History of German


    German was formed from DeRuyter March 21, 1806.

    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.


    Benjamin CLEVELAND came in from Oneida county in 1797, and squatted on a piece of land next north of Abel LIVERMORE's. He staid {sic} only a few years, and removed form the county. His daughter Polly was the first child born in the town, but not as early as 1796, as is stated in French's Gazetteer, and Child's Gazetteer of Chenango County. We quote from the latter the following incident connected with Cleveland's settlement here:-

    "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."


    Very few settlements were made in the present town of German for several years after these two families came in, although all around it the settlements were quite numerous previous to 1800. Why its settlement was thus tardy can only be conjectured as being due in some measure at least to it remoteness from the center of interest (Cazenovia) which largely induced the settlements in the Gore.

    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.


Merchants:- The first merchants at German were Platt SMITH and Charles LIVERMORE, the former of whom afterwards married his partner's sister Caroline. They opened a store about 1834, on the site of the present one, in a building they had previously occupied but a few years. SMITH removed to Dubuque, Iowa, where he married his partner's sister, and became an eminent lawyer, and is now living. They were succeeded by Nelson DREW, who came from Otsego county, and traded several years in the same building. He removed to Cincinnatus and thence to California. He has since died. Frank BARNES, a native of the county, who had previously clerked for J. P. HILL of McDonough, opened a store in the same building about 1847 or '8, and traded till about 1851, when he removed to Cincinnatus.

    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.


Postmasters:- The first postmaster in German was Abel LIVERMORE, who was appointed about 1821, and kept the office in his tavern, which occupied the site of William BURNAP's place, till 1839, when his son Elias was appointed. He was superseded in 1840, by Nelson DREW, who held the office till about 1845 or '6, when he was succeeded by Mr. BURNAP, who has since held the office with the exception of about six months, when Abraham LIVERMORE held it.
Physicians:- The first physician in German was probably William W. PAGE, who was licensed in Oneida county, and located in the Stanley settlement, about two and a half miles north-east of German. He practiced a few years from about 1823, Oct. 14th of which year he joined the County Medical Society. He had left previous to 1827. Russell W. MORLEY, who had previously practiced in McDonough, practiced in the east part of the town a few years from about 1835. He returned to McDonough and resumed practice there. He died April 29, 1859, aged 74.
End of German (pg 379-382)
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