H. CLAY ACKLEY was born at East Hamilton, Madison County, N. Y., November 9, 1842. The grandfather and his two brothers were residents of Colchester, Conn., and in the beginning of this century made the journey to Madison County with ox-teams, and located near the present home of our subject. They purchased a large tract of heavily timbered land, and laid out a village, naming it Colchester, which was later changed to East Hamilton, N. Y. Here they remained for one summer, and raised one crop. They had come from Connecticut alone, leaving their families, but in the winter returned for them, and in the following spring brought them to their new homes. They continued clearing their land until, at the time of their deaths, nearly all of it (about three hundred acres) was laid
out in fine farms, which have passed through succeeding generations, and are still owned by our subject, his brother, a sister, and an uncle. The grandfather's name was Ely, His son, father of our subject, was Joseph Neelan Ackley; and his birthplace was East Hamilton. The latter was reared to agricultural pursuits, and lived and died on the homestead. He married Caroline, daughter of John and Betsey Wells; and to them were born three boys,--John, Ely, and H. Clay.
Her mother was Betsey Galloway, and she was the first white woman who settled in the town. Mrs. Joseph Ackley died on the home farm.
H. Clay Ackley was educated in Hamilton College, and graduated from a college in Rochester, N.Y. After finishing school, he went to Waterville, N, Y. and engaged in hop culture. He first entered the employment of
the firm with which his brother is associated, that of Ackley & Risley. Here he remained for some time, and then became engaged with E. Ackley & Charles Bacon, and later with the firm of Putnam & Peck. With these firms, large hop-dealers in the county, Mr. Ackley gained excellent ideas of business, which have since stood him in good stead, and to-day make him one of the best men of affairs in his town. After about twenty years spent , with these firms, in each of which be had made his services invaluable, he returned to the home of his father, and at the death of the
latter succeeded him in the ownership of the far, which is now called "the homestead." Since owning the place, he has continued to improve it in every way, and has never spared expense in providing it with all the modern implements for labor saving, and thus has one of the model farms of the county. For several years he has given much attention to the raising of trotting horses, and has some splendid stock in his paddocks. Having a fine race track on his land, he is conveniently situated for the training of his trotters. This track is owned by his uncle, and many race meetings are held here.
When Mr. Ackley was twenty-two years of age, he was married to Miss Frances Brainard, daughter of Ira and
Jemima (Beebe) Brainard. During their married life Mr. and Mrs. Ackley have had unbroken happiness. Mrs. Ackley is a woman of rare business and literary accomplishments, and, whether in the household, society, or in her husband's office, is equally at home, filling any of these positions with a graceful demeanor and modest and agreeable manner. The hospitality of their home is proverbial throughout the county; and their cheerful, frank dispositions make a hearty welcome to their hosts of friends.
Mr. Ackley has been elected Supervisor of his town three times, having won the confidence of his townspeople by his unswerving rectitude. Both he and his wife are members of the Universalist church, and by their Christian lives attest the sincerity of their belief. Their benevolence and charity to the poor are well known; for they consider themselves as only stewards of their wealth, giving freely of their abundance to those less fortunate than themselves.
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