My Genealogy Hound

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.

* * * *

CORWIN BURGESS, who efficiently represents the D., L. & W. R. R. in the capacity of station agent at Marathon, Cortland County, N. Y., is one of the leading citizens of that village. He came into life at Marathon, February 11, 1850. Mr. Burgess is a descendant of a good old Connecticut family. His grandparents, James and Lucy (Barnes) Burgess, came into Cortland County from Litchfield County, Conn., in 1817. The grandfather was a man of great resources, and a skilled worker in wood, being especially proficient as a carpenter and joiner, and in the art of making wagons. When he came into Central New York, the region was to the people of “yankee land” the far West. To the hardy pioneers a man of Mr. Burgess’ attainments was exceedingly valuable, and he found plentiful and remunerative employment all the days of his life in the lines with which he was so familiar. As an extremely careful and reliable workman, he enjoyed a wide reputation. Among the followers of his trade he was the first in this section to use the “square rule,” all of the other carpenters clinging to the old-fashioned “scribe rule.” He died in 1848. A coincidence that is worthy of mention happened in his life. The pastor, who officiated at his marriage with Miss Lucy Barnes, was the father of that renowned preacher, Henry Ward Beecher. On April 4, 1813, two babes were born in the village of Litchfield, Conn. One was to the pastor, the other to Mr. Burgess. The first grew to manhood, and became the noted divine; the other was Moreau D. Burgess, father of the subject of this history.

Moreau D. Burgess was four years of age when his father came to Marathon, and this village has been his home ever since. He naturally learned carpentry and wood-working from his father, and later learned to be a skillful millwright. These occupations he pursued all his active days. He was originally a Whig; later on, he became convinced that the principles of Thomas Jefferson were more nearly right, and so became a Democrat of that school. He was always a hard-working and a prosperous gentleman. Possessing a great fund of information and sterling good sense, his influence was ever felt in many ways. His wife was a Miss Jane Church, whose father, William Church, was one of the old respected citizens of Marathon. Mr. Burgess and his wife were the parents of two children: Duane, a prosperous and popular cattle-dealer of Marathon, whose sketch is contained elsewhere in this volume; and Corwin, the subject of this sketch.

Corwin Burgess spent his boyhood days in the schools of Marathon. On the 5th of July, at the age of twenty, he became an employee of the S. B. & N. Y. R. R., taking a place as helper in the depot. Step by step, he worked his way upward, becoming perfectly familiar with the many intricate details of the office, and of the railway business, until today he is the trusted agent for the Lackawanna line, which controls the S. B. & N. Y. R. R. He also has charge of their coal interests at Marathon; is agent for the U. S. Express Co.; and manager of the local Western Union Telegraph office. He has followed out the principles of his father in politics, and is a pronounced Jeffersonian Democrat. He ably served as postmaster at Marathon, during President Cleveland’s first term, and he is one of the stanchest and most powerful men of his party in this section. It was through his efforts that the post-office was advanced from the fourth class to a “presidential ” office. Mr. Burgess is a prominent and active member of the Masonic Order, and is a strong factor in the social life of Marathon. He wedded Hattie A. Rogers, a daughter of Moses Rogers, but no children have been born to them.

For a man, whose life has been as busy as his, Mr. Burgess has done much out of his regular duties. It is a matter of general knowledge that in his official capacities he has ever been all that the public could desire. By the corporations, which he represents, he is trusted implicitly. To the general public, who have business to transact, he is courteous and obliging. On the social side of his nature, he possesses all those attributes which make and hold the friendship of all who come within their range.

* * * *

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

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.