Number Twenty-Three B - John Hull and descendents
Written by Joshua G. Borthwick and originally published
on June 11,1881, in the Catskill "Examiner". Copy
provided by the Durham
Center Museum and retyped by Annette Campbell
It is said that the people living in the new towns of the Far West have a
migratory character; that they frequently sell their possessions and move on
farther West. This seems to be a characteristic of all new countries;
and Durham in its early history was no exception to this rule. In the
few records we have of ancient times in this town, we find the names of many
of whom the "oldest inhabitant" can tell us nothing. On the other
hand, however, some of the first settlers not only lived here, and died here,
but left large families whose influence the town has felt in all its history.
About the year 1785 a very quiet, pleasant little man came from Durham, CT, to
Durham, NY, and settled on the farm now occupied by Samuel Van Wagoner.
His name was John Hull, and his wife's maiden name was Sally
Baldwin. She belonged to one of the Baldwin families of whom we shall
have something to say hereafter. Knowing the need of a plentiful supply
of provisions in a new country, he brought, among other necessaries, a barrel
of pork from his native town; and the manner in which he carted it from
Catskill was rather primitive. He took two long poles, and putting
cross-pieces some distance from the ends, he made a conveyance which the Roman
H would represent somewhat. Attaching his horse to one end of this
"dray," and loading on his pork and other articles, he made his way
through the woods from Catskill to Durham.
He was a very industrious man, and was noted for his skill in the use of the
grass scythe. He and his brother Silas did a great
deal of mowing for the neighbors. He had no lack of agility or courage, and
the story has been often told of his successful encounter with a wolf,
who attempted a raid upon his sheep. He was one of the original nine who
constituted the Presbyterian Church of this town. It was his custom to
walk to church, taking his course through a piece of woods, where, like the
"Father of his Country," he sought the blessing of God upon the
church he loved so well. His death took place on the 29th of October, 1832,
and his widow followed him a few years afterward. They had five children, Sally,
Elizur, Hannah, Luman, and Nancy.
Sally married Oswald Root and removed to
Berkshire, Broome Co., NY. They had five daughters---Catherine,
Sabrina, Nancy, Eliza, and Roxiana. Upon the death of her
husband she returned to Durham and, after some years married Harry
Avery of Big Hollow. They had two sons---Henry and
Chester. Henry is a minister of
the Gospel, living in California. Chester lives in Virginia.
Elizur married Anna Strong, daughter of Selah
Strong and sister to the late Lyman Strong.
They lived for a time with his parents; then he bought a house and a piece of
land of Constant Bushnell, which was nearly opposite the
house now owned by Mr. Dwight Hull. In time he bought the
farm now owned by his son Dwight, and lived there many years,
although he lived in the "Bushnell house" at the time of his
death, in 1859. They had nine children---Sally Ann, Eunice, John,
Lyman A., David B., Elmira, Dwight P., Elizabeth N. and Emily
S. The mother died in 1874, aged 81.
Hannah was the wife of Dea. Lemuel Hitchcock of
Big Hollow. They had five children---Sarah, Baldwin, Anson, John and
Charlotte. Charlotte became the wife of Rev.
Ariel McMaster of Wisconsin.
Luman married Elizabeth Peck of Lexington,
NY. He had the old homestead, and took care of his father while they lived. He
afterward sold the farm, and bought the farm, a part of which is owned by Mrs.
Porter and a part by Sherwood Johnson. He
died in 1865. His widow still survives. They had six children---Adelia,
Anson P., Sarah, Louise, Julia and Theodore.
Nancy married John C. Peck of Lexington.
They lived in that town several years; then coming to Durham, they owned the
farm where George H. Maybee lives and finally moved to the
village. She died in 1872 and he in 1878. They had five children---Elizabeth,
Harriet, John H., Martha and Rosaline.
Silas Hull was a brother to John Hull. Sr.,
and came to this town about the same time. He lived on the farm now operated
by Dwight P. Hull, but after a few years he removed to
Berkshire, Broome Co.
Constant Bushnell lived opposite, and about the same time
removed to Sullivan, Madison Co., NY.
Ichabod Scranton lived somewhere in this neighborhood. He was
another of the original nine members of the Presbyterian church. After a few
years he returned to Durham, CT; quite an unusual thing to do. After his
return he claimed to have changed his religious views, and united with the
Levi Griswold lived on the farm now owned by J.G.
Borthwick. There was quite a large family of them. We find the names
of Oliver, Abraham, Betsey and Amy Griswold.
The latter married Titus Munger. Nearly the whole family
removed to the Western part of the State many years ago.
At the time of which we are writing, the road from this point Eastward was
located about ten rods farther North than it now is, coming out into the
present road about forty rods East of Dwight P. Hull's.
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