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Biographical Review - Delaware Co., New York, 1895
The Leading Citizens of Delaware County, NY

John P. Blakely, a prominent farmer of Kortright, was born in this town, June 18, 1845, son of James G. and Susan (McAuley) Blakely, both of whom were natives of the town. The father was born January 12, 1810, and the mother July 23, 1813. James G. Blakely was a son of William, who was born in Washington County, and moved to the town of Kortright in 1808, when quite a young man, purchasing a farm of about nine hundred acres. At the time of his advent in the town it was in a very primitive state, most of the land being covered with timber, requiring the expenditure of much energy and time to bring it under cultivation. This Mr. Blakely successfully accomplished. In addition to his farm he also kept a tavern, which was the first one in the town. He raised a family of nine children, all of whom grew to maturity, one Mrs. Sarah Mitchell, being alive at this time. William Blakely died on the homestead, aged seventy-four. In politics he was a Democrat. James G. Blakely was educated in the district schools of Kortright. He was a successful farmer and dairyman, owning a farm of three hundred acres, part of the old homestead. He and his wife Susan, had eight children, five of whom are now living, namely: Mrs. Agnes Thomas, widow of John Thomas, residing in the town of Stamford; William, Jennie M., and John P., all of Kortright; and Rebecca S., who resides at home. Mr. James G. Blakely died April 15, 1882.

John P. Blakely was educated in the district schools of Kortright and at the Stamford Academy, and then engaged in teaching for two terms. He afterward devoted his attention to general farming, also making a specialty of dairying, owning fifty head of cattle. Mr. Blakely is a man of progressive ideas, and has remodelled and improved the farm buildings until the estate is second to none in the county. He is a member of the West Kortright Presbyterian Church, and in politics is a Democrat. He has never been prominent in politics, neither has he ever sought any public office. He is a man of great popularity with his fellows, and the type of an honest, intelligent, industrious, and well-to-do farmer.

Note: Laid to rest at Blakely Cemetery in Kortright.

The History of Delaware County by W.W. MUNSELL 1797-1880

Moved to Kortright in 1808

William married Nancy McDonald, and with capital stock amounting in all to an ax and an auger, and two indomitable spirits, the youthful couple went into the woods on the farm now owned by their son,G. Banyar. Mr. Blakely built a cabin with his ax, and with his ax and auger made furniture for it. He took from a huge tree timber sufficient to make a table, and left the tree still growing. He hewed the material and finished the table; it had "fall leaves". This table was used by the family until they were able to have a better one.

Mr. Blakely soon became noted as a business man. "The turnpike", running from Catskill, on the Hudson, to the Susquehanna, afforded good facilities for keeping a hotel. He erected suitable buildings, and for forty years was the jolly host of the home-seeking traveler. He was one of the most prosperous business men of his day. He died in 1855, aged 78 years, leaving an inheritance which will be enjoyed for generations by his descendants. Two of his sons, James G. and G. Banyar, live on parts of the old homestead. His other son, John D., moved to Tully, N.Y., and is still living. The other brothers and their descendants are unknown to the writer.

Note: William and Nancy were either laid to rest at Tully Cemetery in Onondaga County or moved from Blakely Cemetery in Kortright as both cemeteries mark their burials.

Genealogy of the Blish Family in America 1637-1905 by James Knox Blish, Kenawee, IL 1905

The son of David and Zeruiah (Skinner) Blish, Aaron was born 21 Oct 1768, at Glastonbury, Conn. He married Roxanna Webster, and she was born 29 July 1774.

Their children:

Frances born 22 Nov 1792 in Glastonbury, Conn.
Novatus born 03 Ap 1795
Aristarchus born 21 Mar 1797
Roderic Skinner born 21 Jul 1800
Henry M. born 30 Oct 1802; died 21 Apr 1827
Sophia L. born 11 Mar 1805; married Burr Gould
Sally T. born 13 Sep 1807; married Sellick Gould
Almira S. born 15 July 1811; married Harrison French
Lewis J. born 01 Mar 1813; died 04 Aug 1834
Emily born 02 Jun 1816; married Bethuel Sutherland

After his marriage, Aaron Blish removed to New York State. He first settled on the river by the flouring mill below Kortright. He remained there for twenty years or more; then sold out and went into Genesee Valley, near Rochester, intending to settle there, but hearing of the new Ohio country, he went out prospecting. While in Ohio he contracted fever and ague, and soon repented his venture. He returned to Genesee Valley, but finding his ague no better there returned to Delaware county, and bought land on Rose's Brook, where he remained until his death. He was a farmer all his lifetime. He was a large man of commanding appearance and of sterling character.

The exact date when he left Connecticut is not know, but it must have been early, as only one entry is found in the Town records of Glastonbury mentioning his name: "1792 Dec 10 - John Case, Samuel Stratton 3rd., George Hunt, Roger Hollister and Aaron Blish chosen collectors of Town taxes."

Biographical Review - Delaware Co., New York, 1895
The Leading Citizens of Delaware County, NY

Novatus M. Blish , of Stamford, is a great-grandson of David Blish, a native of Connecticut, and a lineal descendant of Abraham Blish, who settled in Duxbury, Mass., in 1637, buying a farm of twenty acres at what is known as Eagle's Nest. In 1640 Abraham removed to Barnstable, Cape Cod, where he was among the first settlers, residing in the western part of the town, which is known as Great Marshes; and this property was owned by the Blish family for over two hundred years. July 17, 1658, Abraham Blish purchased for seventy-five pounds a farm called the Dolar Davis place, situated in the eastern part of the town, which was known as the common field, and since that period has been called Blish's Point. He was an active, energetic man, prominent in all town affairs, and died September 7, 1683, leaving a numerous family. Many of his posterity took an active part in the Revolution and the War of 1812, some also in the French and Indian War.

Aaron Blish, son of David, was born in Connecticut and married Roxie Webster, of the same State. In 1790 they moved to Stamford, Delaware County, where he purchased two hundred acres of wild land, which he cleared and improved, building a log house. He belonged to the State militia, and was well known as Colonel Blish. He was an active member of the United Presbyterian church at South Kortright, was a Whig in politics, and held the office of Justice of the Peace. Disposing of his first farm, he purchased one at Rose Brook, where he and his wife passed away, both having reached the age of seventy-five years. Of their ten children, three are still living: Mrs. Sally Gould, of Stamford: Mrs. Elmira French, of Otsego County; and Mrs. Emily Sutherland, of St. Paul, Minn.

Their son, Novatus Blish, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Litchfield, Conn., but grew to manhood in the town of Stamford. He learned the blacksmith's trade, which he followed for some years, and then purchased a farm and adopted a farmer's life. Moving to Roxbury, he kept a general store for about five years, selling it at the expiration of that time, and returning to Stamford, where he became possessor of a farm of one hundred and fifty acres and a store. These he operated for twenty-one years, adding land from time to time to his original purchase, until at his death he owned two hundred and fifty acres. He was a practical and successful business man, a Democrat in politics; and he and his wife were members of the Presbyterian church at South Kortright. He came to his death at the age of fifty-seven years by falling from a scaffold. He married Mrs. Mary Mapes Barlow, of Albany County; and she died at the old homestead when seventy-four years of age, leaving two children by her first husband and six by Mr. Blish, namely: Joseph Barlow, a resident of Ripon, Wis., and his sister, Mrs. Harriet Silliman, wife of A. G. Silliman, of Hobart; Mary, who died when sixty-one years of age, the wife of William S. Foot, of Hobart; Novatus M., the subject of this biography; David P., who lives at Atchison, Kan., and is engaged in the wholesale hardware business; Alonzo, who died at the age of seventy-five; Aaron, who passed away when sixty years old; and Henry, a resident of Broome County.

Novatus M. Blish was born in Roxbury, July 16, 1828, and grew up in the town of Stamford, attending the district school, and later the Hanford Academy at Hobart. When nineteen years of age, after the death of his father, he assumed the charge of the old homestead, and settled his father's business affairs. He then purchased the home farm and the store, operating the latter until 1861, when he sold it. Until 1892 he occupied the old home, but then moved away to make room for his son. He increased the extent of the farm land to four hundred and thirty acres, making it one of the largest and most productive farms in the town. Here he operated a dairy, in which industry he was very successful.

On September 22, 1849, Novatus M. Blish married Miss Marietta Cowan, who was born in Stamford, December 13, 1830, a daughter of John and Nellie (Grant) Cowan. Mrs. Blish passed away March 25, 1893, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Griffin, having been the mother of four children: Charles A., born in 1852, and at present the General Agent of the Portland Insurance Company in San Francisco, Cal., where he resides with his wife and four children; Helen, who was the wife of Bruce Chisholm, but has passed away; John C., who is married, has one child, and lives on the old homestead; Mrs. Etta Griffin, wife of Thomas Griffin, and mother of two children Bruce B. and Kenneth B. Mr. Blish is a Presbyterian and a Republican, having held the office of Justice of the Peace for twelve years and Justice of the Session for two terms. He has now retired from active business, and lives with his daughter, Mrs. Griffin. An upright, trustworthy man, he holds an exalted position in the regard of all who are fortunate enough to claim his acquaintance.

Note: Laid to rest at South Kortright Cemetery

Biographical Register of Saint Andrew’s society of the state of New York, Volume 4 by William Munro MacBean, p.235-236, New York, 1925


James Buchan, son of Robert Buchan, was born at Harelaw Mains, Parish Of Linton, Roxburghshire, September 3, 1812, and died in New York City, April 29, 1887. In 1828 after passing through the parish school, he was apprenticed to Mr. Stephen Palmer, hardware dealer, Kelso, and served him for five years. In the spring of 1833 he sailed from Leith for Montreal, from which place after a brief residence he removed to Peterboro.

In 1835 Mr. Buchan came to this city and four years later entered into business with a partner in the manufacture of soap and candles. In 1842 the partnership was dissolved and Mr. Buchan continued the business in the works on Elizabeth Street until 1879. Although full of enthusiasm for Scotland and all that pertained to it Mr. Buchan did not mingle much with the Scottish residents of the city or identify himself with any of the national societies (except the Saint Andrew's Society). He was thoroughly domestic in his tastes, loved his home, his family and his books. He possessed a remarkably well selected library, full of representative works in Scottish literature and in their society his happiest hours were spent. The result of his study might often be seen in the columns of the Scottish-American where under the signature of "Caverton Edge," or under his own name, he wrote pleasant reminiscences of life in the Scottish border and in Canada, half a century ago. One or two stories from his pen also pleased many of our readers and his contributions were generally copied very extensively into the Scottish newspapers.

His first wife Jane McClure died March 29, 1848, aged thirty-four years. He married secondly Rachel, daughter of Stephen A. Rich. She died October 6, 1899, in her eighty-second year. All are buried in Greenwood.

The Champion Genealogy: a history of the descendants of Henry Champion ... Higginson Book Co., 1891

Simon Bolivar Champion (Aaron), born 7 September 1825, in East Worcester, N. Y. ; married in Charlotteville, N. Y., 'S April 1857, the Rev. J. Hiram Champion (99) officiating, Mary Louisa McCollum, daughter of Reuben and Patty (Smith) McCollum, born 21 March 1829, in Bloomville, N. Y.

Simon Bolivar Champion, so named by his uncle Reuben who had just finished reading the life of the famous South American, was the first grandson born to the East Worcester Champions. He attended the district school until September 7, 1840, when he went to Cooperstown, N. Y., to learn the printer's trade. He served a six-year apprenticeship with the Hon. John H. Prentiss in the Freeman's Journal office, and' then acted as foreman in the same office for nine months. In the fall of 1847 he went to Prattsville, Greene County, and became a partner with John L. Hackstaff in the publication of the Pratteville Advocate, a Democratic newspaper. Here Mr. Champion first introduced the local department under the caption of "Home Matters," an example soon imitated by nearly every country paper. He claims the pioneership of that progressive kind of journalism. For nearly two years he labored industriously with the pen : then hi* health began to give way, and his physician ordered him to seek higher land and cease close indoor work. Accordingly, in 1849, he went to Bloomville, Delaware County, a village of only two hundred inhabitant«, where he and his father bought a dwelling house, gristmill and saw-mill While attending to the mill he kept his pen busy as correspondent for several papers, especially the Albany, Aryus) which he had read all his life. Ho was also often called to assist the printers in Delhi, the county scat, which was only eight miles distant.

In the spring of 1S51 he was called to Schoharie, by "W. H. Gallup of he Republican, who desired a vacation and wanted a man to take charge of the paper. Young Champion introduced a local department and reported a noted arson case, which gave new life to the paper ; and induced the proprietor on his return to buy new type for it. While dumping the cases of old type Champion suggested buying some of it to take home. Mr. Gallup told him to take what he wanted, and he made up a small font of only a dozen pounds. Soon after his return to Bloomville, a neighbor desired some labels printed. Champion thought of the old type, made cases, obtained a quire of printing paper, a piece of composition and a few ounces of ink, made a wooden stick and chase, covered a square block of wood for a press, and began work. One day a squirrel hunt took place, and the next a special election was held for a state senator, to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Democratic senators on account of Canal troubles.

When making up an account of these happenings for several papers, the thought occurred to him, that he could print the little slips and save using the pen. He succeeded, and mailed the printed slips containing the election returns and an account of the hunt. Next day there was a call for the slips, as he had shown a copy to some friends, so he again started his press of . planer and mallet, after adding the returns of two towns, he thought it would look better to have a newspaper caption, so he set up Bloommlle News and took proof. It did not suit, so he changed it to Bloomville Mirror. He gave the copies away. The miniature paper " took like wild fire," .and his friends urged him to start a paper ; but the printer said he had no capital to buy a press. In about a week he issued another slip containing only local items. Applications for it began to come in by mail ; he filled the orders, but as yet no price had been fixed. After several numbers had been issued and about 1000 names entered, he fixed the price at twenty-five cents a year. Here was a problem. If he commenced taking pay he would have to furnish the paper. He found an old "Ramage" press in the garret of the Prattsville Advocate which Colonel Pratt gave him; bought a case of old brevier type, and fitted up a room in the mill for an office. Voluntary subscriptions began to come in and lie soon had money enough to buy a few fonts of new type. On July 1, 1851, the law came into effect by which papers were allowed a free circulation in the county where they were published. This did away with paying postage and opened the door of success to the little sheet. It was about the size of a sheet of common note paper, and contained home news and a list of its subscribers, which made it a special favorite with the boys.

After the circulation reached 1000, a Smith hand press was purchased, and as business increased so was the size and price. In 1856 the circulation reached 2000, and an office was erected mid a power press put in operation—the first one in Delaware County. The little sheet was well filled with county news and pithy correspondence from all over the country. At the breaking out of the Civil War the Mirror had a voluntary list of 3000 subscribers. In 1870, owing to the daily mail service being reduced to three times a week and there being no railroad or telegraphic communication, and in view of the opening of a railroad from Rondont to Stamford, Mr. Champion sold his property in Bloomville, both of his parents being dead, and in September bought two acres of land in Stamford, erected an office, and changed the name of his paper to the Stamford Mirror. The Mirror is issued weekly. It has twenty-eight columns, is printed with modern machinery, and has a circulation of 2000 copies.

Mr. Champion is probably the oldest editor in the Empire State. He learned short-hand of Sherman Croswell of the Argus, and has served as editor for. over thirty-eight years consecutively on one paper. In 1858 he was unanimously elected a member of the State Assembly, but declined on account of his literary work. On January 31,1861, he was chosen one of the delegates from the Second Assembly District of Delaware County to the " Peace Convention " at Albany. In 1868 he was Presidential Elector for Delaware and Otsego Congressional Districts. In 1870 he was Democratic candidate for County Treasurer, but although leading his ticket by 400 votes was defeated as was nearly every Democrat at that time. In that year he took the census of Davenport, Meredith and Kortright. He has also acted several times as delegate to various conventions. In Bloomville, where he resided twenty-one years, he was postmaster, school trustee, etc. At Stamford, he has been deputy-postmaster for several years, trustee of the village school, and a member of the Board of Education of Stamford Seminary. He has been High-priest of the Royal Arch Masons and is the present secretary of that order.

Children: Amasa Junius born 10 Apr 1858, in Bloomville, NY and married Mary E. Rexford; Elmina Brown, born 30 July I860, in Bloomville and married John D. Church; Aaron Clifford, born 13 Aug 1860, in Bloomville and is foreman in the Mirror office in Stamford, N Y; Lucy Brown, born 18 Oct 1809, in Bloomville and died 31 Dec 1873, in Stamford; and Nellie, born 27 Jan 1873, in Stamford. 

Biographical Review - Delaware Co., New York, 1895
The Leading Citizens of Delaware County, NY

Hector Cowan, who died on July 4, 1878, at his home in the town of Stamford, New York where he was an influential and valued citizen, was born here on October 2, 1824. His father, John Cowan, who was a Scotchman, was born in the old country on June 4, 1798; and his mother, Helen Grant Cowan, was born two years later, September 15, 1800, in Stamford.

John Cowan's father, whose name was Hector, came to America with his wife at the beginning of the century, while John was only two years old, and settled in Stamford, on what is now known as the old Cowan farm, which he reclaimed from the wilderness, building a frame house, wherein he resided till his death, at ninety-three years of age, in 1843. The children of the emigrant Hector were as follows: James Cowan, born June 29, 1794; William, on August 3, 1796; John, in 1798; Isabella, on June 14, 1800- all before the emigration. Afterwards, in Stamford, came Mary, March 12, 1803; Agnes, July 1 1805; Andrew, December 13, 1808. Grandfather Cowan was an Elder in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian church in South Kortright. Politically, he was a Whig. He lost his wife when she was sixty years old, nearly thirty years before his own demise.

John Cowan grew up on his father's farm, and attended the district school, his educational opportunities being, however, very meager. In the course of years he purchased the homestead from the other heirs, and added thereto so largely that finally he owned six hundrend acres, and stood at the head of the agriculturists of this neighborhood. Not only was he his father's successor as a farmer, but as an Elder in the Kortright Parish. His marriage to Helen Grant took place on New Years's Day, 1824; and Grandfather Hector Cowan was greatly pleased the next autumn, when they named their first child after him, Hector. On September 18, 1826, came a sister Ann Eliza, and on December 11, 1830, another sister, Marietta; but all three have joined "the innumerable caravan," Ann Eliza on February 21, 1843, the same year with her grandfather, as above mentioned. Hector died in 1878, and Marietta in April, 1893.

Young Hector went to the local school, like his father before him, and likewise worked on the home farm, devoting himself wholly to agriculture. In 1851, November 5, at the age of twenty-seven, Hector Cowan married Helena Jane Rich, who was born on the Rich family homestead at South Kortright, the daughter of James and Helena (Marshall) Rich; and more particulars concerning her family may be found in the sketch in the volume of Mrs. Sarah Rich. Like his progenitors, Mr. Cowan took an active part in church affairs, and succeeded them as an office-bearer, holding the position of Ruling Elder. As they had been Whigs, so was he in sentiment, and cast his first vote for Taylor and Fillmore; but a few years later the Republican party arose, and he at once joined its fortunes. He was also influential in town affairs. At his death he left a widow and eleven children, eight of whom are still living.

The eldest of these, John A. Cowan, born in 1854, is a Stamford farmer and an Elder in the Presbyterian church in Hobart. Helena Cowan, born in 1856, married Dr. F. H. McNaught, of Denver, Colorado. Of James Rich Cowan more will be said presently. Robert F. Cowan, born in 1860, is a Stamford farmer. Hector William Cowan, born in 1862 amid our Civil War, and named for his father and great- grandfather, is a Presbyterian clergyman in Lawrence, Kansas.

Henry Marshall Cowan, born in 1864, resides on the ancestral acres. Charles Cowan was born in 1868, and lives in Stamford, unmarried; and so does Frank B. Cowan, born in 1870. The children no longer living in this world are: Thomas Rich Cowan, who died at the age of twelve; Stephen, at age seven; Annie, at four. Since the death of their father the large farm has been carried on by his widow who owns it. Of course she is aided by her efficent sons, but is herself a very capable manager, as well as a bright and intelligent woman. She is especially proud of her son, the Hon. James Rich Cowan, who bears her own family name.

The Honorable James R. Cowan was born on May 22, 1858. He was educated in the local school, like two generations of his ancestors, and then went to Stamford Seminary. He lived at home till his majority, and did not give up farming till the year 1891, having six hundred acres under his control. Like other farmers in the region, he gave special attention to cattle, having from seventy-five to one hundred. In politics he has been active being commissioned a Justice of Peace. In 1889 he was made Town Supervisior by the Republican party, and acting as chairman of the board the latter part of the time. In 1891 he was elected to the State Assembly, and served a term at Albany. The same year he was chosen President of the National Bank of Hobart which has a capital of fifty thousand dollars; and this place he still fills, the Vice-President being Oscar I. Bennett, and the Cashier J.A. Scott. Mr. Cowan is still unmarried, and gives his main time and attention to finance. In religion, as well as politics, he retreads the inherited foorsteps, and ia a member of the United Presbyterian church in South Kortright. The Cowan homestead is a noble old place, the house standing amid fertile fields not far from the village of Hobart.

History of Cortland County edited by H. P. Smith, D. Mason & Co. publishers, Syracuse NY 1885


James Crofoot was one of the prominent early settlers and probably emigrated from Connecticut about the year 1806, arriving in Preble during the latter part of that year. He settled on lot 88 and was one of the very first to locate in Baltimore.

Joseph Crofoot was postmaster of that hamlet for a number of years. His son, David Crofoot, was a tanner and currier and became wealthy. He was a skillful mechanic and carried on that business at Baltimore for forty years. The old stone building, still standing in that place and occupied for that especial purpose during the time Mr. Crofoot was engaged in that pursuit, was afterward used for various purposes, such as blacksmith shop, shoe shop, etc., but has been virtually abandoned for many years. This building was erected about the year 1810, and was the first tannery in the town.

David Crofoot must have turned his attention in part of politics; the records of the town show him to have been supervisor in 1823, '24, '25, '30, '32, '33, '34, '39, '40, '43, '44, '45, '46, '52, and '53 -- fifteen years in all, but extending over a period of thirty years of time.

Annals of the American Pulpit, Vol. IX by  By William Buell Sprague, NY, 1869

The Rev. William Mc Auley was born in the North of Ireland about the year 1765. At the usual age he repaired to the University of Glasgow, the institution in which most of the North Irish young men of that day, who intended to enter one of the learned professions, received their education. While a member of the University, Mr. McAuley gained very high distinction. He was regarded by his fellow students and the Professors as a youth of singular promise, and was the special favorite of Prof. Anderson, one of the most eminent scientific men of that time, and the founder of the Andersonian University of Glasgow. Having completed his academic course, he at once began the study of Theology under the well known and venerable John Brown, of Haddington, the Professor of Theology to the Associate Burgher Synod of Scotland, and was one of the last class of students taught by that great and good man.

Mr. McAuley was licensed by the Associate Presbytery of Armagh in 1789, and on this occasion a little scene occurred which showed the sort of stuff of which he was made. I had an account of it years ago, by a venerable parishioner of mine, himself a native of Ireland, and who happened to be present at the meeting and a witness of the affair. The Sermon and Lecture of the young candidate being under discussion, though better, I dare say, than many of the members of Presbytery could have preached, were most unmercifully criticized — according to the usage of Scottish and Irish judicatories of that day. Mr. McAuley endured the infliction as long as he could, but, at length, burning under a sense of the injustice done his productions, he arose, " bearded the lion in his den," demanded to be heard in reply, and then proceeded to give the astonished fathers and brethren a taste of the same sort of excoriation as that to which they had subjected him. The very sublimity of the impertinence, as it must have seemed to them, probably saved him from instant suspension. Certainly he must have been an uncommonly bold young man, who would venture, in that way, to face a Scottish or an Irish Presbytery in those times. In 1790 Mr. McAulay was ordained by the same Presbytery as Minister of the Associate Congregation of Tulliallan, and, during the four years of his residence in this charge, he performed his pastoral duties, in and out of the pulpit, with very great acceptance.

He came to this country in the summer of 1794, was received by the Associate Reformed Presbytery of Washington, (in the Synod of New York,) on the 2d of September of that year, and on the 25th of June he was installed by the same Presbytery in the pastoral charge of the United Congregations of Kortright, Harpersfield and Stamford, in the County of Delaware, N. Y. The new field into which he entered was then one of the " new settlements," on the confines of the unbroken wilderness, if not actually in it, and must have presented the greatest possible contrast to that which he had left, amid the verdant and cultivated hills and valleys of Ireland. To reach Delaware County in that day, whether one started from Albany or Catskill, a long journey through the wilderness was necessary, and when one arrived there, he would find himself in just such a " lodge " as Cowper longed for, " a boundless contiguity of shade."

The history of Mr. McAuley's pastorate in Kortright, though it extended over more than half a century, is soon told. His parish originally embraced two or three townships, but the number of his parishioners was small, and most of them were so poor that it was absurd to think of their supporting a minister. Their Pastor, while watching over their spiritual concerns, was obliged to depend mainly upon his own exertions for the supply of his own temporal necessities. In process of time, Mr. McAuley's family grew to be a very large one ; his salary hardly amounted to $300, and was irregularly paid ; while preaching on the Lord's day, he was compelled to labour as hard as any of his hearers on every other day, and so he toiled, year after year, until he was past middle life, amid difficulties, privations, the pinchings of poverty, and the anxieties incident to a large family, such as few ministers or missionaries experience now-a-days. Ultimately his labours were confined to Kortright, which, while the mother of three or four respectable congregations itself, grew to be one of the largest and most substantial churches in all that region. In 1810 the Stamford branch of his original charge was set off as a distinct parish under the care of the Rev. Robert Forrest. His settlement in this place proved a great comfort and blessing to Mr. McAuley. No two men, in many respects, could differ more than these two Pastors, who, for nearly forty years lived and worked together within some six. or seven miles of each other. They became the most endeared friends, and regularly twice a year they assisted each other at the dispensation of the Lord's Supper. There was no man whom Mr. McAuley loved more warmly than Mr. Forrest, and there was no man for whom Mr. Forrest had a profounder veneration as well as affection than Mr. McAuley. " Mr. Forrest, carried with him to the then wilds of Delaware County, a fine library. He was a lover of books, and having the means to do so, he made constant and valuable additions to his collection. His settlement, therefore, in Stamford was a double boon to Mr. McAuley, for it gave him the companionship of a dear friend and fellow-presbyter, and also the access to books from which his remoteness from town and his poverty had shot him out for years. He had the happiness to see sundry colonies going forth from the mother church peacefully, and with their venerable Pastor's blessing, and to welcome, as his colleague and successor, my esteemed friend, the Rev. Clarke Irving, the present minister of Kortright. But so long as he himself was able to ascend the pulpit, and even when blindness and other infirmities of advanced age made it necessary for others to assist him into it, there was no one whom his people so loved to see there, or to whose voice they listened with greater delight. His death took place on the 24th of March, 1851.

About the year 1810 or '12, an earnest effort was made by the old Associate Reformed Church of Albany, (now the 3d Presbyterian,) to induce Mr. McAuley to become its Pastor. But, as the congregation was, not a very strong one, and as his family had grown to be a large one, his friends thought that the risk involved in removal to a new sphere was too great for him in his circumstances to run, and the plan was consequently abandoned. The first time that I ever saw him was in my childhood. There was a meeting of Synod at Newburgh, and Mr. McAuley was a guest of my father's. I have a dim remembrance of the sermon he preached on the Lord's day afternoon, though the fact might have faded from my memory if I had not so often heard the circumstances attending it repeated by my father and others who were present on the occasion. The leading men of the church had asked the Synod to arrange the services of the Lord's day, expecting, of course, that only the " big guns " would be employed, — to use a cant phrase — knowing as they did that the church would be crowded. The day came, and greatly to the mortification of the Elders and others, they learned that the person chosen for the service was the plain looking and rather humbly attired Mr. McAuley, of Kortright, who had not once opened his mouth in Synod, and from whom, judging by appearances, only a very ordinary sermon was to be expected. However the thing was done and could not be changed ; they only hoped that there might be a thin audience, but in this too they were disappointed, for the church was as full as it could he. Mr. McAuley ascended the pulpit and began the service. The tone of his prayer surprised them a good deal, and they began to think, when it was ended, that they had possibly mistaken the man. He announced his text, I Peter i, 8. " Whom having not seen ye love," &c., and within five minutes he led the vast audience captive at his will. I have, as I said, a dim remembrance of that noble discourse, for I was only a child at the time, but I can never forget the profound stillness of the church, nor the delight with which I listened to his rich Irish voice. I need not mention that ever after, Mr. McAuley was a prime favourite in Newburgh, and that, on his occasional visits, necessity was laid upon him invariably to preach. As a member of Synod, the meetings of which he punctually attended until kept at home by the infirmities of age, he was one of the most modest and retiring of men. It was an exceedingly rare thing for him to take part in a discussion, although he was always in his place and a most attentive listener ; but when he did speak, it was to give in a brief, clear and simple way, his judgment and the grounds on which it rested. But by the fireside of a friend, or in his own house, he was as genial and accessible as a child, and wherever he was a guest, the little ones were sure to find the way to his lap.

His head was one which would have filled a phrenologist with delight, and no one could look upon it without suspecting at least that it was the home of a superior intellect ; and no one could look into his countenance without perceiving the traces of that love of humour for which his countrymen are generally noted. Indeed, I can well believe that in his earlier years, his native humour and wit often overflowed ; but when I first knew him, he was past the meridian of life, and he had been called to drink deeply of the cup of sorrow, and consequently his humour came out in a quiet way. On one occasion when the Synod was to meet at Kortright, a large coach load of the brethren reached the parsonage about 8 p. M. We were of course warmly weleomed, but when some one was expressing his fears that there might not be beds enough for so large a company, Mr. McAuley with a humorous twiukb of his eye, replied that in any case we would not be so badly off as he was the first night he spent in Kortright, when, said he, " we had to sleep fourteen in a bed," i. e., on the soft side of the floor. He was once called to marry the nephew of one of his neighbours, a worthy Covenanter of the old stamp, who was disposed to measure the value of religious services by their length. Mr. McAuley, as his habit was, made the marriage service quite short, and when, at the close, he pronounced the young couple husband and wife, — " Humph," said the uncle, — " they are nae mair married than they were before." Mr. McAuley overheard the remark, though it was not intended to reach his ear, but he did not notice it in any way. Some time afterward the uncle resolved to take to himself a wife, and as no minister of his own church could be got, he was forced, much against his will, to apply to Mr. McAuley, who cheerfully consented to " tie the knot " for him. When the evening for the marriage arrived and the parties had presented themselves, Mr. McAuley addressed the bridegroom (after a single word to the bride) in a discourse regarding his duties and responsibilities of such length that the poor man, fairly wearied out, was forced to take a seat, leaving the lady standing alone. Mr. M. thereupon closed the service, and, after the customary congratulations, he, with a significant smile, asked the worthy Covenanter, — " Do you think that you are married?" But I must bring these reminiscences to a close. My letter is perhaps longer than it should be, and yet I feel that it will give your readers who never knew him, a very imperfect idea of the venerable man whom I have attempted to portray. That he was not an ordinary man all I think will admit, who consider the angle fact that his " natural force " as a Preacher was considered as " unabated " by the grandchildren and the great grandchildren of those who seventy years ago or more settled in a wilderness, which, through their instrumentality, has been made to blossom as the rose. You can easily understand how a man of the most brilliant natural genius, if compelled to toil in the fields during the entire week, and to elaborate his discourses while following the plough, and to do this for ten years, would come to feel a positive distaste for the pen. It seemed to have been so with Mr. McAuley. His fellow-presbyters who knew his powers often tried to get some product of his pen that might be preserved. With this view he was appointed by the Synod to prepare a Testimony on an important doctrinal point, about the year 1833 ; but the habits of a life-time were too strong, and the document was unwritten. So that only the memory of his sermons, his piety, his pastoral work, remains. Stat nominis umbra. And yet I am persuaded that, in the central portion of Delaware County, there are thousands, who, though they never saw him, yet from what their fathers have told them, will cherish with affectionate veneration the name, William McAuley. I am affectionately yours, John Forsyte.

The History of Delaware County by W.W. Munsell, 1880

Duncan Mc Donald was elected sheriff of Delaware county in 1852. He was a son of John Mc Donald, one of the early settlers of the town. Mr. Mc Donald was a man of great firmness and determination, which made him very popular as an officer. John Mc Donald, another son of the pioneer, represented the second Assembly district of Delaware county in the Assembly. He held many public positions beside. He was one of the most popular officers of his day.

Note: Duncan's sister Nancy McDonald (1791-1855) was the wife of William Blakely (1781-1855) For more - Tully Cemetery Family Burial and Headstones

1881 Hand Atlas, Monroe Co., MI, H.H. Hardesty & Co., Chicago & Toledo, 1881

George Peters was born in Delaware county, New York, September 21, 1822. He removed with his parents, Richard and Polly (Wilcox) Peters, to Mornoe county, May 4, 1824, locating on the present site of Petersburg which was then the western terminus of the settlements. Richard served nearly two years as collector for the township of Raisinville, then embracing the western half of Monroe county. He was unable to find all the tax payers, consequently wrote to his father in New York asking for money to supply the deficiency, which he received, thereby closing up the tax roll for 1825. The first mill was built by Benjamin Davis, in the year 1827, near the present site of the mills now in Petersburg. The first bridge across the river near the present one was built in the year 1828; the crossing previous to that time was done by fording and canoes. Charles, Peters, the first white child born in the western part of the county, was born in March, 1825. The second one was Richard Ingersoll, now living in Dundee. George Peters was married in Monroe, Michigan, June 10, 1847 to Mary J. born September 22, 1827, in Batavia, New York, daughter of Benjamin S. and Minerva (Howe) Holmes, who settled in Monroe county in 1845. Mrs. Peters is the mother of Mary Helen, born May 1 1849, died February 6, 1850; infant, December 25, 1850, died January, 1851; Helen F., November 14, 1857, resides in Buffalo, New York; Richard G., June 9,1865, resides in Summerfield township. Mr. Peters was elected supervisor in the year 1855, serving until 1874; was elected to the Michigan Legislature in 1860, serving two years; was elected again in 1866, serving two years, and was postmaster through the administrations of Hayes and Grant. He is a farmer, residing in Summerfield township. Address, Petersburg.

Biographical Review - Delaware Co., New York, 1895
Contributed by Jim Peters

John Peters was born in the town of Stamford, Delaware County, NY,  March 22, 1804, the son of Richard Peters and Susannah Halsted, who came to this county from Saratoga, and settled in the town of Stamford about the year 1795, on the farm recently occupied by Mr. James A. Rich, bringing all their earthly possessions in a wooden chest of primitive mould and rather heroic dimensions, which served them for years in their new home, in turn as table, tool-chest, wardrobe, and cupboard, and which was carefully preserved in the family for many years, bearing the marks of teeth and claws of many wolves, bears, and other wild animals, received during their almost nightly visits while doing duty as a barricade to their doorless cabin.  It is not too much to say that the presence of some of these animals around or near their cabin during these years was almost of nightly occurrence: and the “death rate” of the item of wolves for a single season killed by Mr. Richard Peters and a neighbor, Mr.Timothy Canfield, as an occasional pastime, numbered as high as fifteen.  The writer remembers a solitary cove in the woods near the Bovina line, on the old farm, pointed out by the old gentleman (John Peters) many years ago as a spot where he was at one time attacked in open day by three of these half-starved creatures, he having only an axe and an old knife with which to defend himself, the conflict ending only when he had dispatched the most determined one and injured another, and being pretty well scratched up and done for himself. 

The family of Richard Peters (whose father and grandfather both bore the same name) consisted of nine children, five sons and four daughters.  Of these John was the sixth child and the youngest son.  One of the social features of our country during these early years, worthy of note, was the existence of slavery throughout the Northern as well as the Southern States.  That previous to the passage of a law about the year 1820 fixing at latitude thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes a division know as the “Compromise Line,” dividing States that should henceforth be recognized as “slave” and “free,” slavery existed to a limited extent in Delaware County, is a fact which doubtless many of the present generation have but imperfectly comprehended.  A considerable number of the prominent farmers, however, owned one or more slave.  One such was among the chattels of the Peters household - a colored girl whose name is now forgotten.  Her acknowledged value appeared to have been estimated at from two hundred and fifty to three hundred dollars: and she was “swapped” around among the families of the neighborhood at about one of these prices, with nearly the same frequency and as little ceremony as the good woman of the house in our day changes her servant girl.  The sequel of the particular Topsy’s history was that during her forced migrations she chanced to fall into hands that were reported as not being any too gentle toward her: and some of her former owners, having learned of this fact, straightway consulted with the good minister, the Rev. Robert Forrest, in reference to the matter.  A purse was raised, a large proportion of the amount having been furnished by the preacher: and the slave girl soon became the property of the venerable Scotch divine. There being a worthy colored man in the neighborhood who had lately obtained his own freedom, and was matrimonially inclined, the good man sought out the sable Romeo, and in course of time, with the fullest consent of all parties interested, sold to him the faithful Juliet for the sum of one dollar, marrying them in the bargain, the couple living happily together for many years, the firm friends of their generous and saintly benefactor.

At the age of twenty-six years, July 1, 1830, John Peters married Jane, daughter of William Blakely, Esq., of Kortright, N.Y., and shortly thereafter purchased of his father the Stamford homestead, the father removing shortly afterward, with the unmarried portion of his family, to Tully, Onondaga County, N.Y. There was born to John and Jane Peters four daughters and two sons; Nancy C., who became the wife of Samuel McCune; Sarah A., who died unmarried at the age of eighteen years; William B., now residing at Bloomville; Elizabeth J., wife of the late Judge D.T. Arbuckle; Susan F., wife of the Hon. Henry Davie; and John R. Peters-all of whom are living except the two first named. Although succeeding well as a farmer, the rather restless spirit of John was not to be confined to the limits of the homestead domain: and forming a partnership with a friend and neighbor, Mr. John Loughren (who later became the senior member of the butter firm of Loughren & Edbert, of New York City), carried on with him for many years a quite extensive and profitable business as dealers in butter, wool, etc. Later he added to this quite an extensive business in the manufacture of horse-rakes, being one of the pioneers in this industry, beginning with that marvel of labor-saving appliances, the wheelless scratch rake, which in these progressive days would be regarded as a marvel of the man-killing art. The favorite branch of his business, however, during his early life, and that to which he devoted most of his attention, was dealing in wool. In the earlier years nearly every farmer living in the towns of Andes, Bovina, Middletown, and Stamford kept more or less sheep, many of them from two hundred to five hundred, and some as many as a thousand; and the sheep and wool industry was the most important in the county. Fulling and carding mills were as common as grist-mills at the present day. Every house has its spinning-wheels, and very many contained looms for weaving their yarn into cloth for family use. Buyers of wool were abundant in the county about sheep-shearing time, the latter part of May or early June; and activity meant success. Sleep on the part of local speculation during this rather brief portion of the season was a matter that was left almost out of the question; and many were the "lots" of wool that were purchased for future delivery during the midnight and early morning hours, the good man of the house being "rattled" out of the bed, and the negotiations carried on and completed through the keyhole or open window, the purchaser having no time to wait to appear in his "proper person."

During these years he was seldom without two or three farms on his hands, it being as much in the line of his speculative disposition to buy a drove of cows as a dairy of butter, and a farm as either, providing always there was promise of quick returns and a fair commission; and it might, we think, be safely said of him, as many of his early acquaintances would testify, that he possessed in a large degree a spirit of determination which usually "made thing go." In the year 1850, having purchased a farm in the village of Bloomville, he removed to that village, where he shortly after engaged in that mercantile business. This was the period when the gold excitement of California was at white heat; and as an experiment, he made at different times large shipments of butter to that market.  One of the methods adopted with fair success for preserving it sweet during the journey of two or more months necessary for its transit was that of packing the butter in small wooden kegs, holding about one gallon, identical in style with the old-fashioned oyster-kegs. These kegs were in turn packed in large casks of sixty or more gallon capacity, and the vacant spaces carefully filled with Turk's Island salt. These weighty packages were then carted by team to Catskill, thence by water to New York, and thence around Cape Horn, crossing the equator twice on their journey to the "forty-niners" in that then far-off land of gold-a venture which proved a financial success. The advent of the hop-growing industry into Delaware County gave scope for speculation; and Mr. Peters, although well advanced in years, took his chances with the others, and, like most others who dealt in this rather treacherous commodity, met with varied experiences as to the results. Many of the members of the One Hundred and Forty-fourth Regiment will recall a characteristic incident which occurred during a visit made by Mr. Peters to their camp at Upton Hill, Va., during the war.

It is needless to say that to many of the boys he was a welcome visitor; and, when night came on, they succeeded in arranging for him a comfortable sleeping place in one of the tents. This, however, the old gentleman, being a good sleeper, entirely ignored; and wrapping himself in a blanket, he took his place with "the rest of the boys." stretched at full length around the camp-fire, where he was soon sleeping soundly. The night was cool, the disposition was to unconsciously snuggle up a little closer to the embers; and toward morning the "mess" were awakened by him with the caution; "Take care there, boys! some of you are burning! It's somebody's boots!" Then, suddenly getting out of his, he said: "Well, well! I guess it's my boots, after all!" They were burned to a crisp - a joke which furnished sufficient fun for the rest of the night, and which no one seemed to enjoy better that himself. A pair of army "schooners" about as wide as they were long were substituted which "did him proud" until he returned to Washington. 

Mrs. Jane Peters, his wife, died at Bloomsville, March 7, 1879, at the age of sixty-eight years, after having spent a busy and in many respects an exemplary life. Of slight frame and never physically strong, she shared the spirit of activity and ambition which has characterized the life of her husband. Her kind disposition and gentle manners deserved and were rewarded with the respect of all with whom she mingled.  Her remains are resting beside those of her husband's parents, Richard and Susannah Peters, who, after living about twenty years in Cortland County, returned to Delaware that they might spend their last days near the scenes of their early married life, and in the year 1853 were, within a few weeks of each other laid to rest in the cemetery at Bloomville.  Mr. John Peters is living with his son, William B. Peters, at Bloomville, hale and hearty, and still full of business projects at the age of ninety -one years.  His long and active life, crowing hard upon a century, has been to a greater extent than that of any other man now living identified with the history of the village in which he dwells.

1881 Hand Atlas, Monroe Co., MI, H.H. Hardesty & Co., Chicago & Toledo, 1881

Who removed with his parents, Richard and Polly (Wilcox) Peters, to Monroe county in 1824, was born in Delaware county New York, December 16, 1823. His wife, Ellen, to whom he was married in Lenawee county, Michigan, was born in Summerfield township, December 16, 1843, deceased. Her parents, Calvin and Mary A. (Bruce) Burnham, settled in Monroe county in 1837. Mr. Peters, residing in Summerfield township, is the father of Frances, born January 8, 1865; Mary A., March 23, 1856; Ellen L., December 17, 1875. Mr. Peters is engaged in farming. Address, Petersburg.

History of Monroe County, Michigan, ed. by Talcott E. Wing, 1890

Of Petersburg, was one of the early pioneers of Monroe county, and his services has been invaluable in aiding to clear up and redeeming an unbroken wilderness from the savages and wild beasts which inhabited it.  He purchased from the United States Government some six hundred acres of land, about five hundred of which he cleared and brought into an excellent state of cultivation.

He emigrated from Harpersfield, Delaware county, New York, in 1824, at which place he received a common school education, and at which place he was married to Polly Wilcox, and proceeding directly to the spot where the village of Petersburg now stands, where he built a hut and commenced improvements, with Morris and Lewis Wells and their families the nearest neighbors, two miles distant.  The last two or three miles of road he cut through the wilderness. The family then consisted of a wife and three children, the former died in 1834, and the latter are all still living. Mr. Richard Peters held himself aloof from all kinds of offices; was highly esteemed as a citizen and first-class farmer, and though averse to holding office, was, notwithstanding this, frequently forced to accept township offices, and was supervisor of the town of Raisinville eight or ten years, which town then embraced Summerfield, Dundee, Whiteford, Bedford, Ida, London and Milan.  He died at the old homestead of inflammation of the lungs after a short illness of six weeks, at the advanced age of sixty-four years.  His eldest son George was born September 21, 1822, at Harpersfield, now residing on a part of the old homestead far; has been repeatedly honored with offices, indicating the esteem in which he is held; has serve the town as school inspector; was nineteen years supervisor; member of the House of Representative in 1861 and 1862, and a member of the State Senate in 1867 and 1868. He married Miss Mary J. Holmes; has one son Richard G., who resides on the home farm, and one daughter, who was married to Mr. Rea, and resides in Buffalo, New York.

John resides on a portion of the old homestead farm; married Ellen Burnham; has two daughters receiving their education in Oberlin College, Ohio.  he is esteemed as a very substantial enterprising farmer, and has always resided on the farm, with the exception of a few years that he spent in California.

History of Manistee, Mason & Oceana Counties, MI by H.R. Page & Co., Chicago, 1882

Manistee is noted for the number of its business men who have risen by their own unaided efforts from poverty and obscurity to wealth and prominence in the commercial world. The city is very largely made up of men who were poor boys and have fought their way over obstacles to success. These men to-day are strong, financially, and they are also strong in character, and their names command respect wherever they are known. Of this class the subject of this sketch is a prominent member.

He began at the foot of the ladder, and to-day is one of the boldest and most extensive operators in pine on this shore.

He was born in Delaware County, N.Y., July 2, 1832. He lived at home upon the farm, until eighteen years of age, when he started out into the world to delve for himself.

In the Spring of 1850, he started for Cincinnati, Ohio, and from that place he came to Michigan. He landed at Point Sable in 1858, and went to work for Charles Mears. He is naturally one of the irrepressible kind of men, and his great energy and business ability very soon made themselves manifest.

From Point Sable he went to Ludington to take charge of lumbering interests for James Ludington.

In July, 1866, he came to Manistee and became a member of the lumber firm of M.S. Tyson & Co. From that time to the present he has been a bold and successful business man. His remarkable energy and great vital force have enabled him to execute the great purposes of a clear brain.

At the present time he is the proprietor of Eastlake, a neat little village on the east shore of Lake Michigan, where he has two mills, a salt block, store and boarding home. He is a member of the firm of Butters, Peters & Co., whose mill is at Tallman, and of the firm of Peters & Butters, at Ludington. He is interested in the ownership of about 8000,000,000 feet of standing pine, 700,000,000 of which he owns individually. His own mills and those in which he is part owner cut 60,000,000 feet of lumber a season. He is president of the Manistee National Bank, and is also interested in a refrigerator manufactory at Michigan City, Ind.

He is perfectly familiar with all the minute details of his vast business, and knows personally all the men in his employ. His manner is sharp and decisive, though always courteous and affable. He always interests himself in all local enterprises, and is ever ready to contribute liberally to anything of benefit to Manistee. No fitter monument of individual liberality could be erected than Union Hall, erected by him. This magnificent building is described elsewhere on these pages. He has held the office of mayor one term.

Mr. Peters was married April 6, 1858, at Oberlin, Ohio, to Miss Evaline N. Tibbitts, of that place, and in his domestic relations he has been truly blessed. Mrs. Peters is one of the noble women of the land, whose whole life seems to be devoted to doing good and bringing comfort and happiness to others, and in this work she has the generous sympathy and co-operation of her husband. The family residence of Mr. Peters is a handsome and spacious structure, surrounded by beautiful grounds, a fine full page view of which is given in this work.

Men of Progress: Biographical Sketches of Representative Michigan Men. Evening News Association, Detroit, 1900.
Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820-1910, Library of Congress

Mr. Peters was born July 2, 1832, in Delaware county, N. Y., upon the farm of his parents, James II. and Susan (Squires) Peters. The family removed to Syracuse, N. Y., and later to Cincinnati, Ohio, where, as well as at Syracuse, they were engaged at hotel keeping. In 1847 the mother died, and the son, now fifteen years of age, went to live his grandparents at Tully, N. Y., where he worked upon the farm, and employed his winters in completing his education in the district schools. For a year he was employed by his uncle as gate-keeper on a toll road, and in this school of "human nature" he learned much which in his subsequent career has enabled him to estimate man at their proper value. At the age of eighteen years he returned to Cincinnati, and in 1850 went to Monroe, Mich., where he worked on a farm belonging to a cousin, leaving in the fall to enter the employ of the michigan Southern Railroad Company, in the engineering department. He was soon placed in charge of a division of the road, in the capacity of assistant civil engineer, a position which he occupied for five years.

In 1855 Mr. Peters' star beckoned him northward, where he took charge of the lumber and mill interests of the late Charles Mears at Big Point Au Sable, being thus employed for five years. He then went to Ludington, where he purchased a small tract of government land, and proceeded to get out timber on his own account, giving up this enterprise, however, to accept a position with James Ludington, as superintendent of his mill and lumber operations at the month of the Pere Marquette river (now the city of Ludington), where he remained two years. In 1866 Mr. Peters, together with M. S. Tyson and G. W. Robinson, of Milwaukee, purchased the mill and timber property of Filer & Tyson, at Manistee, comprising the sawmills on Manistee lake and a large portion of the site of the city of Manistee, for which the sum of $250,000 was paid. His connection with this firm continued for two years, since which time Mr. Peters has been practically alone in his business affairs, which have been mainly conducted under the style of "The R. G. Peters Salt & Lumber Company."

In 1869 Mr. Peters bought the Wheeler & Hopkins mill on Manistee Lake, which he operated until it was destroyed by fire thirteen years later. His next step was the purchase of forty acres of land, and a mill at East Lake, the site of the present Peters plant. This mill was rebuilt and a second mill added and upon the discover of salt in this vicinity, a well was struck at the Peters plant and salt struck, adding this industry to that of the manufacture of lumber. The Manistee & Luther railroad, extending from East Lake to near Le Roy, Osceola county, eighty miles, is part of the Peters plant. In the last named year also, Mr. Peters, in connection with Horace Butters, purchased two large tracts of land, twenty-eight miles south of Manistee, on the F. & P. M. R. R., containing 130,000,000 feet of pine, and laid out the town of Tallman. This firm acquired mill property and a salt block at Ludington, together with thirty miles of Logging road.

Mr. Peters' timber holdings in Michigan and Wisconsin have been estimated at 150,000 acres, with 100,000 acres in the south, and he has been styled the "King among lumbermen." Mr. Peters is president of the R. G. Peters Salt & Lumber Company, of the Manistee & Luther Railroad, of the Peters Lumber and Shingle Company of Benton Harbor, is vice-president of the Butters & Peters Salt & Lumber Company of Ludington, and the Bachelor Cyprus Lumber Company with mills at Panasoffkee, Florida, a director in the Manistee National Bank, in the Michigan Salt Association, and in the Manistee (Furniture) Manufacturing Company. His religious connection is Congregational. He is Republican in politics and a member of the Michigan Club. Mr. Peters has been twice married, but has no children. First to Miss Evelyn N. Tibbits, at Oberlin, Ohio, April 6, 1862, who died Feb. 14, 1879. Again June 15, 1898 to Miss Jeanet Telford, of Onekama, Mich.

Biographical Review - Delaware Co., New York, 1895
The Leading Citizens of Delaware County, NY
(Contributed by Jim Peters)

William B. Peters, third child and eldest son of John Peters and Jane Blakely, was born in the town of Stamford, Delaware County, N.Y., December 23, 1837, in the same house in which his father first saw the light, and took his name from his maternal grandfather, William Blakely.

Since the age of twelve years he has been a resident of Bloomville, having removed with his parents to that village in 1850, on the same day in which Simon B. Champion, the now venerable editor of the Stamford Mirror, took up his abode therein. Being a boy of an inquistive turn on mind, his time for the following four years was about equally divided between the district schoolhouse, his father's store, and the printing-office, with odds probably in favor of the latter. At the age of sixteen he was placed in Harpersfield Union Academy, at that time under the supervision of the Rev. Robert Rogers, and remained for two years, at the end of which time he entered Delaware Academy at Delhi, in the old building which is now standing, opposite the County Clerk's office, it being the first term in which Professor John L. Sawyer was in control of that institution. He remained a student there for about three years, during which time the present buildings were erected and the school was removed into its more commodious quarters; and during the same time he taught two winter terms of school. At twenty-one years of age he entered into mercantile business at Bloomville with Samuel McCune, under the firm name of McCune & Peters, and the following winter was elected Justice of the Peace, his opponent being the honorable Stephen H. Keeler, now deceased. 

July 17, 1861, four days previous to the battle of Bull Run, he married Hannah Rich, of South Kortright, daughter of James Rich and Jane Southard, and a granddaughter of the Rev. Robert Forrest. Mrs. Peters is a sister of Captain John Rich, late of Jacksonville, Fla. Like her husband, Mrs. Peters was for a time student at Delaware Academy under the tutorage of Professor Sawyer. During the war Mr. Peters was a member of the town board, and was for some time engaged in the recruiting service, being later appointed at assist Colonel Robert Parker and the Hon. James H. Graham in looking after the just apportionment of State military credits in Delaware County, at Albany, and elsewhere. After the war, having closed out his mercantile business, he engaged in agricultural pursuits on what was then known as the John Bathrick farm in Bloomville, and continued to make this his business, in part, for about four years. In this short period he entitled himself, as he declares, to be regarded as one of the most unsuccessful farmers in the community; and, feeling a particular respect for men who succeed in employments where he cannot, he to this day feels like raising his hat when he meets a prosperous farmer. Mathematics was his favorite study, and he had a special fondness for mechanical pursuits.  The astonishing development of the watch-making industry about 1870 led him to engage in the watch and jewelry business; and this occupation, together with that of surveying, to which he has from boyhood given more or less attention, have for the past twenty-five years furnished him with sufficient and fairly remunerative employment. As a surveyor and draughtsman, Mr. Peters is said to have no superior in Delaware County. 

Mr. and Mrs. Peters have had a family of four children, three daughters and one son, named respectively, Jennie, who died at the age of eleven years; Lizziebell, who pursued a course of study at Delaware Academy, and afterward graduated from the Oneonta Normal School; James R., who was for a time a student at Delaware Academy, and also at D.L. Moody's school at Mount Hermon, Mass.; and Sarah, who finished a course of study at Delaware Academy. 

Biographical Review - Delaware Co., New York, 1895
The Leading Citizens of Delaware County, NY

Robert S. Rich, one of the oldest business men of this section of Delaware County, is carrying on a profitable trade in general merchandise in the village of Hobart, where he has been located for two score years. During this length of time the sterling traits of his character have become thoroughly known to his fellow-citizens, by whom he is held in high esteem. Mr. Rich was born in the town of Stamford on March 7, 1823, son of James and Helen (Marshall) Rich. (For further ancestral history see the sketch of Mrs. Sarah Rich, which appears on another page of this work.)

After leaving the district school he continued his education in New York City. When eighteen years old, he secured a position as clerk in Hall's retail dry-goods store, where he remained five years, faithfully fulfilling his duties, and at the same time acquiring a good insight into the business. At the expiration of that time Mr. Rich, in company with an associate, opened a store for the sale of dry goods; and for five years they carried on a successful business under the firm name of Rich & Blish. The firm being then dissolved , the senior partner came to Hobart, where in 1855 he formed a partnership with John F. Grant, and , buying out the general merchandise establishment of Dr. McNaught, continued in trade, the firm of Rich & Grant being for a number of years one of the most active and thriving in the village. Mr. Rich subsequently bought the interest of his partner, and has since conducted the business by himself. He is one of the oldest and best known merchants of Hobart, a man of excellent capacity and business talents; and his honest dealings and uniform courtesy have secured him the general respect and good will of the community.

On April 25, 1850, Mr. Rich was united in marriage with Caroline D. Blish, a native of Stamford, and a descendant of one of the oldest families of the county, being the daughter of Aristarchus and Nancy Merriam Blish, formerly prosperous members of the farming community of Stamford. Two sons and two daughters have been born to this union, the family record being as follows: James B., a single man, is a partner in his father's business. Caroline M., the wife of L.E. Higgley, resides in North Adams, Mass. Stephen W., a farmer, lives in Stamford. Bertha E. lives with her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Rich are members of the Presbyterian church at Hobart, and contribute liberally and cheerfully toward its support. Politically, Mr. Rich is a steadfast Republican, and is a man of decided views, although quiet and unobtrusive in his manner. His influence has always been strongly in favor of the maintenance of schools and churches, and whatever else is calculated to benefit the community.

Biographical Review - Delaware Co., New York, 1895
The Leading Citizens of Delaware County, NY

Mrs. Sarah Rich, who lives on the Rich homestead of two hundred and seventy-five acres in Almeda, in the town of Stamford, N.Y., and carries on the place with marked ability, is the widow of Stephen Rich. The Rich family, hers by birth as well as marriage is one of the oldest and best established in the county.

The present record begins with James Rich, who was born in New York City in 1764, and was therefore a boy eleven years old when the Revolution began, and still older when the patriotic tide reached his native city. By trade he was a tailor, but died at the early age of thirty-five, only ten years after his marriage and in the same year with the Father of his Country. His wife was Mary Altgelt, also a native of the metropolis, where she was born, July 30, 1769. She outlived her husband many years, and twice entered again the holy estate of matrimony. Her second husband was Joseph Thomson; and the other was Robert Forrest, of Stamford, who left her the third time a widow. Her own death occurred in Stamford on December 6, 1857. To her first husband she bore three sons, Stephen Altgelt Rich, a grocer in New York City, grandfather of Mrs. Sarah Rich, was born August 4, 1790, during Washington's first Presidency, and lived till 1858, when Buchanan was in the White House.

The next son, to whose line this sketch specially relates, was born October 23, 1791, and was named for his grandfather. James Rich was a Stamford farmer, and carried on the place subsequently owned by his son Stephen. This he did so practically and progressively as to make agriculture a profitable pursuit. He was an old-time Whig, and an Elder and Trustee in the United Presbyterian church in South Kortright. His first wife, Miss Helena Marshall, was born in New York City, October 13, 1792. They were marred in 1816, just a week before Christmas, when the second peace with the mother country had been finally declared, and praises of General Jackson's warlike pluck echoed on every hand; and she died on Christmas Day, 1835, aged forty-three, while Jackson was President, so that the great Christian holiday and America's democratic and autocratic statesman were peculiarly associated with her life.

From this union came ten children, two of whom survive. Henry Marshall Rich was born September 12, 1819, and lived, unmarried, on the homestead with his brother's widow until his death, August 24, 1894. He was a member of the Presbyterian church, and a Republican, greatly respected by his associates. Robert S. Rich was born March 7, 1823, and is a merchant in Hobart village. Helena Jane was born on February 24, 1832, and is now the widow of Hector Cowan, of Stamford, of whom a sketch may be found elsewhere in this volume. The eldest child, James Altgelt Rich, a Stamford farmer, named for his grandparents, was born in October, 1817, and died March 5, 1894. Mary Rich was born February 17, 1821, and died unmarried in New York City on April 3, 1842. Stephen was born October 8, 1824; and he died July 6, 1884, at the sound age of sixty. Of him more hereafter. Thomas Rich, a farmer, was born August 28, 1826, and died in Mexico on the last day of April, 1852. Alexander Rich was born on the first day of November 1830, became a New York plumber, and died February 18, 1854. Ann Eliza, twin sister of Helen, died in October 1889, at fifty-seven. James Rich's first wife, as already stated was Helena Marshall; but he was married again. The second wife was Jane Southard, a native of Dutchess County, and by her he had three children. The eldest, Hannah Rich, born July 17, 1838, married William B. Peters, of Bloomville, of whom a sketch may be found in its proper place in this volume. John Rich was born December 14, 1839, and died March 19, 1885, in Jacksonville, Fla., where he was acting as agent for the Mallory line of steamers. Isabella Rich was born April 10, 1841, four days after the country was appalled by the sad news of the death of General Harrison, when only a month in the Presidential chair. She married Rev. James M. Stevenson, and died December 19, 1893. Thus we see that James Rich was indeed a patriarch, with one more child than Jacob, of the Bible history he so loved. He was also an Elder in the Presbyterian church, and a Whig in politics, but would have rejoiced over the triumph of Abraham Lincoln, which occurred three years after Mr. Rich's death on the homestead, July 10, 1857.

The father of James Rich's first wife, Henry Marshall, was born in Scotland, and came to America before his marriage. He studied medicine, became a successful practitioner in Kortright in pioneer days, and reared a boy and six girls, all of whom have passed away. Dr. Marshall died in Hobart at threescore and ten, an Elder in the Presbyterian church, and a Whig in politics. His wife also lived to a good old age.

Stephen Rich grew up on the Stamford farm where he was born, and which had been bought by his grandmother, Mrs. Mary Altgelt Rich (Thomson) Forrest, of its former owner, Mr. Sheldon, early in this century, and upon which the widowed Mrs. Stephen Rich now resides. After attending the district school, Stephen went to New York City when he was eighteen, and found work with James Buchan & Co., manufacturers of soap and candles. In due time he was able to buy an interest in the concern, and pursued a successful trade until 1865, after the war, when he returned to Stamford, bought the old homestead, passed his last days there farming, and died July 6, 1884.

He was married May 6, 1869, at the mature age of forty-five, to his cousin, Sarah Rich, a native of New York City, the daughter of Stephen Altgelt Rich and his wife, Jane Oliver, who was born October 22, 1788. These parents were married May 12, 1812, by the Rev. Robert Forrest. Stephen A. Rich died August 29, 1858, and his wife on February 25, 1868. They had ten children, half of whom survive. Charlotte and Rachel are both widows in New York City, the former having married William Patterson, and the latter Mr. Buchan, of the firm above mentioned. Jane Rich lives with her sister Sarah on the homestead. Elizabeth Rich is the wife of James Rintoul, of New York City. Sarah Rich married her kinsman, Stephen Rich, as before stated. The five deceased children are as follows: James B. was born on the first day of March, 1813, and died in Alabama, August 12, 1844. Mary Struthers Rich was born March 18, 1815, and died January 28, 1892. Robert Forrest Rich, born January 3, 1820, died November 11, 1872, in New Jersey. Hannah Thomson was born November 19, 1822, and died March 27, 1852 in New York City. Andrew Mather Rich was born December 23, 1823, died August 17, 1826.

Mrs. Stephen Rich belongs to the United Presbyterian church in Kortright, in which her husband held the birthright office of Elder. He was also a Republican and a thoroughly good citizen, and left his widow well endowed. Both the land and house are valuable. In her management of the place Mrs. Rich was aided by her brother-in-law, Mr. Henry Rich, until the time of his death.

Biographical Review, The Leading Citizens of Delaware Co., New York, 1895

John Thomas, Jr., a descendant of an old and well-known family of that name, was a prominent citizen of Stamford, where he was born on November 20, 1828, and died, highly respected and beloved, on April 14, 1887. His grandfather, Abram Thomas, the original settler, was a son of an earlier John Thomas, who was born on November 25, 1746, and whose wife Phoebe Thomas, was born on August 10, 1749. Abram Thomas was born January 3, 1773, and married Lydia Hawley, who was born March 4, 1776. He was a farmer, and proprietor of the first tavern in Stamford, which is still standing on the Thomas farm on the main road between Bloomville and Hobart, in what is now South Kortright. It is built on the old Dutch plan, and with its great chimneys and moss grown roof is a landmark for the inhabitants of all the surrounding country, having been in its day one of the most noted and important inns of that section. By industry and economy Abram Thomas accumulated a comfortable fortune, which his descendants now enjoy. He was the father of twelve children, ten of whom reached maturity; but all have since passed away. Abram Thomas died on October 11, 1848. He was liberal in religious views, and a Whig in politics. His wife lived until May 12, 1849, when she , too, passed away on the old homestead.

Their son, John B. Thomas, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Dutchess County, February 15, 1795, and married Fanny Smith, who was born on January 3, 1795. He was a successful farmer , and in 1817 settled in Stamford on the farm where Mrs. Thomas now resides. His wife was a member of the Presbyterian church at South Kortright; but he was liberal in religion, and a Republican in politics. John B. Thomas passed away on April 23, 1870, and his wife, October 15, 1875. They had six children, of whom three are now living: Sally Adelia Perkins, who resides in California; James A.,a resident of Wisconsin; and Maria L. Eschemberg, who also lives in California. Their son Abraham died at the age of forty-eight years. A daughter, Mrs. Adeline Wetmore, also passed away when forty-eight years old. The other son, John Thomas Jr., was born on the old Thomas farm now occupied by his widow, and here grew to manhood, attending the district schools, afterward teaching for a time. Like his father and grandfather, he adopted a farmer's life, buying the old homestead and living there until his death. On June 2, 1863, he married Miss Sarah Agnes Blakley, who was born in Kortright, December 5, 1838, a daughter of James G. Blakley, whose family history is given elsewhere in this volume. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas were the parents of four children: Susan Frances Cronk, born September 21, 1864, and a resident of Roxbury; Sarah A. Lyon, born November 28, 1867, residing in Stamford; Jennie L., born August 8, 1870, at home; and John James Thomas, who was born May 23, 1872, unmarried, and assisting his mother in the management of the old home farm, which she has carried on since her husband's death.

The old Thomas farm consisted of three hundred acres of land; and here the descendants of the family now live, keeping fifty head of cattle, and carrying on a large dairy, making an excellent quality of butter. At his death Mr. Thomas was an Elder of the Presbyterian church at South Kortright. He held many public offices, among which were those of Assessor and County Superintendent of Poor. He was a liberal-minded, public-spirited, conscientious man; and his death was keenly felt and sadly mourned by a wide circle of loving relatives and friends.

For More - Blakely Cemetery Family Burials & Headstones

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