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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published by Chapman Publishing Co., in 1895.  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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CHARLES L. GRIDLEY, widely known throughout this portion of Seneca County, deserves representation in this volume, and it is with pleasure that we present this record of his life to our readers. He is at present farming in the town of Junius, where he is the proprietor of a fine and excellently cultivated estate. The subject of this sketch was born in Sullivan County, N. Y., December 29, 1847, his parents being Charles and Mary Matilda (Skinner) Gridley, well-to-do residents of that county. They moved to Saratoga County when our subject was two years of age, and a little over a year thereafter the wife and mother died, leaving a family of four children, of whom Charles L. was the youngest. The father married again, and our subject lived at home until reaching his twelfth year, when he made his way to Clyde, Wayne County, and although a stranger in that locality, obtained work, for which he received his board and clothes, and was also permitted to go to school a part of the time. He lived with this good Quaker family for two years, and on leaving them worked out for eight months in the year, receiving $7 per month, out of which he was obliged to pay for his board, clothing and schoolbooks. Notwithstanding these calls made upon him, he saved in that time $45, and the next year his services were rewarded by an increase of a dollar a month. Out of this salary he saved during the year $55, which, with the $45, he put out at interest, thus giving him quite a start. The third year he received $13 a month, and had he not made a contract with his employer the preceding year, he could have commanded $16, as his services were well worth that amount.

December 16, 1863, when nearly sixteen years of age, our subject enlisted in Company H, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, and with his regiment was ordered to the front. Under the command of General Grant, the regiment did duty as infantry in the battle of the Wilderness. After this they guarded wagon trains until May 26, 1864, when occurred the battle of North Anna, in which they also participated. From this place they marched to Cold Harbor, and from June 1 to June 11 were under fire there every day and night.

In the battle of Cold Harbor our subject’s brother Edward, who was a member of the same regiment, was wounded in the breast, the ball passing through the shoulder and cutting off the head of the shoulder bone, which our subject has preserved. He was taken from the field of battle, and although the doctors told him he could not possibly live, he refused to have his arm amputated. Contrary to their expectations, he rallied, and is living at this writing and also has some use of his wounded arm. He makes his home in Clyde, Wayne County, and is the father of a daughter, who is now married.

Charles L. participated in many other important engagements, fighting at Harper’s Ferry, Winchester, Cedar Creek, Fisher’s Hill and Mt. Jackson. After the last-named battle the regiment went back to the James River, and was encamped just south of Petersburg until after the surrender of that city. From there they were ordered to Burkeville Junction, and from there marched to Danville, Va., where they did guard duty. Upon the establishment of peace, they marched to Washington, D. C., and participated in the Grand Review, after which our subject was mustered out of service at Ft. Ethan Allen, and discharged October 10 at Hart’s Island.

During his army experience our subject had saved a little money, and after remaining in Clyde a short time entered Eastman’s Business College at Poughkeepsie, finishing the course in 1866. After leaving school he engaged to work for a brother in Wayne County, and a year thereafter began farming on shares. This continued until about 1874, when, October 18 of that year, he was married to Miss Emma D. Lynch, of the town of Galen, Wayne County. She was born, however, in the town of Waterloo, Seneca County, but had accompanied her parents on their removal to that portion of the state many years before.

In February, 1875, our subject made a purchase of eighty-five and one-half acres of land, on which he now lives. At that time it bore very few improvements, but it was not long before Mr. Gridley had repaired the buildings and laid over fifty thousand tiles on the place. In 1893 he became the owner of a tract of seventy-five acres in the town of Waterloo, from the cultivation of which he reaps a good income.

Mrs. Gridley departed this life in 1882, leaving two children, Lottie A. and Grace E. The elder daughter completed her education in the schools of Waterloo, and is now engaged in teaching. Grace E. is still a student. Mr. Gridley chose for his second wife Miss Hattie M. Olin, and they were married February 22, 1888. They have one daughter, Louise, who was born March 16, 1889. Mrs. Gridley is a daughter of Rev. William B. Olin, whose biography appears elsewhere in this volume.

In his political relations our subject affiliates with the Republican party, on which ticket he was elected Justice of the Peace, entering upon the duties of his office January 1, 1895. He has also been Town Committeeman, and in every position he occupies gives satisfaction. Socially he is a member of Rose Hill Grange at Waterloo, in which body he has filled most of the minor offices. He belongs to Tyler J. Snyder Post, G. A. R., also at Waterloo, and has attended the reunion of his regiment at various times. Modest and unassuming, Mr. Gridley is a man who makes friends of all with whom he comes in contact.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published in 1895. 

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

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

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