Biography of Epaphroditus Bigelow
FROM: History of Livingston County, New York
By James H. Smith
Assisted by Hume H. Cole
Published By D. Mason & Co. 1881


Epaphroditus Bigelow was born February 4, 1786, at Marlborough, Hartford county, Conn., and died April 7, 1874, at his home in Geneseo, N. Y., aged 88 years and two months.

He was a lineal descendant of John Bigelow, who emigrated from Wrentham, county of Suffolk, England, to New England, and settled at Watertown. Mass., where he died July 14, 1703.

He was the son of Daniel Bigelow by his second wife, Sarah F. Inghani. of Saybrook, Conn., he haying married for his first wife, Mary Brainard, of Westchester, Conn. By each of his wives there were born unto him seven children, eight sons and six daughters. ten of whom lived to mature years.

One only of this large family survives, Mrs. Betsey Bigelow Hempstead, who has attained to the ripe age of 97 years. and is the oldest person now living in the town of Geneseo.

Mr. Bigelow, the subject of this sketch was the fourth child by the second wife. His father was a farmer by occupation, he, therefore, received his early training at home and upon the farm in summer, and attended the common schools of his native town in the winter.

His early advantages were limited, but he fully improved what he enjoyed, and when of age he became a common school teacher of quite large experience, having taught eleven winter terms in the schools of his native State, and in Geneseo after his removal thereto.

In the month of July, 1813, he enlisted as a soldier in the war of 1812. He was enrolled as a private in the "First Regiment Connecticut State Troops" under Capt. Enos H. Buel, his being the first name upon the company's roll. He served three months, the period for which he enlisted, at New London, Ct., and was honorably discharged in the month of September following.

Under the Act of February 14, 1871, granting pensions to the survivors of the war of 1812, he became entitled to a pension, which he received up to the time of his decease.

He was married at Marlborough, Conn., Nov. 7, 1816, by the Rev. David B. Ripley to Sarah Phelps, eldest daughter of Oliver Phelps and Mary Hills.

In the spring of the year 1818, he removed with his family, consisting of his wife and a son nine months old, to Geneseo, N. Y. This son, Orimel, is yet living and a resident of the adjoining town of Groveland.

The journey was undertaken in a canvass covered lumber wagon, the style in those days, drawn by a yoke of oxen and one horse in advance, and the distance, 330 miles, occupied a period of eighteen days.

He settled upon a farm in the eastern part of the town which he had previously bought of David Haynes, a native of Pennsylvania, and purchased by him of the Messrs. Wadsworth in September, 1792, when the surrounding country was an unbroken wilderness.

Here he entered zealously upon the work of his life, continuing to dwell upon this chosen spot to the end of his days. a period of fifty-six years. In those days before canal or railroad had penetrated the Genesee valley the profits of farming were not large and markets were not near. Rochester, distant twenty-five miles, was the principal one, and here he sold his crops of wheat at times at three shillings per bushel, and other farm products in proportion.

By industry and economy he in time secured a competency and raised and educated a large family of children. During the active period of his life he took a lively interest in public affairs, and was often honored by his fellow citizens with places of public trust. Among the town offices held by him were Justice of the Peace, Commissioner of Schools and Assessor. In politics he was a Whig up to the time of the dissolution of that party, and afterward acted with the Republicans. He cast his first vote for President in the fall of 1808 for James Madison, and in all cast his vote seventeen times for the electors of President and Vice President of these United States.

Mr. Bigelow was of Puritan ancestry, and was early taught the truth of divine revelations and made familiar with that gospel which for so many years he adorned by a godly life and conversation. On May 22, 1838, under the pastorate of Rev. Horace Galpin, he united with the First Presbyterian Church of Geneseo, and was elected and oidained as a ruling elder September 2, 1836, in which office he continued until his death.

He was not a great man as some count greatness, but rather might be called one of those standard, reliable men to be found in every town, who seek to be useful in their day and generation, filling his place creditably and honestly and according to an enlightened judgment.

He was a man of stern integrity and of firm convictions. Opinions once formed were tenaciously held. He was benevolent and generously contributed of his means for the good of his fellow men, and those enterprises organized for the purpose of advancing and improving the world had his support.

He has acted his part upon the stage and has passed away, and the testimony is that his life's work was well done.

His wife united with the church at the same time as her husband whom she survived nearly four years. She was a worthy helpmeet, exemplary and faithful in all the duties relating to her home, to the church and to her God. She was born Oct. 23, 1795, and died March 21, 1878, aged 82 years.

His children were nine in number, all sons. Their names in the order of their ages were Orimel Revilo, Daniel. Harvey, Cyrus Phelps, Alonzo, Martin Luther. Merit Harmon, and Edward. Of these Cyrus Phelus, Alonzo and Martin Luther died in childhood. Merit Harmon a young man of more than ordinary promise, died December to. 1858, aged 24 years.

Each one of those who lived to reach their majority, received an academic education at Geneseo Academy, Geneseo, N. Y.

Orimel married Jane Williams, is a farmer by occupation, and resides at Groveland N. Y. They' have two children, a son and daughter. Revilo lives at the village of Geneseo, and has married twice. His first wife was Sarah Alice Wilbur by whom he had two daughters. For his second wife he married Mrs. Nancy S. Haynes, by whom he also has two daughters. Daniel dwells upon the homestead of his late father, deceased, and married Helen A. Whitney, of Avon, N. Y. They have a son and daughter.

Harvey lives at Rush, N. Y., and is a wagon and carriage maker. He married Maria VanBuskirk, and they have five children, two sons and three daughters.

Edward lives at Austin, Minn., and is a merchant in the drug and stationery business. He served his country for three years in the late Rebellion, and held a captain's commission, and has been the Principal of several higher institutions of learning in the West. He married Lucy A. Brown, by whom he has three cluldren, two sons and a daughter.

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