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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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DUANE BURGESS has for several years past made his home at Marathon, and has been extensively engaged in handling, as buyer and seller, various commodities, and in dealing as a buyer and shipper of cattle. He is one of the leading men of his section of the country, and has an experience that has carried him into many lines and into many distant places.

Mr. Burgess was born in Marathon, June 20, 1844. When little more than a school boy he enlisted in Co. K, 157th Reg. N. Y. Vol. Inf., and started off to the war. All through the fearful struggle, he kept his place in the ranks, and did his duty nobly. For over three long years he was never away from his regiment or off duty. He took part in all of the hard service that the 157th Regiment went through, and their battle flag shows Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Hagerstown, Morris Island Siege, Charleston, and many other battles and skirmishes. This period of unbroken service made our subject a veteran in experience, though young in years. He was honorably discharged from the service in 1865, and at once turned his thoughts back into the channels of peace. His first active employment was with the Syracuse & Binghamton R. R., in the capacity of assistant operator. After five years’ steady work in this branch of the railway service, he was placed in charge of a train, and for two years was a freight conductor. Next he became station agent at Whitney’s Point, and there remained two years more. About this time, he determined to follow the stream of pioneers that was filling up the West, and try his fortune in that section. Accordingly, he sent in his resignation, and went to Lincoln, Neb. He staid there for a time, then crossed over into Iowa, where he was for ten years engaged in the stock business. In 1885, Mr. Burgess came back to his old home in Marathon, where he has since been interested in the cattle business, buying, selling and slaughtering. He has also quite a goodly trade in coal.

Mr. Burgess is a son of Moreau D. Burgess, and a grandson of James and Lucy (Barnes) Burgess. The father was born at Litchfield, Conn., April 4, 1813. He was brought when a small child by his parents into Cortland County in 1817, a time when this region was spoken of by New England people as “away out West.” James Burgess, grandfather of our subject, was a carpenter and joiner, and followed that trade all his life. He was among the very first of the skilled mechanics of his craft, who entered the new country, and his abilities proved of great service to the early settlers. He was also an expert wagon-maker, and gave much of his time, when not otherwise employed, to that work. He was the first man in his adopted home to make use of the “square rule,” all the other craftsmen clinging to old methods and using the “scribe rule.” James Burgess departed this life in 1848. It is very interesting to note quite a coincidence in regard to Mr. Burgess. He was married to Miss Lucy Barnes by the father of that eloquent and noted representative of the American pulpit, Henry Ward Beecher. In the same town and on the same day that Henry Ward Beecher was born, a son came to Mr. Burgess and his wife. That son was Moreau D. Burgess, the father of the subject of this sketch.

Moreau D. Burgess has always made his home in the town where his father settled. He learned his father’s trade, and during all his active days has followed the craft, adding later on to his knowledge of wood-working the trade of millwright. He has in his time been a stirring and forceful man in the community. In earlier life he was a Whig, but making a deeper study of economic and political questions, he in 1848 became a Jeffersonian Democrat. His wife was Jane Church, a daughter of William Church, a gentleman whose name is well and favorably known to all the old residents of Marathon. Two sons were born to Mr. Burgess and wife, namely: Duane, of whom this article is written; and Corwin, the well-known station-agent of Marathon, whose biography is found on another page of this work.

Duane Burgess was united in marriage to Luna Oakley, daughter of Gabriel Oakley. One son, Earl W., who is now engrossed with theatrical matters, was born to them. Mr. Burgess is one of the best known and best liked men of Marathon. He is known as a man of sound sense, of sterling uprightness, and of tried ability. He is liked for his pleasant ways, for his ready public spirit, and for his proven devotion to his native place. Whatever of success, that has fallen to his lot, has come as a result of his thorough methods, and it is all well deserved.

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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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