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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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STEPHEN F. SOULE, who is now living in the town of Waterloo, Seneca County, is engaged in farming, making a specialty of raising a fine quality of cabbage. He is a native of this state, and was born in Albany County, November 12, 1821. His parents were Frederick and Mary (Hair) Soule, the former of whom was born in Albany County in the year 1795. He in turn was the son of George Soule, who, it is supposed, hailed from Connecticut. The family is a very old one in America, and is descended from a certain George Soule, who came over in the “Mayflower.” Since that time there has been in each generation a son named after that gentleman.

Frederick Soule served as a soldier in the “War of 1812. He was a life-long farmer, as was his father before him, and in all the relations of life was honored for his upright character. He trained our subject to a life of usefulness, giving him the opportunity of obtaining such an education as could be gleaned in the schools of the district. Stephen F. began to aid in the support of the family when only fifteen years of age, working out for other farmers at a small price. He gave his wages to his father, retaining just enough to supply himself with necessary clothing. The household included thirteen children, twelve of whom grew to mature years, and of this family six are now living.

The subject of this sketch was married November 8, 1845, when twenty-four years of age, to Miss Catherine A. Smith, then residing in Albany County, N. Y., but who was born June 27, 1825, in the town of Baltimore, Greene County, this state. Mr. Soule lived on rented land for about two years after his marriage, when he went to Wayne County, where he also cultivated rented property. After residing there for four years he returned to Seneca County, and became the owner of a piece of land on which he erected a sawmill and established a lumber-yard, carrying on this business with fair success for a number of years. We next find him living on rented land in Ontario County, but after a stay there of two years he again returned to this county and became the proprietor of the land which he now occupies. He was not able to pay for the place at the time, but so ably did he manage his affairs that the debt was soon wiped out. At the time of purchase the farm included one hundred acres, but Mr. Soule afterward added a tract of seventy-five acres. He has improved the estate greatly since it came into his possession, setting out shade and fruit trees and replacing the old buildings with structures of a more modern build and substantial character.

Mr Soule located upon this place in the spring of 1863, and in the fall of that year he enlisted his services in Company C, Fiftieth Engineer Brigade, whose duty it was to build pontoon bridges. Often they were called upon to guard the same while the enemy was passing. Our subject aided in bridging the Chickahominy when it took seventy boats, and at another point on the same river there were only three boats used. He remained in the service until the close of the war, and was so fortunate as to be present at Appomattox Court House and witness the surrender of General Lee. He accompanied the troops to Washington and participated in the Grand Review before President Lincoln.

On the discharge of our subject, in July, 1865, he returned home, being accompanied on the journey by his eldest son, who served as a member of the same regiment and company. Mr. Soule made his home here for a few years and then removed to Geneva, Ontario County, where he was engaged in shipping farm produce for about twenty years, returning to Seneca County in the year 1891.

Of the seven children born to our subject and his wife, one son, Roscoe, died when two years of age; George D., the eldest of the household, a resident of the town of Waterloo, is married and has four children; Charles E. is married, has three children, and lives in the town of Waterloo; William E. is engaged as an engineer at Lansing, Mich.; Fred S., the next, is a resident of the town of Phelps, Ontario County; Mary, Mrs. W. B. Church, of this town, died leaving a family of two children; Catherine, Mrs. Edgar Smith, who is likewise deceased, was the mother of two children.

Mr. Soule has been a life-long Democrat, having cast his first Presidential vote for James K. Polk. During his younger years he was actively interested in public affairs, and served acceptably as Assessor of Waterloo. His time, however, has been fully occupied in attending to his private affairs, and he very much prefers to let younger men hold office. He is a Grand Army man, belonging to Swift Post No. 94, of Geneva, and has made it a point to be present at the brigade reunion which is held each year.

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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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