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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published by John M. Gresham & Co. in 1891.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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REV. CHALON BURGESS, pastor of the Presbyterian church of Silver Creek, is a son of Dr. Jacob and Mary (Tyler) Burgess, and was born at Silver Creek, in the town of Hanover, Chautauqua county, New York, June 24, 1817. The Burgess family of America, trace their lineage through Thomas Burgess, who was one of the Pilgrim fathers, who came over in 1630 and settled at Sandwich or Cape Cod. One of his descendants was Dr. Jacob Burgess, who was a native of Lanesboro, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, where he read medicine, and from which county he came to Silver Creek, in 1811. He was the first physician of Silver Creek and his field of practice was not confined within the limits of the county, while in many instances he had no road and travelled through the woods by blazed trees. He also practiced among the Indians and after forty years of continuous practice, died at Silver Creek, April 15, 1855, aged eighty years. He was a liberal democrat and a well informed man, who kept acquainted with all scientific matters and pursuits.

Chalon Burgess received his early education in the common schools of Silver Creek, after which he attended Fredonia academy and then entered Hamilton college, from which he was graduated in 1844. After graduation, he was employed for nine months in teaching one of the public schools of Buffalo, New York, and at the end of that time became principal of the schools of Nunda, in Livingston county, which position he held for eighteen months. He then entered the Theological seminary of Auburn, New York, from which he was graduated in 1849 and immediately commenced his ministerial labors. On account of ill health he declined some important work offered him and assumed charge of the Congregational church at Little Valley, Cattaraugus county, where his ministry extended over a period of eleven years. From Little Valley he was called to the Presbyterian church of Panama, over which his pastorate extended for fifteen years, lacking three months. While there he also had charge of the Congregational church of Ashville for five years. In November, 1875, he became pastor of the Presbyterian church of Silver Creek, with which he has faithfully labored ever since until his recent resignation. May 1, 1891. During his efficient pastorate the church has increased from a membership of one hundred and forty-four to two hundred and thirty-seven.

June 2, 1853, Rev. Mr. Burgess married Emma J., daughter of Rev. Charles Johnston, of Ovid, Seneca county, New York. They had three children: Edward S., professor of Botany and Natural Sciences in the Washington City high school; Theodore C., professor of Greek and Latin in Fredonia Normal school; and Sarah Julia, now attending Wellesley college.

Rev. Chalon Burgess is a logical and pleasing speaker, a courteous gentleman and a decided prohibitionist in political opinion. He is the author of several published sermons, one of which was delivered on the death of Abraham Lincoln and told with power and pathos the story of the martyr, whose achievements and tragic death have made a figure, the like of which has never been equaled in history.

From the New York Evangelist we quote; “Buffalo Presbytery has furnished two striking exceptions to the proverb ‘A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country and in his own house.’ The exceptions are the late Rev. Dr. Grosvenor W. Heacock, who, born and reared in Buffalo, became one of the most honored and beloved ministers the city ever had, and the Rev. Chalon Burgess, who, born and reared in Silver Creek, has just closed in that village a most useful and honorable pastorate.”

From the local paper: “After forty years of service in the Lord’s vineyard, he seeks retirement in a community which honors and respects him as a profound scholar, a keen thinker, an upright Christian, a citizen of whom all are proud.”

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This family biography is one of 658 biographies included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published in 1891. 

View additional Chautauqua County, New York family biographies here: Chautauqua County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Chautauqua County, New York here: Chautauqua County, New York Map

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