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Below is a family biography included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1898.  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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CHARLES L. BALLOU, who is highly esteemed as one of Cortland County’s most enterprising and thrifty farmers, with a long and promising future before him, is engaged in carrying on agricultural operations in the town of Virgil. He was born in the town of Lapeer, this county, June 27, 1864, and is a son of Orsamus Ballou, grandson of Silas Ballou, and great-grandson of David Ballou, the latter a brother of Hosea Ballou, the founder of Universalism, and one who will ever be remembered as one of the most noted ministers of this continent.

David Ballou was a farmer by occupation, and spent his years in his native state of Vermont, where his son Silas was born. The latter was reared in the shadow of the green mountains, and in 1812, when he had grown to manhood, determined to strike out for himself, and accordingly moved into Central New York. After a short stop in the town of Otisco, Onondaga County, where he lost his claims, he came to Cortland County and settled in the town of Virgil, clearing a farm where Mr. Hall now lives. The residence of Mr. Hall was built by Silas Ballou, and there his death took place when he was aged seventy-five years. His wife, who was Polly Shumway, attained the age of eighty-seven years. Their children were: Orsamus; Clarissa; Asa A.; Polly; and Myron.

It was soon after Silas Ballou and his wife settled in the town of Virgil, that our subject’s father was born, the date of his birth being July 17, 1817. Orsamus Ballou settled first at Hunt’s Corners, where he bought a farm and engaged in cultivating it; this property he sold in 1866, and purchased a farm at Dryden, where he carried on farming for the remainder of his life, his career being terminated by typhoid fever on November 28, 1864. He married Mary Sholes, daughter of Stephen and Sally (Tiffany) Sholes; she was born October 24, 1822, and survived her husband, and is now making her residence with her son, Charles L., the subject of this biographical notice. The children in the parental family were as follows: Martha E., who married F. Goodspeed; Edwin, who died when an infant; Stephen S., who was called home in childhood; James L. of Virgil township; Arthur, who did not grow to maturity; Delphine, who also died in youth; Charles Lewis, our subject; and Sherman Asa, who lives with Charles L.

In 1888 the subject of this sketch bought the John S. Winters farm of 177 acres, and has ever since industriously followed pursuits of an agricultural nature, keeping as many as thirty head of choice Ayrshire cattle at one time. He has enlarged and remodeled his buildings, built large silos, and in a score of ways improved his property, and added to the convenience in handling his products.

Mr. Ballou married Miss Julia A. Winters, daughter of John S. Winters. John S. Winters was born April 10, 1831, and died October 10, 1885; he was a son of Ambrose Winters. He settled on the farm where our subject is now, and followed farming in an intelligent fashion, building barns and a comfortable dwelling-house, and setting out orchards of selected fruit. He married Julia Alvira Woodard, who was born May 24, 1835, and died August 28, 1865, leaving two children: Ida May, who married F. Hopkins, and Julia A., who became Mrs. Ballou. John S. Winters was married the second time to Harriet R. Homer, and had two children, Clayton J. and Edmond H. To our subject and wife have been given the following children: Flossie M., who was born August 26, 1886; Oria, August 14, 1888; Flora, February 11, 1891; Arthur, January 15, 1894; and Edna, April 4, 1897. All the above children have been spared to their fond parents. Mr. Ballou regards his duties to the institutions of town, county, state and nation in no light manner, and is ever to be found with the best citizens, advocating those measures that he thinks will prove the best for the public good, and rejecting with scorn such as emanate from base and unworthy motives. He is a sterling young man of good habits and untarnished character, and is in every way a credit to the town of which he is a worthy citizen. At elections he is to be found among the Republicans of the stanchest type, exercising his franchise in the untrammeled way that is or should be the right of every American citizen.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published in 1898. 

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

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

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