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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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TYLER H. ABBEY. In the death of this gentleman, March 22, 1895, the village of Watkins lost an old and honored citizen. Starting in life with nothing but his own talents and upright character to help him, he achieved success in business, in reputation, and in that which he valued above all else — the respect and confidence of his fellow-men. He was a man of culture and was most broad and liberal-minded. Unselfish, uncompromising where principles were concerned, sincere and progressive, his death deprived the community of one who had been an important factor in its growth and development.

The subject of this memorial was born in Marbletown, Ulster County, N. Y., May 12, 1815, being a son of David Abbey, a native of Windham County, Conn. The history of his boyhood is briefly told. His primary education was obtained in Shokan, Ulster County, N. Y., and afterward he attended the Geneva Lyceum, which was one of the noted schools of that period. He took a classical course, and also studied higher mathematics. After leaving school he taught about three years, and then became a clerk in his uncle’s business establishment in Rondout, Ulster County. In 1845 he removed from that place to Tyrone, where he engaged in general merchandising for himself

In the spring of 1848 Mr. Abbey came to Watkins, where he embarked in business, continuing in the same until his decease. In 1882 the firm title was changed to T. H. Abbey & Co., continuing thus until 1891, when his son Fred G., who was one of the partners, died, and Albert T. Abbey took active charge of the business. As a business man, he was energetic, progressive and always apace with the times. The quality of his stock (for he never carried any goods save the best), and the honesty that he observed in every transaction, no matter how small, won for him the confidence of the people, and for years he carried on a very large trade, not only with the people of the village, but also with the farmers of the surrounding country.

The married life of Mr. Abbey was most happy, for his wife was a lady possessing all the attributes of noble womanhood, and by her sympathy, amiable disposition and encouragement, she aided him in every enterprise he undertook. Julia Ann Whitney, as Mrs. Abbey was known in maidenhood, was born in Seneca Castle, Ontario County, N. Y., in 1817. She was the daughter of Otis Whitney, who in 1792 removed with his father from Conway, Mass., to Seneca Castle, about six miles west of Geneva, where he died at the age of ninety-nine. The longevity of the Whitney family is further shown by the fact that an uncle of Mrs. Abbey, who lived in Illinois, attained the great age of one hundred years. The Whitney family is one of the oldest in this section, as is also the Abbey family, the latter tracing their lineage to John Abbe (as the name was then spelled), who was one of the Pilgrim Fathers and came over in the historic “Mayflower.”

At Seneca Castle, May 12, 1841, Tyler H. Abbey and Miss Julia A. Whitney were united in marriage. They began housekeeping at Rondout, Ulster County, but later removed to Tyrone, this county. Subsequently they went to Big Stream, now known as Glenora, and in 1848 settled in Watkins, where they continued to reside until death. Throughout all the period of their residence here they were the leading members of the First Presbyterian Church, of which Mr. Abbey was Elder. The consistency of their lives was in the utmost harmony with the religion they professed, and they imitated the example of their Master, in that they went about doing good. They are survived by five children, namely: Norman W., Harvey S., Albert T. and Julia A., of Watkins, and Rev. Edward W., of Hamilton, Ohio, who is recognized as an able and influential minister of the Presbyterian Church. Two others, Hayden W. and Frederick G., are deceased. A strong friend of the cause of education, Mr. Abbey was School Commissioner for the town before the county was formed, and in after years acted as sole Trustee for the schools of the village of Watkins until the organizing of the Union School, when he was one of the members of the board. In politics he was a Whig, and on the organization of the Republican party became a strong supporter of its principles.

On the 12th of May, 1891, Mr. and Mrs. Abbey celebrated their golden wedding, on which happy occasion they were the recipients of congratulations from hosts of devoted friends. For fifty years they had walked life’s pathway side by side, sharing their joys and dividing their sorrows by mutual sympathy, and as theirs had been a happy union on earth, so in death they were not divided. They passed away within twenty-seven hours of each other, and those who knew their devotion could not but rejoice that they were not long separated, but soon met on eternity’s fair shore. They died, the wife March 20, at 10 p. m., and the husband March 22, 1895, in the morning, at their home in Watkins, the victims of pneumonia and bronchitis. The funeral, which was held at their home, was conducted by Rev. L. F. Ruf, assisted by two former pastors of the Presbyterian Church, Rev. G. D. Meigs and Rev. F. S. Howe, also by Rev. H. H. Kellogg, of Havana, and Rev. Dr. Cowles, of Elmira. The three sons, Harvey S., Albert T., Rev. E. W., and a grandson, Frank H., acted as pall-bearers for Mrs. Abbey. They were laid to rest side by side in Glenwood, to await the triumphant resurrection of the dead in the Lord.

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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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