JOHN L. BABBITT
John Leroy Babbitt was born at Utica, N. Y., May 17, 1835. When a child he removed with his parents to Susquehanna county, Pa., where his father followed the occupation of peddler, which kept him from home the greater part of the time. His mother was a seamstress, and was employed wherever she could find work for her needle; as a result, the boy, John L., was deprived of a permanent home, and lived about at different places and with different people, doing such light work as his age and strength permitted, and obtaining but little schooling. At the age of fifteen, in company with a cousin, he started west, crossing Lake Erie on the sidewheel steamer Mayflower from Buffalo to Monroe City, Mich. From the latter place he walked fourteen miles to an Indian settlement, where he obtained employment at farming and lumbering. After a limited period at this labor he attended the Union School at Tecumseh, Lenawee county, Mich., and later applied himself to learning the machinist trade at the same place.
Having finished his course of instruction and practice in the machine shop, he was employed first by the Michigan Southern Railroad Company, then by the Terre Haute, Alton and St. Louis Railroad Company, and finally by the New York and Erie Company. In 1860 he went to New York city, where he became the chief en- gineer in the immense soap factory of his uncle, B. T. Babbitt; here he remained for three years, and then accepted the position of chief engineer for the Glen Cove Starch Company, at Glen Cove, Long Island. For eleven years he satisfactorily filled this place, during which time he was appointed by the governor of the State steam boiler inspector for that congressional district, comprising the counties of Queens, Suffolk, and Richmond.
In the spring of 1874. Mr. Babbitt came to Whitesboro as superintendent of the iron works which his uncle, B. T. Babbitt, had established there, a position he still holds.
Mr. Babbitt has proved himself a useful citizen in the village of his adoption in every way and has won the esteem and confidence of his fellow men. He has served the village of Whitesboro as trustee for several terms, and as president for one term; he has been trustee of the United Society of Whitestown several years, also president, and for a short time deacon. In 1893 he was chosen the first president of the Homestead Aid Association of Whitestown. . Notwithstanding the disadvantages and hardships of his early life, and a lack of opportunities which give to youth a hopeful view of the future, Mr. Babbitt proved his natural abilities by the sturdy energy and restless ambition to succeed have characterized his career from boyhood to middle age.
Mr. Babbitt was married on June 2, 1869, to Miss Lorinda L. Potter, who was born at Gibson, Pa., December 21, 1836, and educated at Hartford Academy, Susquehanna county, Pa. They have had two children: Willie T., born at Glen Cove, Long Island, November 27, 1871, died August 2, 1872; and Benjamin Talbot, born at Whitestown, N. Y., October 9, 1874, who is now a student at Cornell University in the class of '97, he having won a scholarship in that institution at a competitive examination.
David Babbitt, father of John L., was the oldest son of Nathaniel, of Paris Hill, Oneida county. He was born in 1806, and died at Brockwayville, Jefferson county, Pa., January 29, 1868. He married Miss Emma Parmenter, born at Westminster, Windham county, Vt., in 1804; she died at Whitesboro, July 19, 1889. John L. was their eldest son; they had one daughter, Frances Emma, born August 23, 1838, and died at Gibson, Pa., June 13, 1844. John L. Babbitt and his son, Benjamin Talbot, are the only male descendants left to bear the family name, made a household word for many years by B. T. Babbitt.
Among the first grievances that led to the Revolutionary war was the duty imposed on tea; the opposition to this tax culminated in a public meeting, November 29, 1773, which resolved "that the tea should not be landed, that no duty should be paid, and that it should be sent back in the same vessel." Vessel after vessel arrived in Boston harbor, and finding they could not unload, desired to return with their cargoes to England; but Governor Hutchinson refused to grant them permission to pass the castle. Agitation increased, and a large meeting was held December 18, 1773, addressed by Josiah Quincy. In the evening the question was put, "Do you abide by your former resolution to prevent the landing of the tea ?" The vote was unanimously in the affirmative. Application was again made to the governor for a "pass." After a short delay his refusal was communicated to the assembly. Instantly a person in the gallery, disguised as an Indian, gave a "war whoop." At this signal the people rushed out and hastened to the wharves About twenty persons, in the dress of Mohawk Indians, boarded the vessels and, protected by the crowd on shore, broke open 342 chests of tea and emptied their contents overboard. Nathaniel Babbitt, the great-grandfather of John L., was the hero of the war whoop and one of the twenty "Mohawks" at the celebrated "tea party." His three sons, Nathaniel, jr., Benjamin and William, all served in the Revolution. William and Nathaniel, jr., settled in what is now the town of Paris, Oneida county, about 1792. Nathaniel married Miss Betsey Holman and settled near Holman City, and at one time was a blacksmith at Paris Hill and afterwards kept a tavern in East Sauquoit in the house now occupied by Asher Gallup, and later worked in the Farmers' Factory Oil Mill, where he received a painful injury by the falling of a mill stone on one of his legs. His children were David, George R., Benjamin Talbot, Rebecca Howard, Betsey Gilson and Polly Spaulding. Benjamin T., the millionaire soap manufacturer, and proprietor of extensive machine shops at Whitesboro, is the only descendant of a Paris pioneer who has attained to a colossal fortune.
GENEALOGY OF THE BABBITT FAMILY.
1. Nathaniel Babbitt, a resident of Boston, Mass., a soldier of the Revolution and the hero of the "war whoop " of the "tea party" in Boston harbor, December 18, 1773. His sons were Nathaniel, jr., William and Benjamin, also Revolutionary soldiers throughout the war.
2. Nathaniel Babbitt, jr., married Betsey Holman, daughter of David Holman, came from Middlesex, Conn., about 1792, and settled near Holman City. Their children were David, George Reed, Benjamin Talbot, Betsey, Polly and Rebecca.
3. David Babbitt, born in Paris, N. Y., in 1806, married Emma Parmenter, daughter of Charles Parmenter of Vermont in 1832. He died at Brockwayvile, Pa., January 29, 1868. His wife was born at Westminster, Vt., in 1804, and died at Whitesboro, N. Y., in July, 1889, and is buried at Gibson, Pa. Their children were John Leroy and Frances Emma.
4. John Leroy Babbitt, born May 17, 18354 at Utica, N.Y., married at Gibson, Pa., June 2, 1869, to Lorinda L. Potter, daughter of Buel G. and Lydia Potter. Frances Emma, born at Utica, N. Y., August 23, 1838, died at Gibson, Pa., June 13, 1844, and buried at Gibson.
5. Willie T. Babbitt, born in November, 1871, at Glen Cove, N. Y., died August 2, 1872, at same place; buried at Gibson, Pa. Benjamin Talbot, born August 9, 1874, at Whitesboro, N. Y.