Biography of the Phelps Family of Potsdam
St Lawrence County, NY Biographies

Phelps Family, The, Potsdam. - In tracing the ancestry of this family we find that in 1828 two brothers, George and William, came to this country from England with a party of seventy in a sailing vessel under the leadership of Joseph Mygatt, a Presbyterian minister. The party founded the town of Litchfield, Conn., and the descendants of William Phelps are the subjects of this sketch. Benajah Phelps, the great grandfather of our subject, was a resident of Massachusetts, He was the father of fourteen children, of whom Abel, the grandfather, was the oldest son. He was born in Massachusetts, April 28, 1774, and married in that State Mary Pelton. In 1801 they immigrated to Vermont, locating in Alburg, Franklin county, now Grand Isle county. Abel Phelps took up a tract of 400 acres, and in connection with its tilling conducted a ferry between Alburg shore and the head of Grand Isle. He was the father of four sons and two daughters: Benajah, Samuel Mix, Marcellus, Algernon Sidney, Olivia, and Marisette. Abel died April 16, 1859, and Mrs. Phelps October 20, 1860. Samuel Mix, the second son and father of our subject, was born at Alburg, Vt., March 25, 1806, where he was educated and made his home until twenty nine years of age. In March, 1835, he moved into St. Lawrence county and located in the village of Norfolk, where he conducted a hotel until 1851. The fail of that year he went to California, and was four years engaged in mining and mercantile business. Returning to St. Lawrence county he engaged in dealing in stock for the Montreal market, a business he followed until the time of his death, February 17, 1856. The mother of our subject, Katherine A. Hoxie, was of Scotch ancestry, and she married Mr. Phelps in Vermont, March 11, 1831. They had seven sons and two daughters, five still living. Hanson Colson Phelps was born at Alburg, Vt., August 10, 1834. His early life was spent in the town of Norfolk. He was educated in the common schools, and the year of 1850 he spent in Malone and Fort Covington Academies. He was one year a clerk in a Madrid store, taught school one winter, and then went to Wisconsin, where he spent seven months, and taught school the following winter in Madrid. The spring of 1854 he went to Chicago. where he was employed until July 1, 1858, as chief clerk in the office of the M. S. and Northern Indiana Railroad. He then returned and was for two years bookkeeper for Carpenter & Hall at Raymondville. In 1860 he engaged in the manufacture of shingles at Kent's mills in the town of Norfolk running six machines with a capacity of 60,000 per day, and was engaged in this business sixteen years. In 1876 he removed to Norwoos and for nine years was employed as a commercial traveler for a clothing firm, November 16, 1885, he was appointed postmaster of the fourth class office at Norwood. In 1888, by the efforts of Mr. Phelps, this office was raised to the third class, and Mr. Phelps was appointed by President Cleveland postmaster for four years, but was removed by President Harrison, March 1, 1890, one year and ten months previous to the expiration of his term of appointment He returned to the business of commercial traveler, which he followed until January 1, 1892, and is now in the employ of the Norwood Elevator Company as bookkeeper. Mr. Phelps has been a member of the Masonic fraternity thirty four years. He married, October 18, 1850, Louise H., daughter of William Kent, a native of Vermont, and they had five children. The eldest son, William Kent Phelps, was killed on the railroad when twenty two years of age. A. daughter, Mabel L., died at nine years of age. Samuel Mix Phelps is cashier of the Buffalo & Gladstone steamship line at Gladstone, Mich. Fred G. is a traveling salesman for a hat and cap house in New York city. Charles H. is a clerk of the Elevator Company at Gladstone, Mich. Sidney Roland Phelps was born in the town of Norfolk, July 28, 1838. He lived in his native town and attended the common schools until 1855. That year he conducted the Empire Exchange Hotel at Colton, and in 1856 he was the steward of the steamer Jenny Lind, plying between Ogdensburg and Montreal, The spring of 1857 he went to Chicago, where he was in the employ of the M. S. and Northern Indiana Railroad until July 5, 1858. He was from that time until October, 1858, engaged as conductor on the first street car ever run in that city. After his return he was for several years in the live stock trade, and October 15, 1866, purchased the Whitney House at Norwood of Benjamin Whitney, where he has ever since been the landlord. Mr. Phelps is a model hotel manager. He has been rewarded for his faithfulness to the business by the accumulation of a large property, enjoying the distinction of being the most popular landlord in St. Lawrence county. The house is always filled with guests, and some of the greatest men of our time have been entertained here. Mr. Phelps is an ardent Democrat, and in 1892 represented his district in the National Convention at Chicago. He married in 1870 Emma Louise, daughter of Allen D. Calkins, a native of Clinton county, now living at Norwood. and they have three children: Jesse Louise, Sidney Prentice, and Harry Benton; all live at home.

Our County and it's people
A memorial record of St. Lawrence County, New York
Edited by: Gates Curtis
The Boston History Co., Publishers 1894

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