Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Biography: Oscar SWEERS

From Portrait and biographical record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola counties, Michigan..., Chicago, Chapman Bros., 1892, pp. 620 - 621:
OSCAR SWEERS, a representative, prosperous farmer and stock-raiser residing on section 26, Atlas Township, Genesee County, was born September 11, 1848. His parents were Manley and Lydia (Van Cleve) Sweers, the former being a native of Vermont and the latter of New York. In 1836 they emigrated to Michigan and took up land from the Government and lived in the dense forest miles away from any neighbor in a log cabin. A number of years later the father built a better home and into it he moved his family, but nowhere were they happier than in that little log cabin. In those early days Mr. Sweers used oxen in breaking up his ground and in other farming operations. He is now an octogenarian and is one of the oldest living pioneers in Atlas Township.

The father of our subject has ever been public-spirited and enterprising and cheerfully endured the many hardships which came to the pioneers of a new country. In September, 1891, he was deeply bereaved by the death of his faithful companion, who had shared with him the joys and sorrows of life and in her death the country lost one of its most valuable pioneer women.

Oscar Sweers was reared to man's estate amid scenes of pioneer life and in his early days assisted his father in the rough work incident to a new country. He used to drive the ox-team which broke the stubborn virgin soil and became inured to the hardest kind of farm work. He received his education in the district schools and is mainly self-educated. December 9, 1875, he married Frances E., daughter of John and Hulda Rhodes. The father of Mrs. Sweers who is now deceased, is memorialized in this volume. By this union one daughter has been born, Jessie E., who was born December 3, 1876.

The gentleman of whom we write is a staunch Republican in politics and is an earnest advocate of the principles represented by that word. He is public spirited and ever active in movements which are intended to elevate the standard of morality and education in the community. He owns a fine farm of eighty acres which he calls the home farm, besides thirty-five acres in Lapeer County, and he and his good wife are highly esteemed as members of society.

Biography: William SIEBENHAR

From Portrait and biographical record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola counties, Michigan..., Chicago, Chapman Bros., 1892, pp. 503:
WILLIAM SIEBENHAR. There is no more representative man among the thrifty, intelligent and public spirited German-American citizens of Genesee County, than the one whose name we now give to our readers, whose farm is located on section 25, Atlas Township. He was born in Bavaria, Germany, July 1, 1830, and is a son of Conrad and Margaret Siebenhar, both natives of Germany.

When in his thirteenth year, our subject migrated to America with his mother and the other members of the family, his father having preceded them by three years. For a number of years they resided in Erie County, N. Y., and the boy supplemented his fair German education by a good knowledge of English which he picked up after coming to this country.

The marriage of William Siebenhar and Louisa Weater a native of Prussia, Germany, took place September 22, 1855, and to them have been granted seven children, five of whom are living, namely: Amelia, wife of Lewis Sweers; Charles, Frank, Edwin and Lewis. It was in 1873 that he came to Atlas Township, Genesee County, from Oakland County, this State, where for several years he has made his home. His fine farm comprises one hundred and sixty acres of land in good condition.

Our subject is public spirited and enterprising, and has done much work for the school district, of which he has been Moderator for three years, and it is mainly through his exertion that the fine school building was erected in his district. He is also a member of the Lutheran Church. In connection with farming he raises a good grade of American-Merino sheep.

Mr. Siebenhar showed his devotion to his adopted country, by enlisting March 15, 1862, in Company E, Seventy-eighth New York Infantry. It became a part of the Army of the Potomac, the first general commander being George B. McClellan, and took part in the battles of Harper's Ferry, Cedar Mountain, Anteitam [sic], and others of minor importance. On account of physical disability he received his honorable discharge in September, 1864, after which he returned to New York, and subsequently came to Oakland County, Mich. He is identified with the Ortonville Post of the Grand Army, and receives a pension of $14 a month from the Government. Mr. Siebenhar is well-known for his sterling integrity, a characteristic handed down to him through generations of sturdy Teutonic ancestry, and enjoys the confidence of the business community.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Biography: John H. YORK

From Portrait and biographical record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola counties, Michigan..., Chicago, Chapman Bros., 1892, pp. 600 - 601:
JOHN H. YORK. Our readers will be pleased to find upon this page a sketch of one of the most worthy and venerable citizens of Atlas Township, Genesee County. This septuagenarian is a representative of the best class of our citizens, and is a native of Erie County, N. Y. His birth took place, December 27, 1823 and he is a son of Jeremiah and Rhoda (Sweers) York, the latter being a native of Vermont and the former a soldier in the War of 1812.

From early youth John York was engaged in the work of a farmer and received his education in the district schools of his native county. His father was a prominent man in his township and served as Constable, Collector and Deputy Sheriff for eleven years.

Our subject was married March 11, 1847 to Anne Crathers, who was born in Erie County, N. Y., December 11, 1825, and was a daughter of John and Mary (Wycoff) Crathers. The father was a Pennsylvanian and the mother a native of the Empire State. Seven children have blessed the home of our subject and five are now living, namely: Mariam, wife of Henry Frick; Jeremiah; Ellen, now Mrs. Alton Dillenbeck; Matilda, who married Charles Watkins; James. Milton and John N. are deceased.

In the fall of 1850 Mr. York removed with his family to Genesee County, and settled upon the farm where he now lives, a property which was then only partially improved. Upon this he has bestowed great labor and has it now in an excellent condition. It comprises one hundred acres of some of the best land in the county and it is in a highly productive condition. All this is the result of the united efforts of our subject and his wife, who have labored shoulder to shoulder through the hard times of pioneering and together have accumulated a property which provides well for them in their old age.

Mr. York has served as School Director and is active in promoting all educational movements. He and his wife are both members of the Protestant Methodist Church in which he is Class-leader, and Mrs. York is now serving her third year as Steward in the church. He is a Republican in politics and both he and his wife are highly esteemed members of society.

John H. YORK and Anna CROTHERS were my 3rd-great-grandparents. I descend through their son, James, mentioned in the biography.

Welcome to the Atlas Project blog!

This blog has been created to keep you updated on my personal genealogy project about the citizens of Atlas Township, Genesee County, Michigan. I already have created a website, which I invite you to visit. On this blog, I will post updates to the website, as well as news and photos regarding my research.

My Atlas Township ancestors included members of the Crothers (also spelled Crathers and Cruthers), Sweers (Swears), Wyckoff, and York families. Most of them lived in the southeast corner of the township, and all were from the Town of Clarence, Erie County, New York. As I started researching my genealogy, I saw how many of the township citizens intermarried with other families, i.e. several siblings from one family marrying several siblings from another. Of course, with a small population, there wasn't a large gene pool to choose from! I realized that one way or another, the entire citizenry of Atlas Township was probably related to everyone else! I created a database to show these relationships; it is an unfinished process, so keep coming back to visit the site, the database, and this blog. Please don't hesitate to contact me! Click on "View my complete profile" in the menu on the right to see my e-mail address.

Happy Hunting!
Miriam Robbins Midkiff