Article Number Twenty-Six - The Baldwin Family Cont'd

Written by Joshua G. Borthwick and originally published
on March 17, 1883, in the Catskill "Examiner". Copy provided by the Durham Center Museum and retyped by Annette Campbell


Dwight Baldwin was the oldest son, and the second child of Abiel Baldwin, Sr., and was born in Durham, Conn., Sept. 29, 1793. In January, 1804, at 6 years of age, he came with his parents to Durham, NY, where he assisted his father in the labors of the farm, and attended such schools as were within his reach, until the Fall of 1814, when he commenced the study of Latin in preparation for college. I think Rev. Dr. Williston was his teacher in this part of his educational course. In 1816 he entered Williams College, remaining there two years; after which he taught one year, and in 1819 he entered Yale College, graduating in September, 1821. By recommendation of President Day he was employed as principal of the academy at Kingston, NY.  The following year he taught a select school in Catskill. During the three years following he taught a select school in Durham, and studied medicine. Here under the preaching of the Rev. Dr. Williston, he experienced a great change in his religious views, and united with the church on the 3rd of September, 1826. He soon after entered Auburn Theological Seminary, graduating from that institution in May 1829, or perhaps it was a year later than that. In the meantime he attended medical lectures at Cambridge, and received his diploma as a physician, and entered the service of the American Board as a medical missionary to the Sandwich Islands. He was married Dec. 3, 1830, to Charlotte Fowler, daughter of Deacon Solomon Fowler, of North Branford, Conn.  On the 28th day of December, 1830, they set sail from New Bedford, and after a voyage of six months they landed at Honolulu, June 6, 1831. After preaching in English for a short time at Honolulu, he removed to Ihaimea and after three years labor he removed to Lahaina, where he remained until September, 1868. Here he acted as pastor of the church and also as resident physician. During the thirty-three years of his residence at Lahaina he received 2300 members into his church. One revival continued for about four years. Schools were organized and the people made rapid progress in civilization and enlightenment. In 1868 he returned to Honolulu, and has been employed since that time, according to the last intelligence, in teaching in the Native Theological Seminary there. He visited Durham in 1857. His wife died at Prenahon, Oahu, Oct 2, 1873. They had eight children, six of whom are living. One of them, Emily Sophronia, I think resides in New Haven, while the remaining five remain in the Islands. David Dwight, the eldest, is a teacher in the Government School at Lahaina.
 
We will now return to the former generation, and take up what history we can find of the sisters of Deacon Jonathan and Deacon David, the children of Abiel Baldwin, Sr.  Rhoda, the oldest of the family, died at nine years of age. Eunice was born in Durham, Conn., August 2, 1760. She married Selah Strong, of whom we have written already, (sketches 4 & 5); they had eight children, viz: Charles, born in Durham, Conn, Aug. 17, 1783, died March 28, 1859;  Elijah, born in Durham, NY, and died in Volney, March 23, 1867;  Lyman, born Feb 27, 1788, and died March 8, 1871;  Rev. Salmon, born March 23, 1790, died in Harrisburg, Pa, July 14, 1872;  Selah, born April 27, 1795, married Amelia Pierce, and settled in Fond du Lac, Wis., where he died previous to the year 1857, when Dwight Baldwin visited the place;  Anna, born Dec. 2, 1792, married Elizur Hull, they had nine children, of whom we have already written. She died Aug. 10, 1874;  Eunice, born Nov. 13, 1797, died Sept. 7, 1872;  Lansing, the youngest, died at ten years. The mother of this large family, Eunice (Baldwin) Strong, died in Sept. 1827, and Selah Strong, the father, died in 1837.
 
Mehitable was the fifth child of Abiel Baldwin, and was born in Durham, Conn., May 21 1764. She married William Terry, and removed to Durham NY, and settled on the farm formerly owned by Pharez Chittenden, and recently by the late John Campbell.  He was a hard-working farmer, but a  little irreverent sometimes. On one occasion when the snow was falling in large flakes he made the remark, "Hello! they've got a coarse riddle a-going up there."  His wife was a weaver and wove cloth for the settlers and for the store kept by Gideon Brockaway, which was probably the first store kept in the town.; but its location I am unable as yet to give.  Mr. Torry had eight children. I can give the names of six, viz:  Samuel, William, John, Seth, Rhoda and Delia.  About the year 1809 they sold their farm (probably to John B. Hall, as he lived there several years) and moved to Berkshire, Tioga county, NY.  At the time of the death of "Deacon David, ", in 1841, the parents were both dead, but five of the children were living there.
 
Ruth, the youngest daughter of Abiel Baldwin, Sr., born Oct. 30, 1772, in Connecticut, came to this town when a young girl, probably about twelve years of age. She married Leverett Chittenden, formerly of Guilford, Conn.  He was a shoemaker and lived where the late Leverett Chittenden, Jr., and his sisters have had their home ever since.  They had eight children; eight children seems to have been a regulation number in those days. I really think that the families in those days would average eight, and now, among American families, the average is hardly more than two.  Their children were Sally, married Henry VanWormer; she died Aug 11, 1878, aged 83 years. Alanson Baldwin, (Rev.), born Sep 20, 1797, a graduate of Union College and Auburn Seminary, and preached in the Reformed churches of Amity, Chesterville, and Sharon; he died at Schenectady, April 11, 1853. Daniel, born in 1800, and died at Victory, NY, in 1836.  Curtis B., born in 1802, and died in 1843; he married Armenia Humphrey; they had nine children; Arland H. Chittenden, of Windham, and the wife of Eugene A. Smith, of Catskill, were their children. Leverett, was born in 1804, and died in 1863. Matthias, born in 1807, and died recently in Sullivan county, NY. Emeline and Rebecca, widow of the late Edmund Pratt, sill reside on the old farm. We may speak more fully of this family when we write about the Chittenden family, as we hope soon to do. Ruth, the mother of this large family, was very quiet and retiring in her ways, and is spoken of with great affection by her children.  She had a great many trials but was enabled to bear them all patiently. She died July 1, 1850, aged 77 years.
 
This completes the history of Abiel Baldwin, Sr., and Mehitable Johnson, his wife, and their descendants, as far as we are able to give the facts.  One thing about this family is rather singular: there were as we have seen eight of them--yes, in fact nine---six sons and three daughters, who left Durham, Conn., and made their home in Durham, NY. They all had large families except Deacon David, who had no children.  The whole number of their children (exclusive of grand children and adopted children) was 66; and yet not one of the Baldwin name belonging to that family now lives in this town.  There are two of the grandchildren, and a large number of the great grandchildren, and of the great, great grandchildren, and there are sixteen great, great, great grandchildren living; these latter, however, do not all of them live in this town; but of all this number not one person goes by the ancient name of Baldwin.  The other family, of whom we hope to write in due time, have a few descendants to perpetuate their name on the face of the earth; and yet this family have been instrumental in scattering the name nearly all over this country from New York to California, and from Minnesota to Mississippi, besides representation of at least twenty three living in the Sandwich Islands. The various trades and professions in life, as well as many official positions, have been filled by members of this family. Five ministers of the gospel, one president of a college, one foreign missionary, many elders and deacons in the church, lawyers, judges, and other town and county officers, principals of Government and of public schools, writers, overseers of public institutions, soldiers and officers in the Revolutionary war, the war of 1812, the Florida war, and the late civil war---all these positions and many more besides have been filled by members of this family.
 
In our next we will commence the history of Noah Baldwin and his descendants.

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