George Washington Cowles.

Landmarks of Wayne County, New York online

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schools at that place. In September, 1861, he left school and enlisted in Company E,
75th N. Y. Volunteers as a private, and continued with said regiment until the close of
the war in 1865, receiving promotions to sergeant, first sergeant and second lieutenant.
While second lieutenant had command of Company C; was with his regiment in the
various engagements on Bayous La Fourche and Teche, and the Red River in Louisi-
ana, and on the 14th of June, 1863, received a severe wound in the charge on Port
Hudson on the Mississippi, from which he has never fully recovered. Also served on
the James River, and in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and after the battle of
Cedar Creek left the Shenandoah Valley with his regiment, and proceeded to Savannah,
Ga., where the regiment acted as a provost guard after its capture by General Sherman.
After the close of the war returned to South Butler, and January 1, 1867, accepted the
position of deputy county clerk with Judge T W. Collins, was also deputy clerk with
A. H. Gates, and in the fall of 1875 was elected county clerk for a term of three years.
In 1888 was elected county treasurer, and re-elected in 1891. In 1870 he married Anna
E. Dratt, of South Butler, who lived but two years, and in 1876 he married H. Louise,
daughter of Morton Brownson, of Lyons, and they have had two daughters, one of
whom, Mary L. survives. Harriet T. died in 1893, aged thirteen years. •

Taft, Newell, was born in Goshen, Mass., April 4, 1794, came to Wayne county, and
settled in Lyons in 1816, where he established a manufacturing business, and as con-
tractor and builder erected several dwellings and other buildings, and later established
the first iron foundry in Wpyne county, where he put in practical operation the first
steam engine ever used in the community. This foundry became justly celebrated
throughout the State, and its products were shipped to all parts of the United States
and Canada. He married Jane Sterrett, who was born in Elmira, and they had twelve
children, five of whom are still living. He was a prominent business man of his town
for over forty years, always interested in promoting its best interests, and particularly
identified with the Presbyterian church, of which he was an elder and liberal supporter
for more than fifty years. He died in December, 1874, at the age of eighty years, after
a life which commanded the respect of all who knew him. His son, Col. Edward F.
Taft, served in the 9th N. Y. Heavy Artillery, was wounded at the battle of Monocacy,
and lost a leg. At the close of the war he was appointed United States consul to Nica-
ragua, but the climate aggravated the enfeebled condition of his health, and he was ob-
liged to return to his home in Lyons, where he died January 20, 1867. The youngest
son, James N., was also in the 9th Artillery, leaving college to enlist after his brother
Edward was wounded. He also gave up his life at the call of duty, his death resulting
from exposure while in the service of his country. Morton Brownson, deceased, was
born in Montgomery, Orange county, N. Y., December 15, 1816. Early in life he mani-
fested a preference for mercantile pursuits, and while yet a young man was so fortunate
as to accumulate a sum sufficient to enable him to embark in business on his own ac-
couut. He came to Lyons in 1840 and established himself in the dry goods business.
In 1842 he married Harriet J., eldest daughter of the late Deacon Newell Taft, who sur-
vives him. Soon after he disposed of his interest in the dry goods trade and en-
tered into partnership with his father-in-law, who at that time was owner of the iron
foundry on Broad street. For several years prior to his death he was not engaged in
any active business. His family consisted of his wife and five children : Newell T.,



FAMILY SKETCHES. 107

who died in 1874 ; Willard EL, now commander in the United States navy ; Mrs. Vol.
ney H. Sweeting; Albert M., who died in 1882; and Jennie T. Mr. Brownson was
prominent and interested in all the leading events of the town. He died May 30, 1891,

Sprague, John A., M.D., was born August 28, 1852, the only son of Dr. L. L. Sprague
mentioned in this work. He was educated at Union Springs Academy, and studied
medicine with his father for about four years, and graduated from the Medical Univer-
sity of New York city in 1879. He located in his native village, where he has since had
a successful practice. He has been coroner of Wayne county for three years, and health
officer of Williamson from 1882 to March, 1893. Dr. Sprague is a member of Pultney-
ville Lodge No. 159, F. & A. M., and of A. 0. U. W., and also of the Select Knights.
He is a member of the Wayne County Medical Society, and of the New York State
Medical Association. On October 2, 1879, he married Maud A. Stevens, of New York
city, but a native of Ohio. Her mother was Harriet Giberson, and resides in William-
son. Dr. Sprague and his wife have three children: Edward A., Georgia M., andLa-
throp S.

Smith, F. B., was born in East Rush, Monroe county, January 1, 1845. His father,
Isaac O, was a native of the same county, the family originally coming from New
Haven, Conn. Isaac 0. was a prominent farmer in his town, and died in 1884, aged
sixty-nine years. F. B. Smith was educated in the common schools, to which he has
added through life by reading and close observation; after which he returned to his
father's farm, and in 1865 engaged in the livery business. In 1876 he engaged in the
milling business, remaining there until burned out May 30, 1885, then, in 1886, came to
Clyde and purchased the Clyde hotel property, one of the leading hotels in Central
New York. At the age of twenty-one he married Adrienne C, daughter of Andrew
Young, of Honeoye Falls, and they have three children: Charles M., F. Vernon, and
Mrs. Lelia M. Cornwell, of Palmyra. Subject is identified in advancing the best inter-
ests of the town.

Spencer, John M., was born in Hillsdale, Columbia county, October 11, 1828. His
father, Truman P., was a native of Columbia county. The family is of English descent,
four brothers having come from England at the same time. John M. was educated in
the common schools, to which he has added through life by reading and close observa-
tion. In 1844 he came to Clyde and entered the employ of John S. Gay, and in 1850
established the firm of Terry & Spencer, lumber dealers and builders. In 1852 he sold
out and engaged ir the manufacturing of sash and blinds. After 1856 he made a spe-
cialty of building and contract work. At the age of twenty-one he married Wealthy
R., daughter of Peter Knapp, of East Newark, and they have had four children, two of
whom are now living, Ford A., and Mrs. Christiana T. Brooks, of Clyde. Subject is
one of the leading men of his town.

Sherman, Durfee A., was born in East Palmyra June 24, 1815, was educated in the
public schools, and succeeded his father in the distillery business. When he attained
the age of twenty-one he sold the business and became a drover for twenty years. In
1851 he moved to Newark, where he has since lived. He bought a warehouse where
the opera house now stands, and became a dealer in produce and coal. In 1884 he
erected the Sherman Opera House Block. February 9, 1837, he married Susan H.
Fish, of Pultneyville, and they have five living children : Helen A., Francis A., Ste-
phen F., Wilson H. and Julia. Mr. Sherman's father, Alexander, was born in Cam-
bridge, New York, May 28, 1790, and came to this State with his parents when an in-
fant, where they located in Palmyra. He married Amy Sherman, of this county, and
they had six children: Ira D., Durfee A., Erastus, Abigail, Wilson O. and Myron, all
deceased except our subject. Alexander died August 1, 1823, and his wife in 1832.
Humphrey, the father of Alexander, was born in Rhode Island in 1758 and married
Mary Durfee, of his native place. They had fourteen children, and settled in East Pal-



los LANDMARKS OF WAYNE COUNTY.

myra, where they purchased from Phelps & Gorham 1,000 acres. Our subject's ma-
ternal grandfather was a cousin of Roger Sherman, one of the signers of the Declara-
tion of Independence. Mr. Sherman's father was a soldier in the war of 1812. Mr.
and Mrs. Sherman celebrated their golden wedding February 9, 1887.

Siegrist, Dr. Alois, was born in Meisterschwanden, Switzerland, October 5, 1823, was
educated in the public schools, and studied surgery with his father, practicing three
years. He then began the study of medicine and practiced both, doing military
service on the German frontiers on the Rhine in 1848, and was assistant surgeon at the
hospital. In 1S51 he came to this country, first locating in Rochester at the time of
the cholera. In the fall of 1853 he came to Newark, having practiced with much suc-
cess since. He married Mary Ann Taeschler, of his native country, and they have one
son, who was educated in the Union Schools and Academy. He married Mary An-
drews, of Newark, and they have two daughters, Ella and Marie. He is agent for his
father in caring for his property. Dr. Siegrist is one of the foremost real estate owners
in Newark. He is a member of the I. 0. 0. F., No. 250, of Newark, and a member of
Wayne Encampment 85, I. 0. 0. F., and his father was town clerk and surgeon in the
old home in Switzerland twenty-five years. His grandfather, Jacob Siegrist, was a
surgeon in the French army under Napoleon I.

Stow, De L., was born in Clyde September 4, 1841. His father, William S. Stow,
was a native of Middletown, Vt., and came to Clyde and engaged in the practice of
law, building the office now occupied by his son, and which has been the place of busi-
ness of father and son for seventy years as a law and insurance office, and is claimed to
be the oldest insurance office in the United States. He married Maria A. De Zeng,
daughter of Mayor Frederick A. De Zeng, who was one of the first settlers in Clyde,
and who was one of the nobility of Germany. Mr. De Zeng was born at Dresden and
came to America during the Revolution as major of one of the German regiments.
After the close of the war he was largely interested in public enterprises for the devel-
opment of Western New York, and was the father of the glass industry of the United
States. De L. Stow was educated at the Yates Polytechnic Institute and at Hobart
College, Geneva. He read law with his father and was admitted to the bar December,
1862, and engaged in general practice. He married Miss Eunice S. Scott, daughter of
Jacob Scott, and to them the following children were born : William S. Stow, who died
in 1884; Alice, Agnes and Edith. Mr. Snow has been police justice of his town for
twenty years.

Selby, Amos E., was born in the town of Nelson, near Cleveland, Ohio, in April
1850. He is the oldest son of Stephen F. Selby, was educated at Shaw Academy, East
Cleveland, and spent two years at the Western Reserve University at Hudson, O. He
commenced his business career as builder and architect, which he followed for a number
of years. He married, in 1883, Evalyn Warren, of Cleveland, who was born at Warren,
O., and daughter of D. H. and Martha (Robinson) Warren. Mr. Warren was a shoe
merchant. He died in 1868, and his wife resides in Cleveland. They are the direct
descendants from the Joseph E. Warren of Revolutionary fame, and trace their ancestry
to one of three brothers, who came to Massachusetts in the Mayflower. Mr. Selby
came to the town of Williamson in the spring of 1883, and purchased the farm where he
has since resided and is largely engaged in fruit growing and evaporting. Mrs. Selby is
a member of the Disciple Church, but they attend and support the M. E. Church at
Pultneyville.

Sansbury, Alfred W., of Palmyra, was born in Princeton, N. J., in 1820, and came to
Palmyra when about twenty-four years old. He clerked for Lovett & Scotten a few
years, then for J. C. Lovett, who succeeded the above named firm, where he remained
till the closing of the business. Mr. Sansbury then embarked in the furniture trade
several years, but at the present time is not engaged actively in business. June 21,



FAMILY SKETCHES. 100

1854, he married Margaret A. Heminway.of Palmyra, the youngest of four children of
Truman Heminway, of Palmyra, who died August 28,1863. Mrs. Sansbury's mother
Mary (Aldrich) Heminway, died January 21, 1861. Mr. and Mrs. Sansbury have had
these children: Alfred H., born February 8, 1857, died March 15, 1862; Mary Louise,
born April 28, 1863, now Mrs. H. E. Milles, and Albert Truman, born June 18, 1866.

Sherman, the late Wilson 0., was born in East Palmyra, Wayne county, April 16
1821. He was educated in the public schools, and his early life was spent in that town.
January 3, 1850, he married LydiaA., youngest child of Stephen and Lydia Fish, of
Newark, and moved to Newark, N. Y., in 1853, and they had one son, Charles W., who
was well educated. On account of ill health he had to abandon a college course. He
became a coal merchant and died when he was twenty-seven years old. Mr. Sherman
was a farmer and produce dealer. He died March 4, 1870. Mrs. Sherman's father,
Stephen Fish, was born in Middlebury, Mass., May 19, 1778. April 18, 1805, he mar-
ried Lydia Bowman, of Leverett, Mass., who was born July 5, 1784. They had these
children : Henry, William B., Emeline, Mary M., Henry L., who was mayor of Ro-
chester, where he resides ; Susanah H. and Lydia A. He died February 1, 1849. Mrs.
Sherman's grandfather, William Bowman, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War,
and was a surveyor by occupation. He surveyed Montreal and Quebec. Her grand-
mother lived until she was over one hundred years of age. They came here all the
way from Massachusetts with ox teams. Mrs. Sherman has recently opened three new
avenues, and within a year has sold nine building lots.

Smith, Rufus, was born in the town Arcadia April 2, 1838. His early life was spent on
a farm, and his education obtained in the common schools. He learned the trade of car-
penter and joiner and was an efficient workman. He followed his trade until 1864,
when he enlisted in Co. C, 111th Infantry, N. Y. Volunteers. He was in two general
engagements and skirmishes, and was honorably discharged at the close of the war.
Mr. Smith is a member of Vosburg Post, No. 99, G-. A. R., department of New York,
and has filled the position of senior vice-commander. Mr. Smith's father, Tunis M.
Smith, was born in Columbia county, January 30, 1798. He married Catherine
Fosmire, who was born July 30, 1807. They came to Bethel soon after marriage.
They had ten children as follows: Stephen, James, Andrew, Charlotte, Julia A.,
Francis, Rufus, Eliza E., Celesta and Edwin, only four now living. He died March 24.
1874, and his wife January 20, 1883. The ancestry of this family is German and
Dutch. They came to Western New York about the year 1820, and when they located
in the town of Arcadia soon after, it was little more than a wilderness, the family were
identified with the progress and prosperity of the town. Wild beasts were plenty,
flocks of deer used to roam in the woods, with plenty of wild game.

Sands, Edwin, was born in Elbridge, Onondaga county, September 12, 1836. His
father, Daniel Sands, was a native of Maine, and came to Jordan in 1816, where he
was one of the prominent farmers of the town, and died in 1872 at seventy years of
age. Edwin Sands was educated at Jordan Academy, after which he returned to his
father's farm. In 1865 he leased the Franklin House in Clyde, and in 1866 he pur-
chased the well-known Sands farm of ninety acres. Five years later Mr. Sands
established a flour and feed business, to which he added a large line of fine groceries
and crockery, also provisions. At the age of twenty-three he married Emily Abrams,
daughter of Harvey Abrams, and they are the parents of two children, Herbert and
Mrs. Laura Corrin. Mr. Sands has held office as trustee and has been elected super-
visor.

Skinner, Salmon H., was born in Ballston, Saratoga county, January 9, 1816. His
father, Major Adonijah Skinner, cavalry commander, was a, native of Connecticut, and
also a prominent farmer in Cambridge, N Y. He afterwards moved to Monroe county,
and died there on September 13, 1833, at the age of seventy-three. Salmon H. was



110 LANDMARKS OF WAYNE COUNTY.

educated in the common schools, after which he returned to his father's farm. At the
age of twenty -four he married Sarah H., daughter of Joseph Sanford, and they have
six children, four of whom are now living, one son, Charles S., and three daughters:
Mrs. Alice McCutcheon, Sarah and Mary. In 1854 he came to Clyde and purchased the
Clyde hotel property, which he exchanged for mill property in 1850. The same year
he purchased a farm of 107 acres, which he now owns, raising fruit, hay, grain and
stock. His family was of English extraction, and took a prominent part in the Revo-
lutionary war.

Stuart, Charles W., was born in Greene county, September 21. 1837. He was edu-
cated in the district schools in that county until he was fourteen years old, when the
family moved to Syracuse, where he finished his education He learned the jeweler's
trade, and manufactured it ten years. In 1804 he came to Newark and began the
nursery business, purchasing of parties who were in the business in a small way. In a
short time he formed a co-partnership with his brother, John E., under the firm name
of C. W. Stuart Bros. May 9, 1800, he married Caroline Emmons, of Greenwich,
Fairfield county, Conn., and they have five children : Mary A., Charles H., Carolina M.,
Sarah R. and Kenneth E. Mary A. married E. V. Pierson, of Newark ; Caroline M.
married George H. Perkins, of Newark; Charles H. is in partnership with his father, in
the retail department of the business. He was educated in Cornell University, where
the youngest son is pursuing his studies at the present time. Mr. Stuart's father. Wil-
liam Harvey, was born in Greene county, January 7, 1810. In 1835 he married Adeline
Boardman, of Westerlo, Albany county, and they had four children, one died in in-
fancy : Charles W., Silas B. and John E. He died by accident at a political gathering,
A heavy wagon, drawn by forty-six yoke of oxen, ran over him. His wife resides with
Charles W. Mrs. Stuart's father. Isaac Emmons, was born in New York, September 10,
1799, was educated in that city, and in early life was a grocer. Afterwards he re-
moved to Connecticut. June 12, 1827, he married Mary E. Smith, who was born in
Brooklyn, and they had ten children, seven survive: Henry O., Mary L., Francis,
Amelia, Caroline, Virginia and Eliza. He died February 15, 1881, and his wife No-
vember 5, 1880. Mrs. Stuart's father, Obed Smith, ran the first steamer up the North
river. He was a sea man, who sailed all over the globe. This Smith family can be
traced to the Mayflower, to John and Priscilla Alden. The ancestry of this family are
Scotch and English.

Sands, Alexander, was born in Westchester county, September 25, 1822. His father
was Stephen, son of Samuel, who was a pioneer of Westchester county. The father of
Samuel was .lames, who came from England in an early day. lie purchased Block
Island of the natives and some of the family are still on the island. The grandfather
of subject, Samuel, was a farmer in Westchester county, and the homestead is still in
the family. He and wife were Quakers. Stephen and family came to Cayuga county,
in 1823, and bought a farm where they lived and died, he in 1805, aged seventy-four
years. His wife was Charity Piatt, and they had three sons and two daughters, all now
living. She died in 1890, aged ninety- five years. Subject was reared on the farm, has
been wool speculator about twenty years, and in the mercantile business at Lakeside a
while where he built a store building. He noAV has 225 acres mostley bought and set-
tled on in 1840, of which about 140 acres is set to large fruits of all kinds. In 1845 he
married Abigail I. Bates, born in 1824, and daughter of Orlando and Irene D. Bates,
of Orleans county. Mrs. Bates was a Durfee, and died in 1829. Mr. Bates was a
farmer and miller, and died March 15, 1870. Mr. and Mrs. Sands have no children, but
they reared a boy, John Scott, who studied law with Judge Cowles. He raised a com-
pany of volunteers in Wisconsin, who chose him captain, but he took sick and died at
Mound City, 111. Mr. Sands is a Republican, has been twenty-five years postmaster at
Lakeside, was provost marshal and enroling officer of the town during the war. They
attend and support the M. E. church.



FAMILY SKETCHES. Ill

Smith, J. E., M. D., was born in Hartwick, Otsego county, August 3, 1829. His
father, Chester, was a prominent farmer of that town and married Mary Ann, daughter
of Dr. George W. Arnold, and sister of the late Hon. I. N. Arnold of Chicago. Both
families came from Rhode Island. His mother died at New Rochelle, in October, 1859.
His father died at Clyde, September 9, 1892, at the advanced age of ninety-two. Dr.
Smith was educated at Franklin Institute, Delaware county, and at Hartwick Seminary,
and graduated in medicine at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York in 1854.
He first located at Corning, N. Y., forming a co-partnership with Dr. Rufus H. Gilbert
of that place, but after a few months moved to Waterloo, N. Y., purchasing the prop-
erty and practice of Dr. 0. S. Patterson, where he remained nearly two years till failing
health obliged him to give up a large and lucrative practice. He came to Clyde in the
fall of 1856, purchasing the drug store owned by Charles E. Piatt which he conducted
till the fall of 1860, when he again attended a course of medical lectures at the Jeffer-
son Medical College, Philadelphia, resuming the practice of his profession in the spring
of 1861, making a specialty of chronic diseases. He has since frequently spent several
weeks in New York at hospital and dispensary clinics, in order to keep himself abreast
of the progress of his profession At the age of twenty-five he married Mary E.,
daughter of George H. Derbyshire of Hartwick Seminary. Our subject is one of the
oldest and leading members of his profession to which his life work has been devoted,
caring little for social distinction or the emoluments of political life, but finding more
congenial work in the line of his profession.

Seavey, Alvah H., was born in Galen, September 23, 1843, son of John Seavey born
in Conway, N. H., in 1807, who was first a school teacher, later a dry goods clerk,
then a sailor, and came to Wayne county in 1840 and followed farming. He came to
Huron in 1854, served in various town offices, and died in 1881. His wife was Amanda
Gunn and their children were: Joseph, Josiah, Alvah H., Mary and Helena, wife of
D. M. Otis of Wolcott. Our subject began for himself early in life and for many years
devoted himself to saw-milling. In 1861 he enlisted in the 75th N. Y. Volunteers, and
was discharged on account of disability. In 1864 here-enlisted in the 22d N. Y.
Cavalry, and served till the close of the war, and went through the campaign of the
Shenandoah Valley. In 1865 he engaged in farming and threshing, in 1875 engaged
in the cooperage business, since which time he has been engaged in fruit growing. In
1867 he married Emily H., daughter of Roswell E. Reed, of Huron, born in 1848.
They have one adopted child, Grace L. Subject is a member of the G. A. R., Keesler
Post No. 55, of Wolcott.

Smith, Hastings B., was born in Marion, June 2, 1852, son of Dwight and Susan
(Burred) Smith, he a native of Amherst, Mass., born September 3, 1813, and she a native
of England. The grandparents were Samuel and Mary (Hastings) Smith, of Amherst,
Mass., who came to Marion in 1828, where the father died, aged sixty-one. The mother
spent her last days with her son in Tioga county. Pa., where she died, aged ninety-one.
At the age of fourteen Dwight Smith went to live with Joseph Colwell, brother-in-law,
and has always followed farming. His first wife was Mary Rice, by whom he had one
daughter, Harriet, wife of Peter De Wolf, of Marion. He bought the farm where he
now resides in 1839. He built a saw-mill on the farm, and was for many years en-
gaged in the manufacture of lumber. He has been supervisor of Marion five years.
Hastings B., was educated in Marion Collegiate Institute. He spent five years of his
younger days traveling in the west. He returned to Marion, and in 1880 married
Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas and Abigail (Howell) Negus, and they have seven
daughters : Carrie,Cassie, Eva, Leah, Mabel, Annie and Mildred. In 1887 Mr. Smith took
charge of the homestead farm, which he still carries on. He is also an ice dealer, and