BIOGRAPHIES AND FAMILY SKETCHES

for the

TOWN OF LE RAY

from The Growth of a Century

by JOHN A. HADDOCK, 1895


These biographies and family sketches are copied exactly as found. Undoubtedly there will be minor variations found in later research.


Fred E. Croissant, the supervisor from the town of LeRay, was the son of James and Eleanor (Manigold) Croissant, who came into LeRay in 1828, from the east of France, settling at LeRaysville. Mr. Croissant came to this country under the auspices of Mr. LeRay. Fred E. had the benefit of the common schools at that time, receiving some instruction in the higher schools of Watertown. He was his father's assistant on the farm summers, attending school winters, and when 19 began to teach a district school, which he continued for several winters. In 1872 he became an employe of the R., W. & O. R. R., and was long in their employ. He has been station agent and telegraph operator at Evans Mills. He was elected supervisor of LeRay in 1877, and has served continuously since, being now in his 18th year of service. Mr. Croissant is a very popular man, one who has made friends by being himself friendly. He enjoys the entire confidence of the people of LeRay, as is evidenced by his continuance upon the Board for the length of time never before equalled in Jefferson county. He has been justice of the peace nine years.


CYRUS C. PHELPS. - The village of LeRaysville was once a thriving and prosperous settlement, and through the enterprise and industry of one manufacturer, William Phelps, gave promise of being a considerable town. But when it was left to one side by the railroad, its prosperity waned. For more than a generation, however, the perseverance and energy of Mr. Phelps made it a point of considerable importance in the lumber and furniture business. William Phelps married Eliza Brown, the cousin of Lysander H. Brown, so well known in the county, and related to the Browns of Brownville. The result of this union was three sons and one daughter. The eldest son and daughter died in infancy. The second son was Cyrus C. Phelps, the subject of this sketch, born March 5, 1820, at LeRaysville. After a very thorough education in the village school, he went to Hartford, Conn., to take a college course. His father's business became involved, and young Phelps was called from school to assist in the management of the store; furniture manufacturing and lumbering, being then extensively prosecuted.

Cyrus married Jane, daughter of Benjamin McOmber. They had four children, William E., who was one of the old 35th Regiment boys in the war, and afterwards one of the officers of the noted Poughkeepsie Business College; Eliza, who married Col. D. M. Evans; Benjamin F. and Mary Annette.

Mr. Phelps taught the village school and served as town treasurer and justice of the peace. On the breaking out of the rebellion he enlisted and served in the 186th Regiment N. Y. Vols. At the close of the war removed to Philadelphia, Pa., where he was engaged as an accountant and bookkeeper with one of the largest woolen manufacturers in that city. In 1885 he removed to the West, and died in Minneapolis, Minn., July 7, 1894.

Mr. Phelps was a man of singular equanimity, genial, social, and quiet in his disposition. He was a man of wide reading and great intelligence, but exceedingly diffident, so that only those who were intimately acquainted with him could know of his intellectual ability. His solid character, sterling integrity and faithfulness to duty gained for him the respect and esteem of all who knew him..


SIMEON DEXTER came to Black River from Orange, Mass., soon after his brother David, and engaged with him in the manufacture of chairs. He later went to Watertown and became one of the firm of Dexter & Herrick. Soon after, on account of his health, he retired to his farm near Black River, since which time he has never been actively engaged in any business, but has an interest in the H. C. Dexter Chair Company. Simeon married Marie Hardy, of Sandford, Conn., and they had three children, who reached maturity: Henry, Charles and Fanny--the last two are deceased, and Henry conducts the business. Edward M. Dexter, bookkeeper, is the only representative of his father's (Samuel's) family, he having come from the East in 1885.

The Dexter family are of English descent and have been long known in connection with the industries of Black River..


DAVID DEXTER, the originator of the oldest manufactory in the village of Black River, came to that place from Athol, Mass., in 1839, and commenced the manufacture of chairs and rockers. He made that place his residence until his death, at the age of 82. His children are: Daniel B., who died at the age of 10; Everette, who died at Black River in March, 1893, aged 56; and David E., who is sole surviving child, and now conducts the business. David E. married Mary D. Pierce, daughter of Mr. E. O. Pierce, of Black River. The chair factory was burned in 1865, but rebuilt, and at the present time gives employment to from 75 to 100 hands. It is now, and has been for many years, the leading industry at Black River..


E. O. HUNGERFORD, a Merchant at Evans Mills for many years, was the son of a unique and popular and much respected citizen, Mr. Edwin Hungerford, who was one of the early settlers, though not the earliest. He died in 1891, in his 82d year a character well appreciated and greatly missed. His first wife was Miss Farrell. Their children were Mrs. Mary Barney, Mrs. Sarah Briant and Elbert Hungerford. By his second wife, Miss Laurie M. Haskins, who died in 1863, aged 45 years, they had born to them: E. O. Hungerford, Mrs. Alice A. Morris, Ella G. Hungerford, Mrs. L. I. Clifford and Arthur E. Hungerford. It will thus be seen that Edwin left a numerous progeny. .


One of his sons, E. O. Hungerford, was born in LeRay, and has followed the business of a merchant until he is known to all the people of the town. Naturally, his trade is mostly with the farmers. He married Miss Anna M. Cook, in 1872. He is now 53 years of age, vigorous in mind and body, and has been in business since 1864. By trade he is a tinsmith, and that branch has developed into his present business of hardware, stoves, tin-ware and agricultural implements. He has been sucessful..


ADOLPHUS M. COOK, one of the oldest merchants in Evans Mills, was born in Albany, N. Y. After a long and successful business life as a merchant, he died in Evans Mills August 11, 1889. He was married to Miss Malissa A. Smith, who was born in Evans Mills, March 7, 1825. They reared nine children. Mr. Cook commenced his merchantile business in Evans Mills in October, 1847. He left a name for business integrity and commercial rating scarcely second to any in the county. Two of his sons, Adolphus W. and Charles R., succeeded to their father's business, commencing in September, 1889. They have proved themselves successful and enterprising business men..


ALVA SCOFIELD came from Saratoga county, where he was born at an early date. He was a veteran of the War of 1812, having been at the battle of Sackets Harbor and assisted in drawing the timber for the old ship. He married Hannah, daughter of William Burdick, of Dutchess county, and seven children were born to them, six of whom survived. Amos, their son, is a resident of Black River, where he has held minor offices in the town. He is 66 years of age. He married Mary Beardsley, of Oneida county, and their only son, Myron, is foreman of the Black River Bending works. Myron married Miss Nettie Morrison..


EPHRIHAM J. PIERCE has been a resident of Black River 55 years. He was born in Vermont in 1821. He married Euphemie, daughter of Elias Woodward, of Rutland. Two children were the result of their union, Mary D., wife of David E. Dexter, of Black River; and Carrie, wife of Williard A. Gray. Mr. Pierce has been a carpenter. He enlisted in 1862, and served as a private and artificer in the 10th New York Heavy Artillery, and was discharged in April, 1864. He is a member of the Baptist Church..


JAMES COREY was born on a farm on road 103, where he now resides. He acquired a good common school education, and worked on the farm for his father until he attained his majority. He carried on the farm with his father until the latter's death in 1880. He married, in 1860, Lizzie, daughter of John Layng, and they have had three sons, viz: Sidney, Charles and Peleg, all of whom reside with their parents in this town..


WILLARD BACON attended the common schools and worked on his father's farm until he was 21 years. old. He then leased the farm for a term of years. He has been twice married first, to Nancy Watts, of Orleans, by whom he had one son, Clinton. For his second wife he married Mrs. Jane Watts, of Herkimer county, who had one son Wellington, by her first husband. They have a daughter, Ida C., and reside near the old homestead..


PHILIP A. JABAS remained at home until he attained the age of 28 years, when he married Mary A. daughter of John Smith, of Watertown, in 1879, and they have two children, Agnes L. and Edith E. Mrs. Philip A. Jabas's father was born in Halifax, N. S., in 1810, and her mother in Coldingham, Scotland, in 1811. They were married in New York city in 1836, and had lived together 50 years..


BENJAMIN S. PORTER, at the age of 18 years, married Harriet, daughter of Aaron Poor, of Black River village, and they had one son and two daughters: Francis, Carrie and Jennie. Mrs. Porter died in 1868, and in 1872 Benjamin S. married his second wife, Angeline, daughter of Joseph Ford. They are living on the homestead on road 103, which Mr. Porter purchased when he was 19 years old..


JOHN M. HAAP immigrated from Wurtemburg, Germany, in 1831, and located in this town on road 31. In 1832 he married Dorothy Haap, who came with him from Germany in 1831. In 1836 they bought the farm on road 34, now owned by their son, Frederick. They had born to them four sons and two daughters..


WILLIAM H. REESE resided at home until he was 14 years of age, attending school winters, which he did for three years, giving all his earnings to his parents. Soon after this occurred the death of his father, when he was obliged to return home and take charge of the farm, assisting his mother in the care of the family. He was much given to traffic, and his mother's chief anxiety was was lest he would trade off everything she had. But he was a successful trader, and succeeded in securing for his mother a good home. In 1864, at the age of 20 years, he married Maria, daughter of Lawrence L. Timmerman, of Pamelia, and they commenced their wedded life with the extensive capital of 20 cents. With this he started out in his speculative career, and for three years was a farmer and dealer in cattle, sheep and horses. At the end of this time he leased his farms and removed to Evans Mills, where he became a general dealer, and in 1888, at the age of 45 years, owned 540 acres of land, with a beautiful new residence in the village. Mr. and Mrs. Reese have one daughter, Eva M, who was born May 14, 1866, and has been educated in the schools of her native town, and at the Ives Seminary at Antwerp..


LAWRENCE SCOTT was born at Little Falls, Herkimer county, in 1811, where he married, in 1835, Betsey Frank, who was born in France. They located in this county in 1842. Mr. Scott died in 1892. Of their six children, Nelson R. was born in Herkimer county in 1840. In 1862 he enlisted with the Union army and served three years. In 1866 he married Helen Lyon, by whom he has one son, Melvin L., who lives at home with his parents. Mr. Scott is a farmer on road 39..


MILTON W. DOXTATER was the son of Jacob and Catharine Doxtater, and he resides upon the homestead settled by his father..


GEORGE A.FISK was born in Randoph, Vt., in 1841, and was a resident of that State until 1861, when he removed to Albany, and enlisted in Company G, 22d N. Y. Vols., in the first call for 75,000 men, and served two years. He re-enlisted in Company A, 2d N. Y. Veteran Cavalry, at Saratoga Springs. He was in 12 general engagements during his first term of service, and escaped without a wound. During his cavalry service he was wounded twice. At the close of the war he visited his old home in Vermont, and shortly after removed to this county finally locating in LeRay. In 1870 he married Caroline, daughter of Curtis W. Cory, of this town, and they have two children, George M. and Lottie C..


A. W. HADSALL, son of Solomon, was born in the town of Champion, January 14, 1835. He married Louisa, daughter of Asahel and Caroline Sheldon, and located on the old homestead, which he occupied until 1880, when he removed to Alexandria Bay and ran the St. Lawrence Hotel for two years, when he located in Black River village, in the town of LeRay, where he is now a justice of the peace. He was supervisor of the town of Champion in 1870-71, has been one of the board of trade since the organization of that body, was railroad commissioner for Champion from 1871 till 1880, and has been assessor of LeRay since 1886..


PHILIP HELMER was born in the town of Fairfield, Herkimer county, N. Y., August 21, 1825. At the age of 13 he moved with his parents to LeRay, where he was married in 1847 to Betsey C., daughter of Peter Hoover. Their union was blessed with one son, Albert E., born December 18, 1860, near Evans Mills, to which village he removed with his parents when 11 years old, and there he has since resided. He attended the public schools until 16 years of age. He then engaged as clerk for Wesley Rulison, serving in that capacity one year He again entered school, and attended until April 3, 1881, when he engaged with J P. Steinhilber, with whom he remined four years, when he bought the entire stock of general merchandise from his employer, and engaged in business for himself. On the 30th of September 1890, he married Frances A., youngest daughter of Leonard L. and Susan (Martin) Peck, of Evans' Mills, and they have one daughter, Gertrude Mildred, born December 19, 1892. Their second child, Albert E., died November 22, 1894, aged nearly seven months. Mr. A. E. Helmer was town clerk of the town of LeRay for 10 years; was his party's candidate for Member of Assembly for the county of Jefferson in 1892; is a member of the Jeffersonian Club in Watertown, and was for a number of years a vice-president of that organization; was a delegate to the State Convention in 1888, which nominated D. B. Hill for Governor. On the 22d of June, 1893, he was appointed postmaster at Evans Mills, which position he now holds. Mr. Helmer is largely interested in farming and dairying, and in the manufacture of cheese; is one of the proprietors of the Sunny Side Cheese Factory, one of the best factories in the county. He is in all respects a wholesome man, whom it is a pleasure to know..


PHILIP HELMER, father of Albert E, died April 7, 1887. His wife still survives him and lives with her son in Evans Mills. Mr. Helmer's great-grandfather emigrated to this country from Holland, and settled in Herkimer county. His maternal great-grandmother was a native of Switzerland..


J. P. STEINHILBER is the son of Bernard and Mary Steinhilber, who emigrated to America about the year 1835. His father was a native of Wertenberg, and his mother a native of Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. They came directly to Jefferson county, soon thereafter, locating in the town of LeRay, where they were united in marriage, and lived during the remaider of their lives, which ended in his father's death in September, 1880, at the age of 69 years, and with the death of is mother, in March, 1891, at the age of 80 years. J. P. Steinhilber was born on a farm about one mile southeast of Evans Mills, and remained with his parents during his boyhood, dividing his time in assisting at farm work and in attending the district school. His schooling was limited to one term each year during the winter season, until about 18 years old, when he sought to gain a little additional knowledge in attending other schools for a while, after which he procured a position as clerk in a dry goods store in Watertown, N. Y., and in 1871 returned to Evans Mills and engaged in the mercantile business, associating himself with Wesley Rulison, under the firm name of Rulison & Steinhilber, which they continued for three years, when a mutual dissolution was effected, Mr. Steinhilber continuing the business for a number of years thereafter. Latterly he has been devoting a part of his attention to farm interests, while the greater part of his time and attention have been given to his store, where he is still engaged. Mr. Steinhilber is a very favorable illustration of the merging, in the second generation of foreign blood into the genuine American fibre, in morals, personal integrity, and in patriotic sentiment. He is a wholesome man..


WILLIAM CASSE, father of COLONEL ALFRED J. CASSE, the subject of this sketch, came to this country from France about the year 1835, and settled at Evans Mills. In 1839, he married Marguerite Grappott, the daughter of Augustus Grappott, also a native of France, and a sister of John B. Grappott, a well-known citizen of Cape Vincent. William Casse was a man of much culture, having had a liberal education before coming to this country. Here he taught painting, drawing and languages; and was a teacher for some time in Proctor's Academy at Evans Mills. He was also a tutor in the old French families settled near Evans Mills, including that of Joseph Boyer and the Delafolies. Prominent among his pupils were the late Mrs. Howell Benton and Joseph Boyer, Jr. Mr. Casse contined to reside at Evans Mills until his death in 1887. Of his marriage there were five children born, William P., Alfred J., Augustus, Clara and John B., two of them only surviving. The widow now resides in the old homestead at Evans Mills. The elder Casse was a patriotic citizen, and when the War of the Union broke out he readily consented that those of his sons who were old enough, should enter the military service. William P., enlisted in C Comany, 10th N.Y. Heavy Artillery, under Captain Byron B. Taggart, and served with his regiment until the close of the war, making an excellent record as a soldier, and as mustered out with his regiment, receiving an honorable discharge. Augustus, although only 18 years of age, in the fall of 1864, enlisted in Company G, 20th N. Y. Cavalry. He served until the muster out of his regiment, performing his duty faithfully, but contracted disease while in the service from which he died in 1869. Clara, the only daughter, married Alfred Hemstreet, of Michigan, and died in 1885. John B., continued to reside at the homestead until his death about 1885, having nearly reached his majority..

Colonel Alfred J. Casse, one of the two surviving members of this interesting family, has fully sustained the family's good name and has "Justified the honors he has gained." He enlisted in C Battery, 1st Light Artillery, in the summer of 1861, in those early days of the war when patriotism alone prompted the young men of the country to fight for the preservation of the Union. He patriotically served as a soldier until honorably discharged for disability, his health failing in consequence of exposure in the arduous campaigns of second Bull Run, Antietam and Fredericksburg. He returned to his home the last of February, 1863, and remained there recruiting his health until the summer of 1863, when he entered into the active work of recruiting for the 20th N. Y. Calvalry, raising part of a company, and was mustered into the military service as second lieutenant of Company G. In July following he was promoted to be first lieutenant, and in the following winter was commissioned captain of L Company, and assigned to duty under General R. S. McKingsie as aide-de-camp, and later as ordnance officer; and continued on staff duty from that time until August, 1865, when he was mustered out of the military service, leaving an honorable record.

Captain Casse remaied at home about one year after being mustered out of the military service, and then went to New York and engaged in commercial life with the firm of J. C. Wemple & Co., with which firm he remained until about 1880, when he established the house of Casse, Lackey & Co., manufacturers and importers of window shades and window-shade material. About three years ago he formed a joint stock company, kown as the Pinney, Casse, & Lackey Co., No. 273 Canal and 31 Howard streets, New York city, of which corporation he became vice-president, and is acting in that capacity at the present time. Colonel Casse's business career has been a successful one, due in a large degree to his energy and ability as a business man. During his career he never forgot the training he received in the military service and about 1866 he was commissioned commissary on the brigade staff of General Bradley Winslow, with the rank of Major in the National Guard of the State. About a year later he was appointed to the command of the 35th Regiment, National Guard. He immediately proceeded to re-organize the regiment, reducing the same to a battalion of four companies, and receiving a commission as Lieutenant-Colonel. Under the efficient and soldierly direction of Colonel Casse, the 35th Battalion became an important factor in the National Guard, and was noted for its good discipline and efficiency. During the time the colonel was in command of 35th Battalion, he took an active interest in securing an appropriation by the Legislature for the building of the present armory in the city of Watertown, a structure that is at once an ornament to the city, and of great value to the present organization of the National Guard. Colonel Casse is entitled to much credit for his zeal in this matter. He was noted for his liberality in the maintenance of his command, and especially for organizing and furnishing, from his own means, the instruments for the 35th Battalion band. In 1882, the demands of his business were such that he felt necessitated to resign his commission in the National Guard. His resignation was accepted at headquarers with much reluctance, and he left the service with a record of being a most able and brilliant officer and with the highest encomiums bestowed upon him by his superiors.

The colonel bears his years lightly, and is at the present time active and energetic in the prosecution of business. His career is one that reflects credit upon himself, his family, and upon Jefferson county, where he is well known. He was married in 1882, and has a son nine years old, who is apparently "a chip of the old block," being a military cadet, and inheriting in a large measure the military spirit of his father.

Colonel Casse is a charter member of Lafayette Post No. 140, of the G. A. R. of New York city--a Post that numbers among its members some of the most distinguished soldiers of the country. The photograph accompanying this sketch represents the Colonel in the uniform of the Post, and on his knee is seated his beloved son Jamie, mentioned above.


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