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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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WILLIAM A. BENTLEY, deceased, late an esteemed citizen of Marathon, was a son of William Bentley and was born July 24, 1817, in Albany County, this state. After acquiring a good education, he moved to the village of Marathon, where he built and operated a tannery until 1878, when it was destroyed by fire. During the time he was engaged in carrying on the above industry, he succeeded in establishing an enviable trade, and in earning an ample competency. Mr. Bentley chose for his first wife Sallie Dunham, and they reared three children — two sons and one daughter. His second wife’s maiden name was Lizzie Sutfin. For his third wife he chose Mary E. Beach, and they were happily married August 21, 1867. Two children blessed their home: William A., who married Eva Mack, and is a bookkeeper and cashier of Oxford, Chenango County; and Edward S., who died March 14, 1883, at the age of seven years.

Mrs. Bentley is a daughter of Elijah and Anna (Adams) Beach, both of whom were born in Dutchess County, N. Y. Later Mr. Beach moved to Willet, this county, where he lived a number of years and then took up his residence in Marathon, where he lived with a daughter till his death. He adopted the calling of an agriculturist and followed that occupation all his life. He was the father of nine children, who were as follows: Betsey; Stephen; Robert; Abigail; Eliza; Aurelia; Mary E.; Charles; and John, all of whom lived to an advanced age.

On July 7, 1886, Mrs. Bentley was called upon to mourn the death of her husband. It was a severe blow to his wife and to his many devoted friends, who were never tired of praising his commendable traits of character. Persevering, continuous and energetic efforts were the factors of Mr. Bentley’s success. Sound judgment and a determined power of will hewed out for him the means to pass life’s twilight in ease. On a page in proximity to this appears a portrait of Mr. Bentley, which adds a decided interest to the above sketch of his life and associations.

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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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