Fromthe History and Directory ofYates County - Volume I, by Stafford C. Cleveland    

Published 1873 

pgs.  VII - XV & XVII - XVIII

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BARDEN Pg VII                 (also in Benton bio1)

Mrs. Elizabeth BARDEN - In the subject of this illustration we have an excellent representative of the pioneer women; more than that she represents in her ancestry as the daughter of James PARKER, a conspicuous force in the pioneer movement, and of the early period of the Friend’s society - in her descendants a very prominent Benton family. She was of Rhode Island birth and training, a model of the industrious and thrifty housewife, and possessed of sound religious and moral characteristics. It was her lot to find, with her sisters, a home in the Friend’s settlement at a very early period, and soon after to be wedded to Otis BARDEN, a young pioneer just opening to the sunlight a home in the dense forests of township number eight in the first range of Phelps and Gorham’s purchase. How well this home was established from humble beginnings, and enlarged to competence and independence, is eloquently described by her son, Dr. Henry BARDEN, in the text accompanying the portrait. It is due to the good sense of the Doctor, and his profound regard for his excellent mother, together with his high appreciation of local historical records, that the fine portrait of his mother graces this work. There ought to have been several of her contemporaries to represent the feminine element of the pioneer period. No better class of women ever labored in the cause of civilization. It was theirs to meet great hardships with heroic patience, and to preserve, amid their trying labors and severe privations, the sweet amenities of live, and the blessing of pure moral sentiments to restrain vice and license. The daughters of James PARKER were all good women in the best and broadest sense of the word, and did well their part in the several allotments of life, which fell to them. They deserve, with all the admirable women of their period, to be held in long and grateful remembrance. 


WOODWORTH Pg. VII    (also inBenton bio3)

General Abner WOODWORTH - One of the most noted families among the earlier residents of Benton, was that of the WOODWORTHS. They were from Connecticut, and people of sterling worth. Abner WOODWORTH, the grandfather of the late General Abner WOODWORTH, and two of his sons and two of his daughters, became citizens of Benton. The prominent place they filled in their days is alluded to in its proper place. Molly was the wife of Levi BENTON Sr., and Hannah, of Gideon WOLCOTT Sr. Dyer WOODWORTH was a very useful man in the Barden neighborhood, and Elisha WOODWORTH’s family cleared the farm of John MERRIFIELD, on Flat street. They were widely connected with the leading families of Benton. Polly, the oldest daughter, was the wife of Dr. Calvin FARGO, whom she outlived over half a century. She died in 1878, upwards of ninety-six years old, the last of her father’s family. General Abner WOODWORTH reached the age of eighty-three, though during a few of his last years was confined to his him by paralysis on one side of his body. He was long a prominent and popular citizen, and genial in his manners and a man of genuine kindness of heart. In the later period of his life he resided in Penn Yan. His military title was derived from an organization of 1812, kept up to secure the claims of that class of the public defenders form the State. In that work General WOODWORTH devoted several of the later years of his active life. As a representative of the country he is well chosen. Few men in his day were equally well known of all the people of the county, and there were very few toward whom there was such universal good will and kindly feeling. His portrait will recall very vividly to many citizens an epoch that is receding into the past. It is by the liberality of our fellow citizens, Samuel S. ELLSWORTH, that General WOODWORTH’S portrait is numbered among the illustrations of this book. He was the last of his name, and the last of the male line of his family in the county.


SPENCER pg VIII    (also in Bentonbio3)

Elijah SPENCER - On of the justly honored names in the annals of Yates county, is that of Elijah SPENCER. In his lifetime he received frequent expressions of the high esteem of his fellow citizens and the confidence they reposed in him. He began life with empty hands, accepting hard labor as his means of livelihood. With vigorous resolution and robust energy, he overcame all the difficulties that obstructed his advancement. He wrought his way by simple industry, and in official station served the people with the same fidelity that hr regarded his own interests. He belonged to the period when honorable service was the rule in public life, and mercenary aims the rare exception, and even in that time his public career was one to be mentioned with special respect. Mr. SPENCER was a leading citizen and belonged to a family of exceptional strength and ability as well as social prominence. His brother, Captain Truman SPENCER was not one of the first settlers of Benton, but for a long period one of its first citizens. And the brothers, Martin, Horace, James, Simeon, and Justus P., were all men of more than common ability and force of character. The sisters too, were women of exceptional worth. James SPENCER who was Supervisor of Jerusalem in 1797 may have been the father, rather than the brother of Elijah SPENCER, as stated on page 260, and the latter hypothesis is the most probable. The portrait of Elijah SPENCER is engraved from a photograph taken rather late in life, and the effort to relieve the features a trifle from the marks of age and infirmity, has perhaps, been rather too successful. He was, till past middle age, a man of remarkably fresh and youthful appearance and his portrait, painted on ivory while he was a member of Congress, depicts him with a clear and ruddy countenance and a luxuriant head of bright red hair. The later picture has bee followed in the production of the portrait presented in this work. The SPENCER family once so numerous in Yates county, still has numerous descendants, but in the male line has for its only adult representatives, George W. SPENCER, the present County Clerk, and Newton B. SPENCER, Printer and Editor of Penn Yan.


REMER Pg. IX -X   (also in Benton Bio 1)

History & Directory of Yates Co., Vol 1, Pub 1873, by Stafford C. Cleveland 

William T. REMER - Native born to Yates County, William T. REMER represents pioneer families of prominence on both lines of his ancestry. His father was a man of remarkable energy of character and extended influence. Politically he was a power of no common significance during the active period of his mature life. Aaron REMER as a member of the Legislature was chiefly instrumental in securing the organization of Yates county, and afterwards was repeatedly its representative in the assembly. His son, William T. REMER, has since held the same position and others of public responsibility. Another son, Lawrence T. REMER, was a member of the last legislature of Michigan. William T REMER is a liberal citizen, a good farmer, and generously responsive to every duty that belongs to a kind neighbor and a well-wisher of the public good. 

As a grower of fine wooled sheep he has taken a leading rank with the farmers of the county. As a representative of the family name nom ore appropriated selection could be made. But it is proper to add that if any portrait of his father had ever been taken, he would have preferred such picture as an illustration for this work.


GRAHAM         Pg X -XI       

Lewis B. GRAHAM - There could be no selected for the town ofItaly a more representative man than Lewis B. GRAHAM, though he has residedwithout the precincts of the town during the past 17 years.  He is a nativeof Italy, and the most conspicuous representative of an extensive family of itsearly settlers.  His early education was such as the town afforded, yet hisremarkable quickness of apprehension enabled him to become well qualified as abusiness man fro promptness, accuracy and efficiency.  After serving asJustice of the Peace and Supervisor in his native town, he was chosen CountyClerk, and made one of the best clerks the county ever had during twoterms.  He is an apt and ready man, and an intelligent and valuedcitizen.  Earnest and sincere in his convictions, he is never lukewarm inaffairs that concern the political and social welfare of the community. Instinctively he espouses the moral right of public questions and adherestenaciously to his vies of what is just and consistent with the publicgood.  His portrait represents him as a somewhat earlier period of lifethat his present appearance indicates, but is correctly rendered from aphotograph.  



SQUIER Pg. XI    (also in Bentonbio3)

Nathaineil SQUIER - Slender opportunities of early culture do not repress the better aspirations in every case, nor quench the ambition to excel in the honorable struggles of life. Nathaniel SQUIER was one of a large family whose chief inheritance was poverty and its hard conditions. Means of education and culture were scanty, almost wholly absent in the surroundings of his early life. While his father was a man of easy and passive nature with little ambition to strive for better conditions of life, his mother, a woman of the kindest attentions was zealous to elevate the lot of her family and secure their moral and social improvement, but she struggled against the fate of adverse circumstances. She died of consumption in Benton, in 1826, at fifty-two and her husband nine years later in Michigan, whither the family had moved. There two of the sisters are still living. Nathaniel SQUIER never had any school education, but the winter after gaining his majority, he took to the study of arithmetic, and made a conquest of the old Daboll textbook in 31 days. The next winter he studied grammar, and then taught school several winters following. While young he stated that he scarcely ever had a pair of shoes, and almost invariably went with bare feet, especially during the milder months of the year. The first pair of shoes he ever had, he says, were made by a local Methodist minister, called “Thundering Mars,” who went from house to house shoemaking. Shooting was as great an accomplishment then as now, and in his younger days could out-shoot any and all competitors with whom he tested his marksmanship. He could also excel in most of the rougher sports, and gamble with such dexterity that he was never worsted in games of chance. All these diversions he resolutely put aside when he assumed the sober business of life. 

Among the friends of his early days, he mentions Edward HALL of Seneca, with high respect. When he went to Italy Hill in 1833, the land was nearly all covered by its native forest, and was so heavily timbered with pine, that had it been left standing it would now have been worth $200 an acre. One TYLER kept a tavern there and was a tenant of Abraham MAXFIELD. The amount of work accomplished in getting out lumber and clearing the land was prodigious. With his adroitness for management, and the influence inspired by his generosity of character, Nathaniel SQUIER soon became a leading citizen of his town, and his alliance was sought by those who bore away in county affairs. No one could be more skillful nor more successful in keeping the upper hand in that wrestle of tact and strategy known as local politics; reticent and cautious in his steps, his purposes were accomplished befo9re his opponents were awake to the occasion. In 1852 he was chosen sheriff, and thereafter was les active in political contests, though frequently taking a part to help old friends or gratify some feeling other than general politics. Naturally social and sympathetic and endowed with a strong sense of justice, Nathaniel SQUIER is a character worthy of study, and entitled to earnest respect. His native shrewdness gives him a ready insight into the character and motives of others, and his lenient feeling leads him to a kindly judgment of his fellow men. Kind himself, he warmly appreciates kind treatment from those who grant him aid or favor, and what is rare in men of advanced years, he has a generous and comprehensive sympathy with human nature. He speaks in high terms of William M. OLIVER, Eli SHELDON, and Abraham V. HARPENDING, men whose friendship he tested, and who in all pecuniary transactions gave him his own time and terms, and trusted implicitly, as did Martin GAGE, to his integrity and memory of facts. Though he has rounded off his three score and ten, he is still robust and in the full enjoyment of his faculties. After a life of much severe toil and many embarrassments it is pleasant to see that he is still taking life zestfully, and finding genuine enjoyment in the care of his broad acres and his fine wooled sheep. The past he lives over with serene satisfaction, and finds the present cheerful and happy.



Israel Comstock    pg XIII

Israel COMSTOCK - With the early immigration connected withthe Friend's Society came Achilles COMSTOCK, whose wife was a daughter ofElnathan BOTSFORD Sr., and herself a devoted Friend, while he was aMethodist.  But the family never had a jar on account of theologicaldifferences.  He was a citizen of sterling worth and manhood, andtransmitted to his children the excellent traits of his own character.  Hisson Israel followed his father in religious convictions., while his two daughters,Apphi and Martha, like their mother, were devout unwavering Friends to the endof their days.  Israel COMSTICK was a good and useful citizen.  Hislife was one of industry and probity, and he always took a lively interest inall questions that concerned the public welfare.  He was always ready to dohis part as to a neighbor and citizen.  Born a few years before the closeof the last century, he was familiar with all the early history of the Friend'sSettlement and of Jerusalem.  In taking an active part in the HistoricalSociety, he brought to the work a full knowledge of the work to be done, and acheerful willingness to do it.  No one contributed more fully nor with moreaccuracy to the records of that society.  His extended relationship amongthe Friends and his intimate knowledge of the long strife and litigation overthe Jerusalem lands, made him a good authority on all subjects connected withthe Society and its troubles.  His testimony was never in anywise unkind ordisparaging in regard to the character and worth of the Friend.  IsraelCOMSTOCK was a man so just and true, and withal so kind and benevolent that heenjoyed universal respect and esteem.  His sons occupy the parentalhomestead, Botsford A., with his mother and sister residing on the same spotwhere Achilles COMSTOCK established his home.



Peter Bitley    pg XIV-XV

Peter BITLEY - Men of enterprise and vigorous capacity forlarge business operations, like Peter H. BITLEY, are not a numerous class. For such men to begin life with slender means is but to stimulate them to largeand successful achievements.  Obstacles that seem formidable and resourcesthat are diminutive, only act on such men by way of discipline and as agenciesof qualifications for the work they have in hand.   Peter H. BITLEYwas too well fitted for an independent and successful business man to remain forany long period the employee of others.  As a timber dealer he was for manyyears largely engaged with profitable results.  He became a citizen ofBranchport soon after the place was founded and made his fortune there, and hehas been one of its most valued and worthy citizens.  He is a man ofliberal heart and generous in a large degree.  His feelings are very strongand his purposes fixed and resolute.  Popular opinion has very little to dowith his opinion, nad when once his stand taken, he is not easily changed. This quality of his character renders him an uncomfortable opponent and a veryvaluable ally.  Of strong religious prepossessions he is a firm adherent tothe Universalist faith; and it has been chiefly due to his liberality that achurch of that denomination has been sustained in Branchport.  He as alsobeen a generous contributor to the educational interests of the Universalistchurch at large and to its publications.  As a citizen he is a zealoussupporter of local improvements, and ready to bear his part of all necessaryburdens for their prosecution.  Equally strong in his likes and dislikes,he is a friend that sticks like a brother, and if thoroughly hostile not easilyplacated, though a quiet man with no disposition to interfere with the concernsof others.  An his thorough sense of justice and fair dealing make itimpossible for him to perform any act that will operate to the perceptible harmof his fellow man.  Although Peter H. BITLEY has drifted away from thepopular current in politics since the days of the "irrepressibleconflict" begun, and has been extreme and radical in his opposition to theoverwhelming tide of public sentiment, he has always retained the good will ofhis fellow citizens who have conceded the honesty of his convictions, and haverespected him for the sincere manliness of his character.  


Dr. Joshua Lee      pg XVII -XVIII

Dr Joshua LEE - For the town of Milo and its early history,Dr. Joshua LEE stands forth a conspicuous representative.  His father'sfamily was one of the earliest among the pioneers on the outskirts of theFriend's Settlement.  When he was but 7 years old them made a home in a loghouse not far from the Friend's mill.  There he was a pupil of BenajahANDREWS, and later of John L. LEWIS, Sr., traveling as far as Benton Centerevery school day for the valued tuition of that noted teacher,  and notdeeming it a hardship.  He commenced his adult life as a practitioner ofmedicine, and was one of the most successful and popular of his class.  Hisride as a physician extended nearly over the whole county, and he was a friendand confidant in nearly every family.  Though he passed away over 30 yearsago, he is still remembered by many of the living ad always spoken of withkindly feelings.  He was a man of sunny temper and mirthful and genial inhis social intercourse.  It is due to his nephew and son in law, Dr. LewisA BIRDSALL, that his portrait is added to this book.  The picture wasphotographed from an oil painting and reproduced by what is call the Bierdstadtprocess, a recently discovered method of photo-lithography.  


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