Cuyler Reynolds, in the 1911 “Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs,” told us this about Alexander Van Gaasbeek:
“Alexander Boyd [Gaasbeek], son of Dr. Jacobus and Helen (Boyd) Van Gaasbeek, was born in Middleburg, New York, April 11, 1816. He was educated in his native town in a private school. At an early age he began what proved to be a long and successful business career. His first work was in a lawyer’s office in Middleburg, and for a short period he was engaged in a general store in that town. He then went to Lawyersville, where he was employed as a clerk for Peter Osterhout. He remained in that position for a year, and in 1832 went to Albany and clerked for John Garnsey in the dry goods business for the following two years. He then secured a position with a Mr. Bagley, with whom he remained until 1836, and in that year started in for himself. In connection with Frank Moseley he established a dry goods business under the firm title of Mosley and Van Gaasbeek. This partnership continued four years, when it was dissolved and Mr. Van Gaasbeek continued the business himself for the following nine years. About this time gold was discovered in California. Like many another of his day, he caught the gold fever, sold out his business and started for Panama. He got as far as New York City, where he was induced to associate himself with a man by the name of Reynolds, to start a commission business in Panama. On arriving at the Isthmus, however, he, becoming dissatisfied with his relations with Reynolds, decided to dissolve the partnership. This accomplished, he formed a partnership with Amos Corwin, at that time United States consul to Panama. They carried on a successful business until December, 1850, when he returned to Albany to be married. Mr. Van Gaasbeek after his marriage went back to Panama to continue the business there, but owing to an illness brought on by the climatic conditions of the tropics he was obliged to give up his work and return North. Once more he established himself in Albany, this time going into the carpet business, opening a store on the corner of Broadway and Columbia street. The business growing rapidly, he moved, in the early sixties, to larger quarters on Pearl street, where he acquired the property which he held at his death. He became the leading carpet man in Albany, and continued to conduct a large and successful business until he retired, in 1901, from an active participation in commercial life. Mr. Van Gaasbeek was a member of the First Reformed Church, of Albany, and for many years was one of the most active elders. In politics he was first a Whig and later a Republican, and, though urged many times to hold office, always declined. For nine years he was a volunteer fireman in Albany in the days of the old hand-engine. Though Mr. Van Gaasbeek had attained the ripe old age of more than ninety-four years, he was in possession of all his faculties, attended to all the business connected with a considerable estate personally, and gave no visible signs of the approaching end until shortly before his death, January 15, 1911.”
Presumably this Van Gaasbeek was some relation to the W. Van Gaasbeek who produced “the bazaar shirt,” acros from the Delavan Hotel.