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William Henry Weeks was one of th earliest settlers in the north part of Elba. A native
of Hudson, NY, he was born on May 4, 1798. He was known as the "Fighting
Quaker" because of his service as a lad in the War of 1812. Drawing bread and other
provisions for the army from Albany to Buffalo with a four horse team was his active role
in the War. The soldiers drew a daily ration of whiskey but being a teetotaler, Mr. Weeks
exchanged his whiskey for butter, etc. He saw Buffalo being burned by the British.
His family moved to Farmington, Ontario County, New York at an early date. It was there
that he met and married his 15 year old bride, Susannah Sheffield on July 13, 1817.
Susannah was born in Rhode Island on February 24, 1802, the daughter of Robert Sheffield.
They had relocated to Farmington when she was very young.
Five years later, in 1822, they settled on the farm where they would pass the remainder of
their days. They purchased for a home tract of land, a parcel of 110 acres located on the
highest ridge in the town (of Elba). When they came here, that part of the town was a
wilderness without public roads or other improvements. Mr. Weeks had to mark trees to
guide them from one point to the other in the dense forest. They soon removed the timber
and covered the broad fields with golden grain, but it wasn't easy.
All the pioneer couple possessed at the time was a yoke of oxen, an old shed, an axe and
25 cents. Mr. and Mrs. Weeks moved in the winter, taking up their abode with a neighbor
and began the work of clearing the land. Mr. Weeks built a pole shanty for his oxen,
whose ony feed that winter was the small branches of green trees. Then he built a small
log house with a stick chimney outside and moved his family in. Ashed were boiled to make
black salts, which were sold to buy groceries and other provisions. The following spring
he sowed his grain by hand, reaped it with a sickle and threshed it with a flail, drawing
all of it to Rochester, 38 miles away, with a sled. He received 25 cents a bushel for his
wheat. For going to the mill, he constructed a vehicle by removing the top half from a
folllow log, slanted up at one end, placing a chain about it, hitching his oxen to it, and
placing the grist in the hollowed section.
He had to go to the mill by way of Batavia and on various occasions people alighted from
the stage there to see his queer turnout. The pioneers often encounteerd dangers, bears,
wildcats and other wild animals being much in evidence at that time.
With brave hearts and vigorous hope, William & Susannah battled with the privations
and hardships of pioneer life. Together they lived to see and enjoy the wonderful
transformation of the wilderness into a garden of beauty and plenty. Twleve children
gladdened their happy home, most reaching maturity: Welcome, Susanna, Emeline, Joshua S.
John H. Malvina, Sarah Jane, Edward, Stephen Ackely, James Harvey, Phoebe Ann and William
William Weeks suffered from a serve and painful illness for several weeks before he died
on the 17th of February, 1881. He had long been a prominent and useful member of the
Friend's Church (Quaker) and was greatly missed by his 34 grandchildren and 24
great-grandchildren. After 63 years of marriage, Susannah was left with many fond
memories that saw her through the following years. Her 83rd birthday celebration was
marred by the fact that she was ill. In the morning of the 26th of February 1885, peace
fell upon this great lady and eternal slumber overcame her. The Rev. William Eddy
conducted her funeral services at the Friend's Church and she was laid to rest in the
Friend's Cemetery beside her husband.
Welcome Weeks, the eldest of the Weeks' children, was born on April 4, 1818 in
Farmington. He married Mary Harkness, the daughter of Daniel Harkness and in 1861 they
moved their family to Waterloo, Jackson County, Michigan, where he died on September 8,
Emeline Weeks was born on January 17, 1822 in Farmington and made the long trek with her
parents to Elba as a newborn. She married on October 7, 1840 to Thomas Griffen, the son
of Thomas and Susanna (Ireland) Griffen. They had 13 children bless their home. Emeline
died on March 27, 1873 and was burined in the Quaker Hill Cemetary.
John H. Weeks was born in Elba. He became a school teacher and taught here before moving
to Michigan where he died at his home in Martin in July 1913.
Malvina Weeks was born here and married to Charles Buck of Barre Center on May 27, 1852.
Sarah Jane Weeks married Asa Bullard and they moved to Conklin, Michigan.
Edward Weeks married Mary Vail and they had 5 children.
Stephen Ackley Weeks was born here on February 26, 1836. He married Christiana Haight,
daughter of John Haight on December 9, 1857 in Oakfield. They raised 5 children: Mary
J., Laura A., Voila M., Susannah B., and Edward.
James Harvey Weeks was born in Elba on April 29, 1838. He remained on the family farm and
married Frances J. Howland, daughter of David Howland on September 24, 1862. Frances was
born in Adams, Massachusetts on September 22, 1843 and came with her parents to Elba in
1846. His father left him the farm in his will and Hames held on to it until 1897, when
he sold it to Albert L. Berg. They then moved into the village and lived on West Avenue.
Frances developed tuberculosis and died on March 29, 1909, and after difficulty with heart
trouble, James passed away on December 1, 1917.
Isaac L. Weeks, a brother to William, came to Elba in 1830. He was born near Albany on
June 5, 1800 and in 1821 he was married to Esther Hicks while living in Montgomery County.
Unlike his brother, when he embraced religion, he became a member of the Methodist
Protestant Church and not a member of the Quaker sect. Nevertheless, he was buried in the
Quaker Cemetery here after his death occurred on April 24, 1888.