HIRAM J. MESSENGER, second son of Nathan and Averick Messenger, was born on the east bank of the Tioughnioga river, near the State Bridge, in the town of Virgil, Cortland county, N. Y., on the 12th day of August, 1816. The family residence was a comfortable log house corresponding fairly with its neighbors. Owing to the necessity for his services on the small new farm, he was prevented from attending school in the log school- house after he was of sufficient age and size to be of use at home, consequently his school education was very limited, as was the case with most boys at that date. His father died in 1833, before Hiram was seventeen years of age, and it seemed to fall upon him to take the little sidehill farm of thirty five acres, pay the debts, pay his elder brother and sister their interests and support his mother and younger sister. This he soon learned was a hard bargain, but he fulfilled it, and six years after, at the age of twenty three, sold the farm and other property, and with $1,200 clear engaged in the mercantile business at East Virgil in company with Wm. Gray, by the purchase of a half- interest; at the end of the first year he became sole owner by purchase of the other half, and continued the business there on a much larger scale from 1839 to 1854, when he sold out his business at this place and also a branch store at Killawog and moved to Canandaigua, N. Y. . There he engaged in the mercantile business with his brother-in- law, William Richardson. During his residence in Virgil, he was constable for two years, justice of the peace for one term of four years, supervisor of the town one term, postmaster at East Virgil for several years and was the candidate of the WHIG party for Member of Assembly in 1852, but was defeated by the temperance faction who put in nomination the venerable Dr. Miller, of Truxton, the result being the election of Dr. Patterson, of Homer, the candidate of the democratic party.
On January 20th, 1842, Mr. Messenger married Luana L. Heaton (than but seventeen years of age), second daughter of the late Hon. Nathan Heaton, of Harford, who died in April of the previous year at his home, while on a visit to his family on a temporary leave of absence from the Legislature, of which he was then one of the honored members. This county was then entitled to two members, his colleague being the Hon. A. H. Mickle, of Homer. The fruits of this marriage are four children- one daughter, now a resident of Chicago, and three sons; of the latter, two are active members of the Chicago Board of Trade, and the youngest, a graduate of, and now a teacher in, Cornell University. While a resident of Canandaigua, from 1854 to 1857, Mr. Messenger was principally engaged in mercantile business and as a cattle dealer. In 1857, soon after the financial panic and general bank suspension, he purchased a controlling interest in the Bank of Canandaigua, then owned by Mrs. Messengerís uncle, Theodore E. Hart, and William Antis. This bank suspended and closed its doors in August and remained closed until the day Mr. Messenger made the purchase, when it was promptly opened, to the great satisfaction of the citizens of the place, the first business being to promptly redeem and put in circulation $60,000 of the circulating notes of the bank, then held under protest by the New York Clearing House of the associated banks. In 1858 he sold out his interest in the mercantile business and in 1860 established the H. J. Messenger Bank, originally at Marathon, but moved it to Cortland the same year, taking up his residence there permanently at the same time. From 1860 to 1865 his success was very marked, and during these years purchased the other half-interest in the Bank of Canandaigua, established the new Bank of Ontario at Canandaigua, the Bank of Canton, Canton, N. Y. , the First National Bank of Geneva N. Y. , a banking office in New York and one in Herkimer, N. Y. ; his bank circulation now being about $500,000, secured by $100,000 New York State stocks and $400,000 United States five-twenty six per cent. Bonds, with deposits aggregating about three million dollars. In 1863 he was solicited to build what is now the Messenger House at Cortland, on the site of the old Eagle Tavern, which was burned in 1862. Accepting the invitation, in June, 1864, that house was formally opened, completely furnished for accommodation of the traveling public. His attention was then directed to the necessity of a public hall and a plan was soon matured for the construction of Messenger (now Taylor ) Hall, which was dedicated in Feb. , 1866. On this occasion an address was delivered by the late Hon. Horatio Ballard, in which the following sentence appears:-
"In January,1862, the Eagle Tavern ( a name cherished in memory by thousand of guests) was destroyed by fire. It was a calamity to our town and a loss to the public.
But there were agencies at work beyond the penetration of human imaginings which more than restored the loss. Just before the opening of our railway a citizen, then engaged in a limited mercantile trade in an adjoining town, removed to another county and entered upon a large field of action. He was successful. In the year 1860 he returned to this, his native county, endowed with a fortune and a public spirit. He was not slow in discovering the sure evidences of an advancing trade centering here. One of the first exhibitions of his good will and devotion to public interests was his unexpected announcement that if the site of the Old Eagle was tendered to him he would cover it with a hotel unsurpassed in Central New York. The offer was accepted, and rising above the smouldering ashes was soon seen the stately pile, alike an ornament to the town and a boast to the county. But he did not stop there. He saw the business of the town demanded more room and he projected the erection of this block which lifts its majestic proportions to the sight and embraces this splendid hall in which we are now assembled. And for these edifices, grand in size, elegant in finish, useful in arrangement and durable in structure, we would here record our thanks and tender our gratitude to our noble citizen, Hiram J. Messenger. They are the monuments of his genius, his taste and his liberality. He has connected his memory with the best specimens of architecture, and the most superb styles of interior finish, as the exquisite work of this lofty hall fully attests..... We will hold this place consecrated to this high purpose; to the cause of Liberty and Union; and the name of its generous founder we will ever cherish in grateful remembrance for that personal influence and munificence which he has so repeatedly and signally devoted to the prosperity of this town."
The erection of other buildings followed this in succession, among them being Masonic Hall Block, and comprising altogether the Messenger house, Messenger Hall, Masonic Hall, twelve stores and several other business places, all constructed within the short space of four years. The war closed in 1865 and depression followed. The government tax law of ten percent, on every dollar of State bank circulation paid put took effect July 1st, 186, and the half- million of State bank circulation owned by him and which was returning an annual income of forty thousand dollars was, of necessity, committed to the flames by the superintendent of the bank department as fast as it could be gathered up and sent to him, and the State stocks and government bonds becoming depreciated from four to thirty percent, were sold on the market, aggregating a loss approximating $60,000. Other losses on mercantile and commercial paper aggregating some $150,000 followed, and after paying liabilities of over two and a half millions, he was obliged to suspend in May,1868, with less than half a million of unpaid indebtedness, which was settled by bankruptcy proceedings of the fashionable kind. Since this occurrence Mr. Messenger has quietly pursued the real estate and fire insurance in the town he helped to build up. In politics he was a Whig when and as long as that party had an existence. During the war he was actively and earnestly engaged with the late Hon. Henry S. Randall and Hon. Horatio Ballard in filling Cortland countyís quota of soldiers. In religion he is a firm believer in the universal salvation of all and a warm supporter of the late Rev. Dr. E. H. Chapin.
JAMES WATTS STURTEVANT. The subject of this notice was born in Sangerfield. Oneida county, N. Y., on the 25th of July, 1811, and died in Cortland August 9th, 1873. The earlier years of his life were passed at his parental home near Madison village, N. Y. His father was a well-to-do farmer and gave his son such opportunities as then existed in the vicinity for securing an education. His name was James Sturtevant. His children were Thomas Groves, Justin, Ornan, Abigail, Polly, James Watts, Willard, Betsey, and Demas. All of these with one exception were living at the time of James W.ís death; five of them are now deceased.
James W. Sturtevant began mercantile pursuits at an early time in his life, starting first as a traveling salesman in a small way. In this manner he accumulated considerable means with a view of opening a store as soon as practicable. Accordingly he came to Homer, N. Y., in the spring of 1834 and began trade under the firm name of Sturtevant, Stebbins & Co., associated with Kellogg & Son of Utica. This business connection continued for eight years, during which period Mr. Sturtevant acquired a reputation for general business integrity and enterprise. In 1842 they dissolved with Kellogg & Son, went to Auburn and continued the trade under the firm name of Sturtevant & Stebbins.
This connection continued three years when the firm dissolved and Mr. Sturtevant entered into partnership with Enoch H. Doud ( fall of 1845 ), who came in the same year to Cortland village in quest of a business site. Mr. Stutevant came in 1846, and what was known as the old Pomeroy stand on Main Street was secured, and there they continued in successful trade, under the name of J. W. Sturtevant & Co., until 1861, when Emmet J. Fish came in and the firm name became Sturtevant, Doud, & Co., remaining thus until 1869. The firm was favorably known throughout the county and was one of the most successful and honorable in the history of Cortland. In 1869 Mr. Doud retired and his place was taken by Calvin P. Walrad, the firm name being changed to Sturtevant, Fish, & Co., .It remained thus until Feb., 1871, when Mr. Sturtevant retired. During the period covered by the existence of these firms the reputation and business of the house constantly grew in favor.
It was here in Cortland that Mr. Sturtevant met his future wife, Miss Sarah R. Freer, daughter of John A. Freer, an accountant of whose family appears in these pages; he was one of the prominent pioneers of the county. Mr. Sturtevant was married on the 24th of November, 1834. His widow still resides in the attractive homestead in Cortland village.
James W. Sturtevant was in all essential respects a business man and his mercantile affairs received the greater share of his attention and energy. Consequently he sought no opportunity to seek public office of any kind. He was a man of positive convictions on all current topics and well knew how to express them. But the following estimate of his character from the pen of an intimate acquaintance, written at the time of his death, more fitly fills this place than any eulogy that we are capable of writing:-
"Never have I met a man of greater native intellectual force, of more absolute independence of thought, of clearer or sounder judgement, of higher or purer moral convictions or principles. This may seem the partial judgement of one biased by friendship or relationship -
but I know the same estimate was made by men of wide acquaintance with mankind, and by those who knew best the quality and character of the man. Never did circumstances bring us together without giving me fresh cause to wonder at his exuberant intellectual energy, at the keen and original bent of his mind, at the extent, thoroughness and value of his reading, at his hearty hatred of shams and falsehoods, and the joyous vigor with which he took up the toils and cares of life. Forced by the hard necessities of poverty to forego, in his early years, the advantages of a liberal education, led by the same cause to devote his manhood to business, which he prosecuted long and with uniform success, he made up for himself, to a great extent, for his early deprivations, by reading which was the wonder of all who knew him. His friends and intimates recognized in him a man who, under different circumstances, might have been a philosopher and scholar- a leader in the intellectual world, as he was to them- for he had the broad and comprehensive intellect, the pure and artistic taste, and the vast capacity for labor which go to make up genius. Te regret among all who knew him is keen that he has left behind him nothing by which those who knew him not could fairly estimate his powers and worth. Never did I meet him without being led into fresh intellectual fields, which his active and restless mind had explored- never without fresh (sen)se to admire the devotion which he always manifested for the truth for its own sake.
" The death of his only child, in infancy, twenty years ago, clouded with sadness the latter portion of his life. A sorrow which would have killed a man of less vigor, could such a man feel it as he did, did not make him for a moment misanthropic or morose.
" He died suddenly- without a momentís warning. Ď His eye was not dimmed nor his natural force abatedí, but, in the fullness of his strength, he passed at once, without the intervention of any period of sickness or suffering, from the company of friends into that of the loved who had gone before."
NATHAN SALISBURY. The earliest appearance of the Salisbury family in this country was about A.D.. 1644. At this time , for political reasons and to avoid the confiscation of property, etc., during the contest between the Parliament and the unfortunate Charles I, John Salisbury and Edward Salisbury, his brother, sons of Henry Salisbury, Esq., and the younger brothers of Sir Thomas Salisbury, quietly got themselves away from Denbigh and emigrated to this country. The former settled at Swansea, Massachusetts, and the latter near Mount Hope, in Bristol, Rhode Island. Thomas Salisbury of Llanhurst, Denbigh county, either came with them or followed soon after, and settled in Cranston. From family records and traditions, Thomas was supposed to be a brother of John and Edward, but it appears from English records that he was probably not a brother but a cousin. John and Edward derived from Henry Salisbury, second cousin of John Salisbury, who became heir of Lleweni by reason of the death of his elder brother, Thomas, who suffered death Sept. 20th, 1586, for endeavoring to deliver Mary, Queen of Scots, from imprisonment.
Thomas, derived from Robert Salisbury, the fourth son of Thomas Salisbury heir of Lleweni.
The branch of the family to which the subject of this sketch belongs derives from Thomas Salisbury, who settled in Cranston.
" The Salisbury family took its rise in Germany, and long before the conquest of England its head resided in Bavaria. The original name of the family was Guelph, and its leading member, Henry Guelph, was inthe year 1024 made Duke of Bavaria, by the Emperor Conrad the second. The first duke had several sons, the youngest of whom, Prince Adam, came over to England in the train of William of Normandy, in the year 1066. This young prince did not, however, come with William as a subject of his Norman dukedom, for he owed him no allegiance; but he came in the character of a soldier of fortune, and in that character took his part in the great battle of Hastings. For his services on that occasion he was rewarded by King William with a grant of an extensive tract of land in Richmondshire, running southward to the river Ribble in Lancashire, and it was in this place the younger branch of the royal family of Bavaria first settled in England.
" Adam Guelph soon dropped his German surname. He followed the Norman fashion of taking the name of a particular place for a surname and thus became Adam de Saltzburg, or Adam of Saltzburg- Saltzburg being the name of the place in Bavaria from which he came. He settled upon his new possessions, built himself a home at no great distance from Preston, called it after his new name, and by that name, Salmsbury Court or Salebury Hall; it is known to this day.
" Adam de Saltzburg was not as many of his descendants proudly suppose, a Norman, but a pure Saxon, having the same origin as the House of Saxony."
The time of Adam de Saltzburgís death is uncertain, but in the year 1102 his eldest son, Alexander de Saltzburg, had succeeded to the fatherís vast possessions. Alexander died in 1153. He left two sons, Alexander and Henry. The eldest succeeded to the Lancashire property and Henry to an estate in Cheshire.
Nathan Salisbury was born in Cranston, Rhode Island, Oc. 10th, 1793. His paternal grandfather, whose wifeís maiden name was Pierce, resided at Cranston at the time of his death.
The following were his children; Peleg, known as the "big man of Warwick," Martin, Job, Mial, Nathan, Rebecca and Phoeba. Nathan, sen., the father of the subject of this sketch, was born Dec. 1st 1751, and married May 16th, 1771, Abigail Stone- born oct. 16th, 1753, only daughter of Deacon Joseph Stone, of Cranston, a descendant of Hugh Stone "the stolen boy." Abigail Stoneís motherís maiden name was Brown, a near relative of John Brown, the founder of Rhode Island College, afterwards Brown University.
Nathan Salisbury sen., was Lieutenant under Capt. Burgess of the company which from Warwick Neck, fired into, captured, and burned the British schooner, Gaspe in 1772. He resided in Cranston until 1795, when he moved to Providence R.I.. In March, 1803, he moved his family to Hartford, Washington county, New York, where he purchased a farm and remained until 1806, when he again moved his family to Madison county, New York. At this place he only remained through the winter, and in March, 1807, came with his family to Homer, the in Onondaga county.
He purchased land and reared a log cabin on lot 5, located on the waters of Cold brook, where his family settled in the fall of the same year. Here he remained until his death, which occurred May 4th, 1817, his wife surviving him until Dec. 14th, 1836. The following were their eleven children: Waity, Sally, John, Joseph Martin, who followed the sea and died on a voyage returning from China, Ann, Mary, Lucinda, Ambrose Cynthia, Nathan jun., and Phoeba. At the time of the familiesí settlement on Cold brook, but half a dozen pioneers had recently reared their log cabins on the adjacent slopes of the valley. The wolf still prowled in the hemlockís deep shadows, deer and other game were abundant, and the cool streams swarmed with beautiful trout. Hence, it is not strange that young Nathan should sometimes have followed the deer trail, often with great success. In 1813 he was baptized by Rev. Alfred Bennett and received into the Baptist Church of Homer, subsequently removing his standing to the First Baptist Church of Scott, where a large and flourishing society existed for many years. Always interested in the welfare of the young, he has devoted much time to organizing and conducting Sabbath and singing schools. In 1815 he purchased a farm on lot 95 in the southeast corner of Scott, then an unbroken wilderness, which is the present site of Evergreen Terrace, the Salisbury home. The next summer, 1816, known as the "cold season," he raised two acres of corn; and in 1818, was able to raise thirty acres of fine wheat. Thus, gradually the forest fell, and in its place waved fields of golden grain.
June 21st, 1818, he was married to Lucretia A. Babcock (born Sept. 30th, 1792), daughter of James Babcock and Mary Gibbs, who emigrated from Blanford Mass., to Scott, N. Y., in May, 1815. They reared the following nine children: Justin, Justus, James Henry, Samuel, John, Lucretia A., Adeline, Mary and Matilda.
The fire which Nathan Salisbury kindled upon the first hearthstone is still burning. Around it have clustered and have been reared eight children- Amanda A., Charles B., James H., Milton L., Burdett J., Charlotte A., Wallace W., and Nathan, jun., all of whom are now living. Of these, James H. is a well known physician of Cleveland O., now of New York city. Wallace W. is a graduate of Albany Law University.
During a long life Nathan Salisbury has occupied various positions of honor and trust and enjoyed the respect of all who knew him. Possessed of good judgement and perseverance, his undertakings were successful. For many years he was engaged in breeding and handling sheep and cattle. As a floriculturist and horticulturist, he delights to adorn his home with the beautiful, and has devoted much time to the production of fine fruit, being the originator of several fine varieties of seedling pears.
As an agriculturist his fields are productive and his granaries seldom empty. Having a taste for the natural sciences, as an amateur geologist, he has collected and arranged at his home a cabinet of rocks, fossils, and minerals, second to few private collections.
Resulting from an accident his estimable wife died, much lamented, March 4th, 1881, in the eighty-ninth year of her age.
At this writing, Sept., 1884, he lacks but a month of being ninety-one years of age. For one who has seen the snows of so many winters, he has great vitality and still possesses his natural in a remarkable degree.
EBENEZER MUDGE.- Among the prominent millers of Cortland county should be mentioned the name of Ebenezer Mudge. He came to Cortland village, then but a small hamlet, in1839, with an already large experience in his business. He followed ot until the year 1866, when he retired from active pursuits. His father, Abram Mudge, was a native of Otsego county, in this state, but subsequently removed into Montgomery county, where he operated a mill previous to his removal to Cortland. He served as a soldier in the war of 1812. After coming to this county he became the owner of the mills now operated by Thos. F. Brayton, in the eastern potion of Cortland village, which he continued to run for about eighteen years, when he retired from business. He was born in 1793 and died in 1869. He served the people of Cortland county several terms as supervisor, in which office he was often chosen on committees having charge of the most important interests of the public. In such positions his judgement and his integrity were always unquestioned. His family consisted of six children, four sons and two daughters; their names being Isaac, Ebenezer, Byron, Romeyn, Harriet, and Elizabeth. Ebenezer is the only one who now resides in this county. The early years of his life were in the town of Charlestown, Montgomery county, where he was born on the 6th of April, 1816. His father soon afterward moved into the town of Canajoharie, in the little village of Ames, where he operated a mill, in which Ebenezer assisted during portions of each year, alternating his labor with attendance at district school, and later at the academy. When he came to Cortland he found the mill which he owned for so many years ina bad state of repair, doing but little business and the general prospect anything but attractive. But he went to work with energy, repaired the buildings, put the machinery in better order and gave his unremitting attention to his business. These improvements, with the excellent character of the product of his mill, soon had their expected effect and the business increased every succeeding year. Mr. Mudge remained in charge of this mill for a period of twenty eight years,during which time , he made for himself a large circle of business acquaintances and friends, and gained a reputation for integrity and sterling character as enviable as it was deserved. He retired in 1866, having secured a handsome competence. He has never sought public office of any kind, being content with the successful prosecution of his own affairs and the respect of the community.
In 1837 Mr. Mudge was married to Miss Hannah C. Hodge. Four children were born of this union- Powers C. Mudge, now proprietor of the well known grist mill at Little York; Mary E. Mudge, now the wife of Charles W. Collins, of Cortland village; Charles Jay Mudge, who died in infancy; and Olivia L. Mudge, who died at the age of fourteen. Mrs. Mudge died in 1867. Mr. Mudge was again married to Harriet E. Phelps, daughter of Judge Henry J. Phelps, of Michigan.
ALFRED L. CHAMBERLAIN. The subject of this sketch is, probably, the oldest living citizen of Cortland county who was born in the village of Homer. He is son of Deacon Charles Chamberlain, who came to Homer in 1801, purchased 50 acres embracing the site of the village, and building his dwelling just back of the Congregational Church. Of the land he purchased he deeded six acres, ( Mr. Garrison, the former owner of the tract, doing likewise) for what is known as the village "green". Mr. Chamberlain came from Connecticut. He was a man of considerable education for those times, and a good deal of natural force of character; he taught school for a short time, was one of the first trustees of Cortland Academy, and in 1803 returned to Brimfield Mass., where he married Miss Roxsey Lyon. During the following year their oldest son, the subject of this sketch, was born. In 1807 he removed to Summerhill, where he lived about eighteen years, when he returned to Cortland and purchased a farm on lot 54, in the village of Homer. Here he resided until his death, which occurred on the 6th of October, 1841, at the age of fifty-eight years. He was an active man, both in the community at large and the church, filling several positions of trust and responsibility to the satisfaction of his fellow citizens. He was a supervisor in Tompkins county several terms, and justice of the peace, and was deacon in the Presbyterian Church for many years. His wife died on the 26th of November, 1843, at the age of sixty years in Tompkins county several terms, and justice of the peace, and was deacon in the Presbyterian Church for many years. His wife died on the 26th of November, 1843, at the age of sixty years. Their children were Alfred L., Ormond, Charles V., Caroline, George W. and Mary. Charles became a prominent and wealthy merchant of South Carolina and was in that state during the late war. Caroline, Mrs. Hibbard, was a resident of Vincennes, Ind., where her husband was also a merchant. She died on the 18th of December, 1843.
Alfred L. Chamberlain, being the oldest of the children, performed much of the arduous farm labor in his early life, that naturally devolved upon him; but at the same time he made the best possible use of the opportunities given him for securing an education, and when he had reached a proper age, completed his studies by a course at the Cortland Academy, of which he was in later life a trustee. He was married on the 23rd of April, 1834, to Samantha Boies, daughter of Capt. Rufus Boies, who came from Blanford, Mass., with an ox team in the year 1812 and located on lot 54. His children were Dolly, Leverett, Samantha, Israel, William, and Caroline. Israel Boies became a prominent citizen of Homer and was one of the foremost in securing construction of the Syracuse and Binghamton railroad. William and Leverett went west, and Caroline is now the widow of the late Manly Hobart.
After Mr. Chamberlainís marriage he purchased the old Major Ballard farm, where he lived for thirteen years. He then purchased his present property of Caleb Cook, formerly owned by the Rev. Elnathan Walker. He has always been prominent in the agricultural interests of the county, devoting himself strictly to it and applying thorough-going business principles to the work. His success has been most gratifying in practical results. He has been a prominent member of the Cortland County Agricultural Society and was its president for several years. He early turned his attention to the breeding of Merino sheep, and finally sold his valuable flock to the late Hon. Henry S. Randall, thus starting that gentleman in this industry. He also engaged largely in raising Durham cattle, in which he was eminently successful and gained an extended reputation. He was for many years president of the Cemetery Association, and it its but simple justice to state that to his generous labor and unselfish interest is due much of the beauty of the Homer cemetery.
Mr. Chamberlain has always been a member of the Congregational Church Society and has lived in broad harmony with his professions. He is the father of Mrs. Grace Walrad, wife of Calvin P. Walrad, of Cortland village. He has had three other daughters, all of whom are dead. Although now he is nearly eighty years of age, Mr. Chamberlain still possesses remarkable vigor and energy of both body and mind, and is receiving the unqualified respect of all who know him.
SILAS BLANCHARD. The Blanchards of Cortland county are descended from three brothers who came from England to America some time in the 16th century. William Blanchard or Windham Co., Conn., seems to have been the ancestor of those in this part of the state. His son Azariel was born June13th, 1741, and was first married to Abigail Mason January 10th, 1764. He was thrice married, his second wife being Eunice Culver and his third, Thankful Peck. He was the grandfather of Silas Blanchard. Abigail Mason was born April 3rd, 1741, and their son William was the father of Silas. He was born Nov. 13th, 1772, died Sept. 16th, 1854.
Silas Blanchard was born in the town of Cuyler on the 5th of June, 1814, and died at his home in Homer village July 10th, 1881. His father was Wm. Blanchard, as stated, and his mother was Hannah Whitmarsh, born
sept.28th, 1775.She died Oct. 21st, 1844. They were married feb. 22nd, 1797, and migrated immediately thereafter ti the town of Cuyler, locating on lot 66. Their immediate neighbors then were Christopher Whitney and Nathaniel Potter, father of Mrs. Nathaniel Patrick (lot 57), Benjamin Brown (lot 47), Simon Keeney, Wm. Wallace and one or two families of the Websters and Foxes on lots 47 and 57.
Azriel Blanchard was a soldier in the War of the Revolution and was on duty in the vicinity of Lake Champlain. He was probably captain of a company as he always bore that title. His wife died of small pox; the children of William Blanchard were Ashael born July 16th, 1798, died Aug. 8th, 1801; Daniel, born Dec. 29th, 1799; Ashael, born Aug. 31st, 1801; Harry, born Dec. 30th, 1803; Eliza, born Dec. 18th, 1806; Clarissa born Dec. 7th, 1808; William W., born Sept. 25th,1819; died March 13th, 1831; Azariel Mason, born Aug. 5th,1812; Silas born June 5th, 2824; Levi, born Nay 21st, 1816; Lewis, born Aug. 4th, 1818, died July 4th, 1820; Lewis 2nd, born Oct.21st, 1820.
Silas Blanchard spent his early life on his fatherís farm in Cuyler, attending school but a small portion of the time. By his natural aptness for study and his temperament, he became a good mathematician. He was married to Miss Elvira Wilson, daughter of Reynold Wilson, on the 31st of October, 1839. Mr Wilson was a native of Windsor, Conn., and in February, 1817, removed with his wife (who was Chloe Mallery) to the town of Fabius, where he resided until his death on the 14th of September, 1835; his wife died Aug. 30th, 1843, aged sixty-two years. Mr. Wilson was prominent in the town, having been repeatedly elected to the office of supervisor and to other positions of trust. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson had a family of eight children, Mrs. Blanchard being the eldest of the four now living.
Mr. Blanchard began his married life on a farm purchased of Henry and Seth Purinton, where he carried on dairying somewhat extensively. He soon became generally recognized as one of the leading citizens of his town, which fact is indicated by his election first, for two terms, as justice of the peace. In 1861 he was elected supervisor, which office he filled for five terms. In 1870 he was elected superintendent of the county alms house, which position he filled until his death in 1881. He became a Christian believer in 1856 and ever after lived a life consistent with his faith.
As superintendent of the poor, Silas Blanchard was a model officer; always alert for securing the best interests of the county and the comfort, as far as possible, of the unfortunates under his care. His peculiar fitness for this trust and his successful administration of the same, are shown by his repeated reelection to it. Previous to his removal to Cortland he had filled the office of supervisor, as stated, and to the best satisfaction to his constituents. As a member of the board of education of the academy he was painstaking and earnest, and as a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was always mindful of the best interests of the society. As a man, a neighbor, he was greatly missed in all the ordinary relations of life. His funeral was attended very largely, including the academy board and the directors of the First National Bank who attended in a body. Though a man of active labor in life and therefore recognized as of great worth to the community, Mr. Blanchard was, nevertheless, quiet and unassuming and of few words. He acted rather than talked; his work was noiseless and hence all that he accomplished was not known to the world. He was not impulsive; slow to act until he knew he was right, when he became the embodiment of perseverance and quiet industry. His only child was Wilson Blanchard, born August 3rd, 1841; died Oct., 19th, 1842. His widow, Mrs. Elvira Blanchard, is still living, one of the honored and beloved members of society in Homer.
At a special meeting of the board of education of the Homer Academy and Union School, held on Tuesday July 12th, 1881, in recognition of the death of Silas Blanchard, the following resolutions were unanimously passed by the board and ordered published:
"Whereas, The board of education of Homer Academy are deeply afflicted in the removal by death of our honored associate, Mr. Silas Blanchard, therefore,
"Resolved, That we hereby record our appreciation of the urbane, wise and faithful services of our brother during his long term of office on this board.
"Resolved, That we hereby express our deep feeling of personal loss and bereavement in the death of one so efficient and trustworthy and so eminently courteous in all his relations with us.
"Resolved, That we hereby tender to the immediate family and friends of our departed colleague, our sincere sympathy in the sorrow that peculiarly rests upon them; assured as we are that their best consolation will come from the example and memory of him whom we mourn, and from the same truths and the same faith which shaped his life, gave him victory in death and ensured for him the eternal life of a Christian."
A similar series of resolutions were adopted by the trustees of the Methodist Church of Homer, but that need not be quoted here. They are simply an added testimony to the general worth in life and the loss felt in the death of Silas Blanchard.
A.W. GATES. The subject of this sketch is the grandson of Amos Gates and Susan Pike, natives of Massachusetts. His father Davis Gates, who left Barnestown with his father in 1824, and came to Caroline, Tompkins county, N.Y. He was born Sept. 7th, 1803, and married Lucinda Bonney January 18th, 1827, the Rev. Alfred Bennett, of Homer, performing the ceremony. Lucinda Bonney was the daughter of Capt. Jethro Bonney and Lucinda Webster. Jethro Bonney was born in Litchfield Co., Conn., in 1771. He died of dropsy Nov. 10th, 1866, aged ninety-six years. At the age of fourteen, he removed to this State and settled in what is now Washington county, where he married Lucinda Webster Sept. 22nd, 1791. In 1800 he, with his invalid wife , removed to Homer (now Cortland). His wife died in 1820. In 1787 Mr. Bonney entered military service, being but sixteen years of age, and served twenty-five years, passing through the different official grades to captaincy; he filled these offices with honor, and resigned just before the war of 1812. During this war he enlisted in a company of exempts, paying his own expenses, and received from the governor a second captainís commission. In this veteran band he did valiant service. He lived to the age of ninety-six and died in the village of Cortland. Lucinda Webster was a daughter of Oliver Webster ( uncle o Daniel Webster) and Patience Wright, both of Massachusetts, and Daniel Webster was a double cousin of Silas Wright, governor of the State of New York in early years.
Lucinda Bonney was a native of St. Albans, VT., and was born November 13th, 1803, and is at present living in vigorous health at Lyons, Clinton county, Iowa. Davis Gates and Lucinda Bonney were married in the old log house on lot 51, in the town of Cortlandville. This house and lot of fifty acres was then owned by her brother.
During the year following the marriage of Lucinda Bonney and Davis Gates the family made three removals, returning to Caroline, Tompkins county, where Alonzo W. Gates was born Feb. 5th, 1829. In 1830 they removed to Clarance, Erie county, where Jethro Gates was born, Oct. 28th of that year. During their stay in Erie county Mr. Gates purchased the property belonging to his wifeís brother in Cortlandville and came back in 1834 to the house in which they were married, and where Berintha was born Sept. 17th, 1835, and Olive Mary July 7th, 1837.
On this farm of fifty acres the earlier years of Alonzo Gates were spent in aiding to clear and till the land and to perform other severe labor incident to pioneer life. When seventeen years old he assisted his father in building the frame house which still stands on the sight; this was his first experience as a carpenter. In this vocation he was well known to the community of former years. His leisure hours and a portion of each winter he devoted to study, and to such good purpose that he fitted himself for the academy, which he entered at nineteen years of age, and where he qualified himself for teaching. This profession he followed for several years in the schools of Homer and Cortland, becoming eminently successful. He was fitted for this work not only by education, but by nature, being able to enter into sympathy with those under him and awaken in them a desire to learn. This is the first and important step in securing an education. His labors as an educator brought him in due time a fitting reward; he having received a State teacherís certificate on the 14th of November, 1860, from the Hon. H. H. Vandyck, State superintendent of public instruction. This honor was conferred at instance of the Hon. Daniel Whitmore, now of Marathon, then county school superintendent, and whose knowledge of Mr. Gates warranted his bringing him to the notice of the State official.
In 1856 Mr. Gates removed to Knox county, Ill., settling and building a house in the village of Wataga, where he taught for two years, when the death of his father occurred in 1858, and he returned to Cortland, bought out the other heirs to his fatherís estate and has since that time remained in this town. In his school work in Wataga Mr. Gates was also eminently successful. He began with forty pupils but his fame as an educator soon spread over the surrounding country, and pupils from abroad increased hie enrollment to a hundred and fifty. This increase necessitated an addition to the building and an assistant teacher, which were promptly granted him by his board.
In1852 he was married to Miss Jerusha M.. Carr, daughter of Wm. Carr and Ruie Underwood, of Freetown, in this county. Mr. Carr was a native of Rhode Island and when nineteen years old came to this State and subsequently settled on what is now lot 20 of the town of Freetown. This was in the year 1820. He became, through his characteristics of energy, combined with a nature of fine sensibility, and deep , thorough religious convictions, a man of prominence and the utmost respectability. He died in 1873, on the 17th of January, while in attendance of a debating society in his own neighborhood. He was an active, vigorous debater, and the same characteristics governed his conduct in other pursuits. He died suddenly after making an earnest effort in behalf of his Master. His wife Ruie was a sweet-spirited Christian woman, revered and loved by all who knew her.
Mrs. Gates has been to her husband a helpmeet in the broadest meaning of the term. During their married life of thirty-two years, and especially during their sixteen yearsí administration of the affairs of the County- house, beginning in 1864. Here she labored assiduously in caring for the wants of the unfortunates placed under her care and with a degree of success known only to those who have felt the gentle influence of her patience and kindness.
As we have said, Mr. Gates was first appointed superintendent of the Cortland county alms-house and farm in 1864, serving two years, and was reappointed in 1868, from which date he held the office fourteen successive years, and was reappointed, but owing to the ill health of his wife declined the position. The length of term and the unqualified satisfaction with which he performed the duties assigned him, speak eloquently of his fitness for responsible public or private station.
Mr. and Mrs. Gates have but one child, Althea Eudora Gates, now the wife of Taylor A. Gage, of Cortland village.
Mr. Gates has been a lifelong member of the church. While in Illinois he assisted in the organization of the First Methodist church of Wataga village, and was its first class-leader, and has long filled an official position in the church of this place. As superintendent of the poor, Mr. Gates has always been assiduous in his labors, painstaking in all his duties; he possesses a sympathetic heart that instinctively turns towards those unfortunates whose duties in life have been blasted and need the kindness of a considerate overseer to ameliorate their unhappy condition; and it is gratifying ti know that the people of Cortland county, in consideration of the fitness of Mr. and Mrs. Gates for this place, repeatedly re-elected him to the position.
Mr. Gatesís principles were strongly anti-slavery for several years previous to the formation of the Republican party, and he was an active participant in the first Republican Convention of Cortland county, when that party was organized, and has been a supporter of its principles ever since. He has retired to a great extent from active business and lives to enjoy hid home and the respect of all who know him.
CHARLES W. GAGE. Is a descendant of William Gage, of Albany, a relative of General William Gage of colonial days and the Revolutionary War, and one of three brothers who came to America in the earlier portion of that period. One of these brothers settled in Massachusetts, one in Albany, N.Y. From William Gage, of Albany, descended Wesson Gage, father of the subject of this sketch. Wesson Gage was born in 1797 and was inured to the hardships of pioneer life, laboring on his fatherís farm. In 1813 he married Martha Miller. In 1815 he became a member of the Methodist church and was an earnest worker in the cause until his death. In the year 1818 he received a license to exhort; in 1822 to preach, and in 1826 was ordained a regular minister of the gospel. His life in the ministry was replete with all that entered into the hardships of early Methodism, and before the 8th of March, 1831, he had preached at one hundred and ten funerals, and before his death, which occurred in August, 1847, he had officiated on similar occasions three hundred and ninety-nine times, besides performing a large number of baptisms. During his ministerial work he also carried on farming. His labors in the ministry were never for a stated salary, but were given to the cause without cost while he labored as a farmer for his means of living. He was an adept in the use of tools, was ingenious and possessed inventive genius. Many devices originated by him were afterward patented by others. As necessity arose in his own experience, joined with a desire to economize time and labor, it was natural for himto study out some means to a desired end. The results of such study were in several instances taken advantage of by others, who reaped substantial benefit therefrom. The revolving hay rake was one of his inventions and was used a long time before being finally patented by others. It was universally employed until recent years. This one of many practical devices of his, which entitle him to rank high as an early mechanic. He was born Feb. 7th, 1793, and died July 29th, 1847. His wife was born Jan. 20th, 1795. Their children were Ira, William M.., David W., Jeremiah, Henry S., Irena, Lorena, Martha, Sidney V., Nancy, Charles W., Ruth M., Zephania, Hannah, and Wesson jr. But four of these are now living.
Charles W. Gage, the subject of this sketch, was born May 19th, 1833, in the town of Knox, Albany county, N.Y. In 1843, when ten years of age, his mother died, and when thirteen years old his father died leaving him to make his own way in the world. Being one of a very large family, there was but little patrimony for each and necessity drove him to start out in life for himself. When sixteen years of age he began to work for a farmer, who put him at chopping wood. The first dayís work was well performed, bu upon being sent into the timber the second day, to do a class of labor which he had been accustomed to perform by horse power, he was disgusted with the backward character of his employerís management, stuck his axe in a log and left without saying good-bye. Years after this occurrence his employer settled with Mr. Gage for his labor, as far as the principal of the debt was concerned.
Mr. Gage then went to Cleveland, Oswego county, N.Y., where he began to work in the chair factory of Hitchcock & Son. He remained here about one year and a half and by economy saved a little money, which he expended in the laudable work of securing more education, attending school in Albany county one year. He next sought and obtained work in a carriage shop at Bainbridge, N.Y. Here he became acquainted with his present wife. He susequently worked for Geo. Pennoyer, in Greene, Chenango county, N.Y., for two years. On the 14th of March, 1854, he was married to Abigail Pearsall, daughter of Samuel Pearsall, a farmer of Chenango county. In the fall of 1855 Mr. Gage removed to Homer and began to work for Raymond Smith, a carriage maker; but he soon gave rein to his inventive talent and devoted his energy to the patent business for several years. Some of the inventions of Mr. Gage made during this period are well known and extensively used. Among these we may mention Gageís butter-worker, Gageís churn, Gageís anti-rattling shaft coupling, and others.
In 1868 he first established what has developed into the immense business of which he is now the head. The beginning was comparatively small and was located in a shop improvised out of his barn. The first year he employed no help and manufactured 105 cutters, doing all the work himself. These were readily sold and the second year he employed two hands, which force was rapidly augmented as the demand grew. Now he has ninety skilled workmen in his employ and his shops have been extended until they embrace several large buildings three and four stories in height; these stand as a significant exposition of Mr. Gage's tireless energy and indomitable spirit.
When Mr. Gage first began this wholesale manufacture of cutters, the facilities for doing the work were of such a character that the cost of manufacture was from four to six times what it now is. This great reduction is due almost entirely to improvements in machinery invented by Mr. Gage. We cannot in this limited space mention but one of the more important, which is called the novel snow-mill. The scarcity of basswood and the necessity of producing cheaply first class thin lumber of large width, for dash-boards, were the causes which led to the invention of this machine, coupled with the waste suffered by being able to use only the "white" or sap wood of the logs for this purpose. The mill in question simply saws thin boards from the circumference of a log, exactly as one would unroll a carpet. The devices adopted to effect this wonderful work cannot be described here, but they are wonderful in ingenuity and yet simple in construction. This machine is controlled through patents by Mr. Gage and his son. Five of them are constantly running in their works.
Adelbert S. Gage, of the firm of Gage, Hitchcock & Co., is the son of Charles W. and possesses in a large degree the inventive genius of his father while his excellent business qualifications render him an indispensable factor in the great business. The direct management of the manufactory devolves largely upon him. The native urbanity and affable disposition of both father and son serve them well in the daily contact with many employees, from whom they win not only good service, but respect and confidence.
Mr. Gage has four children, one son and three daughters. The son Adelbert S., married on the 11th of January, 1877, Miss Della Watrous; they have one son, Carl W. Of the daughters, Belle M.. Is the wife of Edwin C. Johnson, a farmer of Chenango county, and a banker; Carrie M. is the wife of Frank Bronson, a tobacconist of Cortland village; Franc D. is living at home.
Mr. Gage erected his handsome residence in Homer in 1882, on the site of his former dwelling, which was burned on the memorable cold morning of Feb. 2nd, 1876. Mr. Gage is a gentleman of pleasant social qualities. His address is easy and unconventional, his manner affable and his general demeanor such as evinces a courteous regard for the rights and feelings of others. He has been a trustee of the village of Homer for three years, and is at the present time president of the Agricultural Society of Cortland county.
To be Continued...
You are our 12264 visitor -- since the counter was installed on Oct 19, 2000