Biography of Ossian Bedell


Bedell, Ossian, Grand Island, was born at Georgia, Franklin county, Vt., June 6, 1832, and educated in the common schools of Tonawanda, N. Y., and the seminary at Lima, N. Y. In 1840 he came with his parents to live on Grand Island, and at the age of eleven began driving team for his father on the canal and for nearly twenty years followed the canal with his father and with boats of his own. At twenty-one he owned a farm of his own and began farming, lumbering and boating wood on the Niagara River. In 1874 he was one of the leading men who organized a stock company and built the Buffalo and Grand Island Ferry, which was such a great improvement to the Island. In 1876 he built and opened the Bedell House in Grand Island, of which he is still proprietor. During Lincoln's administration he was appointed inspector of customs for the first district of Buffalo Creek and was located at Grand Island, being confined principally to Tonawanda and Grand Island. During the fulfillment of this office he had many exciting adventures and narrow escapes with his life, while apprehending smugglers who made Grand Island their place of landing. In 1862-63 he was supervisor of his town and from 1881 to 1884 was assistant superintendent of public works for the western division of the Erie Canal. In 1890 he was appointed United States consul to Fort Erie, Ont.. and continued in office until a change of administration, about two years. In 1897 he was reappointed to the Fort Erie consulate, which he now occupies. Mr. Bedell has for many years been the recognized leader of the Republican party in his town and his counsel is sought by many others from other parts of the county. He has made the Bedell House and surrounding grounds the most popular resort in Western New York. He also owns a pleasure steam yacht fitted to carry 275 people. On March 28, 1854, he married Permelia Zimmerman of the town of Tonawanda.

Our County and its people
A descriptive work on Erie County, New York
Edited by: Truman C. White
The Boston History Company, Publishes 1898


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