Biography of Van Buren Gross
Tompkins County, NY Biographies





Gross, Van Buren, was born in Marathon, Cortland county, September 22, 1832, the youngest of twelve children of Freeman and Susanna (Preston) Gross. Freeman was a cooper and builder of distilleries, and in the early history of Cortland county his services were in constant demand in the building of "stills" Van Buren, our subject, was early apprenticed to his brother to learn the cooper's trade. He attended the district schools and one term at Homer Academy, and early in 1853 he started to make his own way in life, with little capital but the determination to succeed, and notwithstanding the hardships and limited advantages attending his early life, he has made good his ambitions and hopes. April 7, 1853, Mr. Gross reached Peruville, and there entered the cooper shop of Horace Baker, with whom and Harry Hill he worked four years. In 1858 he rented the McLean firkin factory, and in partnership with T. M. Wicks operated it for three years. Later he was partner with John Lewis and still later worked in the same shop for Lewis & Beckwith. He then moved to Malloryville, where he worked for a Mr. Howe, and the following fall bought the Smith Townley farm of thirty acres. For several years afterwards Mr. Gross continued his work in the shop at McLean, also operating the farm. He finally bought the McLean factory, enlarged and added to its capacity, established both barrel and churn making departments, and made it in all respects the chief industry of the village, building up an extensive trade, through his straightforward business methods. Mr. Gross is a Republican and was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1873-74-75, and when the E. C. & N. R. R. was being constructed through Groton he was town commissioner. March 29, 1858, he married Aznbah A., daughter of Henry and Azubah Teeter, and they have four children.

From:
Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York
Including a History of Cornell University
Edited by: John H. Selkreg
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1894


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