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This page contains biographical sketches (full or extract) of former Shiawassee County residents.
Souce citations (pre-1923) are included with the sketch.



Joseph L. Olcott ** Brayton M. Ormsby


Joseph L. OLCOTT

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 419

The subject of this memoir was a native of Madison county, New York, where he was born March 8, 1835, having been the only son of Harry and Sarah (Gray) Olcott, who lived and died in Madison county, New York, Joseph L. having been but three years of age at the time of his mother's death. He lived on the farm with his parents until the war broke out. This was a time when

There was mounting in hot haste the steed;
The mustering squadron and the clattering car
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder, peel on peel, afar
And near; the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier, 'ere the morning star;
While throng'd the citizens with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips-"The foe!
they come! they come!"

Mr. Olcott enlisted in Company C, Thirtieth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and served three years. He was wounded in the right thigh in the battle of Shiloh, and was afterward discharged for disability. In 1866 he removed to Shiawassee county and located in Bennington township, where he died in 1903, on the homestead where his widow now lives. His first wife was Anna Gale, sister of Charles Gale, a banker of Owosso. For thirteen years he lived on his father-in-law's farm. His wife died January 4, 1878. They had no children. For his second wife he married Lila L. Godfrey, who was born in Erie county, Pennsylvania. She is a daughter of Loomis and Eliza (Peer) Godfrey-both natives of New York state. Loomis Godfrey still lives in Erie county, Pennsylvania, and of his four children Mrs. Olcott was the oldest. The others are: C. G. Godfrey is engaged in the furniture and undertaking business in Bancroft; Rose is the wife of Louis Pease, now living in Pennsylvania, and they have one child, Lewis; W. H. Godfrey lives in Dakota.

In 1876 Mr. and Mrs. Olcott settled on the farm where she now resides. It consisted of one hundred and sixty acres-all improved except about twenty acres. This was afterward cleared and fifty acres added to the farm. Soon after removing there the house was burned. Another was erected and six years afterward this also was burned. A fine large brick house took its place. The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Olcott: Harry is now deceased; Fairy lives in Erie county, Pennsylvania, aged twenty-three years, and is single; Curtis is eighteen years of age, is single, and lives on a farm near Durand, with a man who worked Mr. Olcott's farm in 1904; Lloyd- is aged ten years and is at home; an adopted daughter, Vera, now twelve years old, lives at home and is attending school.

Mr. Olcott was always a Democrat but never aspired to office. He was a Mason and for twenty-five years was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. For several years Mr. Olcott was in poor health and during the last four years of his life was a confirmed invalid, the result of a wound received in the war and already referred to. His widow was a graduate of the school at North East, Erie county, Pennsylvania, known as the Lake Shore Seminary. For six years she was engaged in teaching in that institution. She had an uncle and aunt living in Shiawassee county, and was thus induced to remove to this county. For two years prior to her marriage, Mrs. Olcott taught school in Perry village. At the time of his second marriage, and for some time afterward, Mr. Olcott made a specialty of raising fast horses. He was a pensioner and his widow now receives the same.

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Brayton M. ORMSBY

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 420

The subject of this sketch was but a mere lad when the clash of arms took place between north and south, in our great civil war, as he was born in Lorraine township, Jefferson county, New York, April 6, 1854. In 1861 his father, Loren Ormsby, removed to Michigan, locating in Saline township, Washtenaw county, where he remained until January, 1863, when he enlisted in Company D, Sixth Michigan Heavy Artillery. He saw but one engagement, however, and died from diarrhea, at Vicksburg, Mississippi, July 3, 1863. He was born in New York state, in 1818. His wife, Lydia (Mandeville) Ormsby, was born in Jefferson county, New York. in 1820. She died in Shiawassee county, Michigan, December 30, 1885. She had been previously married to George Batcheler, by whom she had two children,-Frank, who is deceased, and Mary Jane, who now lives in Three Oaks, California. The latter has been twice married-first to a Mr. Potter, by whom she had one child, Frank, while the second husband was a Mr. Stevenson. The parents of Brayton M. Ormsby had four children, he being the third. The others are as follows: Katherine Rose, who was born in 1848, lives in Caledonia township; she married John Parsons, and has eight children,-Mattie, Bertha, Gilbert, Ester, Flora, Edna, Bessie and Bernice. William A., who was born in 1850, lives in Portland, Oregon; he married and has one child,-Edna. Florence E.,-who was born in 1857, lives in southern California, and has one son, Fred Pixley.

Brayton M. Ormsby's half-brother, Frank, enlisted in New York state, for service in the civil war, but was discharged, for disability, before leaving the state for the front. He subsequently came to Michigan and enlisted in the same company and regiment as did his father. He came home at the close of the war. After Loren Ormsby enlisted he bought forty acres of land in Caledonia township, Shiawassee county. It was half cleared but he never moved on to it. His wife, however, afterward, made that her home and proceeded to clear the balance of the forty acres. The family lived there three years and then sold it and moved to Oakland township, Oakland county, where they bought twenty acres, mostly improved land. The family remained there for seven years, when Brayton MI. and his mother removed to Avon township, same county, where the former rented a farm for three years. In September, 1877, Brayton and his mother sold twenty acres in Oakland township, and removed to Hazelton township, Shiawassee county, where they bought eighty acres of wild land. There was a small house on the place, but no barn. Later in 1898, they built a frame house. Brayton cleared this eighty acres and in 1888 he bought forty acres on section 8; all but five acres of this has been cleared. In 1891 he purchased forty acres more,-twenty-five acres of which was timber and fifteen acres stump land. This too, save ten acres, has been improved. In March, 1902, he added to his possessions one hundred and twenty acres of improved land on section 6, upon which he has since built a good house and barn. Fifteen years ago a fawn was shot in his woods by one of his neighbors.

September 28, 1879, Mr. Ormsby married Martha Jane Chase, who was born May 29, 1860,-a daughter of Charles B. and Maria (Holden) Chase,- both natives of Steuben county, New York. Her father was born March 29, 1820, and died April 29, 1890; her mother was born February 27, 1826. She is now living with her daughter, Mrs. Koan, in Venice township. Mrs. Ormsby was the fourth of nine children, as follows: Hattie, who was born in 1852, lives in Corunna; she married R. Houghton, and they have two 'children,- Alice and Leonard. Abbia Detta. born in 1854, lives at Port Allegheny, Pennsylvania; she married Edward Chase and has two children,-Cora and Willis. Charles, born in 1856, lives in North Dakota; he married Emma Teirce and they have two children. -Nina and Neva. Timothy, born in 1862. died in 1899, a bachelor. George, born in 1864, is now working on the county farm in Shiawassee county; he married Anna Herrick, and they have no children. Willett and Wilson, twins, were born August 18, 1866. Willett died November 5, 1897, in Venice township; he married Nettie Jacobs, and is survived by no children. Wilson was killed on a railroad in New York state, February 14, 1893. Ora, born in 1869, married Peter Koan, and lives in Venice township; they have two children,-Nellie and Ernest. Mrs. Ormsby's father came to Hazelton in 1855 and bought two hundred and forty acres of wild land. He then returned to New York state. In 1860 he removed here with his family, making his home on the land formerly purchased. He lived here until his death. He first built a log house and eventually cleared all the land. His nearest neighbors were two miles distant. They made beds on the floor when they first came there. He owned one hundred acres at the time of his death.

Four sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Ormsby, three of whom are living: Loren B., born June 21, 1880, died August 10, 1880; Fred, who was born July 3, 1883, lives in Hazelton township; he married Frances Shooks, and they have one child, Doras, born October 23, 1901. Leslie was born December 30, 1886, and Jay, April 2, 1895.

Mr. Ormsby is a member of the Christian or Disciples church, and his wife belongs to the Weslevan Methodist church. Mr. Ormsbv has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for twenty-nine years and is now treasurer of his lodge. He is also a Granger. His wife belongs to the Daughters,of Rebekah.

Mr. Ormsby is a Republican in politics and has been director and moderator of his school district. His great grandfather, Almond Ormsby, was born in Vermont, and his grandmother was a native of Holland.

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This page was last updated Saturday, 20-Jun-2009 16:20:10 MDT

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