TOWN OF PORTVILLE

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES FROM: "HISTORICAL GAZETTEER AND BIOGRAPHICAL MEMORIAL of CATTARAUGUS COUNTY, NY, ed by WILLIAM ADAMS, Published 1893
 
 

Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1007

Surnames: ARCHIBALD, REA, MEDDAUGH

John R. ARCHIBALD, son of Andrew and Jenette (REA) ARCHIBALD, natives of Scotland, was born in Tompkins county Feb. 11, 1822. His mother died when he was three weeks old and he was raised by his uncle, James RAY. In 1838 he came to Portville and worked for his cousin. Walter RAY, a lumberman at Mill Grove. In 1840 he was a sawyer for John MEDDAUGH and continued with him nine or ten years, making yearly trips as a pilot down the Allegheny. In 1854 he commenced business as a lumberman. In 1862 he was a dealer in groceries with his nephew, John ARCHIBALD, and became sole proprietor of their business two years later, continuing as a merchant fifteen years. In 1874 he purchased a steam mill with a daily capacity of 25,000 feet of lumber. He stocked and operated this from January until June 14th, when it burned with 800,000 feet of lumber, which was a total loss. Since 1880 he has given his attention to his farm and real estate. He has always been a Democrat and has been a nominee for supervisor, and served as assessor three years. In Sept., 1846, he married Fanny, daughter of John MEDDAUGH, who was the mother of all his children: Walter B.; Emma G.; James; and Frances H., married William HILL. Mrs. ARCHIBALD died March 20, 1889, and Oct. 16, 1891, he married Nancy MEDDAUGH.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1007

Surnames: BEDFORD, WRIGHT, WHEELER, DUSENBURY, DEMING

Ezra M. BEDFORD, son of Jacob and Marilla (WRIGHT) BEDFORD, was born h Rushford, N. Y., Jan. 16, 1837. The family is of English origin and came to Portville in 1851, settling in the east part of the town. Ezra M. has been both a farmer and a lumber manufacturer. In Jan., 1876, he opened a grocery store in Portville, which he conducted until 1882. In 1886 he bought the site of his present building of William F. WHEELER & Co. and placed his store on the foundation of the establishment formerly owned by J. E. DUSENBURY, where he is still engaged in general trade. Mr. BEDFORD has served as justice of the peace, assessor, and commissioner of highways. Dec. 24, 1863, he married Ellen DEMING, of Genesee, Allegany county, and has one son. Mr. BEDFORD enlisted in the 85th N. Y. Vols., served through the Peninsula campaign, and was discharged on account of disability in 1862.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1007

Surnames: BORST, KINNEY, CRANNELL

Ezer BORST was born in Middleburgh, N. Y., in 1832. In 1857 he came to Weston's Mills and engaged as a contractor in the manufacture of staves and lath for Weston Brothers, where he employed from twenty to twenty-four men. He still continues the business with ten or twelve hands. In the spring of 1888 he instituted the "Borst Wood Company" and began the manufacture of kindling wood, which he still carries on. In 1854 he married Miss A. M. KINNEY, of Nelson, Pa. Their children are: Jabez W; James H. of Hawley, Minn.; Charles H.; Morris (deceased); Kate married A. J. CRANNELL, of Weston's Mills; and Russel L. Jabez W. is superintendent of the Wood Company, and C. H. and R. L. have each a position in this manufactory. Mr. BORST married his second wife in 1877; she died in 1874; and in 1885 he married Mrs. L. A. KINNEY, who is the mother of his daughter Libbie.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1007

Surnames: BURDICK, CRANDALL, SANFORD

Albert G. BURDICK came from De Ruyter, N. Y., to Portville in 1837. In 1838 he married Cynthia E., daughter of Capt. Matthew M. CRANDALL, and settled where his son, A. O. BURDICK, now lives. He annually went down the river as a raftsman, and served as constable several years. His sons Daniel C., Joel A., Matthew K., and Addison O. served in the Civil war. Joel A was a prisoner in Andersonville over seven months. All came home at the close of the war and all are living.

Daniel C. BURDICK was born Feb. 22, 1838. In 1863 he enlisted in Co. A., 85th N. Y. Vols., joined his regiment at Suffolk, Va. and was discharged at the close of the war. He participated in seventeen battles. May 20, 1861, he married Laura J. SANFORD, of Ceres, N. Y. On his return from the war he joined his wife in Main Settlement, and has since been a citizen of Portville, except two years he spent in Steuben county. They have one son, Adelbert E. Mr. BURDICK served as constable six years.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1008

Surnames: COLWELL, McGEE, WESTON, MERSEREAU, ORR, STORMS, MITCHELL

Benjamin S. COLWELL, of English origin, is a son of Smith and Louisa (McGEE) COLWELL. His father, a native of Rhode Island, was born Feb. 20, 1801; his mother, of Scotch descent, died in Portville in June, 1882, aged eighty-one. His father died Jan. 2, 1888. In 1810 the parents of Smith COLWELL removed to Plymouth, Chenango county, where he assisted in clearing land. In 1824 he was married and settled on a part of the homestead. In 1841 the family removed to Addison, Steuben county, where Benjamin S. COLWELL began his business life. He was a lumber jobber for Abijah WESTON and the late John G. MERSEREAU in the south part of Chenango county, and in Lindley, Steuben county, until 1856, when he removed to Portville and since then has been interested in the lumber business in this town, in Pennsylvania, and in Harrisville and Manistique, Mich. He is also interested in car manufacturing at Knoxville, Tenn., and in the Kelley Lamp Works of Rochester, N. Y. In 1845 he married Sally M. ORR, of Addison, who died Aug. 5, 1864. She was the mother of all his children: George W., born in May, 1846, a capable and prominent business man, a manufacturer of lumber, and a merchant; Marion O., born Jan. 2, 1850, married D. E. STORMS; Carrie L., born May 9, 1860, the wife of Dr. D. W. MITCHELL; Carrie Belle, a graduate of the Elmira Female College and a teacher.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1008

Surnames: COMSTOCK, FOX, WRIGHT, ROBINSOM, YOUNG

Mark COMSTOCK, son of Joseph L. and Nancy (FOX) COMSTOCK, was born in Beekmantown, N. Y., in June, 1816. When about eighteen he started on foot for the western country. At Ogdensburg he boarded a steamboat and passed up the St. Lawrence river, through Lake Ontario to Ontario Beach, and thence to Rochester. From there he went to Buffalo and in 1837 or 1838 came to Portville, where he still resides. He was in the employ of Dusenbury, Wheeler & Co. as a jobber sawing their lumber until about 1848, when he built the first tannery in Portville and began tanning upper-and sole leather in 1849. He purchased stock of his own and tanned hides and skins on halves for the farmers. He had several partners, and in 1855 he sold his half-interest to his then partner, C. K. WRIGHT. Mr. COMSTOCK has since been dealing in real estate and groceries and engaged in farming. He has served as assessor, thirteen years and as highway commissioner several terms. In 1840 married Lucinda ROBINSON, a member of the Presbyterian church, who died Feb. 19, 1892. Children: five sons died in infancy; Nancy married Dr. YOUNG; Ellen.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Pages 1008 & 1009

Surnames: CRANDALL, MAXSON, MAIN, ATHERTON, JACOBS, McDOWELL, ALDERMAN

Joseph CRANDALL, son of Luke and Martha (MAXSON) CRANDALL, was born near Providence, R. I., May 2, 1794, and soon after attaining his majority he removed to Georgetown, N. Y. He married Susan P. MAIN in Feb., 1820, who was born in Stonington, Conn., Feb. 17, 1800. In 1830 he moved with his wife and six children to Portville and settled on lot 10, where William ATHERTON had built a saw-mill in 1810. He engaged in farming and stock raising, having brought with him a flock of sheep and half a dozen horses. He was elected justice of the peace, but refused to qualify, and was an organizer and one of the first trustees of the Methodist church. He died March 19, 1870. Mrs. CRANDALL died Jan 9, 1882. They had twelve children, eight of whom are living. The first, Russel A. CRANDALL, born Jan. 9, 1821, came to Portville with his parents and has since resided here. He had one term at the academy and became a farmer and a pilot on the river. He married Mary JACOBS, Feb. 18, 1846, who was born in Caledonia, N. Y., March 2, 1822. They settled on a part of the homestead, where they still reside. Mr. CRANDALL is one of Portville's oldest residents and a pillar of the Methodist church, which he has long served as trustee. He has also been assessor twenty-three consecutive years. Children: J. Henry, Hyanthus O.; Adell V. C. married C. B. McDOWELL; and Minnie A. married E. E. ALDERMAN.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1009

Surnames: CRANDALL, COPP, MAIN

Joseph Henry CRANDALL, son of Russell A., was born April 11, 1847, and was educated in the common schools and in Chamberlain Institute, earning the money to pay his expenses by measuring bark. He taught a district school two winter terms and in 1868 engaged as a clerk in the store of J. M. COPP at Portville. Sept. 26, 1871, he became the partner of his employer under the firm name of J. M. COPP & Co., and subsequently conducted the business alone. He was burned out in 1875 and again in 1885. He conducted two branch stores, one of dry goods and the other of groceries, in Redford when oil was produced there. Both were consumed by fire on the same day in 1880. Since then he has given his attention to his business in Portville. He is also a farmer and breeder of pure blood registered Oxforddown sheep. Mr. CRANDALL has always been a Republican and has served as town clerk since 1877. He married Minnie Saunders MAIN and has one daughter, Ethel M., born Dec. 29, 1876.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1009

Surnames: DUSENBURY, SANDS, WHEELER, MAY, BUTLER, SHELDON, VINCENT, TRUESDELL

Henry DUSENBURY, son of John and Ruth (SANDS) DUSENBURY, was born in Hancock, Delaware county, May 5, 1801. In 1815 his father with his family moved to Windsor, Broome county. HENRY was soon employed by his father as a clerk, and early conducted mercantile and lumbering business on his own account. In 1828 he went to Deposit and remained there engaged in the same lines until 1834. Here he became the senior member of the firm of "DUSENBURY, WHEELER, MAY & Co.", formed to conduct lumbering on the upper Allegany. This firm purchased at first a tract of 1,500 acres on Dodge creek (Portville) with a saw-mill containing three upright saws. Mr. DUSENBURY came to look after its operations. The important duties and responsibilities devolving on him were discharged with rare acumen, and, during his business life of many years, he ever manifested his capability to safely and prosperously conduct important affairs. This company began operations in lumbering with this mill, established a store, ran their lumber to market down the Allegany and Ohio rivers, bought extensive tracts of timber lands in and about Portville and in Pennsylvania, built modern mills of great capacity, and has contributed to the prosperity of this section to the present by annually driving employment to a large number of men in their lumbering operations, tanneries, oil fields, etc. In inaugurating, and conducting these enterprises Mr. DUSENBURY was a potent factor. No detail of the business escaped his attention, no contracts were made that were not fulfilled to the letter, and none of this company’s paper was ever protested. Mr. DUSENBURY was endowed with penetration, sagacity, and integrity. He was methodical, accurate, prompt, and reliable. His word was as good as a bond. He took time to investigate and decide every enterprise, but when a project was decided upon he pushed it to completion with energy and zeal. Mr. DUSENBURY was an old-time Whig and joined the Republican party at its organization. He was a firm believer in and an ardent advocate of the distinguishing principle of tile old Whig party: "Protection to American industries." He was a diligent reader, well informed in political history, and was an able and dangerous opponent in political discussions. He represented the town of Portville six years on the Board of Supervisors of Cattaraugus county and his party in numerous conventions. In 1831 Mr. DUSENBURY united with the Presbyterian church of Deposit and was a consistent Christian through life. When he came to Portville there was practically no Sabbath, and intoxicating liquors were used freely in conducting business. Mr. DUSENBURY and Mr. WHEELER from the first had the understanding that their company was to do business on Christian principles. They took their stand as Christian men not to break the Sabbath themselves and not to furnish rum in getting their lumber to market if it had to rot on the banks of the river. Mr. DUSENBURY was not a bigoted sectarian, but recognized all genuine Christians as his brothers in Christ. He was instrumental with others in organizing the Presbyterian church of Olean in 1838 and was one of its elders and regular attendants until 1849, when he, with W. F. WHEELER, by their means and influence effected the establishment of the Presbyterian church at Portville which he generously supported and guided with his counsel as an officiating elder to the close of his life. He was very charitable, and contributed liberally to various benevolent objects regularly each year. He died in June, 1860. In 1827 Mr. DUSENBURY married Miss Caroline BUTLER, an estimable Christian lady, a kind friend, devoted wife, and an affectionate and faithful mother. Mrs. DUSENBURY survived her husband, dying in February, 1871. Their children were:

Catherine married Allan SHELDON, at one time a wholesale merchant in company with Hon. Zach Chandler and now a banker in Detroit, Mich.

Elizabeth married Rev. J. H. VINCENT, D. D., a distinguished bishop of the Methodist Episcopal church; their son George is the present business manager of the Chautauqua Assembly

Henry died at the age of twenty-two years 

John E.

William A. born in 1838, married Miss Helen TRUESDELL, of Belfast, N. Y., and died in August, 1890; his widow and three sons survive him; he was a man of good business abilities, careful, economical, And successful; he was a merchant with his brothers, but later removed to Pennsylvania, conducted their mills at Tioncsta, and engaged in large lumbering operations

Edgar G. born in October, 1841, was a mercantile business with his brothers, and is now giving his attention to the large tannery at Portville – The Portville Tanning Company; he is an efficient business man, and possesses great firmness and executive ability; he is also an earnest and working Christian and an elder of the Presbyterian church

Caroline (resides in Buffalo).

Ed. Note: This biography includes a photograph of Henry DUSENBURY

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Surnames: DUSENBURY, WHEELER

John E. DUSENBURY was born in Portville, then a part of Olean, June 10, 1836. He received a practical business education from his father and an academic education at Binghamton Academy. He was early taught that honest labor is man's mission in life. He commenced his active business life as a merchant, the successor of DUSENBURY, WHEELER & Co. He inherited many of the characteristics of his father which brought financial success to his business undertakings and at his death was specially fitted to take his place in the operations of this firm. Mr. DUSENBURY appointed his sons John E. and William A. executors and trustees of his estate, and the business has continued uninterruptedly to the present with but a change in name of firm. This now includes John E. and Edgar G. DUSENBURY (sons of Henry DUSENBURY) and Nelson P. and William E. WHEELER (sons of Hon. William F. WHEELER). Their business consists of lumbering operations near Portville and in Pennsylvania, development of their oil territory, and in tanning. John E. DUSENBURY is an able financier. He was vice-president of the First National Bank of Olean until June, 18912 when he succeeded Hon. William F. WHEELER as president. He is a real estate manager, an oil producer, and a general adviser in manifold business affairs. As a recreation he is breeding trotting horses of the finest strains to be obtained in the United States. Mr. DUSENBURY has been an unswerving Republican all his political life, has served his town on the Board of Supervisors ten years, and taken prominent part in numerous conventions. He is an industrious, persevering, and successful manufacturer, a courteous gentleman, a genial companion and friend, deserves and enjoys a large circle of appreciative acquaintance, and ranks worthily among the representative men of Cattaraugus county.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1011

Surnames: FAIRCHILD, HOYT, PETTY

J. H. FAIRCHILD, son of John F. and Sarah (HOYT) FAIRCHILD, was born in Rochester, July 28, 1841. The family went to Livingston county about 1849 and he removed thence to Belfast, Allegany county. In Jan., 1863, he enlisted in Co. E, 93d N. Y. Vols., and served to the close of the war. In 1864, at the battle of the Wilderness, he received a severe wound from a minie-ball, which passed through his left hip and confined him in the hospital a year. He was discharged June 10, 1865. Since 1875 he has resided in Portville, where he is proprietor of a grist-mill and a dealer in flour, feed, and grain. Three of his brothers were also soldiers. In 1868 he married Rosalia PETTY, of New Hudson, N. Y., and they have five sons and three daughters.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1011

Surnames: GRIERSON, McQUENN

Thomas GRIERSON, a native of Dumfries, Scotland, came to America in 1860 and settled in Otto, whence in 1861 he removed to Portville, where he followed his trade as a miller and was also a farmer. He died about 1866. His wife was Agnes, daughter of James and Mary McQUENN. Children:

William, James, Alexander, Robert, Mary, Geanie, John, Janet, Thomas, Joseph.

Mrs. GRIERSON died in 1848.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1011

Surnames: HOLDEN, TOOMER

William HOLDEN, the son of James and Christianna HOLDEN, was born in St. Helen's, Lancashire, England, June 2, 1843. His parents emigrated to America and landed in New York on June 1, 1856, and settled in Buffalo where William learned the trade of tanning. Aug. 14, 1862, he enlisted in Co. D, 16th N. Y. Vols., and was promoted to first lieutenant, his commission being dated July 23, 1863. When discharged in 1865 he ranked as lieutenant. He received a severe wound at the siege of Port Hudson and another on the border of Texas. With his regiment he returned north and participated in the battles of Winchester, Fisher's Hill, and Cedar Creek. At the close of the war, returning home to Buffalo, he resumed his trade and in Dec., 1868, settled in Olean, where he remained five years. Since then he has lived in Portville, where he has been engaged in the grocery trade. In the spring of 1889 he was commissioned postmaster of Portville. He is a member of the Presbyterian church and one of its elders. He married Henrietta TOOMER, of Buffalo, in Sept., 1865, and they have a son and four daughters.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1011

Surnames: HOTTON, COMSTOCK, SLOANE, BONSACK

Nicholas HOTTON, born in Germany, July 18, 1858, emigrated to America with his parents in 1861 and in 1869 came to Portville, where he has since resided except about four years spent mainly in Clymer, Chautauqua county. In 1876 he became a clerk for Mark COMSTOCK, in 1882 a partner, and in 1883 succeeded to the business. In 1886 his brother, Anthony W. HOTTON, became his partner and the present firm of HOTTON Brothers was formed. In 1886 he built a feed-mill in Olean, which was conducted by HOTTON & SLOANE until 1890, when Mr. HOTTON sold it to the Acme Milling Company. Mr. HOTTON is a member of the Presbyterian church. June 11, 1885, he married Louise BONSACK, of Portville; children: Harold J. and Nicholas, Jr.

Anthony W. HOTTON, born in Patterson, N. J., April 10, 1863, came to Portville with his parents in 1869 and became an employee of the Portville Tanning Company for six years. In the summer of 1883 he entered his brother's store as a clerk and in 1886 became a member of the present firm of HOTTON Brothers. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1012

Surnames: KEYES, BLOSSOM, PARISH, JACKSON, DICKINSON

Peter KEYES, Jr., was born in Pittsfield, Vt., Sept. 4, 1809. His parents removed to Eagle, N. Y., in 1815, where he died aged eighty-two years. His homestead is still owned by his descendants. His oldest son, Peter KEYES, Jr., married Hannah BLOSSOM in Portage, N. Y., April 1,1832. She was born in Pike, N. Y., Dec. 29, 1811. Mr. KEYES was a lumber manufacturer in Portage eight years. In 1840 he moved to Portville, where he built a saw-mill on Deer creek and followed lumbering in company with the late Smith PARISH over thirty years. In 1844 he was one of the organizers of the M. E. Church and was elected one of its five trustees, serving either as trustee or steward nearly all the rest of his life. He died Jan. 9, 1867. Mrs. KEYES survived until March 10, 1889. Children: 

Myron Peter, born Dec. 18, 1835

Orson S. born March 2 1838, began preparation for the ministry, was postmaster of Portville, a druggist with Dr. JACKSON, a soldier in the Union army, and a prisoner in Andersonville, where he died.

Abby, born June 22, 1843 married Prof. H. E. DICKINSON. 

Myron Peter KEYES was reared a farmer and lumberman. He married Eusebia DICKINSON, of Whitney's Point, N. Y. Nov. 8, 1855, and has followed his father's occupation. He is a staunch Republican. Children: Herbert F., Norton E., Leona E.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1012

Surnames: LANGWORTHY, CRANDALL, MAXSON, HAIGHT

Oliver B. LANGWORTHY, son of Asa and Ruth C. (CRANDALL) LANGWORTHV, was born in Coventry, R. I., Sept. 2, 1823. At the age of eight he removed with his family from North Stonington, Conn., to Genesee, Allegany county, where he remained until he became twenty-one. In the fall of 1847 he came to Main Settlement in Portville, where he has since resided. A raftsman thirty-nine years he ran lumber as a jobber to most of the ports along the Allegheny and Ohio rivers to Cincinnati. He also purchased and had manufactured lumber on his own account. He was a carpenter by trade, and now attends to his farm. He has served as a magistrate a long term of years. Feb. 8, 1848, he married Happy I. MAXSON; children: Byron A. born Aug. 9, 1851; Evaline A. born Sept. 7, 1855, died Aug. 16, 1883; Alice O. born June 12, 1861, married W. J. HAIGHT, of Olean; and Fred O., born May 24, 1870.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1012

Surnames: LEAVENS, DAVIS, WESTON, MERSEREAU, DUSENBURY, WHEELER, DAVIS, McLENNAN

Eugene LEAVENS son of Royal and Mary (DAVIS) LEAVENS, was born at Glens Falls, N. Y., Aug. 26, 1829. His grandfather, Hezekiah LEAVENS, a native of France, married a German lady. They were Huguenot Protestants and fled to America from Romish persecution. They were of the old school and practiced a dignified, stately politeness. He was a merchant at Glens Falls, where he and his wife both died in 1834. Royal LEAVENS, the father of Eugene, was a self-taught scholar and master of the Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, German, and English languages. He was for years a teacher and a magistrate, and also followed mercantile pursuits. He died aged fifty-five. Eugene LEAVENS, three years after his father s death, began alternately laboring in summer and attending school in winter. Mr. LEAVENS became expert as a riverman. In Sept., 1851, he came to Portville and entered the employ of WESTON & MERSEREAU. He soon became an expert in managing their machinery and saws and in June, 1854, took entire charge of the establishment, which he conducted until Feb., 1857. He then executed a contract with DUSENBURY, WHEELER & Co. to deliver on the banks of Tionesta creek in Pennsylvania at least 3,000,000 feet of lumber per year for three years. In 1860 he returned to Portville, where he had a half-interest in the grocery of WESTON & MERSEREAU and again took charge of the mills. In Nov.,1867, he became a partner in the entire business under the firm name of WESTON, MERSEREAU & Co. In 1889 the WESTONS retired and since then the business has been conducted by William B. MERSEREAU and Mr. LEAVENS, the firm being MERSEREAU & Co. The output of these mills is 12,000,000 or 15,000,000 feet of lumber annually. In Nov., 1851, Mr. LEAVENS married Charlotte, daughter of William DAVIS, of Glens Falls, died April19, 1888. Children: Helen; Emily married W. B. MERSEREAU; Edith R. married R. C. McLENNAN; and Frederick, who died aged fifteen.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1013

Surnames: MAIN, COLGROVE, STILLMAN, HAMILTON, CRANDALL, CARPENTER, FLINN

Sheffield B. MAIN, son of Dewey and Lucillda (COLGROVE) MAIN, was born in Stonington, Conn., March 22, 1788. He married, in 1818, Emily, daughter of Dea. Jared STILLMAN, and with five children they came from Chenango County to Portville in 1833, settling on the farm on which his son, James S. MAIN, now lives. At intervals he engaged in carpentering and piloting rafts to Warren, Pa. The settlement took his name, which it still bears. He was commissioner of highways and a deacon of the Seventh Day Baptist church, which he aided to organize. He died Feb. 23, 1878. Mrs. MAIN died in 1854. They had five daughters and one son. 

James S. MAIN, born in Lincoln, N. Y., June 9, 1824, in early life was also a river pilot. Aug. 28, 1847, he married L. Malvina HAMILTON, who was born in Hornby, Steuben county, in 1829. Her father, Seymour HAMILTON, was a pioneer of Portville. Mr. MAIN was a soldier in the Union army. Both are members of the Seventh Day Baptist church. Their adopted daughter is the wife of Henry J. CRANDALL.

Milton M. MAIN, son of Dewey, was born in Connecticut, March 6, 1802. March 23, 1823, he married Theda C. CARPENTER, of De Ruyter, N. Y., who was born in Chatham, N. Y., Aug. 27, 1804. About 1829 Mr. MAIN removed to Friendship, where he resided until March, 1831, when they settled in Portville. He was for several years a riverman. The neighborhood soon organized a school, which was taught by Keziah CARPENTER, sister of Mrs. MAIN. Mr. MAIN died Feb. 17, 1878. Mrs. MAIN survives. "Aunt THEDA," as she is familiarly called, has been a member of the M. E. church nearly seventy years. Of their ten children eight attained mature age and six are now living. Two of the sons served in the late war, one, William O., dying in Andersonville prison. Riley F. MAIN, the youngest of the family, resides in Portville village and owns the homestead. He married Julia E. FLINN, of Belfast, N. Y.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1013

Surnames: McDOUGALD, WALES, HOLCOMB

Archibald McDOUGALD, of Scotch descent, was born in Ontario, Canada, June 28, 1840. In 1859 he came to Portville, where he has since resided. He engaged with Wright, Thompson & Bingham, tanners, and was in their employ in all about twelve years. The past ten years he has conducted a meat market. He served as constable thirteen years and has been tax collector five years. Jan. 18, 1862, he married Eliza, daughter of the late William WALES, Esq. Children: Ellen E., married A. HOLCOMB; and Archibald W.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1013 and 1014

Surnames: MERSEREAU, WEED, DICKINSON, REDFIELD, WESTON, MAGEE, BUTTS, WHEELER, LEAVENS, FOX, COLEMAN, BRADFORD

Hon. John G. MERSEREAU, son of Joshua MERSEREAU, was born in Guilford, Chenango county, Sept. 23, 1799. He descended from good French Huguenot stock. The first of his race in America was an officer of rank in the French army, who had ventured to defend his faith against the imputation of a Romish priest and fled for refuge to the United States and settled on Staten Island. The grandfather of Mr. MERSEREAU won an honorable distinction in the Revolutionary service as a commissary. Washington, Lafayette, and other eminent soldiers and statesmen of that time esteemed him highly. Washington was frequently a guest at his home on Staten Island. Mr. MERSEREAU passed his early years in his native town and there commenced his business career as a manufacturer of lumber. He pursued this vocation through life faithfully, energetically, and successfully. His first operations were on the headwaters of the Susquehanna, later in Steuben County, and in Tioga county, Pa. In 1850 he removed to Portville, which was his home until his death Aug. 10, 1883. Mr. MERSEREAU was a progressive business man, and believed that the best machinery and the best facilities for manufacturing would make the best goods and insure the best returns, and was prompt in adopting them. He, with WESTON Brothers, built the mills in which they placed the first gang-saws operated on the waters of the Allegany. Mr. MERSEREAU was characterized by sterling integrity, rare sagacity, executive ability, and great benevolence. He would severely reprove a delinquent in rugged English; a half-hour later he would bestow upon him favor to the extent of his ability. He was a patriotic citizen and decided in his political convictions. He first cast his lot with the Whig party, was one of the first to join the Republican organization, and was ever after a valiant soldier in all its battles. He was never an aspirant for office or political place, but while a resident of Steuben county he was twice elected to the Legislature, where his strength of character won for him the regard of Thurlow WEED, A. B DICKINSON, other prominent members of his own party, and of all with whom he came in contact. He was supervisor of Portville in 1863. To him more than to any other man is due the extension of the Genesee Valley canal from Olean to Portville. Mr. MERSEREAU was a member of the Presbyterian church from his early manhood and a thorough Christian. Religion was not with him merely a belief in a creed, but a life to lead, and was shown in liberal charities to the needy, tenderness to the afflicted, care for the sick, and the unbounded love of his noble nature for all mankind. Mr. MERSEREAU was twice married. His first wife, Miss Julia REDFIELD, was the mother of his children. They were: Almira; Harriet, married W. W. WESTON; and Samuel.

Samuel MERSEREAU was born in Guilford, Chenango county, Oct. 6, 1823. His early business training, which was of more than ordinary value, was acquired in the banking house of that eminent banker and business man, Gen. John MAGEE, at Bath, where he remained some years. He resided later in Lindley, where he served as supervisor. In 1849 he came to Portville, engaged in lumbering with his father, and pursued this business until his premature death Oct. 7, 1857, at the age of thirty-four years, serving in various town offices, among them supervisor, with great acceptability. He married Esther BUTTS**, of Rome; she died April 18, 1855, aged thirty-one years. They had three children: 

Almira married Hon. W. E. WHEELER (their children are William, John, Eleanor, Lawrence)

William B. (a prominent manufacturer of Portville, who is now representing the town as supervisor for the fourth time, he married Helen E. LEAVENS, of Portville, and their children are Edith, Esther (deceased), Roland, Eugene, Egbert, and Harrison)

John D., who resides at Manistique, Mich., where he is connected with the extensive lumber operations of the Chicago Lumbering Company and the Weston Lumber Company, the financial management of the large business of these firms is conducted by him and A. J. FOX. Mr. MERSEREAU is in charge of the office. His wife was Nellie COLEMAN, of Ann Arbor, Mich. They have one daughter, Irene.

The MERSEREAU family has in the past as well as the present been entrusted with the administration of the civil affairs of Portville; by its interest in a large business it has added to the progress and welfare of the community; by its well-known integrity, and the carrying out of principles which trend to the right, it has been an important factor in the prosperity of this eminently intelligent village.

**She was a descendant of the historic Gov. William BRADFORD, who, born in Yorkshire, England in 1589, cast in his lot with the Pilgrims, and was one of that immortal band of Mayflower passengers that landed at Plymouth, Mass., in December, 1620. He was high in the counsels of the leaders of the colony, and held with dignity and acceptation the important office of governor of Plymouth Colony for thirty-one years, dying, surrounded by honors, in Plymouth, May 9, 1657. His history of the colony shows his great scholarship and erudition, and is a treasured volume.

Ed. Note: This biography includes a photograph of John G. MERSEREAU

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1015

Surnames: PACKARD, ROSE, WEBSTER, CRANDALL, LEWIS

Ashley G. PACKARD was born in Naples, N. Y., Nov. 5, 18574. His father, a small farmer and tanner, removed to Tioga county, Pa., when Ashley G. was two years old, where he died about 1840. At the age of twenty the son came to Portville and has since resided in the town or near vicinity. His paternal ancestor, Samuel PACKARD, emigrated from England and landed at Old Colony, Mass., Aug. 10, 1638. His mother, Rebecca (ROSE) PACKARD, was born in Connecticut, Oct. 13, 1795. Her mother, a WEBSTER, was a cousin of Daniel WEBSTER and is still living in Tioga county, Pa., where an annual reunion of her descendants is attended by five generations. Both of Mr. PACKARD's grandfathers were Revolutionary soldiers and four of his brothers did service in the Rebellion. Mr. PACKARD was a raftsman thirty-six consecutive years, for thirty of which he was a pilot. Since then he has been a farmer. He has served as justice of the peace eight years and also as assessor. Dec. 31, 1847, he married Virtue V., daughter of Capt. Matthew M. CRANDALL. She was born in Cortland county, Oct. 7, 1824. Their only child, Berdett A. PACKARD, born Nov. 1, 1848, married Ella LEWIS, and now resides in Tombstone, Arizona.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1015

Surnames: PARISH, ABBOTT, WALES, SMITH, THOMAS

Hon. Smith PARISH, son of Jeremiah and Piety (ABBOTT) PARISH, was born in Stockbridge, Vt., Oct 29, 1804. His father, a native of Connecticut, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war and married in 1787. In 1807, he removed with his family from Stockbridge to Cherry Valley, N. Y. In 1818, he settled in Luzerne, N. Y. At the age of fourteen Smith PARISH lost his mother, and in Aug., 1819, he started on foot with a companion for the Holland purchase. Late in the fall he returned and in the spring of 1820 persuaded his father to come, and, again on foot, they traveled to Farmersville, where they joined his brother, and where his father settled. For the next ten years Smith resided alternately in Cattaraugus county, in Luzerne, and in Chinned county, Vt. In the spring of 1829 he went to Quebec on a raft of timber. In May, 1830, he visited Olean and in October ensuing came to Portville. In 1834 he bought 1,000 acres of pine timber land. Prior to this he had been engaged as a lumberman, jobber, pilot, and dealer. June 17, 1834, he married Catherine WALES, and was a lumberman until 1841, when he sold his property to William SMITH and removed to Portville village, where he resided until his death. He was here a large dealer in lumber, shingles, and merchandise, and a pillar of the M. E. church, of which he was one of the founders. Mr. PARISH was elected a justice of the peace at the first town meeting of Portville in 1838. He was supervisor in 1852 and member of Assembly in 1864.

David L. PARISH, oldest son of Hon. Smith PARISH, was born in Portville, passed his youth at school and in the store, and at the age of twenty-seven engaged in dealing in lumber and shingles. In 1871 or 1872 he entered mercantile business. He was burned out in 1875, rebuilt two years later, and again lost heavily in the conflagration of 1885. He rebuilt at once and completed the first permanent building after the fire. A Republican in politics he has steadily refused to accept office. June 10, 1867, he married Mary R. THOMAS, of Believer, N. Y.; children: Smith and Edna

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1016

Surnames: PECKHAM, MOORE, CASTLE

John A. PECKHAM, son of Hiram, was born in 1842 in Clarksville, Allegany county, whither his parents had removed from Connecticut, their native State, about 1830, settling on a tract of 700 acres, where they lived to more than threescore and ten years. Mr. PECKHAM held several important town offices. They raised nine sons and five daughters. 

Their son, John A. PECKHAM, enlisted as a musician in the 154th N. Y. Vols. He was mustered in Aug., 1867, and discharged at the close of the war. He was in seventy-four battles and skirmishes and marched to Atlanta with General Sherman. He was wounded five times, had typhoid fever, typhoid pneumonia, and varioloid. In 1865 he married Marinda MOORE, of Georgia, and after the war settled in Portville, where he still resides. He has been a sawyer, but is now a stone mason. Mrs. PECKHAM died in Sept., 1873, being the mother of all his children: John H. born in May, 1866; Florence A. born in 1868, died aged nine years; H. Franklin, born in Feb. 1872; Evalina, born in Aug., 1873. In 1874 he married Nancy J. CASTLE.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1016

Surnames: PERSING, GARRETSON, STANTON, GIBBY, LEWIS

David PERSING, son of John and Elizabeth (GARRETSON) PERSING, was born in Columbia county, Pa., Dec. 17, 1822. Raised a farmer he began his business life as a lumberman on Pine creek in Tioga County, Pa., and followed this avocation until 1864 most of the time conducting also a farm. In 1857 he bought a farm in Genesee, Allegany county, which he still owns. In 1880 he retired and settled in Portville, where he now resides. It was discovered that his farm was good oil territory and since then he has been an oil producer. Sept. 15, 1850, he married Lurana L. STANTON, of Otselic, N.Y.; children: William D., of Clarksville, N. Y.; Freeman S.; Cora B. widow of George W. GIBBY; and McClellan L., of Kalamazoo, Mich. Freeman S. PERSING, born in Ceres, Pa., Feb. 11, 1858 received an academic education and taught common schools several terms. In 1879, he settled in Portville, when he engaged in the hardware business. July 3, 1879, he married Mary M. LEWIS, of Genesee.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1016

Surnames: RICE, CHAMBERLAIN, WRIGHT, BOARDMAN, HARRISON, SMITH, PARK, SCOVIL

Luman RICE, a native of Glastonbury, Conn., was born Jan. 18, 1787. He settled in Olean in 1818 and kept the old tavern built partly of logs, with a framed wing at either end. The next year he purchased the unfinished tavern now a part of the Olean House, finished and opened it to the public, and remained its landlord until 1822, when he removed to Portville, where he became the owner of 300 acres of land embraced in the south part of the village. He opened his house on the river as a tavern and later built a commodious hotel on a more eligible site which was burned and rebuilt. Besides conducting his tavern he was a lumberman and a farmer. In 1844 he went to Cincinnati and with Judge CHAMBERLAIN opened a lumberyard. In 1849 he returned to Portville, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was a prominent citizen and the first supervisor of this town. Dec. 2, 1810, Mr. RICE was married, in Homer, N. Y. Children: Delia A. (Mrs. Alfred WRIGHT; Marcia P. (Mrs. O. P. BOARDMAN; Luman E., who married Sally HARRISON, of Cincinnati; Ambrew D., who married Sarah S. SMITH; Harriet L. (Mrs. SMITH) of New Orleans; Susan B. (Mrs. John D. PARK) of Cincinnati; and Malvene M. (Mrs. Harvey SCOVIL), of Chicago.

Ambrew D. RICE was born in Olean, Feb. 11, 1820. He went to Portville with his parents in 1822, where he has since resided except about four years spent as a lumberman in Michigan. He erected a saw-mill on Weymouth creek in 1849, which was the first in the southeast part of the county with steam as a motive power. Lumbering has been the leading occupation of his life. Mr. RICE is now a farmer and a druggist with his sons Herman L. and Butler H. under the firm name of A. D. RICE & sons. He was appointed postmaster by General Grant and held the position about sixteen years. July 26, 1850, he married Sarah S., daughter of Lemuel SMITH. Children: The sons mentioned and Harriet E. Herman L. RICE was born in Portville, Jan. 16, 1852. He was a druggist's clerk in Rochester and Chicago seven years and is the inventor of several patent medicines of value. Since 1875 he has been a member of the firm of A. D. RICE & Sons.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1017

Surnames: SHATTUCK, COLVRELL, ALLEN

Rodney A. SHATTUCK, born in Oswego county, N. Y., April 24, 1852, spent most of his youth in Wayne and Cayuse counties. In Dec., 1883, he came to Portville and engaged in manufacturing boots and shoes. About 1887 he opened a small store, where he manufactured and sold ready-made work. In the spring of 1889 he formed a partnership in the shoe trade with B. S. COLVRELL under the firm name of R. A. SHATTUCK & Co. Mr. SHATTUCK is also an excellent musician and since he has resided in Portville he has been the leader of SHATTUCK'S Orchestra. Sept. 8, 1878, he married Lucy ALLEN, of Stockbridge, N. Y., and has a daughter and a son.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1017

Surnames: SMITH, HAZELTON, GRAVES

W. Hazleton SMITH, A.B., son of Peter and Rachel (HAZLETON) SMITH, was born in Mansfield, March 28, 1860. His father was a pioneer farmer and the son attended the common schools, the village school in Little Valley, and the Ten Broeck Free Academy, from which latter institution he was graduated in 1880. He taught alternately in the districts schools while he pursued his academic course and in 1880-81 was principal of the Ellicottville Union School. He entered Cornell University, from which he was graduated with the degree of A.B. in the class of 1885. In the fall of that year he became the principal of the Portville Union School, which position he has since held. During his vacation at the close of his first year he held charge of the department of English literature at Round Lake and now holds a like position in the summer school at Silver Lake. In Jan., 1889, he issued the first number of the Educator, of which he is the founder, proprietor, editor, and publisher. The paper is devoted to current history, science, and literature. Its circulation extends to every State in the Union and its subscription list exceeds 20,000. Aug. 18, 1886, he married Catherine B. GRAVES, of Franklinville.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1017

Surnames: TYLER, GORDON, BEDFORD, WARDEN

Frank E. TYLER was born in Rushford, N. Y., Dec. 21, 1848, and was reared in Attica, N. Y. In 1870 he arrived in Portville with $20.50 in his pocket, and this he unfortunately dropped into the Allegheny river. He at once went to work for his uncle, Luther GORDON, as a laborer, and three years later was made sole manager of his large lumber business, which position he still holds. He also purchased timber lands and mills in Michigan, where he had large interests. At the same time he was engaged in producing oil in the Bradford field. He has been for several years and still is a partner with E. M. BEDFORD in mercantile business and is also a director of the First National Bank of Brockport, N. Y. Mr. TYLER in politics is a Democrat and represented his town on the Board of Supervisors in 1887 and 1890. In 1875 he married Mary J., daughter of the late Adam T. WARDEN, of Portville. Children: Gertrude E., born in 1876; and Frank E., Jr., born in 1888.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1017

Surnames: VAN WART, CARPENTER, ALEXANDER, WARDEN, PHILLIPS, KEYES

Charles W. VAN WART, son of William and Mercy (CARPENTER) VAN WART, was born in Johnstown, N. Y., May 21, 1832. His parents removed to Black Creek when he was a small boy and thence they wells to Michigan in 1844, where his mother died in 1846. They soon after returned to Black Creek where his father married Polly ALEXANDER. In Nov., 1847, they settled in Portville, where Charles W. has since resided. He became an equal partner at the blacksmith's trade with the late Adam T. WARDEN, which partnership continued twenty years, when Mr. WARDEN withdrew and Mr. VAN WART has since conducted the business alone. In politics a Republican he has served his town as constable and collector and is now a member of the Board of Health. In religion a Methodist he has been a member of that church the past forty-five years and has served as one of its stewards twenty-five years. He has also represented his church as a layman every fourth year since laymen were admitted to the General Conference. In June, 1850, he married Rachel PHILLIPS, of Portville; their only living child, Kate, married Herbert F. KEYES, a blacksmith with Mr. VAN WART.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1018

Surnames: WALES, WEST, PARISH, RICE, McDOUGALD

William WALES, a native of Vermont, was born Dec. 28, 1796, married Eliza WEST, of Allegany, Aug. 7, 1839, who was born Nov. 10, 1818, and about 1840 came to Portville and entered the employ of Smith PARISH. He began business for himself keeping the hotel erected by Luman RICE and later he conducted a grocery store till near the close of his life. He died in Feb., 1861. Mrs. WALES died March 6, 1882. Mr. WALES was elected justice of the peace in 1840, served twelve consecutive years, and was again elected in 1833. He served as town clerk from 1844 to 1860 and was postmaster of Portville many years during his residence here. He was a member of the Methodist church. His oldest daughter, Eliza, born Aug. 13, 1840, is the wife of Archibald McDOUGALD, of Portville.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1018

Surnames: WARDEN, HENDERSON, SMITH, WATTS

Adam T. WARDEN, born in Scotland in 1806, married there Elizabeth HENDERSON. He was a boiler maker by trade and removed to England and thence to Germany during an agitation among the trade unionists. In 1841 he emigrated to America and engaged in blacksmithing. About 1848 he came to Portville, where he died April 19, 1891. His son, John H. WARDEN, was born in Hamburg, Germany, in Feb., 1841. He came to Portville with his parents and learned of his father the trade of blacksmith. He subsequently became a harness maker and started in that business about 1865. In Dec., 1879, besides his harness business, he had a half-interest with his father in a furniture store and undertaking establishment. In Dec., 1886, he purchased his father's interest and has since conducted the business alone. He served as town clerk; eleven years and was postmaster of Portville during Cleveland's first administration. Mr. WARDEN married Miss M. P. SMITH, of Portville, children: Grace E. married H. WATTS; and Maggie A.

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Pages 1018 - 1020

Surnames: WARNER, ANDREWS, RICE, PARISH, COSSITT

Dennis WARNER was born in Phelps, Ontario county, July 13,1799, and was descended from New England stock. His grandfather, Deal Jesse WARNER, at a very early day emigrated from Connecticut to Phelps, where he bought a large tract of land at the nominal price of eighteen cents per acre and subsequently gave to each of his boys a farm of fair dimensions. Deacon WARNER died at the great age of ninety-six years. Dennis WARNER resided in Phelps until he was eighteen, when he went to Olean and entered the store of Judge F. S. Martin as a clerk. Feb. 8, 1820, he married Miss Clarissa ANDREWS, a niece of the pioneer, Luman RICE. She was born in Homer, N. Y., Oct. 8,1801. Soon after their marriage they settled on the southern bank of the Allegany, opposite where the village of Weston's Mills is situated. Mr. WARNER purchased a saw-mill and engaged in the manufacture and sale of lumber. Allen RICE owned a saw-mill across the river, and both mills were furnished power by the same dam. Mr. WARNER died in Pittsburgh, Pa., April 21, 1826, on one of his trips to that place to market his lumber. He was an active and prominent young man of pleasing address, and served the town of Olean efficiently in town offices. After Mr. WARNER'S death Mrs. WARNER fought the battle of life for herself and three children for many years until her children were of an age to lend her a helping hand. She died in 1850 at the home of her daughter in Gloversville, N. Y.

Col. Lewis D. WARNER, oldest son of Dennis WARNER, was born in the home on the Allegany in 1822. He was early accustomed to labor and deprivations and when old enough was bound out as an apprentice to learn the tanning and currying business, in which he endured so hard a life of service that even now he regrets he did not run away. At the close of his apprenticeship, and at the age of twenty-one, he received a decent suit of clothes, his first pair of boots, and $6 in cash. In the fall of 1845, he returned to Portville, where he has since resided. He was several years in the employ of Smith PARISH and made an annual trip down the river. About 1854 he began business as a carpenter and joiner, which trade, with rafting, he carried on until 1862. His patriotism then impelled him to serve his country as a soldier. Accordingly he recruited a company and went to the seat of war as captain of Co. C, 154th N. Y. Vols. This regiment was organized in Jamestown, N. Y., and transferred to Virginia in October of that year. "From that time until the first of May," Colonel WARNER says, "we did a large amount of marching and counter-marching, but were in no engagement. May 2d, at Chancellorsville, we were a part of the Eleventh Corps, the record of which is well understood by readers of war history. The most unfortunate thing about the 154th was that we had not learned to run when we ought to have done so. The regimental loss on that day was over 200 in killed and wounded. Our next engagement was at Gettysburg, where the losses were heavy. The remainder of the summer we were with the Army of the Potomac. The following autumn the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were transferred to the west. Our first work was relieving the army shut up in Chattanooga. We took an active part in the battles of Chattanooga and Mission Ridge and then marched to the relief of Knoxville. Returning to Lookout Valley we remained in winter quarters until the commencement of the Atlanta campaign of 1864, and participated in nearly all the battles and skirmishes incident to that campaigns, which closed with the occupation of Atlanta. In the organization of the march to Savannah our corps (the Twentieth) formed a part of the left wing of the army. In that and the march northeast through the Carolinas and until the close of the war we were ever present for duty. After Johnston's surrender we started home, marching all the way to Washington, where we were mustered out and sent home, arriving there about the 1st of July, 1865." Colonel WARNER was commissioned captain in Aug., 1862; major in May 1863; lieutenant-colonel in Sept., 1864; and colonel in Jan, 1865. With the exception of two short periods, when the regiment was in winter quarters, he was with his command continuously during its term of service; except sixteen months, during which he held the rank of major, he was in command of and responsible for the regiment, and was never accused of cowardice. He was always ready and present to lead his command, never flinched from any duty, and a truer, braver, soldier never drew a sword, and it is the unanimous testimony of his comrades that he never knew fear. Since his return he has followed his trade with the exception of a six years' clerkship in the office of Weston, Mersereau & Co. and a year and a half in the county clerk's office. He has also had political honors. He has served as supervisor of Portville ten terms, has filled the office of justice of the peace nearly twenty years, and has been inspector of elections about fifteen years. Colonel WARNER is modest and extremely unassuming, a true patriot devoted to his country, is one of Portville's most honored citizens, and a leading representative war hero of Cattaraugus county. In July, 1893, at the unveiling of the statue erected by the State of New York at Gettysburg to the memory of the New York soldiers who participated in the battle, Colonel WARNER was marshal of the Second Division, Eleventh Army Corps. In Dec., 1857, he married Miss Mary M. COSSITT, of Pompey N. Y., and their surviving children are three sons and a daughter, all married.

Ed. Note: This biography includes a photograph of Lewis D. WARNER

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Pages 1020 & 1021

Surnames: WESTON, FERGUSON, ADAMS, WARREN, FOX, BRONSON, MERSEREAU, KINTCEL

William Wallace WESTON. – The student of early American history can not have failed to notice the connection of the English Westons with the early settlement of this country. Thomas WESTON, of Bristol, Eng., was one of the London "merchant adventurers" who fitted out the Mayflower in 1620. He and others of the name were prominent in Virginia settlements and in that of Massachusetts Colony. The WESTONS of this county, however, come not of this stock, but descend from the Scotch branch of the family, the paternal grandfather of William Wallace WESTON coming to Warren county in this State from Edinburgh, Scotland, when a lad, with one John FERGUSON. He passed his life in Warren county, marrying and having a family of six children of whom James D. was one of the younger. James D. WESTON became an extensive lumberman on the upper Hudson and its tributaries, and brought his sons up to be fully acquainted with all departments of lumbering. He married Lela ADAMS, a descendant of the early Massachusetts WARRENS and ADAMSES so conspicuous in Revolutionary days. Her father, Abijah ADAMS was a native of Connecticut and one of a family of twelve children, each measuring six feet and upwards in height. He was an ensign in the Revolution, and was once sick for six weeks with the measles in the forests of Long Island encompassed by British soldiers. After his recovery, as he was an expert swimmer, he escaped from captivity by swimming the Sound and dodging the cannon shot of the English squadron by diving. After the Revolution he conducted a pottery of the red-clay ware then in use for some years but later removed to Luzerne in Warren county, this State, where he engaged in lumbering during his active life. His died aged eighty-two years.

William Wallace WESTON, son of James D. and Lela (ADAMS) WESTON, was born in Warren county, March 4, 1830, received an academic education, and tilde his immediate ancestors became a lumberman. In 1849 he was connected with the Lumber company (FOX, WESTON & BRONSON) at Painted Post, Steuben county, of which his older brother, Abijah, was a member. In 1850 he came to the Allegany valley the junior member of the firm of WESTON Brothers (A., O., and W. W. WESTON), who, in company with John G. MERSEREAU, purchased a small mill at the mouth of the Oswayo, remodeled it, and brought eastern methods and the gang-saw to the complete revolution of lumbering methods in this section. This was the commencement of their operations here and the next year they began to build a mill at Weston's Mills, where a small village has been evolved by their operations. From 1850 to the present writing (1893) Mr. WESTON has actively devoted himself to the interests of WESTON Brothers located in this vicinity, and today is as energetic and vigorous as many a younger man. His brother Orren has been connected with him for many years until the enormous growth of their western business demanded his removal to Tonawanda about 1887. In or about 1850 the firm of WESTON, MERSEREAU & Co. also was formed by the WESTON Brothers and JOHN G. MERSEREAU. This Firm and its successors (WESTON Brothers retiring in 1888) has had an extensive and prosperous career. The operations of the WESTON Brothers have been and are extensive. They have manufactured here large quantities of lumber and have owned large areas of land in this vicinity and northern Pennsylvania. They now, with others, own over 200,000 acres of valuable pine lands in the northern peninsula of Michigan, where they have mills producing annually 80,000,000 feet of lumber. Their headquarters are at Manistique, where they control the Chicago Lumbering Company, the Weston Lumber Company, the White Marble Lime Company, and the Weston Furnace Company all extensive in their operations. Commencing life with limited capital, but thorough knowledge of their business, their sagacious foresight led them into purchases of large tracts of timber land which rapidly appreciated in value. Their operations at Weston's Dills now consist of mills with 80,000 feet daily production (which employ from 100 to 120 men), planing-mills, shingle-mills, etc., and a general store doing an annual business of $40,000. The firm is now "A. Weston Lumber Company," an incorporation organized in Jan., 1892. Weston's Mills postoffice was established in 1873 with W. W. WESTON as postmaster. He still holds the position. Mr. WESTON has shrunk from political position sedulously through life, but as a matter of duty served his town five years as commissioner of highways. He is a public spirited and esteemed citizen and an honorable business man. One of his neighbors and friends with whom he has extensive business transactions says of him: " An honest man does not live." He is kindly and pleasant in his manners, a strong friend, a generous neighbor, an agreeable companion, and an ardent Republican who keeps himself thoroughly informed on all the matters of the day. May 3, 1858, he married Harriet, daughter of Hon. John G. MERSEREAU. Their only son, Wallace, was born Sept. 15, 1862; he married Emma KINTCEL and they have two children, Edith H. and Dorothy V. He has a financial interest in the firm, is secretary of "A. WESTON Lumber Company," and is in charge of the office at WESTON'S Mills.

Ed. Note: This biography includes a photograph of William Wallace WESTON

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Pages 1021 - 1025

Surnames: WHEELER, KNOX, MAY, DUSENBURY, GREGORY, KELSEY, VAN BERGEN, DAY, BARSE, HIGGINS, MORRIS, ATKINS, SKINNER, CLARKE, SMITH, MERSEREAU, ELMER, WARNER, HOLLY, JACOBS, BELL

Hon. William F. WHEELER* was born in June, 1811, in the town of Hancock, Delaware county, N. Y. He was the son of William WHEELER, a native of New London, Conn. The elder William WHEELER lived for some years in Blandford, Mass., and when twenty-one years old came from there to Hancock with three brothers. They had no capital, but purchased pine timber, built a cabin on the bank of the Delaware river, and began the business of lumbering. They cut the trees, hauled them to the river-bank, and "run" them in rafts to Philadelphia. Their first raft was "stove," as raftsmen say; that is, broken to pieces and lost. This did not discourage them. They came back without money, but with good credit, and at once began getting out more timber. William WHEELER piloted the next raft himself and it went safely to Philadelphia. He continued in this branch of the lumbering business ten years, when he married Eleanor KNOX, of Blandford, built a mill, and manufactured lumber for the Philadelphia market. In 1813 the family moved to Deposit (then called Cook House from the Indian name, Kookoose) in Delaware county. Here young William F. WHEELER spent a happy boyhood of work and play in company with his four brothers and two sisters. He could ride a slab either side up on the river, or a horse without saddle or bridle. When fifteen years old he went to Philadelphia on his father's lumber and acquired a fondness for rafts and the life of a lumberman. When ready to return his father gave him his choice: to ride home by way of New York or to walk home and save his money. He chose the latter way and walked. home with other young men. His father owned mills and timber on the Starucca creek, fourteen miles from Deposit. Here the son enjoyed taking charge of men at work, getting in logs in winter and piling lumber in summer. This kind of occupation did not fit him well for the quieter life of a farmer for which his father intended him. In April, 1833, he was placed in charge of a large farm belonging to his father in Greene, Chenango county, but though he worked hard he was always thinking of pine trees, saw-mills, and rafts. Hearing of great forests of pine timber in the valley of the Allegany river, he studied maps and statistics of this region with his father and others and decided that this was the only source of lumber supply for the whole valley of the Mississippi. The elder William WHEELER (always called "Deacon WHEELER") and 'Deacon" Ezra MAY (also of Deposit) went to the Allegany river to look the ground over. They bought 1,500 acres of pine timber and a saw-mill on Dodge creek in what is now the town of Portville, then a part of Olean. On their return to Deposit a company was formed consisting of Ezra MAY, William WHEELER, William F. WHEELER, Henry DUSENBURY, Edgar GREGORY, and Russell KELSEY, the firm name being DUSENBURY, WHEELER, MAY & Co. The purpose of the company was to buy more land, build a store, and, in time do a large lumbering business. This plan was carried out. At the end of a year Mr. KELSEY sold his interest in the firm to Henry VAN BERGEN, of Cincinnati. Every member of the new firm was an experienced and practical lumberman. It was their avowed purpose not only to do business in an energetic and thorough manner, but also to exert a strong moral and Christian influence in the community where they lived. 

In February of 1834 William F. WHEELER first came to the new place of business, making the journey by stage to Friendship and walking the remaining seventeen miles. Life in the wild forests of the Allegany was very different from that along the more settled shores of the Delaware. Nothing like a Christian Sabbath was known in the region to which the young man had come. His first Sunday was spent in the saw-mill looking out upon the water pouring over the dam and thinking of home and the friends he had left. The partners in Deposit had made a contract with a builder to put up the new store. It was to be built and raised without the use of liquor. This was difficult to accomplish, for no substantial building had ever been raised in that vicinity without liquor being provided for the men. Deacon MAY had come, and both he and William F. WHEELER determined that in this case no liquor should be furnished. Their builder said they could never find men to raise it, and they replied: "Then let the timber rot on the ground."The timber was heavy and the building could not be raised without many men. Mr. WHEELER rode on horseback for six miles, calling on men to come to a " cold water raising." The men laughed and said they had never heard of such a thing. But they came and the building was raised. It was then said: "There must be liquor in it to treat the customers," for this was the universal practice all along the river. But in this also the strict principles of the firm prevailed, and no liquor has ever been sold upon their property. The first lumber they produced (pine lumber of good quality) was sold in Pittsburgh at $4.75 a thousand feet, and they were obliged to take horses for part of the payment. This price made them a loss of more than a dollar on a thousand feet. The prospect was gloomy: prices were low; the new firm was in debt and it was necessary to buy more land in order to succeed. But their courage never failed. At this time mail reached them only once a week, the postoffice being first in Olean and afterward in Mill Grove. Religious services were held in Mr. WHEELER'S dialing room: and in 1836 the firm built a little school house, which was also used for a church. Sometimes a Methodist and sometimes a Presbyterian was the minister. At one time they engaged a Seventh Day Baptist to work at rolling logs through the week and preaching Sundays, and they paid him the same price for both kinds of work. Previous to this Mr. WHEELER had been in the habit of riding on horseback to Olean and attending service held in an upper room in a house then owned by David DAY, afterward by C. V. B. BARSE, and now, in 1892, by F. W. HIGGINS. The Rev Mr. MORRIS; an Episcopal clergyman from Ellicottville, conducted these services, which were not held at regular intervals.

The mercantile business was conducted chiefly by Mr. DUSENBURY. WHEELER said of him: "Mr. DUSENBURY was a thorough-going, upright business man, well fitted for the position he occupied. Conscientious in every act, reliable as the sun, he watched every need and development of our business, and his stability gave success to the firm. We were well fitted to work together as each possessed qualities lacking in the other". Their custom was to make all indebtedness payable on the first day of July without interest, and they never failed to meet the payments at that time. This promptness kept their credit good. The banking business was all done at Bath in Steuben county, seventy miles away, that being the nearest bank. In 1837 they opened a lumber yard in Cincinnati; and about a year afterward they purchased 4,000 acres of pine timber and a mill on Tionesta creek in Forest county, Pa. To make this purchase Mr. WHEELER made a long journey on horseback through the forests with snow six inches deep. After riding thirty-six miles the first afternoon he spent the night in a log house and pushed on the next day by a path through the woods, there being, no road. When the path came to an end he followed the creek, in which he rode for about eight miles. Reaching the property he examined the timber and secured the land, having to go to Franklin to draw the necessary papers. He then returned on horseback through the woods to his home. He had promised to make a cash payment of $8,000 (then a very large amount) within thirty days. Reaching Portville after his ride of 150 miles from Franklin he changed his horse for a fresh one and rode on to Bath without taking rest. Here he obtained some money and then rode on to Deposit to see his father and obtain the rest. He made the journey of 200 miles in four days from the time of leaving Portville. They soon purchased more property in Pennsylvania, where they have continued the lumbering business to the present time.

In 1839 Mr. WHEELER married Miss Flora ATKINS, daughter of Judge Q. F. ATKINS, of Cleveland, Ohio, then living in Olean. She was a most detour member of the Presbyterian church. Mr. WHEELER himself had united with the Presbyterian church in Deposit at the age of twenty years. As there was no Presbyterian church in Cattaraugus county it was thought best to organize one in Olean, it being a central point. This was done in 1838, both Mr. WHEELER and Mr. DUSENBURY being active in its organization, which took place in the house occupied by Judge ATKINS. Mr. WHEELER and Mr. DUSENBURY with their families attended church regularly in Olean until the formation of the Portville church, services at first being held in a wagon shop purchased for a church. In 1849 a Presbyterian church was organized in Portville and Mr. DUSENBURY and Mr. WHEELER were prominent among its founders. Services were her held first in a school house and afterward in the Methodist church. In 1852 the Presbyterian church building in Portville was erected. For eight years Mr. WHEELER was superintendent of the Sunday school and for several years he was the sole trustee of the public school. In 1850 Mrs. WHEELER died, leaving three children: Nelson P., Egbert (William E.) and Augusta (Mrs. E. A. SKINNER), two having died. In 1851 Mr. WHEELER of Deposit, died and in the following year William F. WHEELER married Miss Marilla CLARKE of Peacham, Vt., a wife in every way worthy of him, and who survives him. Of this marriage there was but on child, a daughter Lilla C. After the death of Mr. DUSENBURY in 1860 Mr. WHEELER, with his two sons and the three sons of Mr. DUSENBURY, continued the business under the name of William F. WHEELER & Co. This establishment has not remained merely a firm of lumbermen; its business has extended in many important and different directions, and through all their varied and complicated transactions the most kindly relations have always existed between the members of the firm, and their trust in each other's integrity and honor has remained unbroken. 

In 1860 Mr. WHEELER was elected an elder in the Presbyterian church. When in 1871 the First National Bank of Olean was organized (it being the first National bank in the county) Mr. WHEELER was elected president and held this office continuously until his death. In 1879 he was elected to the State Legislature, but refused to be a second time a candidate. He always took a deep interest in politics and was pronounced and outspoken in his opinions; at first one of the early Whig party, afterward a strong and active Republican. He was always public spirited and generous, taking an interest in all enterprises for the good of his own and neighboring towns. One of his greatest pleasures was in making a benevolent use of his means. His gifts were not confined to his own church or his own denomination. The churches of his own village and (with a single exception) all those of Olean have received aid from him. The different churches of Deposit his (early home), and of the regions in Pennsylvania and in Michigan where his property lay, have received substantial tokens of his generosity. Many a poor student, struggling toward an education, has found his hand stretched out to help. The children of the Orphans' Home at Randolph for years have had abundant cause to thank him. His abounding cheerfulness, his hearty friendliness, his sound judgment, and his wise counsels have blessed many who needed a friend. He retained his strength of mind and his vigor of body to a remarkable degree into old age. He continued to ride on horseback until he was eighty years old, and he took pleasure in driving a pair of spirited horses of his own raising until within a few weeks of his death. On the 6th of June, 1892, a few days before his eighty-first birthday, and surrounded by his wife and children, Mr. WHEELER died at his home in Portville, where he had spent his long and useful life.

*By Miss Lilla C. WHEELER.

Hon. Nelson P. WHEELER, son of Hon. William F. WHEELER, was born in Portville in Nov., 1841. He was educated in the academies of Olean, Deposit, and Homer is a member of the firms of the WHEELERS and DUSENBURYS and with his family resides in Tidioute, Pa. He has had charge of the large lumbering and tanning interests of WHEELER & DUSENBURY and WHEELER, DUSENBURY & Co., and went to Pennsylvania in 1870. Mr. WHEELER is an elder of the Presbyterian church and in 1879 he was a Republican representative in the State Legislature. In 1877 he married Rachel A SMITH, of Cincinnati. They have three sons and two daughters. Hon. William Egbert WHEELER, son of the late Hon. William F. WHEELER was born in Portville, Nov. 21, 1843. He prepared for college in Deposit and Homer, N. Y., and entered the sophomore class of Hamilton College in 1863 where he remained one year. He then entered the junior class of Yale College and was graduated in the class of 1866. After leaving college he became interested in the long established firms composed of the WHEELERs and the DUSENBURYs, of Portville. In 1870 they began the manufacture of leather in Portville, where he has charge, and in 1878 they began the production of oil, in which also he is still engaged. Mr. WHEELER is a director and the vice-president of the First National Bank of Olean and a director of the National Bank of Westfield, N. Y. He has always been a Republican and was a member of the County Committee of his party in 1884, has attended several State conventions, and has been a member of the school board many years. He was supervisor of Portville from 1882 to 1886 inclusive and again in 1888; was elected to the Assembly from the First District of Cattaraugus county in Nov., 1891, and was re-elected by the whole county in Nov., 1892. In 1875 he married Allie E. MERSEREAU, granddaughter of Hon. John G. MERSEREAU. They have three sons and a daughter.

Darius WHEELER, born in Newfane, Vt., March 8, 1801, moved with his father and family in 1813 or 1814 to Hoosick, N. Y., thence to Greene, N. Y., in 1819, and finally to Genesee flats in Nunda (now Hume), Allegany county, into, where his parents spent the remainder of their lives. In the fall of 1831, with his brother-in-law, Elijah ELMER, he came to Portville on a tour of observation. In 1832 he settled here permanently. Messrs. WHEELER and ELMER purchased of Griswold WARNER a saw-mill on the site of MERSEREAU & Co.'s mills, and a large tract of timber land, and Mr. WHEELER was an extensive lumberman in the firms of WHEELER & ELMER, WHEELER & SMITH, and WHEELER & HOLLY until 1850, when he sold to WESTON, MERSEREAU & Co. and afterward gave his attention to farming. He died Nov. 6, 1877. He served as assessor and was otherwise prominent in town affairs. He married Isabel JACOBS, Jan. 6, 1834, who died in 1883. Children: Franklin, born Dec. 6, 1834; Ruth (Mrs. Frank BELL), born Jan. 21, 1837; Samuel J., born June 1, 1842; and Augustus H., born July 20, 1846.

Ed. Note: This biography includes a photograph of William F. WHEELER

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1025

Surnames: WRIGHT, HOLIDAY, CRANDALL, PERCIVAL, DUSENBURY, COMSTOCK, THOMPSON, CLARK, BENNIE

Charles Knapp WRIGHT. – The historian considers that he is performing a duty to posterity when he uses his pen to give a sketch of the character struggles. difficulties, and successes of the men of the pioneer period of our civilization, and presenting for its perusal the reasons of their successes, founded as they are on sterling qualities of head and heart. Conspicuous among the early business men of Portville, an active force in all that goes to make up the better elements of community, and a liberal, popular, yet unostentatious citizen, we find Charles K. WRIGHT. He is of English ancestry, which has come down through generations of New England representatives to New York State. His father, James WRIGHT, a lumberman, located in Delaware county, where by his first wife he had eight children. In 1814 he removed to Eldred, then Ceres, Allegany county, and by his second wife, Urania HOLIDAY, had these children: Alfred, John H., George P., Eliza A. (Mrs. George CRANDALL), Hiram E., Caroline A. (Mrs. Edward PERCIVAL), Charles K., and Albert J.

Charles K. was born July 10 1825, and was six years old when his father died. Work on the farm and attendance at pioneer schools occupied him until he was twelve years old. He then remained on the farm with his mother and brother William until he was seventeen, then worked as a farm hand elsewhere nearly two years, and in 1843 came to Portville to learn the wagon maker's trade, and worked two years, receiving $6 a month as wages. He then started in business on his own account, but in nine months' time was seized with inflammatory rheumatism, which ultimately settled in his chest and has made him a life-long sufferer. Having no inherited wealth he exhausted his frugal savings in the year and a half he was prostrated by his disease, and as soon as he could do any labor he engaged with DUSENBURY, WHEELER & Co. as clerk in their store, receiving $5 a month for the first year. During this year he saved one-half his salary. The next two years he was paid $5 a month and in this time he saved $300. His disease again unfitting him for labor he expended his money in a vain attempt to recover his health by a residence on the Atlantic coast of New England. He returned to Portville in 1848 in circumstances that would dishearten many men. In broken health and with only $5 as his entire capital the outlook was not promising. He had, however, become known to the people as a reliable, temperate, and religious man, worthy of trust and confidence, and Hon. Smith PARISH, a leading lumberman, offered to stock a store if Mr. WRIGHT would become his partner and conduct it, his services to be equivalent to Mr. PARISH's capital. This offer was gladly accepted, the store * was erected under Mr. WRIGHT's supervision, and was conducted successfully by him for five years, when his health again failed and compelled him to sell his interest. Mr. WRIGHT now became a pioneer tanner. Mark COMSTOCK was running a small tannery in w which he was tanning 500 hides annually. Foreseeing that a rapid increase of this industry could be made Mr. WRIGHT bought one-half of the tannery. After two years, becoming thoroughly conversant with the business, and Mr. COMSTOCK not being sanguine enough to believe in its extension, Mr. WRIGHT bought the whole plant and enlarged it to a capacity of 10,000 hides a year. In 1857 B. F. THOMPSON & Co., of Boston, became partners, and continued as such until 1861. For the next two years Mr. WRIGHT ran the business alone, but in 1863 J. & H. H. CLARK, of Keokuk, Iowa, purchased an interest, and the tannery was enlarged to produce 30,000 hides annually. In 1870 the CLARK’s sold to William F. WHEELER & Co. and another enlargement was made, increasing the output to 52,000 hides annually. In 1887 Mr. WRIGHT sold his share of the tannery to his partners. The same year, in company with James E. and N. E. CLARK, of Keokuk, Iowa, he established and built the tannery at East Olean of a capacity of 32,000 hides yearly of " Union Crop Sole Leather." Here he was very successful in business. May 1,1893, the firm was merged in the U. S. Leather Company. Under the religious care of his mother Mr. WRIGHT became a Sabbath school scholar at a very early age, and has, from that time, interested himself in Sabbath school work, and since he has lived in Portville has been either teacher or superintendent. He has been a member of the Presbyterian church for over thirty years and has been an " elder " for many years. He was a commissioner in attendance at the General Assembly that met at Portland, Oregon, in 1892, and has frequently been a delegate to the Presbytery. While living at Eldred, and at the age of ten or twelve, he joined the old Washingtonian Temperance Society, and from that time he has been actively connected with some temperance organization. In politics he has been an unswerving Whig and Republican, but never sought office, and has taken the Royal Arch degree in Free Masonry and the Encampment degree in Odd Fellowship. He married, May 26, 1851, Mary M. BENNIE. Mr. WRIGHT has fought the battle of life courageously and with success; he is beloved and respected by all good citizens for his sterling qualities and worth; and the example of his life is a valuable lesson to the aspiring youth of today and coming time, as it shows that true Christian character united with courage and energy is the key-note of honorable success.

Ed. Note: This biography includes a photograph of Charles Knapp WRIGHT

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Bio from:

Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus Co. NY, ed by William Adams, pub 1893

History of the Town of Portville – Chapter XLIII (43)

Page 1027

Surnames: WRIGHT, RICE, SIMPSON

Alfred WRIGHT, son of James, was born in Colchester, N. Y., June 3, 1809. In 1813 the family removed to Eldred. In early youth he was bound out as an apprentice to the trade of carpenter and joiner in Smethport, Pa., where he served until he became twenty-one. He then prosecuted his trade in Olean and Portville. Feb. 4, 1834, he married Delilah A., daughter of the late Luman RICE. He settled permanently in Portville in 1838, where he died Oct. 8, 1888. Many edifices that were burned in the fire of 1875 were monuments to his skill and industry, and several yet remain. Mr. WRIGHT was a member of the Methodist church and one of its trustees. He had one daughter, Martha A., widow of Levi W. SIMPSON.
 

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