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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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JAMES S. BURGESS of Marathon is proprietor of one of the most extensive saw and planing mills in Cortland County, and is of the number of solid and substantial business men of his home village. His business career has been built up on an industry that has come to him as a direct heritage from his father and grandfather, both of whom in their New England places of residence and in their adopted Central New York home have left honored names as skilled workers in wood. Mr. Burgess’ father, Lewis A. Burgess, came from Litchfield, Conn. He worked all his life at the trade of carpenter and joiner, together with the trade of millwright. He and several of his brothers were most excellent and progressive craftsmen in those lines, and did much in the early days of this section to show the people how to build thoroughly and well. Much of Lewis Burgess’ work stands to this day an eloquent monument to his genius. He married Catherine S. Squires, and their children numbered seven, namely: James S., our subject; Henry W., deceased; Augustus L., deceased; Ann Frances, widow of Albert Smith; George R., a resident of Marathon; Edwin B., who lives in Marathon, engaged in farming; and Winfield Scott, a well-known painter of Marathon. Politically, Mr. Burgess affiliated with the Whig, and later with the Republican party. He was a man of worth and most excellent standing in the community, and held for a number of years the office of justice of the peace.

James S. Burgess, the eldest son and the subject of this biography, came into the world at Marathon, February 24, 1834. He completed his schooling and at the age of seventeen began lumbering on what is now the site of his saw and planing mills. His father at that time owned and operated the mill, and turned out most of the stock, which he utilized in his building operations. There the son remained until his father’s death, when he took charge of affairs for himself. Being raised in the business, he is personally familiar with every least detail, and the success which he has experienced is founded upon his thorough and practical acquaintance with all the things required in his line. In 1876, Mr. Burgess rebuilt the mill to accommodate the extraordinary growth that had taken place in the business, and it is now the representative mill in its class of this region. He furnishes power for the Marathon Electric Light System. In addition to his milling interests, Mr. Burgess owns a farm of fifty acres in the town of Marathon, which is a most desirable and well managed piece of property. Along social lines, Mr. Burgess is very well known and popular. Fraternally, he is a member of the Marathon Lodge, No. 167, I. O. O. F., and also of the Rebecca Lodge. He is a busy man in civil life, being one of the mainstays of the Marathon Fire Department, of which he was one of the organizers and chief for several years, and to which he has belonged for upwards of thirty years. On December 9, 1897, Mr. Burgess was joined in the holy bands of matrimony with Mrs. Lillie K. Smith, daughter of Ezra S. Barden of Richford, Tioga County, N. Y.

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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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