HENRY S. PHELPS, deceased, was of English origin, and was born in the town of Eaton, Madison County, N.Y., September 16, 1819. He was a son of John Phelps, who was born in Wilbraham, Mass. Elijah Phelps, the father of John, was a native of Lyme, Conn., and served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He was at Valley Forge with Washington, and was a brave soldier and a true patriot. He never failed to observe the anniversary of Independence, and, if in no other way, by firing off his old war musket and relating to his grandchildren stories of the war, inspiring them with his own ardent love of country. He and his wife, Mary Gibbs, also a native of Lyme, Conn., spent their last days with their children in the town of Eaton, this county. John Phelps was born in Massachusetts, and came to Eaton in 1811, where he followed his trade of carpentry. He was a man of great energy, erected many buildings in his town and vicinity, and also carried on farming. He died at the age of forty-six. His wife, Betsy Ayer, was a native of New England, and died in Chautauqua County, New York.
Henry S. Phelps at the age of twelve was called upon by the death of his father to make his own way in the world, an equipment of industrious habits enabling him to do so successfully. At the age of seventeen he began the trade of harness-making, which he followed until 1848, when he returned to his native town, and engaged in mercantile pursuits in Morrisville, continuing thus employed until 1880. He was a man of sterling integrity, an active and useful citizen, and occupied many positions of public trust in his community. His death occurred May 16, 1891. He was married in Tennessee, June 29, 1854, to Mary Austin, who was of English and Scotch ancestry. She was born in the town of Homer, Cortland County, N.Y., November 18, 1823. Her father, Asa Austin, was the son of Joab and Eleanor (Kellogg) Austin, of Sheffield, Berkshire County, Mass. Joab Austin died in Sheffield, and his wife, Eleanor (Kellogg) Austin, in Homer, N.Y. Asa Austin came to the State of New York in 1801, to practise surveying and to seek a home. His choice was in the town of Homer, where he purchased land, erected a saw-mill, and later a flouring and grist mill, which he operated many years. He removed to McGrawville, in the same county, ten years previous to his death. The maiden name of Mrs. Phelps's mother was Susannah Stewart.
She was born in Colerain, Mass. Her father was Charles Stewart, who married Mary Hulbert in 1783, and came to Truxton, Cortland County, N.Y., in 1795. The winter after her husband had located a new home Mrs. Stewart, a gentle, refined woman, with five children, the oldest of whom was Susannah, aged nine years, made the journey with an ox-team. They were six weeks on the way. Mr. Stewart bought a large tract of land, and in a few years built mills, and furnished transportation for his own and adjoining towns, sending their products to Albany, to Salt Point (now Salina), and to other new settlements, his line of teams returning laden with merchandise. In his later years he removed to Michigan, where he died.
Mrs. Phelps received her education in the district school and in the academies of Homer and Cortland. She began teaching while yet in her teens, and taught in the towns of Homer and Owasco and in the villages of Skaneateles and Cortland, and for seven years in the State of Tennessee. She and her husband reared two children, Susannah and Henry. The latter attended Cornell University, and adopted dentistry as his profession, but on account of ill-health was
obliged to relinquish his studies, and died in 1886, at the age of twenty-six. Susannah prepared for college at Morrisville and at Cazenovia Seminary, and graduated at Cornell University with the class of 1880. She is the wife of Professor Simon Henry Gage, Associate Professor of Anatomy and Physiology in that university. They have one son, Henry Phelps Gage.
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