Cannon Township Sketches
1881 Chapman's Biographies

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The personal history of the township will be found very interesting, as it treats of matters more nearly at home and of greater vital connection with the life of the people than more material things.

George W. Armstrong (deceased) was born Oct. 26, 1836; was a son of John J. Armstrong, of Irish descent and in early life a cabinet-maker, later a farmer. He came to Kent county in 1856 and worked by the month; at the time of his death he owned 240 acres of land; held different tp. Offices and was deacon of the Congregational Church of Cannon from its organization until his death, Feb. 11, 1878. He was married in 1858 to Anna E. Wilson, eldest daughter of Amos and Rachel (Brown) Wilson, natives of New York, the former of English and Dutch descent, born in 1812. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson had two sons and four daughters; five children are living and have families. They settled in Cannon in 1842. Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong had five children; one daughter and three sons are living. Mrs. Armstrong is a member of the Congregational Church.

Willis Aylsworth, a pioneer of Cannon tp., was born in Chenango Co., N.Y., Feb. 24, 1818. His parents, David and Ada (Curtis) Aylesworth, were natives of Rhode Island and Connecticut. Mr. A.'s grandfather, Pelek Aylesworth, served through the American Revolution. Mr. A., our subject, was reared on a farm and in early life learned the carpenter and joiner's trade, which he followed for 15 years. He came to Washtenaw county in 1843, and to Cannon in 1845, and located on section 22, where he owns 120 acres. He was the second purchaser of this land, which had no improvements. Mr. A. has cleared and finely improved 90 acres of it. He was married Aug. 8, 1841 to Mary M. Wilkinson, a daughter of James and Vienna Wilkinson. She was born in Smithfield, R.I., Feb. 7, 1823, They have one child, a daughter, Mary M., born Feb. 6, 1845, wife of Wm. G. Little {should be Litle or Lytle, son of Zara and Lois LITLE. Mr. A. is Democratic in politics. He still retains in his possession the farm that he located in pioneer days.

Wm. Bush was born May 2, 1813 in New York, is son of William and Margaret Bush. He grew to manhood in St. Lawrence Co., N.Y., and in 1852 came to Kent county and located on 10 acres on section 10 where he has since resided. He was married in 1836 to Eliza Deck, born in New York. Of seven children born to them five are living - James H., Nancy J., Wm. H., Rose E. and Charles F. P.O. Rockford.

Philip Carlton was born in England, July 20, 1820; is son of Philip and Mary (Pickering) Carlton. His parents came to America in 1830, and settled at Lockport, N.Y., where the senior Carlton was employed in a mill for a time, but soon moved to Pendleton, and from there to Detroit, near which he settled, but becoming dissatisfied with the country, sold out and went to

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Canada. Three years after, he came to Ann Arbor tp. In 1838, he moved to Howell, Livingston Co., where he engaged in land speculation, dying in 1864; his wife died in 1860. Mr. Carlton, of this sketch, was married Sept. 13, 1843, to Mrs. Martha Willey, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Johnston. She has one daughter by her first marriage - Sarah A. Willey. The children of the second union are - Wm. T. , John, Chas. P. and Elizabeth J. Mr. Carlton owns 200 acres of land on secs. 14 and 15. P.O. Cannonsburg.

M.V. Crill was born in Lancaster Co., Pa., Feb. 2, 1820; is son of James and Mary (Crouse) Crill, natives of Pennsylvania, of German and English descent. His parents moved to Erie Co., N.Y., when he was six years old; his father was a pump-maker, and the son followed the same business two tears after he was 21; engaged several years in buying cattle for the Buffalo market. In 1853 Mr. Crill settled in Branch county; engaged in farming and pump-making two years, came to Kent county, and managed a hotel 18 months. He enlisted in the fall of 1861, in the Engineers and Mechanics' Reg., Capt. Fox, now Major Fox, of the 1st Mich. Reg.; was in all the principal engagements, and was present at the killing of Zollicoffer; discharged in 1864. In his absence his wife conducted affairs with wise discretion, as did so many hundreds of American wives. He remained on his farm one year after his return, sold out, spent a winter in lumbering, and in 1867 took charge of the Alpine hotel. Seven years later he settled on 80 acres on sec. 27, this tp.; is a Democrat. He was married in 1844, at Alden, Erie Co., N.Y., to Maria Myers, born Aug. 31, 1825. They have three boys and one girl - Henry M., born Sept. 25, 1845, resides in Colorado; Martin K., born March 30, 1847; Hiram and Maria A. Martin is a jeweler in Kansas; Maria, now Mrs. Cudron, lives in Idaho. Mrs. Crill is deceased. He was train master for his regiment for two years.

A. W. Davies was born Aug. 13, 1842, in Jackson Co., Mich.; is son of Benj. and Nancy M. (Squires) Davies, natives of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. They settled in Napoleon, Jackson Co., in 1832 and came to the farm now occupied by Mr. Davies, 266 acres on section 12. He is an only child. His father was a farmer and carpenter and died Oct. 1, 1860. Mr. Davies was married Feb. 15, 1870 to Aurelia E. Cornell, born in Onondaga Co., N.Y., Oct. 19, 1846. They have one child - Harlan P. Mr. Davies has held the offices of Treasurer, Supervisor and Highway Commissioner. P. Mr. Davies has held the offices of Treasurer, Supervisor and Highway Commissioner. P.O., Cannonsburg.

R. Davies was born Aug. 16, 1826 in Montgomery Co., N.Y.; is son of Joel and Gertrude (Sutfin) Davies, natives of New Jersey and first settlers in Charlestown, Montgomery Co., NY., where they died. Mr. Davies received a common-school education; was married to Sarah A. Casler, born in Montgomery county Oct. 30, 1830; they have four children - Charlotte F., Georgia, Herbert and Elsie. Mr. Davies was one of 16 children; his parents were poor

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and he commenced hard work early in life; worked farms on shares for many years and becoming tired resolved to try Michigan and moved to his present location, 80 acres on section 1, in 1868. Mr. and Mrs. Davies are members of the Congregational Church. P.O. Cannonsburg.

Joseph Dockeray was born June 18, 1821, in Westmoreland Co., England; is son of Robert and Elizabeth Dockeray. They came to America in 1839 and settled in Orleans Co., N.Y., where the father died. In 1845 Mr. Dockeray settled in Cannon, where he is now located and engaged in farming and stock-raising. He was married July 2, 1846 to Miss Elizabeth Pierson, born in 1826. They have five children - Clarence H., Albert A., Chas. R., Wallace P. and Bryant S. Mr. Dockeray owns 107 acres of good land on sec. 6. P.O., Rockford.

Robert Dockeray was born Aug. 4, 1829 in Westmoreland, England; is son of Robert and Betty Dockeray. His parents settled in Orleans Co., N.Y., in 1839 where the father died. Mr. D. was reared on a farm and received a common-school education. He was married in 1854 to Lucy A. White, a native of New York. They have four children living - Reuben H., Alice, George A. and Ella E. Mr. Dockeray owns 160 acres of improved land and is breeding short-horn cattle. He is Justice of the Peace. P.O., Rockford.

Daniel C. Fletcher, son of John R. and Barbara A. Fletcher, was born in Brant Co., Ontario, Jan. 10, 1839. He was reared on a farm; and came with his parents to Cannon in 1858. He was married march 25, 1862, to Elmira White, and has two children, viz.: Della May, born Sept. 30, 1874 and John Anson, born May 26, 1879. Richard W. and Mattie are deceased. Mrs. Fletcher is a daughter of Levi and Eliza J. White, and a native of Ontario, born May 8, 1835. Mr. and Mrs. F. are Baptists, and mr. F., is a Greenbacker in politics. He owns 80 acres of land on sec. 30.

John R. Fletcher was born in Wentworth Co., N.B., Feb. 14, 1814. His parents, Daniel and Nancy (Phillips) Fletcher, were natives of New Brunswick, and of Scotch and Welsh descent. They removed to Wentworth Co., Ontario, when Daniel was 11 years of age. He passed his early life as a farmer boy and received his educational training in the common school. His father was a mason, and at an early age he learned that, and followed it for eight years. He came to Cannon in April, 1858, and settled on his present farm. He was married May 27, 1835, to Barbara A. Condon, duaghter of Bryan and Susanna Condon, born in Wentworth Co., Ontario, Aug. 22, 1818. Of their nine children, three are living, viz.: Daniel C., Nancy, wife of C.P. Watson, and Samuel L. Mr. and Mrs. F. are connected with the Baptist Church. Mr. F. is Deacon. Politically he is National. He owns a farm of 40 acres, on sec. 30

William Hartwell was born in New York, Nov. 18, 1824; is son of John and Elizabeth (Vansize) Hartwell, the latter of Holland descent, the former of English. Mr. Hartwell spent 26 years of

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his life as clerk, at Utica, N.Y., Grand Rapids and Cannonsburg. He came to the latter place in 1844, and now owns 240 acres of land, with the best improvements. He lost a fine house, worth $3,000, by fire, and built another, on an improved plan; is giving much attention to breeding fine-wool merino sheep. Was married on Nov. 8, 1855, to Ann Eliza, daughter of Sidney S. Haskins, of English descent, and among the earliest pioneers of Kent county, and the first settler in Cannon. They have two sons - Albert H. and Frank E., two fine young fellows, alike the pride and comfort of their parents. Mr. Hartwell is a Republican, and has been Tp. Treasurer, and was Postmaster about 10 years at Cannonsburg.

James Howard, farmer, sec. 23, Cannon, was born in Oneida Co., N.Y., Nov. 29, 1836, and is a son of Wm. and Martha Howard, who emigrated to the United States in 1836, and settled in Oneida Co., N.Y., and in 1846 removed to Washtenaw county, and in '50 to Cannon, Kent Co. Mr. Howard was married March 20, 1864, to Melissa J. Johnson, born in Pennsylvania, Feb. 8, 1836. This union was given three children, viz.; Frank W., Fred. J. and James R. Mr. Howard settled on this farm when it was in its original state, and by his industry and untiring energy, has made a valuable farm. It comprises 120 acres. He has a peach orchard of 100 trees, among the finest in Kent county. Mr. H. is connected with the patrons of Husbandry, and politically is Greenback.

Wm. S. Johnson was born in Norfolk, England, May 8, 1830; he is a son of Richard and Sarah (Surfling) Johnson. He was reared on Old England's soil till 18, when he and his brother, Matthew, ventured across the wide Atlantc. He lived in Orleans Co., N.Y., till 1852, when he came to Solon tp., Kent co., and entered 80 acres on sec. 23. He was one of the organizers of Solon, and served as its Treasurer six years. He cleared up a farm there, and in 1873 removed to his present farm. Mr. Johnson was married Oct. 6, 1855, to Mary Gordon, daughter of Geo. W. and Betsy Gordon, who came to Grand Rapids in 1834. Mrs. J. was born in the town of Grand Rapids, May 25, 1836. This union resulted with nine children, five of whom are living, viz.; Herbert O., Sarah E., Cassius F., Edith V. and William A. Edith A., Richard, George A. and Robert are deceased. Mr. and Mrs. J. are members of the Free-Will Baptist Church. Mr. J. is a Republican, and has served his tp. as Treasurer two years, and his district as Moderator six years. He owns a farm of 160 acres on sec. 30, with good improvements.

Deacon Abraham Kromer. (The biography herewith presented was prepared under the supervision of Deacon Kromer, two weeks previous to his death.) Abraham Kromer, son of William and Betsey Kromer, was born in Cobleskill, Schoharie Co., N.Y., May 22, 1804, and died in Cannonsburg, Kent Co., Mich., Sept. 18, 1880, aged 76 years, 3 months and 27 days. On Nov. 18, 1828, at the age of 24 years, he was united in marriage with

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Miss Caty Lawyer, with whom he lived in happy wedlock for nearly 40 years, and by whom he was the father of five children, three sons and two daughter; only one of whom, Mrs. Delia Hardy, still lives to mourn the loss of a kind and loving father. Mrs. Caty Kromer died Sept. 15, 1868. June 5, 1869, he was married to Mrs. Gertrude C., widow of Harlow P. Judson. She attended him in his last sickness, and now, a widow for the third time, mourns his loss. In 1829 he went to Holland patent, Oneida Co., N.Y., where the next year he removed his wife and engaged in mercantile business for about five years. In the winter of 1835-'36 he went to Sackett's Harbor, N.Y., thence to Geauga Co., Ohio, where he was a merchant one year, then to Newark Co., Licking Co., Ohio, where he kept a hotel - the Mansion House - until the spring of 1840. In that year he moved to Smithville, Jefferson Co., N.Y., where he erected suitable buildings, fitted up a tannery, and was engaged in that and mercantile business 18 or 19 years. During this period, in 1854, he was appointed Harbor Master and Sackett's harbor, under the administration of President Pierce, and held the office one year. He also filled the office of Postmaster for a considerable time at Smithville during his residence there. In the year 1858 he purchased the Patrick farm, near this village, and has been an honored and useful citizen ever since. He was engaged here in mercantile business some time, and was Postmaster for several years. While residing in Geauga Co., Ohio, he became a Christian. On his return to New York, he made a public profession of religion and united with the Congregational Church, in Smithville, where he was an acceptable member, and where, for some time, he held the office of Deacon until his removal to this place. Here he united by letter with the Bostwick Lake Church, and continued a member there until the organization of this Church, in the spring of 1875. He was Deacon in a branch Church here before the present organization. He was chosen Deacon here, and filled the office with the utmost acceptance until disabled by his last sickness.

Archibald McMillan, a respected pioneer of Cannon, was born in Argyleshire, Scotland, Dec. 1, 1810, and is a son of John and Margaret McMillan, who emigrated to America in 1817, and settled in Boharnway Co., Quebec. There Mr. McMillan was reared to maturity. In June, 1849, he came to Cannon, and purchased a farm of 111 acres, situated on sec. 32, and 5 of Ada. Mr. McMillan experienced many scenes of hardships, so common in the pioneers' days of Michigan. He was married Dec. 1, 1835, in Boharnway Co., Quebec, to Jeannette McNaughton, by whom he had eight children, six of whom are living, viz.: Archibald, Margaret (wife of Albert Headley), Neal, Catharine (deceased), Mary A. (wife of Alfred Turner) and Jeannette, (wife of Warren Russell). Mrs. McMillan is a daughter of Dougald and Catharine McNaughton{nee McFarlane}. She was born in Argyleshire, Scotland, Feb. 1, 1814. Mr. and Mrs. McM. Are members of the Congregational Church. Mr. McM. Is a Republican in politics.

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Joseph Moore was born in County Down, Ireland, March 16, 1818, and is a son of James, sr., and Elizabeth Moore. They emigrated to America in 1828 and settled in Albany Co., N.Y. In 1831 they removed to near Troy, and in 1838 to Paterson, N.J. At an early age Mr. Moore served an apprenticeship of five years at the trade of machinist in Paterson. Previous to this he followed manufacturing sail cloth seven years. The spring of 1852 he came to Cannon, and July 8 he bought 80 acres of land on sec. 22 Subsequently he entered 40 acres on sec. 17. He has cleared and well improved 74 acres; was married April 30, 1846 to Permelia Barkley, daughter of John and Martha Barkley {nee HAINES, daughter of John and Mehtible HAINES, natives of Orange Co., N.Y. Mrs. Moore was born in Broome Co., N.Y., Oct. 15, 1818. Mr. and Mrs. Moore are members of the Congregational Church; Mr. Moore is Sabbath-school Superintendent, and politically is a Republican.

Levi Omans, an old pioneer of Cannon, was born in Murray, Genesee Co., N.Y., June 30, 1824. His parents, Thomas G. and Polly (Stephens) Omans, were natives of Massachusetts and New York. His father served in the last war with Great Britain. In 1830 his parents removed to Macomb Co., Mich., where he was reared to manhood. April 30, 1851, he with his wife started for Cannon, where they arrived on May 10. Mr. O. bought 160 acres of land on sec. 33, which was Mexican soldier's rights. He has cleared and well improved a good portion of his farm. He was married July 4, 1847 to Nancy M., daughter of Conrad and Martha Schermerhorn, born in Alden, Erie Co., N.Y., Jan. 4, 1834. This union was blest with 12 children; eight of these are living, viz.: Orissa B. (wife of Frank Morehouse), Polly B., John M., Thomas G., Martha J., Francis H., Cordelia R., and Orlo C. Religiously, Mr. Omanss and family are believers in Spiritualism. Politically, Mr. O. is an advocate of Greenbackism. He is a worth and generous pioneer.

B.B. Ray was born Dec. 9, 1847, in Livingston Co., N.Y.; is a son of John and Hannah (Bishop) Ray, natives of Vermont and New York; the former is dead; the latter is living in New York. Mr. Ray was bred to the occupation of a farmer and received a common-school education. He came to Cannon in 1873, settled on 120 acres of land on sec. 2. He was married march 26, 1873, to Libbie Borner, a native of England. They have two children - Lyman and Mabel.. Mr. Ray has held the offices of Highway Commissioner and Drain Commissioner. P.O. Rockford.

Zebulon Rood, one of the oldest pioneers of Cannon, was born in Vermont, July 29, 1810. His parents, Ezra and Betsey Rood, were natives of Massachusetts and Canada. In 1823 they removed to Bloomfield, Oakland Co., Mich., where Zebulon lived till of age. He worked at the carpenter's trade three years, and kept grocery in Birmingham two years. In 1838 he came to Cannon, and pre-empted land on sec. 31, and subsequently purchased

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240 acres on sec. 20 and 29. He cut the first road in Cannon and brought the first team and first wagon load of goods across Bear creek. He built the first house in Cannon, which was a log structure. He did the first clearing and planted the first crops. In fact, Mr. Rood broke the forest and lead the tide of immigration in among a race of savages, to make the now prosperous tp. of Courtland. He organized the first school district and helped build the first school-house. He located all the roads in that portion of the tp., and aided in all its first improvements. In early days Mr. rood served in the various local offices of the town. He was married Dec. 11, 1836, to Maryette Burgess, daughter of Jonathan and Ezuba (Millington) Burgess. Mrs. Rood was born in Rutland, Jefferson Co., N.Y., March 3, 1819. Of their six children four are living, viz.: Sydney L., Sophronia C. (wife of James Fields), Noble D. and Ezra A. Mr. Rood and family are Spiritualists in belief. He is a Greenbacker in politics, formerly a Republican.

Van Rensaler Smith, farmer, sec. 32; P.O., Cannonsburg; was born in St. Stephens, N.B., Sept. 17, 1830. His parents, John and Lydia (Hill) Smith, were natives also of New Brunswick. The spring of 1850 he came to Cannon tp., with his parents, who purchased land on secs. 32 and 33 and 5 of Ada. Mr. Smith, then but a young man, engaged in the pursuits of clearing and farming. He aided in the first improvements of Cannon; also helped build the first house in the town of Nelson. He was married Nov. 6, 1856, to Lovina Condon, daughter of Bryan S. and Susanna (Cox) Condon, born in Ontario, March 6, 1829. Of their six children five are living, viz.: Susanna L., born Dec. 17, 1857; Hannah A., June 15, 1859; John C., Nov. 6, 1860; Emory A., May 19, 1864 and Elvin O., Feb. 14, 1871. Bryan L., born Aug. 4, 1869, died Aug., 23, 1869. Mr. Smith and wife are members of the Congregational Church and he is National in politics. He owns 150 acres of land on secs. 32, 33 and on 5 of Ada.

Thomas Sowerby was born in Cumberland Co., England, June 5, 1831; is son of John and Ann (Ivinson) Sowerby. His parents landed at New York city in 1864 and came to Kent county soon after. They delayed a little at Cannonsburg and settled on a farm on sec. 2; in 1872 moved to Rockford; his mother died Sept. 1, 1880; his father is a farmer and innkeeper at Rockford. Mr. Sowerby started from Liverpool, England, in September, 1864, and the same month landed at Quebec, coming immediately to his father's in this tp. Soon after he bought his present farm. He was married May 17, 1857, to Jane Smith, born in Cumberland Co., England, Feb. 6, 1835. They have had six children; five are living - Robert S., John, William, Thomas and Elizabeth. Mr. Sowerby was a civil engineer in England; owns 160 acres of land on sec. 4 and is a member of the Grange. P.O., Rockford.

James Thomas was born in Northumberland Co., PA, Jan. 1, 1814; is the son of William and Susan (Little) Thomas, natives of

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Pennsylvania, of French and Welsh descent. His grandfather Thomas came to America with Lafayette; Mathias Little, grandsire on the mother's side was also a Revolutionary patriot. Mr. Thomas' mother died when he was four years old and he was bound to Joseph R. Priestly. Their affairs were managed by the outside jury - the neighbors - and Mr. Thomas lived to regret the severing of his relations with his real friend, Mr. Priestly. He learned the blacksmith's trade and after six months went home and went to work on the canal; was taken sick, and after recovery went to boating, working hard and saving nothing, going to school in the winter and doing chores to pay his way. In 1834 he came to Michigan and in 1841 settled on Sec. 20, southwest 80 acres, and in 1865 sold out to his son and bought a blacksmith shop. He was the fifth settler in the tp., and his experienced with the Indians and pioneer life rank with the 'oft told tale'. He was married in February, 1832 to Elizabeth Miller. They had five sons and four daughters; two children are deceased. Four sons enlisted in Co. H, 21st Reg. MVI; son John was Sergeant. Mr. And Mrs. Thomas are members of the M.E. Church. Mrs. Thomas was born July 23, 1810 and died May 31, 1880.

Stephen L. Tuttle was born Aug. 19, 1818, in Vermont; is a son of Solomon and Mary (Day) Tuttle. About the year 1821 they moved to Genesee Co., N.Y., and in 1826 to Canada. In 1834 they settled in Macomb Co., Mich., where the elder Tuttle died, and his widow went to Wisconsin and there died. Mr. Tuttle was bred to the occupation of marble cutter, at which he worked until the age of 28, when he engaged in farming. He was married in 1846 to Hannah Tuttle, a native of New York, who died a few months after marriage, and in 1847 he was again married, to Ann Brabb, a native of Yorkshire, England. They have three children - Martha E. Geo. L. and Mary J. In 1851 they moved to Cannon and settled on 160 acres on sec. 6. Sept. 4, 1875, Mrs. Tuttle died, and Mr. Tuttle was married again March 5, 1877, to Elizabeth T. Angel, daughter of John Rogers, born in New York. They have one child - Frank B. Mr. and Mrs. Tuttle are members of the Methodist Church. P.O., Rockford.

Wm. C. Young was born Sept. 1, 1821, at Little Britain, Orange Co., N.Y.; is a son of Johnston and Margaret (Berkely) Young. His father was a native of Ireland; his mother was born in New York, of Scotch parentage. At the age of 21 Mr. Young received about $1,700, and prospected nearly two years in the South and West of the U.S., searching for a spot to locate that exactly pleased him. Much seeking and much territory of varied attractions only confused his preconceived ideas, and at last, in June, 1844, he invested his money in a large tract of Government land in Cannon, and pitched his tent. He is probably the wealthiest farmer in Kent county. His taxes in 1880 were upward of $250. His whole course through life has been one long series of successes, and withal he is an unassuming, unostentatious country gentleman,

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old-fashioned enough to be a Christian in the real sense of the character; liberal to all religious and charitable projects; relied on and trusted; his "word a bond, and his honesty without reproach." He is Director and Trustee of the First National Bank of Greenville; has been well known financially in Kent county for years; has been a money-loaner, and trusted many a man in necessity, and found comparatively little ingratitude among his debtors. In the whole course of his business life he has foreclosed but two mortgages, and never sued a man. He hired a man named Peter Deglapper as his substitute in the war of the Rebellion. Mr. D. enlisted in a Michigan regiment for three years; was with Sherman on the "march to the sea," and left his bounty money, $700, in Mr. Young's hands until his return. Mr. Y., is a Republican and has served his tp. in various official positions; has been Trustee of the Church 27 years, also Treasurer. He located land in six places, including 480 acres; now owns 370 acres of magnificent land, with marvelous improvements. His house is located in the "most beautiful spot in the world," and his surroundings are faultless. He was married in 1850 to Maria J. Arnott, born in New York, of Scotch descent. They have two sons- David and and Willis, both living at home. David is married to Nellie Church.