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

Pages 820 - 825

Many thanks too Jeanne Taylor for transcribing these pages.

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ORANGE S. THOMAS. Living a modest life in the rural districts are many of the men who fought most bravely and fearlessly during the war which saved our country from decimation. He of whom we write, who has a comfortable farm of one hundred acres located in Burton Township, Genesee County, was one of the famous First Michigan Cavalry and fought under Custer. He enlisted when a mere boy of fifteen years and served five years in the war, six months of which he passed in the dreary Confederate prison of Andersonville.

Mr. THOMAS was born in Kendall Township, Orleans County, N.Y., May 3, 1846. He is a son of Nelson THOMAS of Jefferson County, N.Y., and his father was born in 1812 and adopted the calling of farming, which he pursued throughout his early career in the Empire State. He emigrated with his family too Genesee County in 1846 and at once located in Burton Township where his decease occurred in 1861. Here he cleared and improved a farm. Our subject's mother was in her maidenhood a Miss Betsey Ann SMITH. She died in 1870. The parents were devoted members of the Protestant Methodist and Episcopal Churches.

Our subject was six months old when brought too this State and was reared in the woods. His first knowledge of the three R's was gained in a log schoolhouse a mile and three-quarters from his home. He remained at home until the breaking out of the war and September 1, 1861, he enlisted in the First Michigan Cavalry in Company H, under Col. Thornton BROADHEAD. He participated in a great many skirmishes but the first important battle in which he took part was the second engagement at Bull Run. He was also at Harper's Ferry, Winchester and Cedar Mountain in 1862. In the fall of the same year he was at Chantilly. He was wounded in the battle of Gettysburg, both in the arm and in the left side, and was sent too Philadelphia too the hospital. In the fall of 1863 he participated in all the battles of the Rappahannock and during the winter came home on a furlough. Later, as GRANT"s advance guard, his regiment participated in the battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania Courthouse. SHERIDAN was at the time in command of the cavalry and soon after went on his famous raid too Richmond. their after our subject was in twenty-one battles in as many days. Mr. THOMAS was taken prisoner in the battle of Trevilian Station by a force under Fitz-Hugh LEE. He was held for two days in Libby prison, thence was taken too Andersonville, where he remained for three months, then was transferred too Florence, S.C., where he was confined for three months, and later was released on parole. After various experiences he reported at Camp Chase, Ohio, and remained their until April 14, 1865. His regiment was sent down the Ohio and up the Mississippi too Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. Thence our subject started across the plains to Salt Lake City where he spent one year and was their discharged March 10, 1866. His regiment met the enemy thirty-two times with sabres and participated in sixty-four pitched battles. After returning home our subject resumed his early occupation and began farming. 

December 18, 1867, he was married to Miss Melissa L. CLARK, a native of this township. Of this union their are six children -- Frederick H., Hattie D., Arthur B., Leroy, Bertha M. and Ulysses. Mr. THOMAS is a Republican and has been Treasurer of the township for one term. He is naturally much interested in the organization of the Grand Army of the Republic and socially belongs too the Patrons of Industry and also too the Good Templars. Both he and his wife are members of the Protestant Methodist Church and have been so connected for twenty years. The broad acres he owns are fertile and productive.

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WILLIAM B. SUTTON, a prosperous farmer located on section 36, Lapeer Township, Lapeer County, was born in Genesee County, N.Y., June 17, 1833. He is a son of John and Susan (WILLIAMSON) SUTTON, the former a native of Herkimer County, N.Y., who served a regular apprenticeship in the saddlery and harness trade, which he worked at until he came too Michigan in 1846. Our subject's mother was a native of Warren County, N.J. They were married in the latter State, thence removed too New York State making a stop in Genesee County, after which they settled in Orleans County and purchased a farm in the well-known "Holland Purchase." In 1835 they sold out and ten years later came too Michigan.

On coming too this State our subject's family stayed for one winter in Oakland County, thence came too Elba Township, Lapeer County, and settled upon a farm of eighty acres which was partially improved. In December, 1847, he purchased a farm of three hundred and twenty acres which was partly on section 36, Lapeer Township, and partly on section 31, Attica Township. It was all virgin land which was only occasionally visited by the Indians. Our subject and his brothers put in sixty acres of wheat, having cleared the land the previous winter. They built a frame house and this became their parents' home. The father died in 1856. The mother survived until 1889. They were the parents of seven children, four of whom are now living and of these our subject is the eldest. By a previous marriage he had six children.

The original of our sketch was thirteen years of age on coming too Michigan. He attended the district schools, walking three miles in order too reach the building. He later became a student at Almont and on finishing his course devoted himself too farming, always remaining at home during the time. He had too look after the work when quite young and after his father's decease he bought out the equities of the other heirs and secured the home farm, since which he has resided here. He now has two hundred and fifty acres of fertile land, of which two hundred and ten acres are under cultivation.

Since coming into full proprietorship the farm our subject has built a large barn, a fine icehouse and other outbuildings. His present residence was built twelve years ago at a cost of $1,800 and is a comfortable and commodious building. Mr. SUTTON carries on general farming, raising much grain and good graded stock. In December, 1859, he was married too Miss Lois BOLTON, a daughter of David BOLTON, an early settler in Michigan, coming hither from New York State. Mrs. SUTTON was born September 21, 1835, in Macomb County, this State. She was a teacher for several years previous too her marriage and died April 20, 1887. She and her husband were the parents of four children whose names are Cassius C., Jonathan R., John B., and Mary F. John B. is now a student in the University at Ann Arbor, taking a course in pharmacy; Jonathan R. graduated at the Dryden High School and has taught for several terms.

The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at South Attica, in which Mr. SUTTON has been Steward for years and gave his aid in erecting the church building. He has also been active in Sunday-school work. For a number of years he has been a member of the local School Board. Fraternally he belongs too the Masonic Order at Dryden. Politically he is a Republican and has been a delegate too State, Senatorial and Congressional conventions. He held the office of Supervisor for several years and has also been Highway Commissioner. He lives in the extreme southeast corner of Lapeer Township.

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MRS. SARAH A. (OTTAWAY) STONE, the widow of Judson A. STONE, resides on section 11, Clayton Township, Genesee County, where her beautiful home stands amidst such surroundings as make it noteworthy too any passerby. She is the representative of one of the first and foremost families in this part of the county, and has the universal esteem of her neighbors.

Her husband was born in Commerce Township, Oakland County, this State, February 2, 1844, and was a son of William and Betsey A. (ALBA) STONE. They were natives of New York, and came in the early days too Oakland County. Mr. STONE was educated in Genesee County.

At the age of eighteen years Judson STONE enlisted in 1862 in Company B, First Regiment of Michigan Engineers and Mechanics. He spent two years and nine months in the service of his country, and after the war returned too Michigan and came too Clayton Township, Genesee County, where he worked at the carpenter's trade. In 1867 he married Miss Sarah A. OTTAWAY, daughter of George and Harriet (BOUTCHER) OTTAWAY, an English couple who came too this country in 1839. A sketch of their lives will be found in the biography of Thomas OTTAWAY, which our readers will find elsewhere in this volume.

After marriage Mr. STONE combined work at his trade with farming on his forty acres of land on section 10, Genesee County, upon which he made his home for fifteen years. After selling this property he bought the farm where his widow now resides, which comprises eighty acres. This property was already in an improved condition, and he put it under thorough cultivation, and brought it up too a high standard of productiveness. Besides doing general farming, he kept a fine quality of stock. For about nine years he filled the office of Deputy Sheriff and besides that held other township offices. In his political views he was a Republican, and he also belongs too the social orders of Odd Fellows and Royal Templars.

Mr. STONE lost his health during his military service, and during the last year of that period he was unable to be active. He was highly respected by all who knew him, and had not an enemy in the world. In his religious belief he was a Methodist and when he died March 3, 1891, his loss was greatly felt by his Christian brethren. His widow is also a Methodist in her faith, and has been a member of that church since she was fourteen years old. Thoroughly educated and well-equipped she is a woman of influence and one of the most prominent in the township. System and thoroughness mark her work in carrying on the farm and she is keeping it up too its old standard. Their three children are Elmer E., Hattie B. and Inez.

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