DeWitt, NY Biographical Sketches
FROM: History of Onondaga County, New York
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches.
By: Professor W. W. Clayton
Published By D. Mason & Co., Syracust NY 1878



Zebulon Kinne, the fifth son in the family of Cyrus Kinne, and father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Voluntown, Connecticut, June 12, 1780. When twelve years of age he removed. with his father's family to Fayetteville, Onondaga County, N. Y. In 1814 he married Lucy Markham, of the town of LaFayette, by whom he had. eight children; four boys and four girls, six of whom are now living. In 1815, be purchased a farm in Manlius, now DeWitt, in East Syracuse, where he resided until his death.

Rufus R. Kinne was born March 28, 1821, on the old homestead where he now resides, a view of which, together with the portrAits of himself, father and mother, may be seen elsewhere in this work. Rufus R. spent his youth on his father's farm, and was educated in the common schools of Manlius and the Syracuse Academy, at Syracuse. On July 25, 1860, he was united in marriage with Miss Julia E. Clark, of Syracuse. By this union were born two children, viz.: L. Bell, born February 26, 1867, and Nelson C., who died in the second year of his age.

Mr. Kinne is a Democrat in politics, but has never been an aspirant for office. He has led an active business life, and is entitled to the respect and esteem in which he is held by all who know him.


Was born in Dutchess County, N. Y., July 2, 1801. He is the tenth in the family of twelve children, of Nehemiah and Ann (Bookhout) Carpenter, of whom none except Vliet arc now living.

His father, Nehemiah, was born in Queens County, N. Y., June 29, 1757. He left Queens County with Washington's army during the Revolutionary war, and settled in Dutchess County, on a farm of 100 acres. In the spring of 1816, he sold his farm and removed to Onondaga County, town of Manlius, and purchased 420 acres of wild timbered land.

With the assistance of his boys he cleared his farm. Here he resided until his death.

Vliet spent his youth on his father's farm. His education was limited to the common schools of Dutchess and Onondaga Counties, supplemented by two terms at the Academy. He taught school for four terms, and summers worked for his father on the farm.

On September 27, 1826, he was united in marriage with Miss Emily A. Wilcox, daughter of John and Amelia Wilcox, of Pompey, Onondaga County. By this union three children were born to them, viz.: Nehemiab, born September 3, 1828; died August 27, 1845; Ann Amelia, born June 15, 1833, (married Paul Fay, of Cicero); died February 13, 1869; Juliette, born January 27, 1836; died November 22, 1841. Mrs. Carpenter died March 8, 1851, and on March 24, 1852, he married Mary J. Morley, daughter of Abraham Northrup, of Pompey; no children by this union.

After his first marriage he remained on the homestead farm until after the death of his father, when he became owner of 141 acres, which he cultivated until 1874, when he sold out and moved to Collamer, where he now resides. A view of his residence and portrait of his wives may be seen elsewhere in this work.

In politics he was originally a Whig, but upon the formation of the Republican party joined its ranks. Although he never sought office, yet he has filled most of the minor positions in his town. Both he and his estimable wife are consistent members of the Congregational Church, he having been a member for about sixty years; has been Deacon of the church for a number of years. He has also been an earnest worker in the Sabbath School for over fifty years as teacher and superintendent.

Mr. Carpenter, by a long and active life, has shown himself a man of character and a useful member of society, and at the ripe, age of seventy-seven is still hale and vigorous.


About three and a half miles east of Syracuse lies the dairy farm of W. C. Brayton. It contains about two hundred acres, and was formerly known as the "Orchard Hill Farm," because a portion of it lies on a gentle elevation, and was years ago covered with an old-fashioned apple orchard of natural fruit, some of the trees of which are still standing and bearing. When Mr. Brayton moved on to the farm, eight years since, portions of it were covered with boulders, which occupied the soil and rendered tillage difficult and laborious, and other portions were pronounced nearly worthless because of their swampy character. But he had faith in underdraining and the good sense to see that the use of the surface occupied by the boulders would pay for their removal. Little is now found to obstruct the free passage of the plow, and the swamps and swales have disappeared. The yield of the crops has correspondingly increased with the improvements in the appearance of the surface.

His specialty is the production of milk for the market. In the management of his herd, and the husbanding of manures, coupled with his quick perceptions and good judgment, will be found the secret of his not only keeping up, but increasing the fertility of his farm. His dairy numbers fifty cows, and he keeps, in addition, the necessary young stock from which to replenish and improve his herd. His cows are mostly crosses of the Dutch Belted breed.

Some idea of the luxuriance of his grass crop may be inferred from the fact that he has summered fifty cows, on thirty-five acres of grass, and four of sowed corn, with the addition daily of two pounds of shorts to each cow. As he is producing milk for market, of course he must have a flow of milk the year round. But he avoids having the cows come in during the hot months. His average yield per cow is eight quarts daily during the milking period. It is all delivered at the rooms of the Onondaga County Milk Association, which supplies the city of Syracuse with a large portion of the milk used by its inhabitants.

The larger of his two dairy barns runs east and west, and stands facing the south and the road. It is one hundred and fifty feet long by forty feet wide. Two rows of stanchions, one hundred feet long, running along both sides of the west end, accommodate fifty-two cows. They stand facing a center alley about fifteen feet wide.

In the stable two iron rails runs the whole length of the alley between the stanchions. On these rails the feed-car passes along the center of the alley and from it the food is shoveled to the cows on each side.


There are few examples more heroic than that of the pioneer who resolutely bids farewell to his friends and kindred, and to the comforts and enjoyments of a civilized home, to boldly face the stern realities of frontier life. It is, indeed, a pleasing task for the biographer to record his hardships and triumphs, and to make honorable mention of his descendants.

CYRUS KINNE, the progenitor of the Kinne family of this county, was born in Voluntown, Windham County. Connecticut, on the tith of August, 1746, and grew up under the chaste Puritanic influences of a New England home, a young man of excellent habits, which clung to him through life. In the year 1779, having married Miss Comfort Palmer, he moved to Petersburg, Rensselaer County, N. Y. In the city of Troy, in 1791, at a public sale of State lands, now lying in the County of Onondaga, he bid off some of the "survey fifties." His first visit to his lands was on horseback by Indian trails west of Oneida. He was so well pleased with the general appearance of this section of the State, that he immediately bought considerable land adjoining his first purchase. In the month of March, 1792, having disposed of his property at Petersburg, he started with an ox-team, and one horse before a sled, with his four oldest boys, viz: Ezra, Zachariab, Prentice and Ethel for a permanent residence upon his lands.

He experienced great difficulties on his journey, particarly west of Oneida, where he was obliged to cut roads through the dense forests, and cross the streams on fallen trees. About the first of April, he arrived at where Fayetteville now is, and settled on some of the land which he had bought. In the following month of June, he returned to Petersburg, to bring to his wilderness home the remainder of his family. His lands were soon cleared and brought under cultivation. At that time Albany was the nearest market for his surplus products. He gave to each one of his sons, when they married, ico acres of land, lying' in Manlius and adjacent towns. Being a blacksmith as well as a farmer, he did the first blacksmithing in the town of Manlius; and as Justice of the Peace, married the first couple. Perhaps no man was more prominently identified with the early growth and development of the town of Manlius than he. Kind, generous, and humane, he proved one of the most valuable of neighbors and the staunchest of friends. His ten Sons and two daughters, viz: Ezra, Zachariab, Prentice, Ethel, Zebulon, Moses, Joshua, Cyrus, Japbet, Palmer, Rachel and Comfort, reared 84 children who arrived at mature age. He died Aug. 8, 1808, in his 62d year, beloved and respected by all who knew him.

PRENTICE KINNE was born October 16, 1773, and passed his youthful days in alternately attending school and assisting his father on the farm. On June r6, in the year 1800, when 27 years of age he married Miss Elizabeth Kinne, of Plainfield, Windham County, Conn., and in the spring of 1801, he settled on the farm in Manlius, given him by his father, upon which he resided till the day of his death. He struck the first blow upon his 100 acre farm, and lived to see it covered with beautiful fields. In his domestic relations he was a kind and loving father, teaching his children by his upright life the value and importance of virtue and inspiring them with the worthy ambition to be men and women, in the loftiest sense of the word. His teachings were not forgotten, but were fully exemplified in the lives of his children.

JULIUS C. KINNE, the oldest son of Prentice Kinne, was born October 19, 1802, in the town of Manlius, now DeWitt. By severe application he obtained a good common school education. Thoroughness and perseverance were prominent characteristics which marked every transaction of his life. He was a close observer of political affairs and often took an active interest in them. In the fall of 1845, he was 'elected to the State Legislature for Onondaga County, and discharged his duties in such an acceptable manner that he was reelected the following year by a fine majority. While in the Legislature he gained the confidence of Governor Silas Wright, by his honest and able career as a legislator. He left the impress of his pure character upon the town of DeWitt too indelibly to be effaced by the rude hand of time. In the year 1831 he married Mrs. Rachel Willard, by whom he had four sons and one daughter; two sons died in childhood; Howard, the eldest, is married and resides in Iowa. During the Rebellion he enlisted in an Iowa regiment under General Sully, of the Regular Army, and went to Dakota Territory, where he did gallant service. At the close of the war he received an honorable discharge. Edmund D. was born Feburary 9, 1841, in DeWitt, Onondaga County, N. Y. He attended the High school at Syracuse, graduated from Cazenovia Seminary, Michigan University and Columbia Law School at Washington, D. C., and was admitted to the Supreme Court of that district. In 1867 he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan; was admitted to the bar and commenced the practice of Law. In 1868 he was admitted to practice in the U. S. Court. He has been Recorder and DistrictAttorney, and was Mayor in 1875 and reelected in 1876. In the year 1867 he married Mary C., daughter of Olney Hawkins, and has one son. Few young men can show a finer record or have brighter prospects.

EMERSON KINNE, the second son of Prentice Kinne, was born Feb. 16, 1804. By self-improvement, principally at home, he obtained a good education. Although never seeking civil office, yet so well known was his integrity and ability that he reluctantly accepted the most prominent offices of his town, such as Supervisor three years, one of which was unanimous with the exception of a single vote; Assessor in the town of DeWitt for several years; and Commissioner of Highways, in the old town of Manlius.

Always from a boyup, he took an intense interest in military affairs. In 1828, he was commissioned ensign of a company of infantry, by acting Gov. Nathaniel Pitcher; and was rapidly promoted through all the intermediate grades to commandant of the regiment; and was subsequently appointed Brigade Inspector of the 27th brigade of infantry by Gov. William L. Marcy. It is a very rare occurrence that men are so rapidly promoted. As an officer he was pleasant and affable to his associates and rigidly strict in discipline. Politically, he was a Democrat till the close of the Rebellion, when he joined the Republican party. He married Miss Janet Luddington, in the year 1833. Their children are all deceased. In 1831, he united with the Baptist Church of Syracuse, of which he is still a member. During that long and honorable period he has labored incessantly, in his humble way, to advocate the cause of Christ.

MASON P. KINNE, third son of Prentice Kinne, was born in Manlius, (now DeWitt,) Nov. 30, 1808. He received as good a common school education as the schools of those early days afforded, and assisted his father on the farm till the death of the latter, when he received a portion of the farm which he still occupies. On Jan. 30, 1840, he married Mary J. Spaulding, of Clarkson, Monroe County. The resuit of this union was five children, viz: Chas. Mason, Mary E., Ansel L., Porter S. and Arthur B. Mary E. and Ansel L., are deceased. Chas. Mason, was born April 11, 1841, graduated from the Syracuse High School in Jan. 1859, and immediately sailed for San Francisco, Cal,, where he was employed in an agricultural ware-house, until 1862, when he enlisted in the "California Hundred," which sailed for Boston, and joined the 2d Mass. Cavalry. For his gallantry he was made Captain, and also Ass't Adj. Gen, of the Regular Brigade, 1st Cay. Division, under Gen. Gibbs, and in July, 1865, received an honorable discharge, with a recommend for brevet Major for faithful services and meritorious conduct. He is now Judge Advocate on Gen. Macornb's Staff; an honorary member of the First Cal. Guard, San Francisco; and, also, a life member of the "National Guard," Vice-President of the "Microscopical Society," of San Francisco. Porter S., is practicing medicine in Patterson, N. J. Arthur B. is practicing in Syracuse. Mr. Kinne voted the Democraticticket until 1853. In 1854. he joined the Republican party. He is a consistent Christian and endeavors to live in accordance with his profession.

ELBRIDGE KINNE, fourth son of Prentice Kinne, was born in Manlius, May 26, 1810. On October 17, 1837, he married Sophronia, daughter of Rev. Seth Young, of DeWitt. They have had six children, of whom Theodore Y., who was a surgeon in the army, is now practicing medicine in Patterson, N. J., and E. Olin, who graduated from the Syracuse University in the class of '76, and from the Ann Arbor Medical School in the class of '78.

Mr. Kinne is now living on a portion of the farm formerly owned by his father. He was a Democrat until the formation of the Republican party of which he became a member. He has been Supervisor, Justice of the Peace, and Clerk of the Board of Trustees of DeWitt, and also class-leader in the M. E. Church for over forty years.

SALOME K., daughter of Prentice Kinne, was married to De Witt C. Peck, of DeWitt, October 29, 1840, and has had seven children. Herbert D. was Second Lieutenant in Company E of the Twenty-second N. Y. Cavalry, was under General Grant and was captured at Reams' Station. He was paroled from Wilmington Prison March 1, 1865. After the surrender of Lee, (the parole becoming void) he again joined his regiment and received a Captain's commission.

EMILY KINNE, second daughter of Prentice Kinne, was married to Mr. Curren Elms, and has had seven children, four sons and three daughters. Their eldest son, George, served in the civil war until its close. Their second son, Byron, was two years in the service and was honorably discharged.

Fraternity is written in golden letters over the hearts of these brothers. Their hearts beat in unison with a rythm which the passions cannot disturb. From childhood to manhood, their thoughts, their purposes, their lives, have been devoted to the' noble aim of keeping aglow upon the family alter the embers of brotherly love. Living near one another, they keep up a constant. pleasant, social family intercoursewhich never has been marred, but is increasing in intensity as the years roll along. They have felt the need of, and placed before their children the opportunities for obtaining, a liberal education; and a glance will show that their efforts have not been fruitless. Religious, moral, temperate and humane, they are endeavoring to realize in practice the grand truths inculcated by Christianity.


David S. Miller was born in Ulster county, April 24, 1796, and was a son of Samuel and Helena (Schoonmaker) Miller. His father was for many years a sailor on the ocean and the North river, and then settled on a farm. David remained with his father on the farm for several years. When a young man he removed to Schoharie county, where his father worked a. farm three years, and then removed to the town of DeWitt, near Messina Springs, where he purchased a farm. In the year 1841 he bought his farm of one hundred acres of timbered land, built upon it a log house, and cleared it up with his own hands.

After a few years David purchased an acre of land near Merrill's mill, and erected upon it a hotel, which he kept for nine years. At the end of this time he sold out and moved back to his farm. On Sept. 20, 1818, he married Leah, daughter of Peter and Anna Miller, of Ulster county. She died March 3, 1875, aged seventy-four years. The result of this union was eleven children, namely,- John, Clark S., Anna, Elizabeth, Henry J., Alvina, Mary J., Chandler S., Matilda, Esther, and Edward F., of whom five are deceased.

Although Mr. Miller never sought office, yet he has been often honored with the most prominent offices in his town. For about forty-one years he and his wife have been members of the Disciples church, and he has been deacon for several years. He is now in his eighty-second year, with his mind as clear as in the days of his youth. His path down to the grave is being strewn with the beautiful flowers of filial love and veneration.

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