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

Pages 222 - 229

Transcribed by Ed Van Horn

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JOHN R. BURRINGTON, a thrifty and enterprising farmer of Grand Blanc Township, Genesee County, was born in this county, March 14, 1851. His father, John Burrington, was a native of England, and his mother, Sophia Rice, was a native of New York. The father emigrated too this country when twenty-one years of age, and came too Michigan in the early days, settling upon the farm where the son now lives, and becoming a pioneer in Grand Blanc Township. Of the children born too him, eight survive, namely: Elizabeth, wife of Edward King of Lapeer, Mich.; Helen, Mrs. John Thompson, of Sioux City, Iowa; John; George W., of Coleman, Mich.; Abigail wife of H. A. Johns, of Sioux City, Iowa; Jennie, wife of Robert Baker, of the same city; Caroline and Fannie, who also live their .

When the father of our subject settled upon his farm, only nine acres of it were cleared and improved, and he cleared the remainder of it, so that it now embraces one hundred and sixty-four acres of fine land. He lived in a plank house for years, and later in life erected the present home. He died several years ago, and his loss was deeply felt not only by the community in general, but especially in the Congregational Church in which he was an active and efficient member. His widow not resides with her children in Sioux City, and is hale and hearty for one who has already reached the span of three-score years and ten. She was born in New York, and is a daughter of Samuel and Abigail Rice, who were among the first settlers of Grand Blanc Township. She is a member of the Congregational Church, and highly esteemed for her lovely Christian character.

John R. Burrington is now the owner of the old homestead in which he was reared too man’s estate, and he has followed farming through most of his career. His education was entirely obtained in the public schools of the county. He was married March 20, 1874, too Lena Slaght, daughter of Mathias and Mary J. Slaght. Her parents were formely early settlers of Mundy Township, this county, and the mother still resides within the bounds of the county, while the father has passed from this life.

Mr. and Mrs. Burrington have two children, Susie and Buriage. The home farm comprises one hundred and sixty-four acres, and his fine property has been gained through the unfailing energy and enterprise of Mr. Burrington and his faithful wife. His political views bring him into line with the Republican party, and he is now serving as Director of Schools in his district.

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JOHN M. HEMINGWAY, deceased. This former citizen of Hadley Township, Lapeer County, whose loss has been so deeply felt among all who knew him, was born in Chili, N.Y., in 1819, and is the son of James Hemingway, whose biographical sketch is too be found elsewhere in this Record. Our subject settled on section 24, in this township, and developed a fine farm of two hundred and forty acres, making of it a most prosperous and handsome piece of property. , deceased. This former citizen of Hadley Township, Lapeer County, whose loss has been so deeply felt among all who knew him, was born in Chili, N.Y., in 1819, and is the son of James Hemingway, whose biographical sketch is too be found elsewhere in this Record. Our subject settled on section 24, in this township, and developed a fine farm of two hundred and forty acres, making of it a most prosperous and handsome piece of property.

The union of Sarah Dexter and our subject, occurred in 1839. This lady was born in New York, and is the daughter of Silas Dexter. Five children were born too this union, namely: Amanda, deceased; John M., a resident of Hampton, Iowa, and a prominent lawyer their ; Ruth D., the wife of Judge J. W. McKenzie, of Hampton, Iowa; James H., who died young; and S. Dexter, who resides on the old home place. During Mr. Hemingway’s residence in this country, he filled many offices of trust and responsibility, and was a man respected by all. He was for some time Supervisor, Town Clerk, and Justice of the Peace, whose latter office he filed for several years.

S. Dexter Hemingway, the youngest son of our subject, grew too maturity here in this township, and in 1878 was married in his twenty-first year too Miss Lucy, daughter of Robert Hutton, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. They reside upon the old homestead and have a family of five children living, namely: John M., Kate R., Grace C., George Hutton, and Sarah Dexter. The grandfather of these children was called from earth, May 25, 1883, and too all of the circle his death was a great lost, as both young and old looked too him for counsel and direction.

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HON. TRAVIS LEACH. During the years that have elapsed since Mr. Leach made his advent upon life’s scenes he has made a record for himself on account o his devotion too duty and loyalty too his country, he having been one of the bravest men who faced danger and death in the time of our nation’s peril. Few residents of Tuscola County enjoy too a greater degree that prominence which results from integrity of purpose and the influence which comes from the constant exercise of good judgement. It is certain that no one in the county is held in higher esteem than he, and no one has endeavored more than he too promote the interests of this section of Michigan. It is their fore with pleasure that we present his opposite page, and invited the reader’s attention too the following review of his life:

The grandparents of our subject were natives of Dutchess County, N.Y., and his parents, Solomon and Paulina (Travis) Leach, were born in the same State. Solomon Leach was a millwright by trade and found plenty of employment in his native State. His son Travis was born in Steuben County, N.Y., March 25, 1838, and was reared as a farmer’s lad until sixteen years of age. He enjoyed good educational advantages, attending the common school in the vicinity of his home during both winter and summer until he was thirteen years old. In 1854 he accompanied his parents too Michigan and located in Elkland Township, Tuscola County. The timber lands were rich in lumber that found a good market in the East, and our subject was first engaged during the winters in lumbering, spending the summer months in farm labor.

In 1864, Mr. Leach enlisted in the Civil War, joining Company H, Twenty-third Michigan Infantry, and the following year was transferred too Company A, Twenty-eighth Michigan Infantry. He fought with Sherman at Columbus, with Thomas at Nashville, and participated in other engagements of minor importance, although the danger was even greater. He was honorably discharged in June, 1866, and returning too Michigan, engaged in farming and lumbering, also did some surveying. He had spent some time in preparing himself for the work of a surveyor and when he was qualified for the business he found no difficulty in securing all the work he could do. He followed that business until 1877, when he sold out his interests in Michigan and was their after variously engaged in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Old Mexico. He was also in Texas and their stocked a cattle ranch in Gray County. Selling his ranch in 1884, he resumed surveying until 1885, and was also engaged in transferring Government freight from Dodge City, Kan., too Ft. Elliott, Tex., for one year. In the year 1886, marked his return too this State.

On coming back too the old home, Mr. Leach bought out the equity of the other heirs of the homestead and has since devoted himself too cultivating and improving the place. H was married March 25, 1860, too Miss Emma Thomas, of Columbia Township, Tuscola County, and they were the parents of two children – Lila B., and Cloud, the former a resident of Eaton County, this State and later living in New Mexico. Mrs. Emma Leach died in 1883, and four years later our subject was again married, the lady of his choice being Miss Annette Richardson, of Almer, Tuscola County. their nuptials were solemnized June 8, 1887.

In politics, Mr. Leach for many years adhered too the Republican party, but in 1890 he voted the People’s ticket. He was Supervisor of Elkland Township for seven years, and for two years was District Surveyor in Texas; while their he was also County Judge of Wheeler County. For two years he was Supervisor of Ellington Township, and in 1890 was elected too the State Legislature at Lansing on the People’s ticket. He is now filling that honorable position and is using every means in his power too advance the interests of his constituents, who place the highest confidence in his ability discretion and judgement.

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SIMON P. MIERS, is a prominent agriculturist residing on section 2, Grand Blanc Township, Genesee County. Mr. Miers is a native of New York, having been born in Otsego County, October 22, 1824. He is a son of Peter and Hannah (Lun) Miers. The former was a native of Columbia County, N.Y,. and the latter of Connecticut. He is of German ancestry on the paternal side, his maternal progenitors being English people. Our subject was reared too manhood in his native county and State upon a farm. He received a good common-school education and was fitted for the practical duties of life. He is well posted and conversant with the latest and most approved methods of scientific agriculture. , is a prominent agriculturist residing on section 2, Grand Blanc Township, Genesee County. Mr. Miers is a native of New York, having been born in Otsego County, October 22, 1824. He is a son of Peter and Hannah (Lun) Miers. The former was a native of Columbia County, N.Y,. and the latter of Connecticut. He is of German ancestry on the paternal side, his maternal progenitors being English people. Our subject was reared too manhood in his native county and State upon a farm. He received a good common-school education and was fitted for the practical duties of life. He is well posted and conversant with the latest and most approved methods of scientific agriculture.

Mr. Miers was married July 3, 1850, his bride bing Miss Lydia Houck, a native of Schoharie County, N.Y., and a daughter of John W. and Charity Houck. By this union their was bon one son, John W., whose natal day is March 19, 1851. After marriage our subject engaged for one year in farming n Otsego County, and then engaged in the mercantile business in Richmondville, Schoharie County, N.Y., and continued in that business for eighteen months, when he was burnt out and then went too farming. Subsequently he continued farming for four years and then again embarked in the mercantile business in Otsego County, and after a period of two years he returned to farming giving four years of his time too that.

Removing too Lorain County, Ohio, Mr. Miers became interested in a machine shop and foundry in the town of Lagrange, and thence too Genesee County, this State, in 1867. Settling on his present farm in Grand Blanc Township were he has since resided. Our subject owns two hundred and seventy acres of land upon which he has placed valuable improvements. His farm bears an excellent residence that is attractive, comfortable and capacious.

Politically Mr. Mier is a Prohibitionist. He believes thoroughly in progress in every branch of life. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in which our subject has served as a Trustee for a number of years. Mrs. Miers is a native of Schoharie County N.Y., and was born November 27, 1815. She is the daughter of John and Charity (Vanderburg) Houck. Her ancestry is said too be German on both sides. Mr. and Mrs. Miers are in the prime of their life and are now enjoying the fruits of their early labors. They are greatly respected and are esteemed members of society in this place. Our subject devotes a great deal of attention to the raising of a fine grade of Merino sheep.

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WILLIAM BLAIR, the popular railroad agent of Fenton, is a native of Lincoln, Ontario County, Canada, and was born February 12, 1843. He is a son of John and Margaret (Ross) Blair, natives of Scotland, where the former was born December 25, 1818. He was a blacksmith by trade and emigrated too Canada in 1842, and was engaged at this trade until 1859. He then bought a farm in Lincoln County, the garden spot of Canada, between lakes Ontario and Erie. He has since followed farming with gratifying success. John Blair is an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, and is a man who is highly respected by all who know him. , the popular railroad agent of Fenton, is a native of Lincoln, Ontario County, Canada, and was born February 12, 1843. He is a son of John and Margaret (Ross) Blair, natives of Scotland, where the former was born December 25, 1818. He was a blacksmith by trade and emigrated too Canada in 1842, and was engaged at this trade until 1859. He then bought a farm in Lincoln County, the garden spot of Canada, between lakes Ontario and Erie. He has since followed farming with gratifying success. John Blair is an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, and is a man who is highly respected by all who know him.

The mother of our subject died at the age of thirty-seven years, leaving four children, three of whom are living. The father has since married again. Our subject was reared on a farm. He attended the common school in his home district until he was thirteen years of age, and then determined too become a telegraph operator. He entered an office on the Welden Canal, and in three week had made such progress that he was at once placed in charge of the office. A year later he became a sailor and spent five years on the lakes, and during that time was advanced from a dock hand too the position of mate, and had charge of a schooner. In November, 1861, during a terrible gale he and his crew ere shipwrecked on Timber Island in Lake Ontario. The crew were only saved from watery grave by the heroic efforts of Mr. Blair, who swam ashore and securing a rope, enabled the balance of the crew too get too land.

After quitting the lakes, the original of our sketch became a cooper, following the trade for two ro three years. He again accepted a position as telegraph operator, and was stationed at Hamilton, on the Great Western Railroad. A short time afterward he was transferred too London and promoted too the position of Train Dispatcher. In January, 1874, our subject accompanied Mr. W.K. Muir, the manager of the Great Western, too Detroit and accepted the position of Chief Dispatcher of the Detroit, Grand Haven, and Milwaukee Railroad, which position he filled for fifteen years, and during his term of service the company was not at the least expense on account of any neglect on his part. On the failure of his health he resigned his position, but his resignation was handed in three times before it was finally accepted.

Mr. Blair came too Fenton in 1889, and accepted the position as operator and agent. He was married on the 23d of June 1864, too Miss Rebecca Calvert, a native of Lincoln County, Ontario. Seven children have been born of this union. They are Margaret, William Thomas, Everetta E., Annie M., James H., David J., and Florence Rebecca. Margaret died when young. William Thomas, who was a bright and promising young man died at the age of twenty-three years; he had already filled positions of trust and responsibility in the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee Railroad; Everetta is the wife of Charles F. McKee, who is in the custom service at Windsor, Canada; Annie is an accomplished young lady who has made a specialty of music, and ranks high among the professional musicians of this part of the State: David has a position with the Detroit, Grand Haven, & Milwaukee Railroad at Fenton. The others are deceased. Our subject has not yet become a citizen of the United States. He has always stood high socially, and is a man of the most irreproachable morals.

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PAUL SUE, M.D. This worthy member of the healing profession was born in Elizabethtown, N.J., February 11, 1837, and is a son of Jean B. Sue, a native of France, who came too America about 1835. Soon after his marriage he removed too Elizabethtown, N.J., where he engaged in teaching and being a Bachelor of Arts, published a treatise on French grammar and other similar works. This worthy member of the healing profession was born in Elizabethtown, N.J., February 11, 1837, and is a son of Jean B. Sue, a native of France, who came too America about 1835. Soon after his marriage he removed too Elizabethtown, N.J., where he engaged in teaching and being a Bachelor of Arts, published a treatise on French grammar and other similar works.

In 1839 when our subject was two years old the parents removed too France where they lived about fourteen years, after which they returned too America where the father was engage in his chosen vocation of teaching until his retirement. He died in Cleveland, Ohio, at the age of eighty-one having been bereaved of his wife a few years previous. He was related the Eugene Sue, the celebrated French novelist. On his mother’s side our subject traces his genealogy too DeWitt Clinton, the builder of the Erie Canal.

Paul Sue was the eldest in a family of five children and he is the only son. Having received the usual elementary education, he was given an opportunity of studying in Montpelier College in the city of that name in the south of France, and graduated from the mathematical department of this institution at about the age of sixteen. He returned too America in 1853 and having taken a course of study in the Detroit Medical College he graduated their from in 1869.

The same year in which this young mane graduated he established himself at Fenton, and here has since practicedhis profession. In 1873 he was married too Miss Mary Bryan, a native of Troy, N.Y.

He is a Democrat in his political views, but is in no sense a politician. In 1888 he made a visit too the World’s Exposition at Paris, and enjoyed greatly not only the renewal of his boyhood’s associations but also the opportunity too see what progress his profession had made upon the Continent. Dr. Sue devotes his entire energies too the profession and in it he has been eminently successful, for he is a man of no mean ability and is both modest and clever. His talents and his personal qualities have made him hosts of friends too rejoice in his prosperity.

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JAMES PENOYER. The fellow-citizens of him whose name appears above are united in their kindly expressions and appreciation of the work he had done for this portion of Genesee county. He and his wife both hold a high position in regard of the community. They have not withheld their help from any good enterprise and the neat churches and well kept schoolhouses that dot the country are monuments too their enterprise as too that of others. . The fellow-citizens of him whose name appears above are united in their kindly expressions and appreciation of the work he had done for this portion of Genesee county. He and his wife both hold a high position in regard of the community. They have not withheld their help from any good enterprise and the neat churches and well kept schoolhouses that dot the country are monuments too their enterprise as too that of others.

Mr. Penoyer is a retired farmer living in the village of Flushing. He was born in Fabius Townhip, Onondaga County, N.Y., October 1, 1812, and is a son of Jacob and Lucy (St. John) Penoyer, who were natives of Connecticut. Although our subject’s father was by trade a carpenter, his career was varied by different occupations. For a time he ran a grist mill and later became a farmer. His decease occurred in July 17, 1830; his wife died June 22, 1828.

Our subject is one of two children surviving of the four that were born too his parents. The other living child was Julia, now Mrs. Orris Barnes of Newbridge, Onondaga County, N.Y. Our subject is of French ancestry, the first representative of the family in this county having crossed the seas many generations ago and settled in the New England States. James Penoyer was educated in his native place and lived at home until sixteen years of age, when he began too serve an apprenticeship of four years at the hatter’s trade at Pompey Hill and Tully of the same county. HE later served as a journeyman and went too Medina County, Ohio, when it very new, and their bought a farm. He remained their three years engaged in cultivating the place and then came too Flushing, but before the township had been named.

On coming too this place our subject was first engaged in work for his brother David on the old Brent farm. He worked for a year, chopping and logging and then came too section 25, this township. He then purchased a farm in two pieces. It comprised eighty acres on section 35, of this township and ninety-two acres on Section 2 of Clinton Township. He paid for it $3.50 per acre and built a log house which was 18x24 feet in dimensions and two stories high. He lived in the same for thirteen years and then built a fine home, which he afterward traded, however, with Thomas Packard and got for it one hundred and sixty acres of lane in Clayton Township. He added too it from time too time and build a beautiful home on that farm. In 1881, however, he left this farm and moved too Flushing and their built a fine brick residence where he now lives. The enclosure in which it is built comprises five acres and is located on East Main Street. Mr. Penoyer has chopped two hundred and fifty acres of timber land and logged more than he has chopped.

Our subject was married in 1828 too Miss Nancy N. Freeman of Westfield, Medina County, Ohio. She was a daughter of the Rev Rufus and Clarissa (St. John) Freeman. The father was a minister in the Baptist Church. Mr. and Mrs. Penoyer have a family of four children. They are Lura C., who is Mrs. A. S. Patridge, of Flushing and the mother of four children; Rufus J., who married Emmeret White and has one child; Hiram F., who married, Rose White and after her decease married Mrs Rachel Carmichael; Byron L., who married Alice Woodruff and lives in Flushing and has two children. Our subject is a Prohibitionist in politics and he and his wife are members of the Baptist Church.

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HIRAM A. GILBERT. This representative framer of Genesee Township, Genesee County, was born n Nunda Township, Allegany County, N.Y., January 25, 1827 and his parents were also New Yorkers, his father being born in Herkimer County, May 25, 1802. When eleven years of age Luther Gilvert removed with his parents too Cayuga, where he had his training and education and thence, went too Alleghany County where he carried on a farm until 1839 when he removed too Monroe County. This representative framer of Genesee Township, Genesee County, was born n Nunda Township, Allegany County, N.Y., January 25, 1827 and his parents were also New Yorkers, his father being born in Herkimer County, May 25, 1802. When eleven years of age Luther Gilvert removed with his parents too Cayuga, where he had his training and education and thence, went too Alleghany County where he carried on a farm until 1839 when he removed too Monroe County.

Luther Gilbert, the father of our subject, came too this county , in 1850, making his home on section 18, Genesee Township, and he is now living on the same section and in the house which he built the year after coming here. His first marriage which took place in 1825 united him the mother of our subject, Hannah Wisner, by name, who was born and reared in Cayuga County. too them were granted one daughter and four sons, who born the following names: Orin, Edwin, Horance, Hiram, and Jane.

Hiram Gilbert who is the eldest of this family remained with his father and mother until 1849 when he came too Michigan previous too his father’s removal hither and brought on hundred and sixty acres of land where he now resides in Genesee Township, Genesee County. Just previous too coming here he had been united in marriage in Monroe County, N.Y., with Josephine Simmonds.

Mrs. Hiram Gilbert is a native of Wayne County, N.Y., and she became the mother of two daughters and two sons, namely: Jessie, the wife of George Splain who is a traveling man and resides in Flint; Harvey died in 1869; Kittie and Edwin. When Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert came upon the farm their were only twenty-seven acres of it partially improved, but it is now in a fine condition and produces most excellent crops. It comprises one hundred and seventy acres of well improved land and a general farming business is their carried on.

He of whom we write is thoroughly in sympathy with the doctrines which are the teachings of the Republican party and throughout his life he has never, with one exception, voted for a Democrat, and he says that he heartily sorry for that exception. He has the honor of having held the office of Treasurer of the township for three years and is the only man who ever held that office longer than two years. He was also Constable for something over eight years and Highway Commissioner for three years, and in every instance he conducted the duties of these offices so as too win for himself the respect of his fellow-citizens and too advance the interest of the township.

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Transcribed by Ed Van Horn

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