John Phillips Downs.

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

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believer in men and in all that was characteristic of
the man.

By the First National Bank of Falconer: Mr. Crissey
was a man of wide experience, rare ability, and one in
whom sympathy had to do with judgment. Many a
young' man. in this community, looks back to the aid
and counsel of this man as the starting point of his

By the Associated Charities: Realizing keenly our
loss of so sincere and practical a friend, we desire to
place on record our deep appreciation of his helpful
consideration and assistance, and of his willingness,
amidst his many duties, to give of his time and ability
to the furtherance of the work of this association, in
which he was so deeply interested.

In the diary presented by Mr. Crissey to the cus-
tomers of the bank, he had cause to be printed the
following :

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed
often, and loved much; who has gained the respect of
intelligent men and the love of little children: who
has left the world better than he found it: who has
never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty, or failed
to express it: who has always looked for the best in
others, and given the best he had; whose life is an
inspiration, whose memory a benediction.

HARLOW CRISSEY— A strong will and a loving,
gentle and unselfish nature, firm convictions and a
modest spirit, keen intellect and high ideals, marked
business ability, and a humble and devout Christian
faith and practice, were characteristics of the pioneer
of Chautauqua county, Harlow Crissey, who was born
in Fairfax, Vt., Dec. 18, 1802. Mr. Crissey, speaking
at a reunion of the Crissey family at Stockton, N. Y.,
Aug. 14. 1886, said :

Our family history here represented dates back to
1815, when four families came to Stockton, their whole
number then was twenty. Of that number I am the
only one left in town to speak from memory. I was
then in my thirteenth year, the descendants inheriting
the Crissey name at this time nuniherinp seventy-eifcht.
Of these twenty-one are in Stockton, ten in Fredonia,
six in Sinclairville, five in Michigan, two in Pennsyl-
vania, three in Washington, D. C, and thirty-one west
of Chicago. Of the descendants known by other names
there are forty-two, making- at this date a total of one
hundred and twenty.

Harlow Crissey was the next to the oldest of seven
children, three sons and four daughters, of the family
of Samuel and Lucy (Grosvenor) Crissey. In the cold
season of 1816 Samuel Crissey came with his family to
Stockton, taking up 100 acres in the north part of the
town, on lot No. 30, where he resided until his death,
March l, 1848, aged seventy-seven. Harlow Crissey
had only a few weeks' schooling each winter, and when
scarcely yet of age began teaching, among other dis-
tricts he taught two terms in the town of Charlotte in
the Pickett district, where lived Judge Burnell, and in
the intervals he assisted his father on the farm. He
developed unusual literary ability, and for many years
was the correspondent for the "Censor" of Fredonia,

N. Y. His articles, especially of historic reminiscences,
were very interesting. Among the best of these was
his "Historical Recollections," written on his eightieth
birthday. Quoting from his article of that date, Mr.
Crissey says :

My grandfather died in my fourth year. I remember
his aged look, manly voice, and his death. I remem-
ber the great eclipse of the sun in June, 1806, also the
cold Friday of 1807-08 is vividly in my mind. A little
later I received my anti-slavery impressions when a
tall, well bv'ilt negro, who was stolen from Africa
when young, and who had experienced the horrors of
cruel slavery, and was released by military enlistment,
came to our town. I attended a religious meeting
where thi.s Christian man told of his life sufferings.
1 believed every word he said and from then on never
faltered in a desire for the emancipation of the colored
race. The War of 1812, as we lived near Canada,
deeply effected all classes of people. Most of the first
battles were defeats, however there were naval vic-
tories on the ocean. I remember on Sunday, Septem-
ber 10, 1814. we distinctly heard the naval battle on
Lake Champlain. The spring of 1815 was pleasant and
my father, with two of his nephews and their families,
arranged to move westward and with horse and ox-
teams started on the 20th of June. The wagons were
heavy canvass covered with eight or nine inch tires
on the wheels; we passed through many villages and
towns, finally coming to Buffalo, which at that time
was scarcely anything but a name. We reached Pom-
fret in about forty days, a distance of about five hun-
dred miles. A partial look over the county, we con-
cluded to make Stockton our home and there located.
Then it was a dense forest, scarcely broken. Fre-
donia. with its few stores and trades, was our main
resort. Among the names of the early settlers of that
time. I remember. Miller, Kelly. Vial, Bacheller,
Thompson, Haywood, Colly and Sackett. Our town
grew rapidly. I think the largest number coming in
1823. The absence of a market and money required an
economy horn of necessity. Fifty lp\iKht-ls «( uats for a
barrel of salt. Farm laborers got fifty cents per day
working from sunrise until sunset. Our minister's
salary for the year 1822 was by agreement to be $85,
pajable in provisions. The arrival of General Lafa-
yette created universal enthusiasm. He was accorded
a grand reception by our military companies. Lafa-
yette's personal appearance was not impressive of a
soldier. He was below medium size, dark complexion,
thin, hair tinged with white, dre.^sed very plainly, and
limped when walking.

In my early memory intoxicating drinks were used
by all classes of persons with as little compunction as
going to church has now. but from 1829 efforts for the
suppression of intoxicating beverages have been unre-

Mr. Crissey wrote many articles on various subjects
and frequently spoke at old settlers' meetings, his
speeches holding many an interested listener. He was
a well preserved man of his years, of rare intelligence
and great probity of character, a Christian gentleman,
greatly respected by a large circle of acquaintances. He
was strictly conscientious in his daily life, and a
leading member of the Baptist church. Although his
school advantages were limited in those early times,
yet the influence of his teachings in the rude log school
houses of the pioneers will be felt by future generations.
Mr. Crissey was first a Whig in politics, and then a
Republican. He held various town offices, was justice
about 1850, and county supervisor for two terms, 1864-

On Nov. 2, 1826. Harlow Crissey was united in mar-
riage with Anna Shepard at Stockton, N. Y. She was
the daughter of Samuel and Rachel (Cobb) Shepard,
natives of Massachusetts, who were married June 17,
1768. He was a farmer, and both were members of
tlie Baptist church. Mrs. Crissey was a first cousin
of Mary Lyon, the founder of Mt. Holyoke College.

On the evening of Nov. 2, 1886, in the Universalist



church adjoining the Crissey home, was celebrated the
sixtieth anniversary of the marriage of Harlow Cris-
sey and wife. (Diamond Wedding'). There were
upwards of 150 relatives and guests present. Mrs.
Crissey was a woman of strong physical and mental
temperament, combining an active religious nature; she
was the ideal pioneer wife and mother. Her memory of
historic persons and places was remarkable, and for
years she was an authority on the unwritten history of
her county. She' was born in Ashheld. Franklin county,
Mass.. March 2Q. 1807. and came to Stockton, N. Y.,
with her parents in iSlO. Mrs. Crissey passed away
Aug. jS, 1804. Mr- Crissey's demise occurred in 1892.
To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Harlow Crissey was
born four children: Newton, Samuel S., Seward M.,
Elverton B..

To such men as Harlow Crissey, who were the old
pioneers of Chautauqua county, we cannot pay too much
honor, when we realize the hardships they endured in
subduing the forests and erecting houses. They were
men of strong character, trained amidst hardships, and
laid the foundations of our society broad and deep, on
enduring principles of righteousness. Mr. Crissey lived
to see marvelous changes in civilization, and Chautau-
qua county people will ever hold in venerated remem-
brance the pioneer schoolmaster, Harlow Crissey,
whose work instilled noble aspirations and righteous
principles into their youthful minds.

NEWTON CRISSEY, son of Harlow and Anna
( Shepard) Crissey (q. v."), was born April 6, 1828. He
grew to manhood on the home farm in Stockton, and
in the district schools of his native town he received his
education. He took up the occupation of farming in
Stockton, where he owned and operated a tract of land
consisting of 200 acres. He improved this land and
made general farming his business, and resided there
until 1892, when he moved to Jamestown, N. V., where
he became interested in banking, and was a stockholder
and director of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank, which
he served as president from 1894 to 1908, when he re-
signed and retired from active business life. He was
a successful man and this was because he was a good
manager, and in the community of Stockton he was well
known and respected, for he was active in the affairs
of the town of Stockton. In his political belief he was
a Republican. He was a member of the Baptist church
of Stockton until he came to Jamestown; he then
united with the First Baptist Church and continued
until the Calvary Baptist Church, through his efforts,
was organized. He was at one time supervisor of the
town, as was his father, Harlow Crissey, many years
before him.

.N'ewton Crissey married Cynthia Miller, a daughter
of I. R. Miller. She died on May 8, i^/i. Mr. and
Mrs. Newton Crissey were the parents of four children,
one son and three daughters, as follows : Charles Miller,
deceased ; Anna L. ; Mary R. ; and Jennie C. Both
Anna L. and Mary R. reside on Lakevicw avenue,
Jamestown. Jennie C. Crissey, the youngest child of
Mr. and Mrs. Crissey, married S. B. Burchard, of
Kankakee, III., and now resides in Jamestown, N. Y.
Newton Crissey died on May i, 1914, and was buried at

Lakeview Cemetery, Jamestown. His death was fe
as a great loss not only by his many friends and hi
family, but by the county in which he had resided dm
ing his entire life.

JAY CRISSEY— For two decades. Jay Crissey, pres
ident of the Star Furniture Company, has been ident)
tied with the manufacturing interests of Jaraestowi
He came to the city in 1900, having retired from th
profession which had claimed him from the time o
his graduation — pedagogy. A successful educator, h
has duplicated that success in the business world an
holds honorable rank among Jamestown manufactur
ers. He is a son of Samuel Shepard and Mary A
t Leonard) Crissey, of well known Chautauqua families

Samuel S. Crissey was born in Stockton, Chautauqu,
county, N. Y., Aug. 13, 1833, and died July 28, 191 1
son of Harlow and Anna (Shepard) Crissey. He wa
educated in the district schools and Fredonia Academy
and after completing his own education began teaching
Later he engaged in fruit culture, specializing in grapes
becoming a local authority on fruit growing and fo
seven years serving the Chautauqua County Horticul
tural Society as secretary. He was a member of tht
board of trustees of the Baptist church of Fredoni:
for many years, and the author of a "Centennial His
tory" of that church. That work is an indication of hi;
thorougliness and faithfulness, for it is a historica
compilation of ever increasing value as a referenci
work. He was well and most favorably known as j
man of upright life, and his strong, pleasing personalitj
lield his friends to him until the end of his useful life

Samuel S. Crissey married (first) in December, 1859
Mary A. Leonard, who died May 31, 1868, daughter ol
George V. and Anna Leonard. She left three children
Jay, of further mention; Crcorge H., born Dec. 24, 1864;
Howard B., born Feb. 22, 1866, died Oct. 11, 1889. Mr
Crissey married (second) Jan. 15. 1871, Mrs. Ella K
Wright, widow of Dr. A. A. Wright, of Fredonia.
Their only child to survive infancy was Newton K.
Crissey, born July 12, 1873.

Jay Crissey was born in Stockton, Chautauqua county,
N. Y., Jan. 15, 1861. He was educated in Fredonia
public schools, Fredonia State Normal School, and col summer schools, and for twenty years after gradu-
ation was engaged as an educator, nine of those years
being spent as principal of Belmont, N. Y., High
School ; one year as a member of the faculty of Central
City Normal School, Chicago, and the remaining years
until 1900 as superintendent of schools in Penn Yan,
N. Y.

In the year 1900, Mr. Crissey resigned his position
as superintendent of schools, and located in Jamestown,
taking a position with the Star Furniture Company.
Later he was elected president of the company, a po-
sition which he has efficiently filled until the present
(i<)2i). The company was incorporated in 1901, and
till- plant removed to its present location. Institute and
f'.riggs streets, where the company has enjoyed a sat-
isfactory degree of prosperity. The company specializes
ill bedroom furniture, and through perfect equipment
and artistic designs has been able to produce furniture
which has won a secure place in the trade. The officers



are : Jay Crissey, president ; Anna L. Crissey and Mary
R. Crissey, vice-presidents; H. P. Robertson, secretary;
Scott Baker, treasurer.

Mr. Crissey is a Republican in politics. He is a
member of the Masonic order, and the Fraternal Order
of Eagles. His clubs are the University, the Saturday
Night, and the Norden.

At Fredonia, N. Y., Oct. 15, 1885, Mr. Crissey mar-
ried Alice M. Brown, born in Montpelier, Vt. They are
the parents of five children : Ruth, Mary Lyon, Elsie
G., Leonard Phelps, and John Davenport.

Mr. Crissey married, in Jamestown. Dec. 27, 1900,
Grace Relf. daughter of Orvis A. and Anna (Johnston)
Relf, her father a member of the firm, Ford & Relf,
piano dealers, of Jamestown. Mr. and Mrs. Crissey
are the parents of two children : Anna Pauline, and
Relf Seward, both high school students.

MINER S. CRISSEY— Now in active charge of the
business of Wilcox, Crissey & Company, of Jamestown,
N. Y., Mr. Crissey is taking rank with the able busi-
ness men of the city, and reaping a rich benefit from
the experience gained in his twenty-two years of life
"on the road," as salesman for the house of which he
is now the managing head.

Seward M. Crissey, the third son of Harlow and
Anna (Shepard) Crissey (q. v.), was born in Stock-
ton, Chautauqua county, N. Y., April 9, 1839, died in
October, 1913. He was a farmer of Stockton, but later
became a United States railway clerk, and later moved
to Jamestown. He married Lucy A. Wood, of Perrys-
burg, Cattaraugus county, N. Y., daughter of David
Miles Wood, one of the early settlers of that section.
They were the parents of two children : Belle, married
Frank A. Wilcox, a sketch of whom follows; Miner S.,
of further mention.

Miner S. Crissey, the only son of Seward M. and
Lucy A. (Wood) Crissey, was born at the home
farm in Stockton, Chautauqua county, N. Y., Oct. 19,
1872, and was a pupil in the public school, afterwards
attending the Fredonia Normal School and the Angola
High School. He began business life as a clerk in the
bank at Cherry Creek, owned by his uncle, Elverton B.
Crissey, which was operated under the firm name, E. B.
Crissey & Company. A year later (1891) E. B. Crissey
moved to Jamestown, where he organized the Farmers
and Mechanics Bank, his nephew, Miner S. Crissey,
accompanying him and taking position in the new bank.
There he continued until November, 1895, when he
withdrew to become a partner in the newly organized
firm, Wilcox, Burchard & Company, he taking charge of
the bookkeeping department. From that time until the
present he has been connected with that firm, but
shortly after its organization he went on the road as
salesman, so continuing for twenty-two years. The
death of his brother-in-law and partner, Frank A. Wil-
cox, caused a change in the management, Mr. Crissey
then becoming the active head of the business. Wilcox,
Burchard & Company existed as a firm until 191 7, when
it was incorporated as Wilcox, Crissey & Company,
wholesale grocers, Frank A. Wilcox, president, a post
now filled by Miner S. Crissey. He is also a member
of the Jamestown Board of Commerce; director of the
Farmers and Mechanics Bank, and a director of the
Wholesale Grocers Sales Company, Buffalo, N. Y. ;
director of the Davis Warn Company, Inc., Jamestown,
N. Y. His clubs are the Jamestown, Rotary, Chadakoin,
and Moon Brook Golf Club, all of Jamestown. In
politics he is a Republican and is an attendant of the
First Methodist Church.

FRANK ALONZO WILCOX— An adopted son of
Chautauqua county, whose business life was spent
largely in the city of Jamestown, Frank A. Wilco.x won
for himself the high regard of his fellowmen, and at
his passing bequeathed the memory of a useful, well
spent life. Perhaps the following prayer, which he
loved and carried with him, illustrates his attitude to-
ward life better than words of eulogy:

Teach me, O Lord, that sixty minutes make an hour,
si.xteen ounces one pound, and one hundred cents a
dollar. Help me so to live that I may lie down at
nls'ht with a clear conscience, unhaunted by the faces
of those to whom I have given pain. Blind me to the
faults of others, but reveal to me my own. Keep me
young enough to laugh with my children.

And so he lived and so he died, a loving husband and
father, a citizen above reproach, a man faithful to every
trust, a good friend and neighbor. He was the son of
George and Melissa (Tanner) Wilcox, grandson of
John Wilcox, born in the State of Vermont, later a
resident of New York State, and maternal grandson of
Peabody and Roxanna (Farrier) Tanner.

Frank A. Wilcox was born in Angola, Erie county,
N. Y., Nov. 22, 1858, and died at his home in the city
of Jamestown, N. Y., March 5, 191 9. He exhausted
the advantages of the village schools, then began busi-
ness as a clerk in a grocery store at Angola. After
graduating from the village retail grocery store, he
entered the large wholesale grocery house. Granger &
Company, of Bufi^alo. Later Granger & Company es-
tablished a branch of their business in Jamestown,
making Mr. Wilcox manager of the branch. He had
risen rapidly with his house and continued the efficient
head of the Jamestown branch until 1895, when he
resigned to enter business for himself. He formed a
partnership with Seneca B. Burchard, and as Wilcox,
Buchard & Company, engaged in the wholesale grocery
business in Jamestown, operating very successfully
without change of firm, personnel or name until 1917.
In that year Mr. Burchard retired from the firm and
the business was reorganized and continued as Wilcox,
Crissey & Company, Frank A. Wilcox, president. This
firm pursued the same plan of operation as its prede-
cessor, and with the good will inherited the virtues and
principles which had gained Wilco.x, Burchard & Com-
pany a recognized place in the market as merchants of
enterprise, integrity and sterling worth. Mr. Wilcox
continued head of Wilcox, Crissey & Company until
his death in the spring of 1919. While his private busi-
ness was naturally his greatest concern, Mr. Wilcox
acquired other important interests. He was a director
of the Fanners and Mechanics Bank, director and an
early vice-president and member of the wholesale divi-
sion of the Jamestown Board of Commerce; member of
the Wholesale Grocers' Association, and when the great
World War laid a burden upon every American he
"did his bit" as a member of the Jamestown Council of
the United States Food .\dministration. He was a



regular attendant upon the services of the First Con-
gregational Church, and a generous supporter of all
good causes. He was keenly alive to his responsibili-
ties as a citizen and warmly supported all movements
for advancing Jamestown's interests. In 1017 Mr.
Wilcox underwent surgical treatment which apparently
gave him a long lease on life, but his vigorous, active
appearance was deceptive, and death came very imex-

Mr. Wilcox married, June 23, 1889, in Stockton, Chau-
tauqua county, N. V., Belle Crissey, daughter of Seward
Malcolm and Lucy A. (Wood) Crissey. Mr. and Mrs.
Wilcox were the parents of a daughter, Genevieve,
who after attending Jamestown public schools was a
student at Ivy Hall Seminary. She married, March 27,
1020, Harold Rhodes Zimmerman, of Daytona, Fla.

During the hours of the funeral of Frank A. Wilcox,
all grocery houses in Jamestown closed their doors in
respect for the memory of their fallen friend and busi-
ness associate. Delegations were present from the
various organizations with which Mr. \\ ilcox had been
connected, the entire body of employees of Wilcox,
Crissey & Company attending in a body. Resolutions
of respect and sympathy were sent Mrs. Wilcox from
the wholesale division of the Board of Commerce, the
Farmers and Mechanics Bank, and Jamestown Council
of the Federal Food .Administration.

From the resolutions passed by the Board of Com-
merce the following quotation is taken :

Mr. Wilcox had many exceptional traits of character,
chief of which, as we knew him, were his unswerving
honesty and keen desire to have absolute justice done
in all transactions to which he was a party. He was
always ready to support worthy objects which worked
for the betterment of our division, for the Board of
Commerce or the city of Jamestown, both morally and

The following tribute is from the Food Administra-
tion :

Those associated with him in that important and
patriotic work desire to place on record their under-
standing of his value as an ideal man and citizen, and
their appreciation of the sterling qualities which Mr.
Wilrox brought Into the work of the Food Adminis-

At all times he displayed the highest order of
patriotism and devotion to his country and the great
cause In which our nation was engaged. He hesitated
at no sacrifice and always subordinated his personal
Interests to the necessities of our work. His attitude
toward those great questions, which involved human-
ity and the civilization of the world, was uncomprom-
ising. Mis integrity was unquestioned. His judgment
was Invaluable and constantly sought with respect to
the many jierxilexing problems which confronted us.
He was an Inspiration to his associates and held the
respect, the admiration and the affection of every one
privileged to cooperate with him In this important
work. He did much for his rountrv and his fellow citi-
zens, and the world Is better for his having lived In It.
In his death each of us sustains a personal loss and we
mingle our t'rlef with all those who knew and apprc-
clalcd his sterling worth.

With the duties of his life nobly done his sun has
sunk below the horizon, and like strains of sweet
music wafted to our ears the precious memories of his
rare character will echo forever In our souls.

GARRETT E. RYCKMAN— Graixr culture and
wine makin;; arc two industries that have for many
years played an important part in the growth and de-
vel'/fmient of Chautauqua county, N. Y., and with
them the name of Ryckman is inseparably associated.
In fact, the great advance in technical perfection and

increase in magnitude made by these two factors in th
life of the community have been due to no single in
dividual to so great an extent as to Garrett E. Ryckmar
whose entire life was devoted to these objects ani
whose indefatigable labors were rewarded by a grea
personal success which placed him in the front rani
of the leaders of industrial activity in the county.

Mr. Ryckman is a member of a family that has lonj
been prominent in the region, and is a grandson o
Lawrence F. Ryckman. one of the early settlers of th'
county. Lawrence F. Ryckman and his forebears wen
conspicuous in the politics of Eastern New York ii
pre-Revolutionary times, and one of the family was ;
member of the commission appointed by King Willian
111 to treat with the Iroquois in the effort to gain thi
friendship of the great confederation of the Six Nation;
in the wars between the British and French colonists fo:
the control of the mighty empire of the New World

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