NEWELL M. CHAFFEE, a prominent and successful farmer, now living on his two-hundred-and-fourteen-acre farm in District No. 6 in the town of Lenox, was born in the town of Smithfield, two and one-half miles from his present residence, in 1820. He is of French descent, his ancestors having emigrated from France at an early date, and located in New England. His grandfather, Captain Ezra Chaffee, was born in Connecticut in 1742. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary army, and died in Vermont in 1815, aged seventy-three years.
Ezra Chaffee, Jr., the father of our subject, was born in Connecticut in 1777, and was reared from his sixth to his twenty-first year in Vermont. At the end of this period, or in 1798, he removed to New York, to make it his future home. He bought a tract of land on the Mile Strip in the town of Smithfield, and was among the earliest settlers of that town, and one of its most valuable citizens.
He married Miss Fannie Shipman, who was born in Newark, N.J., and died on her husband's farm in Smithfield. She was a daughter of David and Lydia (Combs) Shipman, and a niece of Moses N. Combs, a prominent citizen of Newark, N. J. Mr. Shipman was a soldier of the Revolution, a prosperous man, and died at the ripe old age of eighty-eight years. Ezra Chaffee, Jr., and his wife began life on a portion of the old homestead in Smithfield, where they resided for many years. They were the parents of ten children, five sons and five daughters, one son
dying in infancy. The family afterward removed to Peterboro, where two of the
daughters continued to reside after the death of their parents. All the children are now deceased except the subject of this sketch. Their mother died August 26, 1860, and their father in Peterboro in the year 1862. They were regular attendants at and supporters of the Presbyterian church at Peterboro, and both are now sleeping in the cemetery at that place.
Newell M. Chaffee was reared a farmer-boy when the facilities for a liberal education were not what they are at the present time; but he received the education that the best common schools afforded in those days, which, with his reading and observation, made him a man of excellent judgment. He remained at home, taking charge of his father's farm, until he was married, in 1851. His wife was, previous to her marriage, Miss Catherine MacGregor, a daughter of Colonel Alexander and Margaret (MacIntyre) MacGregor, the former of whom came from Scotland at the age of four years, and the latter (whose ancestors were Scotch) was born in Montgomery County, New York. Soon after marriage Mr. Chaffee bought a farm opposite his father's old homestead. The farm upon which he now resides he purchased in 1854. It was then under a fair state of cultivation,
but has since been much improved, the buildings having been also remodelled and rebuilt. The large barns have been moved to the eastward, so that they are not now an obstruction to the fine view of Oneida Lake and of the enchanting scenery along its shores. Rome, eighteen miles away to the north-east, can be seen with the naked eye; and Oneida, seven miles distant, can also be plainly seen from
Mr. Chaffee's residence. Taken all in all, the view from this point vies with and rivals, if it does not surpass, the far-famed scenery of Italy and the Orient. Mr. Chaffee's home is beautifully embowered by many sugar-maples, planted by his own hands thirty-eight years ago. These trees are now large, stately, and beautiful, no other shade-tree surpassing the maple in beauty, and none in stateliness except the elm, of which there are also several fine specimens near the house. Mr. Chaffee lived in Oneida ten years, where he was engaged in business. The remainder of his time he has spent on his farm. In politics he is a Republican. His party, recognizing his ability and devotion to its principles, have honored him with severall positions of trust.
Mr. and Mrs. Chaffee have had five children, two of whom, a son and daughter, they buried in infancy. The three living are as follows: Fannie E., wife of John Cowan, of Indianapolis, Ind.; Madge A., residing at home; and N. Fred., who married Miss Nina E. Hecox. The daughters were educated at Oneida Seminary, one afterward graduating at Newark, N.J. The son, N. Fred., was a student at Evans Academy, and later at Cazenovia Seminary. He now resides at home, managing the farm. Mr. and Mrs. Chaffee are kind and charitable people, unusually hospitable to friends and strangers. They are noted for their sympathy with those in distress and for their encouragement to all who come within the circle of their knowledge and influence.
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