Mrs. Mary J. Cornwell – We are pleased to represent in this Record one of the prominent women farmers of Genesee Township, Genesee County, who is a native of this township, being born here January 26, 1841, and has done credit to her native home and the abode of her life time by successfully carrying on farming operations on her fine estate, which is situated on section 30. Her father, John Woolfitt, is one of the foreign-born citizens who have helped to make Genesee County the splendid agricultural district that it is today, and he brought hither from his native England those sterling qualities of an English farmer which have made England the garden spot of the world. Thoroughness and system mark an English farming and while the conditions surrounding agricultural life there and in the wilds of Michigan are vastly different, those same qualities are just as valuable and even more essential among pioneer people.
Mr. Woolfitt had reached mature years before leaving Lincolnshire, England where he was born and it was in 1834 that he came to Michigan. Here he took up Government land in Genesee Township, Genesee County, and built a log house upon the place. This was his home throughout the remainder of his life as he lived to the good old age of eighty-seven years. His good wife, Jane Allen by name was a native of Canada, and was early bereaved of both parents as her father died when she had completed only half her first decade and her mother was taken from her when the little girl was only eight years old. She was a little lassie of thirteen years when she came to Michigan, and she was brought up by Mr. J. Berryman, and here met and married in Flint City the father of our subject. She is still living and now in her old age she has about her eight of her nine children, all of whom, six daughters and three sons, grew to man’s and woman’s estate.
The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Mary J. Cornwell are Elizabeth a, wife of Robert Barkley of Otisville, Eber Allen who resides in Thetford Township; Caroline B. who married Charles Johnson, who is not deceased; Charlotte F., who is Mrs. O. Kingman, of Charlotte, Mich.; Emma R. married William Curtis, and lives near Clio; Amos, who resides at Bay City; William E. lives on the homestead; Matilda H. Kingman who lives in Genesee. Mrs. Cornwell has a fine farm of one hundred and forty-eight acres which she carries by the help of hired men. Here she pursues general farming and upon her estate she keeps an excellent grade of stock.
The children of our subject, son Charles E., who married Ida Woodruff and lives in Saginaw; Ella M., who died at the age of twelve years; Edgar L.; William C. and Jennie M. who all live in Saginaw where the latter is attending school as are also Elmer J. and Leroy W., while the youngest son, Tryon A., resides with his mother and attends school in Flint. Mr. Cornwell has one grandchild Arthur B., the son of Charles E.
Source: Chapman Brothers. Portrait and biographical record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola counties, Michigan. Chicago: Chapman brothers, 1892.