My Genealogy Hound

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.

* * * *

REV. SAMUEL H. GRIDLEY, D. D., was born in Paris, now Kirkland, Oneida County, N. Y., on the 28th of December, 1802. His father, though a farmer, and of moderate means, desired to educate him for another vocation. Accordingly, at the age of twelve years, he commenced the study of the Latin language, and as Hamilton College had been recently planted in his native town, his literary inspiration was confirmed and increased. His preparation for college was much interrupted, his studies yielding annually to labors on the farm during the summer.

In 1820 a change in Dr. Gridley’s religious feelings fixed his choice of a profession, and in 1822 he entered the Sophomore class in college, which he left at the end of the year on account of impaired health. He subsequently resumed his studies under the direction of a former preceptor, and in the autumn of 1826 became a member of the Auburn Theological Seminary, a body of Congregational ministers, and, having subsequently passed some ten months in missionary labors in Springville, Erie County, he was called to the pastorate of the Congregational Church of Perry, Genesee (now Wyoming) County. From 1830 to 1836 he spent with this congregation, where, by reason of the intelligence of the people, his abilities were severely tested, and necessity laid upon him the most diligent study. He came to Waterloo in April of the latter year, and his continuance as pastor for a term of thirty-seven years may be regarded as proof of the confidence existing between minister and people.

The life and character of Dr. Gridley are well known. He largely shared in efforts to preserve and honor the history of the place of his adoption, to educate the young, and promote the social elevation and happiness of the people. As a minister of the Gospel, he endeavored to study the things that make for peace, and in prosecuting his duties growing out of his relations to his own church he has maintained a careful regard for the feelings and interests of other Christian congregations. He was “known and read of the people” as the friend and abettor of liberty, and as the unswerving opponent of oppression and slavery. When, in the late civil struggle in our country, the Government, turning its eyes to Christian ministers, asked their prayers and active sympathies, he stood in his lot, and, forgetting all party considerations, sustained with his influence the existing administration in its efforts to maintain the union of the states. When called upon to perform funeral ceremonies over soldiers who had fallen in the struggle, he comforted the bereaved both with scriptural consolation and with the thought that their loved ones had died in a noble cause.

Dr. Gridley shared largely in the joys and sorrows of the people among whom he lived. To rejoice with them that rejoice, and to weep with them that weep, was the habit of his life. He united in marriage some seven hundred couples, and conducted the burial service over some two thousand who sleep in the cemeteries of the dead. A life involving so much and so varied labor was not spent without honor. Though not a graduate of a college, the honorary-degree of Master of Arts was awarded him, soon after entering the ministry, by the Trustees of Hamilton College, and subsequently the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred by the same institution. For many years he held the position of a Trustee both in this college and the theological seminary at Auburn. In the more responsible services imposed by ecclesiastical bodies, he had his full share. In the semi-centennial anniversary of the Auburn Seminary he gave, by appointment, the historical address, an effort involving great and patient research, and which was received with high commendation by the friends of the institution.

* * * *

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

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.