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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Grandison N. Frisbie

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[This information is from pp. 17-19 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.]

Portrait of Grandison N. Frisbie

Portrait: Grandison N. Frisbie

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Grandison N. Frisbie, of Middleburg, N.Y., president of the Middleburg & Schoharie Railroad and an extensive dealer in real estate, is a native of Roxbury, Delaware County, this State, born on May 24, 1831, son of William and Marilla (Norton) Frisbie. He received a common-school education, and at seventeen years of age was apprenticed to learn the harnessmaker's trade of his brother at Fultonham. Three years later he became equal partner. Subsequently he bought out the business and conducted it alone for some time. In 1854 he began the manufacture of harnesses in Middleburg, and, being the only person engaged here in that line of industry, met with great success, and did a most profitable business. In 1867 he purchased a half-interest in the general store of Charles Earles; and some years later he bought a half-interest in the firm of W. G. Lounsbury & Co., in the hardware trade. Subsequently his two sons, Daniel D. and George D., were taken into partnership; and in time the entire management of the business passed into their hands, Mr. Frisbie himself giving his attention to real estate and insurance, which have since been his principal lines of activity. He has managed large real estate transactions, and has built a number of fine houses. His present residence, which is one of the finest in town, is one which he has remodelled.

Since March 25, 1878, Mr. Frisbie has been president and general manager of the Middleburg & Schoharie Railroad, much of whose success is due to him. This road, which was constructed under the authority of a legislative enactment of May 8, 1867, is six miles in length, and connects Middleburg and Schoharie villages. The road and trains are continued five miles farther north to a junction with the Delaware & Hudson, but the Schoharie valley road has greatly handicapped the Middleburg Company, since the latter depends upon the northern stretch as an outlet. At one time it would have been possible to purchase the Schoharie road, and Mr. Frisbie strenuously urged that this might be done, offering to make a subscription of five thousand dollars for the purpose. Since then it has been impossible to buy it. It may be interesting to review here in brief the history of the inception and growth of the Middleburg branch. When the Delaware & Hudson had been built as far as Oneonta, and the people of Schoharie had determined to connect with it there, a few prominent men of this town met at a hotel, and, after carefully considering the matter, decided that they would also make a junction at Schoharie by raising one hundred thousand dollars, half of which would be subscribed by the town and the other half by private individuals. As a matter of fact, the total capitalization, fully paid in, was but ninety-two thousand dollars. The town was bonded but comparatively little to raise the full amount of its subscription. The bonds of the company, which were placed at par (seven per cent. interest), were retired in 1893, principal and interest, by James Borst, railroad commissioner. The individual subscribers to the stock numbered about seventy-five, and included many small holders in and about Middleburg, about seventeen thousand dollars being in Albany holdings and the balance in New York. No indebtedness was incurred in the construction and equipment of the road, as one of the first resolutions passed by the directors had been that work was to stop as soon as funds were wanting. The road is now in paying condition, and shows clearly that it has been most efficiently managed. Mr. Frisbie is one of the first and largest local subscribers to the stock of the First National Bank, and, from the time of its organization has been its vice-president.

In 1858 Mr. Frisbie was united in marriage with Kate Dodge, daughter of Daniel D. Dodge, late of this town. Mr. Dodge was a prominent merchant and for one year member of the State Assembly. Mrs. Frisbie departed this life in June, 1898. She was the mother of four children, namely: Daniel D. and George D., the sons above mentioned; and two daughters, Laura and Emma. Laura is now the wife of Dow Beekman, whose biography may be found on another page of the Review. All these children are graduates of Hartwick Seminary in Otsego County, an institution of which Mr. Frisbie has for many years been treasurer and trustee. Mr. Frisbie and his family are members of the Lutheran church, and Mr. Frisbie is an Elder in the church. He was for several years superintendent of the Sunday-school.

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