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
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.