THE FRIEND'S SOCIETY
From the History and Directory of Yates County - Volume I, by Stafford C. Cleveland
pgs. VII - XV & XVII - XVIII
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BARDEN Pg VII (also in Benton
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
in Benton bio3)
General Abner WOODWORTH - One of the most noted families among the earlier residents of Benton, was that of the WOODWORTH'S. 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 of Italy a more representative man than Lewis B. GRAHAM, though he has resided without the precincts of the town during the past 17 years. He is a native of Italy, and the most conspicuous representative of an extensive family of its early settlers. His early education was such as the town afforded, yet his remarkable quickness of apprehension enabled him to become well qualified as a business man fro promptness, accuracy and efficiency. After serving as Justice of the Peace and Supervisor in his native town, he was chosen County Clerk, and made one of the best clerks the county ever had during two terms. He is an apt and ready man, and an intelligent and valued citizen. Earnest and sincere in his convictions, he is never lukewarm in affairs that concern the political and social welfare of the community. Instinctively he espouses the moral right of public questions and adheres tenaciously to his vies of what is just and consistent with the public good. His portrait represents him as a somewhat earlier period of life that his present appearance indicates, but is correctly rendered from a photograph.
SQUIER Pg. XI (also in Bentonbio3)
Nathanial 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 with the Friend's Society came Achilles COMSTOCK, whose wife was a daughter of Elnathan BOTSFORD Sr., and herself a devoted Friend, while he was a Methodist. But the family never had a jar on account of theological differences. He was a citizen of sterling worth and manhood, and transmitted to his children the excellent traits of his own character. His son, Israel followed his father in religious convictions., while his two daughters, Apphi and Martha, like their mother, were devout unwavering Friends to the end of their days. Israel COMSTOCK was a good and useful citizen. His life was one of industry and probity, and he always took a lively interest in all questions that concerned the public welfare. He was always ready to do his part as to a neighbor and citizen. Born a few years before the close of the last century, he was familiar with all the early history of the Friend's Settlement and of Jerusalem. In taking an active part in the Historical Society, he brought to the work a full knowledge of the work to be done, and a cheerful willingness to do it. No one contributed more fully nor with more accuracy to the records of that society. His extended relationship among the Friends and his intimate knowledge of the long strife and litigation over the Jerusalem lands, made him a good authority on all subjects connected with the Society and its troubles. His testimony was never in anywise unkind or disparaging in regard to the character and worth of the Friend. Israel COMSTOCK was a man so just and true, and withal so kind and benevolent that he enjoyed universal respect and esteem. His sons occupy the parental homestead, Botsford A., with his mother and sister residing on the same spot where Achilles COMSTOCK established his home.
Peter Bitley pg XIV-XV
Peter BITLEY - Men of enterprise and vigorous capacity for large 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 large and successful achievements. Obstacles that seem formidable and resources that are diminutive, only act on such men by way of discipline and as agencies of qualifications for the work they have in hand. Peter H. BITLEY was too well fitted for an independent and successful business man to remain for any long period the employee of others. As a timber dealer he was for many years largely engaged with profitable results. He became a citizen of Branchport soon after the place was founded and made his fortune there, and he has been one of its most valued and worthy citizens. He is a man of liberal heart and generous in a large degree. His feelings are very strong and his purposes fixed and resolute. Popular opinion has very little to do with his opinion, and when once his stand taken, he is not easily changed. This quality of his character renders him an uncomfortable opponent and a very valuable ally. Of strong religious prepossessions he is a firm adherent to the Universalist faith; and it has been chiefly due to his liberality that a church of that denomination has been sustained in Branchport. He as also been a generous contributor to the educational interests of the Universalist church at large and to its publications. As a citizen he is a zealous supporter of local improvements, and ready to bear his part of all necessary burdens for their prosecution. Equally strong in his likes and dislikes, he is a friend that sticks like a brother, and if thoroughly hostile not easily placated, though a quiet man with no disposition to interfere with the concerns of others. An his thorough sense of justice and fair dealing make it impossible for him to perform any act that will operate to the perceptible harm of his fellow man. Although Peter H. BITLEY has drifted away from the popular current in politics since the days of the "irrepressible conflict" begun, and has been extreme and radical in his opposition to the overwhelming tide of public sentiment, he has always retained the good will of his fellow citizens who have conceded the honesty of his convictions, and have respected 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's family was one of the earliest among the pioneers on the outskirts of the Friend's Settlement. When he was but 7 years old them made a home in a log house not far from the Friend's mill. There he was a pupil of Benajah ANDREWS, and later of John L. LEWIS, Sr., traveling as far as Benton Center every school day for the valued tuition of that noted teacher, and not deeming it a hardship. He commenced his adult life as a practitioner of medicine, and was one of the most successful and popular of his class. His ride as a physician extended nearly over the whole county, and he was a friend and confidant in nearly every family. Though he passed away over 30 years ago, he is still remembered by many of the living ad always spoken of with kindly feelings. He was a man of sunny temper and mirthful and genial in his social intercourse. It is due to his nephew and son in law, Dr. Lewis A. BIRDSALL, that his portrait is added to this book. The picture was photographed from an oil painting and reproduced by what is call the Bierdstadt process, a recently discovered method of photo-lithography.
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