THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


   BENJAMIN F. MEAD is a fine example of our self-made men. He has pushed his way to the front among the enterprising, prosperous farmers of this county while still in the prime of life, and has a valuable, well-conducted farm in Hamilton. He is a native of Constantia, Oswego County, and was born January 7, 1852. His father, Burr K. Mead, was born in Jefferson County, and there passed his boyhood on a farm, learning by practice how to do all kinds of farm work, and whenever opportunity offered attending the local schools. He left home at an early age, and followed the work of clearing land and selling farms after he attained manhood. In that way he accumulated a comfortable property, and aided in the development of his county. He died at the ripe age of sixty-eight years, December 24, 1870, in the town of Paris, Oswego County. He and his good wife were blessed with four children: Lafayette, the eldest; Jane; Mary H.; and Benjamin F.
   The subject of this biographical sketch obtained a fair education in the public schools, and when only twelve years old, bravely took upon himself the cares and responsibilities of life, and thereafter was self-supporting. The sturdy little lad began his career as an employee on the Erie Canal; and he, too, can boast of rising to an honorable position in the social and industrial world from the tow-path. He continued to work on the canal four summers; but at the end of that time, obtaining a situation on a farm, he returned to the occupation of which his childhood days had given him some knowledge. Since that time he has devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits, in which he has been signally prospered. Unremitting in his labors, combining frugality and excellent judgment with his work, he has come into possession of a choice farm, that is nearly all paid for, and is amply supplied with substantial buildings. Here, in his comfortable, hospitable home, so pleasantly situated, he may well take pride in what he has accomplished, and in the thought that, in advancing his own interests, he has also materially benefited the town and county whereof he has proved himself a good citizen. He is an intelligent member of the Patrons of Husbandry, and belongs to the E. A. U. Society. Politically, he stands with the Republicans, and, religiously, is a faithful member of the Methodist church.
   At the age of twenty-eight years Mr. Mead was married to Miss Jennie E. Morey, a daughter of Charles W. and Eliza Morey. She died in 1884, leaving one son, Floyd A. Our subject's second marriage was with Melvina W. Smith, a daughter of Lewis C. and Clarissa A. Smith. Mr. Mead is one of six children, the others being Elizabeth, Henry C., Sarah E., George, and Clara A.
   Lewis C. Smith was born January 13, 1815, in Greene. Early in life he left home, and became self-supporting. Diligent and saving, at the age of twenty years he was the happy owner of a farm in Lebanon. In 1836 he married Clarissa A. Beebee. Soon after marriage misfortune overtook him in the form of a note which he had indorsed to oblige a cousin, and the payment of which left him once more a poor man. Moving to Madison, he bought a small place, and with a brave heart and willing hands set to work to retrieve his fortune. Yet more sorrowful was the loss that next befell him in the death of his wife, who passed away in the eighth year of their married life, leaving five little ones to be loved and cared for. Two years later he married Martha Burdick, who proved a worthy and helpful consort. At the time of his death, in 1877, he had accumulated enough property to be able to leave one thousand dollars to each of his two surviving daughters, Elizabeth M. and Melvina W. Sarah and Clara had passed away some years before. Having started out at ten years of age to make her own way in the world, Melvina W. Smith, before the time of her marriage with Mr. Mead, had acquired an experimental and thorough knowledge of the meaning of industry and economy. Her husband has found in her a true helpmate,--in Scripture phrase, "an help meet for him." The ownership of the farm has happily been brought about by their joint efforts.

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