MARCUS L. FRAZIER
From Herkimer to Michigan
Contributed by Lisa Slaski
MARCUS L. FRAZIER is a prominent dairy farmer and breeder of thoroughbred Jersey cattle,
residing on section 31 of Hudson Township, where he was a good farm, pleasantly located and
admirably suited to his purposes. He has made a careful and intelligent study of the best
methods of conducting a dairy, and has paid special attention to securing the best grades of
cattle for dairy use.
Our subject was born in Scriba, Oswego Co., N.Y., Jan. 11, 1826, and is a descendant of the
thrifty Scots, who made their home in the northern part of Ireland many years ago. From there
his great-great-grandfather came to America in Colonial times, and his son, John Frazier, the
great-grandfather of our subject, during the Revolutionary War rendered gallant assistance in
freeing his adopted country from British rule. He died at Middlefield, Otsego Co., N.Y., soon
after the close of the war, leaving a widow with a large family of children. His son Stephen,
the grandfather of our subject, was born March 8, 1773, at Kingston, R.I., and learning the trade
of a baker in Boston, Mass., followed it there many years. He married Ruth Torry, of Williamstown,
that State, and daughter of John and Ruth (Tyrell) Torry, natives respectively of Williamstown, Mass.,
and Middletown, Conn. From Boston Mr. Frazier moved to Cobleskill, N.Y., and there turned his attention
to agricultural pursuits. In 1805 he sold his farm there and purchased another in German Flats
Township, where he removed with his family, and made his permanent residence until his death in March,
1845. His wife died in January, 1857, aged eighty-seven years. They were both respected as worthy,
industrious and honest people.
The father of our subject was two years old when his parents removed to German Flats, and he assisted
his father in the management of his farm until his marriage to Miss Lydia Young, when he sought a home
elsewhere for himself and bride. Samuel Young, his wife's father, was a blacksmith and gunsmith, and
resided in New Jersey, where his daughter, Lydia Ann, the mother of our subject, first opened her eyes
to the world. He afterward removed to New York, and there welded the first gun barrel ever made in the
Remington works, now at Ilion, N.Y. He spent his last years in Russia, Herkimer Co., N.Y.
After marriage the parents of our subject settled in Oswego County, N.Y., having purchased a farm in the
township of Scriba. In 1833 they removed to Royalton Township, Niagara Co., N.Y., where they resided on a
farm two and one-half years. In the meantime the father took a western trip in the fall of 1835, for the
purpose of looking up land, having decided to try farming on the virgin soil of some State or Territory
which had been newly opened up for settlement. He went as far west as Chicago, where a great deal of the
land now included within the city was then Government land, but he was probably deterred from taking up a
claim there on account of the swamp and apparently worthless character of the land, little dreaming that in
less than half a century by the indomitable energy and enterprise of man it would become the site of one
of the largest and most magnificent cities on the continent. From Illinois he came to Michigan, then a
Territory, and being pleased with the country bought a tract of land in Salem, Washtenaw County, and in
April, 1836, returned form New York with his wife and seven children to locate on it, going by water to
Detroit, and there hiring a man with a team to take his family and goods to their destination. There was
a log house on the place when they moved there, and in it they made their home, and Mr. Frazier set out
to work to clear the rest of his land, forty-five acres having been cleared before it came into his possession.
In 1844, having greatly improved his farm, he traded it for another in Hudson Township, the one which his
son Marcus now occupies. The family moved to it in the month of May, driving their stock ahead of them,
and on the night following their arrival nine of the sheep were killed by the wolves, which were very plentiful,
as were also deer, which would come to the garden in the night to feed on the cabbages and turnips. There were
ninety acres of the land cleared at the time of the purchase, on which stood a log shanty and a small barn.
Mr. Frazier replaced the shanty by a hewn log house 18x30 feet, and some years later built a more commodious
frame house and a good set of farm buildings. He lived on his Hudson farm eight years, and then disposing of
it removed to Goshen, Ind., where he engaged in dairy farming, making the manufacture of cheese a specialty,
and made his home in that place until death. His widow resided with the subject of this sketch for a number of
years, her death afterward occurring in the home of her daughter, Mrs. Coon, of Goshen, Ind. Both she and her
husband were people of blameless character, and were held in high consideration wherever they had made their
home. They were the parents of ten children, eight of whom grew to maturity.
Marcus Frazier was the second child of his parents, and was ten years old when he accompanied them to Michigan,
and can relate many interesting incidents connected with their journey and their subsequent life, both in
Washtenaw and Lenawee Counties. The facilities for attaining an education were not such as are enjoyed by the
rising generation at the present day, but he made the most of his limited opportunities, and by close application
to his books when in school obtained a fair education, which in maturer years he has broadened and developed by
observation and careful perusal of the best authors. He attended school only in the winter, as was then the
custom, and assisted his father on the farm during the remainder of the year. At the age of twenty-one he left the
home roof and started out to find employment elsewhere, and after working by the month in Michigan for one year
he returned to his native State and worked there in the same manner.
While working in New York our subject entered into a matrimonial alliance on the 5th of May, 1850, with Miss Sarah E.
Greene, who was born at German Flats, Herkimer Co., N.Y., July 8, 1827. She is a woman whose intelligence and fine
disposition command respect. Mrs. Frazier's paternal ancestry is traced back to her great-grandfather, Ambrose Greene,
who was born in Suffolk County, L.I., April 9, 1746. He was a farmer, and removed from Dutchess County in 1775 to
Rensselaer County, and after pursuing his occupation there twenty years removed in 1795 to Danube, Herkimer County,
where he died Aug. 29, 1837, having in the meantime improved a farm. His wife, Gulaelma Lester, died June 1, 1826.
Their son John was born in Dutchess County, April 17, 1770, and married there Ruth Barker, in 1790. In 1793 they
settled in Danube, Herkimer County, where they both died, her death occurring in June, 1850, and his in December, 1851.
Their son Ambrose, Mrs. Frazier's father, was born in Schodack, Rensselaer Co., N.Y., Sept. 18, 1791, and was two years
of age when his parents removed to Herkimer County, where he grew to manhood, and subsequently learned the trade of
a blacksmith. He married there Dimmis Skeels, their marriage occurring in the year 1815, but she died in 1816. On
the 23d of March, 1819, he married Martha Frazier, who was born in Schodack Feb. 21, 1801. They made their home in
German Flats, where he had bought a farm, and there they resided until death, hers occurring April 24, 1842, and his
June 7, 1863.
After marriage Mr. Frazier continued working in New York for a year, then returned to Hudson and worked his father's farm
on shares the two following years. He then bought a farm of sixty acres adjoining his father's farm, but a year later
he sold it and went back to New York, where he bought the Greene homestead and some land adjoining, and engaged in the
dairy business until after the war broke out. He then threw aside all personal considerations with the patriotic motive
of taking part in quelling the Rebellion, and went to New York for the purpose of enlisting, but upon examination was
rejected as physically unsound, and was obliged to return to Herkimer County, perhaps to do as good service for his
country in private life. In 1865 he sold out there, and returning to Michigan bought the farm in Hudson which his father
had formerly owned, and on which he has since made his home. He at first engaged in general farming, turning his attention
to dairy farming in 1867. In 1870 he met with a serious loss, his dwelling-house with all its contents being consumed by
fire; he then built the brick residence he now occupies.
In 1873 Mr. Frazier turned his attention to the improvement of his stock with good graded Jerseys, with the object of
making butter, and since that time has supplied the market with a superior article in that line, besides raising a number
of pure blooded animals which he has sold at high prices. He now has sixteen thoroughbred Jerseys of the Alphea, St. Lambert
and Stoke-Pogis strains. He bought two heifer calves four months old, for which he paid $100 each.
Mr. and Mrs. Frazier's pleasant home is the center of culture and refinement. Their union has been a happy one and has been
of mutual benefit; it has been blessed by the birth of three children - Nelson E., Mary E. and Elmer E.; they are all well
educated, and the daughter, an accomplished young lady, is a graduate of the Chautauqua course of study. Mr. and Mrs. Frazier are
members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and use their influence to promote the moral status of the community. In
politics our subject is a Republican.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Lenawee County, Mich. Chicago:Chapman Brothers. 1888. Pages 948-950.