THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JEAN BAPTISTE BEZONA (BISOGLIO)
Part Two of Four
History of John Baptist BEZONA (BEZONI)
Generally Agreed upon by Members of the “Bezona Bunch”
From family accounts passed down over the years, John Baptiste BEZONA (BEZONI) BISOGLIO was born in Alessandria, Piedmont, Italy circa 1785.
Alessandria is both a large city and the area surrounding the city. People who live in the near-by villages and smaller cities add the initials of “AL” after their village or city name to indicate that proximity. The Bisoglio Family are Catholic and the family believes its surname (Cognome) to have originated in the village of Lu / Monferrato. Monferrato is the diocese of the area, which includes Lu. This is the location of baptismal data that pre-exists the electronic dating of births kept by the Catholic Church.
On 14 Feb 1819, Anna Maria Lown and John Bezona were married in Moreau Township (TWP), Saratoga County, NY. Anna Maria, the daughter of John Phillip LOWN and Christina PINCK, was born on the farm and baptized at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3 miles north of the village of Rhinebeck, New York.
John Bezona died on 3 Mar 1851 just outside of the village of East Pembroke in Batavia, Township (TWP), Genesee, New York. He was buried on 6 Mar 1851 in the Pioneer Cemetery, East Pembroke, Pembroke TWP, Genesee, New York. Anna Maria died on 12 May 1884 in East Pembroke, Pembroke TWP, Genesee New York. She is buried beside her husband, John.
No gravestones indicate where the two are buried because the cemetery is now the village’s recreational park. However they are still interred there. The location of their graves is shown on a burial plot map from the late 1890s. Copies are currently in the possession of David Henry Bezona and David Burt. [link to burial plot map]
Both John Henry and George Albert, sons of JBB and Anna Maria, were born as BEZONAs in New York.
Bezona Family Land and Burial Places
David H. Bezona in an e-mail dated 17 May 1999:
“I have visited the house site where JBB lived and the name, as [spoken verbally], at that time was Bezoni. It [the house] unfortunately burned down in the 1920’s and was never rebuilt, so just the foundation of field stone remains to this date.
“Records show that the house and land [comprised of] less than an acre plot of land outside the village of East Pembroke, located in the Township of Batavia, Genesee County, New York. [JBB’s] youngest son, Andrew Jacob Bezoni, (called by all records Jacob or Jake) lived on this land and his widow, Cornelia Bezoni, died there. This location listed [on records] as the place of residence or birth of many of the Bezoni family members.
“The Batavia Township offices are located on the outskirts of the city of Batavia, New York, a small city just west of Rochester, NY, where I lived from 1971-1973. At that time, I was unable to copy all of the documents I found in the Town of Batavia office.
“While trying to find the burial place of JBB and Anna Maria BEZONI (almost always referred to as Maria), I discovered a new village cemetery, Hillside Cemetery, where Jacob and Cornelia Bezoni are buried in an area that was very poorly marked. In fact, I would say that they had been mass buried and there were no official records stating the locations of the bodies or remains. I must admit that it was getting dark when I was there and I probably cut short the more thorough search (stone to stone) that was required. I did hand-copy much of the information I saw but do not really know where it is presently.”
Marianne Purdy wrote to David H. Bezona on March 10, 2001
“My theory is that between 1832 and 1851, JBB purchased land in Genesee County, on a time contract. Before he completed paying, he died (1851), so his name does not appear in the County Deed Records. The BEZONA Estate is indicated on the 1854 Land Ownership Map of Genesee County, which I had previously sent to all but the new members. The property owner just south of the Bezona Estate is W. Brownell [remember this name].
“I believe it is possible that one or more of the deed transfers listed below, may be for property or properties that JBB contracted to purchase, but did not complete payment for before he died, resulting in the deeds going to his heirs. You will note that all of the deeds are for property in Tracts H and P, Section 13, Township 12, Range 2 and that they fall in Lots 7, 8 and 9. This area all falls within the area of the Holland Land Company.
“In reading about the Holland Land Company, I have found that after 1803, townships were lotted into 64 lots of 360 acres each. Numbering of lots began in the southeast corner of the township going north; returning to the southern boundary of the township to begin the next column of lots. Holland Land Company records seem to cover the period from 1799 thru 1839.
“JBB moved from Saratoga County to Genesee County in 1832 [this move occurred after the 1830 census placing the family in Moreau, New York], per Maria’s statement in her BLW application. JBB may have purchased from the Holland Land Company; he may have purchased from a private individual who had purchased from the HLC; or a speculator may have purchased his [JBB’s] contract from HLC when they sold out their holdings from 1835 to 1838.”
From the Index of Deeds, Genesee County, NY (both Grantee and Grantor Indices):
YEAR GRANTEE GRANTOR LIBER PAGETRACT LOT SEC. TWP R
1854 John H. Bezona William Brownell 89 266 H.P. 7 13; 12; 2
1855 William S. Bezona John H. Bezona 89 267 H.P. 7 13; 12; 2
Blank Joseph W. Heath William S. Bezona 115 320 H.P. 7 13; 12; 2
Blank Maria Bezona John B. Ellicott 117 297 H.P. 8 13; 12; 2
1865 Maria Bezona William Brownell 119 148 H.P. 7 13; 12; 2
Blank Andrew J. Bezon Cornelius Donily 121 480 H.P. 9 13; 12; 2
“The Holland Land Company records are on 202 rolls of microfilm. The core collection of these films is held in several places, including the Family History Library in Salt Lake (we can all get these films thru our local FHC’s) and at Reed Library, SUNY College at Fredonia. The woman who was the driving force behind the project to film the HLC records was a Librarian at Reed Library, SUNY; [she was] apparently still there in 1996. SUNY may also hold a copy of a book, History of the Holland Land Purchase by O. Turner, 1850 published by George H. Derby Co. This book is supposed to contain a list of mortgages and contracts involved when the HLC sold out 1835 to 1838. Apparently copies of these contracts are often recorded with the deeds in the county courthouses. For us that would be the Genesee County Courthouse. If JBB purchased from the HLC, [it] might be found with one of the deeds for Bezona or Brownell.