This surname is derived from an old Anglo-Saxon personal name Tate. The Tait family may have had the same origin. As early as the eleventh century Tait was in use as a personal name in Norway. The coat-of-arms of the Tate family was derived from Sir John Tate, Lord Mayor of London in 1496, younger brother of Sir Robert Tate, Lord Mayor of London in 1488, and are described: An arm enibowed and couped at the shoulder vested per pale gules and or, holding in the hand proper a pine branch of the second. Motto: Thincke and thanks. (Burke.) This is the only recognized Tate coat-of-arms. Several families spelled the name Tait also have armorials, however.
(I) Robert Tate purchased the family seat called Bank House, of the Duke of Northumberland, and the family has since resided there. He was at one time private secretary of Lord Percy. The estate descended to his on John, mentioned below.
(II) John, son of Robert Tate, was born about 1760, at Allenwick, Northumberland county, England, and inherited the manor house called Bank House. He lived and died there. The estate would have been inherited by his son Robert had he not chosen to make his home in the United States. Instead, however, it passed down to another son.
(III) Robert (2), son of John Tate, ws born at Bank House, Allenwick, Northumberland, Dec. 28, 1785, and died June 21, 1855, at Waddington, New York. He came to this country with his family in 1818 and proceeded up the St. Lawrence river in boats drawn by oxen, after the primitive fashion of the pioneer days. He located at Madrid, New York, and immediately began to survey the surrounding country into township sites. As a youth he was midshipman in the British navy, but resigned to adopt the profession of civil engineering, which he followed in England and afterward in this county. In 1828 he made a survey of St. Lawrence county, N.Y., and drew the first map. He also made the first actual survey of the village of Ogdensburg, N.Y. He was much employed as a surveyor in Waddington and vicinity.
He married Eleanor Ord, born in England, Dec. 4, 1739.
Margarite, born in England; John W., born in England; Thomas Bell, mentioned below; Ellen, born in Ogdensburg, N.Y.
(IV) Thomas Bell, son of Robert (2) Tate, was born in Allenwick, county Northumberland, Aug. 21, 1814, and died August, 1904. He attended the public schools, and was especially proficient in mathematics. When he was only ten years old he began to assist his father in surveying, carrying the chain, and quicly acquiring the knowledge of the profession. He helped his father make the survey of Ogdensburg in 1823, and lived to see the wilderness transformed into a flourishing city. He bought an interest in an iron mine at Hermon, N.Y., when a young man, and for eight years devoted himself chiefly to the manufacture of iron there. He continued to practice the profession of civil engineer, however, and rose to high rank as a railroad engineer. He had charge of surveying and building the first line of railroad through Canada, called the St. Lawrence & Lake Huron railroad. In 1854 he had charge of the construction of the Brighton railroad, now a branch of the Grand Trunk railroad. He was chief engineer of the railroad from Postdam Junction to Potsdam, and also of the Morristown branch.
He was distinguished also in military life. He entered the National Guard of the State of New York and served six years. In 1834 he raised a uniformed light infantry company and was elected captain, receiving his appointment and commission from Governor W. L. Marcy. He was major of his regiment one year and lieutenant-colonel two years in the One Hundred and Fifty-third New York Regiment. His commissions were signed by Governor Seward. There is still preserved his sword with a bit of moldering crepe attached, which he carried at the time of President William Henry Harrison's death. He was president of a court martial of the One Hundred and Fifty-third Regiment when he was but twetny-one years old. Colonel Tate's long life was crowded full of useful achievements and public service. He takes high rank among the builders of the commonwealth in this section. As citizen, soldier, engineer, manufacturer, he performed his tasks and fulfilled his duties with zeal and ability. His sterling intergrity and strong character won for him the esteem and admiration of all who knew him. Perhaps no man in the county in his generation developed greater traist and accomplished more in the various lines of activity in which he was prominent.
He married, June 13, 1855, Adeline Hull, born March 1, 1829, died July 16, 1872, daughter of Charles and Jane (Frasier) Hull, of Ogdensburg. He married (second), Dec. 8, 1886, Sarah E. Flagg, who died July, 1904.
1. Ellen N., born May, 1858; married W. T. Easton, attorney at Leamington, Ontario; chldren: Tate, Cathleen, and Helen Easton.
2. George Alfred, mentioned below.
(V) George Alfred, son of Thomas Bell Tate, was born in Ogdensburg, N.Y., Aug. 17, 1856. He was educated in the public schools of his native town, and studied civil, mechanical and steam engineering, and learned much from association with his father, whom he assisted in his surveying. He helped to make the survey for the Utica railroad and also of the Ogdensburg & Morristown railroad. For the past fifteen years he has devoted himself chiefly to municipal engineering, and for the past ten years has fixed all the grades for streets, sidewalks and sewers in Ogdnsburg. In politics he is a Democrat, in religion Episcopalian. He is a member of the Knights of the Maccabees.
He married, Jan. 24, 1893, Bertha Eugenie Sterling, born July 21, 1874, daughter of John M. Sterling, of Ogdensburg.
1. Ellen A., born July 14, 1895.
2. Bertha Eugenie, March 15, 1898.
3. George Sterling, Sept. 16, 1906.
4. Marion, July 20, 1909.
[transcriber's note: since this material was published in 1910, this couple may have had other children.]
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