|FRANCIS M. AMES is a native-born son of Dane county, and during all of his long and active career he has resided within her confines. He was born in the town of Oregon, March 23, 1847, and is the son of John N. and Mary Ann (Ball) Ames, pioneer settlers of the county, who are deserving of more than a passing mention in a volume devoted to the history of worthy citizens, past and present.John N. Ames was born July 7, 1822, in Steuben, Oneida county, N.Y., and is descended from noble Revolutionary ancestry. His grandfather, Nathaniel Ames (born April 25, 1761, in New Hampshire) was a farmer and a Protestant Methodist preacher, who served under Washington and experienced the miseries of that winter camp at Valley Forge. In 1800 he settled in the wilderness near the headwaters of the Mohawk river, and there built him a home in which he resided for a number of years.
He was married to Miss Sarah Hall, a native of Albany county, N.Y., who became the mother of eleven children, one of whom, David H. was he grandfather of the subject of this review. Although eighty-four years of age, in the summer of 1845, Nathaniel Ames, the old Revolutionary veteran, with his wife and five of his children (Frances, Jonathan, Naomi, Perymus and Ira), migrated to the wilds of the then territory of Wisconsin and settled on section 22 of what is now the town of Oregon, in Dane county. There his wife died, in July, 1851, at the age of eighty-four, and nine years later the old gentleman moved to the village of Oregon, where he died in August, 1863, aged one hundred and two years, doubtless the oldest white man who ever lived and died in Dane county. He was a Mason and was buried under the auspices of that order.
David H. Ames, son of the venerable patriot, was born near Albany, N.Y., served through the war of 1812, and died but comparatively a few years ago, near Trenton Falls, N. Y., aged one hundred and one years, nine months and twenty-seven days. He married Miss Betsy Norton, who was a native of Herkimer County, N. Y. and a granddaughter of General Norton of the Revolutionary War. She also lived to be very old.
John N. Ames, father of our subject, and son of David H. and Betsy (Norton) Ames, came with his grandfather to Wisconsin, in 1845, and was the only one of the eleven children born to his parents who made his home in this state. He lived on the original half-section entered by his grandfather until 1870, and then purchased two hundred and forty -four acres, lying on both sides of the track of the Chicago and Northwestern railroad, two miles south of Oregon Village and in the heart of the best farming land in that section of Wisconsin. On this farm he built a large two-story farmhouse, a substantial basement barn and other buildings, and although he began his independent career with $100, which he has earned as monthly wages, few men made greater of more constant progress. Mr. Ames married, in his and her native town, Miss Mary A. Ball, daughter of Eusevius and Keturah (Weld) Ball, her father being a native of Massachusetts and of Revolutionary ancestry, as was also her mother, who was born in Orange county, N.J. Mr. Ames still lives at the old homestead, enjoying the fruits of his early endeavors. Mrs. Ames died February 4, 1893. Five children were born to them, all on the old Oregon farm: Francis M., John F., Sara A., William L. and Florence A.
Francis M. Ames is the eldest of these children and is the one to whom this sketch is especially dedicated. He received his primary education in the district schools of Oregon, and supplemented the knowledge thus gained by taking a course at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He resided at the home of his parents until 1876, when he was married and located on the farm where he still resides, in section 32 of the town of Rutland, the place being know as the old Axtell farm. It comprises two hundred and fifty acres, and since taking possession of it Mr. Ames has made many needed improvements, including a beautiful residence, which he built in 1893. In addition to this homestead he owns two hundred and eight acres in Brooklyn, Green county., which tract is known as the Willis Hazeltine place. Mr. Ames has always followed farming of a general nature, raising oats, corn, hay and wheat, and in livestock, and breeds hogs, horses and cattle quite extensively. In politics he gives an unwavering allegiance to the principles of the Prohibition party, but has never aspired to official position.
In 1904 the Farmer’s Mutual Banking & Trust Company of Brooklyn was organized, and Mr. Ames was elected as the first president of the organization, serving in that capacity for two years and he is now secretary of the same.
Our subject was married on August 15, 1876, to Miss Alice C. Main, daughter of R. P. and Cordelia A. (Dakin) Main, who are given extended mention on another page of this volume, in the sketch of their son, Edwin D. Main. Mrs. Ames was a schoolteacher in her early life, and is a lady of culture and refinement. She is the mother of seven children, the names and other facts concerning whom are here incorporated: F. Marion attended school at Evansville, graduated in the commercial college at Madison, and is now the bookkeeper at the chair factory at Brooklyn. J. Quincy is at present attending Yale college, being a member of the class of 1907, and is assistant secretary of the college Y.M.C.A. He has also been a student at the University of Wisconsin and he was in St. Louis two years and in Manila for the same length of time, being in the civil service of the government. He has also made a trip around the world, visiting Shanghai, London, Rome, Paris, and other notable places. He is now preparing himself for the practice of law.
Hallie, the third child, is assistant cashier and bookkeeper in the bank of Evansville. She is a graduate of the Evansville Seminary and the commercial college at Madison and taught several years. Tressa attended the Whitewater Normal School for two years, and has been teaching for the past three years, being the teacher in the primary department of the high school at Brooklyn.
Robert P. took a commercial course in the Madison Business College, then went to Montana for a while and bookkeeper for a time at Canastota, S.D. He is now at home engaged in the management of his father’s farm. Paul Main and Sadie Minnie (twins) are graduates of the high school at Evansville, of the class of 1906. In 1893 all of these children attended the World’s Fair at Chicago, and in 1904 they visited the St. Louis exposition.
1906 History of Dane County, Wisconsin, Western Historical Association, Madison, WI, p. 28-31.