THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


   ALANSON C. WILCOX, a retired farmer, living on his one-hundred-acre farm at Clockville, was born in the town of Lenox in 1818. Though now in his seventy-fifth year, and having been a most active, industrious man, he is still well preserved, and is enjoying his declining years as only those can enjoy them who have striven to do their duty as it came from day to day, and who have satisfaction in reviewing the past, which, according to Socrates, is the manner in which old men spend their leisure hours. It was a saying of that great philosopher that young men look forward with hope, old men backward in memory, from which it follows that a serene and happy old age is impossible unless youth and middle life are well spent. Alanson Wilcox, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in the town of Canton, Conn., September 10, 1787. He was a son of Colonel William Wilcox, a Connecticut farmer, who reared a family of eleven children, all but one of whom married and had families. Colonel Wilcox died of old age in Connecticut.
   Alanson Wilcox married Irene Johnson, of a Connecticut. In 1815 they removed to Chenango County, where they lived two years, and then removed to Madison County, settling in the town of Lenox, two miles south of Clockville. Mr. Wilcox rented a farm and ran a grist-mill, and also made barrels in the mill of Horace Case, to whom he was related. Living on rented land until 1823, he then made his first purchase of forty acres, which now form a part of the farm of his son, Alanson C. Wilcox. Afterward he added fifty acres to the forty, and still later added thirty acres to the ninety, and thus at length had a farm of one hundred and twenty acres. In the winter of 1835-36, "the winter of the deep snow," Mr. Wilcox, Sr., erected the large, two-story frame house in which his son resides. He died June 30, 1849, killed by a kick from a vicious horse. At the time of his settlement in this county the country was new and wild, mostly covered with timber, the woods being full of various kinds of wild beasts and game.
   Many were the privations and the hardships undergone by the pioneers. Railroads there were none until about 1845, and common roads were very poor. Newspapers and books were very scarce; and musical instruments were not to be found in every house, as now. Still there were pleasures, doubtless, that modern society does not enjoy. According to accounts that have come down from that early day, there would seem to have been more of sociability and a closer sympathy among neighbors than now exists. Some have argued from this that the former days were better than these, that people are growing more selfish than they were in pioneer times. In view of the generous philanthropy that extends its hand of help across continents and oceans, the sweet charity that encircles the globe, it can hardly be a just judgment which says the generation of the day that now is has receded from the spirit of the new commandment--"Love thy neighbor as thyself "--instead of approaching it. Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox had eleven children, eight of them daughters. One of their sons they buried in infancy in Connecticut; and one son, Orville, died at the age of two years, in 1824. Four of the eleven are still living, namely: Alanson C., the subject of this sketch; Laura, his twin sister, now Mrs. Bull, living in the same vicinity; Hulda, widow of Judge B. F. Chapman; and Maria, of the village of Clockville. The mother of these children died in 1867, when seventy-five years of age; and she and her husband lie buried in the cemetery at that place.
   Alanson C. Wilcox was well educated in his youth, attending the district school and one term at Fayetteville Academy. Remaining at home until his marriage, November 9, 1842, with Catherine Huyck, of Lenox, Madison County, daughter of Jacob and Maria (Harden) Huyck, he then began life for himself. Mrs. Wilcox was born in Columbia County, January 7, 1821. Her parents had ten children, all daughters but one,--Philip, a farmer in the town of Fenner, now aged about sixty-six. Four of the daughters are still living, namely: Christine, wife of Henry Cotton, of Iowa; Sarah, widow of Osbert Messenger, living at Oneida Lake; Elizabeth, wife of James New; and Clysta, wife of H. D. Winchell, of Onondaga County. Mr. Huyck died July 1, 1868, when upward of seventy years of age. Mrs. Huyck died August 1, 1880, at the age of eighty-six.
   Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox have buried three children, namely: Irene, a beautiful and accomplished young lady of nineteen years; Charles A., aged sixteen months; and an infant daughter. Their children now living are as follows: Mary, wife of Allen S. Whitman, of Oneida, who has three children; Sarah, wife of George W. Chapman; and Frances L., wife of Wesley Foster, a farmer dwelling near by, who has one daughter. In politics Mr. Wilcox is a Democrat. He has never been an office seeker, and is free to admit that there are good men in all parties. His occupation while engaged in active pursuits was general farming. He is now resting from his labors. Mrs. Wilcox is connected with the Methodist Episcopal church, and both she and her husband are valued members of society.

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