Biography of LEWIS MAXAM
Town of MEXICO, N.Y.
Many thanks to Esther Rancier for sharing her information on the Maxam family. Esther is researching in Richland and Mexico the Soul/Soule, Brace and Daniel P. Smith families, and would appreciate hearing from anyone researching these surnames.  Esther Rancier at: erase@pacbell.net 
 
      Families of Mexico, NY were well aware of the bloody Civil War raging in the South.  They sent their sons to fight, they prayed for the Union Army and the oppressed slaves, they sang patriotic songs at rallies.  All of the above was fairly easy, but then the years came when the coffins were unloaded from the railroad freight cars.  Smashed and torn bodies were tenderly helped back to the arms of their weeping families.  But for an unlucky few, there was the silence – no news.
      After the war as the horrors of Southern prisons became known, no name evoked more terror than that of Andersonville.  Mexico’s small farmers spent their lives marching in time with the seasons.  Their names were largely only known to their neighbors.  They helped to feed the community, but they were nearly faceless.  
      Then one close-knit family learned their beloved oldest son, Smith E. Maxam, had been captured on 20 April 1864 at Plymouth, NC.  He had enlisted as a private at Fulton, NY in Co. A 12th NY Cavalry.  The rebels took Smith to Andersonville Prison where the war had created food and medicine shortages.
      So many died.  Smith died 7 August 1864 from chronic diarrhea.  His body was tossed into grave no. 4946 where his remains lie now under the care of the National Park Service.  
      Many years passed before the families learned about the cruelties.  In June 1893 the Andersonville memoirs of a 12th NY Calvary member, Watertown’s Henry A. Harmon were published.  Even by 21stt century standards the scenes depicted are obscene in their inhumanity.  Only mid-20th century German concentration camps rival the conditions of starvation that existed at Andersonville. 
      Harmon wrote, “Scattered … and stretched out on the ground … were men in the last stages of disease, generally that of the bowels and other kindred complaints.  As the coarse food that was issued to the prisoners only aggravated complaints of this kind… the prisoners died by the hundreds….”
      Harmon further commented, “ The dead were picked up every morning, carried to the gates and laid out in a row, ready for the dead-wagon to draw them out.  Very few bodies would be left with any clothing on them; it would be in the majority of cases be stripped from them before the breath had left the body.
      “Many were the fights for dead men’s rags.  It was pitiable to view the naked dead as they were pitched like cord-wood into the wagon preparatory to their ride to the deadhouse or cemetery.  They were thrown in indiscriminately.”
      And the tale went on and on.  No family that read of these matters visualizing their own beloved one could escape from being changed forever.  The Maxam’s of Mexico never seemed to have written of their personal anguish.  They went on to average lives, but the nation should never forget about their sacrifice.  The Maxam’s were and still remain the best in America. They hid away their tears and went on. 
       In Kent, England about 1654 a Samuel Maxam was born.  By about 1680 Samuel I was in Plymouth Co., MA where the family remained via Samuel II to IV who died in Middleboro, Plymouth co., MA on 6 December 1820.  This Samuel IV and his wife Margaret Lucas had 11 children.  Their 8th child Ansel, born 2 April 1791, married Sarah Tiffany on 24 October 1810 in Adams, Jefferson Co., NY.  
      On 29 December 1841 in Marions Corner, Wayne Co., NY Lewis married Mary A. Parmeter, daughter of Elijah Parmeter and Rachel Mary Elwell.  She was born November 1824 in Saratoga Co., NY.
      By 1843 the family was living in Farmington, Ontario Co., NY where their oldest son, Smith E. Maxam was born 22 October 1843.  The family moved to Mexico, Oswego Co., NY by 1846 where Lewis began a successful farm.  In that first year the next son, Chester, died at age 3 months.  The babe was buried in Arthur Cemetery at Mexico.  In the quiet years that followed more children were born.
 Children of Lewis and Mary Maxam:
1. Smith E. Maxam b. 22 October 1843; m. Olive Carrie Meyers; d. 7 August 1864 at Andersonville Prison in Georgia.  
2. Chester Maxam b. May 1846; d. 1846, age 3 months. Buried in Arthur Cemetery, Mexico.
3. Francis/”Frank” Maxam b. 1850; d. after 1880 unmarried. Buried Mexico Village Cemetery.
4. Charles H. Maxam b. 7 May 1852; m. 16 March 1871 Sarah Jane Chesebro; d. New Haven, NY.
5. Cynthia Louise Maxam b. 11 October 1856; m. Mexico 9 June 1881 Frank Calkins; d. 1930.  Issue: 2 sons.  Residence Mexico.  Buried Mexico Village Cemetery.
     The family lived in an area of Mexico called Texas, NY where there was no close by church.  Lewis became a trustee of the Texas Union Church Organization which came into being on 1 April 1868.  This church was free to all Christian denominations to attend. The group needed a proper church building.  Lewis served on the Building Committee and the structure was erected, but it burned down on 31 December 1871.  The church was rebuilt by the congregation.
In 1893 a Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in Texas.  Various other groups also used its facilities.  The last group to do so included Lewis Maxam in 1895. 
     Lewis remained active on his farm until he was past 80. Mary died 1 September 1908 at Texas and was buried in the Mexico village Cemetery.  Lewis died at the home of his daughter, Cynthia Calkins in Mexico on 27 February 1914.  He also was buried in the Mexico Village Cemetery.
      Lewis’ son Charles H. Maxam married on 16 March 1871 Sarah Jane Chesebro.  They resided in New Haven, NY, having 4 children.  He was a diary farmer.  In 1910 the couple had been married 39 years.
Children of Charles and Sarah Maxam:
1. William DeForest Maxam b. 25 March 1872; m. 4 August 1894 Cora Ann Moyers; d. November 1955 in New Haven, NY.
2. Helen M. Maxam b. 25 March 1882; m. 29 March 1902 Morris E. Mason, a carpenter whose father was b. in England.  Issue: Vivian Mason b. 1909 and Irene Mason b. 1911.  Buried New Haven Cemetery.
3. Sementha Martha Maxam b. 26 August 1889; m. 22 April 1908 George Milton Parsons.  Buried New Haven Cemetery.
4. LeRoy Jenison Maxam b. 4 February 1895; m. before 1922 Lena May Aston; d. October 1981 in Marion Co., OH.
     Lewis’ daughter Cynthia L. Maxam married Frank E. Calkins in Mexico on 9 June 1881.  Frank was born October 1855 in Richland. He lived until 2 April 1938.  They had 2 sons.
Children of Cynthia and Frank Calkins:
1. Frank Stanley Calkins b. 1886; m. Emma May Webster who d. 1921; d. 
1928. Issue: Evelyn Calkins and Stanley Orr Webster Calkins who m. Pulaski,
                   NY 7 July 1926 Lena Gladys Colvin.
2. Lewis Calkins who m. ________.  Issue: Francis Calkins.
     William D. Maxam married at Texas, NY 4 August 1894 Cora Ann Moyers, born 10 December 1874 in Mexico.  They resided first in Demster, NY then later in New Haven. He was buried in the New Haven Cemetery in November 1955.  
 Children of William and Cora Maxam:
1. Blanche Bell Maxam b. Demster 7 August 1895
2. Hazel May Maxam b. Demster 15 April 1897
3. Willford Maxam b. Demster 30 July 1900
4. Gertrude Isabelle Maxam b. Demster 1 June 1905   
     LeRoy J. Maxam married before 1922 Lena May Aston.  By 1930 the family lived in Fulton, NY.  Later they moved to Marion Co., OH.  LeRoy died October 1981 at Marion Co., OH.
Children of LeRoy and Lena Maxam:
1. Norman LeRoy Maxam b. ca. 1922
2. William Maxam b. February 1923; d. 1 March 1998 in Sturgis, St. Joseph Co., MI.
3. James Maxam b. 18 August 1825; d. December 1980.
4. Robert Maxam b. 28 August 1931; d. September 1972.
5. Lewis Maxam b. 18 September 1936; d. 23 July 1997.

SOURCES:

 Andersonville Memoirs of Henry A. Harmon.  Available [online] [29 December 2002]
 Andersonville Prisoner Lookup Results.  Available [online] [29 December 2002]
 Cemetery Census of the Town of Mexico, Oswego County, New York.  Mexico: Mexico Historical Society, 1984.
 Descendants of Matthew Grant.  Available [online] http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com [30 December 2002]
 International Genealogical Index.  Available [online] http://familysearch.com [28 December 2002]
 New York.  Office of Adjutant-General.  Annual Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of New York for the Year 1894, v. 3.
 Oswego, NY.  Available [online] http:///rootsweb.com/~nyoswego [25 December 2002]
 Simpson, Elizabeth M. Mexico: Mother of Towns.  Buffalo: Clement, 1949.
 Social Security Death Index.  Available [online]  http://SSDI.genealogy.rootsweb.com [30 December 2002]
 U.S. Census for Oswego Co., NY 1860, 1880, 1910, 1920 & 1930.
 Wildey, Anna C. Genealogy of the Descendants of William Chesebrough.  New York: Wright, 1903.
 WorldConnect Project.  Available [online] http://SSDI.genealogy.rootsweb.com [28 December 2002]  
 

 
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