Biography of Jonathan Denise Ledyard (1793 to 1874)
 
Obituary From the Cazenovia Republican, January 22, 1874
Biography from Smith's 1880 History of Chenango and Madison Counties
 
Daniel H. Weiskotten
11/15/1999
 
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1874 Obituary
1880 Biography from Smith's History of Madison and Chenango Counties (this is derived from the obituary)
 
Cazenovia Republican.
January 22, 1874.
In Memoriam.

        Jonathan Denise Ledyard was born at Middletown Point, in the State of New Jersey, on the tenth day of June, 1793, and died in this place, on the seventh day of January, 1874.
        His father, Benjamin Ledyard, a native of Groton, in the State of Connecticut, was a near relative of John Ledyard, the distinguished traveler, as well as of Col. Ledyard, who was treacherously slain in the revolutionary war, after a gallant defense of Fort Griswold.  Benjamin Ledyard himself served with credit as a major during the same struggle, being present at the battles of Monmouth, White Plains and others, and after the war settled at Middletown Point, being engaged, however, in business in the city of New York as a hardware merchant.  In 1794, having been appointed by Gov. George Clinton to the county clerkship of the newly-erected county of Onondaga, then embracing a large portion of western New York, he removed with his family, consisting of his wife, eight children and numerous negroes, to Aurora, on the shore of Cayuga Lake, making the journey from New York to Albany in a sloop, thence by wagon to Schenectady, there taking Durham boats or batteaux up the Mohawk  and through Wood Creek, Oneida Lake, the Seneca River and Cayuga Lake to his destination, where a log house, erected upon the very bank of the lake; was ready to receive him.  At the tavern at Fort Schuyler, kept by John Post, the party were met by Peter Smith and James S. Kip, and the former took the family to his house, Mr. Kip carrying the baby, then ten month old, up the hill, and finding him no light burden.
        The mother of Jonathan D. Ledyard was Catharine Forman, a sister of Gen. Jonathan Forman, also of revolutionary memory, who died in this place soon after the beginning of the present century, and whose tombstone is perhaps the oldest in our village cemetery, and also of Maj. Samuel S. Forman, who came to this place with Col. John Lincklaen in 1793, and who, after residing in this place many years, removed to Syracuse, where he died a few years since at a very advanced age.
        The subject of this sketch, upon the death of his mother, which occurred about 1798, became a member of' the family of his brother-in-law, the late Col. Lincklaen, and since that time has been a resident of this village, and, for many years past, its most conspicuous citizen.
        At a very early age, he was sent to a family school at Albany, then kept by the celebrated Dr. Nott, and was afterward placed in a school at Whitesboro, under the charge of Dr. Halsey.  He then attended the Grammar School of Union College, after which he followed the regular course at that institution, under the presidency of his old preceptor, Dr. Nott, graduating in 1812.  He pursued the study of the law in the offices of Childs and Stebbins of this place, and of Gen. Kirkland of Utica, and was admitted to the bar in 1815.
        He never, however, engaged in the active practice of his profession, but soon after arriving at his majority, entered the land office of Col. Lincklaen, the agent of, and, in a small share, proprietor in, the Holland Land Company in this place.  He was soon associated with Col. Lincklaen in the agency, and afterward, in connection with him, purchased the interest of the company in the unsold lands and debts of the establishment. The increasing infirmities of Col. Lincklaen, followed by his lamented death in 1822, cast upon Mr. Ledyard, then a very young man, the burden of the entire property, consisting of about 150,000 acres of land, lying in the counties of Madison and Chenango.  The depressing effects of the war of 1812 upon the commercial interests of the country, the severity of several untoward seasons, and the opening of the western country to settlement, in consequence of the projection and construction of the Erie Canal, made his task a very heavy one.  By great energy, untiring industry and strict probity, he succeeded in meeting his obligations to the company, in such a manner as to leave a moderate competence for himself and his family.  He at once perceived, that a coercive policy would result, not only in the ruin of many settlers upon the tract, but would, in the end, retard the growth of the country, by driving them to settle upon the better but more distant lands of the new states.  Accordingly, he forebore, encouraged, assisted, sometimes threatened, but rarely prosecuted, until, in 1844, he was enabled, from the payments made to him, to discharge the last installment of the very large debt to the company, incurred upon the purchase of the property, and received a conveyance of the lands not previously deeded.  He made himself acquainted with the character, habits, and the business and family relations of his clientage, many of whom owe their prosperity, in large measure, to his judicious counsel, his gentle reproof, or his warm words of encouragement.  He was regarded by the people upon his tract, more as their friend and adviser, than as their creditor, and there were few, who did not look forward to a business visit to him, with the pleasurable anticipation with which one expects to meet a valued friend.  For half a century, his name has been a household word in hundreds of homes, and his character, manners, and sayings, discussed at their firesides, and always with feelings of affection and reverence.  Of many hundreds of purchasers of land from him, there are very few with whom he ever had any dispute, and almost none with whom he ever had any litigation.
        From his earliest manhood, he was largely interested in improving the thoroughfares of the country.  He succeeded Col. Lincklaen as President of the Third Great Western Turnpike Co., a work which was completed in 1810 at a cost of over $90,000, a colossal sum for those days, and, until its dissolution, superintended its affairs with great care and faithfulness.  In connection with his son, Ledyard Lincklaen, be was largely instrumental in the construction of the plank road from this place to Chittenango, and he took a warm interest in the completion of the railroad from this place to Canastota.
        He was largely interested in agricultural pursuits, and was the first President of the Madison County Agricultural Society, formed in 1841, and many persons, now living, will remember with what zeal and efficiency he executed the functions of that position.
        In early life, like most young men of that day, he entered the militia of the State, then, in consequence of its meritorious service during the war of 1812, an organization of great influence and standing.  At the annual musters, he was brought in close contact with the leading men of this and the adjoining counties, and formed many strong and life-long attachments.  He took great pride in discharging the duties belonging to his several commissions; and rose to the rank of Brigadier-General, resigning his commission in 1828.
        But it was not in his business and public relations, that Mr. Ledyard's character was best exhibited.  His local and personal attachments were unusually strong, and it is for his personal traits, that he will be longest remembered in this community.
        Occupying the most conspicuous position in the village which he greatly loved, he fairly discharged the obligations connected with his station.  He was ever foremost in the support of every project calculated to promote the prosperity, or to enhance the beauty of our place.  Indeed, it may well be said of him, "Si monumentum quaeris, circumspice," for there has been scarcely an improvement made in or near our village, which does not owe its origin to his forethought, assistance, influence or example.
        In every charitable enterprise, he was always counted upon as a certain and liberal contributor, and his heart and purse have ever been open to the call of every worthy applicant.
        Simple in his personal habits, and unostentatious in his mode of life, he ever exercised a generous and graceful hospitality, and, for the last half century, his mansion has not been a day without a fire on its hearth; or a hospitable host, to welcome a neighbor or a passing traveler within its doors.
        His mental and moral qualities were such, as to attach to him the warm affection of those, with whom he was brought in immediate contact.  His kind heart went out to kinsfolk and friends, with a wealth of affection which secured a corresponding return.  Gentle in his manners, sympathizing in his emotions, magnanimous in his feelings, just in his dealings and frank in his bearing, he possessed, in an extraordinary degree, the affection of his family and friends, which in the latter years of his life ripened into a living veneration.
 
 
 

From: Smith, James H., 1880, History of Chenango and Madison Counties, New York. D. Mason & Co.. Syracuse, NY

Page 682
 

JONATHAN DENISE LEDYARD.

        Jonathan Denise Ledyard, son of Benjamin and Catharine Forman Ledyard, was born at Middletown Point, NJ, June 10, 1793, and died at Cazenovia, January 7, 1874.
        His father was a native of Groton, CT, and a near relative of John Ledyard, the distinguished traveler, as well as of Col. Ledyard, who was treacherously slain during the Revolution, after the gallant defense of Fort Griswold.  He served with credit in that war as major, and at its close engaged in business in New York as a hardware merchant, with his residence at Middletown Point.  In 1794 lie removed with his family to Aurora, Cayuga county, as agent and clerk for the apportionment of lands in the Military Tract.  On the erection of Onondaga county in 1794 he was appointed by Gov. George Clinton, clerk of that county, and by Gov. John Jay, to the same office in Cayuga county, on its erection in 1799, holding the latter office till his death in November, 1803.
        His mother was sister to Gen. Jonathan Forman, also of Revolutionary memory, and to Major Samuel S. Forman, who accompanied Col. John Lincklaen in the settlement of Cazenovia in 1793.
        Jonathan Denise Ledyard removed with his parents to Aurora, and on the death of his mother, in 1798, was adopted by his sister Helen, who was the wife of Col. John Lincklaen, who had no children of his own.  At an early age he was sent to school at Albany, then kept by the celebrated Dr. Nott, and was afterwards placed in a school at Whitestown, under the charge of Dr. Halsey.  He subsequently attended the Grammar School of Union College, after which he pursued the regular course at that institution, under the presidency of his old preceptor, Dr. Nott, graduating in 1812.  He read law in the offices of Childs & Stebbins, in Cazenovia, and of Gen. Kirkland, in Utica, and was admitted to the bar in 1815, but never engaged in the active practice of his profession.
        Soon after attaining his majority he entered the land office of Col. Lincklaen, whom he succeeded in the management of the Holland Land Company's establishment at Cazenovia, and in 1822 he purchased the remaining lands.  The increasing infirmities of Col. Lincklaen, followed by his lamented death in 1822, devolved upon Mr. Ledyard, then a very young man, the burden of the entire property, consisting of about 150,000 acres of land, lying in the counties of Madison and Chenango.  The depressing effects produced on the commercial interests of the country by the war of 1812, the severity of several untoward seasons, and the opening to settlement of the western country by the construction of the Erie Canal, made the task a very onerous one.  But by great energy, untiring industry and strict probity, he succeeded in meeting his obligations to the company in such a manner as to leave a moderate competence for himself and family.  He perceived that a coercive policy would result, not only in the ruin of many settlers upon the tract, but would, in the end, retard the growth of the country, by driving them to the better but more distant lands of the new States.  Accordingly he forebore, encouraged, assisted, sometimes threatened, but rarely prosecuted, until, in 1844, he was enabled to pay the last installment of the heavy indebtedness incurred on the purchase of the property.  He acquainted himself with the character, habits and business and family relations of his patrons, many of whom owe their prosperity, in large measure, to his judicious counsel, his gentle reproof, or his warm words of encouragement.  He was regarded by the people upon his tract more as their friend and adviser than as their creditor, and there were few who did not look forward to a business visit with him with the pleasurable anticipation with which one expects to meet a valued friend.  Of the many hundreds who purchased lands of him, there were very few with whom he had any dispute and almost none with whom he had litigation.
        From his earliest manhood he was largely interested in improving the thoroughfares of the county.  He succeeded Col. Lincklaen as president of the third Great Western Turnpike, which was completed in 1810 at a cost of over $90,000, and until the dissolution of the company, superintended its affairs with great care and faithfulness.  In connection with his son, Ledyard Lincklaen, he was largely instrumental in the construction of the plank road from Cazenovia to Chittenango, and took a warm interest in the completion of the railroad from Cazenovia to Canastota.
        He was largely interested in agricultural pursuits, and was the first President of the Madison County Agricultural Society, formed in 1841, administering its affairs with zeal and efficiency.  In the militia he rose by various gradations to the rank of Brigadier General, resigning his commission in 1828.
        Continuing his residence in Cazenovia till his death he was foremost in the support of every project calculated to promote the prosperity or enhance the beauty of the village.
        In his social relations he shone even more conspicuously than in his business relations.  His personal attachments were unusually strong, his sympathies large and his friendship enduring.
        He married Jane, daughter of John Strawbridge, of Philadelphia, who died February 4, 1855 aged 62.  His eldest son, Lincklaen Ledyard, inherited the Lincklaen mansion and the farm attached thereto.  His name was afterwards change by Act of the Legislature to Ledyard Lincklaen.  He died April 25, 1864.  His widow still occupies the place.  Two sons are living, both in Cazenovia, -- George S. Ledyard, who occupies the homestead just south of the village, and L. Wolters Ledyard, whose residence, "The Oaks," on the south shore of the lake, is very near the site of the first log cabin erected by the pioneers in 1793.