PELEG STANBRO, a late citizen of Brookfield, long venerated for practical wisdom, integrity, and constant acts of kindness, was born in Cortland County, New York, February 12, 1817, and died at his home in Brookfield, October 13, 1893. By loving hands his remains were laid to rest in the Brookfield cemetery.
When a man has illuminated his whole life by acts of benevolence, earning for himself from the whole community the endearing title of "uncle," the writing of his biography is truly a pleasant task.
Far back in the early part of last century John Stanbro, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, having grown to manhood in Connecticut, the State of his birth, came to New York, settling first in Plainfield, Otsego County, being a pioneer of the town. Later he removed to Cortland County, where he resided until his death.
Peleg Stanbro, the first of the name of whom record is here made, a son of the immigrant, after his education in the public schools pursued farming, and, when he was eighteen years of age, purchased his time from his father, and hired out by the month. This continued for twelve years, when he went to Brookfield, N.Y., and became a dealer in real estate, owning several large farms. His first wife was Miss Rhoda Collins, born in Rhode Island. They reared eight children: Peleg, Jr., characterized in the opening paragraph above; Rhoda Jane; Hannah Serene; Joseph C.; Mariette; Joshua F.; William; Hoxie. The mother died in Brookfield, and Mr. Stanbro's second wife was Miss Laura Burdick. She died in the town of Brookfield, of which she was a native. The father then resided with his eldest son, Peleg, Jr., until his death, which occurred at the age of eighty-eight.
Peleg Stanbro, son of the elder Peleg and grandson of John Stanbro, received but a brief common-school education, and before the age of twenty had been initiated into the work of farm life. When he reached his majority, he learned the carpenters trade, and remained working for an uncle for three years. After this he went to Illinois as a commercial traveller, but soon returned to Brookfield, N.Y., and at the age of twenty-four married Miss Bathsheba Kenyon, daughter of Gideon and Sarah Kenyon, who, like himself, were Quakers.
At this time he bought a farm of two hundred and fifty acres in the town of Brookfield, beginning his married life with only four hundred dollars in cash. but a princely fortune in the possession of a thrifty, able wife, and his own stock of indomitable will and perseverance.
He soon paid for his farm, and lived on it in a simple dwelling for twenty-five years, moving then into a beautiful newv residence, which he supposed would be his home for the remainder of his life, but which the fire fiend laid in ashes, destroying in a single day the fruits of his years of toil. Nothing daunted, however, by this misfortune, with his habitual hopefulness and energy he set about building another house upon the same site--a lofty hill, overlooking all the surrounding country.
He continued to buy land until he was the owner of a farm of four hundred and sixty-seven acres, finely improved. With all necessary buildings, besides various other pieces of property in West Brookfield.
About five years ago his greatest sorrow came to him in the death of his wife, who was called away March 22, 1888.
Mr. Stanbro always clung to the Quaker faith, finding strength and comfort in its doctrines of peace, its teachings of simple goodness of life. In no more marked way did he show his greatest trait, benevolence, than in his kindness to orphans. Having no children of his own, his home was ever open to the fatherless and motherless: and in three cases he took and reared children, providing them with ways and means to make their own living in the world. One young man who experienced his generosity is now married, and is a prosperous farmer in Iowa. Another grateful beneficiary, who was taken by him and his wife into their home when only three weeks old, and there grew to womanhood, superintended his household after the death of his wife, and gave him in his declining years the loving care and devotion of a daughter. Her mother was Mrs. Jane Greene. Five years ago she was married to Mr. Henry Dyball, who, with Mr. Stanbro's nephew and namesake, Peleg S. Jennings, now carries on the farm.
Others besides these already mentioned were the recipients of Mr. Stanbro's bounty, among them a Miss Carter and a Miss Champlain, who had a home in his family for many years. He was never known to deny aid and comfort to the worthy unfortunate and disheartened, but, on the contrary, was always the first to help such as these by encouraging words and kind deeds.
"Uncle Peleg" he was familiary called, well deserved the affectionate appellation, being practically so near akin to all. He was Commissioner of Highways for fourteen years. At the time Mr. Stanbro was appointed to this position the townspeople were about determined to abolish the office, as it was considered useless. He soon demonstrated the fallacy of this view by showing the necessity of good, substantial bridges; and during his time of office he built an iron bridge over every stream in the town, fourteen in all, which are pointed out by his townspeople as a monument of his sagacious energy. He always voted the Republican ticket, and repeatedly served as Inspector of Elections. He was a man of rare intelligence, having an especially fine library, in which he took great pride and pleasure. He was an honor to his town, where he was revered and beloved by all, and where his fragrant memory will long be cherished. His inward light shone clear. He walked with unfaltering steps in the narrow way the "faithful fathers knew."
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