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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published by Chapman Publishing Co., in 1895.  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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JOEL M. COUCH is a retired farmer living in the town of Montour, where he has resided for fifty years. He was born in August, 1818, in Fairfield County, Conn., and is a son of Hezekiah and Clara (Merchant) Couch, both of whom were natives of the same county. Thomas Couch, his grandfather, who was also a native of Connecticut, for many years was a sea-captain. He was very wealthy, but during the Revolutionary War was robbed of all his possessions by the British, with the exception of a farm and the old homestead in which his children and grandchildren were born. Hezekiah Couch, the father of our subject, was a farmer by occupation, and early in the present century removed from Connecticut to Putnam County, N. Y., where he spent the remainder of his life. In that county our subject spent his early life and remained with his parents until after he attained his majority.

He was educated in the common schools of that county, and there married Eliza Cowel, who was a native of Connecticut, but who removed with her parents to Putnam County some years prior to her marriage.

In 1845 our subject removed with his young bride to Schuyler County, which was then a part of Chemung County, and located on the farm where he yet resides, but which is now controlled by his son Charles. Here he has lived an honorable and upright life, making a success in a financial way, and giving his attention wholly to farming. A Democrat in politics, he has never sought official position, but has been content with casting his vote for the party whose principles he has always thought best for the good of the country. He and his wife are members of the Episcopal Church. They were the parents of five children, of whom only one, Charles H., is now living, four dying of diphtheria within a few weeks of one another.

Charles H. Couch, the only surviving child of Joel and Eliza Couch, was born on the old homestead in the town of Montour, September 19, 1848, and has here resided during his entire life. His primary education was received in the district schools of the town, and his education was finished in the seminary at Lima, N. Y. He was united in marriage with Miss Mary Turner, who is a native of Chemung County, and a daughter of Haverley and Jane (Morehouse) Turner. Her father is a prosperous farmer in Chemung County, and has always been an enterprising and industrious man. By this union four children have been born, two sons and two daughters: Legrand F., Harvey J., Clara and Anna. The sons are students in the Cook Academy, and it is the intention of Mr. Couch that each of his children shall have a good education.

In addition to farming Mr. Couch has been engaged to some extent in the real-estate business, in which he has been successful, having purchased and sold many farms throughout the country. In addition to the old home farm of one hundred acres, he is the owner of four hundred acres elsewhere in Schuyler County. He has followed general farming and stock-raising, and has upon his place a fine herd of Guernsey cattle, he being the first to introduce this breed in the neighborhood. Mr. and Mrs. Couch are members of St. John’s Episcopal Church of Catharine. In politics he is a Democrat, though broad and liberal in his views. He has always been too busy to give his attention to politics and has always refused public office. Fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, with which organization he united shortly after attaining his majority.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published in 1895. 

View additional Schuyler County, New York family biographies here: Schuyler County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Schuyler County, New York here: Schuyler County, New York Map

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