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Biography of Willess C. Perkins (1814 to 1890) and Wilson L. Perkins (1816 to 1896)
Daniel H. Weiskotten
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From: Smith, James H., 1880, History of Chenango and Madison Counties, New York. D. Mason & Co.. Syracuse, NY

Willess C. Perkins and Wilson L. Perkins
Facing Page 654

the original text includes illustrations of Willess C. Perkins and Wilson L. Perkins


        The grandfather of Willess C. and Wilson L. Perkins, on their mother's side, was Joseph Coley, who was born in London England, in the year 1765, where his father was a jeweler.  In 1771 when Joseph was a eight years of age, his father removed with his family, from London, and settled at Johnstown, in the State of New York, where he cleared a farm upon which he resided until his son Joseph arrived at full age, and married a young lady by name of Mary Willess.  Joseph Coley and wife removed to Saratoga county, where they occupied a farm some few years.  They soon, however, removed to the town of De Ruyter, in Madison county, where they purchased and occupied a farm including the spot since known as the "De Ruyter Springs," (Joseph Coley was on Lot 15 Tromp Township 1800, 1801, & 1802) where the family resided a number of years and until 1806, when they removed to New Woodstock, in the town of Cazenovia, where he purchased and cleared a farm upon which the family remained during his residence here.  On August 15, 1810, Joseph Coley was ordained as a minister in the Baptist church, and afterwards became quite prominent as a preacher in that denomination.  His wife, Mary, departed this life September 10th, 1845, at the age of 77 years.  After the death of his wife the Rev. Joseph Coley resided with his son William, at New Woodstock, until his death, which occurred September 25, 1856, at the age of ninety-one years.  Of this marriage there were ten children, one, while an infant in the cradle, perished with the burning of their log house during their residence in the town of De Ruyter.  The remaining nine, four sons and five daughters, viz: -- Willess, Betsey, Polly, Nancy, Laura, Clarissa, William, J. Madison and Hubbard, with his wife, composed his family at the time of his residence in New Woodstock. Nancy Coley, the mother of Willess C. and Wilson L. Perkins, was born May 9, 1795.
        Abiezer Perkins was born in Deerfield, in the State of Massachusetts, in the year 1754, and in 1781, at the age of twenty-three, he was married to Irene Loomis, and in the year 1803, he removed with his family to the town of Cazenovia, in Madison county, NY, and located on a farm which he had previously purchased about two and one-half miles south of Cazenovia Village, on the road leading from that place to De Ruyter.  It was thickly covered with heavy timber, and a line of marked trees only indicated the highway leading past his new home.  He cleared the land of its timber and reduced it to a tillable condition, and resided upon it until his death which occurred September 20, 1825, at the age of seventy-one years; his wife, Irene, survived him about eleven years, and departed this life September 6, 1836.  They were both members of the Baptist church in which Abiezer Perkins was at the time of his death and for many years previous thereto, a Deacon.  Of this marriage there were five sons and two daughters, as follows: Byram, Jeduthan, Eliab, Polly, Sally, Elemander, and Stillman.  Elemander, the fourth son was born September 13, 1792, and on May 9, 1813, at the age of twenty-one, he married Nancy Coley, before mentioned, who was at the time of her marriage eighteen years of age.  After their marriage they resided for some years in the family of Deacon Abiezer Perkins, where on December 5, 1814, Willess C., was born, and on December 8, 1816, Wilson L. was born.  These two brothers were the only sons of this family, and their lots seemed cast together, and together they have since lived and labored.  In the spring of 1811, Elemander Perkins, with his wife and two sons then composing his family, removed to the farm then recently purchased by his father-in-law, the Rev. Joseph Coley, about one-half mile further south on the De Ruyter road, which he carried on for a number of years, occupying the same house with his father-in-law.
        In the autumn of 1824, Elemander purchased a farm of about seventy acres located on the hill about one and one half miles from Cazenovia Village, on the road leading from Mechanicsville to Delphi.  To this place he removed his family in the spring of 1825.  Here was born on April 26, 1830, an only daughter, Mary Irene, who afterwards and on December 20, 1847, at the age of seventeen, was married to Charles J. Halliday, and died the following year, October 10, 1848.  Elemander Perkins continued to reside here with the remainder of his family until his death in the 62d year of his age, on April 10, 1854.  His widow survived him many years in vigorous active life, but after a short illness died December 21, 1876, aged 81 years.
        There remains of the family of Elemander Perkins only the two sons, Willess C., and Wilson L., who have lived together and wrought with a common interest on the old homestead with the exception of a short interval, since their boyhood, and by their continual industry and close attention to their business, have from time to time, added to the original farm until at present they own and cultivate about five hundred acres which they hold in common.
        The elder of these brothers Willess C. was never married.  Wilson L., at the age of twenty-four and on March 11, 1840, was married to Lucretia Rice, daughter of Isaac and Anna Rice of Cazenovia, NY.  She was at the time of her marriage in the twenty-second year of her age.  They resided in the family of Elemander Perkins before mentioned where on May 6, 1841, was born to them a son, Franklin R., and on (May 17, 1841) the young wife and mother departed this life.
        Two years later and on May 1, 1841, Wilson L., was married to his second wife, Sarah M. Salisbury, daughter of Mason and Rhoda Salisbury of Cortland, NY.  She was twenty-two years of age at the time of her marriage.  They removed to Lyons, Wayne county, NY, where they resided a short time, but subsequently and in 1846 returned to the town of Cazenovia, and took up their residence on the farm which the brothers Willess C. and Wilson L. had then recently purchased from the estate of David Billings situated about one and one-half miles south from the village of Cazenovia, on the De Ruyter road and adjoining on the south the farm owned by their father, Elemander.  Here on October 10, 1847, was born to them a son, Judson O., and a little more than two years later and on March 31, 1850, another son, Charles H.  But just beyond three years from that time the saddest event in the history of that household came upon them.  On August 1, 1853, the husband was again left a widower, and his children without a mother and another faithful earnest life was closed to this world forever.  Shortly after this event Wilson L. with his three sons again returned to his old house where his brother and mother all lived as one family, until October 28, 1856, when Wilson L. was married to Sophia E. May, of Akron, Ohio, grand-daughter of Luke and Patience May, of Cazenovia, in the twenty-first year of her age.
        The eldest son of this family, Franklin R., after spending some time as student at the Oneida Conference Seminary at Cazenovia, where he graduated in 1860, commenced the study of law and was admitted to practice as an attorney and counselor in the year 1864.  In the same year he was commissioned as captain of Company E in the 22d Regiment of NYSV Cav. and served with that Regiment in the war of the Rebellion until January, 1865, when he was honorably discharged and returned to the study of law, and in August, 1866, commenced practice in the city of Buffalo, NY, where he is still located, having served two successive terms from January 1, 1872, to January 1, 1876, as city attorney at that place.  On May 10, 1876, he was married to S. Louise Wright, daughter of William W. and Eleanor Wright, of Buffalo, NY.
        The second son of the family, Judson O., after spending some time as a student at the "Oneida Conference Seminary" at Cazenovia, entered "Madison University" at Hamilton, NY, where he graduated with the class of 1872, entered the "Hamilton Theological Seminary," from which he graduated in 1874, was ordained as a minister in the Baptist church, settled over a congregation of that denomination in Copenhagen, NY, where he is still pastor, and in 1879 opened a school at that place called "Perkins Academy" which he is still conducting.  He was married to Ella M. Newton, daughter of Christopher and Mary Newton, of Cazenovia, NY, on November 4, 1874.
        The third son, Charles H., after attending school for some time at Cazenovia, and after arriving at manhood remained at home assisting in the business of the farm.  He was married to Alice C. Kingsley, daughter of A.Z. and Polly Kingsley, of Hamilton, NY, on October 16, 1872.  She was twenty-two years of age at the time of her marriage.  They settled and commenced house-keeping on the farm in a house located on the De Ruyter road.  Here on July 15, 1874, was born of this marriage a daughter, Alice C., and later in the season and on September 28, (1874), the young mother passed away leaving the new home lonely and desolate.  Five years later and on December 2, 1879, Charles H., married his second wife, Charlotte A. Taber, daughter of B.W. and Amanda Taber, of Cazenovia, NY, and settled in his former home.  The brothers Willess C. and Wilson L. Perkins, still reside at their old homestead and carry on their farm.