The first settlements were made about 1794, by several French families, among whom were D. G. JEFFREY, John and Modest RAYNOR, brothers, the latter of whom had a family. Most of them removed to Ohio at an early day. They settled in the locality of Plymouth village and probably came at the instance of Benjamin WALKER, of Utica, an English gentleman who owned the lands in this locality. He came from England about the opening of the war of 1812, and was made a captain in the first New York regiment raised here during that war. Mr. Walker built, or caused to be built, a saw and grist-mill and a large barn one hundred feet long for the accommodation of the settlers. The first mill stood where Allen STEWARD now lives, about a hundred rods below the present mill in Plymouth village. It was afterwards discovered that the wrong site had been selected and a second mill was built about 1801 or '2, on the site of the present one, which was built about thirty-five years ago, by a company composed of several individuals. Nathaniel PRENTIS bought this second mill at an early day and was killed Oct . 13, 1809, at the age of 42, by the fall of a heavy rafter while engaged in repairing it.
Silas HOLMES, who was formerly from Connecticut, came in from Saratoga county and settled on the Norwich road, about three miles below the village, where, about the beginning of the century, he built a grist and saw-mill, which he occupied till his removal to Chautauqua county, about 1834-40. The grist-mill is now owned by Mr. ROSS and the saw-mill by Orrin SEXTON. Mr. Holmes represented this county in the Assembly in 1812 and 1823. His children mostly went West with him.
Mr. BLOWERS settled on the place afterwards occupied by Shubal TOWER, about a mile above the village, where J. STEWARD now lives. He died at an early day, his death being the first which occurred in the town. He was buried on the corner opposite the present tavern, where some eight or ten of the first persons who died were interred; but the spot is built over and all trace of the graves obliterated. Henry PRESCOTT's residence stands upon the spot.
Subal TOWER, to whom reference has been made, came from from Massachusetts about 1801 or '2. He resided here till his death, Jan. 7, 1858, aged 90. Abigail, his wife, died March 1, 1856, aged 81. His children were Salma, who died in the town June 20, 1844, aged 46; William, Rodney and James B., who went to Wisconsin; Almon, who died in the village a year or two ago; Obadiah, a deacon of the Baptist church, now living in Oxford; Nelson, the youngest son, who also went to Wisconsin; and Hannah, the eldest child, who married Lemuel FERGUSON and died Dec. 25, 1829, aged 33.
John MILLER was a German and came from the locality of Albany. He settled on the farm now occupied by Danforth R. CUSHMAN. He removed to Broome county after several years. His son John settled on the George STEWARD farm, about a mile below the village. He removed to Ohio about 1830. The latter's son John occupied that farm some years after his father's removal and died in the town Feb. 9, 1864, aged 69, and "Almyra," his wife, June 6, 1848, aged 57. John was the only one of his children who remained here.
James BAMFORD was an Irishman and came here from Utica. He settled about a mile above the village, on the farm now owned by Isaac S. NEWTON, of Norwich. He afterwards removed to a farm about half a mile above it and died March 8, 1843, aged 80. Adam S. Bamford, living in Norwich, is a son of his.
Colonel MUNROE was one of the first settlers on the site of Norwich, and removed from thence to the south-east corner of this town by reason of a difficulty between himself and Leonard M. CUTTING, who was the original owner of the 15th township. [See Norwich} While living in Norwich, and subsequently in Plymouth he filled several prominent positions, among them that of Sheriff, to which office he was appointed March 23, 1809, again Feb. 8, 1811, and again March 6, 1819. He was the first Member of Assembly from this town, in 1816. He died on the farm on which he settled in this town, and was succeeded thereon by his son Virgil, who sold it to Colonel Benadam FRINK, and removed to Wisconsin. [Mr. Danforth WALES, of Plymouth, says Colonel Munroe's second wife was the widow of Nathaniel PRENTISS, instead of Benjamin, as stated by Dr. HARRIS, of Norwich; also that William Munroe, a son by his first wife, died in the Beaver Meadow in Otselic, instead of Preston.] He was uncle to Dyar Munroe the latter of whom is father of the Munroes living in Plymouth.
Asa CURTICE settled about a mile and a half south-west of the village, and died in the town April 29, 1826, aged 52. His daughter was the first wife of Marvin STEWARD, of Plymouth, and died early. None of his children are living here.
Levi GARDNER came from Massachusetts and settled on the farm now occupied by Albert MUNDY, a half mile north of the village, where he died and is buried. His wife, Huldah, died March 19, 1872, aged 100 years. None of the children are left here. Some of them went west. Townsend S. Gardner, brother of Levi, came in a little later and settled first about a mile north-east of the village. He afterwards removed to the farm where William SABIN lives and died there June 10, 1840, aged 77; and Thankful, his wife, Nov. 19, 1849, aged 86.
James GERMAN was a half brother to Obadiah German, a prominent early settler in North Norwich, and came here from Dutchess county. He settled in the east part of the town, where he owned 300 to 400 acres of land. Ebenezer ADAMS now owns the land on which he settled. He removed with his family about 1823, to New Jersey.
Jonathan WEAVER settled in 1798, on the Smyrna road, about a mile from the village, on the Smyrna road, about a mile from the village, on what is known as the KNOWLES' farm, now occupied by David ROWE, where he died, April 13 1813, aged 60. Sarah BABCOCK, his second wife, died Aug. 14, 1819, aged 29. His children by his first wife were: Jonathan, Jr., who died in 1840, aged 60; Warren and Betsey. Those by his second wife were: James, Charles B., Gordon, who died in Smryna, Aug. 19, 1847, aged 50, Elias, who died in Norwich, and Lucretia.
David BLAIR came from Becket, Mass., with a family of eleven children and settled on the Smyrna road, about a mile and a half north-east of the village, where William WARNER now lives, and died there July 22, 1829, aged 80, and Miriam, his wife, Aug. 25, 1827, aged 78. His children, all of whom are dead, were: Thompson, Calvin, David, Robert, Luther, Erskine, Dolly, who married Robert HENRY, Miriam, who married Isaac SABIN, Hannah, who married Chester ALLEN, and Eunice and Theodocia , neither of whom married. Erskine succeeded his father on the homestead and died there. Luther, Thompson and Calvin went west at an early day. David settled first in this town and when advanced in years went to live with his children in the Black River Valley.
Christopher FALK came from Sharon, Schoharie county, and settled about two miles south of Plymouth Center, and died there June 14, 1808, aged 38. He came with his family, consisting of his wife, Marion FRARY, and one child, Henry, the latter of whom is still living at Preston, aged 82. His children who were born after he settled here were: Elias, Justus and Lucretia, the latter of whom is the only one of these living. She married Asahel STEWARD, with whom she is living in Plymouth, where they settled. Elias and Justus died young.
Robert GALLOP came from the locality of New London, Conn. He was a Revolutionary soldier and was badly wounded at the taking of the fort at that place. He settled about a half mile above the village, on the road to Smyrna. In advanced life he went to live with his daughter, the wife of Erastus FOOTE, first in Norwich and afterwards in Greene, where he died, but was brought here for interment.
Charles BABCOCK settled in the village, where he kept tavern on the place now occupied by the widow of Ira THOMPSON. He is said to have been the first inn-keeper in the town [French's Gazetteer of the State of New York]; but Mr. Danforth WALES thinks that a man named AMSBRY kept a tavern at an earlier day on the site of Thomas GREEN's residence.
John THORP [Henry FALK, of Preston, says that this was Abraham, not John Thorp] established the wool-carding and cloth-dressing business, in company with a man named DONALDSON, between 1805 and 1810, on the site of the first grist-mill built by Col. WALKER, about a hundred rods below the present one in Plymouth village. DONALDSON remained a short time. The works were afterwards carried on by Dan MONROE, who died here Feb. 12, 1854, aged 79, and Nicholas and William BROWN, the latter of whom were in company some time, after which William carried on the business alone.
John EGENTON, an Irishman, traded in the village a short time in company with John McKIBBIN, also an Irishman, who served in the British dragoons. McKIBBIN remained here some twenty years; EGENTON died here Sept. 6, 1807, aged 44.
Isaac SABIN settled on the Smyrna road about a mile and a half from the village. He died in the town after two or three removals, May 7, 1855, aged 72.
David DIMMICK, who was born in Canterbury, Conn., in 1777, settled about a mile south of the village and died there Jan. 15, 1854, and Sarah, his wife, Feb. 10, 1856, aged 76. Erastus Dimmick, living in Plymouth, is a son of his.
Abraham HOLCOMB came from the Hudson River country and settled on the George CUSHMAN place about a half mile below the village and died there Sept. 8, 1844, aged 91, with his son-in-law, Ira BUELL, who married Chloe, his youngest daughter. His wife, Betsey, died March 11, 1846, aged 88. His son William succeeded him on the homestead and died March 12, 1832, aged 53.
Daniel SCOTT settled in the south edge of the town, on the farm now occupied by the widow of his son, Jay M., and died there Dec. 8, 1865, aged 91. Roxey, his wife, died Dec. 1, 1856, aged 77. His children were Horace, Merritt, Deacon Asa S., Walter, Jay M., and a daughter.
William FREEMAN settled in the edge of the town and died there, he and his wife, the former April 6, 1875, aged 87, and the latter, (Betsey,) April 16, 1875, aged 75. Rosetta, wife of Charles BROOKINS, living in North Norwich, is a daughter of his.
Rev. Elisha RANSOM was a Baptist minister and located first in Norwich village, before there was any church there. After preaching there a few months he removed to the east edge of Plymouth, to the farm now occupied by William SACKET, where he died Aug. 17, 1818, aged 72, and on which he was succeeded by his son Elisha. Elder Ransom, though a man of good ability and eminent piety, was an eccentric genius, who, thinking it a folly to have a large door, constructed one in his log hut which was so small that he was obliged to crawl into the latter upon his hands and knees.
R. D. DILLAYE, a Frenchman, commenced mercantile business here about 1805 or '06, in a small red building which had previously been occupied as a dwelling, commencing in a small way and continuing till between 1820 and '30. He developed a large and important business for the time and place; latterly occupying a building which stood a little in rear of the store now occupied by James B. ANTHONY.
Rufus BACON came from Madison county before the war of 1812, and returned there after trading a short time. He was keeping tavern there in 1814. Horace DOUD came from the Hudson River about 1816 and traded till about 1821 or '22. Charles JONES came from De Ruyter between 1830 and 1835, and after trading two or three years sold to his brother William, who came here from Ohio, but traded only a short time. Nathaniel SIBLEY came from Norwich about 1840 and traded two or three years. He built the store now occupied by Mr. ANTHONY, and still resides in Norwich. Samuel PRENTIS came with his parents from Connecticut. He was contemporary with Sibley and traded six or eight years. There have not been any merchants here of any prominence since they left, until the present ones came.
The present merchants are Henry S. MONTGOMERY and James B. ANTHONY. Mr. Montgomery carries on the grocery business which he commenced in March, 1865. Mr. Montgomery was formerly a resident of Smyrna. He served two years in the army and came the spring following his discharge in the fall of 1864. James B. Anthony, general merchant, commenced business Sept. 1, 1875. He is a native of Portsmouth, R.I., but has resided in Plymouth most of his life.
The present physician and the only one in the town, is Byron J. ORMSBY, who was born in Hamilton, N.Y., March 25, 1847.