THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


   PETER R. DUFFY. This gentleman was born June 11, 1828, in the town of Eaton, Madison County, son of Fergus and Elizabeth (O'Rourke) Duffy. His parents were both born in Ireland. His paternal grandfather, Ross Duffy, was a prominent farmer in the Emerald Isle, and spent his life there. Of his four children--Ross, Jr., Francis, Fergus, and Margaret-none are living at present. Constantine O'Rourke, father of Elizabeth, emigrated to this country when a young man, a college graduate, and settled in Herkimer County. Much of the land on which the village of Herkimer now stands was owned by him. He was one of the foremost men of his time, being highly respected for his public spirit and enterprise. He spent his last days near Richfield Springs, Otsego County, N. Y., where he died at the age of sixty-five years. He had a family of six children, all now deceased.
   Fergus Duffy came to America when he was twenty-four years of age. After a brief stay in New York City, where he landed, he went to the Southern States, but did not remain there long. He finally located himself in Madison County, New York. After his marriage, which took place in Herkimer County, he resided for some years in the town of Eaton, ending his days, however, in Georgetown, N. Y., dying at the age of sixty-eight years. His wife lived until she reached the age of seventy. Of their seven children, six are now living, namely: Thomas A., a retired farmer of Oneida Castle; our subject, Peter Ross; James Francis, a farmer of the town of Eaton; William Fergus, residing at the old homestead in Georgetown; Elizabeth (Mrs. R. Wallace), of the town of Nelson; Eleanor, wife of Marshall Marvin, a farmer, of Georgetown. Sebastian Duffy, one of the sons, died at the age of forty-five. He was a graduate of Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., and was Principal of Pulaski Seminary for seventeen years. Had the district been less overwhelmingly Republican, he would probably have held a seat in Congress. The parents of our subject were Catholics in religion, and the father a Democrat in politics.
   Peter R. Duffy grew to manhood in the town of Eaton, and received his education in the district schools and in the Morrisville Academy. When he first hired out, he worked for one Sidney Spring, and received, to begin with, five dollars a month, giving his earnings to his father. For the first year's toil his remuneration was one hundred and eighty dollars, and he continued to work at the same place for some time. He then for eight years managed the farm owned by Mrs. Ruth Jennings, for the latter part of the time receiving five hundred dollars per year. On the death of Mrs. Jennings, in 1858, he rented her farm. He was so successful financially that in 1859 he enlarged his business, engaging in speculating and sheep-raising. He was at one time the owner of the largest sheep-fold in his vicinity; and in 1864 he made one sale of sheep which amounted to fifteen hundred dollars, and this was for only a small part of his flock. He sold wool as high as one dollar per pound, and was known as one of the most successful speculators in Madison County.
   During the last year of the war he gave up this business, and invested some of his money in land. Having bought a farm in the town of Nelson, in the vicinity of Erieville, he now carries on general farming, and is one of the principal men of that village. In 1867 he bought the cheese factory, which is one of the oldest and largest of the kindó-a vast concern, having a record of using twenty-two thousand pounds of milk in one day. Mr. Duffy also owns the saw-mill at Erieville, and keeps a good stock of lumber constantly on hand. He owns considerable real estate in various places, having lands in Georgetown, farms in the town of Nelson, and several residences in Erieville. He was married May 24, 1869, to Miss Helen M. Cloyes, who was born in the town of Eaton, December 13, 1832. She was the adopted daughter of Hiram D. Cloyes, and died, March 18,1873, aged forty-one years, leaving no children.
   Mr. Duffy is a popular and busy man in the community. In 1879 he was elected Supervisor, and has held that position nine out of the ten terms that he ran. The town is Republican by from one hundred and fifteen to one hundred and twenty-five majority; but he stands so high in the regard of his fellow-citizens that, although a stanch Democrat, he has thus succeeded in winning over all opposition. He is a Free and Accepted Mason of Cazenovia Lodge, No. 616. As an enterprising and progressive man of good mental endowments, Mr. Duffy is worthy of the high consideration accorded to him in his native town. His judgment of men and affairs is esteemed of great value.

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