Erie County (PA)
Faces of Erie
These pictures and
information about them were provided by Myrtice
Gifford Forsythe in 2001 but
were never posted. They have been discovered and are being posted at this time.
Martha Gifford Harris and Myrtice Gifford Forsythe
are descendants of William and Elizabeth Gifford. William Gifford
was a Revolutionary War soldier and died at age 89 in 1846 at the residence
of his son, James M. Gifford, of Greenfield Township.
Please see a previously posted article about William Gifford at
REVOLUTIONARY ANCESTOR, WILLIAM GIFFORD. William had nine sons.
Myrtice descends from his first one, Benjamin.
Martha descends from his last one, John.
Myrtice provided this information in a 2001 email concerning
Clarence Eugene Gifford [photo below], also known as Uncle Gene:
"Uncle Gene was a brother to Frank A. Gifford. Following
is a story that Martha Gifford Harris wrote about this family. George
Stetson Gifford was her father.
'I well remember the pilgrimages we took to Chautauqua County, NY, with my
father, George Stetson Gifford. That was before the NY State Thru-way,
McDonalds and the bridge across Chautauqua Lake!
We visited Uncle Gene Gifford (July 29, 1871-July 31, 1960) in Findley Lake,
NY, and, fortunately, my father asked about his memories of the family and
notes were taken. My father's father was Frank A. Gifford, Uncle Gene's
younger brother. Grandfather died in 1937. Gene, Frank and another brother,
Rob (Nov. 10, 1875-June 28, 1942), were born in Colt's Station, Greenfield
Township, Erie County, PA. Their father was Orson Frank Gifford (Nov. 10,
1839-May 16, 1925) and their mother was Sarah Elizabeth (Feb. 9, 1840-Feb.
1, 1929). Orson enlisted in the 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteers Regiment, Aug.
5, 1861. During the Battle of Gaines Mill, he received a gunshot wound to
his left arm disabling his elbow. My father remembered his grandfather would
lift his left arm onto the edge of the table which acted as the fulcrum and
then he was able to use his left hand. His pension record states that he was
23 years old, 6 ft. 4 in. in height, of light complexion, with black eyes
and black hair, when he was discharged. He was Justice of the Peace in
Greenfield Township, Erie County, PA and in Findley Lake, Chautauqua County,
NY for a total of 50 years, and therefore, was known as Squire Gifford.'
"Orson was one of 9 children born to John Gifford and Clarissa
Walker. Clarissa lived from Apr. 2, 1807 to Apr. 16, 1857. She is
buried in South Harbor Creek Methodist Cemetery with a stone marking her grave.
Her name is spelled Clarrissa on that marker. Uncle Gene told
that his Grandfather, John, left Greenfield Township after
Clarissa died and 'went to Michigan, remarried and had one son.' We
have not found where he located. John's parents were our Revolutionary War
ancestor, William, and his wife, Elizabeth."
'In 1969, an elderly couple who had lived in Findley Lake as young people,
wrote of their memories of Squire Gifford. Mr. Fox wrote, " Mr. Gifford was
tall and spare, and his dignified bearing, enhanced no doubt by a somewhat
gruff manner and a grizzled walrus mustache, added to the fact that we were
very conscious of the fact that he was perennially a Justice of the Peace,
made him the embodiment of law and order and public authority in my
impressionable mind. Then, too, his shortened left arm, the result of a
bullet wound in the Civil War, was a kind of a badge of honor that marked
him as an authentic hero upon whom we looked almost with awe."'
'Mrs. Fox remembered that he had called her "Rosebud" and that he had enjoyed
strawberries and vegetables that friends brought him. She also remembered
our Uncle Gene. She wrote, "Eugene was our carpenter, and he did wonderful
work. One of his great faults was that he let people forget that they owed
him. Frank (Gene's brother) was our Sunday School teacher when we were
teenagers and we all liked him so much."'
"The children of John and Clarissa are:
1. Justus Oct. 4, 1828-Mar. 15, 1855
2. Milton b. abt. 1831 Farmer in Northeast, Erie Cnty, PA
3. Matilda b. abt.1834 May have been Mary
4. Albert b. abt. 1836
5. Orson Frank Nov. 28, 1839-May 16, 1925 [photo below]
6. Silas b. abt. 1841 To Michigan
7. Nancy b. abt. 1844 Married ? Dyke
8. Louis b. abt. 1846 To California
9. Goerge b. abt. 1849 Farmer and Freewill Baptist preacher
All of these children were born in Erie Co., Pa."
Another relative, Ansel Asa Hemenway Gifford , is shown in the
first photo below. Myrtice forwarded the following information in March 2001
concerning Ansel: "Don Bailey, a descendant of James Murray Gifford
has related the following
information to me abourt James M. Gifford. James was a brother to Benjamin,
Joseph, John, William S., Ebenezer, Jabez, Enos, and Sylvanos, Remembrance
and Elizabeth. These were the children of Willliam and Elizabeth Gifford who
moved to Erie Co., Pa. after 1820 from Warren Co., New York. John, William
S., Ebenezer F. and James also made this move, and the two sisters. The
others were located in other places. Don says:
'My grandmother Adda Lovilla Beal, said that her grandfather relayed much
of the Gifford Genealogy to her. I quote her work now:
" James M. Gifford, born June 21, 1800, Arlington, Vermont died in 1881 in
Rome Wisconsin. Son of William Gifford, a blind veteran with a pension of
$8.00 per month.
According to Williams grandson, Ansel Asa Hemenway Gifford, born April 22,
1829, Harbor Creek, Pa. , son of James Gifford. William was blinded during
the war of 1812. (He had also fought in the War of the Revolution and that
was what the pension was for.. Ansel said that his duty during childhood was
to "lead around" his blind
grandfather. (Ansel died in Spokane WA 1918 while visiting his daughter.
Ella Emma Gifford Beal).
His explanation of the blindness was that it was
customary, when loading their firing pieces, to bite the end from their
cartridges. One exploded in William's face.
From Glen Falls, Warren Co., New York , his home
after 1803, William went sometime after 1820 to Erie
County PA accompanied by his wife and daughter, Elizabeth.
James and Prudence (Hemenway) Gifford together with their six children, and
other people, went from Erie County PA to Wisconsin after the death of his
father William in 1846. William was residing with James at his death. The
place where they
settled was called Rome. It is about eight miles northwest of Dousman.
Their children and grandchildren made their homes in various parts of that
area, Rome, Hardscrable, Punjkin Holler, Dousman, Waterville, Ottawa,
Oconomowoc, Whiterwater, New Richmond and later on west as far as Tacoma,
Spokane and Seattle. James and Prudence Gifford are buried in the
Hardscrable Cemetery, while many of the family is buried in Summit Cemetery
about one and a half miles north of Dousman."
William Gifford - Sandwich MA
William Gifford and Hannah ?
Gideon Gifford and Mehitable Jenney
Gideon Gifford and Lois Jackson
William Gifford born ca 1757 d. 15 Aug 1846 and Elizabeth
James Murray Gifford and Prudence Hemenway
Ansel Asa Hemenway Gifford and Caroline Emma Powell
Ella Emma Powell and Edward Rutledge Beal
Adda Lovilla Beal and Thomas John Bolitho
Elizabeth Helen Bolitho and Lyman Newton Bailey
Donald Lyman Bailey me...'"
The individuals whose photos are below may also be pictured in the
photo on another Faces of Erie County feature page, originally
posted in 2001. Any inquiries about this family or the photos should be
directed to Myrtice
Ansel Asa Hemenway Gifford
Clarence Eugene Gifford
Elizabeth Davis Gifford - Orson's wife
Orson Frank Gifford
This page has been designed, and is being
maintained by Bill
This page was originally created on
Tuesday, February 27, 2007.
This page was last updated on
Tuesday, February 27, 2007.
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