Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men
J.B. Beers and Co.
by Rev O.B. Hitchcock
Transcribed by Dianne Schnettler and Arlene Goodwin
Ashland belongs to the northern section of the western half of Greene county, which is divided from the eastern by an outlying range trending northward from near High Peak, in Windham, to Mt. Pisgah, from which point this outlying range or spur resumes the general westward course to the main range, to which it runs nearly parallel to the head of the Delaware. This northernmost range divides Schoharie from western Greene. The highest points are Mt. Pisgah, Richtmyer Peak and Mt. Blakeslee, in Windham; the Knob and Ashland Pinnacle, in Ashland; and Huntersfield Mountain in Prattsville.
Windham, Ashland and Prattsville lie, in part, along the southern slope of this spur, in part in the valley of the Batavia and Schoharie, at its foot; and extend up the steep northern sides of the main range, to the boundary lines of the southern tier, Hunter, Jewett, and Lexington.
The turnpike road, connecting the Hudson with the Susquehanna, and with the lake region of Central New York passes through these three northern towns, following the course of the Batavia, as it makes its way through a deep, rocky valley – the meaning of the Indian name Chough-tig-hig-nick – to its junction, below Red Falls, with the Schoharie. The surface of these mountain towns with the exception of the alluvial lands or flats, is a succession of ridges and hollows, as Big Hollow and Mitchell Hollow in Windham, and West Hollow or Sutton Hollow in Ashland.
The Schoharie is the main stream, rising further to the east, its source almost overlooking the Hudson. The territory along its course forms the southern tier of towns in the western division of the county.
Before the formation of Greene from Albany and Ulster counties in 1800, a part of the three northern towns was in Ulster and a part in Albany county. The old town of Windham (from Windham, Conn.), was set off from Woodstock in 1798. A part of Freehold was annexed to Windham in 1803. Lexington (including Jewett and Halcott) was erected from Windham in 1813. In 1833, the town of Prattsville was set off from the western end of Windham, and in 1848, Ashland was formed from the western end of what remained of old Windham.
Ashland has a limited area of twenty-one square miles or 13,440 acres. The number of inhabitants according to the last census, was 899.
Short and simple are the annals of an agricultural town. Rye, oats and buckwheat are the chief grains raised. Indian corn does well, especially on the alluvial soil of the flats, if the season permits its ripening. Potatoes are of good quality, and are largely cultivated. The soil, colored red by shale and the debris of the old red sandstone, is quick and warm, though not so strong as the clayey soils of the Hudson valley towns, but it bears drought better. Apples, and most small fruits do well. Sheep grazing in the rougher uplands, and dairying in the rest of the town, are the most important industries.
There has been great improvement both in the sheep and cattle farming within the past ten or fifteen years. Improved farm machinery is now largely employed, which, with mechanical inventions for relieving labor in the household, is telling favorably upon the condition and prosperity of the farming interest. With an average elevation of 2000 feet there is a great and constantly increasing number of summer visitors from the cities and large towns.
There is but one considerable village in the town; Ashland village or Scienceville as it was first called. It is centrally situated in the Batavia valley, hemmed in by precipitous mountains. Viewed from the heights to the eastward of the village at sunset in the summer, it is like a landscape in Switzerland.
Ashland village has two stores, a cooperage, wagon and blacksmith’s shops, turning works, lumber mill, and cigar factory, and two churches, Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal. There is a Catholic chapel below the village. At the lower end of the village, on the old road by the Batavia, was the extensive Strong tannery. At the upper or eastern end on West Hollow Creek, was the tannery of Foster Morss built about the beginning of the century. Hat factories have been kept up here at various times, since the business was first commenced by Leonard Kinsley, under the direction of a Mr. Wadsworth.
There were not long since remains of potash works at the east end of the village.
In 1854 the Ashland Seminary and Musical Institute was built on the east of the Seminary road, and overlooking the village.
Professor Pearson was the first principal; Alonzo Flack, M. A., his successor. The ensuing four years Dr. Henry J. Fox was principal, with ten teachers, and from eighty to ninety students.
The first public school-house stood at the eastern of the village, on the corner of Argulas White’s land, south side of the road. It was of logs, with a fireplace at one end and a box stove near the other. There were desks against the wall, running round the room, with seats next the desks, and an inside row of benches, without backs, for the smaller pupils. Hudson Kinsley was a teacher in this school. Another primitive school-house stood in the eastern part of the town near the Windham and Durham Turnpike, by an old oak tree, which is still standing in the highway. Two others, yet standing, were built nearly a hundred years ago, one at the foot of the North or New Settlement road, surrounded by the ancient elms, the other a mile or more north, on the same road. There was a stone school-house on the old turnpike, west of the Four Corners, and a frame school-house by the mill pond.
In West Hollow, there was a school building near Harris Prout’s (now William Sutton’s), another west of the Waterman place. They were used instead of churches for holding meetings on Sundays and on week days, before meeting-houses were built. Thus before the West Settlement meeting-house was built, Sunday services were held in the public school-house near the Huntersfield road. The teachers were approved after passing a satisfactory examination before the town commissioners, and received a certificate or license to teach for one year.
Dr. Thomas Benham was the first doctor in the town. He made his professional visits on horseback, carrying his medicines in saddlebags. The good doctor was slow and sure. He could not be hurried, but he always went. On his arrival, he must smoke his pipe before seeing the patient. His sincerity and cheerful spirits made his presence as good as medicine. The doctor had a great ride, and exclusive practice, until, after many years, it was shared by Dr. Hervey Camp. Of his sons, Dr. Jacob Benham lived in the Babcock place adjoining that of his father; Dr. Kimber Benham, still in practice in the town of Prattsville; and Dr. John Benham, who located in Gilboa, Schoharie county. Other doctors were Dr. Consider King, who built the house afterward owned by Almus Babcock in Ashland, Dr. Joshua Draper, Dr. P. I. Stanley, and Drs. Mead and Johnson.
Under the old militia law, there was a regimental muster or training annually, in the fall. The evolutions were performed on the flat, either near the tavern of John Tuttle sen. and of Sidney Tuttle, his son, toward the east end of the town, or on the flats of the Elijah Strong (later Kinsley) place, below Ashland. The camp was alive with a moving multitude, marching and countermarching. The bright guns, the epauletted officers, the gayley [sic] caparisoned horses, the thunder of artillery reverberating from peak to peak, the booths supplied with stacks of gingerbread and barrels of new cider, the side shows and small auctions, were the chief attractions for the boys. All helped to make a gala day of “general training.”
Colonel, afterward General Jehial Tuttle and Colonel Zadoc Pratt were among the most efficient militia officers, taking pride in the marching and maneuvering of the companies and regiment. Other officers – few among many – were Henry Laraway, Daniel B. Strong, and George Robertson. Captain Eli P. Robinson, father of Ex-Governor Robinson, led a company of volunteers from old Windham to the frontier in 1812. Besides the regimental training or muster, there were officers’ drills, and special meetings to fill vacancies by death, resignation, or promotion. This martial activity was a ripple from the great wave of the Revolutionary war which had not wholly subsided in 1812, when many of the sons of the Revolutionary soldiers were called into the ranks, some of whom, as John and Philip Frayer, and George Denton, with others did not return.
The principal roads were the old Windham and Durham Turnpike, which, running nearly east across the north end of the town, entered Durham from below Mt. Pisgah, by way of Cornwallsville, and intersected the Cairo and Windham road, near Acra. The Windham and Cairo turnpike was laid out and constructed about 1790 in part under the direction of Col. Stephen Simmons. Lacking a kettle large enough to cook for his workmen, he went to Catskill, bought one, and carried it home on his back. One of the industries of that day was turnpike yeast, made by a Mrs. Fowler, a soft yeast dried and cut into cakes for convenience of transportation, during the building of the turnpike.
The original road bed up the mountains was of much heavier grade than the present road. West of the mountain the old turnpike lies to the north of the new road, diverging near the school-house west of Sherman’s, and reuniting at Windham. By a depression in the mountains south of the Batavia, a branch road passes by Jewett Heights to connect with the Lexington and Hunter Turnpike. With this road the Schoharie Kill Bridge Company’s road, following the Batavia, has its junction between Red Falls and Prattsville. From that point onward, the united stream is the Schoharie Kill/ Through Ashland, the turnpike followed pretty closely the turnings and windings of the stream, part of the way on the present road bed, the remainder (the central part) to the south of the present road. The system of highways in Ashland is completed by the several lateral roads connecting the Windham and Durham, with the Schoharie Turnpike.
Above the Jewett Bridge, on the south bank of the stream, are the remains of an old brick yard, worked by the Arnolds. Below the bridge was the tannery of Lyman Morss, opposite the Spencer house, which Morss built, and where he lived while he carried on the tannery. The hemlock forests attracted the attention of the practical tanners among the emigrants, and the Batavia Kill furnished water power. Tanneries were erected at frequent intervals on or near this and other streams. The Jarius Strong tannery was near the Batavia, west of Ashland village, on the old road. That of Foster Morss was at the east side of the village on the West Hollow Creek.
As the altitude and latitude both made warm clothing necessary in winter, woolen factories or fulling-mills were among the earliest manufactories. The works of Gurdon Brainerd were at the east side of the town, while on the western border were the Bidwell carding and fulling works. The wool was spun and woven by the wives and daughters of the pioneers at their homes; the carding, dyeing, pressing and fulling were done at the works.
The rope walk of Jarius Munson was in the eastern part of the town. Cider, from apples ground by water or horse power, was made in large quantities when the newly planted orchards came into bearing. The grist-mill at North Settlement was first used as a turning works.
The first public house or tavern was that of Medad Hunt in Batavia, as the settlement along that stream was called. It stood east of the large frame building erected later; now the Morss dairy house. When the old house was no longer used as a tavern, a part of it was occupied by Perez Steele jr. as a store, and a part as a millinery shop by Delia Pratt.
Near the Jewett Heights road was the tavern of John Tuttle sen., long kept by Sidney Tuttle his son. A short distance west of the tavern was a store kept by Sydney Tuttle. Later a store was built on the other side of the way, kept by Lauren Tuttle, and afterward by Thomas Parker. The Babcock house, long the residence of Dr. Jacob Benham, was for many years a public house. Across the West Hollow Bridge, Sanford Hunt, father of Governor Hunt, kept a store.
Near the Jehial Tuttle tavern, at the east end of the town, was the store of Hand & Kirtland, afterward known as the Ellis store.
The immigrants from east of the Hudson were from old communities where schools and churches abound, and they early laid the foundations of these institutions in the new settlements beyond the mountains.
The church edifice of the First Presbyterian church of old Windham, now Ashland, still standing, devoted to secular uses, was erected in 1799, perhaps a year or two earlier. The first document known to the writer, relating to its organization, is here given.
“Agreeable to a meeting held at the Meeting House in Batavia on the 13th day of October 1802, and there being chosen by a majority, Mr. Jacob Hitchcock, Timothy Hubbard and Ichabod Brown, as a committee to confer with a committee of Windham, for the purpose of agreeing with Henry B. Stimson to preach the Gospel for six months alternately here and in the South Settlement [Jewett Heights], and to hold subscription papers for raising the money for the purpose. Therefore we whose names are underwitten do promise to pay the said committee, the several sums annexed to our names, the same to be paid, the one equal half at the Expiration of three months, and the other half at the Expiration of said time.”
“Freehold, Oct. 11, 1802”
This was signed by the following named persons: Enoch Blakeslee, Jacob Hitchcock, Miner Cobb, John and Abijah Stone, Benjamin Baldwin, George and Mary Squires, Nathan Osborn, Amos Smith, Jacob Snow, Joel Tuttle, Orrin Burnham, Ozias Robinson, Nathan Osborn, jr., Samuel Chatfield, Jesse Bronson, Zachariah Cargill, Jairus Munson, and Alanson Barlow.
The society was incorporated October 24th 1808, under an act to provide for the incorporation of religious societies, passed March 27th 1801. Officers to preside at an election of trustees were Perez Steele sen., and Ephraim Turney; the attesting witness, Fredrick T. Coffin. Munson Bond, one of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas, received the depositions, and directed the act of incorporation to be recorded, as it was, in the clerk’s office in the county of Greene, in Liber A, of Records of Religious Societies, pages 21, 22. The first trustees of the society were Noah Pond, Philetus Reynolds, Nathan Osborn, Timothy Hubbard, Elijah Strong and Jairus Munson.
From the church records the following list of original members is taken: Elisha Strong, Samuel Ives, Jedediah Hubbard, Timothy Hubbard, Amos Hubbard, Jared Rice, Ichabod Brown, Elijah Strong, Samuel Crocker, Increase Claffin, George Stimson, Lydia Baldwin, Lois Lockwood, Lola Ives, Martha Hubbard, Dolly Hubbard, Dolly Hubbard 2d, Abigail Snow, Hannah Morrison, Abigail Stimson, Sabra Hubbard, Esther Rice, Betsey Crocker, Rebecca Tuttle, Sarah Clafflin, Anna Buel, Experience Stone, and Sarah Rice.
Henry B. Stimson was the first minister of this church. He studied with Rev. M. Thompson, of Oak Hill, and later with Rev. Samuel Fuller, of Rensselaerville; commenced preaching in 1802, and was ordained September 15th 1803. This, Mr. Stimson’s only pastorate, lasted until 1826. Priest Stimson, as he was called in those days, wielded a potent influence over the mature and rising generation, in the church and congregation, among whom he lived as a man among men. His appearance was commanding even in extreme age, fully six feet in height, erect, spare and muscular. He had strongly marked features, nose, brow, chin, cheekbones, all prominent; the whole contour of the face expressing intelligence, strength of will, and decision of character. He was sincere, devoted, and self-denying, and his pioneer ministry is still in grateful remembrance. His successor was Rev. Clark H. Goodrich. In 1834 a new church was formed two and one-half miles from the old one, called the Center Presbyterian Church of Windham with which fifty-four of the members of the old church united.
The successors of Mr. Goodrich were Messrs. Norton, Lockwood, and Wright. A new society had been organized in the village below (Scienceville), leaving the old church equi-distant from the centers of population. The farewell sermon was preached in the old church by Rev. Austin Morss, a brother of Hon. B. G. Morss, from the text, “Your fathers, where are they?”
The following is a list of ministers who have had charge of this church: Henry B. Stimson, 1802-26; Clark H. Goodrich, 1826-35; Augustus T. Norton, April 1st 1835 to August 11th 1835; H.N. Lockwood, 1835, 1836; ___Wright, 1836 to October 31st 1837. March 30th 1843, last entry in church book of the old First Church. Society removed to new church at Scienceville (Ashland). Josiah Hawes, 1841-46; Harrison A. Howland, 1846-49; Phineas Blakeman, 1850; ______ Hammond, 1854; Edward Stratton, 1856-60; Charles O. Holloway, 1860-62; E. F. Gilbert, 1863-67; Thomas Dusenberry, 1867-70; Charles O. Day, 1876-77; ____Sebring, 1877-81; N. F. Nickerson, 1881.
The Methodist Episcopal church in Ashland village was organized in 1841. Meetings were held in the village school-house until 1843, in which year the present church was built. Out stations are West Settlement church, built in 1832, and Sutton or West Hollow, where meetings are held in the district school-house. The following ministers have officiated; 1841,1842, A. S. Lakin, C. Gorse; 1843, O. G. Hedstrom. L. H. King, A. Lee; 1844, O.G Hedstrom, L. H. King, G. Kelsey; 1845, William Bloomer, W. C. Smith, H. J. Fox; 1846, William Bloomer, W. C. Smith, _____ Weed; 1847, William F. Gould; 1848, William F. Gould, M. Conchman; 1849, A. Lee, M. M. Curtis, ____ Dutcher; 1850, Silas Fitch, Robert Kerr; 1851, Jason Wells, ______ Brundage; 1852, Jason Wells; 1853, John Smith, William Hall, ____Beardsley; 1854, J. W. Smith, Asahel Hough; 1855, A. Hough, Aaron Rogers; 1856 William Gross, J. M. Burgar; 1857, William Gross, G. Woodworth; 1858, G. Woodworth, G. H. Champion; 1859, 1860, W. E. Clark; 1861, 1862, William Hall; 1863, 1864, W. S. Winans; 1865, 1866, William S. Ives; 1867, 1868, V. P. Schermerhorn, S. Martin; 1869, 1870, G. Woodworth; 1871, 1872, W. F. Gould; 1873, 1874, John F. Shew; 1875, 1876, Frank Wilson, 1878, 1879, O. A. Merchant; 1880, John Ketcham; 1881, J. McConnel; 1882, J. C. Deming; 1883 George W. Martin.
Episcopal church in East Ashland, built about 1826 (North Settlement) is
supplied by the ministers of the Windham church, and a list of them will be
found in the history of Windham.
The parish of Trinity church was organized by Rev. Philander (afterward Bishop) Chase, May 11th 1799. Rev. Joseph Perry was minister from 1803 to 1817; Rev. Samuel Fuller and Rev. James Thompson from 1817 to 1831; Rev. O. P. Holcomb, from 1831 to 1843; Rev. Thomas S. Judd, from 1843 to 1863 (except 1857-8 when Rev. Chas. Purviance was minister); Rev. E. N. Goddard, from 1863 to 1865; Rev. H. H. Prout, from 1867 to 1871; Rev. E. A. Edgerton, from 1871 to 1873; Rev. John A. Clarke, from 1873 to 1875; Rev. H. C. Hutchins, from 1878 to 1880; Rev. A. F. Todrig, the present rector, since November 1880.
The act of incorporation of the parish is recorded in the office of the county clerk of Ulster county, under date of June 1799. The old church was built in 1814, the new one, in 1879. The join act of association for organizing Trinity church is dated May 11th 1799, and is as follows:
“We, whose names are hereunto affixed, do profess ourselves to belong to the
Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, and do hereby solemnly agree
to associate ourselves together, to promote the same, in the towns of Windham,
Freehold, and vicinity.”
It is signed by Samuel Gunn, Norman Collins, Silas Lewis, Ebenezer Osborn, Eli Osborn, John Tuttle, Benjamin Johnson, Samuel Goodsell, Eliphalet Wheeler, Almond Munson, Amasa Tuttle, Orange Munson, Jehial Tuttle, Jabez Barlow, Samuel Merwin, Constant Andrews, Justin Coe, Daniel Merwin, Enos Baldwin, Samuel Woolcott, Ebenezer Johnson, Elisha Stanley, Samuel Chatfield, and William Tuttle.
In 1785, George Stimson, with his son Henry, came to Windham as the agent of Robert Livingston, and to take charge of his herds pastured in the mountain section of his woodlands. Stimson built a rude hut against the steep rock at the western entrance to Windham. The following year he removed here with his family, four sons, and five daughters, one son remaining in Massachusetts. Henry married Rebecca Pond and moved on the place in Ashland where he afterward lived. He bought it of Nicholas Martin, one of whose twelve children, Peter Martin, died in 1881, in his ninety-eighth year. Nehemiah Lewis lived near the town boundary on the east of the school-house ground. Zachariah Cargill was the first occupant of the place; Martin bought of him. John Prout moved to this town in 1799, with five children, and bought the adjoining farm on the east, of Colonel Stephen Simmons, a land agent, brother of Mrs. Perez Steele. Below the Stimson house, at a bend in the creek, was Dr. Thomas Benham, in 1793. His neighbor, Deacon Argulas White, was at the next bend; he had six children. By the West Hollow brook, Elisha Strong first lived. Across the brook, where the Methodist Episcopal parsonage stands, Sanford Hunt, father of Governor Washington Hunt, had a house and kept a store. The tavern and store of John Tuttle jr., were not yet built. On the corner by the seminary road, was Benjamin Kinsley, who had five children, three sons and two daughters. About 1785, Elisha Strong came into the new country, and, living at the place just stated, engaged in wood chopping. In 1787, he moved his family, consisting of a wife and seven children; Azubah, James, Jairus, Elijah, Silvia, Elisha and Ann. Elisha Strong bought the land where the village stands, and built a house near the tavern which his son Elijah Strong built. Jairus had first a framed store building, and afterward a brick store near the site of the other. His dwelling, on the other side of the street, was brick. James and Elisha moved to Alleghany county, as did two of their sisters.
Nathaniel Ormsbee settled below the village about 1787. His son Solomon was then twenty years old. He married Sally Hull, sister of the wife of Caleb Hubbard, one of the early comers. In some of the Indian wars, Nathaniel Ormsbee nearly lost his scalp. A grand daughter, Mrs. Merwin, of Jewett, recollects sitting on his knee and putting her hand on the ridge where the sharp edge of the scalping knife had been drawn across.
Tories and Indians captured the team and farm hand, Mr. Becker, on Dr. Benham’s farm. Indians were passing from the Susquehanna to the Hudson, back and forth. Half a dozen lived, in winter, in a log wigwam a mile back of Ashland, on the north. The mountains were the haunts of many wild animals; wolves, panthers (catamounts), bears, and deer. The latter were hunted on the snow, and on moonlight nights, when they resorted to their favorite licks. Nathaniel Stimson met a wolf a little west of Medad Hunt’s, in the road. That night the wolf killed one of Mr. Hunt’s cows. Hunters sometimes surrounded a mountain infested by wolves, going up and closing in on all sides at once.
Isaac Mallory’s place was below the Ormsbee tavern, at the bend of the road, and on the road running north from the turnpike, near the Catholic chapel, was that of James Tompkins, who came from Peekskill in 1810, and who had three children. Below the Catholic chapel, to the west, was Jacob Tiel, a soldier of 1812, and Chauncey Clark, west of the Martin stand, or inn. The John Ives tavern stand was near the western limits of Ashland. John married a daughter of Samuel Ives, who came from Wallingford, Conn., in 1789. Samuel was one of four brothers, soldiers of the Revolution. While away from home, a tory attempted to molest the family of Samuel Ives, and Mrs. Ives brought out a gun and drove him off. They first came to the Captain Mann place in Jewett, and afterward moved to the north of the Batavia in Ashland, where Daniel Ives, a descendant, now lives in the old homestead. Peter Brandow and two of his sons, John and Wilhelmus, came here from Leeds soon after the Revolution. West of John Ives’ tavern was Farrington, who had three daughters and one son. On the West Settlement were Charles Tuttle, Ezra and Asahel Disbrow, Mrs. Pangman, Leverett Munson, Garwood Tuttle, the father of John and Peter Kurau, David Conine, and the father of Christopher Waterman. Amos Cook settled in West Hollow, about 1795, with four sons, Ichabod, Ashbel, Amos and Jesse, and two daughters, Ruth and Julia, near the spot where his son Ichabod built, and where his sons yet live. The only clearings were the Scott lot and Race clearing, of which the White farm occupied a part. Near Mr. Cook was one of the Brandow brothers, Henry I. Brandow, who had three sons, John, Stephen and Samuel, and six daughters; Asa Goodyear, with five daughters and two sons; Gilbert Ferris, one of the earliest in this settlement, with three daughters, Phoebe, Betsy and Lui; and six sons, John, Gilbert, Nathaniel, Lemuel, Solomon and Alexander. Lower down lived, a little later, John L. Decker and two sisters, and below him Orange Munson, in a log house, shingled with bark, with a floor of splint logs, called punchons. His son John Munson, a lad who came with his father, used to go with grain, on horseback, to Hardenberg’s mill, two miles west of Prattsville.
The road running from Susquehanna Turnpike over the dividing range into Schoharie county, was first established in 1794. There were three settlers than on the line of the road running from the post road north; Colonel Stephen Simmons, Robert Livingston’s agent; Jabez Barlow, one half mile further north, or, as it was called, the North Settlement Creek; and Giles Lewis sen. Three-fourth of a mile further north. The rest of the road was only a line of blazed trees without any house or inhabitant on its course, until it intersected the road running from “Schoharry” or New Gilboa to New Durham, now Durham village. About a year later, Jacob Hitchcock jr. settled on this road between Barlow’s and Lewis’, and built a log house where he lived several years, when he moved to a frame house at some distance away.
Above John Prout’s on the Batavia was Jedediah Hubbard, first deacon of the Presbyterian church. Timothy Hubbard, one of his sons, was also deacon. Above Hubbard’s, Foster Morss, a widower, who with two sons, Lyman and Horace, came from Massachusetts in 1799. He subsequently married a Kirtland, and settled on the Nichols place, where he had a mill and tannery, both of which were burned about 1826. By his second wife he had three children: Austin, Elizabeth (married Austin Strong, and still living), and Burton G., the founder of “Red Fall Manufactories.” The third wife of Foster Morss was _____ Butler, by whom he had five sons: John, Kirtland, George, Dwight, and William and one daughter, Lois.
Lyman Morss, son of Foster, had a tannery near where his father first settled, above Hubbard’s.
Benjamin Morss, a brother of Foster, came to what is called Ashland village, about 1812, with his family, consisting of his wife (formerly a widow Berry) and four children; Benjamin jr., Samuel, Gilman and Eliza Ann. The sons worked in their uncle Foster’s tannery for several years. The oldest two eventually went to New Hampshire. The youngest remained in this town. The widow Berry came from Connecticut, with four children (Berry’s). The eldest, a daughter, is now living in New Hampshire, aged 89; Hiram, ex-Governor of New Hampshire, 87; Abner, now living in Ashland in the same house since 1813, many years a justice of the peace, 83; and Rhoda, wife of John Munson, at their death 81.
Next above Foster Morss was the tavern of John Tuttle sen. Then Ephraim and Robert Turney, sons of John Turney who came from Newtown, Connecticut, in 1790, when Robert was fourteen. Turney bought 365 acres, including the land on which the Episcopal church was built. Ephraim Turney’s house was near the toll gate. Mrs. Martin, daughter of Robert, lives on the homestead. Gurdon Brainerd built the house opposite the Episcopal church. He had three children. Beyond the old Presbyterian church was the tavern of Medad Hunt. Of his daughters, Sallie was the wife of Daniel Gunn, Hannah, wife of Jehial Tuttle, at whose tavern, east of the Hunt house, Apollos Cooke of Catskill broke his neck by falling from this horse just as he was mounting for a morning ride. Just beyond stands the brick house of Judge Levi H. Alden, whose wife was a daughter of Jehial Tuttle. On the opposite side of the way were the wagon making and blacksmith shops where he, and afterward Daniel, father of Bishop Tuttle, worked.
At the foot of the North Settlement road, stands the old school-house under the elms, first built of logs about 1805. The Ralph Fowler house, half a mile north has been gone many years. In the first house standing, Joel Tuttle, father of Dumah, Alvin, Anna, Julius and Sophia, lived. Colonel Simmons owned the next house, and near there Perez Steele sen. first settled, but afterward removed to what is now the S. Munger place, where Stephen Steele, son of Perez, formerly kept tavern. Simmons sold his place to Orrin Burham, who had six children, of whom two sons, Joseph and Philo, remained on the place some years, a sister, Mrs. Parnell Tyler, succeeding them. Near the bridge, by the forks of the road, was Jabez Barlow, brother of Joel Barlow, poet and statesman of the Revolution. Jabez brought with him from Connecticut, only a Negro servant, built a log cabin by the brook, cleared some land, and lived on pounded rye, and other grain. His sons, Alanson and Abel, came and settled on portions of his land; after Abel’s death Jabez’s daughter Anna (Edmonds) and her family came also. Timothy Baldwin was a miller, and later on kept the mill near which he lived. Abraham Dudley was first miller. Timothy Baldwin’s mother, widow of Benjamin Baldwin, lived near him. Her daughter, Anna Frisbie, married Mr. Barnes; Dr. Albert Barnes was their son.
The saw-mill was built by Marshall Lewis, brother of Silas Lewis, for many years justice of the peace. Enos Osborn, son of Nathan, and Zeba Clark, also lived on this road. Clark kept tavern where John Rice, father of John and Whiting Rice, afterward lived. On the other fork of the road lived Silas Lewis, who had six children; Arad, Silas jr., Tama, Betsey, Eunice and Clarinda. Arad kept the tavern on the old Windham and Durham road. Silas jr. lived near the saw-mill pond. He was fond of hunting; he found a large panther in the woods near the west end of Henry Cook’s farm, and shot and broke its shoulder; but it fought two dogs, disabling them, when it was dispatched with a blow from a club that Lewis let fall first across his back, then across his neck.
Jacob Hitchcock sen., from West Springfield, Mass., also settled first on this road, coming about 1790, with his family of three sons, Jacob jr., Caleb, John, and two daughters, Abigail and Phebe. His oldest daughter, Beda, married and remained in Massachusetts. Jacob was a sergeant in the Revolutionary war, his commission dating from 1776. His first house of logs was occupied by the widow Berry, with four children, after he had built a frame house on the opposite side of the way. North of the old turnpike lived Nathan Osborn, who had four children, Nathan jr., Benjamin, Esther and Enos; Jesse Bronson sen., who married Esther Osborn; his children were Leman, Marshall, Benonie, Jesse, Ransom, Alvina, Hester and Lucinda; Benjamin Bishop, with two sons, Solomon and Thomas, and two daughters, Rebecca Rood, and Dorcas Bartholomew; Zachariah Cargill, with three sons, John, Zachariah , Abram, and four daughters, Polly, Katie, Nancy, and Eleanor; David Frayer, with five sons, Isaac, John, Philip, Stephen, and Charles, and five daughters, Katie, Caroline, Christina, Cornelia, and Loretta; and David Arnold, with three sons, Ashbel, Milo, George and three daughters, Clarissa, Orinda, and Betsey; he afterward moved across the bridge on the Jewett road near the house of the where Governor Robinson’s grandfather lived. West of the Lewis tavern, on the old turnpike, were Solomon Wolcott, with four sons, Ahira, Solomon, Lyman, Julius, and four daughters, Naomi, Dolly, Clarissa, Thankful; and Ezekiel Tuttle with four sons, Garwood, Truman, Jerry, and David, and four daughters, Betsey, Polly, Harriet, and Aloisa. Aaron Claflin, Miner Cobb, Russel Gladden, and Amzi Doolittle were later settlers in this part of the town. Ozias Robinson and Experience Stone were early setters here.
Ezekiel Tuttle had three brothers, Bostwick, Truman, and Samuel, and two sisters, Mrs. Joseph Atwood and Mrs. Asa Richmond.
East of the Lewis tavern was the Methodist Episcopal church, then the store and dwelling of Ard Osborn, and near him were Jacob Smalling sen., who had six children, Ira, Cyrus, Jacob jr., Anna, Polly, and Nancy; Ebenezer Blakeslee, who had ten children, Enoch, Ebenezer jr., Benjamin, Abel, Susie, Patty, Chloe, Lucinda, Lydia, and Matilda; and Joseph Atwood, with two sons, Albert and Bennet.
The houses were built of logs and could be enlarged only by lengthening them. When saw-mills appeared, frame houses took the place of log. They were built after the pattern of their New England homes, usually a story and a half, with long sloping roofs, a stone chimney going up from the foundation through the center of the house, with fireplaces on three sides. The bakery was a brick oven connected by a flue with the chimney. A spinning wheel and loom were a part of household furniture. The cellar was under a part of the house only. Access was had by outside folding doors, protected by inner doors. Theses were closed and banked in winter. The flax brake and sheep shears furnished material for wheel and loom. Barns were built for grain and hay only; the stock were sheltered by open shed in winter.
The monotony of the winter was enlivened by social visits, singing-schools, spelling matches, and religious or “protracted meetings.” The roads at first were only paths blazed through the woods. People went to market and to meeting on horseback, in carts, lumber wagons, on the snow with sleds. School-houses were used for public religious services until meeting-houses had been built and dedicated.
The supervisors of the town have been John S. Ives, 1848,1858; Daniel B. Strong, 1849; Joshua Draper, 1850; Sylvester Hitchcock, 1851; William S. Bouton, 1852; Lyman Robinson, 1853,1854,1856; Isaac W. Van Schaack, 1855; William H. Myers, 1857; Austin Smith, 1859; Peter I. Stanley, 1860; Nathaniel Ormsbee, 1861, 1862; Albert Tuttle, 1863,1864,1869; Jonas M. Smith, 1865,1866,1875,1880; Albert Steele, 1867; Egbert B. Dodge, 1868; Edgar Smith, 1870; Joseph Sax, 1871, 1872,1876; Archibald Tompkins, 1873,1874; Hiram B. Clarke, 1877; Wilbur F. Lee, 1878, 1881, 1883, Giles S. Sutton, 1879; and Darius B. Prout, 1882.
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