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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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H. WILSON BLASHFIELD is a substantial citizen of Homer township, who is engaged in milling and farming on his estate about one-half mile south of the village of Little York on the Cold Brook Road. His name is known and respected throughout the township in all circles, whether business, social, or political, for he is a man of influence and standing in the community. He is a son of William and Polly (Burke) Blashfield, and was born in the town of Homer, within fifty rods of his present residence, September 10, 1830.

The Blashfield family comes of good New England stock. Our subject’s grandfather and father were both born in the town of Brimfield, Mass. His grandfather, William Blashfield, Sr., lived and died in that place. He was endowed by Nature with a large share of artistic ability, which he took pains to cultivate, with the result that his work in wood-carving was much admired and eagerly sought after. The interior of his home at Brimfield, Mass., which was constructed of heavy oak, was hand carved in various designs, both beautiful and unique in effect. This taste for carving was also the heritage of his son, our subject’s father. Our subject has in his possession a powder-horn, which was very handsomely engraved by his father. On one side is “William Blashfield, March 4, 1780,” and on the other, “Brimfield, Mass.” Our subject’s grandmother on his father’s side, Lois Blashfield, after the death of her husband, came to Homer with a party of Massachusetts people, among whom were these early pioneers of this section: Hosea Sprague, John Bishop, Samuel Sherman, and William Sherman.

Our subject’s father was born July 30, 1790, and was eleven years of age when the family came to Homer. He assisted in clearing the land where the village now stands, and made himself generally useful in helping his mother in the support of the family. He finally located on a farm one-half a mile south of Little York, where he died March 1, 1864, after having been engaged in farming all his life. He was a Whig and later an Abolitionist, following the standard of James G. Burney. As soon as the Republican party was born, he espoused the new cause, and was stanch and faithful to the party of John C. Fremont and Abraham Lincoln until his death. In the early years of the Abolitionist movement, he was very active and outspoken in declaring his stand against slavery in the South, and he stood unfalteringly by his colors. Because of his radical position, he was not a general favorite, but as he had no aspiration for public office, this feeling against him did not annoy him much. In the main, he was quiet and undemonstrative, and liked nothing better than domestic peace and contentment by his own fireside. He was a member of the Congregational Church, and very true to his covenant vows, his connection with the church only ceasing, when he was called to his reward. His wife, the mother of our subject, whom he married, November 12, 1817, was born March 16, 1796, and passed from earth’s scenes in October, 1879. Six children blessed their union, who were as follows: Mary A., born November 5, 1818, who died October 26, 1888, unmarried; Alfleda B., born August 2, 1821, was united in marriage with Gustavus Lyman on May 31, 1848, and died January 21, 1871; Harvey, born January 5, 1823, died June 14, 1823; William A., born January 7, 1826, died October 7, 1851; H. Wilson, the subject of this article; Sarah S., born October 18, 1832, was married March 29, 1865, to Earlman Rodgers, Jr., now deceased, and lives in the West; and Zenas M., who was born July 18, 1836, and who died February 24, 1891. Zenas M. Blashfield was a soldier in the late war, enlisting in the 157th Reg. N. Y. Vol. Inf. He was severely wounded at Chancellorsville by a gun-shot in the elbow of the left arm, and was taken prisoner; after he was exchanged and came under the protection of the “stars and stripes” once more, he was discharged for disabilities, and was drawing a pension of $24.00 per month at the date of his death.

Our subject received his education in the common schools of Homer, and in Homer Academy. Leaving school at the age of twenty-three years, he engaged in farming and milling on the homestead near Little York on the Cold Brook Road, where he has lived ever since, with the exception of two years, when he resided in Homer to allow his children an opportunity to attend Homer Academy. He has been highway commissioner for the past four years, and still holds that position. In 1887 he retired from the position of justice of the peace of Homer township, having filled that position of trust and grave responsibility for twenty-five years. He was a supervisor of the town in 1886. He is a Republican in his politics, and a stanch one, too, believing in hard money and protection to American workmen and American products. He is still very active in local politics, and is looked upon as one of the leaders of his party in the county. He has been a delegate to a number of county, district, senatorial and congressional conventions. He was associate judge of the county court for one year. In church matters, he unites with the Congregational Church of Homer. He is a member of Homer Lodge, No. 99, I. O. O. F., of which he is past grand; he is also a member of the grand lodge of the state, and has been district deputy for several terms. He is also a member of Elon Encampment, No. 59, of Cortland. He has been affiliated with the I. O. O. F. for forty-six years, has been through all the various degrees, held many of the offices, and holds the much-prized veterans jewel.

On October 17, 1854, Mr. Blashfield was joined in wedlock with Lura M. Bates, daughter of Alexander and Lavina Bates of Homer, and of the five children born to him, only two are now living. Following is the record: Willie A., born April 27, 1857, died June 17, 1859; Fannie A., born December 18, 1862, died March 29, 1883; Charles B., born February 24, 1870, died March 29, 1872; Nellie, born November 15, 1872, married Wilbur W. Fisk, and has one son, Frank W., born July 12, 1896 — their home is in Alden, Hardin County, Iowa, where Mr. Fisk is engaged in farming; and Frank, born November 18, 1878, who lives at home with his parents.

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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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