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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published by John M. Gresham & Co. in 1891.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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RANSOM F. COWING is a citizen of Chautauqua county by adoption only. He was born October 25, 1832, in the town of Chesterfield, Massachusetts. His paternal grandfather belonged to the Puritan stock of New England, which has given so much stability and character to American social, religious and political institutions. He was also a native of Massachusetts, where he spent his entire life and died at an advanced age. His maternal grandfather was also of New England birth and parentage. Our subject’s father, Thompson Cowing, was born about the year 1794, and came to Chautauqua county, New York, in December, 1839, locating in the town of Busti, at what is now the famous and popular summer resort of Lakewood. Here he purchased some two hundred and twenty-five acres of land from Joseph Barker, and devoted the remainder of his life to clearing it and bringing it into a proper state of cultivation. He was a man of close application to his work — a hard toiler in every sense of the word, who knew the value of a dollar measured by honest labor. In political caste he was a whig during the existence of that party, but with the rise of the Republican party he cast his lot anew. He united in marriage with Saloma House, and had a family of nine children, six boys and three girls; one girl died in infancy. They are: Charlotte, dead; John, who has retired from farming and now lives in Jamestown, New York; Charles, now living in Busti, New York; Samuel, a farmer living near Lakewood, New York; Julia, dead; Marietta, married to Samuel Butler, a merchant of Cambridge, Wisconsin; Fortis, now dead, but formerly a resident of Jamestown, New York, until his death in November, 1890. He entered the civil war as a member of Co. F, 9th Regiment, N. Y. Cavalry, in 1863, and served until the close of the war; and James, lives in the town of Ellicott, a farmer by occupation.

Ransom F. Cowing was united in marriage to Martha A. Duryea, a daughter of Jacob Duryea, of Long Island New York. By this marriage he had two children: Ransom T., born January 18, 1862; and Nellie A. Ransom T. was twice married; first to Mattie Steward, of Watts Flats, New York, and after her death to Elizabeth Crouch. He now resides at Meadville, Penna., where he is employed in the service of the N. Y., P. & O. division of the Erie railway company.

Ransom F. Cowing, in early life, was forced by circumstances to carve out his own fortune, and hence his educational advantages were necessarily circumscribed. However, when the throes of the civil war were upon us, he was among the first to place himself at the service of the nation to preserve its honor, its flag and its political autonomy. He enlisted in Co. F, 9th Regiment, N. Y. Cavalry, and served three years and three months. At Brandy street, Virginia, his arm was shattered by a shell. During his term of service he took part in sixteen engagements, and, as a reward for valor he was promoted first to a sergeancy and then to a lieutenancy. For the past fifteen years he has been in the employ of the Eric R. R. company in the capacity of baggage agent. He has always been an ardent supporter of the Republican party, and has served in several town offices, though they have always come to him unsought. His soldier’s record, his honesty of principle and purpose and his uniform kindness have won for him the respect and confidence of his fellow-citizens.

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This family biography is one of 658 biographies included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published in 1891. 

View additional Chautauqua County, New York family biographies here: Chautauqua County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Chautauqua County, New York here: Chautauqua County, New York Map

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