Yates County, New York

Biographies & Family Trees

from History Books  pg 487-524

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La Fayette MERRIT

from History of Yates Co., by L. C. Aldrich,  Pub. 1892   Pg 487

MERRITT, La Fayette -  John MERRITT was a worthy man, and one of the earliest settles in the wilderness which skirted Crooked Lake.  He came with his family, La Fayette then being less than a years old, in 1825, from Dutchess County, and purchased a large tract of land, which in a few years he converted into a splendid farm.  Here in the town of Jerusalem the child grew to manhood and occupied a part of the homestead while he lived.  As a boy, he was bright, industrious, temperate and trustworthy, and grew to be a man of integrity, sound judgment and excellent habits.  He had a relish for farming, and consequently became skillful in handling soils, stock, fruit trees and vines and not only made a good living but accumulated a comfortable property.  He had an eye to beauty as well as profit and surrounded and decorated his home with many attractive features.  His moral sense early led him to enter upon a Christian life and to espouse whatever reforms engaged public attention.  When only eleven years of age he united with the Wesleyan Methodist Church, composed of radical abolitionists and temperance people, and thenceforth allowed no occasion to pass without giving his testimony against both slavery and intemperance.  He remained a member of this church until slavery was abolished and the church was disbanded, when he united with the Methodist Episcopal Church in Penn Yan, of which he remained a consistent member until his death. 

When 34 years of age he was united in marriage with Miss Hannah BENNETT, of Milo, who, with one son, survives him, occupying the homestead he did much to beautify, and enrich with comforts. 

Mr. MERRITT was instinctively honest, honorable and kind, and frowned upon all injustice, oppression and coarseness in speech or conduct.  Vulgarity and rudeness he loathed and sharply rebuked.  His word was as good as his bond and his honor above reproach.  He had a lively taste for the beautiful and orderly, and impressed his ideas and feelings upon his farm, vineyards and residence.  Whatever promised good to society, especially to the young, was sure of his warm support.  When it was proposed to found a college on the shore of Lake Keuka, near his home, where the youth of both sexes should be educated at a  cost within the reach of those in moderate circumstances, he entered into the scheme with enthusiasm, devoting both time and money to give it success.  Every thing said or done by his neighbors to promote the enterprise gave him pleasure, and whatever occurred which tended to obstruct or hinder the work distressed him.  Indeed he was so sensitive to all social and political events as to render them largely personal to himself.  Whatever was calculated to benefit humanity delighted him and all harmful things caused him pain, down to the close of his life, which came on the 22nd day of April, 1891.



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