GEORGE G. SPERRY. The great philosopher and cynic of Chelsea, Thomas Carlyle, wrote a famous book about clothes, in which he moralized at length upon their exterior character as something foreign to the inner man, but did not venture to dispute their potentiality in influencing opinion and determining the degree of estimation in which we are held by our fellow-men. This most truly applies to civilized communities, where, in the ceaseless rush and whirl of life's battle, one is forced at first acquaintance to estimate others by mere externals; and the clothes of a
man--their style, quality, his manner of wearing them--afford in many cases a correct clew to the character of the wearer. Those, therefore, who in any stage of the world's history have been engaged in the production, improvement, manufacture of, or traffic in, the raw material or finished product of these articles of use, whether designed for protection from the severity of nature in northern climes or for mere personal adornment, have been a potent influence in the onward movement of civilization, and have formed an important wheel in the complicated machinery of human society.
It is in connection with such an important branch of industry that the subject of this biographical sketch stands forth as a representative. A member of the firm of Sperry & Sperry, leading dry-goods merchants of Hamilton, Madison County, he is a prominent representative of an ancient pioneer family of the State of New York, and an honorable, successful business man of Hamilton. He was born in Augusta, Oneida County, in
1830, and is a son of Minot Sperry, born in Connecticut in 1787, and died in Augusta, Oneida County, in 1869. Minot Sperry married Miss Nancy Sperry, who was not a relative, though of the same name. She was also of Connecticut. They reared a family of six sons and five daughters, the subject of this sketch being their seventh child. All grew to maturity but one son, Albert, who was accidentally killed, when seven years of age, by a fall from a tree. Of these eleven children there are now living four sons and two daughters, namely: I. M. Sperry, who resides at Oriskany Falls, near the old home, and is now about seventy-six years of age; Charles B., a carpenter of Beatrice, Neb.; George G., the subject of this sketch; Mary A., wife of A. Delevan, of Duanesburgh, Schenectady County; Frank B., a farmer on the old homestead; and Albertina R., who is unmarried and in the store with her brother, the subject of this sketch.
George G. Sperry remained at home until he was fifteen years old, attending school and working on the farm. At the age mentioned he became engaged in the mercantile business, and has thus continued up to the present time. Being a man of industrious habits, persevering disposition, and of unsullied personal integrity, he has acquired an ample competence by means of his own exertions. His store in Hamilton is one of the best of its class, and is conducted on the most approved business methods, the stock being replenished at frequent intervals, according to the demands of fashion or the wants of his customers. In the light of his successful career he may be truly considered as one of the self-made men of Madison County.
In 1853 he was married to Miss Eunice L. Durkee, of Augusta, Oneida County, a daughter of Samuel D. and Laura (Hurd) Durkee, both of the State of New York. Mr. Durkee was a successful farmer of the town of Augusta, and died there at the age of
seventy-five, in 1871, leaving a fine estate to his widow and four children. Mr. and Mrs. Durkee had buried one daughter, Sarah A., who was the wife of S. F. Lathrop. She died at the age of twenty-five, leaving one daughter. Mrs. Durkee is still living on the old home farm in Oneida County, and is in her eighty-seventh year, still healthy and active for her age. It has been her custom for years to spend her winters in Florida and to pass the summer months in Canada--a practice which she has found greatly conducive to health. Those of her children who are living are: S. Morris Durkee, of Burlington, Ontario, Canada; Joseph H., of Jacksonville, Fla.; H. Jay, of Augusta, Oneida County; and Mrs. Sperry. Our subject and his wife are the parents of one daughter, Augusta, wife of C. S. Strowbridge, and one son, Samuel M., of Hamilton, who is married, and has two daughters.
Mrs. Sperry received an excellent academic education in her youth, attending the academy at Augusta, and is a cultured, refined, and highly intelligent lady. She is of Scotch-Irish ancestry on her father's side, and on her mother's comes of New England stock. Her ancestors on both sides were noted for their longevity, many of them living to be over eighty or ninety years of age. She and her husband have a most pleasant and happy home; and few, if any, among, the representative citizens of Madison County are more highly esteemed or more sincerely respected than the subject of this sketch and his amiable wife.
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