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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Richard Winegard

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[This information is from pp. 154-156 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.]

Richard Winegard, a well-known miller of Hyndsville, Schoharie County, was born near this village September 19, 1845, a son of George and Eliza A. (Isham) Winegard. He is of German ancestry, and a grandson of one of the earliest settlers of this section of Schoharie County — Richard Winegard, first, who came here from Schodack, Rensselaer County.

There being no roads across the country in those early days, Grandfather Winegard made the journey hither through the unbroken woods on horseback; and, having secured a tract of land in the heart of the forest, he felled trees, and thus made an opening in which he put up a small log cabin of rude construction, with no windows, and only a blanket for a door. He was a tailor; and, in connection with clearing a farm, he worked at his trade whenever he had an opportunity. He succeeded finely at both occupations, and in the course of a few years had cleared and placed under cultivation a number of acres of land. Prudent, thriftful, and a good manager, he at length found that he was warranted in replacing the log-cabin with a substantial frame house, and in building a comfortable barn and a shed for his new wagon and farming implements. A man of intelligence and sound judgment, he became influential in the community and a leader in religious circles. He was a devout Methodist, and a regular attendant at the prayer-meetings held seven miles away, a journey that he took on horseback. He far outlived the allotted span of human life, his pilgrimage on earth extending over a period of one hundred and two years. His wife, Charity Rickart, was also of German descent. She proved herself a true helpmeet, assisting him in their early days of labor while living in the log-cabin, and training their seven children to habits of industry and usefulness. She preceded him to the better world, passing away at the age of eighty-five years.

George Winegard assisted his father in his pioneer labors, and after reaching man's estate purchased the old Peter Markle farm near by, in the town of Seward, and spent many years in improving it. He built a new dwelling, a barn, and other farm buildings, and was there engaged in agricultural pursuits several years. Subsequently coming to Hyndsville, he bought land, rebuilt the saw-mill and built a gristmill, and during the remainder of his life was prominently identified with the highest and best interests of this little village, and was largely instrumental in its development. In politics he was, in early manhood, a stanch Whig, and later a Republican. A man of eminent piety, deeply interested in advancing the cause of religion. He was very active in the Methodist church, with which he united when young, and was for many years a class leader and one of the trustees. When its present house of worship was erected he was one of the foremost in hastening the work, and contributed fourteen hundred dollars toward the building fund. He died at the age of seventy-two years, leaving a host of friends who sympathized with the family in their great loss. His wife, whose maiden name was Eliza A. Isham, was born in this town. Her father, Benjamin Isham, was a prominent citizen and a pioneer merchant of Hyndsville. She was a woman of culture, having been educated at a New York City boarding-school. She was a distant relation of John Quincy Adams. Mrs. Winegard survived her husband, dying at the age of eighty-two years. They reared five children, namely: Emily, wife of Rector Foster; Phebe, deceased; George, deceased; Richard; and Albert.

Richard Winegard was educated in the district schools, and until he was thirty-five years old he worked with his father on the farm and in the mill. Since the death of the father he and his brother Albert have devoted their attention to the grist-mill, and, in addition to dealing somewhat in grain and feed, have carried on a very extensive business in custom grinding of corn, flour, and feed. The nine acres of land included in the original property they utilize by raising on it hay, grain, and potatoes.

Politically, Mr. Winegard is a steadfast Republican, and takes an active interest in local and county affairs. Fraternally, he is an Odd Fellow, belonging to Richmondville Lodge. True to the religious faith in which he was reared, he is a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church, which he has served for many years as trustee, steward, class leader, and church recorder, having taken up the work laid down by his father and successfully carried it on.

On December 23, 1874, Mr. Winegard was united in marriage to Miss Maggie J. Weidman, daughter of Nicholas and Ann (Starkins) Weidman, of Schoharie County. Mr. and Mrs. Winegard have one child; a daughter, Lottie E., wife of Benjamin F. Empie, a merchant of Hyndsville and Town Clerk of Seward. Mr. and Mrs. Empie are the proud parents of a bright baby girl, Bernice L., born on February 2, 1899.

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