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Arthur Frederick Ostrander (1895-1978)

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Arthur Frederick Ostrander, Sr.
Sex: Male
Birth: February 14, 1895
Schodack, New York
Baptism: Unknown
East Greenbush
Reformed Dutch Church
Death: February, 1978
Burial: Chesapeake Memorial Gardens
Chesapeake, Virginia
Father: Abram Cline Ostrander (1843-1914)
Mother: Harriet Louise Ostrander (1856-1947)
Spouse/Partner: Annie Caribel Campen (1896-1971)
Marriage: 1919
Children: Cline Brooks Ostrander (1920-1979)
Arthur Frederick Ostrander, Jr.(living)
1900 census Ostrander

1900 census

Arthur Frederick Ostrander was an assistant to the scientist and inventor George Poe (1846-1914). He toured with Poe in the 1907-1908 timeframe while still a child, demonstrating an artificial respiration device. His face was one of the most well known of the time, having been on stories in several large circulation newspapers.

Biography Edit

He was the youngest child of Abram Cline Ostrander (1843-1914) and Harriet Louise Ostrander (1856-1947). He descended from Dutch settlers who arrived in New Netherland (present day New York) in the 1660s. He had the following siblings: Louis (Lewis) Sherley Ostrander, George M. Ostrander, Cornelia Elizabeth Ostrander, Faith Wilbur Ostrander, and Helen Louise Ostrander.

Early Life Edit


He was born in Schodack, New York, on his family's farm, "Brookview, Rensselaer County", which was in the process of being subdivided after the death of his Grandfather, Walter Ostrander (1806-1880). His father moved his family south to Norfolk County, Virginia, and bought a large tract of land, using contacts gained from his wife's Virginia branch of the Ostrander family. Arthur was raised to be a farmer, like his father before him. He attended public schools along with his siblings, and worked on the farm as well.


Arthur Ostrander demonstrated an early interest in science and things mechanical, and when his family hosted the inventor George Poe for several years, he began to assist Poe with his inventions. Poe, nearly blind and paralytic, found that young Arthur had both the technical skills and the dexterity to perform fine metal work, and act and his eyes and hands on fine details on tasks he could no longer perform. Poe approached the Ostrander family with a proposition; if Arthur would assist him full time, he and his two assistants, (J. P. Jackson, M.D, and Francis Morgan, M.D.) would privately tutor Arthur through high school. The family consented, and Arthur Ostrander left school and became a full time member of the artificial respiration device team at age 10.


Arthur Ostrander worked with Poe, Jackson, and Morgan for the next several years, and toured with them when they demonstrated the artificial respirator in 1907. He received a rigorous education in science, the arts, and classics as well from his tutors. Unfortunately, even though Poe's device was well received, Poe's health continued to decline, and the device was never successfully marketed. When Poe died in 1914, Arthur had already made plans to enter Apprentice School at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. He completed training and became a skilled machinist, and later a supervisor.

Later Years Edit

He married Annie Caribel Campen in 1919, and they had two children, Cline Brooks Ostrander and Arthur Frederick Ostrander. He lived his life in the Norfolk and Chesapeake, Virginia areas, and after a successful career with the shipyard, retired to his home in Chesapeake, dividing his leisure time fishing, hunting and spending time with his family. He owned land in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and often vacationed there in his cottage. He died suddenly in February 1978, and was interred in Chesapeake Memorial Gardens beside his wife, who predeceased him in 1971. He was survived by his two sons, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
He was raised an Episcopalian, but later joined the Methodist Church to which his wife belonged. He was a Master Mason, and a member of South Norfolk Lodge, Chesapeake, Virginia.

Sources Edit

  • Ostrander: A Genealogical Record: 1660-1995, by Vinton and Emmett Ostrander, page 448.
  • Social Security Death Index of Arthur F. Ostrander, Jr.
  • The Washington Times, Magazine Section, January 27, 1907.
  • Will of Walter Ostrander, executed August 29, 1887, upon the death of Eliza Ostrander.
  • Indenture (land sale) from Abram C. Ostrander to Hendrik Privus, Schodack, NY, September 7, 1895.

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