Pioneering Families
... with Roots in Madison County

Index to


Benjamin Doolittle was born in Madison county, N.Y. in December 1825 and settled in Oswego in 1847 where he soon afterward engaged in the hardware trade. In 1863 he purchased the Empire mills and elevator which he operated many years. In 1858 he was chosen a member of the Board of Education, continued thus nine years and in 1866 was president of the board; he was a member of the Common Council in 1867-8 and in 1869 was elected to the Legislature. He was one of the Police Commissioners 1870-74 and in the latter year was elected mayor. In 1875 he was elected to the State Senate. Mr.  Doolittle died February 6, 1895.

Charles Doolittle, born in Madison county in 1830, came to Oswego with his uncle, Sylvester, and was subsequently a partner with his brother Benjamin in the hardware trade; he held the office of alderman and died February 15, 1884. (p. 363)

Benjamin Doolittle, was born in Madison county, December 29, 1825, a son of Francis W., who died in that county aged thirty-seven, and of Olive Lee, his wife, who died aged seventy-eight. The grandfather, Joel Doolittle, was born In New England and died in Onondaga county aged sixty. His father was a soldier (major) in the Revolutionary war. Benjamin Doolittle came to Oswego at the age of twenty-one, and engaged in the general commission business with his uncle with whom he next took an interest in a retail store. He afterwards began the manufacture of barrels and later was in the hardware business. He then bought the Empire Mills, which he still conducts. He is a Mason, an Odd Fellow, and a member of the Episcopal Church. He has served as president of the Board of Education as member of the Normal School Board, as alderman, mayor, etc and has been police commissioner for twenty four years. He was elected assemblyman in 1868 and then State Senator. Mr. Doolittle married Susan Hitchcock of Madison county in1849 and she died February 8, 1852. September 20 of that year he married Laura J.  Mayer of Madison county, adopted daughter of Hon. George B. Rowe and by her he had these children:  Catharine A., born July 20, 1853; George L., born February 13, 1856; Fanny L., born April 1, 1858 (died in infancy).  Mrs. Laura Doolittle died May 14, 1858, and March 23, 1859, he married Roxy, daughter of Harry Wilcox, of Onondaga county, and their children are: Henry, born August 11, 1860; Laura M.,  born September 10, 1861; Lizzie W, born October 14, 1864; Annie H., born August 21, 1868; Sylvester B., born December 26, 1867, and Florence M., born July 5, 1870. Of his children Catharine, Fanny, Henry and Sylvester are deceased. Sylvester Doolittle, an uncle of our subject, was born in Whitestown, Oneida county, January 11, 1800 and died October 11, 1881. He built and commanded the first loaded canal boat that ever reached Albany from Rochester. He was also the discoverer of the Deep Rock Spring,  whose water has a worldwide reputation. and he built the Doolittle House over this spring. Mr. Doolittle was also the first man to introduce screw propellers on the great lakes, and the contract between him and Ericsson is still in existence authorizing him to build and operate five vessels. (pp. 114-115)


Source: Churchill, John C.  Landmarks of Oswego County, New York. Syracuse, N. Y.: D. Mason & Company, Publishers, 1895.



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