Search billions of records on

History of the Town of Salisbury
From Nathaniel Benton's History of Herkimer County, 1856.


Contains all that part of the county, bounded south by Manheim; northerly and easterly, by the bounds of the county; and westerly, by the west bounds of Manheim, continued north to the southerly bounds of a tract called Jersyfield, and then northerly, to the bounds of the county; along a straight line run to the southerly extremity of the division line, between the tracts called Nobleborough and Arthurborough.

A part of Jerseyfield patent, and portions of the first, second and fourth allotments of the Royal grant are in this town.

This town was peopled before the revolution, with several families of tories or persons friendly to the crown, though they may not have committed any overt act of treason against the colonies. Living on the Royal grant, they were, no doubt, the tenants of, or went there under the protection of the Johnson family. They were allowed to remain unmolested by the Indians and tories, during the whole war; but when the commissioners of forfeitures, in 1784, claimed the grant, as the property of the state, they may not have esteemed the protection of their royalist landlords as of much value, or their titles, if they held any, as securing to them "an indefeasable estate of inheritance." One of these people, named Johnson, lived on lot number 154, in the first allotment, Royal grant, on the road between the old Salisbury meeting house and the Four Corners. Daniel Lobdell, another of them, lived in the westerly part of the town, about one mile southerly of the old Salisbury meeting house.

These parties were conveniently located, to suit the purposes and accomplish the objects, of those who planted them on the direct route from the Mohawk valley, to the head waters of the Black river. Here the disaffected could congregate in safety, and mature their plans of mischief; and from these points, runners could be dispatched to hover round the out-settlements, collect information, watch the movement of troops in the valley, and even spy out what was going on at the block-houses and stockades, and outside of the principal forts; and here, too, straggling parties of the enemy received aid and comfort, and were seasonably notified of what ever was important for them to know, and within the power of these people to give.

Old Mr. Lobdell had four or five sons, who at an early period of the war went to Canada with a party of Indians, and remained there until after peace was proclaimed. Joe, one of them, was waiter to a British officer, and used to boast after his return, of his sumptuous living while in Canada. He was pensioned by the United States, for revolutionary services. In what way he contrived to convert his menial labor for a British officer, into military service for the colonies, and to make satisfactory proof to the commissioner of pensions, may be best explained by a resort to the records at Washington.

A few New England families may have located in this town, before 1788. Between that time, and 1794, the immigration was pretty rapid. The Salisbury meeting house, since converted into a wagon factory, or an appurtenant to one, was erected during the latter year. Mr. Jabez Ayers put up the first frame building erected in this town. The following names are familiar as being among the early settlers: Avery, Cook, Hackley, Hallett, Todd, Hopson, Burrell and Waterman. The Rev. Caleb Alexander, who visitd this town in 1801, as a missionary, says it then contained a population of 1694.

Salisbury Center, is a small village, situate on Spruce creek. Here are several sawmills and other mills and machinery propelled by water, with a large tannery. Salisbury Corners, two or three miles west of the Center, holds a respectable place among the business localities of the town; and Devereaux, at the northeast corner of the grant, has many years been known as a point from which considerable quantities of sawed lumber have been sent to the canal and rail road at Little Falls, for the eastern market. The western section of this town is well adapted to grazing, and the dairy business has been successfully carried on there, for many years. The northern portion is well supplied with hemlock, whence the tanners in that section draw large quantities of bark. The state road passes through the southwest corner of the town.