to 1894, and is now president of the village board of health. Largely through his initiative, supported by the regulations that are so complete and effective that they are being used as models by other municipalities of the state. These regulations provide for the removal and disposal of garbage of all sorts, for cleaning the streets, for plumbing and sewer connections, Etc. One very useful provision gives the board of health power to install the necessary plumbing and connections with sewer in cases where owners of houses neglect to do so, charging the cost against the property.
Dr. Nellis was chosen under sherriff of the county of Herkimer by Sheriff Joseph W. Baker. He was candidate for the assembly in 1908, of the Democractic party, and reduced the normal Republican majority by at least five hundred votes. Dr. Nellis is a member of the Bethel Lodge, No. 572, and Encampment No. 166, I.O.O.F., of Herkimer, and of the Empire State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, by virtue of the services of his ancestor, Witherstine, his great-grandfather.
He and his family are communicants of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Herkimer, and in the religious and social life of the community hold high positions.
He married, Oct. 30, 1885, Jennie A. Pierce, of Herkimer, born May 28, 1866, daughter of Charles Pierce, born 1837, a brilliant soldier in the civil war, and Jane (Dixon) Pierce, born 1840. Both parents are living in Herkimer. (See Pierce).
Children of Dr. & Mrs. Nellis:
1. Mary Irene, born Dec. 31, 1886; graduate of Herkimer high school, class of 1905, and of Syracuse University, class of 1910.
2. Walter Irving, born Feb. 25, 1894; now a student in Herkimer high school.
Dr. Irving O. Nellis is a descendant in the fifth generation of John Christian Schell (1), the celebrated Indian fighter, whose son was John (2), who was father of Margaret (3), who was mother of Malinda (4), the mother of Dr. Nellis. (5).
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