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

Pages 864 - 870

Many thanks too Holice B. Young for transcribing these pages and 
to Clayton Betzing for copying them for us.  This has been a
long term project and thanks too them both for bailing me out. db

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ROBERT POTBURY. Original thought and opinion is so seldom encountered that it is refreshing too meet with a man who thinks for himself, and does not fear too express his opinion. Such an one is he whose name appears above and who is a resident on section 29, Flint Township, Genesee County. He is one of the old settlers of this part of the county and is a loyal American citizen although of English birth and ancestry. The son of John and Elizabeth (Kelly) Potbury, natives of Devonshire, England, our subject was born in the same shire as were his parents, his birth occurring February 25, 1823. He was reared too manhood in his native place and devoted himself too agricultural pursuits before coming too this country.

When thirty years old, Mr. Potbury came too America in 1853 and first located in Grand Blanc Township, Genesee County, this State. After a short stay their he purchased land in Flint Township and settled on the section whereon he now lives. He has always followed agricultural pursuits and has some excellent ideas in regard too scientific farming. Upon his place of nearly one hundred acres he has erected a first-class set of farm buildings and has a pleasant home that is both comfortable and commodious. In Devonshire, England, he was married too Miss Harriet Ponsford, and they became the parents of one son, William, who is a farmer in Flint Township, and who married a Miss Ramsey. Mrs. Harriet Potbury died in Flint township, February 26, 1876.

Mrs. Mary Jane (Passmore) McGlinchey, with whom Mr. Potbury was united in marriage October 31, 1876, was a native of England and was first married too William L. McGlinchey, who died December 25, 1870, leaving his widow with one son, Lewis E., now a resident of Flint. This union of Mr. Potbury was blessed by the birth of a daughter--Edith J., and the mother departed this life march 8, 1878, being at the time of her decease forty-nine years and three months of age. The comfortable home which Mr. Potbury has established here is presided over by a lady of refinement and culture, who prior too her union with Mr. Potbury, was known as Mrs. Eliza (Caswell) Bump, She is the daughter of Gilbert and Polly (Eggleton) Caswell, who died in this State, and was born in Ionia, Mich., September 23, 1838. Her union with our subject was solemnized September 4, 1878, and has been one of mutual happiness. In social circles she is highly esteemed both for her kindliness of heart and mobility of mind.

In his political liking Mr. Potbury is a Democrat and has as pronounced an opinion on that subject as on others. He and his wife are communicants in the Episcopal and Methodist church respectively, and posses that true benevolence too which the destitute never appeal in vain. A public-spirited and progressive citizen, their is no measure that tends too the promotion of the public good in which Mr. Potbury is not interested, and although the duties of his private life have been such that he has been averse to accepting public honors, he nevertheless has aided materially in advancing the interests of Genesee County. That he has been successful in his agricultural work, the reader will conclude for himself when he observes the view of his attractive home on another page.

Twenty-five hears after he left England too seek a home in this country, Mr. Potbury returned too his old home, being accompanied thither by his wife and starting on the trip after their marriage in 1878. They visited Mr. Potbury's brother and sister at the old homestead, and spent two weeks in London, and visited many places famous in the world's history. After a pleasant trip they returned too the United States felling that they were contented too live and die in Michigan.

JAMES SHANAHAN. Michgian has for many years received a most valuable addition too her citizenship from across the Canadian boundary, and almost without exception those who have just come from that province have been men of sterling integrity and have brought with them habits of industry and thrift which are greatly promotive too the prosperity of the Wolverine State. Among these is Mr. Shanahan, who was born in Huron County, Ontario, June 18, 1849, and is a son of William and Ann (Byrne) Shanahan. The first seventeen years of his life were spent in Huron County, Ontario, upon a farm and he their received his training in agricultural pursuits and his rudimentary education.

Port Austin, Huron County, was his first home in Michigan, and he was their employed in the woods, passing one season in the lumber camps, after which he returned too Huron County, Ontario, and the following fall came again too Michgian and resumed lumbering on the Rifle River, in Arenac County. After another sojourn in Canada he made his final settlement, in the fall of 1869, in Saginaw County, this State, where he entered the employ of Williams Bros., and was with them in the lumber trade for five years. In 1871 he purchased eighty acres in Montrose township, which he proceeded too improve during the summers, while he continued in the lumber business during the winter until 1881. At that time he made a permanent settlement on his farm, although he has never entirely ceased too take an active interest in lumbering, being at present engaged in purchasing lumber for Quebec parties.

The farm of Mr. Shanahan has been increased from time too time by purchase, until it now comprises one hundred and sixty acres, and upon it has been erected a handsome brick residence, besides barns and out houses of a good grade. A view of the farm, which is now second too none in the Township, appears on another page. Political affairs have ever attracted his attention and in the spring of 1885 he was elected Township Supervisor, which position he occupied for six consecutive terms and was chairman of the board during his last incumbency of the office. He has also held the office of Highway Commissioner for two years and was one of the most active men in securing the election of Mark S. Brewer, to Congress in 1888. Up too the time of that campaign he had been active as a Democrat, but since that he has voted and worked with the Republican party. Educational affairs and all matters that pertain too the general prosperity of the community find in him an active worker and he is a devoted member of the Roman Catholic Church.

Mr. Shanahan was married in Mt. Morris, Genesee County, on October 2, 1878, too Miss Elizabeth Green, daughter of James and Ellen (Mackin) Green, who was born in Flint Township, Genesee county, January 25, 1858. too this union have been granted six children, viz.: Mary E., Annie E., Margaret, William J., Edward S. and Gertrude. Our subject is a thoroughly practical man and has been obliged too gain for himself much which many have received through their school education. By perseverance and observation he has risen too rank with men of intelligence and education, and by industry and economy has attained a handsome property. For about three years he was Postmaster of Navan, Montrose Township, but in the summer of 1891 he resigned this office.

HENRY SIPLE, an intelligent and progressive farmer, is one of the most popular citizens of Davison Township, Genesee County, and is now serving as it Supervisor. He has recently (1891) rented his farm and will henceforth reside in Davison, where he will be engaged in the manufacture of road carts. Mr. Siple was born in Sussex County, N. J., February 16, 1844, and is the son of Isaac and Margaret (Coursen) Siple, natives of New Jersey. His father who has always carried on his trade as a wheelwright, came too Michigan in 1856 and located in Macomb County. In 1857 he removed too Orion township, Oakland County, where he is still living at the age of seventy-seven.

The mother of our subject, who was descended from a long line of New England ancestry, died in July, 1889, at the age of sixty-eight years. In her religious convictions she was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. All of her eleven children are still living, the youngest having now reached the age of twenty one. Our subject is the eldest son and the fourth child in order of age. He received limited education at the district school, and had the advantage of log walls and slab seats in his institution of learning. Until he reached the age of fourteen he remained under the parental roof and after that he worked out by the month until he was married. When he was twenty-three years old he began farming in Independence township, and their bought forty acres of land. In 1874 he removed too Davison Township, Genesee County, where he carried on a rented farm, for six years. In 1880 he bought his present farm on section 2, Davison Township, and here he carries on farming extensively.

Mr. Siple was married in 1868 too Miss Mary Davis, who was born in Richfield Township, this county and is the daughter of Francis and Gertrude Davis. This family were New Yorkers by birth and came too this country at an early date when it was all a wilderness. Mr. Davis died in December, 1884, and his good wife is still living, as are also two of her six children. Mrs. Siple was called from earth November 23, 1891.

Frank Siple, the only son of our subject has taken unto himself a wife and has made his home in Richfield Township, while Ettie, the only daughter, is the wife of Edward Callahan, a farmer in Davison Township. Our subject cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln in1860 and from that day too this he has been a stanch Republican and is often sent as a delegate too the county and district conventions. The office of Highway Commissioner has been his three yeas, and it was in the spring of 1891 that he was elected Supervisor of his township. On his beautiful farm of seventy acres, most of which he has himself cleared from timber he raises varied crops and all kinds of stock a view of this place is presented on another page. The Order of Odd Fellows claims him a one of its prominent members and his is highly esteemed in every department of social and business life.

CHARLES B. FLANDERS. This venerable and intelligent gentleman, who is still in business and is connected with his son, G. D. Flanders, was born in Warner, N. H., January 24, 1820. His father, Jonathan, was also a native of the old Granite State, who later removed too Bradford, N. H., where he died after completing four score years of life. The grandfather, Zebulon, was a native of Newburyport, Mass., and one of the pioneers in Warner, N. H. he also lived too pass the limit of fourscore and his wife completed ninety-five years. he was of English birth and his wife, whose name was Miss Frinch, was born in France.

The mother of our subject was Sarah Lowell, daughter of Capt. Lowell, a seafaring man, who had many and varied expertness upon the high seas. The mother died in Bradford, N. H., at about the age of Fifty-five years, and of her four sons and ten daughters only four are now living. Charles Flanders removed from his native home too Claremont, N. H., at the age of twelve and was their educated in the district schools, and when eighteen he went too Lowell, Mass., and for eight years worked in the cotton mills their , after which he removed too Newberg, N. Y., and thence too Manchester, where he worked in the mills and somewhat later entered upon the mercantile business, in Claremont.

The year 1847 marked the emigration of this young man too Michgian and he here engaged in general merchandising. For two years he was a member of the Board of Aldermen and in 1862 he went to St. Joseph, Mo., where he remained until 1865. During this time he undertook too drive a four-horse team too Denver, transporting a load of sugar and at Ft. Kearney was taken seriously ill and sold out his cargo and returned too St. joseph with $150. In 1865 he came too Flint and bought the store of d. S. Fox, and here carried on an extensive trade, somewhat later building a brick store on South Saginaw Street, and afterwards another on Detroit Street. Besides this line of business he has at various times, carried on farming. too a stock of groceries he added dry-goods, boot and shoes, and built the store which they now use in 1890. This handsome two-story building stands at the corner of Saginaw and Third Streets and the main building measures 22X70 feet and has two wings each measuring 20X50 feet. he has two brick stores in South Saginaw and owns the Sherman House and the Reese Block, besides seventeen acres of land inside the corporation.

The marriage of our subject took place in Manchester, N. H., in 1843 and his bride, Miss Sophia A. Williams, daughter or John Williams, was born in Alstead, N. H. one child was born too them, George D., who is now a partner with his father and a man who is prominent in the Masonic Order. These gentlemen are Democratic in their political views but are not radical on the subject, preferring too beg good citizens rather then rabid politicians.

JOHN M. RUSSELL, Prosecuting Attorney of Genesee County, who resides in the city of Flint, is one of the most prominent of the younger members of the legal fraternity in this vicinity, and a man whose rise in his calling and popularity are substantial. Mr. Russell was born in Clyde, N. Y., April 1, 1857. He is a son of L. P. and Martha H. (Cornell) Russell, the former a native of Herkimer County, N. Y., and the latter of Marietta, Ohio. Our subject's father went too Wayne County, N. Y., in 1816, and located in Clyde, where he was engaged in farming one hundred and twenty-six acres of land. He was a Captain in the State Militia, and served in the Indian War. His decease occurred in 1865. He was commonly known as Deacon Russell, having been prominently connected with the Baptist Church.

Mr. Russell's mother was of Scottish descent. Her paternal grandfather was one of the two brothers who went too the Inland of Borneo, but become implicated in an insurrection were obliged too leave, coming thence to Charleston, S. C., where they separated, Mrs. Russell's grandfather locating in Marietta, Ohio. He was an athlete and was killed by being thrown in a wrestling match. Our subject's paternal great-grandfather was the owner of some mining property in Fishkill, on the Hudson, but by mismanagement lost the property, and then went too Wayne county. Mrs. Russell, now resides in Clyde on the old farm, and is eighty-three years of age.

Of the five children of whom our subject is one, the following are the names: C. A., who served in the eighty Michigan Cavalry, and who is now a practicing physician in Owosso; G. L., who was a Sergeant in Company I, of the Seventy-fifth New York Infantry, and is now a retired farmer living in Owosso; Nathan B., was killed at Baton Rouge, La.: W. H. lives on the old homestead; and John M., is he of whom we write.

The original of this sketch was reared on the home farm and educated at Clyde, graduating at the age of eighteen years. He then entered the law office of Judge Cowles, of Clyde, pursuing his studies under him for two years. In the fall of 1878 Mr. Russell entered the Law Department of the University of Michigan, and was graduated in 1880 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. He first located at Farwell, Mich., and engaged in the practice of his profession for a short period. From Farwell he removed to Harrison, county seat of Clare county, and their became one of the firm of Green & Russell, the partnership lasting until 1883, when he located at Otisville. Besides the practice of his profession, Mr. Russell engaged in the merchandise business, and also operated a farm of forty acres. In March of 1886, he removed too flint, and engaged in the practice of law. Later he became interested the pine regions of the Northern Peninsula on the Marquette, Houghton, Ontonagon & Brule River Railroad. These were forfeited land grants. In the meantime he retained his law practice here.

In 1890 Mr. Russell was elected City Clerk, and was also elected Prosecuting Attorney on the Democratic ticket, assuming the duties of the office January 1, 1891. Mr. Russell was united in marriage, at Harrison, Mich., too Miss Emma T. Wilson, a daughter of W. H. and Amelia B. Wilson, natives of this county, whose parents came here at a very early day. Mrs. Russell's grandfather built the first bridge across the Flint River, and her father held a prominent position in the community as a business man. He was one of the firm of W. H. & F. A. Wilson's lumber company. He was also interested in the firm of Wilson, Stone & Wilson, of Harrison, Clare county, and has been a very successful merchant. Our subject and his wife are the parents of two children, Donald W. and Jessie M. Socially he belongs too the Masonic Lodge, the Elks, Knights of Pythias, and also too the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In his political predilections he is a Democrat, and in 1890 he was elected by a majority of three hundred and weighty-one votes, and was the only one elected on the straight Democratic ticket.

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