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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  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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CHESTER P. PHELPS, whose beautiful home is situated on the lake shore, is an enterprising and successful fruit-grower of St. Joseph Township, Berrien County. His farm, consisting of twenty acres, has been embellished with all the modern improvements, including a commodious residence and substantial outbuildings. Here he engages in the raising of peaches, pears and other small fruits, and ships extensively to the principal Western markets. Through the exercise of excellent judgment in the details of his business affairs he has gained ample means and is numbered among the successful men of the community.

The ancestors of Mr. Phelps were for many years identified with the history of New England. His father, Chester, was born in Connecticut, whence he removed to New York and made settlement in Fulton County. His wife, whose maiden name was Sally Powell, was a native of Fulton County and a lady possessing many amiable qualities of heart and mind. They became the parents of nine children, all of whom grew to manhood and womanhood, and six are still living. The father engaged in farming operations, and at the same time conducted a good business as a tinner. After a long and honorable life, he passed away at the old home in Fulton County, leaving to his descendants considerable property and, what is far better, the heritage of an upright life and stainless name. He was a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and it was his constant endeavor to exemplify in his life the principles of the religion he professed.

In the village of Johnstown, Fulton County, N. Y., the subject of this biographical notice was born December 16, 1832. There he was reared to manhood upon his father’s farm, receiving a limited education in the neighboring schools. When nearly twenty-five years of age, he established domestic ties and a home of his own. On the 8th of October, 1857, occurred his marriage to Miss Alice E., the daughter of David Brown, and a native of Fulton County, N. Y. After his marriage he remained on the old homestead in New York until 1861, when he came to Michigan and purchased his present property in St. Joseph Township, Berrien County. The farm had been the property of his father-in-law, who bought it in 1860, when it remained in nature’s primeval condition. A considerable amount of “grubbing” was necessary, and many improvements had to be made before the place was in first-class cultivation.

August 19, 1888, Mrs. Alice E. Phelps died, leaving two children, David R. and Arthur H. The first-named married Miss Cora A. Smith and they are the parents’ of two children, Orla L. and Alice L. Mrs. Cora Phelps is the daughter of William Smith, formerly a prominent farmer and fruit-grower of St. Joseph. The young couple make their home with our subject, and through their kind attentions and thoughtful ministrations enhance his comfort and brighten the declining years of his life. The younger son, Arthur H., a promising young man, also makes his home with Mr. Phelps.

A Republican in his political sympathies, Mr. Phelps takes an active interest in local and National politics, and has firm convictions of his own upon every subject of general importance and interest. For three years he filled the position of Justice of the Peace, and he has also occupied other positions of trust. Socially, he is a member of the Grange and is Master of Lake Grange Lodge No. 93. In the work of the Patrons of Husbandry he takes a prominent and influential part, and is justly numbered among the public-spirited citizens of the county. In former years he engaged extensively in the business of catching pigeons in different portions of this State, his plan of operating being to decoy pigeons in nets. Not infrequently he would secure at one time from twenty to thirty dozen wild pigeons, for which he found a ready sale in the markets at New York City, Chicago and other places.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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