William Packer
Contributed by Nancy McNicol

"William Packer, one of the wealthy farmers of Otsego County, now living retired in the 
village of Portlandville, was born in Salem, Essex Co., Mass,., December 13, 1805,
and is the son of David Packer, who, it is believed, was born in the same city. The
grandfather of subject, Dr. Packer, was a physician and surgeon, and served in those
capacities in the Colonial army during the war of the Revolution. David Packer moved
to Haverhill, Mass. and resided there a few years. In 1818 he came to the State of
New York, accompanied by his wife and five children, and made the entire journey
overland with teams, bringing with him all his earthly possessions. He located in the
town of Edmeston, Otsego County, purchased a tract of timber land and built a log
house, which he "chinked" with chips and mud. After a residence there of some years
he removed to the town of Milford, where he spent the remainder of his life. The
maiden name of his wife was Rebecca Nichols. She was a native of Massachusetts, and
survived her husband some years, dying at the home of her daughter in Illinois. "William Packer was about twelve years old when he came to this county, and well
remembers many of the incidents of the journey and of pioneer life after their
arrival. He was reared to habits of industry, and after attaining his majority went
to Schoharie County, and purchased a farm in that part of the town of Sharon now
included in the town of Seward. He lived there until 1855, and then bought a farm in
the Susquehanna Valley, in the town of Milford. Here for many years he was engaged in
general farming and hopraising, and still owns upward of 200 acres of land, besides
his home in Portlandville. On the 16th of October, 1833, he married Catherine Petrie,
who was born in the town of Sharon, Schoharie County, July 6, 1814. Her father,
Conrad Petrie was a farmer, and spent his last years in that part of Sharon now
included in the town of Seward. The maiden name of his wife was Catherine Young. She
spent her last years on the same farm as her husband. "Mr. and Mrs. Packer reared eight children--Kate, Celia M. Helen, Charles, Romine, Edwin,
Osborn and Frank. Celia M. was the wife of Orlando Wescott of Milford. Both she and
her husband died in 1892, she in February and he the following month. Mr. Packer and
his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He has been a Republican
since the formation of the party. They are remarkably well preserved for people their
age. It will be observed that he is eighty-seven years old, and she seventy-nine.
They have lived together for a period of sixty years, a length of married life
permitted to but comparatively few. Mr. Packer's great age is indicative of a sound
constitution and temperate habits, which is in part the reason of his success in
life. Having no extraneous or adventitious aids, he may truly be called a self-made
man, as he is one of the wealthiest farmers of the county."
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