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


William Crossett. the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in the County Antrim, Ireland, in 1763. The date of his arrival in America is not known, but after a short residence in Philadelphia he came to Livingston county, about 1794, and settled about a mile south of where the village of Geneseo is now situated. Here he purchased four hundred and seventy acres of land and carried on farming until he died. His first wife was a Miss Rice of Livonia. By her he had ten children, all of whom are now dead except Lydia, now Mrs. Jasper Parish, living in Branch county, Mich. His second wife was Sally Pond, of the town of Geneseo They were married about 1814. and the result of the union was five children, as follows :—Harriet, who married Edmund Bosley, and is now residing in the town of Mt. Morris William. who died in 1850; John, born Feb. 13, 1817, now residing on the old homestead; Eliza, living in St. Clair county, Mich., and Julia. i’he latter married John Hamilton, and after his death married a Mr. Wright, and is now living in Branch county, Mich. Wm. Crossett, the pioneer, at the time of his death, which occurred Nov. 29, 1829, was the owner of twelve hundred acres of land. For many years he kept a store on his farm and supplied the Indians and white settlers with necessaries. From the Indians in exchange for goods he obtained large quantities of valuable furs, upon which he realized large profits. When he came here and commenced his labors in clearing his land of the giant growth of timber that covered it, there was no communication with Canandaigua except by Indian trail, but in a few years the roads were much improved, and he used to run a seven horse team to Albany. carrying such articles as he had taken in payment for his supplies, and bringing back large loads of goods for his store. He was a man of great physical strength and endurance, and was able to bear the hardships and trials incident to an early, and consequently laborious life in the dense wilderness. In his intercourse with the Indians he was fortunate. He learned to speak their language and mingled freely with them, thereby securing their friendship. He frequently accompanied them in their hunting excursions in which they would be absent in some instances thrçe and four weeks. Mr. Crossett kept a distillery, and sometimes they were very importunate in their demands for liquor when he thought they ought not to have it, and they would threaten to take his life, wildly flourishing their hunting knives and tomahawks, with a view to frightening him into giving them the much coveted fire-waler.

Mr. Crossett was a man of quick apprehensions and strong convictions, frank and fearless in their expression and energetic in carrying them out. He possessed strong common sense, and uncommon sagacity in business, and was admirably fitted by the possession of these qualities to fight the battles of a pioneer life. His second wife died about 1823. After the death of Mr. Crossett, his estate was managed by Middleton Crossett, a son by his first wife, for about two years. Then it was managed by John, our subject, and his brother William, under the supervision of their guardian, James Crossett, a brother of their father, until they became of age, when it was divided, William taking one-half and John the other halç which included the old homestead where he always resided.

November 11, 1839, John married Jane, daughter of William and Mary (Cole) Leonard, of Sparta. She was born Sept. 30, 1817, and died March 19, 1875. By her he had three children viz :—Selenda K. born Oct. 26, 1842, died Sept. 8, 1876; Lloyd W. born Oct. 5, 1845, now living and carrying on the drug business in Geneseo; and Emma J., born Nov. 30, 1851, married James Fitzhugh of Kentucky, and died March 14, 1879. Mr. Crossett has carried on farming since he came into possession of his share of his father’s estate, is still operating his farm of 240 acres, and has been highly successful. The appearance of his farm and premises indicate that the mind that directs and controls his affairs is intelligent, and the ability and skill brought into action is of a high order.

Mr. Crossett has never had any desire for public affairs but has performed the duties of the office of Assessor two terms, an office forced upon him. In politics he is a life long Democrat, sustaining in a consistent and earnest manner the measures of his party. Mr. Crossett has been a member of the Presbyterian Church of Geneseo, about eleven years.

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