HON. DANIEL G. DORRANCE, President of the Oneida Valley National Bank, Oneida, N. Y., was born at Peterboro, Madison County, March 13, 1811. While Mr. Dorrance is a resident of Oneida Castle, his business interests are so closely identified with those of Oneida, the development of which place has been largely due to his energy', enterprise, and liberal use of capital, that his biography naturally has a place in a review of Madison County.
His father, Dr. John Dorrance, was born in Hampton, Windham County, Conn. An earlier ancestor, James Dorrance, who was born in the north of Ireland, and was of Scotch descent, was one of four brothers who emigrated to America in the eighteenth century. They came with four other families in a vessel that they owned, and which they manned themselves. Landing at Providence, R.I., they bought oxen and carts, and cut their way through the woods until they reached Windham County; Connecticut. One of the brothers, Samuel by name, had been educated at Glasgow, Scotland, and ordained to the ministry at Dumbarton. He was soon settled as pastor of the congregation at Voluntown, Conn. When the subject of his installation was first broached, some of the parishioners objected, on account of a rumor that he had belonged to the Boston Presbytery, in which case, in their opinion, he was as bad as the Baptists or Quakers. However, his preaching was acceptable, he was installed, and preached there until eighty-
five years of age, when he resigned. James Dorrance was nineteen years old, and had married shortly before coming to America. Securing land in Voluntown, he labored at clearing and cultivating the soil till his death, in 1799, at the age of ninety-seven years. A son of James Dorrance, also a farmer, and grandfather of the subject of this sketch, removed to the neighboring town of Hampton, and there made his home. He married Rebecca Gordon, a native of that town, who also was of Scotch ancestry. She died at the age of ninety-five years, passing away at the home of an elder son, Rev.
Gordon Dorrance, in Windsor, Mass.
John Dorrance was educated in the district schools and at Hampton academy. At the age of twenty-one he began the study of medicine, which he pursued for two years in Hampton and two years in Dalton, Mass. From this place he went to Maine, then a part of the Bay State, but after a few months' stay decided, in 1806, to go West. With all his earthly effects packed in his saddle-bags, he made the journey to Madison County on horseback. Halting in the town of Smithfield, as a pioneer physician in a thinly settled territory, he entered at once into an extensive practice, riding on horseback a circuit of many miles. In 1808 be removed to Peterboro, where he had a successful practice until his death, which took place in 1857, when he was in his eightieth year.
The maiden name of Dr. Dorrance's wife was Mary Thompson. She was born in Brimfield, Mass., in 1783. Her father, Alpheus Thompson, a native of Massachusetts, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. In March, 1789, he emigrated to New York, accompanied by his family, and making the journey with ox-teams. He tarried for a time in Clinton, then came to Madison County, and selected a tract of timber land near Leland's Pond. Finding the situation not a healthful
one, he soon returned to Clinton, where he lived till 1805, removing then to Smithfield, where he was engaged in farming till his death, in 1817. He married Beulah Blodgett, who was born in Massachusetts, and who died about 1841, when in her eighty-fourth year, passing away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Samuel Record, in Smithfield. She was the mother of seven children,--Mary, the mother of our subject, Joseph, Chloe, Marcia, Wealthy A., Erastus, and Joseph. The last-named died when nineteen years old, the others attaining to a good old age, and all marrying with the exception of Erastus. After the death of her husband Mrs. Mary Dorrance continued to reside at the old home in Peterboro until her death, in 1872, when in the ninetieth year of her age. She had reared six children,--Daniel G., William C., Mary, Louisa, Sarah, and John. Mary became the wife of Dr. Edwin G. Messenger, for many years a medical practitioner in Peterboro, now deceased. Louisa died in 1886. Sarah is the widow of Philander Brown, and resides in Peterboro.
Daniel G. Dorrance received his early education in the district school, and afterward pursued more advanced studies under the tutelage of Joseph S. and Nehemiah Huntington, attorneys of Peterboro. At the age of seventeen he became a clerk in the store of Asa Raymond at Peterboro, where he remained two years, after which for a time he attended the Cazenovia Seminary as a classical student. He was next employed for a period of sixteen months as a clerk at Clockville. In 1832 he went to Florence, Oneida County, to manage a store for J. S. T. Stranahan & Co., continuing there till 1837, and then engaged in mercantile business on his own account, which he conducted till 1859, when he removed to Oneida Castle, where he has since resided. In March, 1837, he married Ann Sparrow, who was born in Shropshire, England, and came to America with her parents, Joseph and Elizabeth Sparrow, in 1833. Mrs. Dorrance died in December, 1891, at the age of seventy-seven years. She left three sons and two daughters. John G., Cashier of the First National Bank of Camden, N.Y., married Mrs. Ellen Brown, a native of Madison County, and daughter of Mrs. George Berry, of Oneida. William H., a director of the First National Bank of Camden, N.Y., and a hardware merchant of that place, married Miss Emma Fifield, of Camden. Mary is the wife of Dr. Miles H. Bronson, of Lowville.
Daniel G., Jr., who is engaged in clerica1 work for his father at Oneida Castle, married Ellen J. Lambie, of Camden, where they reside. Sarah is the wife of Charles L. Knapp, ex-Consul-General at Montreal, and now living at Lowville.
Mr. Dorrance is a member of the Presbyterian church. From information gleaned from various sources the biographer feels justified in making the following mention of Mr. Dorrance: Politically, he was formerly a stanch supporter of the principles promulgated by the Whig and later by the Republican party. In earlier life he was an active worker in State, county, and local politics. For some years he served the people of the town of Florence, Oneida County, as Supervisor, and later, in 1845, was nominated and elected by the Whigs to represent the people of Oneida County in the State Assembly. In 1854-55 he served with credit and distinction in the State Senate. Since that time the interest he has taken in politics has been simply that of a loyal citizen. Judged from a business point of view, he belongs to the town of Oneida, and is widely recognized as one of its most useful and influential citizens, as a property holder taking first rank. His prosperity is largely due to his own exertions. At the school-desk and in the counting-room he early trained himself to habits of diligent application. Beginning on a lower rung of the ladder, he worked his way upward,
gradually mastering the details of his calling as clerk until he became a business manager and proprietor. At an age when most men could think it time to retire from worldly cares, he is still a vigorous man of affairs, at the head of many important trusts. He first became interested in banking in 1847, when, with thirteen others, he organized the Fort Stanwix Bank at Rome. B. J. Beach is the
only other surviving member of the original company. Mr. Dorrance was elected one of the first directors of that bank, and has since continued a member of the board. Soon after coming to Oneida he was elected a director of the Oneida Valley Bank, and shortly succeeded Niles Higinbotham in its Presidency. He was one of the organizers of the Oneida Savings Bank, of which he has been President from its beginning. He is also President of the First National Bank at Camden, is one of the Trustees of the Rome Brass and Copper Mill at Rome, and is President of the Westcott Chuck Company, one of the important manufacturing industries of Oneida.
In the accompanying portrait of Mr. Dorrance the readers of this volume will see with pleasure a graphic presentment of the features of a man whose true Americanism is exemplified in his energy and successful business enterprise, continued into advanced years, and carried on with a sagacity that has but increased with time, and is the natural result of long experience joined to peculiar adaptation for business and commercial pursuits. The class of citizens of which Mr. Dorrance is a type are at once the pride and boast of our common country; and his portrait will be viewed, not only with pleasure and interest by his numerous friends in this part of the State, but by all who realize that energy, pluck, perseverance, and keen native intelligence, such as Mr. Dorrance has so well displayed in his life career, are the qualities that have done so much to build up and advance this great nation, and are therefore, in the highest sense, qualities that are manly, patriotic, and American.
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