The town of Pitcher is wholly embraced in the tract of land known as the Gore, and a tract originally patented to John W. WATKINS, June 14, 1793, and subsequently acquired by the Holland Land company, under whose auspices the early settlements were made, not however, the first. The first settlers reached this locality in 1791, via Oxford, and for a few years their only communication with the outside world was a blazed route to that embryo village, the germ of which was planted the previous year. In 1791 Ebenezer FOX, from Litchfield, Mass., his native place, and Jacob NOTEMAN, Abram DORN and John VAN AUGUR, from the locality of Schenectady, settled in the north-west part of the town, on the west line, and Silas BURGESS two miles south of them. About three years later John LINCKLAEN, agent of the Holland Land Company, caused a north and south road to be cut through their entire purchase along its western border from Cazenovia to the town of Pitcher. The engineer in charge of this enterprise had a corps of four axmen and one teamster, among whom were John WILSON and James SMITH, two of the hardy Jerseymen who accompanied Mr. Lincklaen in the settlement at Cazenovia in 1793, and the former of whom afterwards settled in Pitcher and the latter in DeRuyter. At this time the families named were the only settlers in this town, and so far as they knew, there were no settlers within many miles to the north of them. When, therefore, the road-cutters had approached sufficiently near so that the sound of their axes could be heard by the inhabitants of this secluded little settlement many speculations were indulged in as to the character of their approaching visitors and the nature of their mission; and were overjoyed when, early one morning, the engineer, in advance of his axmen, made his appearance in the settlement and broke to them the intelligence that a new means of communication with the civilized world was opening to them. The men gladly turned out with their axes and assisted in the completion of the undertaking, and that night, when they hospitably entertained the harbingers of their good fortune, was the happiest which had closed upon the little band of pioneers, whose social and commercial relations were thenceforward intimately connected with the settlement at DeRuyter.
Mr. FOX was a cooper and kept the first shop of his craft in that part of the place known as Deran, lying in Pitcher. He died in 1861, DORN in 1821; and they, as well as VAN AUGER, died in Pitcher. VAN AUGUR's descendants removed from the town. William BREED lives where he settled. DORN's son Charles lived there till about 1860.
Carrie, wife of Luman ELBRIDGE, of Pitcher, is a daughter of the latter. BURGESS put up a log house in what is known as the four-mile wood and raised a large family, only one of whom-Thomas-is now living there. Mrs. Ledyard BAKER and Mrs. P. H. LYON, daughters of Ebenezer FOX, are living in Pitcher and are the only ones now living there. Mrs. L. A. HALL, of Pittsfield, Otsego county, Mary CUMMINGS, of Syracuse, and Sally MURRAY, of Homer, are other daughters of Ebenezer FOX, and all are descendants on their mother's side of Oliver Hazzard PERRY.
Soon after the completion of this road, in 1794 or '5, Mr. Lincklaen sent John WILSON, a mill-wright, of Nelson, to build a mill on Mud creek, about one-third mile above its confluence with the Otselic. The mill was afterwards known as Sullivan's mill; its ruins are yet plain to be seen. At the same time a carpenter named SCHUYLER was sent to build a house for the company. It stood a little west of the large red barn on the farm of Joseph ALEXANDER. Wilson remained and worked the mill after its completion, and while thus engaged became acquainted with Polly, daughter of Jonas HINMAN, with whom, on the 16th of May, 1799, he contracted the first marriage in town. He afterwards removed to the farm now owned by William SMITH, in the south-west corner of the town of Lincklaen, where both he and his wife died, the former Nov. 9, 1843, aged 84, and his wife, Oct. 22, 1849, aged 67. The farm was afterward occupied by his son John L., who lived on it till within a year or two of his death, when he removed to the farm now occupied by Ezra BENNETT, in the north edge of Pitcher, where he died Feb. 15, 1867, aged 61. He had two daughters, both maiden ladies.
Benjamin FAIRCHILD came from Trumbull, Conn., in 1795, and settled at Pitcher village, where he built and kept a tavern in a log house which stood on the site of the hotel in that village. This was the first tavern in the town and was kept by him till within some fifteen years of his death, when he was succeeded by his son Daniel, who kept it till his death. Benjamin soon after built on the same site a frame house which was afterwards removed to the site of Adna WARNER's residence and occupied as a dwelling-house. It was torn down in 1874 to make room for Mr. Warner's residence. In 1829 his son Daniel built the present hotel, which has since been repaired and enlarged.
Benjamin Fairchild was born in 1760. He married Dolly BLACKMAN, also a native of Connecticut, who was born in 1767. They both died in Pitcher, of small-pox, Benjamin Jan 21, 1837, aged 71, and his wife, Jan. 27, 1831, aged 64. Their children were Lemuel, born June 7, 1785, Zalmon, born Oct. 3, 1787, Philo, born Oct. 17, 1790, Pamelia, born Oct. 11, 1793, Isaac, born Nov. 5, 1796, Daniel, born Nov. 13, 1799, Sally, born Nov. 9, 1802, and Polly, born Sept. 25, 1805, only two of whom are living-Zalmon and Polly. Lemuel married Celia, daughter of Job and Elizabeth CROCKER, and settled in the village where Bigelow PACKER now lives. Zalmon married Polly BLACHARD and settled in the village, where he now lives. Philo married Rochsa FENTON and settled on a farm which now forms a part of the PARTRIDGE farm. Pamelia was a maiden lady and died in the spring of 1879. Isaac married Mercy PENNOYER, of DeRuyter, and settled in the village. Daniel married Polly, daughter of Joseph STERLING, and settled and died in the tavern, May 9, 1838. Sally married Dr. Genet SHIPMAN, whose father, Deacon Daniel Shipman, was an early settler at what is now as Shipman's bridge. Polly married Zuriah McWHORTER, who settled and lived for any years on the old McWhorter farm in Cincinnatus.
Job CROCKER, to whom reference has been made, came at an early day from Cape Cod, and settled on the knoll a half mile north of Pitcher village. After the death of his wife, Sept. 28, 1828, aged 68, he went to live with his daughter in Lincklaen, and died there May 7, 1831, aged 83. His children were Richard, Betsey, Haskins, Celia and Olive, twins, Daniel, and Samantha, none of whom are living.
Ebenezer WAKELEY, who was born Nov. 3, 1770, came at a very early day from Connecticut and settled on what is known as Wakeley hill, about a mile south of Pitcher Village. He afterwards removed to that village, to live with his son-in-law, Dr. David McWHORTER and died Jan. 22, 1854. He wife, Mary Abigail, died April 28, 1845, aged 71. He was the first supervisor of Pitcher; was Side Judge, and represented this county in the Assembly in 1808-'10, 1812-13, 1816-'17, and in 1819. He taught the first school in Pitcher. He had only three children.
Jonas HINMAN came from Trumbull, Conn., about 1800, and settled about a mile above Pitcher, on the farm owned in part by his grandson, Edward Hinman, and in part by George HAKES where he died Dec. 14, 1833, aged 81. Cathy, his wife, died Oct. 3, 1836, aged 74. His children were Polly, Sally, John, James and a daughter.
A son of Silas BEEBE's, who was born in November, 1796, was the first child born in the town.
George TAYLOR came from East Hartford, Conn., in 1803, and settled on fifteen acres about a quarter of a mile above Pitcher, where Billings ALLEN now lives. About 1807 he removed to the place where his son George now lives, a little west of Chandler's Corners, where he died Sept. 22, 1860, aged 95, and his wife Sarah W., in March, 1849, aged 87. His children were Cryprian, Sally, and George, who married Anna, daughter of Solomon ENSIGN, and is living on the homestead; Theodocia, who married Orrin ANDERSON, and lived and died in Pitcher, the former Jan. 8, 1875, aged 74, and her husband, Feb. 22, 1864, aged 67; Daniel, and Polly.
Elijah FENTON came from Willington, Conn., in 1798 or '99, and bought a farm and improvements of Gideon PEET, who came in a year or two earlier and had cleared some the acres upon the place where Ralph TAYLOR now lives. After making the purchase Mr. Fenton returned to Connecticut. He came her again about 1802 or '03, and about 1804 brought in his family, which consisted of his wife, Polly STORRS, a native of Connecticut, and five children, Ameilia, Elijah, Eneas, Rochsa and Polly. Both Fenton and his wife died on that place, the former March 22, 1850, aged 88, and the latter, April 3, 1847, aged 82.
Col. Jonathan CHANDLER came from near Hartford, Conn., soon after 1801 and settled at the Corners which perpetuate his name, about a mile above the village, on the place now occupied by his grandson, William Ransom Chandler, where he died July 30, 1844, aged 82 1/2 years. He took up a large tract of land in that locality and was interested in the mill property now owned by George H. ANDRUS, a half mile above Pitcher village, consisting of a saw and grist-mill, the latter of which was built by him at a very early day, among the first in this part of the county. The mill property remained in the hands of the family till 1847, when it was purchased by I. B. ALLEN. The grist-mill, a stone structure was rebuilt by his son Jonathan, in 1841-'424. Mr. Chandler was probably the first postmaster in the town. He was also engaged in mercantile business. His store, a frame building, stood near his residence. It is still standing in the rear of William R. chandler's residence and is used as a tenement house.
He kept store there as late as 1830.
Mr. Chandler was born Jan. 1, 1792, and Oct. 1, 1781, he married Sarah EASTON, of Connecticut, who was born Oct. 25, 1762, and died March 22, 1840. Their children were Samuel, who was born Dec. 10, 1781; Oliver E., who was born Sept. 16, 1783; Jonathan, Jr., who was born Dec. 27, 1785; Walter, who was born June 3, 1788; Horace, who was born June 3, 1792; Loel, who was born May 16, 1794; Abel, who was born Feb. 1st, 1797; Sally, who was born Feb. 14, 1800; Harry, who was born August 9, 1802; and Hiram, who was born Nov. 14, 1809. Only one other grandchild besides William R Chandler, son of Hiram, and Mrs. WEAVER, daughter of Oliver E., is living in this county, viz: Julia Maria, daughter of Abel, wife of George W. DENSLOW, of Norwich.
Deacon Lewis BLACKMAN, a native of Huntington, Conn., came from Roxbury in that State in November, 1802, with horses and wagon across the country by the Catskill turnpike, via Sidney. He remained that winter in Pitcher village, and in the spring removed to North Pitcher, where the took up 75 acres, the major part of which is owned by his grandson, Norton Blackman, and the remainder by Edson and John ELDRIDGE. He died there July 17, 1841, aged 72. When he came his family consisted of his wife, Charity, daughter of Nathan SMITH of Connecticut, who died Feb. 16, 1871, aged 99. and five children, Rosel, Roxy, David, Sheldon and Charles. Five children were born after they came here, viz: Dolly, Nancy, Dotia, Minerva and John S.
Richard WARNER came from Waterbury, Conn., in 1801, and settled on 50 acres in Taylor, then Solon, and in 1810 removed to Pitcher, to the place now occupied by John DRYER, a half mile south of the village. He afterwards removed to the village, where he and his wife died, the former March 25, 1857, aged 85, and the latter, (Polly,) Sept. 24, 1849, aged 72. Their children were fifteen in number: Obadiah, Deacon Shelden, Adna, Minerva, Maria, Edward, David, Curtis, Rachel, Electa, Calvin, Florilla, Elmina, and Richard P.
Deacon Edward SOUTHWORTH settled at North Pitcher, where Beardsley SANFORD now lives, and died there March 19, 1830, aged 66. His children were Anna, Sally, John, Constant, Jesse, Mary and Edward.
Joseph SMITH, brother of William, who was born in Huntington, Conn., in 1764, came from the same place in 1807, and settled in the north part of the town, on the line of Lincklaen, on the farm now occupied by Wallace NEAL. He died in the town April 27, 1853, aged 89, and Sally, his wife, Sept. 20, 1823, aged 47. His children were Zira, David, Joseph, Betsey E., Rebecca, Catharine, Minerva, Sabrina, Samuel B., Sarah, Samuel B., Isaac P. and Nancy.
Simeon FINCH settled in the south part of the town, on Brakel Creek, and died June 9, 1858, aged 84, and Zilpah, his wife, March 11, 1864, aged 89.
Solomon ENSIGN settled in the central part of the town, and died June 18, 1864, aged 93, and Elizabeth, his wife, August 20, 1847, aged 77. He was the father of Judge Solomon Ensign, who died May 11, 1872, aged 77.
Becoming sick he returned to live with his son Lorrin, and died there of consumption.
Zalmon FAIRCHILD was the first prominent merchant in this place. He is a son of Benjamin Fairchild, one of the pioneer settlers in this town, and came here with his parents at the age of seven years, in 1795, and commenced trading about 1810, in a small frame building which occupied the site of Benjamin Fairchild's residence. The building stood till within a few years, when it was removed to the west part of the town and used as a barn. His stock of goods, it is said, were kept at first in a chest. He continued in trade till about 1858 or '60 when he sold to O. F. FORBES, who had been his partner three years previously. Mr. Forbes formed a co-partnership with Orlando COY, which continued about a year, when Forbes bought Coy's interest and entered into partnership with E. A. FISH, with whom he continued about five years, when they sold to William and Addison TAYLOR, brothers, from Plymouth, where they had kept a small store. They traded till about 1874, when they sold their goods to Bemiss and Barrett.
E. Clark LYONS came from Cazenovia in 1841, and kept the hotel at Pitcher seven years. He then engaged in the mercantile business and opened, in 1848, the first drug store in the village, which he continued till 1869, when he sold the building to Giles HYDE, who immediately sold to L. E. DARLING, who opened a hardware store and tinshop which, after a short time he sold to Francis B. RECORD, of Otselic, who, after two years, sold to Fayette F. BENNETT, who traded till his death, Nov. 9, 1875. William E. HARRINGTON, a native of Pitcher, bought out Bennett's heirs in December, 1875, and still continues the business.
E. W. ALLEN, who was for several years pastor of the Congregational church in Pitcher, commenced trading here about 1867, and continued about three years, when he removed to Walla Walla.
Theron and Thurlow BLACKMAN, brothers, of Pitcher, traded here from 1876 till the spring of 1879, when they assigned.
The merchants at present doing business here, besides Mr. Harrington, are Bemiss & Barrett, Frank P. HAKES and William SAXTON.
Bemiss & Barrett, (Solomon K. BEMISS and Charles M BARRETT,) are general merchants. The business was established March 1, 1869.
Frank P. HAKES, dealer in drugs and groceries, commenced business in February, 1873.
William SAXTON, general merchant, commenced business April 11, 1878.
The first post-office in the town was at Chandler's Corners, a mile north of Pitcher village, and Jonathan CHANDLER, who had an ashery and small grocery there, was the postmaster. The office was subsequently removed to Pitcher Springs.
David McWHORTER, a nephew of Dr. John McWhorter, of Cincinnatus, practiced here from an early day, about the opening of the war of 1812, till 1849. He removed to Michigan. Drs. Stephen R. BRADLEY, Russell BALLOU and Lyman ROSE practiced here for short periods.
Dr. Horace HALBERT, the present physician at Pitcher, was born in Union Valley, Cortland county, June 8, 1826.