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Article Number Fourteen - Adams (John and Platt) and Post (Rozell) Families

Written by Joshua G. Borthwick and originally published
on May 22, 1880, in the Catskill "Examiner". Copy provided by the Durham Center Museum and retyped by Annette Campbell

John Adams, like the President of the United States of the same name, and like Washington, "The Father of his Country", was a Federalist; and the town of Durham was uniformly Federal and Whig in its political complexion. About the time Mr. Adams returned from Congress, he and Malbone Watson formed a co-partnership, and removed to Catskill. Malbone Watson and Benedict Bagley practiced law in the village of Durham, occupying the present Lecture Room of the Presbyterian Church as their office, while John Adams owned, and occupied the brick house, now owned by J. B. Bascom, as his office.  Benedict Bagley was chosen to the Legislature in 1834, and Adams and Watson opened an office in Catskill. This law firm became one of the most able, as well as popular in the State.  Adams had a thorough knowledge of law, and a very clear head.  It was his custom to advise those who came to him for counsel, to recommend an arrangement of the difficulty without an appeal to law, and without doubt he saved his clients and the County thousands of dollars in this way.  He was a very safe counselor, while his partner, Malbone Watson, excelled as an advocate.  Watson in 1847 became one of the Justices of the Supreme Court for this, the Third Judicial District.  This led to the formation of a new law firm, Hon. Rufus H. King taking Judge Watson's place. This relation was continued until the death of Mr. Adams, which took place on the 25th of Sept. 1854.

Platt Adams, a half brother of John Adams, was a young man of greater force of character, and possessed great executive ability. It is said that he could talk with a customer, and at the same time carry on a business correspondence with a distant party---doing two things at the same time, if such a thing is possible.  He was a lawyer by profession, although he never practiced much, preferring business and politics to law.  He chose the merchantile business. His store is now occupied by W.W. Burhans, Esq., and he lived in the Presbyterian Parsonage.  He married Miss Clarissa Dudley, a daughter of the widow Dudley, who afterward married Rev. Seth Williston, D.D.  Mrs. Adams was a lady of refined taste, and was a great lover of plants and flowers. She had the honor of introducing Snap Dragon as a flowering plant, and the ladies of the village thought it beautiful and fragrant (?) and it was generally introduced.  She did a great deal for society and church, and was a noble Christian woman.  Platt Adams was entrusted by his townsmen in many ways. We find his name frequently in the Society records as Clerk and Trustee. He was Town Clerk from 1821 to 1825, when he was chosen Supervisor. He was re-elected in 1826, '27, and '28, also in '34, '35, '37 and '38. In 1828 he was elected Sheriff of Greene Co. In 1838 he was also elected Justice of the Peace. Previous to this however, in 1820, he was elected to the Legislature, also again in 1839. In 1848 he was elected to the State Senate.  All along these years he was Colonel of Militia, and was very popular as a military man. He now resides in the City of New York, and is about 90 years of age. He had two sons and two daughters. Addison left town when he was quite young. Grovenor married Nancy Cone, daughter of Rev. Jonathan Cone.  He was a lawyer and a Probate Judge, and now lives on Long Island. Morgan Adams of Windham, and Seymour Adams  of Cairo, are members of the Adams family just described. On the road leading from the "Lant place" to Oak Hill lived Mr. Cleveland, on the farm recently occupied by Mr. John Palmer.  From him descended Lyman Cleveland, deceased, and Ezra and Amos Cleveland.  As we proceed up the turnpike from the "Lant place" toward Durham, we come to the old "Barker place."  George Easland now occupies the place. Here lived in the early history of the town, Thomas E. Barker, who was at one time perhaps the public man of the town. In my museum of ancient papers there is no name that appears so often as his; Society papers, deeds, leases, contracts, survey bills, road warrants, Etc, bear the name of Thomas E. Barker.  He was the first man who ever represented this town in the Legislature of the State---that was in 1798, two years before Greene County was organized.  He was one of the members from Albany County and coming from the town of Freehold as it was then called. Upon the formation of Greene County in 1800, he and Caleb Benton were the first representatives in the Legislature from the new county. He also became a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. His penmanship was excellent.
One of the first roads laid out in town commenced at Mr. Newell's in West Durham, and ran about where the present road does until we reach William Baldwin's, where the old road passed over or near the site of his house, and from there directly to Shubal Finch's,  and so on East past Edwin Elliott's, coming out on the Turnpike at Smith Bear's.  Just up this road where Deacon Mackey lives, Mr. Edward Doty settled, and where Edwin Elliott lives Mr. Rozel Post settled and built the first Grist Mill.  He was a son of Abraham Post, who with Eleazur Knowles, Bethuel Hinman, Peter Curtis and Edward Lake come from Connecticut, and settled in Greenville in 1783. He was born March 24, 1769, and in 1786 when he was seventeen years of age he settled in Durham. He lived alone for some time, "sleeping on the ground, in the woods, by the side of logs," until his first house was built. He built the first Grist Mill on the North side of the stream opposite the present one. He married Temperance Kirtland: she died Jan 4, 1839. His second wife was Elizabeth Shaft. She died Jul 14, 1846.  He died Aug. 28, 1859, aged 90. He had six children---Elias, Ransom, Lydia Ann, Temperance, Reuben Palmer, and Seymour.
Isaac Carter lived where Subal Finch does, but I believe the family are all gone long ago.

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