Van Tassel Family History Homepage - Daniel Van Tassel

The Van Tassel Family History Homepage

"A Pedigree Partly Indian, Partly Batavian"

Daniel Van Tassel - The Original Van Tassel Family Historian

Daniel Van Tassel (1841-1930)

All Van Tassel descendants owe a great deal of gratitude to Daniel Van Tassel (1841-1930) who accomplished a work of colossal proportions. Much of the material he managed to collect and compile would no doubt be lost today if he had not recorded it for future generations.  His work, entitled: Van Texel - Van Tassel Family in America, 1625-1900 is available on microfilm (#0476911) through the Latter Day Saints Genealogical Library and member LDS Family History Centers.  

The following article appeared in an unknown Westchester Co. newspaper.  The date of 18 November, 1976 has been penned in. Author is unknown to me.   It was obtained at the Tarrytowns Historical Society, Tarrytown, NY.

Daniel Van Tassel

     Marcius D. Raymond, before and after the turn of the century was a brilliant historian.  He was editor of the Tarrytown Argus, a weekly paper that was published from 1875 to 1909, and it would have gone longer, only Wallace Odell and George F. Van Tassel of The Tarrytown Daily News offered Raymond such a fabulous price for buying out the Argus, he could hardly refuse.

     This columnist was a friend of Mr. Raymond, and it was through him that William J. Cannon became a journalist, and later general manager of The Daily News.

     Mr. Raymond was not a native here, coming from Clinton, New York but he was deeply intrigued by the many threads of history converging and criss-crossing here, that he became an insatiable student and a prolific writer of local history.

     But the "forgotten man" was Daniel Van Tassel, who was the associate editor on Raymond's editorial staff.  Mr. Van Tassel was born in Sleepy Hollow in 1842, only twenty years after Washington Irving wrote his popular novel, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."  He died in November, 1929.

     Mr. Van Tassel lived in an era of kerosene lamps and his newspaper articles were written by pen.  Long into the morning hours, the kerosene lamp flickered on his desk and in the quiet of the night he penned many glowing historical essays. He was my next door neighbor and he liked geraniums mostly the red type.  He never complained about the unequal distribution of fortune and privilege.  He waived the distinction of being a lawyer because he believed he was better at writing

     It was almost impossible to denote the difference of style in Raymond's and and Van Tassel's articles on history.  Both men were just natural prolific historians.

     These were the days of the little businessmen.  The big industries were somewhat curtailed by Teddy Roosevelt's anti-trust laws and Roosevelt's protection for the little man.

     The first page of the Argus was set aside just for local news, not foreign, not national, not state, not county, not town, but just what happened in the Tarrytowns and Irvington.  The trend of times vary, and with it fade away the writings of those who have flourished their allotted time.

     Without Van Tassel, Mr. Raymond would have had less glory; for Daniel Van Tassel was the real historian, a grand old man with a goatee and snow-white hair, but most of all an arousably brilliant lawyer, genealogist, historian and editor.

Daniel Van Tassel Obit:

Monday, November 24, 1930


Daniel Van Tassell, Historian and Genealogist

Dies at 89




Was Treasurer of Sleepy Hollow

Cemetery Association for Years


     Daniel Van Tassell, lawyer, historian, genealogist and newspaperman, died at four o'clock this morning at his residence 42 South Washington Street, He had been ill six years.  

     Mr. Van Tassell was eighty-nine years old, For years he was treasurer of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Association, but resigned about ten years ago, Under the late M.D.  Raymond, he was for years associate editor of the former Tarrytown Argus and later years he became its editor, He was at one time one of Tarrytown's most influential men.

     Mr. Van Tassell was born near White Plains in 1841, the son of the late J. Archer Van Tassell and Margaret Groesbeck. He was educated in private schools and was one of the youngest men at the time to be admitted to the bar. He was made a lawyer at twenty-one years of age.

     His early childhood was spent in New York City, but he came to Tarrytown with his family in 1847. Sixty-three years ago he married Miss Fredericka Paulding Leonard of Tarrytown. The couple have made their home in the Van Tassell homestead since.

     His greatest contribution to literature was "The Genealogy of the Van Tassel Family," which was published many years ago.  When he was taken ill some years ago he stared a manuscript on historical subjects, but he never completed the work.

     Mr. Van Tassell was in his day one of the best known men in the community.  He was one of the few remaining editors of the hand-set type days.

     When he was editor of the Argus, type was not only set by hand, but the presses were operated by hand power.  Later a water power motor was developed and the edition of the Argus was printed from that source of power.

     Besides his wife, Mr. Van Tassell is survived by a brother J. Archer Van Tassell, of Howard Beach, L.I. and a sister, Mrs. Edward Hawes, of New York City.

     The funeral services will be held at his late residence in South Washington Street on Wednesday afternoon at two o'clock.  The Rev. Horace Hunt, of the First Baptist Church, where Mr.  Van Tassel sang for twenty years, will officiate.  The burial will be in the family plot in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.


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