Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, October 10, 1999, pg. 19
We’re going to take our Historical Notebook "on the road" for the next few weeks and head towards the Homer area, where we have many faithful readers of this column. Earlier this year we featured several photographs from the family albums of Carrie (Snyder) Ott (1877-1959), who was a Benham family descendant. These came from her grandson Clifford C. Ott of Cleves, Ohio. The Benhams came to the South Albion area in 1836 from Roxbury, New York.
Another early pioneer family was the Doolittle clan from Delhi, N.Y. Both aforementioned towns are only a few miles apart in Delaware County, N.Y. Four brothers, William, Benjamin, Anthony, and Isaac Hezekiah (the sons of Benjamin Doolittle) settled in Section 30 of Clarendon Township on adjoining farms. Anthony came first, in 1832, and was the first settler of Clarendon Township, locating first in Section 1. William and Benjamin came in 1833, and Isaac later. Several Doolittle and Benham family descendants married each other, and there are still descendants who live in the Homer and Tekonsha areas today.
Rhoda Benham (1832-1888) Doolittle was a sister of Holmes Benham (1816-1880), Carrie (Snyder) Ott’s grandfather. Rhoda was married to Isaac Hezekiah Doolittle (ca. 1820-1895) and a lithograph of the couple appears to the left of page 189 in the 1877 History of Calhoun County, along with a drawing of their farmhouse. They owned the whole SW quarter of Section 30, then part of the Pritchard School district. The farmhouse was located on the west side of 18½ Mile Road, south of T Drive South. They are buried in West Clarendon Cemetery along with the other original Doolittle brothers.
One son, Byron G. Doolittle (1868-1939) was a prominent Tekonsha banker and a graduate of Albion College Business School (1889). He was cashier of the First State Bank of Tekonsha for 30 years. He also operated a shoe store, a flour mill, and a hardware store there in Tekonsha. He was a Tekonsha Township clerk from 1893-1902, and supervisor from 1903 to 1906. Byron was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Tekonsha.
Another son of Isaac and Rhoda was Harvey A. Doolittle (1866-1947), who took over the family farm upon the death of his parents. The other son was Haskell M. Doolittle (1863-1954). All had daughters who survived them.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present original photographs of Isaac Hezekiah and Rhoda (Benham) Doolittle. Compare this with the lithograph in the 1877 History of Calhoun County. Also illustrated this week is a postcard photograph of the family farm circa 1920. The boy in front is Clifford Snyder Ott (1909-1987). The man on the right is Delos Snyder (1844-1933), father of Carrie. The woman on the left is Harvey’s wife Lida, next Harvey Doolittle. Standing on the porch is their daughter Hazel (1894-1979) (Doolittle) Gregory.
Isaac Hezekiah and Rhoda (Benham) Doolittle
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic