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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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SMITH H. BROWNELL, of Ellery town, is a son of Peter R. and Rhoda (Putnam) Brownell, and was born in the town where he now resides, June 4, 1835. The paternal grandparents were Joshua and Elizabeth (Reasoner) Brownell. Joshua Brownell was a native of the Empire State and was born on Long Island, near New York city, and arose to a position of prominence. About 1812 he moved to and settled near Elmira, this State, and engaged in cattle dealing, buying and shipping large numbers to the New York and Philadelphia markets. Politically he was a whig and devoted admirer of DeWitt Clinton, whom he ardently supported when he was a candidate for governor. His wife, Elizabeth Reasoner, bore him nine children and he died in Chemung county in 1822. Peter R. Brownell was born in Dutchess county April 20, 1806, and came to Chautauqua county during his youth. He began life as a farm laborer, working by the month, until twenty-eight years of age, when he bought a farm in the town of Ellery, which he lived upon for thirty-six years. In 1870 he moved into Jamestown, and, being wealthy, he has retired from business and is quietly enjoying his declining years. He married Rhoda Putnam, who bore him three children, of whom our subject is the eldest; Mary Ann and Bessie M. For a second wife he married Mrs. Mary Van Dusen. Politically he is a republican and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Smith H. Brownell spent the first seventeen years of his life on his father’s farm and then engaged in the mercantile business in the town of Ellery, continuing it with fair success for ten years, but ill health compelled him to abandon the confining duties of the store and he returned to the farm, upon which he has since lived, nearly thirty years. His residence is beautifully situated on the shore of Lake Chautauqua, and is admirably adapted to keeping summer boarders. During the season his house was filled with pleasure and health-seekers, they being attracted thither by the superior accommodations and home-like comforts found there. Many expressions of regret were heard when Mr. Brownell decided last season to discontinue the business. His farm consists of one hundred and ninety-seven acres kept in a high state of fertility.

On the 4th of June, 1858, he married Mary A. Strong, a daughter of Siley Strong, of Ellery; she became the mother of three children — two sons, George W., born July 4, 1859, and Perry R., born August 8, 1871; and one daughter — Adeline S., born July 29, 1862. Mrs. Brownell died November 8, 1883, aged forty-three years. George W. Brownell married Jennie Norton, of Bemus Point, February 6, 1885, and is now located in Dakota; Adeline S. is the wife of Charles C. Aniler, and resides in the same State; Perry R. is unmarried and lives at home. For his second wife Mr. Brownell took Minerva Dunn, a daughter of Daniel Dunn, of Sugar Grove, Pa., whom he married November 20, 1884.

Politically he is a republican and takes an active interest in party matters. He is now holding the office of justice of the peace for the town of Ellery, having first been elected to fill an unexpired term, but in the spring of 1891 he was re-elected. Smith H. Brownell is of a modest, retiring disposition, but possesses an open frank character that makes friends. He is a member of Bemus Point Lodge, No. 585, I. O. O. F., and belongs to the Grange Association. While not a member of any religious denomination he attends and contributes liberally to the Methodist Episcopal church and is looked upon as one of its warm friends.

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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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