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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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WILLIAM H. BALDWIN. There has been no factor more closely connected with the development of the material interests of Schuyler County and Watkins than the Watkins Democrat, Which throughout its entire history has aimed to promote the welfare of the people. It is recognized as the organ of the Democratic party in this locality, and has stood as the able representative of that political organization through all the political “ups and downs” of the party. In advancing local interests, too, it has taken a warm interest, boldly advocating every measure calculated to benefit the village, whether or not the plan might suit the popular view.

The gentleman to whom the success of this paper is due, William H. Baldwin, was born in Deerfield, Herkimer County, N. Y., June 29, 1835, and is a member of a family long identified with the history of Connecticut. His grandfather, Willis Baldwin, about 1812 settled in the town of Hector, upon what was later known as the Reeves Farm. After a short time devoted to farm pursuits, he came to Watkins (then known as Salubria), where he followed the trade of a hatter. On the corner of Fourth and Porter Streets he erected a building known as the Baldwin House, the front part of which was devoted to the manufacture of hats and the sale of groceries. For many years this was the only house east of the present Franklin Street.

In company with his parents, Henry Downs and Mary Jane (Pease) Baldwin, our subject came to Watkins in early childhood, prior to 1842. The rudiments of his education were gained in the public schools of this place, but at an early age he was obliged to relinquish his studies and enter upon an occupation that would make him self-supporting. He began to learn the printer’s trade in 1842, with Slawson & Shirley, and in 1848 entered the office of the Jefferson Eagle, then edited by J. Wesley Smith. There he gained a knowledge of the compositor’s trade and learned the rudiments of the printing and publishing business, which he has since followed, with the exception of a short time.

Upon leaving the Jefferson Eagle, Mr. Baldwin was employed in the offices of the Watkins Family Visitor, Watkins Republican, and their successors, for several years. In 1859 he became one of the publishers of the Seneca Comity Sentinel at Ovid, where he remained for two years. In May, 1867, he bought the Schuyler County Democrat, the name of which was changed, some years afterward, to the Watkins Democrat. Under this name it was improved and successfully conducted until February 19, 1891, when the entire plant was destroyed by fire, the proprietor losing almost all he possessed. However, he was undismayed by the catastrophe, and with undaunted courage started out once more. Interesting a wealthy relative, he purchased lots adjoining the burnt district and erected a substantial and commodious brick structure, the finest in Watkins, and known as the Baldwin Block. Portions of the second and third floors of this building are occupied by the new plant, which is one of the most complete in western New York, being equipped with power presses and all desirable materials for the proper management of the paper.

The influential position held by the Democrat as the organ of the Democracy is due largely, in fact it may be said entirely, to the shrewd judgment and executive ability of Mr. Baldwin. He has labored indefatigably to secure its success, sparing neither time nor expense in advancing the interests of the paper. It has a large patronage and is a welcome guest in very many homes of the county, numbering among its readers not only those who are Democrats in principle, but many whose opinions are different.

Personally, as well as through the medium of the paper, Mr. Baldwin takes a deep interest in political matters. He was the Democratic candidate for the Assembly in 1885, and polled a large number of votes, though the county is strongly Republican. At different state conventions he has served as a delegate, and for several years was Postmaster at Watkins. He has also been a member of the Board of Village Trustees. In every position to which he has been called he has rendered efficient and able service, and has won the commendation and confidence of his fellow-citizens.

In January, 1863, Mr. Baldwin married Miss Louise E., only daughter of John and Laura (Johnson) Losey, of Mottville, N. Y. Mrs. Baldwin is an unusually bright, intelligent and well educated woman, and is an ornament to her household. To Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin were born four children, two daughters and two sons. Donna Madelon died in her twelfth year; John Henry died in his fifth year; Marion P., who is at home, was educated in the schools of Watkins; William H. passed away in his fifth year. Mrs. Baldwin and her daughter are members of the First Presbyterian Church.

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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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