Search billions of records on

Article Number Thirty -
Chittenden (Jairus Sr. & Jr., Polly, Leverett)

Written by Joshua G. Borthwick and originally published
on July 28, 1883, in the Catskill "Examiner". Copy provided by the Durham Center Museum and retyped by Annette Campbell

Having already written the history of the Dutch Reformed Church at Oak Hill, it is our purpose soon to write a similar history of the Presbyterian Church at Durham; but before doing so we will write briefly the history of a few more families of which in its earliest history it was composed.
The history of the Chittenden family can be traced back to the year 1594.  William Chittenden was born in the parish of Marden, Kent county, England, in March of that year, and emigrated to the United States and settled in Guilford, Conn., in the Autumn of 1639. Their voyage occupied two months--from May to July.  Mr. Chittenden had previously served as a soldier in the Netherlands during the "Thirty Years War" and had attained the rank of major.  He was one of the first settlers of Guilford, Conn., and he with five others held the lands bought from the Indians for the colonists in trust for many years, and he was one of four who from 1639 to 1643 held and exercised the whole civil power and authority in the colony.  He died at Guilford in February, 1661, at nearly 67 years of age. Among his descendants have been two governors of the State of Vermont, one register of the U.S. Treasury and several members of Congress, among whom the Hon. S.B. Chittenden, one of the merchant princes of New York, has been very prominent and conspicuous for his sound financial abilities and for his honest devotion to public affairs.  Of William Chittenden's immediate descendants but little information is obtainable, but the line is readily traced from him through John, Joseph, and Daniel, four generation to Jairus, who was the ancestor of the family who settled in this town.
Jairus Chittenden, the son of Daniel, and great, great grandson of William Chittenden, was born at Guilford, Conn., Oct. 17, 1745, and died at Durham, NY, March 9, 1828, aged 82 years.  He was married at Guilford, Nov 8, 1770, to Rebecca Hall, daughter of Justus Hall and Lucy Munger, of Guilford.  She was born Aug. 3, 1751, and died at Durham Dec. 30, 1818.  After his marriage Jairus remained at the old home, caring for his aged parents, and when the Revolution broke out he served his country as a soldier in the field. In 1788 he and his family removed to Durham, NY, where he purchased 400 acres of land, but the title was contested and he finally relinquished all but 100 acres which he secured by paying for it three times, so it is said.  His farm was the old homestead recently occupied by his great grandson, Horace Chittenden.  It is one of the very few farms in Durham which still remains in the family of the original settler. When the Presbyterian Church was formed in Durham in 1792 he was one of the original nine members who composed it; his wife joined the same church Jan 13, 1793.  He was an exemplary Christian, an excellent farmer and was much respected in the town. He reared a large family of children, all of whom, except, Hervey, the youngest, was born in Connecticut. His descendants now number nearly five hundred.
Polly, the eldest was born Feb. 15, 1770, and was married April 15, 1789, to Curtis Baldwin, of whom we have already written in Sketch No. 24.  We will add that two of her grandsons entered the U.S. service during the great Rebellion, one of whom, Capt. Henry Marsden Baldwin, died June 24, 1864, from a wound he received the previous day at the battle of Ladd's farm in Virginia. He belonged to the 6th Ohio Cavalry.
Leverett, the second child, was born Sept. 18, 1771, and died in Durham Jan 9, 1841. He was married Dec. 3, 1793, to Ruth Baldwin, daughter of Abiel Baldwin, Sr., of whom we have already written in Sketch 26.  It appears that they both remained in Connecticut until after their marriage and removed to Durham, NY in March, 1794. He belonged to the militia of the town, and during the war of 1812 the company of which he was captain was under marching orders, but were not finally called into the field.  He subsequently attained the rank of major of his regiment. He had eight children, two of whom were soldiers in the late war. Alanson H., son of Matthias, and grandson of the above enlisted in the 56th Reg. NY Vols., and attained the rank of Capt. of his regiment. At the close of the war he became a prosperous merchant in Milford, Del., and was accidentally drowned while bathing, Sep. 19, 1874. Albe, his brother, was a sergeant in the 143rd Reg. NY Vols, and died in the service. For additional facts in the history of Leverett Chittenden, Sr., and family, the reader is referred to Sketch No. 26.  Julia, another child of Jairus Chittenden, was born in Guilford, Conn., in July, 1773, married Deacon David Baldwin and she and her husband both died in Durham, NY, in the year 1841, greatly lamented. See Sketch No. 25.
Jairus Chittendon, Jr., was born in Guilford, May 17, 1776, and removed to Durham, NY, with his parents in 1788. He married Anna Dewey, daughter of Adijah Dewey, who probably kept the first hotel in the village of Durham. No doubt it was the first house ever built on the ground now occupied by the village.  It was of logs and stood in Esq. Cowles front yard. Upon the death of Anna, his wife,  Mr. Chittenden married Annis Hulbert, daughter of Gideon Hulbert, and she dying also, he married Mary Elliott, of Brockport, NY.  About the year 1820 he removed to to Victory, NY, where he died May 28, 1852.  He had sixteen children, eight of whom were born in Durham, NY. None of his descendants however are now living in this town. Six of his grandsons entered the US service during the Rebellion, three of them as soldiers, two as surgeons, and one as commissary of subsistance; now lives in Iowa, has been a member of the Iowa legislature and in 1879 he was the mayor of Decora, Iowa. I refer to Hon. E.C. Cooley, whose father, Ira A. Cooley (son of Samuel Cooley) was born in Durham, married one of Jairus' daughters, and he became a Baptist minister. Betsey, was the sixth child of Jairus Chittenden, Sr.; was born in Connecticut Aug. 26, 1778, married Stephen Calkins, and died at Durham in 1855.  Both of her children are dead.  Hervey Calkins, one of her grandsons, lives in New York, has engaged largely in manufacturing and has also been a member of Congress.  Sarah, another grandchild, married Capt. Maury, who was the commander of the famous steamer, Nashville of the late war.  She now resides in Brooklyn. Mary Jane, another grandchild, married Jesse Fiero and lives in Caatsban, Ulster county, NY.
Phares Chittenden was the seventh child of Jairus and Rebecca Chittenden; was born at Guilford Sept 1, 1780, and died in Durham May 4, 1862. He lived unmarried until 1834, when at the age of 54 he married Sybil Hubbard, of West Durham, who died May 18, 1878 at the advanced age of 89 years.  They lived on the farm formerly owned by "Bill Torry" and afterward by J.B. Hall and now by Mrs. Marion Campbell. They were both of them very careful and prudent in their financial affairs and amassed considerable property. They had no children. He was well educated, taught school for a long time and was a learned theologian of the Emmons type.
We will continue the history of the Chittendens in our next.

 Home            Table of Contents        Borthwick Papers Home Page

History of the Towns Home Page    Townships Home Page