Biography of John Albert Granger

John Albert, third son of Gideon and Mindwell (Pease) Granger. was born in Suffield. Connecticut, September 11, 1795, died in Canandaigua, New York, May 26, 1870. Originally intended for the navy, his early education, commenced in Suffield and there continued until the removal of the family to Washington, D. C., was along lines of instruction which, when the idea of the sea was abandoned, found him without the classical training required for a college course. He spent some years under the tutorage of “Parson” Gay, of Fairfield, Connecticut, a noted instructor in those days. from whose hands he entered a business career at an early age. Some years were spent in Washington during the period of his father’s connection with the cabinets of Jefferson and Madison (1801-14), and at the time of the family leaving that city he went in advance to Whitestown, New York, (Utica) which place his father had decided on as their future home. They had barely settled there, however, before a business connection with the Hon. Oliver Phelps, of the Phelps and Gorham purchase, induced their further removal to and permanent settlement in Canandaigua, which was ever after the family home. He assisted his father largely in the building of the Granger homestead there and drew from the Genesee country most of the timber which constituted its frame.

In 1820 Mr. Granger married (first) Julia Ann, daughter of Dr. William Augustus Williams (Yale. 1780) and Elizabeth (Chapin) Williams, daughter of General Israel Chapin, the United States agent to the Indians and commissioner of Indian affairs in the new county. His wife died in 1822, leaving two daughters: Delia, who married Alexander Jeffrey, and died in 1847: and Julia, who married Sanders Irving, a nephew of Washington Irving, still survives (1893). In 1829 he married (second) Harriet, daughter of Amasa and Mary (Phelps) Jackson and granddaughter of the Hon. Oliver Phelps before referred to. Mrs. Granger died in 1868, having had two children: Harriet Mindwell who married Caleb Brinton, of Westchester, Pennsylvania, and died in 1860; and John Albert (Yale, 1855), who married Annie. daughter of Edwin D. Townsend, of Palmyra, New York. He died in 1906.

About the time of his first marriage Mr. Granger settled in the Genesee country at Moscow, Livingston county, where he lived with but few neighbors except the Indians, with whom he became very friendly and was adopted into their tribe. Here he lived until the death of his wife left him with two children of such tender years that the simple care of them required services he could not obtain so far from neighbors, and he therefore returned to Canandaigua. For a few years he was engaged in the mercantile business, and later acted as agent in the purchase of wool for some Boston houses, but about the year 1840 he retired from active business and devoted himself to the management of landed interests inherited from his father. This he continued until his death, and in it found full employment. At this period he became interested in and identified with the National Guard of the state, rising from subaltern to become major-general commanding the division. His liking for such service was very great, and he was not only a very zealous officer but a very liberal one, paying out of his own pocket-and largely, too-very many of the expenses incident to the advancement of his command.

He was a strikingly handsome man, a superb horseman, and on the days of the annual parade and inspection made, with a brilliant staff and well-drilled regiments. a display which would do credit to these days. There was that in the character of Mr. Granger which won esteem at the outset. and so nourished it that it soon became affection. Generous and hospitable, almost to a fault it might be said, his hand was ever open and his table ever spread to one in want. No halting, trembling hand of the unfortunate, groping in the dark. amid cares and anxieties. but found his helping grasp with aid and brotherhood. Save here and there an election to some unimportant local office he never sought or cared for political preferment. He loved his home and his home loved him. and he passed in and out always with a tender, loving greeting. born in a warm heart and fostered by countless kindnesses to all.



Ontario County NY,

Milliken, Charles F. The History of Ontario County, New York, and Its People Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York. 1911.

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