Biography of Henry J. Ensign of Batavia, NY

Henry J. Ensign, whose portrait appears in connection with this sketch, was born in Alexander, this county, August 14, 1821. His parents, Hon. Abial and Abbie (Higley) Ensign, of English descent, were natives of Hartford, Conn. His father was a printer, and early in life settled in Utica, N. Y, where he owned, edited, and published the Utica Democrat several years, and also represented his district two terms in the State legislature. Later he removed to Alexander, where, by his integrity, intelligence, and fine abilities, he soon gained the confidence and respect of his party in Genesee County, who sent him to represent it in the legislature three terms. He was also postmaster of Alexander, wnich office, with the office of justice of the peace, he was holding at the time of his death.

Mr. Ensign was liberal in his religious views, and he and his worthy wife were members of the Universalist Church. Their children were Louis, deceased; Clara, who married John Parish, and resides in Nevada; Emily, who married Robert Kenyon (both deceased); Parmelia, who married George Slayton, and resides in Liberty, N. Y.; Horace, who resides in Illinois; Charles, who lives in Albion, Mich.; and Henry J., the subject of this sketch. Henry J. Ensign received an academic education in Alexander Seminary. After completing his school days he commenced his business life in Batavia by engaging in the manufacture and sale of harnesses and harnessmakers' goods. In 1865 he became the partner of Hon. R. A. Maxwell (ex-State treasurer and present State superintendent of insurance) in the business of malting. Mr. Ensign continued his harness business until about six years before his death, and was a member of the malting firm at his decease, November 30, 1881. He was a prominent, earnest, and unswerving Democrat, who gave the weight of his great influence to further, strengthen, and build up the. great party of which he was an acknowledged leader in Genesee County. To accomplish this he served as chairman of the State, county, and local committees of the Democratic party. He was also an active and liberal supporter of the educational, religious, and benevOlent interests of the community in which he lived and the country which he loved. He served as president of the board of aldermen of Batavia, and as director of the First National Bank.

July 12, 1854, he united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Lee, a native of Hammondsport, N. Y., and daughter of Benjamin and Cynthia (Wardsworth) Lee, natives of Connecticut, and descendants of Puritans who came to America in the Matflower. Mrs. Ensign is a lady of culture, and, has traveled quite extensively in the West. She has spent a year in California, visited Nevada, Colorado, and Salt Lake City, and now resides in a beautiful home in Batavia, where she is most liberal in every worthy cause of benevolence. She is a prominent member of the Episcopal Church.

FROM: Gazetteer and Biographical Record
of Genesee County, New York
Edited by: F. W. Beers
J.W. Vose & Co., Publishers, Syracuse, N. Y. 1890



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