Cortland County, NY
Mentioned in Passing
Part 2

Excerpt From: Biographical History of La Crosse, Monroe and Juneau Counties, Wisconsin. Page 271.

Hiram G. Miller, Eclectic physician and surgeon, La Crosse, Wisconsin, was born at Virgil, Cortland county, New York, March 30, 1825, and is the son of Benjamin and Julia (Garrett) Miller. The mother was born at Sharon, Connecticut, of English ancestry; the father was a native of Williamstown, Massachusetts, and was a lineal descendant of the house of Hamilton. The paternal grandfather of our subject died a the age of ninety-nine years from the effects of a fall; he was a schoolteacher for than forty years. The family was one of professional men, numbering among the different generations many educators; they were large of stature, some measuring six feet, three and a half inches, and were a long-lived race. Hiram G. is the eldest son and second child in a family of eleven children. At the age of eleven years he removed with his fatherís family to Peoria, Illinois, where he received his elementary education; he entered Shurtleff College at Alton, Illinois, in 1847, and two years later he was caught in that mighty tide of emigration that swept to the gold fields of California; he went overland via the southern route, and was engaged in mining in Yuba River locality for two years, meeting with fair success.

When he returned to his home he began to study of medicine under the preceptorship of Dr. L. C. McKenney, at Burlington, Iowa; he pursued his studies for five years, and then engaged in practice at Rosefield, Illinois. He afterwards entered the Eclectic Medial Institute at Cincinnati, from which he was graduated in 1869. He then removed to La Crosse, where he has devoted himself to his profession for the past twenty-three years. He had been eminently successful, and has established a fine reputation as a skillful and trustworthy physician. His patients are not found alone in La Crosse county, but come from distant points.

Dr. Miller was married July 16, 1868, to Miss Virginia E. McKenney, eldest daughter of Dr. L. C. and Lucinda (Clarke) McKenney, of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Dr. McKenney, who was the tutor of Mr. Miller, was a prominent physician in Burlington, Iowa, but upon his removal to La Crosse he turned his attention to the law, in order to avoid the exposure attendant upon active medical practice. He died in this city April 19, 1887; his widow is still living. To Dr. and Mrs. Miller have been born five children: Lewis Benjamin, James Leslie and Charles Willis, are deceased; Virginia E. and Hiram G., Jr., are aged eleven and eight years respectively. Mrs. Miller is a worthy member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Doctor is an active member of the Prohibition party, having allied himself with that moral reform in 1887. He was formerly a Democrat.

    For additional info:       Contact   Arlene Goodwin


Excerpt from: Biographical History of La Crosse, Monroe and Juneau Counties, Wisconsin. Pages 371 Ė372.

Rev. Rollo Branch, one of the most prominent and capable member of the ministry in La Crosse county, is the pastor of the West Salem Presbyterian Church. He was born in Cortland county, New York, September 6, 1854, and is a son of Enoch D. and Matilda (Mynard) Branch, who were also natives of the Empire State. The father was a farmer in Cortland county and was widely known; he settled on his land in 1813, and bravely met all the vicissitudes with which the path of the pioneer was beset. Possessed with unusual ability he was a leader in all movements calculated to develop the resources of the country; he was a man of liberal views upon all questions, and of superior mental attainments. He held many of the township offices, discharging his duties to the entire satisfaction of his constituency, a fact made evident by his continued re-election to office. His death occurred in June, 1875, at the age of eighty years. His wife is still living, with powers of both mind and body well preserved, at the aged of seventy-seven years. They had born to them a family of seven children, all of whom survive.

The Rev. Rollo Branch is the youngest of the seven. He received his education in Casnovia Seminary, where he completed his course in the class of 1878. Having determined to devote his life to the ministry, he entered Auburn Theological Seminary, and for three years pursued a course of study laid down by that institution; by 1885 he had finished this work, and had also given especial attention to some subjects not required for graduation. In 1875 he began preaching, and did evangelistic work until 1879, when he commenced regular ministerial work. During the years 1879 and 1880 he filled the pulpit at Texas valley, New York, and then went to Mandan, Dakota, where he organized the first church on the Northern Pacific road west of the Missouri river. He had this work in charge for two years, and then returned to New York, where he supplied the pulpit of the church of his native town until the opening of the term at Auburn, New York. During the first and second years of his course he did mission work in the city of Elmira, holding five services on the Sabbath day, and keeping up his studies in the seminary. His health failed under this strain, and he lost about half of the senior year; but he was able to finish the work with his class. During his last few months at the seminary he filled the pulpit at Sodus, Wayne county, New York, to which he was called in May, 1885; he accepted this work, remaining there two years, at the end of which time he went to Redfield, Oswego County, New York here he labored two years, when his health again failed, and he was obliged to relinquish ministerial duties. In order to give himself an opportunity to grow stronger he took an easier charge at Orwell, New York, where he preached every alternate Sabbath. The decline of his physical forces continued, however, and the result was that a trip to California was determined upon; he remained there fourteen months, and as soon as he began to improve he took up some work, and preached about one-fourth of the time he was in the sunny clime. His strength returned and before he left the coast he was fully restored to health. His first work after this was in the pine regions of Wisconsin at Harrison and Parrish, where he did mission work among the lumbermen. At the end of one year he came to West Salem, in January, 1891.

Mr. Branch was married in 1876 to Miss Ella L. Lincoln, a daughter of Wait and Melissa (Munsey) Lincoln, residents of Virgil, New York. Of this union two children have been born: Ned and Carrie.

Mr. Branch is an honored member of the I. O. O. F. (Note from Submitter - Iím not related to this family)

    Submitted by   Arlene Goodwin


Excerpt From: Biographical History of La Crosse, Monroe and Juneau Counties, Wisconsin. Page 641 - 642.

Oliver M. Hill, a progressive farmer of Tomah township, was born in Cortland county, New York, April 14, 1837, as son of Samuel and Rebecca (Mason) Hill, natives of Vermont, an among the early pioneers of New England. The father died in Colorado, March 12, 1870, aged seventy-six years, and the mother in Wisconsin, August 8, 1883, at the age of eighty-three years. They had a family of eight living children: Harriet, deceased; Paulina, widow H. B Putnam, of Colorado; Roderick, a resident of Dakota; Luther, of Tomah township; Sanderson, of Colorado; Oliver M., our subject; Maiah, wife of L. E. Amidan, of Oakdale, Wisconsin; Hoel, deceased while on his way home from the late war, having served in Company K, Ninety-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and held the position of Corporal.

The subject of this sketch moved with his parents to Illinois at the age of eighteen months and remained at home until reaching manhood, and was in partnership with his father until the latterís death. He came to this county in the winter of 1866, and the following spring purchased the farm he now occupies, consisting of 200 acres, with seventy-five acres under cultivation. He now has 120 acres under a fine state of cultivation, has fine barns for stock and grain, and in 1887, he erected a good frame residence 16 x 24 and 12 x 16 feet, has a hop house, and many other improvements. In addition to this general farming Mr. Hill operates a dairy, keeping an average of twenty cows, and breeds into the Durhams and Jerseys, and now supplies a good portion of Tomah with milk. He is identified with the Republican party, has held the office of trustee and chairman of the Town Board, and is a leading factor in the agricultural society of Tomah.

Mr. Hill was married October 13, 1861, to Miss Sophia M. Sprague, a daughter of Samuel and Rachel (Skelton) Sprague. To this union have been born nine children, viz.: Ira. M., a farmer of Monroe county; Ella P., wife of Fred J. Mooney, of Tomah; Willie H., deceased; Oscar S., deceased; Jesse P. at home; Ernest M., Emma I., Caddie C., and Merle W. Mr. and Mrs. Hill are members of the Baptist Church, and the family are among the countyís most worthy and respected citizens. (Iím not related to this family)

    Submitted by   Arlene Goodwin


Biographical History of La Crosse, Monroe and Juneau County, Wisconsin 1892. Pages 751 - 752

Luther Hill, a successful farmer of Monroe county, was born in Truxton, Cortland county, New York, May 28, 1832, a son of Samuel and Rebecca Hill. When eight years of age Luther came with his parents to Wheatland, Kane county, Illinois, where he was reared to farm life and educated in the district schools. At the age of twenty years he removed to Sauk county, Wisconsin, where he purchased forty acres of unimproved land of his brother, erected a residence and other buildings, and remained on the place eight years. In the spring of 1855 Mr. Hill came to Monroe county, and bought his present farm of 160 acres of the Government, located on section 14, Tomah township. He brought his family, consisting of wife and one child, to their new home, then a dense wilderness, and located on the Indian trail which ran across his farm. He erected a shanty, 16 x 24 feet, and for a radius of five miles their only neighbors were Indians and wild animals. They had many hardships to endure in those early pioneer days, but faced them bravely and are now reaping their reward. In 1872 Mr. Hill erected his present residence, two stories high, 18 x 26 feet, with a wing, 16 x 24 feet, has good barns for stock and grain, and the entire surroundings bespeak thrift, energy and prosperity. He confines himself to general farming, believes in breeding the best grade of stock, and is one of the most progressive farmers of this part of the country. In addition of this he has also at times engaged in lumbering during the winter months.

Mr. Hill was married June 9, 1851, to Harriet N. Beardsley, who was born in Fairfield, Vermont, January 17m 1834, a daughter of Lewis and Dolly Beardsley. To this union has been born six children: Charles O., engaged in the mercantile business at New Windsor, Colorado; Burton, a minister of Montana; Roddy, a mechanic of Tomah; Elmer, at home; George, deceased at the age of twenty years. Mr. Hill is a self-made man, having started at the every bottom with nothing but pluck and energy, and now owns 240 acres of good land, with ninety acres under cultivation. He is a Republican in his political views. (Iím not related to this family)

(Note from Submitter: Iím not related to this family)

    Submitted by   Arlene Goodwin


Excerpt From: Biographical History of La Crosse, Monroe and Juneau Counties, Wisconsin. Page Pages 899 - 900.

James N. Richardson, one of the most progressive agriculturists of Monroe county, has resided here since 1855, and is entitled to more than passing mention in this history of the early settlement of the country. He is a native of Cortland county, New York, born December 25, 1826, a son of John and Hannah (Fairbanks) Richardson; the father as a native of Vermont, and served in the war of 1812; the mother was born in the State of New York. Mr. Richardson spent his youth amid the scenes of his birth, attending the district schools. In 1855 he removed to the West, settling in Monroe county, and the same year the parents came to the county and here passed the remainder of their lives. There were two children in the family, Jane and James N., the subject of this biographical notice; the father died November 10, 1875, at the age of eighty-four years; the mother lived to be ninety-one years old. They are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church; he was a farmer by occupation, and in politics adhered to the principles of the Republican party. James N. settled on a farm in Sparta township, which he improved; he was very successful in all branches of husbandry, and made money. In 1891 he moved upon his present farm, a fine tract of 180 acres, in a high state of cultivation; the improvements are all that can be desired, and the place is considered one of the best in the township.

Mr. Richardson was married in Cortland county, New York, August 26, 1847, to Miss Clarissa Webster, a native of New York and a daughter of Asel and Clarissa S. Webster, parents of eleven children; the father and mother are both deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Richardson have had born to them five children: Fred and Frank, twins, are successful artists at Sparta; Herbert is also an artist, and lives at Stevensí Point, Wisconsin; Lenora is at home; and the oldest son, Harlow S. is engaged in farming at Galesville, Wisconsin.

In all questions pertaining to the State. Mr. Richardson supports the Republican party. He is a man of integrity of character, possessing the confidence and respect of all who know him. (Iím not related to this family)

    Submitted by   Arlene Goodwin


Excerpt From: Biographical History of La Crosse, Monroe and Juneau Counties, Wisconsin. Page Pages 914 - 915.

William B. Rice, an eminent pioneer of Juneau county and a highly respected citizen, has resided in this county for thirty-five years, his first appearance on its scene of action having taken place in August, 1857. He is a native of New York State, where he was born in the town of Homer, Cortland county, January 22, 1828. His parents were Grove and Triphena (Briggs) Rice, both natives of New York State. The Rice family, were formerly of New England, but have long been a well known family in Cortland county, New York. When our subject was about eight years of age, his father emigrated with his family to Trumbull county, Ohio, locating in the town of Green, and later removed to Crawford county, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1840. A year later, his mother removed with her children to Olean, New York, where she also died. His parents had nine children, all except one, attaining maturity. William B. Rice, our subject, was the sixth of the family and although in early life apparently possessing a much less firm constitution than the others members, yet has survived them all, being now the sole representative of that once large family. In early manhood, he was considerably engaged in carpenter work. Lumbering was then an important business in portions of Western New York, and in this Mr. Rice was engaged for a number of years, running lumber down the Alleghany river. Upon the exhaustion of the lumber supply in Western New York, he emigrated to the West, his intended destination being the Wisconsin river. Starting westward from Cincinnati, Ohio, he arrived in Necedah, Juneau county, in July, 1857. On account of the intense heat of the season, it being mid-summer, he postponed his contemplated enterprise, and in the meantime, in order to gain a knowledge of the country, he started for La Crosse, but stopped in New Lisbon, where he secured a lucrative position in a sawmill belonging to Amasa Wilson. This mill was one of the first ever erected on the Lemonweir. Here, Mr. Rice remained for twelve years, being afterward engaged in operating various mills at different places. His chief occupation has been for many years that of lumber manufacture, but he has recently retired from the more active duties of life to his pleasant home, built in 1861, where free from the cares of business, he enjoys the ease which he has so industriously earned.

He was married in New Lisbon, in 1861, to Miss Jane Shepherd, daughter of Daniel Shepherd, a well known pioneer of this State. She was a lady of culture and refinement, and much beloved by all who knew her. They had seven children, four sons and three daughters: Mina, wife of Roselle Curtis, residing in La Crosse, Wisconsin; Noble, who is a teacher at Puget Sound; Alta and Grace, living at home. One son died in childhood, and two in early manhood. William, aged twenty-one, and Fred, nineteen, both fine specimens of their race, intelligent, hardy, active and enterprising, affectionate sons and brothers, and obliging to their friends. In 1888, Mr. Rice had the misfortune to lose his wife, the solace of so many years of his life. She was a faithful wife, devoted mother and sympathetic friend, and left many to mourn her loss.

He has been connected with the growth and progress of New Lisbon since its earliest infancy, and has contributed materially to its welfare. In appreciation of his worth, his Republican constituents have elected him (1892) as member of the City Council, being Alderman of the First Ward. He has always been a stanch Unionist and Republican, endorsing most thoroughly the principles of that party.

He is a typical intelligent, progressive American citizen, and as such enjoys the esteem of his fellow men. (Note from Submitter: Iím not related to this family)

    Submitted by   Arlene Goodwin




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