David Baldwin, commonly called
"Deacon David", was the fourth son and seventh child of Abiel
Baldwin, Sr., and was born in Durham, Conn., Nov 23, 1768. About the
year 1796 he came to Durham, NY, and settled on the farm recently owned by the
late Justus Finch. The West wing of the house, as it
now stands, was built by him, and it is a very sturdy structure. He married Miss
Julia Chittenden, a sister of Polly Chittenden, the
wife of his brother Curtis, as we saw in the last sketch.
They were married by the Rev. Jesse Townsend, pastor of the
Presbyterian church, Durham, NY. They together united with the church, Aug 2,
1801. They had no offspring. He adopted David Baldwin, 2nd, the
son of his brother Curtis, but he died Jan 15, 1816, of small
pox. He also adopted Almira Chittendon, besides
assisting in the education of Zilba and Dwight,
two of his nephews, who afterward became ministers. He was a man of
uncommon piety, and also of rare good sense. He took a deep interest in the
young; speaking to every little child, and presenting them with a Testament or
giving them a bit of good advice. He had a wonderful memory and could almost
give the book, chapter and verse of any passage of Scripture. Rev.
Seth Williston used to call him his "Concordance". He had a
good education, and contemplated the ministry as his profession; but for some
reason never engaged in that work. Indeed, he was a minister although never
ordained. He possessed that rare combination of ardent piety, abounding
charity, meekness, humility, intense activity, large generosity, executive
ability, and good strong common sense, which made him probably the most useful
man in the church and community. Religion with him was not cant, it was
Christianity, honesty was not a cloak, it was a living principle. Life
was not a dream, it was a consecration to the welfare of man, and the glory of
God. He was the first land surveyor who resided in the town, and some of the
patents, many of the roads, and nearly all of the farms were surveyed by him.
[Eliab Youmans surveyed the patents generally, throughout
this region, in 1767, before any of the settlements were commenced] He
was chosen frequently to settle disputes between neighbors, to write deeds,
wills, bonds, etc; while at the same time laboring hard on his farm, and using
the proceeds for the benefit of the church and the community. He filled
various offices in the town: commissioner of highways, commissioner of
schools, school inspector and supervisor. In the church, he was the church
clerk, trustee, deacon, elder, clerk of the Board of Elders, and the first
superintendant of the Sabbath school. He was so widely and so favorably
known that other churches sought his assistance in the settlement of
difficulties among them. But all this activity came to an end; the good
man died, but his works remain, and his influence lives. His change came
March 27, 1841, he having reached the age of 72 years, 4 months and 4 days.
Julia, his wife, survived him only a few months; she died
Dec. 4, 1841, aged 68 years and 5 months.
I find from "The Baldwin Genealogy,"
compiled by Charles C. Baldwin, of Cleveland, Ohio, to whom I am indebted for
many of these facts, that Aaron Baldwin was the fifth son,
and the eighth child of Abiel Baldwin, Sr., and also that the
first born of the family was Rhoda, born in 1757, and died in
1766, at Durham, Conn. Aaron was born in Durham, Conn., Nov.
8, 1770, and married Sarah Norton of the same place. I
find his name on the society book of Durham, NY, as having subscribed 1 pound
sterling for the support of the Gospel here. In 1815 he accompanied his
brother Jonathan to Atwater, Ohio, where he died, July 13,
1847, aged 76 years. They had seven children. One of them, Lemuel
Norton, went south and married a daughter of Judge McDougall,
of Mississippi. He is a lawyer and a judge, and resides at Port Gibson, Miss.
Seth Baldwin was the youngest of Abiel
Baldwin's family, and was born in Durham, Conn., April 27, 1775;
married Rhoda Hull, daughter of Timothy Hull,
of Durham, Conn. He lived on the old farm until 1804, when he removed to
this town, and lived on the farm now owned by Reuben Moss,
near Cornwallsville. They had twelve children: Sophia, born
in 1796, and died at the Sandwich Islands in 1874. Dwight,
missionary (will give history in the next sketch). David B.,
married Nancy Cooley, of Durham, NY; is a cabinet maker and
lives in St. Louis, Mich., They had eight children and celebrated their golden
wedding on the 29th of Sept. 1873. Lyman Hall married Julia
Ann Mead, of Durham, NY, and now lives at Chilton, Wis.; is a cabinet
maker. Seth, unmarried, was a soldier in the Florida
war, and died at Prairie Du Chien, Wis., in 1840. Ruth,
died 1834, in Norwich, NY, unmarried. Sophronia married Edward
B. Robinson, of Bridgeport, Conn., and they live in Hartford, Conn.
Porter Pall, shot and killed himself (probably accidentally)
in 1830, aged 10 years. Phebe Ann married Corydon
Benton, of Otis, Berkshire county, Mass., removed to Coldwater,
Mich., where she died in 1856. Delia B., married Benjamin
Franklin Hotchkiss, of Otisco, NY; removed to Freedom, ILL; thence to
Ottawa, ILL, where he was a county surveyor; thence to Beatrice, Nebraska.
Franklin, the youngest, married Mary M. Johnson,
of Otisco, NY; they removed to Freedom, ILL, and thence to Sandwich, ILL.,
where he still lives; is a farmer.
I notice that I am made to say in the last sketch
that the "elderly ladies carried footstones to church" in the olden
time. This is a mistake, I meant footstoves; a small tin box about eight inches
square and six inches high; which was enclosed in a strong wooden frame, and
having inside a cup of living coals of fire, which made a very comfortable
footstool, and a very important part of their church-going outfit.
Table of Contents
Borthwick Papers Home Page
of the Towns Home Page Townships