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


In attempting to trace the career of Daniel H. Bissell, honorable as it is in itself, we are reminded at the very outset of the intimate relations it sustained to the development of an unoccupied region of country into a mighty and prosperous cornnionwealth. It comprehends almost the entire period of American constitutional history, he having lived under every Presidential administration. His father, a heroic soldier of the Revolution, was sent from Connecticut by Gen. Washington to the city of New York (when that city was in the possession of the British army) as a spy and, was rewarded for his valuable services with a badge of merit by the Government. After the close of the war he was married to Theoda Hurlburd and moved to the State of Vermont, where eight children were born to them-six sons and two daughters. The sons were all named DanieL In 1809, he removed to Richmond, Ontario county, N. Y., where he died in 1823, aged seventy years.

Daniel H. Bissell was born at Randolph, Vt., September 21, 1794, and removed with his parents to Ontario county, and when the war of 1812 broke out he enlisted in the service of his country and served under Generals Brown, Scott and Porter in Captain Claudius V. Boughton's company of Porter's Volunteer Dragoons. He was with the army in Canada in 1814, and was in the celebrated battle of Lundy's Lane in the sortie on Fort Erie in August, and in the sortie of the American army upon the enemy's works around Fort Erie in September of that year.

In the month of April, 1817, Mr. Bissell went on foot to Olean. N. Y., from thence in a skiff down the Allegany and Ohio rivers to Cincinnati, O., a distance of 800 miles. a voyage as hazardous as it must have been exciting. After a tour of five months in the States of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, he returned to Lima, N. Y. His future interests now demanding a permanent decision on his part as to what should be his occupation in life; his predilictions for a profession won the day; and acting upon the belief that as a physician his field would be one in accordance with his tastes and in which he could be of the most service to his fellowmen, he adopted the medical profession and soon after entered the office of Dr. Justin Smith. of Lima where he remained two years. In 1819-20 he attended the medical lectures of Yale College, graduating there with the highest honors. In 1820 he located at Moscow where he resided and practiced until 1837. when he removed to Geneseo, where he has since resided. The general estimation of his probity and wisdom is abundantly proved by the number of offices of trust and responsibility bestowed upon him, both by election and appointment. He was elected President of the village of Geneseo. and has held the office of Under Sheriff, Justice of the Peace, Supervisor of the town of Geneseo many terms, and Judge of the County, U. S. Loan Commissioner, Physician of Marine Hospital, Staten Island. and Deputy Health Officer of the Port of New York, was U. S. Postmaster at Geneseo under the administrations of VanBuren and Tyler. He was the Republican candidate for Canal Commissioner on the first ticket put in the field by that party in 1856. In 1836, he was Presidential Elector and had the honor, as Messenger, of conveying the vote of the State of New York, which had been cast for Mr. Tyler, and placing it in the hands of the defeated candidate, Mr. VanBuren who was then Vice-President.

In 1837 the Regents of the University of New York conferred upon him the honorary degree of medicine.

Greatly interested in the security and preservation of the records of the early history of Livingston county, he has been most active and earnest in the organization of the Pioneer and Historical Societies, and has been President of both these organizations. The duties of all these public positions have been performed with that honesty of purpose that has characterized his whole life.

Dr. Bissell commencing and continuing the practice of his profession in a quiet and secluded villige, has won by honest hard work and a skillful and honorable practice a preeminent place in his profession. Success and honor thus won are not accidents, they come of an abiding purpose, and therefore is it that they are more valuable as examples for those who are struggling for excellence, not only in this profession, but in any worthy business calling. His virtues, his integrity, his goodness, his usefulness and example as a citizen and a public officer should be emulated by all who desire the esteem and the welfare of the people among whom they live. The life of Dr. Bissell presents a most valuable example in these latter (lays, when the temptation to tread forbidden paths and to use, to say the least, doubtful expedi- ents in the headlong scramble for riches and honors. has left so many human wrecks along the pathway of the generation.

Dr. Billell was married at Lima, N. Y., in June, 1823, to Lucy Grosvenor, of Mansfield, Conn. She died at Geneseo. N. Y., September 1st, 1868. Wm. H. Bisseil, of Wilmington. Ill., and Albert G. Bissell, of Detroit, Mich., are his sons, and Mrs. Helen M. Arnold and Laura E. Olmstead, of Geneseo, are his daughters.

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