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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
James Madison Case

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[This information is from pp. 397-399 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

James Madison Case, a prominent business man of Gilboa, N. Y., was born in this town, July 7, 1849, son of Daniel and Betsey (Chichester) Case. He is a descendant of John Case, who came over from England more than two hundred and fifty years ago.

A brief account of the life of John Case, the immigrant, by A. P. Case, of Vernon, N. Y., has recently appeared in print. In this book mention is made of records showing that John Case as early as 1640 was living in the vicinity of Hartford, Conn.; that in 1656 he was an inhabitant of Long Island, a year or two later removing to Windsor, Conn., and in 1669 one of the first settlers at Simsbury, Conn., so named in 1670. For four years he represented the town in the General Court, or Assembly. He married first Sarah, daughter of William Spencer, of Hartford. She died in 1691, and he afterward married Elizabeth Loomis, a widow. He had ten children, all by his first wife; namely, Elizabeth, Mary, John, William, Samuel, Richard, Bartholomew, Joseph, Sarah, and Abigail.

The Case family in England is said to have been numerously represented for a number of generations at Aylsham, Norfolk County. Calvin Case, who was born in Connecticut, April 10, 1763, came to Conesville, N. Y., and a few years later he moved to Gilboa, where he acquired two tracts of land amounting in all to two hundred acres. The property he occupied, which is still known as the Case farm, now consists of one hundred and sixty acres, and the original title is in the possession of his grandson, the subject of this sketch. His first abiding-place was a log hut, the entrance to which was covered with a blanket; and from a struggling pioneer he rose to be a well-to-do farmer, stock-raiser, and grain dealer. Calvin Case, it is said, served as a minute-man in 1777, and was ordered to the front at the second battle of Stillwater, but arrived after the surrender of General Burgoyne. The Case family have an honorable record for patriotism, seventy or more of that name from Connecticut having served in the Revolution, upward of twenty in the War of 1812, and over fifty in the Civil War. Calvin Case was married in Connecticut, August 2, 1793, to Jerusha Griffin, and he brought three children with him to Schoharie County. He died January 4, 1854, aged ninety-one years, and his wife, who was born December 2, 1777, died May 7, 1849. They reared a family of thirteen children, namely: Calvin, who moved from Conesville to Blenheim; Luther, who died at Potter's Hollow; Elisha, Allen, and Erastus, who all died in Conesville; Ira, who now resides at Conesville; Daniel, James M. Case's father; Griffin, who died in Gilboa; Hiram, who resided in Catskill; Joel, who died while young; Jerusha, deceased, who married Orlean De Witt, of Oak Hill; Eliza, who married S. Mackey, of Gilboa; and Phoebe, who married William Ploss, of Gilboa. The sons were all farmers except Hiram, who was a cattle dealer, hotel-keeper, and general speculator. The grandparents were Presbyterians, and most of their children became members of that church.

Daniel Case remained at the homestead to care for his parents in their old age, and after their death he succeeded to the ownership of the property by purchasing the interests of the other heirs. He was an energetic, industrious, and successful farmer, and at his death, which occurred November 10, 1886, he left a good estate. His wife, Betsey, was a daughter of Joseph Chichester, and the maiden name of her mother was Welch. The Chichesters are of Scotch descent, and the Welches are said to be of Dutch origin. Joseph Chichester had a family of nine children. Daniel and Betsey Case reared but one child, James M., the subject of this sketch. The mother died February 19, 1875.

James Madison Case was educated in Gilboa, and taught several terms of school after the completion of his studies. He assisted his father in farming from the time he was able to be of use until the age of twenty-four, when he engaged in general mercantile business in company with Abraham Walker, a partnership that ended at the death of Mr. Walker some three years later. He continued in business alone some sixteen years, or until about 1893, when he sold out to George E. Hawver. He has since given his attention to the buying of country produce, including butter, which he handles quite extensively. He also buys large quantities of wool, which he ships to Boston; and during the past year his shipments amounted to over one hundred thousand pounds. He still owns the homestead, upon which he raises some fine horses, and he takes special pride in preserving the old dwelling which was built by his grandfather over eighty years ago. For the past ten years he has been actively interested in inland fisheries, in stocking the various streams in this locality, and is regarded as an authority on that subject.

Mr. Case married Hattie E. Hawver, daughter of William W. and Samantha (Hay) Hawver. She was the first-born of eight children, the others being: Emma D., who died at the age of six years; Ella, who married G. N. Thorp; George E., a merchant of Urlton, N. Y.; James B., a prosperous farmer, who occupies the old homestead in Conesville; Flora A , who died at the age of twenty-one years; Bertha, wife of James Carpenter; and Martha, who married D. T. Ferguson, of Alton, Ill. Mr. and Mrs. Case have had two daughters: Merta, who died aged four years; and Mina, who died aged one year.

In politics Mr. Case is a Democrat, and for a number of years was Postmaster. He has served upon the Town Committee several terms, has attended as a delegate many county conventions, but has never sought for or held local offices. He is a Master Mason, and belongs to Gilboa Lodge, No. 630.

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