Originally posted for the Holiday Extravaganza 2003 Families
This biography has been transcribed and contributed by Martha Magill.
ALEXANDER CASE RESSEGUIE, of Janesville, is a pioneer of Wisconsin. He was born at Northampton, then in Montgomery County, now in Fulton County, N.Y., Sept. 13, 1809. He is descended from Huguenot ancestors, who left France on account of religious persecution. His great-great-grandfather, whose name was also Alexander Resseguie, married Sarah Bonticon and both were representatives of prominent Huguenot families.
The father of our subject, David Resseguie, was a native of New Haven, Conn., and married Mary Case, who was born at Taunton, Mass. Their union was celebrated in Northampton, N.Y., where they had removed with their parents. David Resseguie was a farmer by occupation and owned a large farm in the town of Northampton, on which he resided until his death, which occurred at the advanced age of ninety-eight years, while over ninety years of his life were passed in the town in which he died. His wife died at the age of eighty-eight years. They were the parents of eight children, four sons and four daughters. The family is remarkable for the great age to which many of its members have attained. Of the eight children above mentioned seven are still living in 1889, and no death has occurred in the family for over sixty-five years, with the exception of that of the parents, while the only death among the children was that of Maria, a twin sister of Miranda. They were the eldest and their birth occurred Aug. 2, 1806; John, who was born Feb. 8, 1808, in Northampton, still resides in that place; Alexander C. is the next in age; Rufus, who was born Feb. 23, 1811, is a wealthy lumber merchant of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Mary, born Feb. 17, 1813, wedded Ebenezer Gifford, and is living in Boone County, Ill.; Hiram, born June 13, 1815, is living at Belleville, Wis.; Hannah, born July 3, 1821, is the youngest member of this remarkable family and resides on the old homestead in the State of New York, where she was born.
Until attaining his majority, our subject remained under the parental roof and during the winter season attended the district schools. In 1833, he went with an uncle, Jacob Resseguie, to Pen Yan, N.Y., where his uncle was engaged as a contractor in the construction of the Crooked Lake Canal, and was employed by him as book-keeper until the fall of that year. He then engaged as clerk at Pen Yan, in the hardware store of Morgan and Smith, until the following spring, when he entered the Yates County Academy as a student. In the fall of the same year, he engaged in teaching and the following spring returned to school, continuing thus to teach and attend school alternately for about three years. In the fall of 1837 he went to Seneca County, Ohio, and engaged in teaching, but returned to New York in the following spring, and again entered the service of his uncle as book-keeper, the latter being then engaged on the construction of the Genesee Valley Canal. A short time after our subject entered the engineering department where he remained until the canal was nearly completed, when he was given the contract to finish section 22, which duty he performed in a manner satisfactory to his employers and profitable to himself. He realized quite a sum from the contract and regards this as a foundation of whatever success he may have attained in life, as it was not only profitable in a financial sense, but his success in so responsible an undertaking gave him confidence that rendered him self-reliant, without which no marked degree of success can be attained. His services in the construction of the canal had been so efficient that on its completion he was appointed to the position of assistant superintendent of the same, in which capacity he served until the change in the political management of the canal occurred, when he returned with his wife to his father's home and remained on the farm for one year. In the spring of 1843, he removed to Perry, Wyoming Co., N.Y., and remained on the farm until 1846.
In that year Mr. Resseguie had fully decided to come West, and on the 1st day of May, reached Clinton, Rock Co., Wis., where he purchased land and developed a beautiful home. In the spring of 1856, the first year of the organized existence of the Republican party in Rock County, he was elected clerk of the court for two years, and consequently removed to Janesville. His administration of the affairs of this office was highly satisfactory, and on the election of his successor, Levi Alden, Mr. Resseguie, being familiar with the work of that department was made deputy clerk and continued to keep the records of the county during the term of Mr. Alden. In 1864, Mr. Resseguie again entered upon agricultural pursuits, but the following year sold his farm and once more returned to Janesville, that he secure better advantages of education for his children. In the same year he purchased his present home on Benton Avenue, which is pleasantly situated on a beautiful plat of ground of thirty-two acres.
On the 22d of February, 1839, Mr. Resseguie was united in marriage with Miss Jerusha Norton, who was born in the town of Benton, near Pen Yan, N.Y., June 10, 1816, and is a daughter of William and Amy Norton, early settlers of Benton. In 1847, her parents came to Wisconsin and located near Belleville, in Green County, where they resided until called from this world by death. They were the parents of eight children, four of whom are living - Jerusha, wife of our subject; Rachel, who is a resident of Rhode Island; John, who owns and occupies the old homestead in Green County; and Mrs. Jane E. Hills, of Janesville. The deceased members of the family were Estella Ann, Samuel B., Caroline and George W.
Mr. and Mrs. Resseguie have had four children, three of whom are living. Their eldest, Dr. Rufus R., graduated at the Janesville High School in 1864, and also pursued the study of medicine with Dr. Treat, while a student at the high school. Immediately after completing his course in the public schools, with his entire class he enlisted in the one hundred day service of the Union Army, though his real service exceeded the term of enlistment. After his discharge, he resumed his medical studies with Dr. Treat, and in the spring of 1866, graduated from the Chicago Medical College, after which he received the appointment as physician in Mercy Hospital, Chicago, where he remained for several months, and then became associated with Dr. Spencer at Mount Vernon, Ind., with whom he continued in practice for a number of years. He has now given up the practice of his profession and is at present traveling auditor for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, being connected with the Iowa Division, with head-quarters at Ottumwa.
Charles F., the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Resseguie, has had large experience in railroading and has occupied several important positions in that connection. He began at the lowest rung of the ladder, having filled the positions of telegraph operator, station agent, ticket agent, etc. for the Northwestern Road, and also acted as chief clerk both for Thomas Potter and Mr. Stone, general Superintendent and General Manager for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Road, and subsequently was superintendent of the Illinois lines of this road with head-quarters at Galesburg. Later he was made superintendent of the Idaho Division of the Union Pacific Railroad and is now superintendent of the Nebraska Division of the Union Pacific Road, with the headquarters at Omaha.
The other child, Jessie Florence, graduated from the Janesville High School at the age of eighteen years, and is now a successful teacher in the public schools of that city.
In politics, Mr. Resseguie is a Republican. His first presidential vote was cast for Andrew Jackson in 1832, later he became a Whig, and since the organization of the Republican party has affiliated with that political body. Besides the office of clerk of the court, already referred to, he served as township clerk, holding that position when elected to the first mentioned office, and was also assessor of the city of Janesville in 1876. He is a man of much force of character, of varied and extensive reading, possesses an excellent memory and is well informed on the general topics of the day. For more than forty years he has been a resident of Rock County, and has ever possessed the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens. (See portrait upon another page.)
Source: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Rock County, Wisconsin, containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of the state." Chicago: Acme Publishing Company, 1889. Pages 303-05.
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