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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  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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HARRY P. OTIS, general superintendent of the Emery Wheel Company at Northampton, Mass., was born in Manchester, Conn., in 1853, son of General John Lord and Catherine (Preston) Otis. His grandfather, Hayden Otis, who was a resident of Lyme, Conn., was a seafaring man, engaged in fishing, and met his death by drowning in the Connecticut River when about sixty years of age. His wife, who was a Miss Lord, became the mother of ten children, six sons and four daughters, of whom two sons and a daughter are yet living.

John Lord Otis, father of Harry P. Otis, was born in Lyme, Conn., in 1827. His childhood’s days were brief, as he began to work in a cotton-mill when eight years of age. At that time there were no trades-unions to protect children, and he spent sixteen hours a day at his work. But his mental or physical growth was not stunted by this unnatural life, for his after career was an exceptionally brilliant and successful one. When twenty-five years of age, he became one of a firm of stockinet manufacturers in Manchester, Conn., with no capital but his experience. In 1861 he joined the troops going to the front, enlisting at Manchester, Conn. He entered the army as a Lieutenant, and at the end of his term of service bore the rank of General, and was subsequently brevetted Brigadier-general. He was in active service from 1861 to 1864, and was twice wounded, his scars as well as his epaulets being visible proof that he had done his duty. In 1863 he located in Florence, Mass., and took charge of the Florence Machine Works as superintendent. In 1867, in company with Lucien B. Williams, he established the emery wheel business in the same town. The plant was subsequently removed to Leeds, where the General continued in active business up to the time of his death, which occurred in March, 1894. He was a prominent Republican, and served three terms in the legislature, one of which was spent in the Senate. He was also on the Board of Selectmen of Northampton, and was a prominent Knight Templar.

General Otis married Catherine Preston, daughter of Cyrus and Olive (Gleason) Preston, all of South Hadley. Her grandfather, Samuel Preston, was also a native of South Hadley, and there spent his life, engaged in general farming. He lived to an advanced age, and reared a large family. Cyrus Preston, maternal grandfather of Harry P. Otis, was a carpenter by trade, and for many years a contractor and builder in South Hadley. He reared, besides his daughter Olive, one son, Elbridge, who died in the prime of life, leaving a wife and child. Mrs. Otis resides at 19 Main Street, where her husband erected a home in 1866, and where, with the exception of one year spent in Leeds, she has resided ever since. She reared two sons: Harry P., the subject of this sketch; and Philip Arthur, who has charge of the company’s emery goods and machinery at Chicago.

Harry P. Otis graduated from the Massachusetts State Agricultural College in 1875, qualifying as a civil engineer. He entered the works of the Emery Wheel Company shortly after graduation, and has been actively interested in that business ever since, eventually taking his father’s place. He is general superintendent and director of the Northampton branch of the Emery Wheel Company’s enterprise, occupying the former position for the past fifteen years. The prosperous condition of the company’s affairs and the length of Mr. Otis’s continuous term of service together practically demonstrate his efficiency as manager. Mr. Otis is also President of the Norwood Engineering Company.

In November, 1883, Harry P. Otis was united in marriage with Nannie M., daughter of Charles W. and Sarah (Eldridge) Worth, of Nantucket. Of the union there have been born: Preston, a promising boy of ten; and Berenice, a little woman of eight years.

Mr. Otis votes the Republican ticket, generally is active in municipal affairs, and has served as Councilman, Alderman, and Clerk of Registry. He has a handsome and home-like residence at 104 North Main Street, which he purchased soon after marriage.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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