1898 Biographies


William C. Main

    William C. Main, the largest dealer in harness, trunks and bags in Chenago County, who has been in the harness business longer than any man of today in the village of Norwich, was born in the above town, July 14, 1832, and is a son of William F. and submit(Carpenter) Main, and grandson of Thomas and Hannah (Chapman) Main.

    Thomas Main moved from his native state, Connecticut, to the state of New York and located in Chenango County, settling on the farm now owned by William R. Breed. Fearing the members of his family would become sick with malarial fever, because of the position of the farm in an undrained valley, he decided to move to a more healthful situation, and accordingingly purchased the farm now owned by J. A. Randle, which was then covered by a dense forest. He was married to Hannah Chapman and they reared the following children: Hannah; Thomas; Content; Sophia; Joseph; William F; Aaron and two that died in their infancy. Thomas Main passed from this earth at the advanced age of eighty five years. His wife died aged eighty years.

    William F. Main was born in the State of Connecticut and was but two years of age when his father moved the family and household effects to Chenango County with a team of oxen. His youth was mostly spent in aiding his father in the hard toil of clearing the farm. After attaining his majority he engaged in the pursuits of an agriculturist, and when he had accumulated sufficient funds to buy a farm of his own, he purchased the one now owned by Dwight McNitt, and carried on general farming until 1841, when he sold the property and bought a farm at Latham's Corner. He was a hard worker and throught his good management he succeeded in amassing a sufficient fortune to enable him to retire to the village of Norwich to pass life's twilight in ease. He passed from this life aged sixty-six years. Mrs. Submit (Carpenter) Main, who survived her husband eleven years was a daughter of Noah Carpenter; she presented her husband with five children, namely: William C. subject of this narrative; Emily E, deceased; Harriet ., deceased; Nelson C., who served in the late Rebellion, died in Andersonville Prison and Chester W., a resident of North Norwich. Mr. Main was a strong Republican, and always gave his unwavering support to the party of his cho8ice since its organization. He was a most active and zealous member of the Universalist Church.

    William C. Main holds a prominent position among the people of Chenango County and is especially popular and well though of in his township of Norwich, and in the place of his present residence and the scenes of many of his labors, Norwich village. He received his early training in the public schools of Norwich and pursued his studies for a while at Rockwell's Mills. At the age of fourteen years he entered the harness shop of his uncle Chester W. Carpenter, and remained there five years, learning the trade of harness maker. He followed the trade as a journeyman until 1850, when he went to Deposit, N.Y. and conducted a shop of his own; after remaining there for two years he came to the village of Norwich, and in 1854 he succeeded Samuel Weeden in that gentleman's harness and saddle shop. In 1858 he purchased the business block in which the Brennan Hotel is situated, where he conducted business until 1874. In 1883 he moved into the Baker Block, where he conducts the largest store of the kind in the county. The salesroom is well stocked with handmade harness and bags and he makes a specialty of trunks. He employs a large force of men who are kept constantly busy in order to supply the large demand for leather goods. He is the owner of a fine residence, located at 201 South Broad Street, which he bought and furnished himself. He also buys and sells realty to a large extent. He was joined in matrimony with Martha E. Dermander, daughter of Charles Demander of Deposit, N.Y. and one child blessed their home, Ada R. In politics, our subject adheres to the Democratic party. Socially, he is past master of Norwich Lodge No. 302, F. & A. M.; member of Harmony Chapter, R.A. M. No. 151; Norwich Commandery, Knight Temperas, No46. Religiously, Mr. and Mrs. Main are both active and popular members of the Episcopal Church.

Source: page 525
Transcibed by Ann Hopkins, May 22, 2005


CYRUS B. MARTIN stands at the head of one of the largest manufacturing concerns in Norwich, the David Maydole Hammer Co., whose products are to be found in the markets of the world. Since 1877, when he bought a quarter interest of his father-in-law, David Maydole, founder of the company, he has given his attention chiefly to this interest. For many years he was engaged in journalistic work. He is president of the Chenango National Bank of Norwich. Mr. Martin was born in Argyle, N. Y., September 6, 1830.

Source: page 340
Transcibed by Tim Stowell, Jul 7, 2016


    The village of Norwich has cause indeed to remember with esteem, veneration and gratitude the gentleman named above, who over half a century ago, as a simple worker at the forge, laid the solid foundations of the great hammer industry, that more than any other agency has brought prosperity, weat5lth and fame to Norwich. Seldom has it fallen to our lot to compile a life record that compared in uniqueness and in the practical lessons taught with that of David Maydole, whose name will ever be associated with the best and most finished types of that most useful industrial tool, the hammer. His was a busy life, and whatever the success that he achieved, and whatever words of praise have been uttered in his behalf, all that came to him was richly deserved. Labor he did incessantly; even when fortune had beamed on him and made him a rich man. He was still to be found in the factory with his employees, directing their efforts, and seeking by experiment to improve his products. Labor he did incessantly; even when fortune had beamed on him and made him rich man, he was still to be found in the factory with his employees, directing their efforts and seeking by experiment to improve his products. Such labor as his was surely ennobling, for he put his soul into what he did, always with the ever present idea of doing the best he could. He was never satisfied with good work until he was thoroughly convinced it was the best. He's careful attention to the smallest details, and his careful search for improvements that could be made, met with results that could hardly have been looked for by Mr. Maydole in the commencement of his career, for the hammers with the inscription "D. Maydole" are par excellence standard of the world, and may be found in the markets of every civilized country.

    Mr. Maydole was born January 27, 1807 in the town of Seward, Schoharie County, N.Y., near "Neeley's Hollow", better know by the people of the present day as "Seward's Valley". In him were united by right of descent the enterprising and persevering traits of the Scotch-Irish, and the solid patient characteristics of the Hollander. His paternal grandfather was of Scotch origin, while his mother traced her ancestry to the "land of dykes and ditches". They both took up their residence in the English colonies of America prior to the Revolution and the close of the century found both families domiciled in Albany, N.Y. Alexander Maydole, the father of the subject of this writing, was one of several children whose names are still represented in those of descendants, who live chiefly in New York State. Alexander Maydole was born in East Albany, Rennsalaer County, and served an apprenticeship as a shoemaker. His trade having been acquired, he journeyed into Schoharie County, where he labored at his bench with awl and last for several years. His location was in the town of Sharon, on the old Cherry Valley turnpike; there he settled won to a happy domestic life with his wife, Anna Van Valkenburgh, who was a member of a old and well known family in that part of the state. Nine children out of the twelve born to this worthy couple grew to maturity and were present at their father's funeral in 1818.

    ------From the time of his father's death, David Maydole, who was then but eleven years of age, sixth in a family of twelve, experienced little but hard work, with little or no schooling or leisure. In 1816 the family moved to Cortland County settling on a small tract of land in Texas Valley, in what is now the town of Marathon. Until 1822, he was employed by different farmers in the summer being able in the winters to attend school. In January 1822, having passed his fifteenth birthday, he took the step, which initiated him as an apprentice member of one of the oldest and most honorable trades followed by man. He became apprenticed to the late James Glover of Oxford, who was a well known blacksmith and most respected citizen of that village, the indenture papers being drawn by the late Governor Tracy, at whose instance David also chose Mr. Glover as his guardian.

    Having attained his majority and finished his apprenticeship, he went to Eaton, in 1828 and entered into partnership with his brother Jacob, who had finished his apprenticeship at the blacksmith's trade a year or two previous. The two brothers worked in company until the fall of 1830, when David sold his interest to his brother and made an engagement with Gardiner and Abbot to work at his trade for them for one year. In 1831 he went into partnership with David Abbott at Lebanon, in the edge tool business, which arrangement satisfactorily continued for two years. Mr. Maydole then returned to Easton and bought out a chair factory, attached to which was a water power, which was utilized when he transformed the plant into a blacksmith establishment, and entered upon a business in edge tools, and carriage springs, besides attending to general blacksmithing work. The custom he received was large in quantity and quite flattering was the success that attended his efforts, the magnitude of the work requiring four fires. In 1837 he prepared to enlarge his business, and for that purpose he built an addition to his buildings, designing to begin the manufacture of lumber wagons for the Chicago markets; however, misfortune, in the form of fire, overtook him, his buildings, stock and overtook him, his building, stock and machinery being destroyed. But nothing daunted Mr. Maydole, in the same year (1838), in company with a younger brother James, who was also a blacksmith, he bought the Gardiner & Abbott scythe factory, connected with which was a water power and sixty acres of land. The remainder of the year was spent in working the farm and in preparing for business, but nothing more was done, for the title to the property proved to be defective and the brothers refused to accept it. At this juncture Mr. Malydole was induced to consider the subject of leaving Eaton for another location, and the result was he became a resident of Norwich in 1840, and formed a partner ship with Levi Ray, since deceased, in the old stone balacksmith shop, which still stands on East main Street. His special part in the business was the manufacture of edge tools and carriage springs, in which branches he had become an acknowledged expert, the character of his work having given him a wide reputation throughout this section.

    It was soon after locating in Norwich that the events occurred that led up to the founding of the present mammoth hammer business. At that time there was no recognized hammer industry; blacksmiths made their own hammers, and similar tools for other artisans as well. Mr. Maydole's hammers did not suit him; oftentimes the heads would fly off, then if the iron was soft, the head would spread and wear away, while if the metal was a trifle too hard it would split. But the chief trouble was the head coming loose from the handle; there were a number of expedients to obviate this, one kind had an iron rod running through the handle with nuts at either end, another was made of metal throughout, handle and head being of iron, but all were clumsy and awkward. In regard to the mixing and tempering of the metal, Mr. Maydole only reached a point where he could feel satisfied by many years of experiment, carried on at odd moments. He finally came very near to his desires in the metal and tat the same time hit upon an improvement which lead to his being able to put a hammer upon a handle in such a way that it would stay there, the head being attached to the handle after the manner of an adz; the improvement consisted in merely making a longer hole for the handle to go into, thus giving a much firmer hold of the head. He made a number of other changes, all for his own convenience, however, for he did not dream as yet of going into the manufacture of hammers. He would have hardly benefited from the improvements he had originated, at least not so soon as he did, for very few hammers were ever required in the little village, had not a party of six carpenters come to Norwich to work upon a new church. It so happened that one of these men had left his hammer at home, and the necessity was so great that he repaired to the village smithy, which David Maydole was then conducting, to have one made, there being none at the village store. "Make me a good one," said the carpenter, "as good a one as you know how." David had in his experiments arrived at some notion of what a hammer ought to be, and knew that he was able to produce a very superior article, but he was not sure that the workman wanted the best, so he asked him about his willingness to pay a good price, remarking, "But perhaps you don't want to pay for as good a hammer as I can make." To this the carpenter rejoined, "Yes, I do; I want a good hammer." So the tool was made, the best one probably that was ever make in the history of iron-working, for it contained several important improvements, original with Mr. Maydole. To say that the customer was satisfied would be a mild expression for his feelings; he took the greatest delight in the hammer, showed it to his friends and fellow-workmen, and could not say enough in praise of the young blacksmith and his work. The result was that on the following day the man's five companions went to the shop and each ordered one, and when they were done the contractor came to the shop and ordered tow more, intimating that the blacksmith ought to make the hammers a little better than those he had made for his men. " I can't make any better ones," said honest David. "When I make a thing, I make it as well as I can, no matter who it's for." Soon after the storekeeper of the village gave him what seemed the magnificent order for two dozen, which in due time were placed on the merchant's shelves. There the hammers chance to catch the eye of a New York tool merchant, who at once recognized their superior merits, and when he left Norwich, it was after giving David Maydole a standing order for as many hammers of that kind as he could make. This was the beginning of prosperity for David Maydole, for orders increased, and gave him an opportunity of enlarging his works, and of employing more men, thus in the end building up the great industry of which Norwich is justly proud.

    About this time, in the summer of 1845, Mr. Maydole leased one-half of the building that stood on the site now occupied by the Maydole Hammer Factory, and engaged in the manufacture of edge tools on his own account and in his own name. In this building he began the manufacture of the adz-eye and other hammers in quantities. In the spring of 1847, the partnership that had existed in the blacksmithing business with Mr. Ray was dissolved and from that time our subject's attention was devoted to the hammer business. In 1848 a fire burned the building and stock, causing Mr. Maydole loss of $1, 500,000.00, above his insurance, which was for the same amount. This second scorching he did not allow to interfere much with his work, for he at once set about the work of repairing damages, recovering lost ground, and firmly establishing himself once more. He purchased the entire property of the owners, and erected a factory, which is the eastern portion of the present main building, but it was then only two stories in height. The works have since been several times enlarged, and extension upon the ground and a third story over the whole having been put on in 1856.

    During the first twenty years, Mr. Maydole was constantly experimenting with a view to perfecting the hammer. The proper combination of ores was at last decided and the requisite amount of tempering found by experiment. The curve of the handle, the curve of each part of the head, and every little point about the tool was carefully considered, thought over, tried, until at last Mr. Maydole could say with pride, " I make the best hammer in the United States." The handle is made of selected hickory, seasoned for a term of three years, so as to prevent any appreciable shrinkage, when the head is put on. Mr. Maydole never tried to compete with others in price; he made the best took he could, set a fair price on it, and let it sell on its own merits. He never advertised his hammers, never pushed the enterprise and never borrowed money. He was content to secure a steady growth, that had its foundation on real merit.

    In 1857 the hammer business suffered with other manufacturing enterprises, but while Mr. Maydole's business felt, it did not long nor materially suffer from the effects of the panic. As early as 1860 he was working from 75 to 80 hands and was forced to put in a 50 horse-power engine to supplement the water-power obtained from the canal. From then to the present time, the business has gone on increasing, and except for the period of depression that followed the panic of 1873, there has been no time when the establishment has been able to keep up with the orders, despite the constant enlargement of facilities. In 1873 there were 115 men employed. The forging had all been done by hand up to 1876, each hammer being heated slowly and carefully over a charcoal fire, and then fashioned by experienced workmen. In that year machinery was first introduced and has been added to from that time to this. At the present time the adz-eye hammer is made in three heats, while the ordinary blacksmith and riveting hammers are forged at one heat. The capacity of the establishment has in this way been increased very largely, at the same time greater perfection being obtained than by hand forging. Mr. Maydole invented the now common adz-eye hammer. It was always a matter of regret to him that he never had it patented; on the introduction of forging machinery, he invented and patented several important improvements, the one for drawing up the adz-eye being especially ingenious and perfect, excelling all other known contrivances designed for the same kind of work.

    Mr. Maydole was often interviewed and visited by great men, who had been attracted by his original character and excellent traits. In 1878 James A. Garfield, afterwards president of the Untied States, visited Norwich and was shown around the works by Mr. Maydole. A year later, Gen. Garfield made an address before the Consolidated Business College at Washington on the "elements of Success," and told the story of Mr. Maydole, substantially as we have told it, citing him as an example of a successful man, who by diligent application on one object became the leader in his special line of work. James Parton, in his "Captains of Industry", gives an account of his beginning in life, and places him with Peter Cooper, Horace Greeley, Richard Bobden, and Henry Bessemer, all kings of business in their own fields of effort.

    At the time of his death, Mr. Maydole was the head of the concern, his sons-in-law, Charles H. Meritt and Cyrus B. Martin, being associated with him. In 1861, Mr. Merritt bought a quarter interest in the plant, and from then until his death was most influential in building up the business. In 1877, Mr. Martin purchased a quarter interest of Mr. Maydole, and has since been and is now identified with the management of the company. In 1890, the present company was organized, the interest of each partner continuing in the new conern. Mr. Merritt was the first president, and was succeeded by Mr. Martin, who still retains the presidency; he and his children own one half of the stock. Mrs. Cornelia F. Merritt owns the half of the stock and is the vice president of the company.

    The Maydole hammer has received premiums in every industrial exposition where exhibited. In the Centennial Columbian case, now standing in the engine room of the factory, may be seen the Chicago exhibit intact. The machinery used requires a 200 horse-power engine to move it and several hundred tons of solid, crucible steel, made especially for their use, are cut up in the works each year. Grindstones by carloads are used us. A half million and more hickory handles are necessary for a full years supply. In their catalogue are shown thirty-six different styles of hammers, some new in design, but most are of the old and approved patterns. Many sizes are made of every style, but the heaviest hammer on the list weighs but four pounds. The works employ 30 men and turn out about a hundred dozen a day.

    Mr. Maydole's habits of life were ever temperate and industrious. At the age of eighteen he firs experienced religion and untied with the Presbyterian Church of Oxford and was a t different times a member of societies of Morrisville, Eaton, and Norwich. He was a pronounced advocate of temperance. He was a generous contributor to church, charitable and public enterprises. Though Mr. Maydole was no politician, he took a hearty interest in public affairs, affiliating originally with the Democrats, but becoming a Republican, when the former organization became hopelessly wedded to slavery. Mr. Maydole was joined in marriage, May 5, 1830 with Mary Adella Hartshorn, daughter of Jacob Hartshorn, long a magistrate and prominent citizen of Lebanon, Madison County. Three daughters were born to this union, namely; Jane Madelia, wife of Co. William B. Guernsey; Ann Vernette, wife of Cyrus B. Martin; and Cornelia Eliza, wife of Charles H. Merritt. He contracted a second marriage with Charlena Dickinson, daughter of Abner Dickinson Esq, who now survives him.

    David Maydole died October 14, 1882, at his residence in Norwich. The funeral services were most impressive, business generally being suspended, while the citizens of Norwich, and adjoining towns joined in paying their last respects to him who had finished his life-work and had been called home. The casket was borne by eight of Mr. Maydole's trusted employees. At the close of the services, which were held in the Congregational Church, the coffin lid was removed and nearly the entire audience availed themselves of the opportunity of gazing upon the face of him who for upwards of forty years had been most intimately associated with everything that was best and noblest in the village of Norwich. The casket was then placed in the hearse, and was followed by a large number in carriages and on foot to the cemetery, where the last impressive rites of the burial service were concluded and white flowers, "emblems of immortality," covered him from the sight of those left behind. David Maydole, after a life of the greatest usefulness, had entered into his reward.

Source: page 11
Transcribed by Ann Hopkins, February 19, 2006

Charles Henry Merritt

    Charles Henry Merritt, deceased, was born on the 11th day of August, 1814 and during his long and useful life knew no other home than Norwich. He was a direct descendant from old Revolutionary stock. The names of both his parents, who came from Eastern New York, being familiar and favored ones in the public affairs of the Hudson River counties of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam and Westchester, from long before the War of the Revo9lountion down to this day. Mr. Merritt was a son of Stephen S. Merritt and Hannah Purdy, daughter of Abner Purdy. Stephen S. Merritt settled in North Norwich, then a part of the town of Norwich, in the year 1795. Back through these honored ancestors, the subject of this sketch was able to trace his lineage to the sturdy and heroic settlers of the historic region of the Hudson for more than a hundred years.

    Charles H. Merritt was born at a time and in a community that knew few idlers. The children of that day were accustomed to acquire, almost in their infancy the faculty of taking care of themselves. Inheriting a goodly amount of the sterling integrity of his forefathers, Mr. Merritt early assumed large responsibilities and at the age of twenty one embarked in the mercantile business in his native town. A few years later he engaged himself as collector for a firm at Darien, Georgia, making the trip to that place on horseback and remaining in the South in the above capacity in the neighborhood of a year. Upon his return to the North, he settled in Norwich, and the remainder of his life was spent in that village. In 1862, Mr. Merritt purchased a quarter interest in the David Maydole hammer factory, and there after, until his death, he made the extension and success of that business his special object and care. From the time of his entrance into the concern, the effect of his cautious, far-seeing and honest judgment, acquired through years of careful and extensive business experience, was felt with advantage and profit. During the twenty-five years that marked his connection with the hammer factory, its products became known and used in all portions of the world. Devoting to this industry his whole time, strength and energy, to him much of this marvelous success was due. On the incorporation of the David Maydole Hammer Company, in January, 1890, although in poor health at the time, Mr. Merritt was made the first president. His mind was an eminently practical one and he retained the direction of the affairs of the company until his death, which came to him October 12, 1890, undesired but not unexpected. He spent the last summer of his life in the enjoyment of family and social intercourse. The funeral services were held from his palatial home and were largely attended by the citizens of the village and by sympathizing friends and acquaintances. The business places were closed in his honor, and the members of the Democratic County Committee attended in a body. The operatives in the factory turned out and in one company marched to the house, where for the last time they looked upon the face of their beloved employer. Tears, scarcely restrained, here eloquent testimony to their love and affection for one with whom they had been associated so long.

    Mr. Merritt's known business ability and careful management were rewarded by the accumulation of a considerable fortune. In 1862 he was united in marriage with Cornelia E. Maydole, daughter of David Maydole and with his wife and two daughters, May and Nettie, he established a beautiful home on North Broad Street, within whose circle his friends were always heartily welcome. In his home he was always at his best. Sharing confidences and business cares with his wife, whose advice he greatly valued, and always thoughtful of the wishes and feeling of his family, he never was known to address them with an unkind or harsh word. Within the sacred precincts of home he was all kindness, generosity and forbearance.

    While most men are distinguished by some particular trait of character alone, Mr. Merritt was possessed of many. All were so happily balanced, so harmoniously blended as to form a combination of virtues, which coupled with a natural fund and appreciation of humor, made his friendship deemed a privilege and an honor, and his society a pleasure. He was pubic-spirited to a large degree, and his influence in village and town affairs was great. He was most liberal in his support of all improvements, tending to advance and beautify the village of Norwich, and his advice and counsel were often sought by others than his business associates. He gave liberally to the churches and was an ardent supporter of the educational institutions of the town. Politically, Mr. Merritt was a Democrat, never seeking office, but earnestly and liberally supporting his party's nominees. His was life of honesty and integrity; "He was an honest man."

    By his employees he was especially beloved. To them he was ever obliging, sympathetic and generous; always ready to grant a favor or to assist in time of need. None came to him for assistance but found a friend. These acts of kindness were performed, as were his numerous charities, so quietly and unostentatiously that few outside his home knew of them. He was a great favorite with the young people who come his way, and especial one with the children. He was ever thoughtful of the many little pleasantries that win a child's heart and they all knew him as their friend.

    Physically, Mr. Merritt was a noble specimen of manly strength and vigor. Standing a little over six feet in height, with broad shoulders, a well-proportioned body, dignified bearing , and a head and face of striking and benevolent appearance, his was one of the noblest types of manly beauty.

    Upon the death of Mr. Meritt, his varied business interests were left in charge of his wife. Mrs. Merritt has since conducted them with an ability and discretion well worthy so able and successful and advisor as her late husband.

Source: page 75
Transcribed by Ann Hopkins, July 27, 2005

Robert E. Miller

    ROBERT E. MILLER is an able and successful practitioner of Oxford, Chenango County, N.Y. where he located thirty-seven years ago and began the practice of his profession. He was born in New Canaan, Conn. and August 27, 1837 and is the son of John B. and Abigail A. (Finch) Miller. The father was a native of New Canaan, Conn.

    Increase Miller, the grandfather, spent the greater part of his life in Westchester, where he was engaged in agriculture. His last days were passed at the home of his son, John B., where he quietly breathed his last. In matters of religion he was inclined to be liberal, subscribing to none of the orthodox creeds and dogmas, but being perfectly willing to trust everything to an all wise Providence, resting contentedly in the belief that a loving Father would temper justice with mercy, in dealing with his children. His family included the following children; Mary. Charlotte; Anar; Caroline; Betsey; Elsie A.; Ralsey; and John B., the father of our subject.

    John B. Miller received a common school education and then engaged in the time honored occupation of husbandry. He left Connecticut about the year 1839, and came to Otsego County, this sate, purchasing a farm near Unadilla, where the remainder of his life was spent. He was consider a very prosperous man, for the times and amassed quite a considerable pro0erty. He was a Whig of the Henry Clay type and was among the first to join the ranks of the Republican party, upon its formation. Caleb Finch lived neighbors to the Millers in Connecticut, and the friendship existing between the two families was cemented by the union of John B. Miller with Abigail Finch. Four of the children born to the couple lived to become citizens of honor and usefulness, the others dying in early life. The surviving children are as follows: Robert E.; Addie E.; the wife of D.M. Ferry, whose name is familiar in almost every household in the United States, as the reliable Detroit, Mich., seedsman, they have four children, Edith, deceased; Blanche, Dexter M. Jr. and Addie; Dr. Christopher C., a resident of Detroit, Mich, married Ellen Stratton of Oxford, N.Y. and has two children J. Sherman and Raymond. Sherman R. Miller married Estella Flandreau of Brooklyn by whom he has six children: Sherman R. Jr; Addie; Mattie; Grace; Leroy; and Christine C. Mr. and Mrs. Miller were Presbyterians, and led upright Christian lives. He was called to his reward in 1868 at the age of sixty-two years, while his wife survived him almost 30 years entering the dreamless sleep in 1893, at the great age of eighty-four years.

    Dr. Robert E. Miller received his primary education in the common schools and Gilbertsville Academy, in Otsego County, which was still further, supplemented by attendance at the Ohio Wesleyan University, at Delaware, Ohio. He left college in 1857, a sophomore, to read medicine with J. Ralsy White of Gilbertsville, later of New York City. He took a course of lectures in the Albany Medical College, and entered the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia from which he graduated in May 1861. He located in Oxford the following May and began the practice of his profession, winning the confidence of the people by the care and skill displayed in his methods of treatment and the great number of cures he effected. He was untiring in his efforts to become what he is now,--a skillful and efficient physician. He is very popular throughout the community, and his practice is all that could be desired, large and lucrative. He is a member of the Chenango County Homeopathic Medical Society; the New York State homeopathic Medical Society; and the Medical Institute of homeopathy. He keeps well abreast the times in regard to the happenings in the medical world of science, and has done a great deal to advance the cause of the homeopathic school in this part of the state.

    Dr. Miller was united in the bonds of wedlock in 1865, with Miss Roxcie M. Westover, a daughter of Orlin and Betsey Westover of Oxford. She is a most estimable woman and an exemplary wife. They have no children of their own, and have taken into their hearts and home an adopted daughter, Emma L. who is a pleasant, well informed young lady and an accomplished musician, now devoting her time to the study of classical music. Mr. Miller is a stalwart Republican and particularly well posted on political questions, but has never been an aspirant to office, feeling that the position of a party office holder offers but little inducement to a man, who wishes to become of real service to humanity.

Source: page 231
Transcribed by Ann H. Hopkins, February 26, 2006

W. B. Monroe

    W. B. MONROE of Plymouth is one of the oldest residents of Chenango County, and is also a pioneer merchant, having been engaged in the produce business since 1860.Mr. Monroe remembers well the first building standing in the town; it was built by the French as a public building and was known as the "Town Barn,". Many a time has he and his brother played under its roof. Although his early education was limited by comprehensive reading he has stored his mind, naturally strong and receptive, with a varied knowledge, which makes him a well posted, intelligent man. In business he is most careful and conservative, and withal, a man of rare, good judgment. He is a son of Dyar and Lydia (Cutting) Monroe, and was born November 17, 1821 in the village of Plymouth.

    The Monroes were among the first settlers in the county, and were the first in the town of Plymouth. In 1816 Daniel Monroe brought his family here from New Lebanon, Conn, coming overland with a yoke of oxen, a slow, tedious means of travel, fifteen miles being considered a good day's journey for such a team. The country was new, the only building in the town at that time being the old "Town Barn", before mentioned. Daniel Monroe's log house, built on a quarter section of ground purchased by him, was one of the first residences. There, amid the privations and want, which only pioneers have felt and can understand, he helped to lay the foundations of those sterling principles which have made Chenango County what is today. After a short time he built a carding machine, the first in the town, and followed carding. As new inhabitants moved in and worked increased, he built a second machine at Sherburne Four Corners, which he also operated for a number of years. He went to Ohio and staid a short time, but returned finally to Plymouth, where he died at the home of his don, Dyar, aged eighty-four years. He was a strong advocate of the Christian Church, of which he was a member. He was twice married, his first wife being the grandmother of our subject; his second wife was Wealthy Plumb. Seven children all now deceased were born to the first marriage, viz: Aristareus; Isaac, a brick manufacturer, whose yards wee on the present site of Syracuse; Fletcher; James; Dyar; Eleanor; and Almeda.

    Dyar Monroe was born in New Lebanon, Conn., and came with his parents, in 1816, to the town of Plymouth, settling on the present site of the village of Plymouth. He was a blacksmith, and followed that trade in Plymouth, the remainder of his life. He was an Anti-Mason, and opposed to all secret societies. He was one of the founders of the Chenango Telegraph, a paper still published at Norwich, and was always ready to promote any enterprise that promised to add to the well being of the community. He was married to miss Lydia Cutting, and her example as a faithful wife and loving mother will long be remembered to those who knew her. Theirs were Christian lives, and while they were unostentatious in their religion, yet they found quiet satisfaction in endeavoring to follow the lead of the Good Shepherd, and were long members of the Congregational Church. Their children were: W.B.; Joseph; Martha; Mary; and Francis. W.B. and Francis are the only ones now living. The father was called home at the good old age of eighty-four, and the mother when seventy-three years old.

    W. B. Monroe attended the district schools when a lad, leaving school at an early age to learn the trade in his father's smithy. He became a first-class blacksmith, working at the trade for fifteen years with his father. He then thought to try his fortunes in speculating in eggs, with such good results that he afterwards added butter and cheese to his stock in trade, and has met with the most flattering success. His first investment was made in 1860, and he still conducts a large and increasing business, the result of almost forty years' close application to business. He has a cold storage house in Plymouth, and in 1897 he had stored 2500 dozen eggs. This business was carried on under the name of Monroe Bros., his brother Joseph being associated with him in the enterprise. They were the owners of three large farms, in the towns of Plymouth and Smyrna, containing in all about 450 acres. In 1895 Joseph Monroe died and since then Mr. Monroe has continued the business alone. He is the owner of a mine in South Dakota which has a good output of tin.

    Mr. Monroe was married in 1842 to Hulda Fox, daughter of Reuben Fox of Pitcher, this county. One child, Polly, was added to their home, but only for a short time was she permitted to cheer it; when tow and a half years old she was taken from earth to that brighter kingdom on high. Mrs. Monroe died January 31, 1898, aged seventy-five years.

    Our subject is a Republican, and has held a number of local offices, but is not in any manner a politician. He is a most pleasant social addition to any company, and his fund of pithy stories, concerning the adventures of the early settlers, makes him an interesting and instructive talker.

Source: page 256
Transcribed by Ann Hopkins, April 14, 2006

All biographies are from Book of Biographies - Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens of Chenango County, NY
Biographical Publishing Company - Buffalo, NY - 1898
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Chenango Co, NY Page

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