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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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JOHN W. DAWSON was an esteemed Christian gentleman, who lived in the town of Ripley, this county, until his death, which occurred August 8, 1890. He was the son of Thomas and Hannah (Connelly) Dawson and was born in Venango county, Pa., September 14, 1817.

His grandfather, James Dawson, was a native of Ireland, but emigrated to America and settled in Venango county, Penna., where he followed farming until his death. He was a consistent member of the Methodist church and married Elizabeth Armstrong, by whom he had a family of three sons and four daughters. Thomas Dawson, the father of our subject, was born in Ireland and had not yet reached his fifth year when his father came to America. He worked upon the farm, and having reached manhood married Hannah Connelly, who bore him thirteen children, six sons and seven daughters.

John W. Dawson was reared in the “Keystone State,” where he learned how to farm and secured his education in the common schools. In 1865 he came to Chautauqua county, and settled in the town of Ripley, where he secured him a farm and spent the remainder of his life.

He belonged to the Republican party and was a devout member of the Presbyterian church, in the affairs of which he took a leading part and served as one of its trustees.

On the 17th day of February, 1841, he united in marriage with Emeline Ross, a daughter of Perrin Ross, who was one of the first settlers of Erie county, Penna. His father was a renowned Revolutionary officer and was killed at the massacre of Wyoming, where Butler and his hordes of blood-thirsty savages, after defeating the handful of able-bodied defenders at Forty Fort, pursued the fleeing defenceless women and children, and killed and scalped them without mercy, Mrs. Dawson’s grandmother fled to the woods with her four children where she remained concealed for four days, until Butler and his army had withdrawn from the country. When Perrin Ross came to Erie county, he settled at Colt’s Station, near the present town of North East, and remained there nearly all his life engaged in agricultural pursuits. He married Hannah Utley and reared a family of six sons and six daughters: of these but two sons and two daughters are yet living; one of the former, Sterling A. Ross, served in the late civil war, and is now living at Jackson, Kansas. By his marriage with Emeline Ross Mr. Dawson had the following family: William R., who married Livonia Richardson, and lives at Tidioute, Penna., a merchant, a real estate dealer, oil producer and a general business man. They have had three children: Josephine G.; Bessie, died at the age of six, and Mary R. He entered the civil war in August, 1862, joining Co. H, 121st regiment, Penna. Volunteers, and served until July, 1865. He was wounded at Gettysburg and was taken prisoner, but soon thereafter was exchanged and then entered the provost marshal’s office at Pittsburg; Olive E., married Rev. Frederick Fair, a Methodist Episcopal minister located in the town of Sheridan, Chautauqua county. They have two children, Hurlburt D. and Arthur R.; Elizabeth J., is the wife of John C. Sterling, and lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where her husband is engaged in the real estate business. Their children are Thayer D., Ruth, John and Faith; and Henry T., who married Lulu Smith, and lives at Newark, New Jersey. He is connected with the University Publishing Company, New York, is a graduate of Syracuse University, and has two children: Eva A. and John W.

John W. Dawson was a public-spirited, generous, open-hearted man, and the last years of his life were spent in grape-growing and light farming; he died a Christian.

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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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