The surface of the country and the disclosures of the plow revealed to the early settlers of this town evidences of its occupancy prior to their advent, and partially indicated the character of its occupants. On the farm originally settled by Timothy HATCH, on the west side of the river, about a mile and a half north-west of the village of Sherburne, were the remains of caches, where corn had been buried; while in the field adjoining it on the north numerous arrow heads, stone chisels, hatchets and pestles have been disclosed by the plow. About four miles north of Sherburne village and one west of Handsome brook, were the remains of an embankment, constructed of coarse gravel, in the form of a horse-shoe, with the open ends towards the north. It was about four rods wide at the outer ends and seven or eight rods deep to the center of the bow. From the lowest point in the center to the highest part of the embankment, it was full twenty-five feet. Embankments extended from each extremity of the bow, that to the east fifteen or twenty rods long, terminating in a swamp, and that to the west, being much longer, terminating at the foot of a hill, and nearly in range with the other, but disconnected from the main structure by an opening two or three rods wide. In front of the whole is a low swampy piece of ground of small extent. Flint arrow heads have frequently been found in its locality. Its origin and use are not sufficiently indicated. [Hatch's History of the town of Sherburne.]
The settlement of the town was mainly begun by a company of persons originally from Kent, Conn., who, two years after the termination of the struggle of the colonies with the mother country for independence, emigrated to Duanesburgh, Schenectady county; and being disappointed in their hopes of securing a title to the lands on which they settled in that town, they resolved to move in a body to the Chenango Valley, to the newly opened lands in the Twenty Townships. In June, 1791, Deacon Nathaniel GRAY, Elisha GRAY, Joel HATCH, Newcomb RAYMOND and James RAYMOND, visited these lands in the interest of the company as an exploring party, accompanied by Josiah THROOP, chief of the corps who had surveyed the tract that and the preceding years. On their arrival they found that a family consisting of five men, one woman and some small children from Paris, Oneida county, had squatted a few hours previously on Handsome brook, and were occupying a bark cabin, to which the explorers were attracted by the tinkling of a bell attached to a cow which was the property of this family. There they found hospitable welcome through the night, and in the morning were regaled by their hostess with new bread and beer, both her own making. This family remained but a short time, for they had left before the return of the party. The exploring party examined the south-west quarter of the 9th township, containing 6,222 1/2 acres, which they and their associates eventually bought of William S. SMITH, to whom the township was patented for $1.25 per acre. They returned with a good report, and in the winter of 1792 Abraham RAYMOND and family settled on the tract selected. Mr. Raymond and his family remained at Norwich until spring, when they were joined by their associates, who in the meantime had increased from eleven to twenty. They were Nathaniel GRAY, Newcomb RAYMOND, Elijah GRAY, Eleazer LATHROP, Josiah LATHROP, James RAYMOND, Joel HATCH, John GRAY, Jr., Abraham RAYMOND, Timothy HATCH, Cornelius CLARK, Joel NORTHROP, John LATHROP, John GRAY, John HIBBARD, Ezra LATHROP [died Oct. 17, 1830, aged 70; Betsey, his wife, Oct. 22, 1853, aged 80.], Elisha GRAY, Elijah FOSTER, Amos COLE and David PERRY, the first eleven being those to whom the contract for the tract was given.
During the summer and fall of 1792 the tract had been resurveyed by Cornelius CLARK, and divided into twenty equal parts in such manner that each should have an equal share of bottom lands and uplands.
During the first year of their settlement (1793,) several log houses were built, the first saw-mill erected, and a road built from the "Quarter" to the Unadilla, a distance of ten miles. This mill was located in the gulf, on a stream east of Sherburne village, about half a mile below Rexford Falls. Joel HATCH was dispatched to the nearest blacksmith shop at Clinton, to procure some necessary mill irons that were lacking. He went on horseback, following Indian paths, and returned with the irons after an absence of three days. All, except Abraham RAYMOND, who was the only one who had thus far brought his family in, returned in the fall for their families, with whom they came back that winter or the following spring.
Abraham RAYMOND settled on the west bank of the river about midway between the river and Sherburne Hill. There he and his wife died. His children were thirteen in number, Mercy, David, Ebenezer, Abigail, John, Cynthia, Newcomb, Lodema, Electa, Joseph, Semantha and two others who died in childhood of scarlet fever.
Newcomb and James RAYMOND were younger brothers of Abraham Raymond, and all were natives of Sharon, Conn. Newcomb settled on 150 acres adjoining Abraham's farm on the south, and resided there till his death in February, 1837, at the age of 89 years. He married in Connecticut the year after the close of the Revolutionary war, Mabel GRAY, who also died on the homestead in Sherburne, in February, 1826. They had ten children, Sarah, Jerusha, Harvey, Irad, Alfred, Anna, Alfred, Laura, Augustine, and George B., the first four of whom were born before they came here. James Raymond settled on a farm adjoining that of Newcomb's on the south, now owned and occupied by Palmer NEWTON.
Nathaniel GRAY was born March 17, 1736. He returned here in the winter of 1793, and located a mile and a half north of Sherburne, and resided there till his death, June 24, 1810. He had two children by his first wife, who died in Connecticut, where he married for his second wife Bethiah, widow of Benjamin NEWCOMB, who was born Feb. 26, 1735, and died on the same farm August 19, 1811, and who had five children by her former husband, all of whom came here. The children by his first wife were Elijah and Bethiah. Gray's second wife's children were Abraham Newcomb, James, Mercy and Hannah Raymond. The first school, which was organized for the winter, was kept at the log house of Nathaniel Gray.
John GRAY's land extended from the river east to the quarter line and included all that part of the village of Sherburne laying north of the State road now known as State street. His log house stood near the site of the Upham block, on the north-east corner of the business part of the village. He was born in Windham, Conn., in 1793, was a revolutionary soldier, and married Elizabeth SKEEL, who was born in New Milford, Conn., in 1745, and died in Sherburne in 1824, aged 79. He had six children, all of whom were born in Connecticut; John, Jr., Nathaniel, Mabel, Betsey, Margaret and Reuben. John, Jr., married and settled on the river, his farm lying upon both sides of the river. His house stood on the bank ten or twelve rods from the west end of the bridge on the old State road. He was Justice here several years and Associate Judge.
Eleazer, Josiah, John and Ezra LATHROP were brothers. Eleazer settled in the south part of the village, where General Hollis ROWLAND now lives; Josiah on the west side of the river, on the farm now owned by Alson ADAMS, where he resided till his death Feb. 28, 1854, at the advanced age of 96 years; John, in the Quarter, just north of the cotton factory, where Martin BENEDICT now lives, (probably,) and Ezra, two and one-half miles north-east of the village, where Theodore ADAMS now lives. They came from Chatham, Columbia county.
Timothy and Joel HATCH were brothers, and the former had a large family. Timothy died June 28, 1847, aged 89, and Ruth, his wife, Nov. 6, 1848, at the same age. Joel died March 26, 1855, aged 90, and Ruth, his wife, Aug. 7, 1838, aged 71. Joel was an early Justice, succeeding John GRAY in that office soon after the formation of the town. He built in 1794 the first grist-mill in town. It was located on Handsome brook, in the north part of the town. The mill-stones and irons were brought from Albany with great labor and at the expense of a three weeks' journey, by means of a sled and oxen. John LATHROP was one of the two who went after them. This mill proved a great convenience, for hitherto they had been compelled to carry their grists a distance of forty miles to Whitetown, over roads no better than Indian trails, or resort to the primitive methods of reducing their grain by means of the mortar and pestle. A second mill was built at an early day by John GILMORE, close to Rexford Falls. The water was conducted to it by means of a spout passing through the roof. The road leading to it was down a small ravine from the north, running under a bridge over which the Cherry Valley turnpike passed. The ravine under the bridge has since been filled up, and no trace of mill or bridge remain.
Joel HATCH built a machine shop on Handsome brook, a mile north of the village, in 1812. He also set up the first turning lathe in the town, probably the first in the county, for turning the various parts of spinning wheels. It was a primitive affair, and consisted in a cord wound around the article to be turned, with one end attached to a spring-pole overhead and the other to a foot-piece. By the alternate action produced by the pressure of the foot and the spring-pole the article revolved backward and forward. This contrivance was the best that was in use for many years.
None of the HATCHes are living here now. Joel Hatch, Jr., was the author of a History of the Town of Sherburne, published in 1862. He died Dec. 27, 1864, aged 73, and Melona, his wife, May 14, 1846, aged 55.
Lorenzo HATCH, son of Timothy Hatch, was the first white child born in Sherburne. Justus GUTHRIE, who is also claimed to have been the first child born in the town, was born on the evening of the same day and year (1793) while Hatch was born in the morning.
Joseph GUTHRIE, whom French's Gazetteer credits with being among the first in the town, in 1792, settled on the north side of Pleasant brook, his farm extending to the river and lying in the angle formed by the river and creek, and died there, both he and his wife.
He was thrice married. Benjamin REXFORD was born in Connecticut in January, 1776, and died July 30, 1825, aged 49. August 16, 1806, he married Mary CLARK, who died April 10, 1846, aged 65. He left five sons, Benjamin, F., Daniel A., Nelson C., John DeWitt, and Seneca Butts. [Nelson C. died March 27, 1875, Rexford Falls.]
Jeremiah PURDY came from Dutchess county and settled at the Sherburne Four Corners, where Milton BENTLEY now lives, and resided there till he had become advanced in years.
Benjamin and Israel FERRIS were brothers, though the latter settled in North Norwich, about a mile above the village, on the DALRYMPLE farm. Benjamin settled about a mile west of Sherburne village, where Morris BUELL now lives.
Judge Joel THOMPSON settled at Sherburne Four Corners, where Edmund PURDY now lives, and resided there till he was well advanced in years.
Jonah POYER settled at a very early day, when there were only two or three log houses in Sherburne, on the forks of the river, up which he came from Oxford. After a few years he removed to the town of North Norwich.
John GUTHRIE settled on the south line of the town, and after the death of his wife Polly, who was a daughter of Abner PURDY, (April 30, 1821,) he removed to Sherburne village.
Stephen KELSEY settled on the Thompson FISHER farm, in the south part of the town, and died there Sept. 9, 1807, aged 70.
James ANDERSON settled in the south-west part of the town, on the farm now occupied by Roderick FULLER, where he died April 14, 1832, aged 62, and his wife, Electra KELSEY, Sept. 2, 1848, aged 74. His son Stephen also died in this town May 2, 1853, aged 55.
Richard JACKSON settled at a very early day at Sherburne Four Corners, where his father kept a tavern. He died in the first house north of the corners, Jan. 17, 1821, aged 67, and Sarah, his wife, Oct. 20, 1834, aged 74.
John SMITH settled on the Cyrus HARTWELL far, where he was killed in his door-yard by a young team, Aug. 16, 1810, aged 49. His wife, Lydia, survived him many years. She died July 14, 1854, aged 84.
Jeremy WARRINER and Benjamin LYON settled at Sherburne Four Corners, where the latter died Nov. 10, 1854, aged 87, and Hannah, his first wife, May 16, 1806, aged 35, and Debora, his second wife, Nov. 10, 1859, aged 80. WARRINER removed to Hamilton and died there Jan. 14, 1868, aged 83.
Simeon PADDLEFORD erected in 1804 the first machine for carding wool, a mile below Sherburne village. This is said to have been one of the first two machines in the country.
Zaccheus W. ELMORE was probably the first merchant in the village. His store stood just south of the Medbury House. He traded till within some ten years of his death, Aug. 10, 1865, at the age of 85.
Elias BABCOCK commenced trading about the same time in a store which stood opposite the bank, and continued at intervals some twenty-five years in company, the latter part of the time, with Milo HUNT, to whom he sold shortly before his death, June 10, 1833.
Joshua PRATT, originally from Connecticut, came from Spencertown, Columbia county, about 1800, and a year or two after commenced mercantile business in a little yellow building which stood on the lot next north of the bank, in which he also resided. In 1809 he erected the building now occupied by the bank, and there continued the mercantile business till 1833, about which time he was succeeded by his sons Joshua and Walstein.
Harry N. FARGO and Harvey RAYMOND commenced trading about 1825 or '26. Raymond soon after sold to Lyman REXFORD, and Fargo & Rexford dissolved, after some two years. Fargo then traded alone till his death, April 28, 1836. Isaac CUSHMAN and Horatio GARRETT traded here a few years from about 1835. CUSHMAN, who was a physician, soon after opened a drug store, which he kept till his death, March 25, 1850. Garrett also subsequently engaged in business with Walter P. SEXTON a year or two, and afterwards with Elisha PRATT. Samuel WHEEDON, who had previously carried on the harness business, commenced mercantile business about 1833, in company with Ravillo HATCH, now of Fayetteville. Peter I. DAVIDSON came from Herkimer county in 1816, and engaged in the jewelry business, which he continued till 1859, when he was succeeded by his son, Charles E. Davidson, who is a native of Sherburne, and still continues the business.
In 1822 Alexander HOLMES and ---- BROWN established the general mercantile business to which Messrs. Elsbre, Gladwin & Co., have eventually succeeded. They traded about two years under the name of Holmes & Brown.
Archibald Whitford, dealer in drugs and groceries, commenced the shoe making and harness business in 1828, in company with Jesse BURLINGHAM, with whom he continued some five years He then formed a copartnership with John CURTIS and added tanning to the business. A few years later he started a grocery and about two years later formed a copartnership with Thomas A. FULLER in the drug and grocery business, continuing some three years.
Isaac PLUMB, furniture dealer, a native of New York city, came to Chenango county in September, 1842, and engaged in the manufacture of chairs for Whitford KENYON. In 1847 he commenced the furniture business in company with Horace COMBS, whose interest he bought in 1850, since which time he has continued the business alone.
In 1852, C. L. EASTON bought the drug and grocery business of H. A. POULNEY, who had done business several years. In 1876 Mr. Easton admitted his son C. L. Easton, Jr., to partnership and the business has since been conducted under the name of D. L. Eaton & Son.
The other merchants now doing business here are as follows: Daniel T. HILL, dealer in boots, shoes, hats, caps, furs, robes and gents' furnishing goods, who commenced business in 1862; Charles H. SANFORD, dealer in hardware and stoves, who commenced business in 1867; DeWitt REYNOLDS, grocer, who, in 1868, bought out his father, who commenced trading some fifty years ago; Shepard & Walker, (Jesse H. SHEPARD and William R. WALKER,) dealers in groceries and ready-made clothing, and successors to C. L. Walker and Jesse H. Shepard, by whom the business was established Dec. 1, 1872; E. G. WHITNEY, general merchant, who bought out F. B. COATS in 1873; Wilbur & Newman, (J. B. WILBUR and Charles NEWMAN,) dealers in hats, caps, boots and shoes, commenced in January, 1874; Coats & Colwell, (F. B. COATS and J. N. COLWELL,) dealers in boots, shoes, hats and caps, commenced in May, 1874, Mr. Coats, having been previously engaged in business from about 1850; Mrs. I. M. SLATER, milliner, bought out Mrs. Sarah HART in 1874; W. F. PLACE, jeweler, commenced in December, 1875; Hart & Doolittle, (C. Alonzo HART and Frederick C. DOOLITTLE,) general merchants, successors to White, Doolittle & Co., who established the business in July, 1877; Arthur B. COATS, grocer, bought out Doolittle & Daniels April 3, 1877; and Henry and William H. ALLFREY, druggists and grocers, who bought the Church Bros.' stock June 1, 1877.
Samuel GUTHRIE, ---- MILES, Israel FARRELL and James SHEFFIELD were early physicians here. Dr. GUTHRIE was born in Brimfield, Mass., in 1781, and in 1802 emigrated to Smyrna. He removed in 1816 to Sacket's Harbor. He died in Sacket's Harbor, Oct. 19, 1843. Dr. FARRELL practiced here till his death, in the fall of 1833. He settled on Sherburne Hill, two miles west of the village. Dr. SHEFFIELD settled a mile south of Earlville, where he practiced a good many years. He died March 23, 1849, aged 82.
Aaron B. BLIGH was practicing in the village before 1828. He removed about 1831 to Oneida county. Dr. Huchins STORRS came here about 1819 and practiced till his death in 1832, a short time in company with Devillo WHITE. Royal ROSS came here from New Berlin, where his father had previously practiced, about 1823 or '4, and returned after a short time to New Berlin. George CLEVELAND came about 1836 and returned after about a year or two to Waterville, whence he came and where he is now practicing. Squire W. CORBIN, a cousin of Dr. Devillo White, with whom he read medicine, bought out Dr. BLIGH and practiced four or five years. He removed to North Norwich and from thence after a year or two to Bainbridge. About 1837, John L. KELLOGG came from New Hartford, where he had just completed his medical studies. After practicing two or three years he removed to Bridgewater. B. H. MARKS came from Burlington some thirty-six or thirty-eight years ago and practiced till his death December 10, 1865, aged 73. He had practiced several years in Burlington.
The physicians now practicing in Sherburne village are Devillo WHITE, [see biography] Elijah S. LYMAN, Ira C. OWEN, Fort VANKEUREN, Henry C. LYMAN and Asa W. JAYNES.
Elijah S. LYMAN was born in Torrington, Conn., April 26, 1812. In 1828 his mother and her second husband removed to Sherburne. He was educated in select schools in Warren, Conn., and Sherburne, and at the academy at Cazenovia. He commenced the study of medicine April 18, 1831, with Dr. Devillo WHITE, of Sherburne, with whom, on the completion of his studies, he formed a co-partnership which continued from 1834 to 1843. He has practiced continuously in Sherburne. He attended lectures at Fairfield Medical College in 1833-4; and the Regents conferred on him the degree of M. D. in 1870.
Ira C. OWEN was born in Lebanon, N.Y., April 8, 1822, and educated in the academy at Hamilton. He was licensed by the Madison County Medical Society in 1865, and received a diploma from the Regents in June, 1869. He commenced practice in Sherburne in 1846.
Fort VANKEUREN was born in Rondout, N.Y., Jan. 5, 1838, and was educated at the New York University, where he was graduated in 1863. He commenced practice in New York, whence, on account of ill health, he removed to Rondout. From there after a year and a half he removed to Sherburne, where he has since practiced.
Henry C. LYMAN, son of Dr. E. S. Lyman, was born in Sherburne, Sept. 8, 1847, and educated at the academy at Clinton, and at Cornell University. He studied medicine with his father from 1869 to 1872, having during that time attended lectures at the Medical University of New York, where he was graduated in 1872 .
Asa W. JAYNES was born in Plymouth, N.Y., July 7, 1851, and was educated at Madison University. He read medicine with Dr. William H. STUART in Earlville in 1869, and with Dr. Jay W. SHELDON, in Syracuse, from 1871 to '73. He attended lectures at the Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia and the Homeopathic Medical College of New York, and was graduated at the latter institution March 3, 1873.
Francis S. EDWARDS practiced here a few years between 1840 and 1850.
Ira P. BARNES, a native of Columbus in this county, was admitted June 13, 1839, and practiced here a few years about the middle of the century.
George P. AVERY, also from Columbus, was contemporary with BARNES.
Alfred NICHOLS came from Earlville about the time AVERY left.
None others of prominence have located here since, except those now practicing here. They are Delos L. ATKYNS, Charles A. FULLER, Stephen HOLDEN and Robert A. KUTSCHBACH.
Delos L. ATKYNS, was born in Pharsalia in this county, Sept. 30, 1840, and educated in the district schools of his native town. He commenced to read law in 1862 with Rexford & Kingsley, of Norwich, with whom he completed his studies. He was admitted in May, 1865, and commenced practice that year in Sherburne, where he has since continued.
Charles A. FULLER was born in Edmeston, Otsego county, Aug. 17, 1841, and educated in the district schools of his native town and the academic department of Madison university. He was graduated from the Albany Law School in the spring of 1865. He commenced practice in Hamilton in June of that year, with E. H. RISLEY, leaving in the spring of 1866 for Sherburne, where he has since continued.
Stephen HOLDEN was born in South Hartwick, Otsego county, April 26, 1832, and educated at the Delaware Literary Institute, Franklin, Delaware county, where he prepared for college and was graduated from Yale college in 1857. He commenced the study of law in August, 1861, at Watertown, N.Y., and was admitted the following May. He commenced practice in October, 1866, at East Worcester, N.Y., May 25, 1871, he removed thence to Sherburne where he has since practiced.
Robert A. KUTSCHBACH was born in Gotha, Prussia, Oct. 4, 1854, and emigrated with his parents to Columbus in this county in 1860. He received an academic education in Sherburne, and commenced the study of law in that village Sept. 1, 1873, with D. L. ATKYNS, with whom he remained three years. He was admitted in January, 1876, and commenced practice that year in Sherburne.