Names Index
Portrait Index

  JOHN STEBBINS, who was a lifelong resident of Cazenovia and a useful and valued citizen, actively concerned in the development of its business interests, was born in this town, October 20, 1825, and died suddenly in Boston, Mass., April 29, 1892. He was connected both by descent and by marriage with worthy and honored people not a few. The history of the Stebbins family in America dates back to 1634, in which year Roland Stebbins with his wife and five children emigrated from Ipswich, England. He first settled in Springfield, Mass., and later in Northampton, where he died December 14, 1671. His elder son, Lieutenant Thomas Stebbins, represents in direct line the paternal history of John Stebbins. The latter's father, Charles Stebbins, was the only son of Lewis Stebbins, a native of Springfield, Mass. Lewis Stebbins was the eldest son of Captain Thomas Stebbins, who was the eldest son of Thomas Stebbins (3d), who lived and died in Massachusetts, as did all the Stebbins family to the time of Lewis Stebbins. Thomas Stebbins (3d) was the eldest son of Thomas Stebbins (2d), who was the son of Lieutenant Thomas Stebbins.
The latter was the eldest son of Roland Stebbins, the first ancestor to come to America.
  The father of our subject, the late Hon. Charles Stebbins, a native of Williamstown, Mass., and a graduate of Williams College, class of 1807, came to Cazenovia in 1810, making the journey on horseback. Entering the office of Hon. Perry G. Childs, he studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1813. His death, after many years of active practice, occurred at his home in Cazenovia in March, 1873. Eunice Masters, with whom he was united in marriage, was a native of Schaghticoke, Rensselaer County. This town was also the birthplace of her father, Hon. Josiah Masters. Her grandfather, James Masters, a farmer and powder manufacturer of Schaghticoke, was born, it is thought, in Connecticut, of remote English ancestry. Hon. Josiah Masters continued both the farming and the powder-making, and took a prominent part in public affairs. He was appointed County judge in 1808. He served successively as a Member of the Assembly and as a Representative in Congress from 1805 to 1809. Although his public duties sometimes necessitated long absences from home, he always retained his residence in his native town. He married Lucy Hull, who was born in Derby, Conn., and who spent her last years in Schaghticoke. Five children grew to maturity in the home of Charles and Eunice (Masters) Stebbins--Lucy, Mary, Catherine, John, and Charles.
  The subject of this sketch received his education in the schools of Cazenovia and at Bartlett's Collegiate Institute in Poughkeepsie. Having no inclination to a profession or political life, and possessing an aptitude for business, he devoted himself with energy and profit for many years to the manufacture of woollen goods, also giving some attention to farming. He was for a time President and Superintendent of the Chittenango Turnpike Company, and was also for a time Superintendent of the Cazenovia & Canastota Railroad. He was elected Supervisor of the town of Cazenovia in 1858 and 1859, and again in 1882 and 1883. He was for a number of terms a Trustee and also President of the village of Cazenovia. In 1878 he was appointed Assistant Superintendent of Public Works, having under his direct supervision the middle division of the Erie Canal, extending from the east side of Oneida County to Wayne County, and including the Oswego, Cayuga, and Seneca and Black River Canals. He held this office until 1881. In 1884 he was reappointed to the position, and continued to hold it until 1890.
  We quote from an obituary notice, as follows: "Mr. Stebbins was one of Cazenovia's foremost citizens. He was universally respected for his unimpeachable integrity, and trusted for his business sagacity. He was kind and devoted to his family, and loved by his servants and employees, of whom he had many. He was emphatically a friend to the poor man, and many are the grateful memories of his kindness cherished in humble Cazenovia homes." September 27, 1860, Mr. Stebbins married Katharine Fairchild, daughter of the late Sidney T. Fairchild (of whom see sketch) and sister of Hon. Charles S. Fairchild, ex-Secretary of the United States Treasury. Mrs. Stebbins inherits many of her father's sterling qualities and his decided type of character. She has two daughters, Katharine and Helen Lucy. The first-named is the wife of J. H. Ten Eycke Burr, a banker in Cazenovia. Mrs. Stebbins continues to occupy the Childs homestead, endeared by the clustering remembrances of her early years, and now rich with the associations of three generations.

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