Search billions of records on

Article Number Seventeen -
The Hervey Family

Written by Joshua G. Borthwick and originally published
on , February 5, 1881, in the Catskill "Examiner". Copy provided by the Durham Center Museum and retyped by Annette Campbell

Deacon Obed Hervey
was born in Franklin, now Patterson, Putnam Co., NY, in the year 1722. In 1773, he and others removed to the town of North East, Dutchess Co., where they lived until the year 1788, when he and his son Obed, came to Durham, NY, and took up a large tract of land in Hervey Street, and the neighborhood West of the village.  Theodore Calver now occupies the old homestead. Deacon Hervey was at this time 66 years of age; but he was very active and energetic, and withal a very pious man. He was a member of the Baptist Church in North East, and unlike many professors of religion in these days, he carried his holy principals with him into the wilderness, and caused it to blossom as the rose. He held religious meetings in the log houses, and barns and groves of the neighborhood, and upon the formation of the Baptist Church at Hervey Street, he became its first pastor, and it is said that the first sermon that was ever preached in this part of the town, he preached in his own barn. He died in the year 1808 aged 86 years.
His son Obed, was born in Patterson, NY, in the year 1756, and accompanied his father to North East, and at the age of 37 came to Durham, and when his father became an Elder, he was chosen Deacon, and faithfully performed the duties of that office for more than forty years, or until his death, which took place in 1837; he also having reached 86 years of life. Deacon Obed Jr. was a great business man. He built a carding machine (which afterward was destroyed by fire), a saw mill, a store, and a blacksmith shop, and through the combined exertion of his father and himself, the first church building was erected. His wife's maiden name was Abigail Bell. She was born in Dutchess County in 1758, and died in 1819, aged 61 years.  She was a pattern of industry, spinning and weaving wool and flax, with which she clothed herself and her family, besides sending the products of her loom to market. She had a literary turn of mind, and was the author of several Sabbath School books. Her book "Advice to My Grandchildren," was written on the occasion of the death of her son Hiram, at 14 years of age, caused by the kick of a horse. In this book there are several original poetic compositions. From the time of this event until her death, she invited her neighbors to her house for a prayer meeting, every year, upon the anniversary of her son's death. They had four sons and three daughters who reached mature years, viz, Herman, Obed, J.Newton, Deliverance Bell, Abigail Dibble, Anna Stephens and Polly Jones.  The block house in which they lived is still standing; it is only a few rods from where the Widow Earl now resides. The old fashioned double door was removed only a few years ago.  The road past Obed Hervey's was laid out in 1792, and the following is a copy of the survey, in the handwriting of Capt. Asahel Jones:
         "We the Commissioners of Roads for the town of Freehold in the
          County of Albany and State of New York, being legally called
          and met to lay out Roads;"  (after describing several other roads
          laid out that day, continues,) " Likewise laid a Road from Obed
          Hervey's, running Westerly where it is now cleared for said
          road til it strikes the great road by a Hemlock tree on the second
          rise of the hill above Ezra Loomis's marked R, in the edge of the
          road, which roads so laid out we the Commissioners for such
          roads do order the same to be Recorded, opened and marked,
          as the law directs; as witness our hands this tenth day of March
          one thousand seven hundred and ninety two."   Asahel Jones,
          Peter Curtis, Dan'l Brown, Commissioners
It is clear that the above described road is the present one running from Hervey Street to Ostrander Goff's; and just here let me correct a slight mistake in the last Sketch in regard to the Batavia turnpike; instead of running an Easterly course from Ostrander Goff's, it ran just West of his house, and so on in a South Easterly course, West of the Newcomb house and came into the present road a little South of the same.
Obed Hervey, Jr., as we have seen, had a large family of children, but they are all dead except J. Newton now living in the State of Ohio.
Hermon, became Pastor of the Church at Hervey Street upon the death of his grandfather, and occupied that position for more than thirty years. It was during his ministry that the present church building was built. The Church was very prosperous under his pastorate. Among those he baptised, was John M. Peck, of Big Hollow, who became a distinguished pioneer preacher in the West.  One of Hermon's sons, Russel, was here licensed to preach, and is now Pastor of the Baptist Church at Adrian, Michigan.
Deliverance Bell, another son of Obed Hervey, Jr., was born July 30, 1788, and was married by the Rev. Seth Williston, Feb. 12, 1812.  His wife's maiden name was Lucy Champion. She was born in Saybrook, Conn., in 1792. Her father (Nathan Champion a son of John Champion who was a merchant in Norwich, Conn.,) came to Durham in 1794, and settled on the farm in the valley, a few rods South of the Widow Owen's house.  The house has long since disappeared. He was an excellent Christian man, and was killed at a house raising where Mr. Simpson now lives. On his way to the raising he stopped to call upon a sick neighbor, and among other things, he said to him, "Life is very uncertain, and we ought to prepare to die, for we do not know when we shall be called away."  Thus he died and went to his reward.  His wife, Patience was a daughter of Christopher Lord, who lived on "Meetinghouse Hill."  D.B. Hervey, Bell Hervey he was generally called, lived where Mr. Yale now does, and died there in the 82nd year of his age.  He was a Justice of the Peace, and in 1845 he was a member of Assembly. "As a citizen he was enterprising and public spirited; as a Christian he was intelligent, conscientious and benevolent. His widow still survives, and although 88 years of age, her faculties are unimpaired.  " She can repeat Watts' Hymns all day, sing the old Judgement Anthem, and is a pattern of patience, as her mother was by name and nature."  She lives with her daughter, Mrs. Lavina E. Hulse of South Durham, to whom we are indebted for these facts. Of the children, William became an Army Surgeon, served in the Florida war, and died several years ago. George W. became a minister and an author, wrote a very able work on Christian Rhetoric.  Edwin A. is a surgeon and Dentist at Rossville, L.I.  Horatio S. Hervey and Hiland are Principals of schools on Long and Staten Islands.  Patience L. Vedder lives at Yonkers, while Lucy A. Stone, Louise A. Webster, Lavinia E. Hulse live near South Durham. The genealogy of this remarkable family can be traced back to Sir William Hervey, who belonged to one of the families who left Normandy in France, and settled in England in connection with the successful invasion of that country by William the Conqueror, in the eleventh century. The ancient coat of arms, and some other relics of "ye olden time", are now in possession of the family.

 Home            Table of Contents        Borthwick Papers Home Page

History of the Towns Home Page    Townships Home Page