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Brinkerhoff, Roeliff

General Roeliff Brinkerhoff (1828-1911)


Member of the Ohio Board of Charities and Corrections for 30 years, President of the National Conference of Charities and Correction in 1880 and

President of the National Prison Congress in 1893


General Roeliff Brinkerhoff
General Roeliff Brinkerhoff
Photo: Public Domain

Roeliff Brinkerhoff was born at Owasco, Cayuga county, N.Y., Jan. 28, 1828, the youngest of nine children and son of George R. Brinkerhoff, an officer of the war of 1812. His first American ancestor, Joris Dericksen Brinkerhoff, emigrated from Holland in 1638 and settled on Long Island, N.Y., upon the site of the city of Brooklyn. Roeliff was educated at the academies of Auburn and Homer, N.Y. His mother died in 1830 and he was sent to live in the home of his maternal grandfather, Simon Bevier, a fifth generation descendent of Louis Bevier a Huguenot refugee from France.

In 1844 he taught school in his native town; in 1846 he was a tutor in the family of Andrew Jackson, Jr., at the Hermitage in Tennessee; in 1850 he removed to Mansfield, Ohio, studied law with the Hon. Jacob Brinkerhoff, and in 1852 was admitted to the bar and engaged in the practice of his profession. During four years he was one of the editors and proprietors of the Mansfield Herald.

In September, 1861, he entered the Union army as lieutenant and regimental quartermaster of the 64th Ohio volunteer infantry. He was promoted to the rank of colonel, June, 1865, and made inspector of the quartermaster’s department, Washington, D. C., until November, when he was ordered to Cincinnati as chief quartermaster of that department. He was mustered out of the army, Oct. 1, 1865. In September, 1866, He was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers and declined a commission in the regular army.

In 1873, upon the organization of the Mansfield savings bank, Brinkerhoff became its vice-president. In 1878 be was appointed a member of the Ohio Board of State Charities. He became an active member of the National Conference of Charities and Correction, and in 1880 he was elected its president.

Brinkerhoff became vice-president of the National Prison Congress from its re-organization, and was elected its president in 1893. He was one of the founders of the Mansfield lyceum and library, of the Mansfield public park, of the soldiers’ and sailors’ memorial library, and of the Ohio archeological and historical society, which was organized under his institution, and of which he became president in 1893.

Brinkerhoff was a Democrat in politics. He was appointed by the government to be one of the delegates representing the United States at the International Prison Congress in Paris in 1895, where he was made the chairman of the American delegation. He spent several weeks in visiting prisons and reformatories in western Europe and the British islands, and on his return to America made a report of his observations and conclusions in regard to European methods, which was published by Congress as an appendix to the report of the American delegation upon the Paris congress. He served as chairman of the board of State Charities of Ohio from 1879, completing his seventh term in 1897.


History of Owasco, (Cayuga County) New York Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Johnson, Rossiter, editor

History of Richland Co., Ohio – A. A., Graham & Co., Publishers. (1807 – 1880)

Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Social Welfare History Project. (2012). General Roeliff Brinkerhoff (1828-1911). Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved [date accessed] from