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The Late Orange Risdon

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The following biographioal sketch oi Orange Risdon, father of L. C. Risdon, of thia city, who receutly died at. Salme, was writteu by W. M. Grogory, aud read by bim at the recent meeting oi the Pioneer Society at Dexter: Mr. Orange Risdon was boni in tho town of Rupert, Benningtou Gounty, Vt., Deo. 28th, 1786, aud died at Saline, Moiiday, Nov. 27th, 1876. At the time of hia decease one raontli and one day would have coinpleted his niuetieth year, When he waa three yeara old his father removed to Saratoga County in the State of New York. There, in the towuship of Milton, he attended a common school until his thirteenth year. Thenceforward his educatiou was depeudent upon his owu efforts and the improvement of such intervals ot time as a farmer's Hfe wouldpermlt. At one time he was ruaterially aided by the private instructions ol Mr. Rice, a teacher in the neighboring town of Ballaton Springs, under whose direction he studied navigation and surveying, with the design of following the seas as the occupation of hia future life. At this very early season his services as a surveyor were often required in the country around ; his father having procured the necessary insrrumenta. In the year 1807 being twenty years old, having his father's consent he accompanied a young cousin, who with her husband were on their way to the then very distant and new " 3euesee Country,"' he dnviug one of the teams oi the party. They stopped in the township of Lester. At this time a somewhat noted surveyor, Mr. Eliaha Johnsou, was commencing the survey of a large tract of land, at least 100,0(10 acres, in the new couuties ot Alleghany and Genesee. With him the young Mr. Risdon made an engagement to carry the chain for sixteen dollars per month. Scarcely a weok hnd passed betore his skill in surveymg was discovered ; with the consent of the Land Agent the work waa divided, a portion entru&ted to him and his wages increased nearUy five times the amount of the first stipulation. In 1809 he settled m the viilage of Leroy, and was employed as a clerk in a land office and as surveyor. At this time he assisted in laying out the infant cities of Lockport, Brockport, and Buffalo. The second war with Great Britain commenced in 1812. For ;wo years Mr. Risdon was in the service of the LJnited States as assistant assessor. On his way trom the west to Albany as the bearer of public monej', he first met, in the town of Stillwater, Miss Sally Newland. This lady he marned in 1816. A few days would have completed their half ceutury of union. His earnmgs wero iuvested in the purchase of the new cheap lands on the Genesee nver ; of which i at oue time owned nearly 1,000 acres. In 1817 a great commercial criáis occurred, he suffering with others ; this led to the determination to remove to the new Territoiy of Michigan. In the year 1823 a month was passed m explo iug, on foot, this aud neighjoring ceunties. The next year, in compauy with the late Judge Dexter, rode nearly 2,000 miles ou horseback, carefully inspecting the eastern poition of our State. By meaus of ;he uumerous ludían traiis and beautiful oak openiugs every portiou was accessible. Aug. 12th, 1824, he purchased 160 aerea of land on section one of Saline tnwnship. The viilage of Suline lies mainly upon this quarter section [t is well ascertained that this was the first purchase of land in the township. The road :rom Detroit to Pontiac was surveyed under lis direction this same year. The next year, 1825, the great military road from Detroit to Chicago was commenced by the United States Goveruwent, aud Mr. Risiion was the chief surveyor. But few of our people can estímate the importance of this road in the opening and setthng of the west and northwest portions ot our land. li 1826-27 other roads were surveyed under his directiou. From this time uutil 1853 he was employed mainly in the United States service. At least 76 townships were surveyed by him and about 45 others exainined or resurveyed. I'or some years he selected pine landa for a brother-in-law, Mr. Ephraim Newland, of New York, 13,000 acres or more, and shared largely in the pronta derived from their advanced value. In the year 1869 Mr. Risdou being over eighty years of age, unattended and aloue performed a journey to Califoruia ou a visit to a son residiug in that distant State. The latter years of his pilgrimage have been pasted in quiet enjoymeut, lackiug nothing of the world's comforts which devoted children and frieuds could supply, and sharing greatiy in the respect and affection of the people of the State. Ten years he was the postmaster at this central point, but resigned this office in 1840. For twelve years a magistrate ; he officiated at the first w?ddiug n the township, Mrs. Risdon accompanying him on horseback several miles through the ;he woods. Through his long life our friend las been au uuwearied reader aud studeut of the world's history. He read aloud a great deal for the comfort and edification of others. A very few days before his death he thua read several chapters in the Bible. The amount of informatiou stored iu his mind was great, and a teuacious memory made it available. He was genial in his disposition, unselfish, benevolent, and liberal almost to a fault. Mr. Risdon was truly a pioneer, aud the fainiiies comug at a later day were sure of his sympathy. His advice was often sought in the selectiou of lands ; very many miles were traveled by him to point out desirable locations, aud yet ever unwilling to receive a reward. For many ?ears he has been an houored member of the Vlasomc fraternity. He received the master's degree in 1810, which was his twenty-tourth rear ; the Royal Arch in 1813 ; the order of iigh Priesthood in 1815, and the KnightTemlar degroe the same year in the city of New York. At the time of hia death Mr. Risdon ïad held thiB last degree longer than any man n the United States. He stated to a relative that at one time the noted Gov. De Witt Clinton and himself were the most advanced memer8 of the Masonic order in the State of New York. He officiated as Deputy Grand Master at the layiug of the corner stone of the Michigan Capitol at Detroit in the year 1823. He was also preseut at the laying of the corner tone of the new State Capitol at Lansing in 873. His laat illness was short : from the efects of a severe cold he could not rally aud radually sank. Without a struggle, or groan, lis long eventful life ended. The luueral occurred on Thursday, November 3üth. The dasonic demonstratiou was impressive and of a high order. Great numbers ot citizena from neighboring towns and cities were in attendance. Brother beloved ! may thy rest. Be with the accepted acd the biest, And truly may thy thy spirit be Redeemed and justifled aüd free, May the Great Master's graoious cross Shleld thee from auffering and from loss ; Upon that sure, tried, corner stone, liest, brother, rest ! on that alone, May all thy dear ones, gone before, Greet thee upon the heavenly shore. Under the gracious arch of truth, Mayest thou abide in endless youth, And in the temple's sacred light, Repose dear brother, friend and Knight.