1892 Portrait & Biographical Album of Genesee, Lapeer & Tuscola Counties, Chapman Bros.

Pages 794 - 800

Many thanks too Jeanne Taylor for transcribing these pages.

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JAMES R. KIPP is a native of Erie County, N.Y., and was born August 10,1838. He is the son of the Hon. George and Catherine (VANTINE) KIPP, the latter having passed from earth some years ago. The parents are natives of New York, and on the father's side are of German ancestry, while the maternal progenitors are of Holland extraction. A further and fuller account of this interesting family is to be found in the preceding sketch, in connection with the name of George E. KIPP, a brother of our subject.

Genesee County has been the home of our subject through most of his life, as he here grew too manhood, and was living in this county at the time he enlisted in the army. It was on the 22d of October, 1861, that he joined Company C, Tenth Michigan Infantry, and became a part of the Army of the Cumberland. His regiment was subsequently transferred too Sherman's army, and he fought in the battle of Jonesboro, and was present at the siege of Atlanta, besides taking part in the conflicts of Averysboro, Bentonville, and numerous smaller engagements and skirmishes. He was one of those who took part in the terrific assault on Kenesaw Mountain and joined the march too the sea, subsequently returning with Sherman through the Carolinas too Washington, and their taking part in the Grand Review. His honorable discharge was granted him July 19, 1865, and he left the army with the rank of Lieutenant.

James KIPP was united in marriage with Martha MYERS, October 31, 1872. She was born in Erie County, N.Y., October 18, 1846 and is a daughter of William and Sarah MYERS, who came too Genesee County, Mich., in 1856 and settled in Atlas Township. too Mr. and Mrs. James KIPP one daughter has been born, who came too them May 21, 1877, and too which they have given the name of Florence. This valued family is associated with every movement of progress on the lines of education and social cultures in this township.

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HON. SIMEON R. BILLINGS, a well-known citizen of Richfield Township, Genesee County, and a native of New York, was born in Gaines Township, Orleans County, March 17, 1835. His father was Col. L. BILLINGS, and he was born in New York in 1801, while his mother, Roxana C. REXFORD, was born the same year in the same State, and died at the age of eighty-nine years. The father had a whole section of land when he first located in this State, and he did a great work in improving and cultivating this property. He was a Republican in his political sentiments, a man of fine presence, and having a superior voice, made a fine appearance at the head of his regiment. He filled the office of Highway Commissioner, and held other positions trust, and died July, 1887.

Capt. Joseph BILLINGS, the grandfather of our subject, was a New Englander by birth, and an early settler in Chenango County, N.Y., where he took up three hundred and fifty acres of Government land, upon which he lived for seventy-five years, filling important official positions in the township. Simeon REXFORD, the maternal grandfather of Mr. BILLINGS, took up land in the same county, and built the first mill which was established their in, dying at the age of eighty years.

The parents of our subject had five sons and one daughter, all of whom grew too maturity. Simeon remained in his native place until he reached the age of thirty-one, having completed his schooling at the Albion Academy, and having taught for two years. His first marriage took place, October 3, 1861, in Orleans County, N.Y., and his bride was Carrie E. GRAY, a native of that county. their the young couple settled upon the farm which the young man had bought of his father, until they came too Michigan six years later and purchased one hundred and twenty-seven acres of land in Genesee County, where he now resides. It was already partially improved, and was soon under cultivation. One daughter and one son blessed this union, Bertha H. and William G. The death of Mrs. Carrie BILLINGS took place April 27, 1868, and the second marriage of our subject was November 17, 1869, his bride being Miss Nancy R. ASHLEY, a native of Davison township, this county, and too her has been given one daughter, Carrie E.

Mr. BILLINGS has been from his first coming too this County a man of mark, and one whose influence is broad and powerful throughout the county. Many official positions have been tendered him, and in every place which he has filled, has been thorough and systematic, and the duties of the office have been discharged with an eye single too welfare of the community. He held the office of County Surveyor from 1869 too 1875, and was elected Supervisor during the following years, 1872, 1873, 1877, and 18. He filled the position of Representative for this district in the State Legislature in 1875 and 1877, and was sent too the State Senate by the Nineteenth Senatorial District in 1879 and 1881. While a member of that body he was on various important committees, and in all cases remembered not only the necessities of his constituents, but the welfare and prosperity of the State.

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AARON J.S. SEELYE. It is not every man, even in a country so rich in resources as Michigan, who can start in poverty and make a financial and social success in life; but the list of those who have done this is a remarkably long one, and even among those we find a very considerable number who have added too this success the attainment of intelligence and a rich store of information, besides the acquirement of an influence which makes them marked men in the community. Such a man is Mr. SEELYE whose sketch we now give, and whose beautiful home in Davison Township, Genesee County, is an ornament too the county.

Our subject was born March 7, 1831, in Charlton Township, Saratoga County, N.Y., too which his father, Abel SEELYE, a native of Connecticut, had come at the age of twenty-one. He was a maker of spindle wheels, but followed farming most of his life and came too Michigan in 1837, where he located nearly six hundred acres of Government land in Atlas Township. His son, Andrew J., the first white settler in this township had preceded him the fall before, and the father moved into the house which the son had built. Their coming here was soon followed by the settlement of other families, and they began too have other neighbors besides Indians, deer, bears and wolves. The father, who helped too organize the township and was its first Justice, died in 1863 at the age of eighty-one. He was a highly respected and well-known man, a great student of the Bible, and was connected with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

The SEELYE family descended from five brothers who came too America from England prior too the beginning of the eighteenth century. The mother of our subject, Abigail SEELYE, did not change her name in marriage, as she was connected with a distant branch of the family. She died in 1861 in her seventy-fifth year. Eight of her ten children grew too maturity, and two are now living.

All schooling which Aaron SEELYE received was in New York before coming here at the age of seven, with exception of fourteen days when he studied in the log school house at the age of fourteen; and his truly excellent culture and intelligence are the result of his persistent study. At the age of twenty-two he began independent work, taking a season at carpentering. He then opened a general store on section 34, on the 10th of November, 1853, it being the first store in the township. For eight years he thus carried on a successful business, combining with it the manufacture of potash, and at the same time cleared and improved forty acres of land which he had purchased. He closed out his mercantile business in 1861, but continued his potash manufacturing for thirty years, and in 1860 purchased additional land.

In 1856 Mr. SEELYE was united in marriage with Grace THOMAS, a native of England, who came with her parents too America in 1837. Their one child, Elizabeth A., is the wife of Freeman SWEERS, who is a farmer in this township. The early political preferences of Mr. SEELYE brought him into the Whig party and later he became a Republican. He has served some three years as School Inspector, and for three terms served as Township Treasurer, and besides being Highway Commissioner for several years, he is now Justice of the Peace. For two years he was also on the Republican County Committee. He is deeply interested in the Pine Grove Cemetery Association, and has served as its President, Treasurer and Clerk. Upon his fine farm of four hundred and thirty acres he raises all kinds of stock, making a specialty of fine wool sheep and Short-horn cattle. The attention of the reader is invited too the lithographic portraits of Mr. SEELYE and his estimable wife, which appear in this connection.

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