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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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MILES E. BURLINGAME, the able district attorney of Cortland County, whose excellent likeness* appears on the opposite page, is a citizen of the town of Willet, where his birth occurred November 8, 1838. His parents were Westcott and Melinda (Eaton) Burlingame.

Eleazer Burlingame, the great-grandfather of the present scion, was a native and resident of East Greenwich, R. I. His son, Altitius, was born at that place, and in 1809 emigrated to Central New York. His family and personal effects were transported by means of an ox-team, wagon and sleigh. He located on a tract that bordered on the Otselic river in the town of Willet, a part of which property is now in the village of Willet. To the original tract of land, consisting of 101 acres, he added by purchase, until he became the owner of about a square mile of land. All of this territory was of course undeveloped, and almost exactly as it had been hundreds of years before; it thus presented a vast amount of labor to the new settler, who did not shrink from the arduous task of clearing his property, but set to work with a will to wage battle with the forces of nature. He continued to make his home on the estate that he hewed for himself out of the forest, until his death in 1872. While a resident of the State of Rhode Island, before coming to this section, Altitius Burlingame married Mary Ellis of Rhode Island, a daughter of Augustus Ellis, who was descended from the English Ellises. Mary (Ellis) Burlingame was all that could be desired of a pioneer settler’s wife, and her labors in the home and in the field were of inestimable service to her husband. She bore him the following children: Charles, who became a circuit preacher in the Methodist Church, Almira and Westcott, who were born in Rhode Island; and Dorcas, Roxilla, Augustus, Altitius, Jr., and Pardon T., who were born in this county. Our subject’s grandfather was a man of large frame and great physical endurance, with muscles sinewy and well trained for hard work. He was of more than ordinary intelligence, and characterized his life by great moral, as well as physical courage, upholding his deep-set convictions of what he judged to be right or wrong. In his politics, he was a Federalist in the days of that party, and being a man of weight and influence in the community he took a prominent part in the stirring political events that marked the formative period of the history of this section. He was the presiding officer of the first town meeting called in the town of Willet.

Westcott Burlingame, the father of our subject, was born in Rhode Island, September 10, 1806, but was reared on the pioneer homestead in the town of Willet, and resided in said town until his death, November 4, 1891. He was educated in the primitive schools of that day, where a practical knowledge of reading, writing and arithmetic was all that was required of the scholar, but this was insufficient for this young student. So he was placed in the charge of Dr. Belah Beardsley, and put through a more advanced course of instruction, which resulted in his becoming a very well informed man for his day. He was a deep, vigorous thinker, with a penchant for the study of mathematics, and also for whatever came in his way in the nature of mechanics. He was engaged in farming until he became mature in years, when his natural mechanical turn of mind asserted itself, and he began the building of mills. Had he had a first-class college education, there is scarcely a doubt but that he would have built up a great reputation by his work along scientific lines. After following these mechanical pursuits a number of years, he purchased a considerable tract of land near the village of Willet, where he built a grist and a saw mill. The remainder of his life was spent in milling and farming. His mills were known as Burlingame’s Mills. He was a Whig, and later a Republican in his political affiliations, and served several terms as highway commissioner of the town of Willet. He married Melinda Eaton, who was born November 6, 1812, and died January 23, 1892. The following children were born to them: Miles E., born November 8, 1838; Ogden, February 23, 1840; Lydia, the wife of George Carter, a retired farmer of Marathon; Lucy A., wife of J. D. Schermerhorn of Cortland village, who is a produce dealer of that place; and Eugene, born January 24, 1847.

Miles E. Burlingame, after securing the fundamental principles of an education in the common schools of his native town, studied law in the office of McDowell & Edwards of Lisle, Broome County, N. Y., and then attended the Albany Law School, from which he was graduated May 10, 1872, being admitted to the bar of the State of New York at the same time. He at once located in the village of Willet, where he has ever since been engaged in the practice of his profession. He has always been a stanch, loyal Republican, and served as justice of the peace of the town of Willet. In 1894 he was elected to the office of district attorney of Cortland County, the duties of which office have claimed the major part of his time since. His union with Amy (Hiding) Brown, which occurred on March 23, 1861, resulted in the birth of one son, Elmer E., who is now located in the city of Boston, where he is conducting a very lucrative life insurance business, and doing very well indeed; a daughter, Elnora, who died at five years of age; and a daughter, Roby C., who died November 28, 1897, aged twenty-one years, whose removal from earth’s activities and dearly cherished ties by death from paralysis was most sudden and unexpected, for she was called Home while attending church. There has been no event for years that has made so deep an impression on the residents of Willet. The young lady was a great favorite and exceedingly popular by reason of her own talents and acquirements, her activity in good works, and her pleasant ways. Among all the family’s acquaintances there was deep-felt sympathy for the parents, and a sincere sorrow for a common loss. Rev. Austin Mooney, who had known Miss Burlingame from infancy, officiated at the funeral services, which were held at the residence. He spoke from the words “Blessed are the pure heart, for they shall see God,” and in well chosen words recalled the earnest, useful life of the one whose death must necessarily be felt among her friends and associates, yet whose memory would lighten the burden of those left behind. The honorary bearers were six of her young lady friends. The large concourse of people followed on foot with bowed heads to the cemetery, where her mortal remains in a white casket were placed in the last resting place, surrounded, embanked, and covered up with flowers. Besides the immediate neighbors, there were many men prominent in public life in Cortland County and the state who testified by their presence to the deep regard entertained toward her, whose life was so suddenly cut short, and to their sympathy for Mr. and Mrs. Burlingame. Our subject has been associated with many local movements in Willet, that have had for their object the furthering of the material prosperity and welfare of his own section, where he is regarded with the deepest esteem.

Ogden Burlingame, a younger brother of our subject, was reared on the farm where he was born, about one mile east of Willet village; there he lived until he was thirteen years of age, when the family removed to where he now lives, just on the outskirts of the village, the property being the farm that his grandfather settled on when coming to Willet. He has lived there ever since, and owns the old Burlingame homestead, consisting of 171 1-2 acres. He learned the shoe-maker’s trade in his youth, and worked at that trade about five years, when he took up farming, since which time he has been identified with agricultural pursuits. He is a Republican, as are all the family, and has held the office of town supervisor for three years. He married Sarah A. Canfield, and to them have been given two children: Mina and Mary L.

Eugene Burlingame, the youngest brother of our subject, was educated in the common schools of Willet and in Cincinnatus Academy. He then attended the State Normal School at Albany, graduating in 1868. He next taught two years as principal of the Union Schools at Athens, N. Y., after which he attended the Albany Law School, graduating in 1871. The following year he spent in the office of the prominent law firm of Newkirk & Chase, of Hudson, N. Y., and then went to Albany, where he was engaged in practice for five years with Charles W. Mead. After this partnership was dissolved he practiced law alone until 1895, when he took in as a partner Randall J. Le Boeuf, which arrangement continues at the present time. Politically he is a Republican, and has always taken a prominent part, having been chairman of the county committee and a member of the Republican State Committee from the Albany District. In 1894 he was elected district attorney of Albany County by a majority of 1,800, that being a district that was normally Democratic by a majority of at least 2,000; in 1897 his services in behalf of the county were indorsed by his being re-elected, and he is now the present incumbent of the position. Mr. Burlingame is a man of splendid attainments and solid legal learning, and is much in demand in various circles, of a political, social and a religious nature. He is a member of Master’s Lodge, No. 5, F. & A. M., is a past master, and is at present the treasurer of the lodge. He is a member of the Press Club of Albany, and is president of the Burns and also of the Ft. Orange Clubs. He is curator of the Albany Institute, and has been a lecturer for a number of years past in the Albany Law School. In the matter of religion and church attendance, he is a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, of which he has been a vestryman for a number of years. He is a director of the Fairview Home for Friendless Children, and is its legal counsel. He is also a director of the Charity Organization Society, and takes a deep interest in all work that is directed toward the amelioration of the condition of the unfortunate classes. On March 29, 1875, he was joined in marriage with Emma P. Watson, and to them have been born the following children: Eugene W., who is attending Yale University; Elizabeth; Jenkins; Frances; and Westcott.

*A portrait was included in the original printed volume.

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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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