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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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GEORGE BILSBORROW, a skillful mechanic, successful merchant and retired farmer, is the son of James and Catherine (Davis) Bilsborrow, who were of English and Welsh descent, respectively. He was born in Oneida county, New York, February 6, 1832, came to Chautauqua county in 1870 and has since made it his home. James Bilsborrow was born in England in 1793, and came to America in 1822. He located in New York city and remained there eight years. In 1830 he moved to Oneida county, this State, and engaged in farming until 1869, when he came to the town of Westfield, and lived, until he died in 1878, having discontinued active business some years before. His wife was Catherine Davis, who was born in Wales and came to this country while young. She died in 1853, and had borne her husband several children, all of whom he gave a pecuniary start in life. Mr. Bilsborrow was a Jacksonian democrat, and his word once given he kept inviolate.

George Bilsborrow spent fifteen years of his life on the farm and at school, and then learned the carpenter and joiners’ trade, which he has followed more or less ever since. In 1857 he went to Grant, Herkimer county, and engaged in contracting, building and operating a saw-mill, employing at times a force of twenty-five men. He remained there thirteen years, and for eight years of that time conducted a general store in connection with his other business. This proved profitable and Mr. Bilsborrow made money, but the place was not all that one could desire, and in 1870 he removed with his family, and bought a farm in the town of Westfield, where they remained until the spring of 1891 when he sold the farm, moved into the village and has retired from active business life. While farming he gave a portion of his attention to a vineyard, twenty acres in extent, which was very productive.

In 1859 Mr. Bilsborrow married Mary Rich, a daughter of Henry Rich, living in Herkimer county, They have had one daughter, Sarah.

He is a disciple of Jeffersonian principles and an enthusiastic admirer of ex-President Cleveland and supported him for the nomination for governor, when his obscurity was relieved only by the political honors of a well-filled sheriff’s office and mayor’s chair. Mr. Bilsborrow is now filling his sixth term as town assessor, and, simultaneously, is excise commissioner. His personal popularity is shown in the fact that, although the Republican party has a large majority in his town, he has never been defeated in his candidacy. George Bilsborrow although of strong will power is of a modest and unassuming disposition. The competency, which his industry and good management has accumulated, is not used for vain display or vulgar show, but, instead, is used with taste and common sense. He is a courteous gentleman who pleasantly entertains those with whom he comes in contact in business or social life.

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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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