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Israel Utter

From the Biographical Review, Volume XXXIII, located at the Durham Center Museum.
Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin

ISRAEL P. UTTER, a leading farmer and representative citizen of Oak Hill, Greene County, was born in this town, on a farm near his present residence, on the second day of December, 1829. He is the son of Bani Utter, and grandson of James, the ancestor of the Utter family of this county.

James Utter was born in the State of Connecticut. He came among the early setters to this section of New York, took up land, and built a log cabin, in which he lived a number of years. Shortly before his removal from Connecticut, he served in the Continental army in the Revolution. His wife, whose name was Hannah, was born in Spencer, Conn. She came on horseback through the wilds, he walking beside her. Of the eight children born to her, none are living. She died at the advanced age of ninety-five, and her husband died at the age of ninety-three. Both were lifelong Presbyterians.

Bani Utter, above named, was born in Oak Hill, not far from where his son now lives, and spent his whole life here. He helped his father build a saw-mill. This mill was carried away by rising waters, and he subsequently built another, which he operated for many years. He engaged in farming on the farm where he was born, and he helped to build the old Utter house, which, previous to its destruction by fire in 1894, was one of the landmarks of the place. Bani Utter died in the old house at the age of seventy-four. His wife, whose maiden name was Cynthia Stannard, was the daughter of Eliakim Stannard, who was a pioneer settler in Durham, N. Y., coming from Connecticut. She died at seventy-eight years of age. Of her ten children, Alfred, Ruth and Lyman are deceased. Alfred was a soldier in the Civil War, and lost his life while in service. The living children are: Julia, now Mrs. Whitmore; Israel; Louisa, now Mrs. Taylor; Almeran; Eliakim; Adelaide; and Addison. Both parents were Methodists.

Israel Utter in his boyhood attended the common schools of his native town, and when not occupied with his lessons helped his father on the farm. Later he worked on the farm on shares for a time. But eventually he purchased the farm adjoining the one where he now lives. After having operated that successfully for a number of years, he bought his present place and built his handsome residence and the other buildings. All these are thoroughly well built, and the barns and outbuildings are thoroughly equipped for carrying on farming in accordance with the latest and most approved methods. Mr. Utter now owns the two farms, embracing about two hundred and sixty acres. He devotes his time chiefly to dairying, making butter for the New York markets.

Mr. Utter’s marriage took place in 1855, his wife being Caroline, daughter of Jacob and Hannah (Niles) Tompkins. Mr. Tompkins spent his life on a farm in this town, and died here at the age of sixty-four. He and his wife were prominent members of the Methodist church, and he held numerous official positions in the church. Mrs. Tompkins, who was born in Coeymans, N. Y., lived to be ninety-three years of age. Of the children born to her, the following named are living: Mary, who married Rufus Gifford; Ann, who married James Gifford; William, who is in California; Sarah, who married Alexander Lounsbury; Mrs. Utter, who was born on June 12, 1834; Libby, the wife of Philo Wicks; and Niles Tompkins, who resides on the Tompkins farm.

Mr. and Mrs. Utter have had two children, one of whom died in infancy. Their daughter Alice married Elwin Haskins, only son of Henry Haskins of this town. She has five children—Dora, Utter, Henry, Edison, and Paul—all of them being now in school.

In politics Mr. Utter is a Republican, as was his father before him. He takes not only a warm interest, but an active part in all matters pertaining to the welfare of the town. For nine years he was an Assessor, being three times re-elected, and for one year he was chairman of the Board. For thirty-five years he has been a member of the Methodist church, and for the past thirty years he has been one of its trustees, a steward, and class leader. The Sunday-school has always had his warm and earnest support, and he has been both teacher and superintendent. His wife and daughter have also been workers in both church and Sunday-school, and the latter has sung in the choir and played the organ. Mr. Utter is one of the most esteemed citizens of his town.

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