Names Index
Portrait Index

   FRANK ISBELL, a wide-awake farmer of the town of Nelson. N.Y., a man with a good faculty for business, was born April 23, 1831, in the town of Eaton, son of Oliver and Sally (Ayers) Isbell, both natives of Massachusetts. The father was a farmer, and came to Madison County when there were very few settlers here. He purchased several different tracts of land, making some improvements on each parcel. His first home was the unpretentious log cabin: but, with the good luck that followed the industry and perseverance of all those pioneers, he was soon able to build for himself a substantial house and farm buildings. He prospered in this country; and to himself and wife were born three sons and four daughters, of whom four are living at the present time, namely: Frank, above mentioned; Eli I., a well-to-do farmer of the town of Eaton; Asa P., farmer and mechanic, also of Eaton; and Antoinette, unmarried, residing with him. Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Isbell died in the town of Eaton, he at the age of eighty-seven years, and she at seventy-seven years. They were members of the Baptist church.
   Attending the district schools in his boyhood, Frank Isbell remained on his father's farm until he was of age, and then for three seasons worked out for farmers. He bought his first land in the town of Nelson, consisting of one hundred acres. Previous to this he had run a large dairy farm on shares, and also a cheese factory very successfully for-eight years, in this manner earning the money which enabled him to purchase his land. Soon afterward he sold this first farm at remunerative prices, and in March 24, 1868, bought the beautiful place of one hundred and ten acres, to which he has added lots from time to time, until he now has two hundred and ten acres under cultivation in the town of Nelson, besides land in Georgetown in the neighboring vicinity. While he carries on general farming, his special crop being hay, he has from twenty to twenty-seven head of stock, both for dairy and the work of the farm.
   On February 7, 1855, he married Miss Mary Wescott, who was born in the town of Eaton, April 5, 1834, and is the daughter of Paul and Elizabeth Wescott. Her father was a native of Rhode Island, and her mother of Vermont. Mr. Wescott was a farmer and an early settler of the town of Eaton, where he and his wife both died. They had nine children, of whom six are living: Dr. James J. Wescott, born in 1826, resides in Norwich, N.Y.; Sylvester, born in 1832, lives in the old Wescott home in the town of Eaton; Mary, wife of our subject, born April 5, 1834; Wilber, born 1836, resides with Mr. and Mrs. Isbell; William S., born in 1838, lives at Orange Park, Fla.; Henry, born in 1843, is a resident of Oswego County, New York. Ezekiel, Hiram, and Salem are now deceased. Paul Wescott was born in 1789, and died in 1847. His wife, Elizabeth, was born in 1802, and died in 1859. They were well-known and respected pioneer settlers of Madison County.
   After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Frank Isbell resided in Eaton for nine years, and since then have lived in the town of Nelson. They have two sons: Charles F., born October 19, 1856, in the town of Nelson; and Elmer E., born September 30, 1861, in the town of Eaton--both of whom reside on the old homestead, assisting their father in the management of the farm. Charles F. was married December 28, 1882, to Miss Emma Lord, who was born in Smithfield, Chenango County, N.Y. They have two children: Mary, born April 29, 1885; and Minnie L., born June 20, 1888. Elmer E., the second son, received a good education in the district schools, finishing at the Norwich Academy, and for a number of years taught school in the neighboring towns. On October 6, 1882, he married Miss Jennie A. Jones, who is of Welsh parentage. She is a very highly educated lady, and with her husband kept a select school in West Eaton Village. They have one daughter, Anna Grace, born April 27, 1887. Elmer Isbell is liberal in his religious views, and his wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He is a Republican in politics, as is his father, both taking very great interest in the affairs of their party.
   While Mr. Frank Isbell is not a member of any religious organization, he is liberal-minded and tolerant of differing opinions. He is a man universally respected in his county, having during his residence here built up a solid reputation for integrity, industry, and uprightness of character. What he has started out to do has been well done; and his popularity is evinced by the positions of public trust he has held, having been Overseer of the Poor for some terms and Highway Commissioner for a number of terms. He is a member of Farmers' Grange, No. 605, of which his son Elmer is an ex-Secretary.

1999- All rights reserved.