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Page 310

HENRY DRIESBACH, Superintendent of the County Farm, was placed in charge of this institution in the year 1884, and in the discharge of his responsible duties has acquitted himself with great credit. It is a position difficult to fill, one requiring great tact and good judgement, and one to which the present uncumbent seems thoroughly adapted. The farm comprises 180 acres of land located on section 5, Fawn River Township, and accommodates twenty-nine dependants of the county, some of whom are able to assist in its labors, and some of whom are not. The land is under a good state of cultivation, yielding under its present good management sufficient to maintain its beneficiaries in a comfortable manner.

Our subject was born in Clarence Township, Erie Co., N. Y., Aug. 7, 1829, and is the son of JOHNATHAN and SUSAN (HERSHEY) DRIESBACH, the former a native of Pennsylvania, and of Holland-Dutch ancestry, and the latter born in the Dominion of Canada. The father began life April 3, 1800, was a tradesman, and also followed coopering until 1848, in Williamsville, N. Y. The parents lived in Erie County, N. Y., where the father died in 1885; the mother is still living. Their family included four children, of whom our subject was the eldest. His younger sister, HARRIET, the widow of CHARLES C. GROVE, is living near Buffalo, Erie Co., N. Y.,; ISAAC learned the coopering trade of his father, and located in Memphis, Tenn., where his death took place about 1872; WILLIAM was married in Erie County, N. Y., where he died about 1886.

Our subject left the Keystone State when a man of thirty years, in 1859, and coming to this county, settled in Sturgis Township. He had learned blacksmithing in New York, but after coming to Michigan engaged in butchering, which he followed in Sturgis five years. In 1863 he purchased 100 acres of land about three miles west of the present County Farm, and thereafter engaged in agricultural pursuits. Upon this he lived until 1884, and then left it in charge of BENJAMIN BAKER.

Our subject was married, in 1852, to MISS HARRIET N. CAMPBELL, who was born in 1832, in Erie County N. Y., and is the daughter of MATTHEW and CATHERINE (BOYER) CAMPBELL, the father a prominent farmer and stock-raiser of Erie County, N. Y. The parents were natives of Pennsylvania. To MR. and MRS. DRIESBACH there have been born six children, two sons and four daughters: HARRIET N. is the wife of THOMAS BURTON, engaged in farming at Burr Oak; HENRY is farming in Allegan County, this State; KITTIE S. is nurse in the city hospital at Buffalo, N. Y.: HERR is at home; LOTTIE is engaged as a clerk for the wholesale hardware firm of Sheppard & Co., in Buffalo, N. Y.; and ELLA M. died in 1855, MRS. DRIESBACH died in 1870. MR. D. was a second time married, in 1871, to MRS. KATE S. HAWK, widow of the late LAFAYETTE HAWK, her maiden name being GEE. MRS. D. has two children by her first marriage-ISAAC N. and FREDERICK L.

MR. DRIESBACH has been quite prominent in local affairs, officiating as Pathmaster and School Director in his township, and identifying himself with the various enterprises tending to the prosperity of its people. He was Supervisor of the township four years, has also held the office of Township Treasurer two years, and that of Highway Commissioner three years.

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Page 310

LUTHER GRAVES, a representative farmer of St. Joseph County, is the son of JOSEPH GRAVES, that well-known pioneer, who established himself in the embryo community of Burr Oak Township as early as February, 1833, while Michigan was still a Territory. The native State of the latter was Vermont, and he was born in the town of Barton, Orleans County, Aug. 30, 1791.

The father of our subject left the Green Mountain State in 1826, and making his way to Genesee County, N. Y., sojourned there a period of six years, and carried on farming. He started for Michigan in the winter of 1832. At that time the Chicago Turnpike had been surveyed and partially constructed, although no bridges had been built. The streams, however, were mostly fordable, and the swamps intervening were "corduroyed," JOSEPH GRAVES upon reaching Burr Oak Township located on section 11, purchasing 240 acres of land of a man by the name of HATCH, formerly of LeRoy, N. Y.

The parental family of our subject consisted at that time of seven children, two of whom are now living; PASCAL is deceased; LUCINDA became the wife of JOHN STILLMAN, of Burr Oak, a mason by trade, but now retired; LUTHER; DANIEL and CARLOS, deceased; JULIA, who married GEORGE BOYLES, is also deceased, and an infant died unnamed. The mother, MRS. SARAH (SANBORN) GRAVES, was born in June, 1797, in Barton, Orleans County, and was the daughter of ELIJAH SANBORN, a miller. She died July 6, 1836. She was a most estimable lady, faithful and kind, and was beloved by all who knew her. JOSEPH GRAVES survived his wife a period of thirteen years, his death taking place March 20, 1849. He was a Whig, politically, and in his native State had identified himself with the Methodist Episcopal Church. He passed away before the organization of Methodist Society in this county, but still continued his adherence to its doctrines.

The subject of this sketch, like his parents, was born in Barton, Orleans Co., N. Y. He made his home with his father up to the time of the latter's death, although working for himself after reaching his majority. He was married, on the 27th of March, 1845, to MISS ELIZA, daughter of Col. JOHN START, of Onondaga, N. Y., who was at that time living near the city of Syracuse. He was a Colonel of "Militia," and by occupation a farmer and blacksmith. Of this marriage of our subject, his son LINNEOUS L., who was an engineer by profession, and a resident of Chicago, died Sept. 29, 1886. The circumstances surrounding his death are sad and somewhat mysterious, he having gone out duck hunting, and, it is supposed, was murdered. He had been married, and left a wife and five children, tow sons, and three daughters, who are still residents of Chicago, living at No. 440 Twenty-ninth street. The remains of this son were brought home and interred in the cemetery at Burr Oak. MRS. ELIZA GRAVES died Feb. 17, 1852.

MR. GRAVES was married the second time, April 27, 1853, to MISS JOANNA, daughter of BENJAMIN SELLICK, who is now deceased. He was a mason by trade, and the family were at that time residents of Coldwater. Of this union there have been born seven children; FRANK, a farmer of Burr Oak Township; EMMA, at home with her parents; DANIEL, who is farming in Burr Oak Township; MINNIE, who died at the age of two years and nine months; MARY, MAUDE and MABEL, the latter of whom was twelve years of age Oct. 14, 1888. The GRAVES property consists of 160 acres of land in a highly fertile condition, with good improvements. The proprietor is industrious, frugal, and in good circumstances.

It is with pleasure that we present the portrait of this estimable gentleman in this volume.

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Page 311

SIDNEY CARPENTER, the owner of one of the finest farms in Burr Oak Township, came to this county a poor man in the year 1836. He had made the journey overland from Cattaraugus County, N. Y., with a team of horses and a wagon. He had borrowed $60 in money with which to secure possession of a tract of land, and with this limited capital commenced in earnest the struggle from which he has come out with flying colors. To detail the hardships and struggles which he endured in bringing the soil to a state of cultivation and building up for himself and family a comfortable homestead, would only be recapitulate the story which has so often been told in connection with the early history of Michigan. Suffice it to say that he proved to be one of the most enterprising men of his community, and today bears the reputation of being one of the most prosperous. He looked upon this section of the country in its Territorial days, and no man has taken a warmer interest in its growth and prosperity.

MR. CARPENTER was born in Worcester County, Mass., April 27, 1810, and is consequently nearing his fourscore years. From New England he migrated to Cattaraugus County, N. Y., settling with a brother-in-law in the vicinity of Farmersville, where he lived and carried on farming until 1836. His next removal was to this county. His parents, FREDERICK and EUNICE (BURRIS) CARPENTER, were natives respectively of Connecticut and Massachusetts, and the maternal grandfather, DAVID BURRIS, was an old Revolutionary soldier, who served his seven years in the army and lived to rejoice in witnessing the independence of the Colonist. Afterward he settled upon a farm in the vicinity of Warren, Mass., and there spent his last days. FREDERICK CARPENTER closed his eyes upon earthly scenes at his home in Massachusetts, in 1822; the mother died in New York in 1865. Their household included thirteen children.

MR. CARPENTER upon coming to this county purchased eighty acres of land on section 20, which is now included in his present farm, and to which he has added until his estate embraces about 300 acres. He has about him all the comforts of modern life, including good buildings, fruit and shade trees, shrubbery, barns, live stock and modern machinery. His course has been marked by that industry and perseverance which seldom fail to meet with their legitimate reward. He was married, Jan. 16, 1833, to MISS EUNICE, daughter of PERES BROWN, of Farmersville, N. Y., and they began the journey of life together in Cattaraugus County, N. Y., and traveled thereafter in company for a period of seventeen years, when the devoted wife was called hence on the 15th of June, 1850. Of this union there were no children.

MR. CARPENTER, in August, 1851, contracted a second marriage, with MISS AMANDA WORDEN, who was born in New York in 1833. The parents of the present MRS. CARPENTER spent their last years in New York. Of this marriage of our subjects there were born three sons and three daughters, one of whom, EUGENE, died Sept. 24, 1855, when an infant of six months. Their eldest son, FREDERICK, is a prosperous farmer of Burr Oak Township; IDA is the wife of LORENTUS PORTER, and JENNIE is the wife of CHARLES TURNBULL, both well-to-do farmers of Burr Oak Township; ROSE was married to LESTER PERRIN, of Sherman Township, and died Jan. 24, 1874, and CHARLES died in 1862. MR. CARPENTER cast his first Presidential vote for GEN. JACKSON, and for many years has been a supporter of the principles of the Democratic party.

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Page 312

A. M. GRAHAM, who holds a good position among the members of the legal profession in Burr Oak, established at this place on the 1st of December, 1874. He was born in Madison Township, Lenawee County, this State, Oct. 1, 1841, and was educated in the common schools of his native county. His parents, WILLMARTH and SARAH (COATS) GRAHAM, were natives of New York State, and of Scotch descent. The paternal great-grandfather was born in the city of Glasgow, Scotland.

The parents of our subject left their native State soon after their marriage, and emigrated to Lenawee County, Mich., where the father secured a tract of land and carried on farming until 1858; he then removed to Burr Oak, where he remained until his death, which took place Feb. 22, 1866. The mother died Jan. 6, 1889. The household circle embraced two children only our subject and his sister ADELIA. The latter now resides at Charlevoix, Mich., and is the wife of LORENZO B. PORTER.

Young GRAHAM continued with his parents on the farm in his native township until his marriage, which occurred Dec. 11, 1866. His bride was MISS LORENA PORTER; she lived not quite two years after her marriage, her death taking place in September, 1868. MR. GRAHAM, in July, 1869, was the second time married, to MRS. AUGUSTA TOBEY, of Burr Oak, and the daughter of GIDEON and JANE SANBORN, who were natives of Massachusetts; the former is now dead, but the latter is still living. Of this union there has been born one child, a daughter, JENNIE.

MR. GRAHAM has worked his own way up in the world, having no capital to begin with, and has attained to his present position solely by his own efforts. He taught school a few terms, and went from the farm into a law office at Burr Oak, where he made good use of his time, keeping his eyes open to what was going on around him. In February, 1865, during the last year of the war, he enlisted in the United States Navy, with the Mississippi Squadron, which operated on the Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio and Cumberland Rivers. At the close of the war he was discharged, July 28, 1865, and took up his residence in Burr Oak.

Our subject was a member of the Republican party until 1876, when he identified himself with the Greenbackers, and with them has since been an active worker. He has held the office of Justice of the Peace in Burr Oak two terms, and was Circuit Court Commissioner in St. Joseph County the same length of time. Socially, he belongs to the Masonic fraternity. His home is pleasantly located at the corners of Henry and Second streets.

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SAMUEL AMESS. Among the well-known, respected and patriotic citizen of Burr Oak Township, none are more worthy of a place in this volume than he whose history is here briefly sketched. MR. AMESS is a native of Norfolk, England, and was born in August, 1819. He came to America in the year 1851. In England he had been a day laborer, and followed the same when beginning life here. By care, management and frugality, coupled with honest manly effort, he has made his way to his present most creditable position in society. The maiden name of the excellent wife of our subject was NANCY DOUGHTY, the daughter of JOHN DOUGHTY, who was also a laborer in England. Our subject first came to America alone, and after he had saved sufficient money he sent for his wife and little one. Their home has been in the Vicinity of Burr Oak since 1868.

In the year 1862 the subject of our sketch enlisted in the Union Army, becoming a member of the 17th New York Battery, and served from that time until the close of the war. He was in the Independent Battery, and took part in many of the small engagements and skirmishes.

Receiving an honorable discharge at the expiration of his military service our subject returned to his home, and once more engaged in the struggle to better the condition in life of himself and family, and provided something against the time when he would be unable to continue arduous toil. Realizing the opportunity that is afforded in this grandly free country, he made the most of it, and was at all times assisted to the utmost by his wife, who has been a nobly true and faithful woman in every relation of life.

Our subject and wife have but one daughter, MARY A., who is the wife of WILLIAM WATSON, one of the well-to-do and prosperous farmer of Burr Oak Township. She was born in England, on the 5th of September, 1855. Her parents and also herself and husband are accorded the esteem of the community, and are regarded as worthy and honorable members of the same. MRS. AMESS attends the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in politics MR. A. is a Republican.

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Page 313

CORYDON CROOKS is one of the most reliable and thrifty citizens of Burr Oak Township. He is a native of Delaware County, Ohio, and was born at Oxford on the 6th of July, 1823. His father, GEORGE CROOKS, was a native of Pennsylvania and followed the trade of a blacksmith. The maiden name of his wife, the mother of our subject, was SUSANNAH COWLES. They were the parents of five children, tow sons and three daughters.

After he left school our subject was apprenticed to learn the carpentry trade, and became quite an able mechanic. He continued to follow his trade for about forty years, during which time he lived in Indiana. In April of 1849 he was married, in Steuben County, Ind., to MRS. DEBORAH BEEBE, the daughter of AMOS and MARTHA (ROSS) BEEBE. The wife of our subject was born on the 3d of January, 1829, in Knox County, Ohio, and until her marriage made her home with her parents. She became the mother of one son, whose name is AMOS D., of Goshen, Ind.

MR. CROOKS migrated to Michigan in 1881, and worked at his trade, but also took a tract of land which he proceeded to improve and highly cultivated; he carries on general farming.

MRS. CROOKS is a stanch member of the Church of Holy Day Saints, and has been in that relation since 1888. The political sympathies of our subject are with the Republican party, with which he has always voted since having the right so to do.

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Page 313

JAMES E. SEAVER. The subject of this sketch arrived in this county from Lockport, Niagara Co., N. Y., in December, 1869, nearly twenty years ago, and has since resided within its limits. During this time he has been interested in local affairs, serving as a member of the Village Council, and is at present Justice of the Peace. He is a native of Orleans County, N. Y., and is the son of B. E. and EVALINE (BARLOW) SEAVER, who were also natives of the Empire State. The father was for some years a foundryman at Rochester, N. Y., but later turned his attention to farming, settling on a tract of land in Orleans County, N. Y., where he spent his last days, and died in February, 1860. The paternal grandfather, WILLIAM SEAVER, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

MR. SEAVER, after leaving the primary schools, attended Genesee College for a time and other schools at Buffalo, N. Y. Three years afterward he was engaged in teaching. Later, for another period of three years, he was employed as a bookkeeper for an importing house in New York City. When setting about the establishment of a home of his own, he was married to MISS CORNELIA A. HINMAN, of Lockport, N. Y. This lady is the daughter of CHARLES and MARGARET G. (McKNIGHT) HINMAN, both natives of New York State, and the father of English descent. The first representative of his family in this country crossed the ocean in the "Mayflower" in 1620. CORNELIA A. completed her education in the city schools of Lockport, N. Y. She employed herself as a teacher before her marriage, which took place in her native county. After 1865 MR. SEAVER followed farming until he took up his residence in the western portion of the village of Burr Oak, where he now lives.

The family of Mr. and Mrs. SEAVER consists of five children, namely; JULIA, BEVERLY E., NELSON H., EDGAR and HERBERT. MR. SEAVER, politically, affiliates with the Republican party, and is an active supporter of its principles. He identified himself with the Masonic fraternity, and is a member of Lodge No. 336, at Medina. He has always been interested in the matters of importance to the community in general, and has been the incumbent of offices of trust and responsibility.

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JOSEPH C. STOWELL. Among the pioneers of St. Joseph County none are held in higher regard than the subject of this biography. Thrifty, well-to-do, honorable and upright in his transactions, Mr. STOWELL presents the picture of the typical pioneer and one of the most valued members of his community. He settled in Burr Oak Township in 1835, and has since been closely identified with the interests of its people.

The town of Winchester, Cheshire Co., N. H., cradled our subject seventy-eight years ago, he having been born Oct. 27, 1810. His parents, Elijah and Deborah (LINCOLN) STOWELL, were natives of the same town as their son, the father born May 28, 1779, and the mother July 29, 1774. Their family included six sons and six daughters, who presented the remarkable circumstance of all living to mature years, marrying and being settled in comfortable homes of their own. The record of their births is as follows: Lovisa, March 29, 1804; Alvah, Oct. 8, 1805; Paul, Feb. 23, 1807; Deborah, Nov. 18, 1808; Joseph C., Oct. 27, 1810; Israel, Sept. 10, 1812; Elijah, Nov. 27, 1810; Abigail, Oct. 9, 1816; Samuel L., Nov. 1, 1818; Rhoda, April 9, 1821; Hannah, Aug. 26, 1823, and Elijah C., March 16, 1827. The family left the Old Granite State in 1819, locating in Madison County, N. Y.

Our subject continued a resident of New York State with his parents until March, 1835, when he started out on a prospecting tour, visiting this county. The following spring he repeated his journey, and selected eighty acres of land on section 14, in Burr Oak Township, and which is now included in his present homestead. He was prospered in his labors as a tiller of the soil, and in due time added eighty acres. He has 100 of this under a high state of cultivation, and has erected the building necessary for his convenience and comfort.

Our subject was first married, in 1837, to Miss Alvira M. NILES, who lived only one year after her wedding. In March, 1840, he was married to his present wife, then Miss CLARAVINA, daughter of Mishael and Ruth (BIDWELL) BEADLE, who were originally from the town of Marengo, Wayne Co., N. Y. In 1818 they left the Empire State, and settled near the town of Bucyrus, Crawford Co., Ohio. Thence they came to Michigan, lived for a time in the vicinity of Mottville, and later removed to Young's Prairie. In June, 1828, they changed their residence to Flowerfield, and in the summer of 1829 MR. BEADLE erected a small gristmill, which was known as the "corn-cracker." It was of the primitive style of architecture, and the flour was bolted through book muslin. Mrs. STOWELL when a girl spent many an hour shaking this bolt by hand during her father's absence from the mill. The machinery of this mill was finally modernized by putting in buhr grinding stones.

The Black Hawk War breaking out in the spring of 1832, Mishael BEADLE joined the army, but was not permitted to engage in any active fighting, as the famous chief was soon afterward, passing away in April, 1839. The widow mother survived a period of eleven years, lived to see her children grown, and then departed hence, with the consciousness of having done well her part in life.

Of the marriage of our subject there have been born four children: Melissa D., April 12, 1841; Ruth A., Jan. 28, 1843; Joseph M., May 1, 1845, and Benjamin E., March 6, 1847. Joseph, during the late Civil War, enlisted in February, 1864, in Company K, 7th Michigan Infantry, which was soon transferred to Company I. He participated in the battle of the Wilderness, and marched to Petersburg, where he met a soldier's death June 22 of that same year. His remains were subsequently brought home and laid to rest in the cemetery near by. He was a fine specimen of manhood, a brave soldier, and was cut down in the flower of his youth, being only nineteen years of age. Miss Melissa STOWELL, the eldest daughter of our subject, and now the head of the household, is a lady of more than ordinary abilities, and the comfort and protection of her aged parents as they are passing down the sunset hill of life. Benjamin, the youngest of the family, resides with his family on a portion of the homestead, where he carries on agriculture.

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