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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
John Peter Arthur Failing

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 141-142 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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The most important assets of character are ambition, industry, personality, and thrift, and these John Peter Arthur Failing possesses to an unusual degree. He was born in the town of Palatine Bridge, New York, on January 6, 1878, his parents being Aurora and Almira (Davy) Failing, the former born in the town of Palatine Bridge, on November 17, 1829, and died at the same place on October 15, 1904. He was engaged in agricultural pursuits throughout his life. His parents were John Adam and Nancy (Shults) Failing. John Adam Failing was born in the town of St. Johnsville, New York, in 1800, and died in Palatine Bridge in 1888, having passed the eighty-seventh milestone on life's journey. He was a farmer. Almira (Davy) Failing, mother of John P. A. Failing, was born in the town of Danube, Herkimer county, on April 28, 1841, and died in the town of Palatine on May 10, 1920. She was the daughter of William and Mary (Zimmerman) Davy. William Davy was born and died in the town of Danube, having followed farming as an occupation. His wife, Mary (Zimmerman) Davy, was born in the town of Minden, Montgomery county, and died in the town of Danube. The names of Failing, Shults and Zimmerman are Holland Dutch and that of Davy is English.

John Peter Arthur Failing's early education was acquired in the district schools and in the high schools of Canajoharie. At the age of eighteen he became associated with his father on the farm known as the Fort Keyser Dairy Farm and remained until the death of his father in 1904. He then took complete charge of the farm with its varied interests until March 1, 1923, when opportunity was afforded to rent it and since that time he has been engaged in hauling in the village of Palatine Bridge.

On October 18, 1899, in the town of Palatine, John P. A. Failing was united in marriage to Miss Rachael Jane Rickard, who was born in the town of Root, on September 30, 1880, and is the daughter of Howard H. and Martha Dorcas (Dillenback) Rickard. Howard H. Rickard was born in the town of Root and is now living in Palatine Bridge, at the age of sixty-three, being a retired farmer. He is the son of Philip Abel and Harriet Louise (Wessell) Rickard, the former of whom was born in the town of Root and died in the same place. He also was a farmer. His wife, Harriet Louise (Wessell) Rickard, was born in Currytown, New York, and is now living in Syracuse, at the age of eighty-one years. Martha Dorcas (Dillenback) Rickard, mother of Mrs. Failing, is the daughter of Levi and Rachael Jane (Dockstader) Dillenback. She was born on May 14, 1858, and is now living in Palatine Bridge. Levi Dillenback, who was a farmer, was born in Stone Arabia, New York, and died in the town of Mohawk. His wife, Rachel Jane [note spelling difference] (Dockstader) Dillenback, was born in Stone Arabia and died in the town of Mohawk, on May 1, 1881. The name of Dillenback is well known throughout the Mohawk valley at the present time, as it was during the period of the Revolutionary war. A number of Mrs. Failing's ancestors also participated in the battle of Oriskany. Mrs. Failing is a member of Trinity Lutheran church at Stone Arabia and belongs to its missionary society. She is also a member of the society of Royal Neighbors and is a republican in politics.

John P. A. Failing is a member of Canajoharie Camp, No. 1034, and of the Trinity Lutheran church at Stone Arabia. He is fond of automobiling as a diversion. His political views and efforts are with the republican party, and on November 7, 1923, he was elected as supervisor of the town of Palatine. He was elected to office by both republicans and democrats with a majority of three hundred and thirty-six. He is the fourth republican supervisor the town has had, which shows how highly he is regarded by both political parties as a man of sterling qualities.

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