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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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HON. OLIVER P. HURD possesses in an eminent degree those qualities of mind which are so essential to success in professional or business life — industry and a large share of common-sense, coupled with a determined will and unflinching integrity. In the possession of these sterling qualities the problem of success is easily solved, and it need not be considered as evidence of unusual foresight to predict for him who possesses them a prosperous career. Judge Hurd is a man who has been very successful, but whose success has been achieved by energy and perseverance. Since 1865 he has been a practicing attorney of Watkins, and is recognized as one of the most influential men of this village.

The parents of the Judge, William A. and Jane (Neal) Hurd, were natives, respectively, of Clinton, Middlesex County, Conn., and Lodi, Seneca County, N. Y., the latter being a daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Neal. The Hurd family traces its ancestry to Ebenezer Hurd, a native of Wales, who settled in America early in the seventeenth century. His son Daniel married Dorothy Leete, a great-granddaughter of Gov. William Leete, who came from England to this country in 1638, and settled in Connecticut. In the early history of the colony he was very prominent, and held office of various kinds for a period of forty years, among them being the position of Governor. Educated as a lawyer, he was a man of scholarly attainments. While in England he was for some time clerk in the Bishop’s Court, and in that service became acquainted with the conduct of the bishops towards the Puritans. He observed the great severity which the courts displayed toward them, and this brought him to a serious consideration of the matter, and induced him to acquaint himself more thoroughly with the doctrines and discipline of this people. In consequence of his investigations he became a Puritan, left the Bishop’s Court, and in 1638 came to New England with Mr. Whitfield and his company. In 1643 he was chosen Magistrate for the colony of New Haven, and was annually re-elected until May, 1658. For a period of forty years he was Magistrate, Deputy-Governor or Governor of one of the Connecticut colonies. He died in Hartford. His mother, Anna Schute, was a daughter of one of the Justices of the King’s Bench of England.

Ebenezer Hurd was one of three brothers who emigrated from Wales to America. His son Daniel, above named, was the father of Capt. Caleb Leete Hurd, whose title was gained by his service in the Connecticut militia during the Revolutionary War. The latter was born in Connecticut January 23, 1753, and was married, May 4, 1775, to Mary Griswold, by whom he had thirteen children. His son Elias was born April 6, 1780, and died November 25, 1840. When a lad of sixteen years he sailed on a voyage to China, going around Cape Horn, being absent three years. Afterward he became a sea-captain, and in the War of 1812 with England his vessel, a merchant-man, was captured by an English man-of-war and he and his crew were made prisoners. They were sent to the Bermuda Islands, but were afterward exchanged. He married Mary Griffith, daughter of Thomas Griffith. William A., son of Capt. Elias Hurd, and our subject’s father, was born December 13, 1809, and after marriage settled on a farm near Burdett, N. Y., where he still resides, being now in his eighty-sixth year. For many years he followed the carpenter’s trade, was Postmaster under President Harrison, and is now engaged in merchandising.

The maternal ancestors of our subject were of Scotch birth, and were represented among the early settlers of New Jersey. John Neal, our subject’s great-grandfather, enlisted in the Revolutionary War at the age of sixteen years, and served until the close of the struggle. He was with General Washington when the army crossed the Delaware River and defeated and captured a thousand Hessian prisoners. In a number of the most important engagements of the war he took an active part. For several years after his death his widow was in receipt of a pension.

The subject of this sketch was born in the village of Burdett, town of Hector, Schuyler County, N. Y., December 11, 1838, and is the eldest of four children who attained mature years. There were originally six in the family, but one brother died at the age of sixteen and one sister in childhood. Oliver P. attended the public schools of Burdett in boyhood, and afterward was a student in Ovid Academy, later carried on his studies in the seminary at Lima, N. Y., and then entered the Genesee College at the same place, where he remained for two years. In 1864-65 he was employed as clerk in the office of Hon. William Fessenden, then Secretary of the United States Treasury. Prior to his stay in Washington, D. C., he studied law with Hon. John J. Van Allen and was admitted to the Bar in 1864. The following year he opened a law office at Watkins, where he has since conducted a general practice, extending into all the courts.

While the details connected with his large law practice occupy Judge Hurd’s attention closely, yet they have not prevented him from participating in public affairs. In 1867 he was elected District Attorney, and served in that capacity for three years. In 1876 he was chosen County Judge and Surrogate, and served with efficiency for six years, when he resumed his law practice. In politics he is an advocate of Republican principles. He has served as Trustee of the village and has also been a member of the Board of Water and Sewer Commission.

In March, 1865, Miss Cynthia A., daughter of Watson Disbrow, became the wife of Judge Hurd. She died September 21, 1869, leaving a son, William D., who is now a student in his father’s office.

In 1871 Judge Hurd married Miss Louisa C. Boyd, of Washington, D. C. Her father, Storm Van Derzee Boyd, was a son of General Boyd, an influential citizen of Schoharie County, and Congressman from his district. Judge and Mrs. Hurd have two daughters and two sons, namely: Hebe L., Oliver P., Jennie B. and John S.

Socially Judge Hurd is identified with Jefferson Lodge No. 332, F & A. M., at Watkins. He is the owner of a fine farm, upon which he engages in breeding registered trotting-horses, having introduced some of the finest horses ever brought into this county. In securing railroads and aiding other enterprises for the benefit of Watkins, he has taken an active part. He is one of the Directors of the Watkins & Havana Electric Railroad Company, and has taken an interested part in this enterprise, which, when completed, will be one of the most important factors in the progress of the village. As a Republican he is recognized as one of the strong and influential members of his party in this part of the state. As an advocate he is logical, eloquent and forcible before court and jury.

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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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