John Phillips Downs.

History of Chautauqua County, New York, and its people (Volume 3) online

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extended through a number of weary years. The party
consisted, besides its extraordinary leader, of his four
sons, five daughters, several sons-in-law, numerous
grandchildren, and a slave, Tom, and their intended des-
tination was the State of Tennessee. There were
twenty-nine persons in all and they traveled in canvas
wagons, some of which required four horses to draw
them. Through New York and Pennsylvania they made
their slow and difficult way until they arrived at Wheel-
ing, W. Va., where they embarked upon flat bottomed
boats on the Ohio river and followed that stream to
Louisville. Here they landed and proceeded once more
through the forest to a point near Nashville, where it
was their intention to locate. What befell them there
gives point to the amazing courage and strength of
mind of the entire party, but especially of their leader.
Weary with long travel, hoping confidently for rest at
this, their intended destination, they nevertheless found
conditions so bad that a permanent settlement was not
to be thought of. Instead of weakly despairing and
submitting to fate, these true pioneers did not even
make a temporary residence, but once more embarked
upon their wanderings, turning their faces to the North
again, but this time towards the unsettled regions lying
about the eastern end of the Great Lakes. Through
Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania they went, until
late in the autumn of 1805 they reached the little set-
tlement of Erie. Here the women and younger mem-
bers of the family were placed for the winter, while
William Prendergast and his sons went on to Canada,
still seeking for a satisfactory site for a home. The
winter of 1805-06 was spent in that country, but the
following spring they returned to the United States
and eventually settled in the township of Chautauqua,
Chautauqua county, N. Y., where William Prendergast
and his sons purchased land on the shores of Lake
Chautauqua in the vicinity of Mayville and the famous
Chautauqua Assembly grounds. The holdings of the
various members of the family amounted in all to about
3,500 acres, and the family became established there as
one of the most prominent and wealthy in the district.
William Prendergast married Mehitable Wing, born
March 20, 1738, died Sept. 4, 1812, daughter of Jedediah
and Elizabeth Wing, of Beckman, N. Y., and they were
the parents of the following children: Matthew, men-
tioned below; Thomas, born Sept. 15, 1758, died June
3, 1842; Mary, married William Bemus, of Ellery,
Chautauqua county, N. Y.; Elizabeth, died unmarried,
Aug. 20, 1824; James, mentioned below; Dr. Jedediah,
born May 13, 1766; married Penelope Chase: Martin,
liorn April 22, 1769, married Martha Hunt; John Jef-
frey; Susanna, married Oliver Whiteside; Eleanor,



BIOGRAPHICAL



517



died aged thirteen years; Martha, died unmarried, Dec.
9, 1849, aged seventy-four years; William, a major in
the War of 1812; Minerva, married Elisha Marvin.

(11) The founding of the city of Jamestown was the
result of a chance expedition of James Prendergast, one
of the sons of William Prendergast, and it was from
his given name that that of Jamestown was taken.
Shortly after the family had settled on the shores of
Lake Chautauqua, a number of their horses wandered
away into the forest and could not be found. It was
a great loss to the pioneers, and James was directed by
his father to seek them. It is difficult to-day to imagine
how great a task was involved in this apparently sim-
ple order, or the courage required for a young man to
venture out alone into the wilderness. The youth, how-
ever, never thought of questioning the matter, and was
soon of his way after the runaways. He first bent his
steps to the South, continuing until he reached an Indian
encampment on the outlet of the lake, where he was im-
mensely impressed with the possibilities of the region
which was covered with one of the most magnificent
growths of pine timber in the country. Fortunately,
from long wandering in the wilderness, he had grown
familiar with the savages and their ways and quickly
won the friendship and trust of the members of this
especial village, who not only cast no obstacles in his
way, but aided him to find his strayed horses. With
the Indians he traveled through the valleys of the
Conewango and Kiantone, where the Indians had
planted their corn for centuries, and gained some idea
of the e.xtent of the splendid pine forests. He was
successful in his quest for the horses, but had inci-
dentally found something much more valuable than
them, which was to make his fortune later on. Indeed,
he realized the possibilities even at that time and con-
ceived the idea of founding a settlement. Some time
afterward he secured, in association with his brother,
whom he had persuaded to join him, 1,000 acres of land
and this became the site of Jamestown, Mr. Prender-
gast locating there in the early autumn of 1809, in com-
pany with an employee, one John Blowers. The War
of 1812 followed shortly after with its threat of inva-
sion from Canada, and the early life of the little town
was decidedly precarious, but the efforts of James Pren-
dergast, who would not be discouraged, finally won
over all the difficulties and the flourishing community
was established.

(II) Returning to the direct line of descent to James
Hunt Prendergast, we come to Matthew Prendergast,
eldest child of William and Mehitable (Wing) Pren-
dergast. who was born Aug. 5, 1756, at the town of
Pawling, Dutchess county, N. Y. He did not take part
in the wanderings of the family, which eventually
located them in Chautauqua county. He remained in-
stead in Eastern New York and resided in Washington
county until well advanced in years. He then rejoined
his relatives, coming directly to the town of Chautau-
qua, where his death occurred, Feb. 24, 1838. His com-
ing to Chautauqua took place in 1807, and he was the
first supervisor of Chautauqua county after it was
fully organized in the year 181 1. He was appointed
justice of the peace in 1808, serving in that office for
many years, and was also associate judge of the county.
He died at his pioneer home at Chautauqua at the age



of eighty-three, after a long and useful life. He mar-
ried (first) in Eastern New York, Abigail Aikin, and
(second) Anna Hunt. He and his first wife were the
parents of two children, both of whom were born in
Washington county and accompanied him to the West:
Lillian, who became the wife of Jared Irwin; Dr. Wil-
liam, mentioned below. By his second wife he also had
two children, James and Arthur.

(III) Dr. William (2) Prendergast, only son of
Judge Matlhew and Abigail (Aikin) Prendergast, was
born Feb. 28, 1791, at Pawling, Dutchess county, N. Y.,
and when sixteen years of age came with his father to
Chautauqua county, where his death occurred March
II, 1857. He studied medicine as a lad, and when still
very young served as a surgeon in the War of 1812-
1815. Later he practiced the medical profession at
Mayville, N. Y., and was for many years a well known
practitioner and highly respected citizen. His uncle.
Dr. Jedediah Prendergast, settled at Mayville, in 181 1,
where he practiced medicine, and Dr. William Pren-
dergast was his successor. Toward the latter end of his
life he retired from practice and spent the remainder of
his days on his farm in Chautauqua township. He
owned at the time of his death about 1,000 acres of farm
land. He was a Whig in politics, and a member of
the Episcopal church. He married, in 1815, Elizabeth
Prendergast. a daughter of Martin Prendergast, and
they were the parents of one child, Martin, mentioned
below.

(IV) Martin Prendergast, only child of Dr. William
(2) and Elizabeth (Prendergast) Prendergast. was born
at Mayville, Chautauqua county, N. Y. For many
years he was a clerk, but later, inheriting the old home-
stead, he spent there the reminder of his life in farming.
He was well known in his town, and for fifteen years
acted as supervisor. He was a Republican in politics,
and a man of high character. He married Phoebe
Holmes, born March 3, 1823, died Jan. 3, 1899, a daugh-
ter of Seth W. Holmes, of Oneida county, N. Y., who
emigrated to Erie county, N. Y., and settled near Buf-
falo. He spent some years in California, where he
was a successful speculator, and later came to Mayville,
N. Y., where most of his after life was spent. He was
prominent in Chautauqua county, and held the post of
sheriff thereof prior to 1849. His wife was Sarah
(Stone) Holmes. To Martin and Phoebe (Holmes)
Prendergast five children were born, as follows: Mar-
tha, born Aug. 26, 1842, married, Jan. 20, 1869, William
M. Whallon, to whom she bore one child; John H.,
mentioned below; William, born May 13, 1848. died
.'Kpril 21, 1852; Helen, born June 4, 1850, died unmar-
ried. May 2, 1911 ; Dr. William, born March 20, 1854,
graduated with the degree of M. D. from Jefferson
Medical College, Philadelphia, in 1883, and located at
Mayville, where he is the third Dr. Prendergast to
practice successfully here.

(V) John H. Prendergast, eldest son of Martin and
Phoebe (Holmes) Prendergast, was born in the town of
Chautauqua, N. Y., Nov. 5, 1844. He received his edu-
cation at the Mayville schools, and followed agriculture
as a means of livelihood. He owned a farm at Chau-
tauqua, whereon he resided, although he is now retired
from active life, and lives at Westfield, N. Y. He is a
Republican in politics. He married, Feb. 23, 1876, An-



^iS



CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY



toinette Hunt, horn May I,;. 1841, died Sept. 5, IQ13, a
daughter of James M. and Rhoda Ann (Hewes) Hunt,
and they hecame the parents of one child, James Hunt,
mentioned below.

(\'n James Hunt Prendergast. a prominent attorney
of Westfield, Chautauqua count\-, N. Y., and a con-
spicuous figure in the commercial and industrial life of
the region, is the only child of John H. and Antoinette
(Huntt Prendergast. and was born at Chautauqua,
X. Y.. Jan. 2, 187S. As a lad he attended the Union
School at Mayville and proved himself an apt and intel-
ligent pupil, graduating therefrom in June, 1896, with
honors. The following autumn he entered the Hawley
Preparatory School at Buffalo, from which he was
graduated two years later, after being prepared for col-
lege. He had become interested in the profession of
law and decided to make it his career in life, with which
intention he matriculated at the Law School of Cornell
University. Here he continued his fine record as a
student and was graduated with the degree of LL. B. in
1002. In June, 1902, he was admitted to the bar, and
about a month later came to Westfield. where he has
ever since practiced. At Westfield he formed a part-
nership with Gerald G. Gibbs, of Sherman, N. Y., and
continued to practice law with him until 1904, when the
partnership was dissolved. For a time thereafter he
practiced by himself and then formed an association
with James Robinson Douglas, engaging in law and
general insurance business. This he continued for a
short time, and later he practiced his profession alone.
Besides his large law practice, he has other large inter-
ests. In November, 1912, Mr. Prendergast, with others,
bought the charter of the Buffalo Cooperative Live
Stock Insurance Company and changed its name to the
Chautauqua County Cooperative Live Stock Insurance
Company, being elected president, and Edward N. Skin-
ner, secretarv- and treasurer. The board of directors of
this prosperous concern include Messrs. Prendergast,
Skinner, and W. T. Nicol, of Westfield: Perry A.
Wolf, of Ripley; and E. J. Bailey, of Brocton. Mr.
Prendergast has engaged largely in industrial enter-
prises, and is connected with a number of important
concerns 01 this character in this county. In associa-
tion with Henry A. Monroe, he manufactures on a very
large scale cement bricks, blocks and tiles. They in-
vented a brick making machine which is one of the
best en the market. With John H. Kolpien, he formed
the Westfield Manufacturing Company, and is now
engn.ged successfully in manufacturing road grading
machines. His enterprises to-day form an important
tr-.ctor in the business life of the community, and Mr.
Prendergast is justly regarded as one of Westfield's
most substantial citizens. .-Xmong other connections he
was one of the directors of the State Bank of Mayville.
Mr. Prendergast has always been a staunch supporter
of th'.- principles of the Republican party. He has held
a number of offices in the community, and since 1904
has been a member of the town board. In 1905, he was
elected justice of the peace and has continued to hold
thrit office up to the present time. He was a member of
the County Committee from 1910 to 1918, secretary
from 1913 to 1915, and its chairman from 1915 to 1917.
He is a pfjminent member of the Benevolent and Pro-
tective Order of Elks, and a past exalted ruler of Dun-



kirk Lodge. No. 922. In addition to his business inter-
ests. Mr. Prendergast is the owner of several valuable
farms in the vicinity, including the old homestead at
Chautauqua, consisting of 125 acres and a fine fruit
farm at Westfield.

James Hunt Prendergast was united in marriage,
June 17, 190S, at Westfield, with Clara S. Fay, a native
of this place, a daughter of John R. and Emma J.
(Neill) Fay, old and highly respected residents here.
To Mr. and Mrs. Prendergast one child was born,
James John, May 22, 1912.



ARTHUR BOORMAN OTTAW AY— Eminent

in his profession, sterling in his citizenship, and upright
in character, Arthur B. Ottaway, of Westfield, and judge
of Chautauqua county, is perhaps the county's best
known son. Since 1879 he has been associated with the
courts of the county as practitioner, district attorney,
and judge, and whenever a candidate for the suffrages
of the citizens of the county he has never been denied.
Judge Ottaway is a son of John E. and Sarah (Boor-
man) Ottaway, and a grandson of James and Arabella
Ottaway.

For generations the Ottaway family lived in Kent
county, England. Prior to 1823, James Ottaway had
operated a mill at Headcorn, England, but being de-
sirous of bettering his condition, he joined the tide of
emigration to America in 1823, si.x weeks being con-
sumed in the voyage across the Atlantic. At New York
he boarded a sloop for Newburgh, N. Y., where he
purchased a team and wagon and journeyed with his
wife and children across the State of New York, finally
reaching BuiTalo, then a village of a few hundred in-
habitants. Here he left his family and sought for land
about Buffalo and along the Canadian frontier. Failing
to find what he desired, he journeyed to Chautauqua
county over tlie Buffalo & Erie Road to Westfield, from
Westfield to Mayville, and from Mayville over the
Waterford road to Mina. In a trackless forest he found
nettles growing. Farmers visiting his mill in England
had told him that this was an indication of a fertile
soil and here he resolved to locate. He purchased a
portion of lot 13, built a log cabin and commenced
life in the wilderness. Like all other portions of the
town his tract was heavily timbered, and his home was
literally hewed from the forest. His was the first deed
of lands in the eastern part of the town of Mina. He
was the first of many Engli.shmen that came into that
section, and his house was the rendezvous of those that
followed. His latch string was always out, and many
of his countrymen partook of his hospitality until log
houses could be erected upon chosen sites.

John E. Ottaway. father of .^rthu^ B. Ottaway, was
Ixim at the Ottaway homestead in the town of Mina,
Chautauqua county, N. Y., June 20, 1827, died in March,
1017, at the homestead. ■ His youth was spent upon
the farm ; his education obtained in the district school.
He was his father's assistant, and later succeeded him
in the ownership of the homestead farm, which was
always his home. He held many positions of trust in
the county and town, and during his lifetime was
executor of many estates and tlie guardian of minor
children as well as r,f their properly. He early allied
himself willi the Republican party, and in 1873-74-75














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BIOGRAPHICAL



519



and 1883 represented Mina on the County Board of Su-
pervisors. He contributed liberally to worthy causes
and always took a deep interest in community welfare.
He was a prosperous farmer, and enjoyed to the full
the advantages the possession of means enabled him
to indulge in and to confer upon his children. He was
for many years a director of the State Bank of Sher-
man, and regarded as a strong, clear-visioned, business
man.

John E. Ottoway married, Oct. 17, 1849, Sarah Boor-
man, daughter of Benjamin and Sarah (Hosmer)
Boorman. early among the English settlers of the town
of Sherman, their settlement in the western part of
the town dating from 1825. Mr. and Mrs. Ottaway were
the parents of five children: Osmer J., Arthur B., of
further mention; G. Fred, Susan A., and Cora E. Mr.
and Mrs. Ottaway celebrated the golden anniversary of
their wedding day at the home farm in Mina, Oct. 17,
1899, and in honor of the occasion led a Virginia reel,
the dancers all being over seventy years of age. Mrs.
Ottaway died in 1907.

Arthur Boorman Ottaway, second son of John E. and
Sarah (Boorman") Ottaway, was born at the homestead
in the town of Mina, Chautauqua county, N. Y., May
8, 1854. He began his education in the district public
schools, later attending Sherman Academy and West-
field Academy, entering the last named institution in
1873 and graduating with the class of 1875. After
graduation he taught school for several terms, then en-
tered the office of William Russell, of Westfield, as a
law student. He was admitted to the bar in 1879 and
began practice in Westfield as a member of the firm,
Russell, Dickerman & Ottaway. After the dissolution
of that firm, Mr. Ottaway practiced alone until l8g6,
when he became senior of the law firm, Ottaway & Mun-
son.

In 1883. Mr. Ottaway was the successful nominee of
the Republican party for the office of district attorney,
an office he filled for three years. In 1887, he returned
to the private practice of his profession and built up a
large and lucrative practice. For years he was the
attorney for the Chautauqua County Board of Super-
visors and was retained privately in much important
litigation in Chautauqua courts. He was a member of
the law association of the district, and stood high in the
estimation of his associates of the bar. On Jan. 3, 1906,
Governor Higgins appointed Mr. Ottaway county judge
to fill a vacancy. At the ensuing November election he

was chosen by the voters for a full term, and when
that expired in 1912 he was chosen for a second term

and again in 1918 for the third time. This evidence of

confidence and esteem proves the worth of his service

to the county as a learned, just and upright judge.
Judge Ottaway married. Oct. 2. 1912, Mrs. Myrtle

(Redfield) Nixon, daughter of George Redfield, and

widow of S. Fred Nixon.



HON. CHARLES M. HAMILTON— Important

business and disting-uished public service records belong
to Charles M. Hamilton, of Ripley, N. Y., who has rep-
resented his district successively in the State Assembly,
the State Senate, and the National House of Repre-
sentatives. He filled a seat in the Sixty-third, Sixty-
fourth and Sixty-fifth congresses, his public service and



devotion to the general welfare the public-spirited and
patriotic gift of a man for whom the rewards of office
have no attraction and whose sole object is the per-
formance of his duty and the benefit of his fellows. Mr.
Hamilton is a native of Chautauqua county, N. Y., and
from young manhood has had a prominent part in busi-
ness and civic activities in that district.

The Hamiltons were a Vermont family, settling in
Chittenden county, where Lucius G. Hamilton was born,
April 15, 1826. He later moved to the town of Ripley,
Chautauqua county, N. Y., where he died March 16,
1874. He was a man of high character, unselfish in
service, and progressive, always interested in the wel-
fare of his community. He was a Republican in politics,
a justice of the peace for several years, and during the
years 1870 and 1871 represented Ripley on the County
Board of Supervisors. He married, at Ripley, Dec.
6, 1870, Lydia A. Mann, and they were the parents of
an only child, Charles M. Hamilton.

Jeremiah Mann, father of Lydia A. (Mann) Hamil-
ton, was bom in Milton. Saratoga county, N. Y., Sept.
II, 1768. He spent the first twenty-five years of his life
in Eastern New York, locating in Ripley. Chautauqua
county, in 1825. He also purchased a farm at North-
east, Pa., to which he moved in 1826. In 1837 he moved
to the town of Ripley, Chautauqua county, N. Y., resid-
ing in the village of Quincy until his death. In 1844
he was elected a member of the New York Legislature,
and to a high degree enjoyed public confidence. He
was one of the first directors of the Buffalo & Erie
Railroad, and a friend of all public improvement. He
married Anna Broclavay, daughter of Burban Brock-
way, of Ripley, and they were the parents of three
daughters: Augusta, married William Hunt, of Ripley,
who died Dec. I, 1869; Caroline, died Alarch 12, 1875,
wife of William Bell, Jr., of Erie, Pa.: Lydia A., mar-
ried Lucius G. Hamilton, who died in Ripley, March 16,
1874, and they were the parents of Charles M. Hamilton,
of this review.

Burban Brockway, father of Mrs. Jeremiah Mann,
was born at Lyme, Conn., March i, 1767, his father and
elder brothers serving in the Revolutionary army. He
married, at the age of twenty-three years, Lois Anna
Bostwick, and located his home at Catskill, N. Y., where
he followed the water as a means of livelihood, ship-
ping on coastwise and river vessels. In 1707 he moved
to Seneca, Ontario county, N. Y., and there began clear-
ing a farm from the forest. In l8og he joined the
Protestant Episcopal church in Geneva, and in 1814
moved with his family to Chautauqua county, settling
one mile east of Quincy in what is now the town of
Ripley, then Portland. He was an early postmaster of
Ripley, senior warden of St. Paul's Church, Mayville,
and later warden of St. Peter's Episcopal Church
at Westfield. He was a magistrate of the town under
appointment of Governor Clinton. He died at his
home near Quincy, Sept. 2. 1S61, having resided there
from 1814. His wife, bom in Connecticut, Jan. 9, 1772,
died Nov. 26, 1859. They w-ere married May 27, 1790,
and were the parents of nine children.

Charles M. Hamilton was born in the town of Rip-
ley, Jan. 23, 1874, the son of Lucius G. and Lydia A.
(Mann) Hamilton. His grammar school and high
school education he obtained in his native place, and



CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY



alter graduation from Ripley High School he entered
the Fredonia Normal School, and later the Pennsyl-
vania Military College, at Chester, Pa. He owns farm
land in the Ripley district of Chautauqua county, and
oil and natural gas were found underlying his property.
These resources have been developed by the Willow-
brook Natural Gas Company, of which Mr. Hamilton
is the sole owner, and the company furnishes light to
the town of Ripley as well as illumination and power
to the residents along its pipe line. Another of Mr.
Hamilton's leading connections in this field of industry
is as treasurer and manager of the New York State
Oil Company, a corporation owning producing properties
in Kansas and Oklahoma. He is financially interested
in numerous other enterprises, local and otherwise,
among them the Ripley Telephone Company, of which
he is vice-president.

Mr. Hamilton's public service began in 1906, when
he was elected to represent his district in the State
Legislature, and an unusual aptitude for legislative af-
fairs brought him reelection in the followuig year. His
work in the .Assembly organization during these two
sessions included membership on the committees on
railroads, public health, commerce and navigation, and
military affairs, of which last named committee he was
chairman, and in committee room and on the floor he
strove diligently to advance the general good. In the
following year, 1908, he was elected to the Upper House
of the State Legislature from the Fifty-first district,
which includes Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.



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