Charles Cayford, of Cornville, a prominent farmer and breeder of trotting stock, son of Benjamin E. Cayford, was born here, December 14, 1828. He is of good old English ancestry, his grandparents, John and Judith Cayford, having emigrated from England to America in the early part of the present century. They located first On a farm in Skowhegan, Maine, where the grandfather was engaged as a farmer and drover and also for some years as a minister of one of the local churches. After the death of his wife he removed to a small town in Florida, of which he was the Postmaster until his demise at an advanced age.
Benjamin E. Cayford and his only brother, John Everett Cayford, spent their lives in Skowhegan, where they were successfully employed as tillers of the soil. Benjamin married Sophronia White, of Skowhegan, and by her became the father of eight children, of whom one died in infancy. The others were: Benjamin, who was drowned in the Kennebec River in 1849; Charles, the subject of this biography; Mary, the widow of John McLaughlin, now living at Sioux Falls, South Dakota; George, deceased, who was a farmer in Cornville; Elizabeth, who died at the age of nineteen years; Sophronia, who died at an early age; and Laura, who resides with her sister, Mrs. McLaughlin at Sioux Falls. Neither of the parents is living, the father having passed to eternity in 1853 and the mother in 1880.
Charles Cayford spent his early life on the parental homestead, living there until lured to the Pacific coast by the example of the gold seekers that were then flocking to California. After mining in that State for three years, he returned in 1852 to Cornville, and thereafter, until his marriage, assisted in the care of the home property. In 1854 he purchased of the heirs of his father’s estate the old Hilton farm, on which he has since lived. He has made many improvements on the estate, including the erection of buildings suitable for farm purposes, and is carrying on an extensive and lucrative business as general farmer. He raises a good deal of stock, making a specialty of trotting horses, for which he is famed throughout this section of the State. In politics he is an uncompromising Republican, and he has been on the Board of Selectmen of Cornville two years.
Mr. Cayford was married August 22, 1854, to Miss Mary French, who was born in Solon, Maine, May 27, 1829. Her father, Moses French, born in old Salisbury, Maine, after his marriage with Sarah Patten, of Norridgewock, settled on a farm in Solon, where he carried on farming, and was also a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal church for many years. Both Mr. and Mrs. French died in Solon, he at the age of sixty-nine years and she when sixty-four years old. Mr. and Mrs. Cayford have nine children, namely: Charles, who died at the age of twelve years; Benjamin F., a blacksmith in Isadora, Missouri, who married Ella Bristol; Mabel, who is the wife of Alonzo Smith; Caroline, who is the matron of a hospital for children in Boston; Howard, a farmer in Campville, Minnesota, who married Alice Palmer; Luther, who is engaged in farming in Isadora, Missouri; Morris, who lives at home; Mamie, Luther’s twin sister, who is in the training school of a Boston hospital; and Georgia, who died at the age of eleven years. Mrs. Cayford, still adhering to the religious belief in which she was reared, is an active member Of the Methodist Episcopal church at Skowhegan.
Source: Biographical review: containing life sketches of leading citizens of Somerset, Piscataquis, Hancock, Washington, and Aroostook counties, Maine. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1898.