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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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ERASTUS C. BEACH, an honored resident of the village of Cortland, retired in his pursuits and walks in life, and engaged in the culture of the best varieties of small fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, currants, asparagus, etc., was for twelve years during his young manhood a teacher of mathematics at several different educational institutions. He is a man of culture and refinement, and moves in the best and most select circles. Work is to him no bugbear, whether it be manual or mental, and nothing is to him more pleasant than to be out working among his plants and flowers. Mr. Beach was born in the town of Barker, Broome County, this state, July 24, 1834, and is a son of Charles Brewster Beach, and a grandson of Isaac Beach.

Our subject traces his ancestry to John Beach, ye Pilgrim, who became a resident of New Haven, Conn., in 1648. The date and locality of his birth is unknown. In the direct line to the subject of this biographical notice is Isaac Beach, the eighth child of John, born June 27, 1669. The eldest child of Isaac Beach, William, was born July 7, 1694, and the fourth child of the latter, Abijah Beach by name, was baptized May 13, 1734. Isaac Beach, the son of Abijah and grandfather of our subject, was born in 1760, and departed this life in 1842. Isaac Beach, who was a silversmith by trade, late in life retired to the town of Barker, Broome County, where his son, Charles Brewster Beach, lived a considerable portion of his life.

Charles Brewster Beach, the third child in his father’s family, was born May 25, 1794, and died June 3, 1853; he was a tanner and currier in his early home in the State of Massachusetts. When he came to Broome County, N. Y., he fixed his home at Adams Settlement, where his death occurred when he was aged fifty-nine years. His wife, Fanny Mansir, was a daughter of Aaron Mansir, who came from Connecticut and made a pioneer settlement in Broome County, owning some 200 acres, where A. W. Beach now resides. The children that made up the parental family were: Susan; Frances; John M.; Henry W.; Mary; Erastus Chittenden, our subject; Abel W.; Frederick; William ; Isaac B.; and Charles J. Charles B. Beach was a member of the Methodist church. In his politics he was an uncompromising Democrat, and performed his duty as a citizen of a free republic by serving his townsmen as town clerk, and as commissioner of highways.

From the district schools, our subject advanced still further in the securing of an education, and fitted for college at Binghamton Academy and Susquehanna Seminary, and finally graduated from Yale College in the class of 1860. Adopting the profession of a teacher, he taught mathematics at West Chester, Pa.; Cooperstown, N. Y.; Albion, Wis.; Cortlandville Academy, N. Y.; Plainfield, N. J.; Hanover, Pa.; and Ripon College, Wis.; in all, his connection with the schools embraced a period of twelve years. He then went into the drug business at Buffalo, N. Y., where he remained three years, going from that city to New Port, Pa., where he ran a drug store for nine years. In 1885 he sold his interests in the drug business, and removed to Cortland, settling on the Martin Merrick place, and engaging, as before stated, in gardening.

Mr. Beach married Mary C. Merrick, daughter of Martin and Margaret (Keep) Merrick. Our subject’s father-in-law was a clothier and a dresser of cloths. When he retired from active life in 1838, he sold his business to Horace Dibble, and purchased the Cook farm, on which he made many improvements. In 1887 his daughters erected a beautiful residence on the property. His wife was the daughter of Gen. Martin Keep, a pioneer of Homer, N. Y. Mr. and Mrs. Merrick were the parents of four children: Caroline H.; Henry C.; Frances A.; and Mary C. Henry C. Merrick was for many years city engineer of Binghamton, N. Y. Caroline H. and Frances A. Merrick both were deeply interested in beneficence, and served as nurses during the Civil War of 1861-65. Mrs. Beach is the only survivor of the family.

Mr. Beach’s only son, Harry Merrick Beach, died in 1881 at the early age of twenty-two years, when in the very bloom of a promising manhood; he was at the time a member of the Senior Class of Cornell University. Mr. Beach is a Republican, and has held a number of the minor offices of the town, for he believes thoroughly in every man doing that which is required of him. He works to conserve the best moral interests of the community, and few men are more highly regarded in this section than he.

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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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