Biography of Nelson Retan
Steuben County, NY Biographies





Retan, Nelson, was born in the town of Pulteney in July, 1837. His grandfather, Barnett Retan, was born in March, 1790, and he married Sallie Drew, who was born in November, 1789, and their children were John, born June 23, 1809; Almeron, born in September, 1811; Gilbert, born in October, 1813; Hannah, born in November, 1815; Susan, born in January, 1818; Rachel, born in February, 1820; Barnett, born in December, 1822; Ebenezer, born in January, 1825; David, born in March, 1827; Sally Ann, born in July, 1829; and Eliza, born in January, 1830. They were farmers and came to Pulteney with their family in 1818, cleared a farm, on which they spent their remaining days. John, father of Nelson, was a farmer by occupation. In polities he was a Democrat and served several years as a commissioner of highways. He married Rachel Smart, who was born September 11, 1811, and their children are Susan, born in September, 1831; Jeptha, born in July, 1835; Nelson, as above; Sylvester, born in July, 1840; Anson, born in April, 1842, killed in the siege of Port Hudson in 1863; Sylvina, born in March, 1844; Olney, born in February, 1846; and Cynthia, born in October, 1849. Their deaths occurred April 29, 1870, and February 17, 1884, respectively. Nelson was educated in the district schools, and began life for himself as a farmer. In August, 1864, he enlisted in Co. A, 161st N.Y. Vols., and served until the close of the war, having participated in the sieges of Mobile and Blakely. In 1866 he purchased his first farm, and in 1884 he engaged in manufacturing lumber, boxes, and grape baskets in the village of Pulteney, this being the largest establishment of the kind in the county. In 1886 he purchased a residence in the village, where he removed. In 1892 his mill and factory were burned, but the same year he rebuilt on a larger scale, which buildings were burned in June, 1895. He again rebuilt and commenced work in August of the same year. In addition to the manufacturing interests, Mr. Retan owns several small farms, to which he attends. In 1860 he married Esther S., daughter of Nelson and Julia Pinkerton Ball, and their children are Alice, born in August, 1863, wife of Clarence Fox of Pulteney; Nellie, born in June, 1867, died in January, 1871; and Anna May, born in May, 1880. Mrs. Retan died July 13, 1889. For his second wife he married Helen Ball, in December, 1890. Her father, Nelson Ball, was born in Pulteney in 1815, and died in 1871, and was a blacksmith by trade. Mr. Retan is a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge of Pulteney, the Pleasant Valley Grange of Urbana, and of the Henry C. Lyon G. A. R. Post No. 535 of Pulteney.

From:
Landmarks of Steuben County, New York
Edited by: Hon. Harlo Hakes
Assisted by: L. C. Aldrich and others
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1896


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