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Home: Surnames: Rockafellow Family Genealogy Forum

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rockafellow in Michigan from NJ and NY
Posted by: Joanne Jeskey (ID *****8339) Date: August 16, 2003 at 18:27:16
  of 29

rockafellows lived in flint area
and in clare mi
racheal rockafellow married william h goodman in troy mi

Biography-Clare City, Clare Co
John C. Rockafellow

Portrait and Biographical Record of Northern Michigan. Chicago: Record
Publishing Co., 1895.

JOHN C. ROCKAFELLOW, a Justice of the Peace and insurance man of Clare, is one of the pioneers of this county, within whose boundaries he took up his permanent abode May 6, 1873. For about ten years he was engaged in general merchandising, but lost his store and entire stock by fire in 1883. At that time he was serving as Postmaster, and on the expiration of his term turned his attention to the insurance business. In 1890 he was appointed special agent in the Government service to take abstracts of mortgages in the Tenth Congressional
District for the Census Bureau. Since he arrived at man's estate there has hardly been an interruption to his serving the public in one capacity or another. He has held all of the township offices, and for ten years served as Supervisor, being Chairman of that body for two terms, and for six years was Treasurer of Clare County. In 1885 he was elected to be President of the village, and he has also been a member of the Council. In his various transactions and work as a public servant he has handled over half a million dollars of other people's money, and his accounts and records have always been correct and unquestioned.

In the early history of the Colonies our subject's great-grandfather, JOHN
ROCKAFELLOW, with his four brothers, came from Germany to make homes in the New World. Two of the number settled in New York, two in New Jersey, and one in Pennsylvania. The son of JOHN ROCKAFELLOW bore the same Christian name, and lived in New Jersey during his entire life. He died leaving three sons, all of whom grew to maturity. JEREMIAH M., a blacksmith by trade, settled, and finally died, in Geauga County, Ohio.

ELIAS ROCKAFELLOW, father of our subject, was only eight years old when he was left an orphan, and he was taken to be reared by an uncle. At the age of sixteen years he was apprenticed to the blacksmith's trade, at which he was employed for many years. After marrying in his native state (New Jersey) CATHERINE THATCHER, also of that section, he removed, in 1826, to New York. Subsequently he was for two years a resident of Richmond, Ontario, then for eight years lived at Brooks Grove, Livingston County, N.Y., after which he came to this state. For a number of years he carried on his trade at Atlas, Genesee County, and then built and operated a foundry. In advanced age he located on a farm and then, his wife having died and he having lost his hearing, he went to pass his remaining years with a son. In 1868, accompanied by his five sons, he went in a wagon to the polls, where each of the number voted the
straight Republican ticket, and four years later this act was repeated by them. In 1886 twenty-six of his descendants and sons-in-law cast their ballots for the Republican party. In early life he was a Whig, and was always a stanch partisan. For many years he served as Justice of the Peace. In New York State he was an Elder in a Presbyterian Church, but after coming to this state did not affiliate with any congregation. He was born in 1803 and died in 1887.

To ELIAS and CATHERINE ROCKAFELLOW were born twelve children, all but one of whom lived to maturity, and were as follows: WESLEY, who was a farmer and blacksmith, and died in Genesee County; JOHN C., who is next in order of birth; ELIJAH A., now operating a farm in Genesee County; ROBERT, a carpenter and resident of the same county; HENRY E., a mechanic of Arenac County; JEREMIAH M., also a mechanic, and a resident of the same county; ANN ELIZA, now deceased, formerly the wife of JACOB CRATSLEY; SUSAN, widow of JOHN W. FARRAR, living in Detroit; RACHEL C., who married WILLIAM H. GOODMAN, now of Clare; MARY, Mrs. BARLOW, who died at Flint; and JENNIE, wife of WILLIAM H. BAILEY, of Lapeer, Mich.

Born in Alexander, Hunterdon County, N.J., March 11, 1826, JOHN C.
ROCKAFELLOW continued to live with his parents until reaching his majority. He attended school but little after he was ten years old, and worked in a foundry for a time in boyhood. In 1851 he entered the employ of the Government in its survey of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Later he purchased a farm in Genesee County, which had been but little improved. In 1860 he married JULIA M. WILDER, who was born in Orleans County, N.Y., and with her father, ELLIOTT S. WILDER, came to this state in 1856. After their marriage the young couple lived for six years on the farm, and then, on account of his wife's poor health, Mr. ROCKAFELLOW removed to Minnesota. He soon returned to Genesee County, and in 1887 engaged in merchandising. His time was thus
employed up to 1873, when he came to Clare. From 1861 to 1864 Mr.
ROCKAFELLOW was Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms of the State Senate, and from 1864 to 1866 was Sergeant-at-Arms of the same body. He is now a stockholder in the Clare County Savings Bank. He put up the building in which his business office is located and has made other investments in real estate. He has been a member and also Treasurer of the School Board and has taken commendable interest in the cause of education. At present he is Secretary of John Q. Look Lodge No. 404, A.F. & A.M., and is also a Royal Arch Mason. Since 1851 he has belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is also a Knight of Pythias. His two living children are ARTHUR H. and CARRIE L. The former, who is in New Mexico, is bookkeeper, Secretary and Treasurer of a large mercantile firm.

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