There is a conflict of authority with reference to the first settlement in this town. French's Gazetteer states that the first settlement was made in 1795 by Benjamin CLEVELAND; while Elias LIVERMORE is positive that Cleveland did not come to this county until after his grandfather, Abraham LIVERMORE, came, in 1796. We have no means of determining which statement is correct. [Abraham Livermore's tombstone, erected many years ago, bears this inscription: "He was the first settler in the town of German in 1796."]
Abraham LIVERMORE was a native of Pelham, Mass., and a Revolutionary soldier, who lost his property by the depreciation of the Continental currency. In 1795 he left his native place and emigrated to the western wilderness, with his family consisting of his wife, Hepsey and nine children, viz.: Abraham, Jr., Rebecca, Daniel, Polly, Abel, Cyrus, Hepsey, Sally and Martin. He halted for a few months at Paris, in Oneida county, where he left his family, while, in the spring of 1796, with an ax upon his shoulder, he made his way through the forest by means of marked trees to the locality of German village, on the site of which he took up 156 acres, embracing both the north-east and south-east corners, extending east about thirty rods and about half a mile south. He made a small clearing and rolled up a log cabin, which stood a little west of the residence of H. L. BENTLEY, and while thus engaged lodged under the friendly shelter of a large wild cherry tree, against which he put up some brush to protect him from the weather. This was his only shelter until his log cabin was erected. In the fall he returned to Paris and brought in his family with an ox sled, hiring some one to bring them. In that rude habitation he opened a tavern, the first in the town, which he also kept for several years in the more commodious house erected a few years after on the site of H. L. Bentley's residence, which was also the first frame house in the town. He also built, previous to 1807, the first frame barn in the town. It still stands opposite the residence of Mr. Bentley. The locality of his settlement is still known as Livermore's Corners, though the name of the post-office is German. He died there March 11, 1826, aged 77. After his death his wife went to live with a daughter in Paris, where she died, aged over ninety years.
Of his children, Abraham returned to Pelham about 1812, and married Hepsey COMSTOCK, of that place. He did not come back here till some 15 or 20 years after. He then settled on fifty acres joining his father's on the south and died there Dec. 2, 1846, aged 70. His wife, after his death, went to live with her daughter in Dubuque, Iowa, where she died. He had six children, three of whom are living, Abigail, wife of Abner BENTON, and Betsey Maria, wife of Alanson BENTON, brother of Abner, in Iowa, and Benjamin, who married Mary ROOT, of Cincinnatus, where they now live.
Rebecca married and moved to Indiana, where she died. Daniel married Desire, daughter of Michael MEAD (who settled in German about 1800,) and settled on fifty acres joining his father's farm on the east, which now forms a part of Henry Smith's farm. He afterwards removed with his family to Ohio and subsequently to Iowa, where he died. He was a carpenter and joiner and mill-wright, and built a good many mills in this locality, including the original one on the side of Walter O. BANKS' mill, which he operated for several years. It was a saw-mill, was built about 1825, and was the first mill in the town. There has never been a grist-mill in the town. He had six children, all of whom went west.
Polly married Hezekiah CRESSY, and settled in Aurelius, Cayuga county, where she died. Abel married Deborah SALISBURY and settled on fifty acres where William BURNAP now lives, where he died Sept. 15, 1849, aged 65. After his death, his wife went to live in Earlville, where she died March 24, 1858, aged 67. They had thirteen children, six of whom are living: Elias, who married Eunice LEACH, and lived in German till 1878, when he removed to Willet, where he now resides; Cyrus, who removed to Ohio and married there; Polly, who married Nelson CRANDALL and is living in Ohio; Maryette, who married Waldo PICKETT, and is living in Ohio; Farmer, who married Sarah PICKETT, sister of Waldo, and is living in Wisconsin; and Samuel, who married in Massachusetts, and is now living there.
Cyrus married Arabella ROCKWELL, and settled on fifty acres north of his brother Daniel, which now forms a part of Henry SMITH's farm. He removed to Ohio with his family and died there, he and his wife. Hepsey married Jonathan HEAD, of Paris, Oneida county, where she lived and died. This marriage was the first one contracted in the town. Sally married a man named ROWE, of Madison county, and and died soon after. Martin never married. He removed some twenty years ago to Iowa, where he now lives, aged about 86 to 87.
"These two families, so remote from any other settlement, suffered great privations and hardships during the first few years of their settlement here. In June, 1796, Mr. Cleveland's family were entirely destitute of provisions, and to procure a supply for their pressing necessities, he started for Fort Stanwix, (now Rome,) intending to return in three or four days. He was detained longer than he expected, and on the fourth day of his absence, Mrs. Cleveland and the children, who had eaten nothing for three days except a few roots found in the woods, started for their nearest neighbors in Cincinnatus, on the Otselic, four and a half miles distant. When about a mile from home they were frightened by the appearance of a bear in their path and thought it prudent to return. The next morning the mother was too weak to walk and the two older children again set out for Mr. RAYMOND's on the Otselic. Mrs. Raymond was almost as destitute as those who sought her aid, but made a pudding of bran, the only article of food in the house, and bestowed this and a bottle of milk upon her starving neighbors, which sustained them until relief came. At another time, when the family was reduced to the greatest extremity, two unmilked cows came to their house at night and went away in the morning, furnishing the family with a supply of milk for several days. It was never known where the cows came from or whither they went. Other families suffered in a similar manner, but by patient endurance they lived to enjoy the comforts and many of the luxuries of life."
Michael MEAD is believed to have been the next to settle in the town. He came in about 1800 and located on fifty acres next east of Abraham LIVERMORE's. He did not live here many years, but removed to the locality of Cayuga Lake.
John BALDWIN settled early in the north part of the town and died there.
Capt. LAWRENCE came in about 1812 and settled a mile and a half south of German, on the place now owned by Mr. TORREY. He removed from the town after some ten years.
Ezra FULLER, who came from Fort Edward, Washington county, in 1850, and Alexander FERRIS, who came from Broome county, opened a store in 1866, in a building erected for the purpose in 1864, by Mr. FULLER on the site of the old one, which was removed and is now occupied as a residence by James LIVERMORE. They traded a few years under the name of Fuller & Ferris, when Fuller bought the interest of his partner, who soon after removed to Fenton, where he now resides. Fuller after about three years sold to William BAILEY, a resident of Cincinnatus, who traded two years, when the business reverted back to Fuller, who, after trading two years, sold to Chas. D. BOWEN, from Cortland county, who continued two years and sold to L. D. TURNER, by whom the business was continued some eighteen months till Jan. 1, 1877, when Ezra FULLER and Harvey S. NICHOLS bought him out and traded together till the store was burned March 1, 1879. The present store was built the same spring by Mr. Nichols, who opened it for business July 1, 1879, and still continues. Mr. Nichols came here from Cincinnatus, his native place. Mr. Fuller continues to reside in German.