Archive:Portrait and Biographical Album of Hillsdale County, Michigan

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Portrait and biographical album of Hillsdale County, Mich.[:] containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of the state, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1888).

[p. 192]

JONATHAN WHITNEY, whose name is familiar among the prominent men and honored pioneers of Allen Township, is the owner of a good farm on section 9, but has his present residence in the village. A man liberal minded and progressive in his ideas, he has formed no unimportant factor in the development of the western part of Hillsdale County, and his own township especially. Here he has been prominent in local affairs, serving as Treasurer and School Inspector, represented the township in the County Board of Supervisors two years, and served as Justice of the Peace for twelve years. Politically, he is a conscientious Republican, and with his excellent wife, a member in good standing of the Methodist Church.

The parental history of our subject is essentially as follows: His father, Ami Whitney, was born in Massachusetts, Jan. 18, 1781. The latter when eleven years of age, with his parents, Jonathan and Esther (Parkhurst) Whitney, removed from the Bay State to Seneca, Ontario Co., N. Y., and settled on what was then known as the old "Indian Castle farm." Jonathan Whitney died two years later, being cut down in the prime of life, and in the midst of a useful career. He was a man of great force of character, and served as Captain in the Revolutionary army, being prominent at the surrender of the British General, Burgoyne.

Grandmother Whitney was subsequently married to a man by the name of Parker, and died in the vicinity of Painted Post, as it was then called, but which is now known as Jefferson, N. Y. Of her [p. 193] marriage with Jonathan Whitney there had been born nine children, of whom Ami, the father of our subject, was next to the youngest. He grew to manhood in his native county, being reared upon a farm, and there spent his entire life, engaged in agricultural pursuits, his death occurring Dec. 14, 1807. He married Miss Anna Amsden, who was also a native of Massachusetts, and born Dec. 7, 1784.

To the parents of our subject there were born fifteen children, nine of whom lived to become men and women. The eldest son, Theodore, died in New York, Nov. 30, 1850; Isaac A. died in Michigan, in October, 1876; Jasper is a resident of Wood County, Ohio; William G. lives in Geauga County, Ohio; Ami continues a resident of Seneca, N. Y.; Jonathan, our subject, was the sixth child; Elizabeth E. is the widow of John Lewis, of Hopewell, N. Y.; Esther G. married Franklin Hooper, who is now deceased, and lives in Siskiyou County, Cal.; Anna is the widow of James Wilson, and a resident of Geneva, N. Y.

Jonathan Whitney, our subject, was born in Seneca, Ontario Co., N. Y., Nov. 3, 1816. Like his father before him he was reared to farm pursuits, and as was the custom of most of the young men of those days, continued under the parental roof until reaching his majority. He then started out for himself, and for two years thereafter was employed as a farm laborer in his native county. In the latter part of September, 1839, having resolved to see something of the farther West, he migrated to this county, arriving here on the 29th of October, 1839. In the meantime he had stopped in Niagara County, N. Y., and consummated a very important event, namely, his marriage, and with him brought his bride. They commenced housekeeping in Allen Township in a little building south of the turnpike, near John Reed's, which was then known as the "Still House," and which they occupied for a period of three months, during which time Mr. Whitney put up a log house on the land which he had purchased, and of which they took possession on the 4th of February, 1840.

Our subject has since that time continued in possession of the land which he secured upon first coming to Allen Township, it was 280 acres in extent, in a wild and uncultivated condition, but after the incessant labors of a series of years he effected good improvements, bringing the soil to a productive condition, and erecting substantial frame buildings. He and his family occupied their first dwelling for a period of twelve years, then removed into their present residence.

The wife of our subject, to whom he was married in Niagara County, N. Y., Oct. 5, 1839, was in her girlhood Miss Ann J. Garrett, and was born at Ramsey, Isle of Man, Nov. 10, 1823. William and Margaret Garrett, the parents of Mrs. Whitney, emigrated to the United States about 1828, and both died in Niagara County, N. Y., in the summer of 1840. Our subject and his wife became the parents of four children, and Mrs. Whitney died at her home in Allen Township, July 9, 1879. She was a most excellent lady, and a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Their eldest son, William G., married Mrs. Bessie Kay, and is carrying on farming in Allen Township; Anna E. became the wife of John M. Watkins, and died in Allen Township, Jan. 2, 1878; Jonathan C. married Miss Fanny Ellis, and resides in the city of Hillsdale; Jennie S. is the wife of Archibald Wier, a well-to-do farmer of Allen Township.

Mr. Whitney, Oct. 5, 1880, contracted a second marriage, in Seneca, N. Y., with Miss Ruth Hooper, who was born in that place Dec. 25, 1821, and whose parents were Robert and Clara (Culver) Hooper. The mother died when a young woman, July 26, 1829, in New York State. The father subsequently went to California, and died there Sept. 26, 1852.


[p. 364]

JOHN M. WATKINS, a native of Allen Township, is now numbered among its leading citizens, taking a prominent part in public affairs, and is an important factor in advancing its agricultural and industrial interests. His parents, Samuel and Jane Ann (Parry) Watkins, were pioneers of this township. His father was horn in Kent County, England, in 1805, and in early manhood married on the Island of St. Christopher, West Indies, his wife having been a native of that island, born March 22, 1810. The first four or six years of their wedded life were spent there, and then they migrated to Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, where they remained about five years.

In the spring of 1837 the elder Watkins and wife decided to emigrate to the United States, and coming to Hillsdale County, Mich., settled in Allen Township, and for many years thereafter, and until their death, remained valuable members of this community, contributing by their industrious labors to the development of the township and county. Mr. Watkins died April 1, 1882, at a ripe old age, and his good wife did not long survive his death, dying Sept. 22, 1882. They were the parents of thirteen children, four of whom died quite young. The record of the surviving children is as follows: Margaret S. is the wife of Thomas Frarey; Samuel J. is a resident of Allen Township; Jane Ann is the wife of Robert Morley, of Allen Township; Susanna is the wife of Henry D. Pessell, of Quincy, Mich.; Joseph P. is a resident of Sherwood, Branch Co.; Mich.; Thomas W. is a resident of Boston, Mass.; John M.; Victoria is the [p. 365] wife of Nelson T. Brockway, of Allen Township; Henry O. is a resident of Allen Township.

The subject of this sketch was horn on the old homestead in this township, March 1, 1843, and received a substantial education in the public schools of his native place. As he grew to manhood he received practical lessons in agriculture from his father, who was an able farmer, and greatly assisted him in his work. He now owns a farm on section 19, which is one of the most valuable and best managed farms in the township. It comprises 160 acres. 120 of which are under a high state of culture, and he has erected a fine and commodious brick residence, a brick barn, and other suitable out-buildings, all of which vie with any in Hillsdale County in point of taste and architecture. But our subject, who is a man of much energy and enterprise, has not, by any means, limited his attention to agricultural pursuits, on the contrary, he has. since 1868, been also quite extensively and successfully engaged in the manufacture of brick, for which he finds a ready market.

Mr. Watkins has been twice married. His first marriage was to Miss Anna E. Whitney, daughter of Jonathan Whitney, of whom see sketch, and took place Nov. 19, 1868, at the residence of the bride's father in Allen Township. She was born in that township, Dec. 26, 1842, and by her marriage with our subject became the mother of two children--J. Whitney and Mary E. Her pleasant wedded life was brought to a close by her death, Jan. 2, 1878, and the little household was deprived of her wise guidance and loving care. Mr. Watkins' second marriage, which took place in Quincy, Oct. 15, 1879, was to Miss Julia Strong, daughter of William and Martha B. (Badgley) Strong. Her parents were born in Morris County, N. J., and after marriage settled in Orleans County, N. Y., where the father had been a resident for some time previous. In the spring of 1875 they removed to Branch County, Mich., and settled in Butler Township. Subsequently they went to live in Quincy, and resided there for four years, but at the expiration of that time they returned to Butler, where the mother died Aug. 21, 1881. The father now makes his home with his daughter, Mrs. Watkins, in Allen Township. To him and his wife were born four children, of whom the following is the record: Annette is the wife of Harlan S. Howard; Emma M. was the wife of Amnii Whitney, and died in Butler, June 26, 1887; Alice J. died in Orleans County, N. Y., Feb. 13, 1868, when twenty-one years old; Julia, Mrs. Watkins, was born in Bane, Orleans Co., N. Y., Jan. 10, 1848. To her and her husband has been born one daughter, Martha Alice, who died Feb. 26, 1883. Mrs. Watkins is a sincere Christian, and an active worker in the Presbyterian Church, of which she is a member. She has been true and faithful in all the relations of life, as an affectionate daughter, a tender mother, a devoted wife and a kind friend.

Mr. Watkins is a man whose practical sagacity, strong and intelligent convictions, well informed mind and unswerving integrity, have given him an honorable and influential position among his fellow-citizens, who have honored him by electing him to the responsible office of Supervisor of the township for two terms, and to the office of Justice of the Peace for two terms. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and with his wife belongs to Allen Grange, P. of H. In politics he is a true Republican, and cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln.


[p. 446]

DR. LESTER R. WATKINS, deceased. The subject of this biography, after a successful practice of over thirty-four years in Allen Township and vicinity, departed this life at his home in the village of Allen, Feb. 4, 1880. He was born in Hopewell, Ontario Co., N. Y., Sept. 3, 1821, and being the son of a well-to-do farmer, became early in life familiar with agricultural pursuits.

Young Watkins. however, was of a studious turn of mind, fond of books, and after leaving the primary school entered Canandaigua Academy, and upon the completion of his course there, had fully decided to enter the medical profession. He accordingly began his studies to this end in the office of the successful practitioner. Dr. Holden, of Hopewell, and made such good headway that before twenty-one years of age he was admitted to Geneva Medical College, from which he was graduated Jan. 27, 1846. receiving his diploma in the month of May following.

Dr. Watkins began the practice of his profession in Allen Township, this county, locating in the village, where he made his home the remainder of his life. Here his steady application to his business resulted in the building up of a large patronage. He was a close student, an extensive reader, and conscientious in his fidelity to duty. A friend of the poor, his ears were ever open to the tale of distress, and his hard cheerfully ministered to their necessities. In society he was of that genial and companionable disposition which gained him hosts of friends. He gave to church and school his hearty and liberal support, and was a man, who, on account of his temperate judgment and wise counsel, was consulted invariably in regard to matters most nearly affecting the general good of the community. He served as Township Clerk for many years. He was a charter member of the Masonic Lodge in the village, with which he remained connected until the day of his death. Politically, he was identified with the Republican party.

The parents of our subject, Ephraim and Deborah (Whitney) Watkins, were natives of Massachusetts, and spent their last days in Hopewell, Ontario Co., N. Y. The father was a farmer by occupation, and the household circle consisted of three sons and six daughters. A more extended notice of the parents will be found in the biography of Charles Watkins, on another page in this volume.

The marriage of Dr. Lester R. Watkins and Miss Zeruah W. Pickett, was celebrated at the home of the bride in Gorham, Ontario Co., N. Y., April 27, 1852. Mrs. Watkins was born there May 3, 1826, and is the daughter of Ansel and Charlotte (St. John) Pickett. Her father was born at Litchfield, Conn., and the mother was a native of Saratoga County, N. Y. After their marriage they settled [p. 447] in Gorham, Ontario County, the latter State, but subsequently removed to Phelps, in the same county, where the father died in 1866. The mother came West, and spent a portion of the time with her children, but most of the time at Rochester, N. Y., with her daughter, and died at the home of her daughter in Allen Township, June 3, 1881.

To Dr. and Mrs. Watkins there were born two children only, both of whom were soon taken from the household circle, Charles A., the elder, dying when four years old, and an infant died unnamed. The Doctor left a comfortable property for his widow, who is now living quietly in Allen Village, enjoying the esteem of a large circle of friends.


[p. 480]

STEPHEN W. ELLIS is a well-known and highly honored citizen of Hillsdale County, who resides in the township of Allen, where he is numbered among the leading farmers. He comes of sturdy New England stock, and his paternal grandfather. William H. Ellis, was a Captain in the Continental army during the Revolutionary War, and did brave and gallant service for his country in that memorable struggle. His son Fisher, father of our subject, was born in Connecticut. He married Lucy White, who was a native of New York, and they spent their entire wedded life in that State. To them were born five children, of whom Stephen, of this sketch, was the youngest.

Our subject was born in Verona, Oneida Co., N. Y., Aug. 20, 1809. He was reared on a farm, and received from his worthy parents a good practical training in the duties of life. In 1837 he [p. 481] came to Michigan, and settled in Allen Township, Hillsdale County, and was thus a pioneer of this part of Michigan. After residing here five years, in 1842 he returned to Canandaigua, Ontario Co., N. Y., where he afterward lived for many years, actively and profitably engaged as a carpenter, which trade he had learned when quite a young man. In April, 1861, Mr. Ellis decided to become once again a resident of Michigan, and returned to Allen Township, where he has ever since made his home. For the first few years after settling here he was employed at his trade of carpenter, but in 1865 he abandoned that calling, and has ever since devoted himself exclusively to agricultural pursuits. He owns a valuable farm of 120 acres on section 14, which for fertility and productiveness ranks with the best farms in the township. It is carefully managed, is under good tillage, and he has made many valuable improvements, among which may be noted a neat and commodious set of buildings. In these years of toil Mr. Ellis, aided by his good wife, has gained a competency, so that in the retirement of his pleasant home, in the companionship Of his amiable wife and daughter, he can pass his declining years free from care. He is now nearly blind, but does not otherwise suffer greatly from the infirmities of his advancing years.

Our subject has been twice married. He was first married in Canandaigua, N. Y., Dec. 25, 1834, to Miss Fanny Bray, who was a sister of Mrs. Goodwin Howard, of Allen. By that union three sons were born to him, namely: John F., Walter S. and Byron C. John died in Hillsdale, Mich., in 1880, when forty-four years old; Walter died when three years of age; Byron is a resident of Allen Township. The first wife of our subject, who had been to him a faithful and loving companion, departed this life March 19, 1853, at their home in Canandaigua, N. Y. Mr. Ellis' second marriage took place in that town, Nov. 29, 1854, at which time he was united in the holy bonds of matrimony to Miss Esther Depew, daughter of Moses and Polly (Crawford) Depew, and a relative of the celebrated Hon. Chauncey Depew. Her parents were natives of Sussex County, N. Y., and after marriage they made their home near Canandaigua, N. Y., being among the early settlers of that county, and they continued to reside there till death. Fifteen children were born to them, fourteen of whom lived to maturity, and the youngest of that number was over forty-five years old before there was a death in the family. Mrs. Ellis was the thirteenth child in order of birth of that family, and was born in Canandaigua, N. Y., Jan. 9, 1823. She is a woman of more than ordinary capability, is a notable housewife, has ever been to her husband a true friend and a wise counselor, and a tender, judicious mother to their children. Of her union with our subject two children have been born--Fannie E. and Sue A. Mr. and Mrs. Ellis gave to their children an excellent education and a careful training to fit them for whatsoever station in life they might be called upon to fill. Fannie is the wife of J. Charles Whitney; Sue A. is an accomplished young lady, who is successfully following the profession of teacher, and makes her home with her parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Ellis are valued members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he has been Trustee, and has held other church offices. In politics he is a sound Republican. Our subject has always taken a praiseworthy interest in the welfare of his township.


[p. 494]

ROBERT J. BERRY, a skillful and successful breeder of road horses, and having a fine half-mile speeding track within the limits of Reading Village, seems specially adapted to his calling, in which he takes pride and aims to excel. He is the owner of the famous Jack Baker, well known in this region for his 2:40 pace, and who comes of fine Hambletonian stock. He is also the owner of Bessie B., who trots almost at a natural [p. 495] gait her mile in three minutes, and gives promise of much greater speed with a little training. Mr. Berry has also other noted animals, and in company with his father, Thomas Berry, is building up for himself an enviable reputation in connection with the training and development of horses, to which he has given his close attention for the last six years. He is Secretary of the park at Reading, and has the general management and oversight of the business there, which comprises annually two days' racing, and which is both a source of profit and amusement.

The subject of our sketch is a native of Reading Township, having been born at the farm of his father on section 22, Aug. 31, 1856. The youngest son of Thomas Berry, written of elsewhere in this work, he was reared at home and educated in the village schools. He inherited from his father his love of horses, and when a lad nine years of age was speeding animals upon the track for his father. He has thus chosen the calling to which he is best adapted, and much is expected of him in the future. Upon reaching manhood he was married in Cambria Township, Feb. 17, 1878, to Miss Esther Whitney, who was born there April 25, 1854.

Mrs. Berry is the daughter of Wells and Demis (Holmes) Whitney, who were natives of New York State, and after their marriage in Geneva, lived there one year, then came to Michigan, and located, in 1845, on a new farm in Reading Township. The place is now known as the Abbott farm. It comprises a large tract of land, and after making some improvements Mr. Whitney traded for an improved farm in Cambria Township, where he made his home until his death, April 18, 1887. He was then sixty-three years old. The mother of Mrs. Berry died in Cambria in December, 1859. Her father subsequently married Miss Emeline Shaddock, who survives him and is living in Hillsdale. Mr. Whitney was a prominent man in his community, a Republican in politics, and held nearly all the local offices. In religious matters he belonged to the Free-Will Baptist Church, with which his first wife, the mother of Mrs. Berry, was connected. Mrs. B. was well reared and educated, completing her studies at the Hillsdale Union School, and employed herself as a teacher some time before her marriage, mostly in the district schools of this county. Our subject, politically, is a solid Democrat, and with his estimable wife is a favorite in the social circles, while their pleasant home is a hospitable resort for their many friends and acquaintances.


[p. 578]

WASHINGTON WHITNEY, who is prosperously engaged in the hardware business in Cambria, in company with William Divine, was for many years a prominent and successful farmer of Woodbridge Township, where he owns one of the finest farms in that locality. He is descended from a stanch New England ancestry, who settled in that part of that country before the Revolution, coming originally from England. He is himself, however, a native of New York State, having been born in Alabama Township, Genesee County, Jan. 25, 1827. His father, Isaac Whitney, was a native of Ontario County, N. Y., and was a son of Ami Whitney, a native of Connecticut, of New England parentage, and of English ancestry. His father, Jonathan Whitney, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, taking a patriotic part throughout that struggle for American freedom. He married a New England lady, who died at an advanced age in one of the New England States. He died in Connecticut, where he had been for many years engaged in farming, when quite an old man. He was a Whig in politics, and was a man of fine constitution and great strength of character. His son Ami, grandfather of our subject, was born and reared in Connecticut, and there married Anna Amsden, a lady of New England birth and ancestry. Shortly after marriage they left the old home in New England and proceeded to the almost pathless wilds of Ontario County, N. Y., and in the township of Seneca bravely began the struggle which their forefathers had undergone, to build up a home in the forest. They mutually assisted each other, and applied themselves successfully to the task before them, and in the end succeeded in clearing and improving a good farm, and making a comfortable home. Mr. Whitney took an active part in the War of 1812 as a commissioned officer of the militia volunteers of a New York regiment, and after his retirement from the army resumed his farming operations, which he conducted skillfully and profitably for many years. Both himself and his wife passed away from the scenes of their labors at a ripe old age. They were the parents of thirteen children, nine sons and four daughters, most of whom lived to maturity.

Isaac A. Whitney, the father of our subject, was the second child born to his parents, and grew to maturity in the county of his nativity, receiving a substantial education in a graded school. When twenty-six years of age he married Miss Jane Moore, who was born in Phelps Township, Ontario County, and there grew to womanhood. She was of mingled Scotch and Irish ancestry, and was a daughter of Washington and Susanna (Rice) Moore, [p. 579] who were natives and lifelong residents of New York State. Her father took part in the battle of Buffalo, and was wounded while defending that city from the attempts of the British to destroy it during the War of 1812, and was afterward a pensioner of the United States. He carried on farming, and died in Phelps Township at the age of threescore years and ten. He and his wife were highly respected people, and consistent members of the Baptist Church.

After marriage Isaac Whitney and his wife immediately took up their abode in Alabama Township. Genesee County, where they built up a comfortable home, improved a good farm, and reared a family of nine children, seven sons and two daughters, all but one of whom married, and all except two are yet living. Those two died in the array, giving up their lives for their country. Loren was a member of Company F, 18th Michigan Infantry, and was the second man in his regiment to die, his death, which occurred in November, 1862, at Lexington, Ky., being caused by sickness. Frank, of the 10th New York Cavalry, died from starvation while a prisoner of war at the stockade near Milan, Ga., in 1864.

In 1866 the parents of our subject came to this county, locating in Litchfield Township, where the father died in 1876, at the age of seventy-one. He was a good business man and a successful farmer, and his strictly honorable and upright course throughout a long and useful life marked him as a man eminently worthy of the respect and confidence of his fellow-citizens, which, indeed, he enjoyed to a marked degree. He was an honest and sincere Christian, a Deacon of the Baptist Church, and in politics a faithful adherent of the Republican party. His widow lives on the homestead in Litchfield with her son Albert. Although eighty-two years old, she is hale and remarkably strong for one of her years, and a faithful Christian, belonging to the Baptist Church.

Washington Whitney, our subject, grew to maturity in the home of his birth in Alabama Township, Genesee Co., N. Y., and was there united in marriage with Miss Julia A. Tuttle, June 18, 1858. Mrs. Whitney, also a native of Alabama Township, was born April 30, 1839, and is the eldest daughter of Aaron and Jemima (Burt) Tuttle, who were natives of Orange County, N. Y., where they were reared and married. Her father was a son of Edward Tuttle, a native of Connecticut, who, coming to New York in early manhood, was married, in the Black River country, to Urania Orvis, who was of Welsh descent. After marriage they lived for some years in Livingston County, N. Y., locating on a new farm very early in the history of that section. The parents of Mrs. Whitney located in Genesee County, and there their entire married life was passed, the mother dying in 1866, at the age of fifty years, and the father in 1885, at the age of seventy-one. They were honest, hard-working people, valued members of the Baptist Church, and were greatly respected. In his political views Mr. Tuttle was a sound Republican. Mrs. Whitney is one of seven children born to her parents. She was well educated in her native State, and taught school for some years before marriage. To her and her husband have been born seven children, two of whom are deceased, an infant and Alice. Those living are: Metta, the wife of Robert Moore, Jr.; George B.; Ida, the wife of Frank Hewitt, all occupying farms in Woodbridge Township; and Frank and Carrie, who live at home with their parents.

After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Whitney continued to live in their native State for two years. They then came to Michigan and have since made their home in this State. Mr. W. purchased 164 acres of good land in Woodbridge Township. It was in a wild state when he came into possession of it, but by his energetic and incessant toil he improved it into a very valuable farm.

Shortly after becoming a citizen of Michigan our subject, laying aside all personal considerations, resolved to go to the aid of his country on Southern battle-fields. He enlisted, in August, 1862, as a member of Company B, 11th Michigan Infantry, a regiment which was noted for the coolness and bravery of its men while under fire, and the efficient service rendered by them on many a hotly contested field. The regiment, under the command of Col. William L. Stoughton, joined the Army of the Cumberland under Gen. Rosecrans, and it also fought under Gens. Thomas, Sherman and Grant. Mr. [p. 580] Whitney took part in every engagement in which his regiment was involved, from the battle of Chickamauga to the taking of Atlanta. At one time he was captured and held in durance for four months, being released on parole. He served honorably until the war closed, receiving his discharge in June, 1865, retiring from the service with the rank of Orderly Sergeant, which title he won for meritorious conduct.

After his return from the South Mr. Whitney quietly resumed his occupation as a farmer in Woodbridge Township, and aided by his wife gathered together a competency, by which they are now enabled to pass their days in comparative retirement from active labor at their pleasant home in the village of Cambria, to which they came in 1885. They occupy a high social position here, their genial dispositions and open-hearted liberality making them very' popular. Mr. Whitney is prominently identified with the Republican party of this place, and is an esteemed member of the G. A. R., C. J. Dickson Post No. 6, at Hillsdale.


[p. 583]

THOMAS BERRY is well known throughout Reading and vicinity, where for the last thirty years he has operated as a breeder and trainer of line horses, and has established the record for some of the best trotters in the State. To this business he seems naturally adapted, having a fine knowledge of the nature and characteristics of this noblest of animals, and in their training and development is seldom excelled.

Berry's Park, within the village limits of Reading, has been the scene of many interesting races, and was set aside for this purpose by our subject about 1860. It is now conducted by himself and his son, and while the source of considerable profit, at the same time furnishes many a pleasant hour of recreation for the people of this vicinity. Mr. Berry has in his possession the favorite trotter, Jack Baker, destined to make an enviable record, and who already leads with ease in the 2:40. Betsy B., another favorite of Mr. Berry's, although having had but little experience, bids fair to obtain prominence in the near future. There are several other promising animals with Mr. Berry, placed under his charge for special training. He also owns the favorites, Tom Higher, Bay Billy, Robert Bonner, Rosa, and a fine stallion which is the admiration of all the country around.

Our subject began his experience in this line of business by having his attention attracted to one of his own horses, who trotted his mile in three minutes without the least effort, and whose speed was heightened by careful training and encouragement. This animal unfortunately died when about five years old, but not until he had created within his owner a desire to still further experiment in the breeding and development of trotting stock, and since that time he has given to this most of his attention, and with results which would indicate that his time has been well spent.

Our subject is one of the pioneers of Michigan, coming here as early as 1836, while it was yet a Territory. He was then a young man only twenty years of age, and not long afterward took up for himself and his father 480 acres of Government land near Waterloo, Ind. Later he traded his property there for that which he now owns in Reading Township. The family ultimately traded their New York land for 960 acres in Reading Township.

Robert Berry, the father of our subject, came to Michigan in the year 1838, bringing with him his large family of children from Seneca Township, Ontario Co., N. Y. They settled on the land in Reading Township, first putting up a log house, and then began to clear the ground around them and prepare the soil for cultivation. Robert Berry lived to see the wilderness transformed into a civilized community, and himself surrounded by all the comforts of life. He did not live to be aged, however, his death taking place in 1848, at the age of sixty-four years. He and his sons the first year of their residence here cleared forty acres, and put thirty acres of it into crops. The father was a man of great energy and perseverance, but at the same [p. 584] time made life less irksome to his boys by often indulging them and himself in hunting, of which sport he was very fond, and in which he indulged as long as he lived.

The mother of our subject, who in her girlhood was Miss Nancy Russell, was born in May, 1799, in Connecticut, and is still living, making her home with her son in Reading Township, and being eighty-nine years old. Thomas, of our sketch, was the eldest of seven sons and four daughters, who all lived to mature years and were married. The youngest one who died was over thirty years of age, and two others have since passed away. Thomas was born in Seneca Township, Ontario Co., N. Y., June 29, 1816. He grew to manhood under the parental roof, and was the first of the family to make his way to the West. After they were all comfortably settled he took to himself a wife and helpmate. Miss Mary A. Archer, the wedding being celebrated at the home of the bride in Reading Township, Oct. 27, 1842.

Mrs. Mary A. Berry was born in Manchester, Ontario Co., N. Y., Jan. 12, 1824, and is the daughter of Gardner and Anna (Warfield) Archer, who were also natives of the Empire State. The father is yet living, and is now a resident of Cambria Township, this county, having attained to the advanced age of ninety years. He was born in Ontario County, N. Y., and married a Maryland lady, Miss Anna Warfield, who died in Hopeful Township, Ontario Co., N. Y., at the age of thirty-three years, when her daughter, Mrs. Berry, was a little girl of eleven years. Gardner Archer married his second wife before leaving New York State. She accompanied him to the West and died in Reading Township, and he was then married to a third wife, who is also deceased.

Mrs. Berry was a young girl fourteen years old when her father came to Michigan. She acquired a common-school education, and became well fitted for the future wife and mother. Of her union with our subject there were born five children, two of whom, Marion and Anna, are deceased. The former was married and left a family of five children. Anna died when a little girl of five years. Three sons are living: Spencer married an Indiana lady, and is carrying on farming in Reading Township. Gardner, like his father, is also skillful in the management of horses, but confines his attention principally to his farming interests in Reading Township; he married Miss Mary Whitney, the sister of Mrs. Esther Berry, the wife of Robert Berry, of whom a sketch appears elsewhere in this volume.

Thomas Berry's present farm of 160 acres, now less forty which he gave to his son Spencer, all lies within the village limits, and it is hardly necessary to say, is valuable. From its location it is finely adapted to the business of which Mr. Berry makes a specialty, and in which he has been so successful. Mr. Berry, politically, is a solid Democrat, and has always taken a lively interest in the welfare and progress of his township, holding the various minor offices, and has been one of the city fathers for many years. Religiously, he is a Spiritualist, and his estimable wife is a member in good standing of the Presbyterian Church.


[p. 589]

CHARLES WATKINS. The subject of this sketch has been a resident of Hillsdale County for a period of over twenty-five years. In April, 1853, he settled with his family in Allen Township, of which he has since been a resident, although retiring from farm life in 1877, and taking up his residence in the village where he has since lived. His career has been one marked by industry, frugality, and good judgment in his business transactions, so that he is now owner of a snug property and has a comfortable bank account. Mr. Watkins is the offspring of an excellent old family, for many generations of New England ancestry, his father being Ephraim Watkins, who was born in Berkshire County, Mass., in 1788. The mother, who in her girlhood was Miss Deborah Whitney, was also a native of Berkshire County, the Bay State, and born in the town of Goshen, Feb. 23, 1794. After marriage the parents settled in Hopewell, Ontario Co.. N. Y., where the father carried on agriculture and also operated as a contractor on the Erie Canal. He spent the remainder of his life in Hopewell, passing away Nov. 29, 1843, when in middle life, being about fifty-five years of age. The mother subsequently removed to Canandaigua, in the same county, where her death took place at her home, April 3. 1876. Their family included three sons and six daughters Of these children seven lived to mature years; three are now living, and residents of Michigan and New York.

Charles Watkins was born in Hopewell, Ontario Co., N. Y., April 27, 1827. He continued under the parental roof until reaching his majority, learning to plow, sow and reap, and acquiring a common-school education. He remained a resident of his native township until thirty-six years of age, in the meantime being married and having become the father of a family. To his first wife. Miss Esther A. Smith, he was married in Gorham, Ontario County, in November, 1855. This lady was also of New England parentage, and by her union with our subject became the mother of two children--Ida M. and Esther A. Mrs. Esther A. Watkins departed this life at her home in Hopewell, Ontario Co., N. Y., in March, 1863, before the removal of her husband to the West.

Mr. Watkins, on the 9th of January, 1876, contracted a second marriage, in Allen Township, this county, with Miss Cynthia A. Leffingwell, who was born in Hopewell, N. Y., June 8, 1843. Her parents, Deacon Freeman and Anna (Eslow) Leffingwell, were natives respectively of New York and New Jersey, and are now deceased. This marriage of our subject resulted in the birth of one child, a son, Edwin C, who is now fifteen years old. Mr. Watkins, politically, is a Republican of the first water, and socially, a member in good standing of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to a lodge at Allen. His property embraces 175 acres of good land on section 16, in Allen Township, where he has erected good buildings, and has all the conveniences for prosecuting agriculture after the most approved methods.

Ephraim Watkins, the father of our subject, during his early manhood served as a soldier in the War of 1812. He was the son of a sea captain who was engaged largely in the coasting trade, operating on the coast of New England and among the West Indies. He eventually settled upon terra firma, and spent his last days in what is now Hopewell, Ontario Co., N. Y. The maternal grandfather of Mr. Watkins, Bascom Whitney by name, carried a musket in the Revolutionary War, and clothed his name with imperishable honor by yielding up his life in the cause of liberty at the battle of Bunker Hill. Deacon Leffingwell and his wife, the parents of Mrs. Watkins, came to this county in the spring of 1853, and settled in Allen Township, where he spent the remainder of his days, closing a long and useful career on the 26th of September, 1878. Both he and his excellent partner were devoted members of the Baptist Church, [p. 590] at Allen, to the support of which they contributed liberally and cheerfully, and were always willing to make sacrifices for the furtherance of its maintenance and prosperity. The mother passed away two years prior to the death of her husband, her death taking place Nov. 8, 1876.


[p. 746]

ANDREW K. BUSHNELL, Litchfield's oldest living pioneer, looked upon the face of the country of this section in its undeveloped state, and before the labors of the white man had hardly begun to relieve it from its primitive condition. His arrival dates back to the spring of 1833, and he located within the limits of what is now Litchfield Township, upon a tract of wild land, where he began to clear away the forest and prepare the soil for cultivation. His neighbors were few and far between, and his toils and struggles were similar to those of many another of that time, and which have been fully written of throughout this volume. He brought a wide stretch of soil to a good state of cultivation, put up barns and other out-buildings, and erected one of the most commodious and handsome residences in this region. He is now widely and favorably known throughout Hillsdale County, as one whom its citizens delight to honor.

Our subject began life in Durham Township, Greene Co., N. Y., Oct. 26, 1811. He was the fifth child of Constant and Rhoda (Baldwin) Bushnell, who were born, reared and married, in Durham Township, Middlesex Co., Conn. Thence they removed to Durham Township, N. Y., where the father followed his trade of mason, and also carried on farming until 1814. Thence they removed to Lenox, in Madison County, where the father operated as before, and where they passed the memorable "cold season," during which time they would have starved had it not been for the abundance of fish in Lake Ontario.

The parents of our subject left the Empire State in the spring of 1835, and made their way to the Territory of Michigan, where the father purchased 120 acres of land in Litchfield Township, this county. The mother died four years later, in 1839, when sixty-six years of age. Constant Bushnell survived his wife a period of thirty-five years, his death taking place at Litchfield, in 1874, after he had attained the ripe age of ninety-four years. Their family consisted of three sons and five daughters, four of whom are living, and are mostly residents of Michigan.

The boy-hood and youth of our subject were spent in Madison County, N. Y., where he acquired a common-school education, and worked with his father as mason and farmer until reaching his majority. The former business was distasteful, and he accordingly abandoned it, turning his attention exclusively to agricultural pursuits. Upon leaving home he made his way to the vicinity of Rochester, where he worked on a farm one year, and in the fall of 1833 made his first advent into the Territory of Michigan, taking up his abode for a brief time in Washtenaw County. He soon, however, resumed his journey westward, passing through Homer down the St. Joseph River Valley, traversed St. Joseph County, and continued on to Sturgis Prairie, eastward into Indiana, where he spent the winter of 1833-34; then returning via the Chicago turnpike to Jonesville, this county, he went up to Homer again, and while passing through that section encountered Henry Stephens, who was putting up the first log house erected in what is now the flourishing town of Litchfield.

Young Bushnell secured employment with the farmers of Homer and Eckford during most of that summer, and later borrowed an ox-team and [p. 747] wagon, which he loaded with lumber for the purpose of putting up a house for himself when he should find a desirable location; this he finally selected on section 9, in Litchfield Township, where he put up, in the fall of 1834, the structure which sheltered him and his family thereafter for a period of four years. He first had to clear away the trees and brush for his dwelling, and then prepared four or five acres for the sowing of his fall wheat. This was harvested by Mr. Riblet, who came to this section in the spring of 1835, and made this business a specialty. Mr. Bushnell realized a fair yield from his first sowing in Litchfield Township. During that fall he returned to his native State, where he remained a period of a year, and when coming back to this county was accompanied by his father, sister and brother, the balance of the family joining them in the spring of 1836. They all lived together in the new house, and to this our subject brought a bride in the early part of 1837, having been married in January of that year to Miss Janet Whitney, whose parents came to this county in the year 1836.

Mrs. Bushnell was born June 26, 1818, in New York State, and is the daughter of Jacob and Minerva Whitney, who, upon coming to the Territory of Michigan, settled first in Washtenaw County. Mrs. Whitney died there, and Mr. W. having married again, he and his wife came to this county, and to Litchfield Township, where they spent the remainder of their lives. The family included five children, all by the first marriage. Our subject and his wife commenced life together upon the farm which they still occupy, and in due time their household circle numbered seven children: Minerva, the eldest, is the wife of Charles Currier, of Butler County, Kan., and the mother of one child, a daughter, Janet; Rhoda died when four years old; Herbert married Miss Flora Rogers, and is minister of the Presbyterian Church at Hastings, Neb.; he has eight children, namely: Herbert, Sarah, Charles, Robert, Eddie, Floyd, Ray and Theodora May. Andrew J. has charge of the homestead; Julia H. is the wife of Lawson Withington, of Jonesville, and the mother of one child, J. Roswell; Mary Jane is deceased.

Mr. Bushnell was at one time the owner of 268 acres of land, but has now only eighty acres. This, however, under a course of careful cultivation yields abundantly and is the source of a handsome income. Mr. Bushnell assisted in the erection of the first church edifice and the first school building ever erected in Litchfield Township, and has been closely identified with local affairs, serving as Township Collector several terms, and occupying various other offices of trust and responsibility. He and his estimable wife have been identified with the Congregational Church, of Litchfield, since 1841, a period of forty-seven years, and wherever there was any work to do or financial assistance to be rendered, they were the first to be approached and never failed to respond. Mr. Bushnell is a strong temperance man, was an Abolitionist from boyhood, and has been a member of the Republican party since its birth. There are none more worthy of prominent representation in a work of this kind than the subject of this sketch, who has built up for himself a good record among his fellow-citizens, and enjoys in an unlimited degree their esteem and confidence.


[p. 893]

WILLIAM G. WHITNEY, of Allen Township, is the son of that well-known old resident, Jonathan Whitney, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. He was born in this township, Dec. 13, 1840, and while being reared to farm pursuits, his early education, begun in the common schools, was completed by attendance at both Hillsdale and Albion Colleges. He spent the winter of 1860-61 in Illinois, then returning to his native township, enlisted on the 24th of August following in Company B, 11th Michigan Infantry, in which he was promoted first to the rank of Sergeant, and subsequently, Jan. 7, 1853, received the commission of Second Lieutenant.

Lieut. Whitney commanded his company at the battle of Mission Ridge, and on the 3d of July, 1864, was promoted in front of Atlanta, Ga., to the rank of First Lieutenant. At the first-mentioned battle he was complimented in the presence of his brigade for meritorious conduct before the fire of the enemy. After the fall of Atlanta he was appointed military conductor on the Chattanooga & Knoxville Railroad, in which capacity he served until the 1st of March, 1865. He was then given a Captain's commission, and also made Provost Marshal of Cleveland, Tenn., which position he held until in August, 1865.

Capt. Whitney now rejoined his regiment, which was stationed at Knoxville from that time until being mustered out. He was in all the engagements of his regiment, including the battle of Chickamauga, where he was wounded slightly in the right hand. Upon receiving his discharge he continued a resident of Knoxville two years, engaged as baggage master and conductor on the Knoxville & Chattanooga Railroad. This contract ended, he returned to his native township, and engaged in farming until the spring of 1887, having a body of land 130 acres in extent. At that date he transferred this to the care of a tenant, and removed to Allen Village, where he now resides.

Our subject was married in Allen Township, April 23, 1874, to Mrs. Bessie Kay, daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Marshall, and widow of Thomas Kay, who died in London, England, July 7, 1870. Mrs. Whitney had by her first marriage one child, a daughter, Lottie, who is now living in Allen Township. Of her union with our subject there are three children living--Anna L. M., H. Jennie May and Frederick W. G. One child, a daughter, Mary, died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Whitney are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and politically, our subject votes the Republican ticket. Socially, he belongs to C. J. Dickinson Post No. 6, G. A. R., of Hillsdale.


[p. 941]

MRS. MERIAH HUNT, an aged and venerated lady, who has for the last twenty-four years been favorably known to the people of Litchfield Township, came here in the pioneer days, and as a wife and mother acted well her part among the scenes of early life in a new settlement. She reared a fine family, and stood by the side of her husband in his struggle with the elements of a new soil, and now, in her declining years, is sheltered by a comfortable home, and is the owner in her own right of seventy-five acres of fertile land.

Mrs. Hunt is the daughter of William and Anna (Hiscock) Howard, who were natives of New York State, the father born in Columbia County, and the mother in Onondaga County, in the town of Marcellus. They continued in their native county fifteen years after their marriage, then removed to Livingston County, and in 1855 made their way to Michigan, becoming residents of Branch County, where the father followed farming, and where his death took place in 1863. The mother died in 1811.

To William and Anna Howard there was horn one child only, their daughter Meriah, who first opened her eyes to the light in Onondaga County, N. Y., Oct. 2, 1800. She acquired but a limited education, and remained at home until her marriage with Philo R. Hunt, which took place Jan. 1, 1834, in Livingston County, and where they continued to live until 1855, when the two families came to Michigan. Mr. Hunt was born in Lewis County, N. Y., June 29, 1812, and died at his home in Litchfield Township, this county, in October, 1875. He followed farming his entire life, and was an honest, industrious man, who lived at peace with his neighbors and performed conscientiously his duties in life.

Mr. and Mrs. Hunt became the parents of six children. Their eldest son, William, married Miss Sarah Warner, is the father of one child, and lives in Girard, Branch County, this State; he enlisted as a soldier of the Union army in 1862, serving until 1865, and escaping the dangers and hardships of a soldier's life to return in safety to his friends. Hiram died in Litchfield Township in 1875, at the age of thirty-eight years; Horatio, who has charge of the homestead, was born in 1843, and married Miss Jennie Whitney, of Litchfield Township; they are the parents of three children, two sons and one daughter, namely: Elmer, Myrtle and Earl. This son has been the main reliance of his aged mother, and upon whom she principally leans for support and counsel. Elizabeth died in Quincy, Branch County, in 1857, when a child fourteen years of age; Frank married Miss Emma Jones, and is farming in Litchfield Township; Eugene died in 1855, aged two years.

Mr. Hunt through great industry accumulated a good property, being the owner at the time of his death of 225 acres of land. The most of it, however, has been divided up among his children. The subject of this biography is a member in good standing of the Baptist Church, at Litchfield, while her son Horatio is identified with the Free-Will Baptist, of Todd Town, Litchfield Township. Mrs. Horatio Hunt adheres to the Presbyterian faith. Horatio Hunt, politically, is a stanch Republican, an unobtrusive and modest-mannered gentleman, who, in a quiet way, keeps himself posted on matters of general interest. He is the owner of ninety-seven acres of land, which he cultivates to good advantage, and where he has a neat farm dwelling and the other buildings necessary for his comfort and convenience. The family is well and favorably known throughout this section, and eminently worthy of representation in a work of this kind.


[p. 948]

JUDGE JOHN MICKLE is a noble representative of the sturdy pioneers who prepared the way for the settlement and development of Southern Michigan, fearlessly and with unfaltering courage encountering the severe privations, and even dangers, of a life in the forest covered land, that they might possess it, and from its rich virgin soil provide the means of obtaining comfortable homes for themselves and their children. Our subject was the first settler of Reading Township, and although more than half a century with its marvelous changes has rolled by since he first took up his abode here, he is still spared to bless and honor this community with his kindly and venerable presence. No man did more than he in those early days to promote the growth of this township and of Hillsdale County, and he has ever since exerted himself to promote their welfare. When he first came here, long years ago, he bought up large tracts of land to keep them out of the hands of grasping speculators, and sold them to men desiring settlement at a fair price and within their means, and thus in a short time gathered a community of good, steady, hard-working settlers about him. These he encouraged and helped by his wise counsel, his ready sympathy and generous aid when they were needy. Many a poor man who was struggling to gain a foothold had ample reason to be grateful to him for the help freely given in aiding him to build up a home.

Judge Mickle was born in Phelps Township, Ontario Co., N. Y., Sept. 2, 1804, being a son of John and Catherine (Smith) Mickle, natives of New York State; his father was of mingled Scotch and Dutch ancestry, and his mother was of Dutch descent. The first Mickle in this country came from Scotland during the religious wars, and joined a colony of Dutch settlers in New York City, and of that good old stock came our subject. John Mickle, Sr., was born and reared on the banks of the Hudson River, but married and settled in Ontario County, remaining there for several years, prosperously engaged as a tanner and currier, and also running a shoeshop in connection with that business, being a good workman as a boot and shoe maker. After the birth of nine children he and his wife removed with a colony to Oswego County, and settled in the township of Oswego in the early part of this century. He there turned his attention to farming, and, with the aid of his sons, improved a farm of 135 acres. The years remaining to himself and wife were passed in that home, and by their simplicity, industry, and genuine worth of character, they won the esteem and confidence of the people among whom they had settled.

Our subject grew to manhood on the homestead of his parents in Oswego, guided by their kind influence to habits of sobriety, industry and honesty, which have since been to him the controlling principles of his life. When nearly of age he left the parental home to make his own way in the world, having but nine cents in his pocket, but, what served him better than money, having a vigorous constitution, a strong will, and a manly self-reliance, by which he overcame every obstacle in his pathway, and in the course of years became exceedingly prosperous. Many a young man of to-day, starting out in life with no better prospects, might despair of success in encountering such hardships and dangers as fell to his lot. Our subject worked hard at cutting wood and in other employment until he got a good start, gathering together sufficient income to enable him to marry, and he was united to his first wife in Oswego County, N. Y., her name being Elizabeth S. DeMott.

Mr. Mickle came to Michigan in 1831 and settled on Government land which formed a part of the disputed territory between Ohio and Michigan, and [p. 949] during the four years that he lived there, he took a conspicuous part in all the conflict for the possession of that territory, said conflict being known as the "Toledo War," and he served as a fifer, being the only one in the regiment in that struggle. Having heard of the beautiful country around Jonesville through a surveyor, he sold out his property there and set out for the coveted spot. After selecting a desirable location, in September, 1835, he went to Monroe and purchased of the Government the north half of section 9 and the south half of section 3. all in what is now the township of Reading, then known as Allen. He has since purchased large tracts of land, and at the time bought all he could to keep it out of the hands of speculators. He found the surrounding country a dense wilderness, and it took a man a week to cut a road to his land, the distance to any opening, or to any neighbors, being at that time six miles. His first work was to build a temporary log cabin, which he afterward replaced by a more commodious block-house, built of black walnut logs, and which was for several years the finest dwelling in town. It took many years of steady, hard labor to clear the forest trees from his land, but with the assistance of his sons he improved 250 acres of it, having disposed of a great deal of his land, and has since further reduced its area 113- giving some of it to his sons, until his farm now comprises only 130 acres of land, all highly improved by the erection of comfortable and commodious farm buildings, dwelling, etc., and under a fine state of culture and well stocked. He has paid a great deal of attention to raising and selling sheep, swine and cattle in large numbers, and, in fact, has always been exceedingly thrifty and prosperous in everything that he has undertaken. He is now living in retirement from the cares of an active business life.

The Judge has been not only an important factor in developing the great agricultural interests of Hillsdale County, but he has from the very first years of his settlement here been actively identified with its public interests, and with the local affairs of the place of his residence, Reading Township. In 1842 he was a member of the State Legislature, representing the county as a representative. He was for several years Associate Judge of the Cir- [p. 950] cuit Court, and subsequently held the office of County Court Judge for some time. He was Justice of the Peace for thirteen years and Notary Public for six years. He earnestly and faithfully discharged the duties imposed upon him in those high positions with becoming dignity, firmness and wisdom. It is said that in all the years that he presided over a court, only one case was appealed, and then his decision was sustained in the higher court. In politics the Judge was for many years the leading Whig in Reading Township, until the formation of the Republican party, when he joined its ranks, and has ever since acted in harmony with it, his sons also being stanch supporters of that party. Our subject is a true Christian, and for many years has been numbered among the members of the Regular Baptist Church, being one of its most active workers.

Judge Mickle has been twice married. His first wife, who was reared at Newburg, on the Hudson River, departed this life in Reading Township on the old homestead, in 1838, dying in childbirth. She shared with him the early trials and privations of their pioneer home, and with her husband often extended its generous and widely-known hospitality to the new-comers who had no shelter of their own. She was a good Christian woman, and a loving wife and mother. Five children were born of that marriage, all dead. Our subject was a second time married, Sept. 8, 1839, in Reading Township, to Miss Mary Fitzsimmons, daughter of George and Lydia (Rapelee) Fitzsimmons, early settlers of this township and county. She was born Dec. 3, 1816, in Yates County, N. Y., and after attaining womanhood came with her parents to this county, remaining with them until her marriage. She was very industrious and energetic, and her kindness and sympathy won for her the regard of all with whom she came in contact. She was a sincere Christian, and for many years a devoted member of the Regular Baptist Church. Of her marriage with our subject ten children were born, of whom two are now dead: one who died in infancy, and George. The latter was very well educated, and was a promising teacher; he died from an accidental wound in the leg. The record of the eight living is as follows: The first-born living is John Q., who married Phebe Chappell, and lives in Reading Village, where he carries on the trade of painter and grainer; Henry C. married Louisa McNeil, and now lives in Arthur, Saginaw Co., Mich., and is Supervisor of the township; D. Webster is a mechanic and painter living in Reading Village; he married Sena Kidder; B. Franklin married Flora S. Hughbone, and they live on a farm in Reading Township; Luther S. is a mechanic, painter and farmer, living in Reading Village; he married Mary Westgate; George Lee married Jessie Whitney, and they live on a farm in Osceola County, Mich., where he follows the trade of mason; Eugene O. married Hattie Bowman, and they live in Reading Village, where he is engaged as a mechanic and a painter; Elias R. married Eldora Eyrs, of Reading, and they live with his father, he having the management of the latter's farm. Mrs. Mary Mickle, the second wife of our subject, departed this life Feb. 29, 1888.


[p. 997]

ALBERT J. WHITNEY is a prominent farmer residing on section 20, Litchfield Township. His father, Isaac A. Whitney, was born in Seneca Township, Ontario Co., N. Y., and his mother, Jane (Moore) Whitney, was born in Phelps Township, Ontario Co., N. Y. The maternal grandfather of our subject, Washington Moore, lived in Massachusetts, and served in the War of 1812. The parents of our subject lived for awhile in Genesee County, N. Y., where they were engaged in farming until the fall of the year 1866, when they came to Michigan, settling in Hillsdale County. Here the father died, in the year 1876, aged seventy-one j T ears, but the mother still lives with our subject, being eighty-two years old.

Our subject dates his ancestry back to the time of the "Mayflower," to the person of John Whitney, a Puritan, who left his home on Whitney street, Liverpool, and came to Massachusetts in 1634, at the age of thirty-five years. In the immediate family of our subject there were nine children, all of whom lived to the years of manhood and womanhood. His two brothers, Loran and Frank, enlisted in the Civil War, the former in the 18th Michigan Infantry and the latter in the 10th New York Cavalry. Loran was taken seriously ill and died in the hospital to which he had been removed. Frank died at Milan Prison, in Georgia, after having been transferred, confined and tortured in the following prisons: Belle Island, Andersonville, Savannah and Milan.

Our subject, the youngest of the children, was born in September, 1847, in Alabama, Genesee Co., N. Y. He had two brothers who participated in the battles of the late Civil War, but who were permitted to return to their homes in safety. Washington enlisted in the 11th Michigan and served for three years, and Ami enlisted with the 27th New York Infantry and served two years. Albert was a boy of nineteen when he came to Michigan with his parents, and he remained with them until he was married, which event occurred on the 31st of July, 1869.

Mrs. Laura A. (Waite) Whitney is a daughter of Joseph and Caroline Waite, her father having been born in Lima, N. Y., and her mother in Newstead Township, Erie County, of the same State. They settled in Crittenden, in which place the father followed the occupation of a farmer, and then coming West they lived for five years in Illinois, after which they moved to Michigan and settled in Butler, Branch County. The mother died in New York, aged sixty-three years, and the father died in 1877 at the age of fifty-five years. They had two children--Cerrissa A. and Laura Ann.

The wife of our subject was born on the 27th of [p. 998] March, 1850, in Newstead Township, Erie Co., N. Y., and when her parents came to Michigan she was not quite a year old. At the age of thirteen years she began to work out for her living, which she did until she was nineteen years old. The educational facilities being limited, and she having to support herself, she was unable to attend school after she was fourteen years old. Our subject also received his education in the district schools of that time. He and his wife have been granted four children: Jennie L.; Emma O., who died in infancy; Emmett A. and Mabel E.; Jennie is attending the Litchfield Union School, and will be a graduate in the class of '89; Emmett A. is at home, and Mabel E. is attending school.

Mr. Whitney is the owner of eighty acres of farming land, and is industriously engaged in agricultural pursuits. He is a member of the First Baptist Church, of Litchfield, a member of the A. O. U. W., of Homer, and has served seven years as School Director. He has enjoyed a reasonable amount of success in his business, and has won the respect and esteem of the residents of his community. He is strongly in favor of the strict enforcement of the temperance laws of the land, and is closely identified with the Prohibition party.


Copyright © 2014, Robert L. Ward and the Whitney Research Group.

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