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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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DEXTER D. DORN, now resident of Jamestown, and a member of the Chautauqua county bar, was born in Sugar Grove (now Farmington) township, Warren county, Pennsylvania, September 26, 1849, and is a son of John L. and Harriet M. (Allen) Dorn. His grandfather, Andrew Dorn, was a native of the town of Florida, Montgomery county, New York, removed to Warren county, Pa., in 1841, and about forty years later came to this county, where he afterwards died. He studied for the ministry, but the death of his father and the cares of the family compelled him to abandon his studies and engage in teaching for several years. He served as school commissioner, held various town offices, was a Methodist and democrat, and married Mary Cramer, by whom he had four sons and one daughter. His son, John L. Dorn, the father of Dexter D. Dorn, was born in the town of Florida, N. Y., March 16, 1819, went with his father to Pennsylvania, and in 1870 came to this county, where he has resided ever since. He is a farmer, a Methodist and a prohibitionist. He married Harriet M. Allen, and to them were born two sons and four daughters, two of whom are dead. Mrs. Dorn is a daughter of Jacob Allen, who was a native of Jefferson county, N. Y., but about 1830 became one of the pioneer settlers of Warren county, Pa. He was a man of unusual mechanical inventive genius, carried on coopering extensively and taught vocal music. He was a prominent member and deacon of the Baptist church, and a republican in political principles. He married Olive Tupper, whose mother, well remembered by Dexter D. Dorn, in relating her experience in witnessing the naval engagement on Lake Champlain, near Plattsburg, N. Y., in 1814. The Americans were victorious, and the whole British fleet was surrendered to the American commander, McDonough, died at the advanced age of ninety-eight years. They reared a family of one son and three daughters.

Dexter D. Dorn received his education in the common schools and Jamestown Union school and Collegiate Institute. He received the regent’s certificate in 1867, but was prevented from obtaining a collegiate education by failure of his eyesight, he having to rely wholly upon his own resources. He taught school for a time, then learned the trade of cooper, which he soon abandoned to learn telegraphy. On May 1, 1870, he was appointed night operator at Cambridge, Pa., and on January 1, 1871, was promoted to day operator, and freight, ticket and express agent, which position he held for eighteen years and four months. During this long period of time he was never called in for misconduct or neglect of duty, and never caused an accident or damage to any person or train by carelessness or mistaking orders by telegraph or otherwise, which is a remarkable record considering the time covered, the onerous duties performed, vast amount of property and the hundreds of lives that were daily dependent upon his accuracy and vigilance in moving trains over a great railway. During this time he and his wife completed the course of, and graduated in the pioneer class (1882) of the C. L. S. C., Leaving the railroad, he commenced to read law in Jamestown on September 26, 1887, and after completing his course of reading entered the Albany Law school, from which he was graduated May 23, 1889. On June 6, 1890, he was admitted to the bar, and since then has been engaged successfully in the practice of his profession in Jamestown. He is in principle a democrat, a strong temperance advocate and an active worker in the Methodist church, of which he and his wife are members.

On October 23, 1871, he united in marriage with Emma Brookmire, a woman of rare force of character who had been a successful student and teacher in the Jamestown Union Schools and Collegiate Institute, and served as principal of one of the city schools in 1870. To their union have been born two children: M. Edith, born August 5, 1872, and died March 23, 1889; and Ralph W., who was born June 28, 1877, and has just passed the regent’s examination for the academic department of the Jamestown High School. M. Edith Dorn was a girl of brilliant promise, amiable and kind in disposition, and a fine scholar and musician for one of her age. She was a member of the class of 1890 of the Jamestown High School, was universally loved and regarded, and her early death was deeply deplored by all who knew her.

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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

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