by EZRA STEVENS
Pages 108 through 146
In or about 1837 Garret Hungerford was traveling in the streets of Colliers and he met a pretty dog, which he rather admired and he undertook to capture the dog. Mr. Hungerford caught him in his arms, and the dog bit him in the fracas which Mr. Hungerford thought nothing of at the time. Afterwards it proved to be a rabid dog. This was in the month of May, and about two weeks after he appeared very strange in his movements, and Dr. Bazee asked if he had ever come in contact with any rabid animal, he should pronounce it a pure case of hydraphobia. The Doctor ascertained that he had been bitten by a strange dog and said that that was the cause. Dr. Gardner claimed he could cure the bite of a mad dog, but he was too late and Garret soon died of it. This was the first case and the only case of the kind that ever occurred in the town of Milford.
Peter Hungerford had a bee of some sort that these two attended. It appears that there was a little hardness between the two men and they had indulged in rum drinking to such an extent that they got to quarreling and it culminated in a fist fight, but they were soon parted.
Tiffiny was a little the stronger man, and Clearwater drew a knife which he had concealed, and they came together again and Clearwater stabbed Tiffiny in the abdomen and Tiffiny died from the wound. Clearwater was arrested and sent to jail by John Dietz, a Justice of the Peace, to await the action of the Grand Jury. He was indicted by the Grand Jury in the month of June for murder in the first degree.
The Supreme Court convened in September and tried Clearwater for murder. Governor Seward of Auburn volunteered his services to defend Clearwater and through his shrewdness he reduced the crime of murder in the first degree to manslaughter in the third degree and he was sent to Auburn for four years.
On the ninth day of May, Levi Clearwater stabbed Nathan Tiffiny who died from the effects on the 10th day of May. Clearwater was indicted for murder in the first degree, convicted of manslaughter in the third degree, sentenced to Auburn prison by Judge Philo Gridly for four years the eighteenth day of September 1846.
Schenevus Creek and Junction
Thomas Burnside and family
In 1788 when the Schenevus Valley was hardly known to the white population, a gentleman from Albany County wended his way through the dense forest from the said county with a determination to reach the Susquehanna River for the sole purpose of making a permanent settlement for himself and his family, and master the adversities which must be endured in a wilderness country.
Thomas Burnside of Scotch-Irish origin was a strong, resolute, and adventurous gentleman. He found his desired home and was well pleased with his selection. He found the Collier settlement on the west side of the river, but he preferred the east side, and commenced on the Schenevus Creek. He made a beginning by erecting a log cabin, and returned to Albany for his family bringing them back for a permanent home. Mr. Burnside reared a large family and all proved to be respectable citizens and ornaments in society. His family consisted of himself and wife and fourteen children (some of his children were born in Milford).
I will give their names and dates of birth.
Thomas Burnside, Sr. Born July 30, 1750 Arian Burnside, born May 31, 1755
Birth and names of their children: Mary Burnside, born April 28, 1774 in Albany County Margaret Burnside, born February 6, 1776 in Albany County Andrew Burnside, born July 9, 1778 in Albany County Gloud Burnside, born March 14, 1780 in Albany County Jane Burnside, born November 9, 1781 in Albany County James Burnside, born August 28, 1783 in Albany County Arian Burnside, born March 12, 1786 in Albany County Thomas Burnside, Jr. , born August 27, 1787 in Albany County Sarah Burnside, born January 16, 1789 in Albany County John Burnside, born April 18, 1791 in Albany County Elizabeth Burnside, born August 29, 1794 in Albany County Catherine Burnside, born July 27, 1796 TWIN in Albany County Martha Burnside, born July 27, 1796 TWIN in Albany County George Burnside, born July 9, 1798 in Albany County
This constitutes the Thomas Burnside family, the first settler of the Schenevus valley, of the town of Milford. The whole family remained in the valley for a long time although some went up in the town of Maryland and finally scattered to different states. But few remain in the town of Milford at the present time.
Thomas Burnside, Jr. married Betsey coon, a daughter of Conrad Coon of Saratoga who was a primitive settler of the Schenevus valley. I will give the dates and births of his family.
Thomas Burnside, Jr. born August 27, 1787 Betsey Coon his wife, born June 28, 1784
His children's names were as follows: Mary Ann Burnside born April 12, 1811 Margaret Burnside born June 6, 1814 Thomas Burnside, III born September 16, 1816 Martha Burnside born December 27, 1818 George Burnside born March 24, 1821 Andrew Burnside born July 19, 1824 Gilliam Burnside born February 19, 1827 Francis Burnside born May 16, 1831
The reader will see at a glance that the Burnsides were quite numerous in the Schenevus Valley.
I will return to the Burnside family giving the genealogy as given to me by General S. S. Burnside himself, which I will give verbatim just as he gave it to me.
General Samuel S. Burnside was born on the east shore of the Susquehanna river near Colliers in the town of Milford January 6, 1812. He was the youngest of a family of five children, of Samuel Burnside (generally designated as Big Sam) and his wife whose maiden name was Hannah Coon.
The Burnsides of Milford descended from the great grandfather of S. S. Burnside whose name was Gloud. He came with three brothers from Ireland and settled in this country in the year 1765. His grandfather James was the eldest of four brothers who came to America and settled at Stillwater, Saratoga County, New York. The names of the other brothers were William, John, and Thomas. The descendants of the great grandfather Glaud Burnside all settled in New York State. Of the other three one settled in Pennsylvania, one in Massachusetts, and the other in North Carolina. The original name of the Burnsides was "Wallace", which means a family by a stream of water. This was called bern in Scotland. The names were given as follows: Thomas by the bern side, Bill by the Bern side; whence the name was changed from Wallace to Burnside. The original Burnside family were of Scotch origin, but previous to their great grandfather's birth had migrated to the County of Tyrone of Ireland, from whence they had emigrated to America as stated above.
The General said "my mother was a native of Albany County, New York, a daughter of Conrad Coon, a native of Germany, and her mother's name was Stafford, a native of England".
General S. S. Burnside married Lydia Ann Sherman, a daughter of Lemuel Sherman and Hannah Lefenwell, Milford but the family came from Connecticut. The General and Lydia had no issue, but adopted a son, D. C. Coon, with whom the General has educated for a lawyer.
S. S. Burnside was commissioned Brigadier General in 1846 by Governor Silas Wright.
There seems to be a little ambiguity and a diversity of opinion in regard to the settlement of the Burnside families in Milford.
General Burnside puts the settlement in Milford in 1800, and the Coon family, the same year, which no doubt is correct. His grandfather's family and the Coon family did come in 1800, but Thomas Burnside, came some time previous to 1800, I am well convinced. I have all the records and have conversed with one of his sons, and other settlers and am positive Thomas Burnside came to Milford on or before 1790. The river was bridged at Colliers in 1790 and he assisted in its construction.
Thomas Burnside was the first settler on the Schenevus Creek and there is no mistake about it.
It is true James Quackenbush was the first on the east side of the river, but he belonged to a Colliers settlement. He came to Milford in 1786.
James Dietz came to Schenevus before 1800, but just what or where the writer is unable to state. Like all new settlers he erected log buildings and selected a very desirable situation.
Mr. Dietz had three sons: John, Jacob, and Adam. He soon made good improvements, erected a double log house and commenced to keep a tavern, the first on the east side of the river in town. It was about 1802. Mr. Dietz erected this new two story framed house. This caused quite an excitement, and was looked upon as a wonderment. He painted it red and it was known far and near as one of the most conspicuous public houses in the country. Mr. Dietz left it to his eldest son John who kept a public house, for many years, but finally he abandoned the tavern and devoted himself to the business of farming as long as he lived. After Mr. Dietz' death his son Garret assumed control of the farm, paid off the heirs and was the sole owner.
Mr. John Dietz reared a family of ten sons and four daughters: Henry, John, Garret, Jacob, James, Adam, William, Peter, Albert, and Joseph. The daughters were Arian, Eliza, Maria, and Catatine. I believe the whole family have become extinct.
Garret Dietz sold the old farm to Deacon Eli Rose and removed to McHenry County, Illinois. Deacon Rose sold the farm to Jared Goodyear, and when he died it fell to his granddaughter, Ella Lyman. Miss Lyman made some changes in the premises, erected a new house, moved the Dietz house and converted the old red tavern into a pigery and it remains the same today which was built a hundred years ago.
James Dietz, second son of Jacob, located at the lower end of the town, now Oneonta, as a merchant, and became a noted business man. Mr. Jacob Dietz was taken suddenly ill and died in 1831. His son Jacob Jr. hired his property, and after a lapse of time sold and went to Illinois.
Adam Dietz, his third son, married and located on the Creek near his grandfather, had one daughter Eliza and he and his wife both died and left their daughter a small girl an orphan. She retained her father's farm which was considered a valuable piece of real estate.
She married George Snook, and some difficulty arose between them in regard to her property and he left the country and never returned. Mrs. Snook had one daughter and a few years since she died. The entire Dietz family have become extinct in the town of Milford.
Coonrad Coon was one of the pioneer settlers on the Schenevus Creek and migrated from Albany County to Milford about 1800. He was born in Germany. After his death, his oldest son George Coon, inherited his farm and occupied the same as long as he lived.
Mr. George Coon was the parent of nine children: three sons and six daughters. They were named as follows: Coonrad, Thomas, and William Henry. The daughters were Catherine, Arian, Ann, Margaret, Jane and Susan.
After Mr. George Coon's death, his youngest son, William Henry kept the farm, settled with the other heirs and managed it for a few years, and sold it to Ansil B. Barnes and went west.
James Coon, a brother of George, kept the first tavern at what is now called the junction. Mr. James Coon was a violinist. It was a place of resort for the young people and a great many dancing parties were held at his tavern. It was a resort for men every Saturday to spend the time in recreation, in such as horse racing, gambling, pitching quoits, ball playing, and wrestling, and drinking blackstrap. Sometimes it culminated in a fist fight, but would settle all disputes and part in peace. The next time they would meet in friendship and never hold a grudge. The habit of drinking "BlackStrap" gave it the name of "Sweet Sick" and it bears the same name today.
Isaac Frettenberg was an early settler on the Schenevus, was a shoemaker and manufacturer of willow ware. He was also a book agent for different Book Companies. He had a daughter, Charlotte, a very beautiful girl who married Frank Stringer, a merchant and moved away.
The Walley family were among the early settlers and were quite prominent in that vicinity for a long time but they have all passed away and not any of the name are left.
Benjamin Westcott was one of the pioneers from Rhode Island a blacksmith settled in 1790, but soon sold out and located near Portlandville.
Richard Every was one of the early settlers on the Schenevus, married Betsey Walley, reared a large family of children and a number of them remain in the Schenevus Valley. Alonzo is a prominent man in society, but the most of the family have passed away.
Jehoykim Van Valkenbergh was one of the pioneer settlers in the Valley of Schenevus, and reared a family and lived there until his death. He was not the first settler as has been erroneously stated but came in shortly after 1800. He was commonly called "Yawcum Pollock" which is the Dutch phrase for Jehoykim Van Valkenbergh. He was a small man, rather inferior in stature, but quite active. One of his members married Glaud Wands, a Scotchman. (Members should be daughters.)
Glaud Wands was noted for tricks which he was full of and he had the friendship of all the boys. Some gentleman had a large quantity of saw logs laying on the bank of the creek, ready for rafting and old Glaud said to the boys, "What a fine thing it would be to knock the clocking out from under those logs and let them all in the creek, but don't you do it, for that would be a mean trick." The next morning the logs were all in the creek. At another time a gentleman was going to Albany with a load of wheat which he had all loaded in his wagon, ready for an early start in the morning. Old Glaud said to the boys, "What a nice thing it would be to get a long ladder and take the wagon and put it upon the top of the barn and put the wheat in it and have it ready for a start in the morning; but you must not do it, for it would be an awful mean trick." Notwithstanding, the wagon was on top of the barn in the morning with the wheat in it ready for a start in the morning. It caused a delay of one day to get the wagon and the wheat down. He was chock full of such tricks and they would always do the work.
It has been stated by some writers that Yawcum Follock was the first settler of the Schenevus Creek, and that he settled there before the Revolutionary war 1765. That is all a fake, a fancied imagination; for Yawcum Follock was not born at the time and did not exist.
It has been stated that one Richard Smith, one of the first settlers of Laurens, had located at Laurens and on his way to Philadelphia, he travelled through the woods over the hill, and stopped over night with Yawcum Follock just east of the Susquehanna River on the Schenevus Creek, and that he had commenced a settlement, which I claim to be a fabrication.
It was claimed that Smith in his old diary makes this statement and gives the dates and it was found with his great grandson.
Richard Smith was an Englishman by birth, A Quaker, an aristocrat, and a Tory to the American Colonies. He was a bachelor, never was married, had no family, except himself, no wife, no children, no grandchildren.
The reader will see at once it is a pure surreptitious statement, all for effect. I am fully prepared to show there was no such man on the Schenevus Creek at that time. Neither was there in Maryland, Worcester, nor Schoharie at that time.
It has also been stated that he put up the frame of his house before this war and this diary gives the name of the man that done the work and raised the frame. That is another mistake. The tract of land he purchased is located on the Otego Creek about two miles above Laurens Village in the Otego Patent. He commenced getting out some of the timber for the frame just prior to the breaking out of the war, and was compelled to leave it and return to Philadelphia and remained there until after peace was sealed and then he returned and finished his house.
After he returned, several other settlers had commenced in the town. The timber that he prepared before the war was spoiled, and he got entirely new timber for his dwelling. It is claimed that he was one of the patentees. That is true for his name does appear in the patent.
The Otego Patent was granted by George the Third in the year 1770 and Smith's name is one of the patentees.
After he had completed his house, he christened it SMITH HALL and adopted the old English rule that no one could go into his house that hadn't gone to his window and talked with him.
When the people first settled in the valley, wild game was very plentiful. There were deer, bear, wolves, panthers which were very troublesome. I will relate one singular transaction.
One of the settlers possessed a mare and young colt by her side. In order to keep her in subjection, she was fettered and turned in a pasture lot with the colt. One morning quite early her owner noticed her standing very still and curiosity led him out to see what caused her to stand so quiet. On his approaching her, he found her standing over a dead wolf. It was supposed that the wolf had attacked the colt and she made a furious attack on the wolf and got him down by the aid of the fetters and stamped the life out of him.
About 1812, one Brookings who was a tailor settled in the Schenevus Valley. Mr. Brookins was the first tailor in Milford; that is, the first gentleman tailor. He erected a shop for the purpose of conducting the business and employed a number of young ladies and gentlemen to assist him in his shop for he was well patronized.
Mr. Brookins was a prominent citizen, a gentleman of the first order and a refined workman. He had one son Alanson, a young man who was accidentally killed by the falling of a limb from a tree.
The first mill constructed at the junction was built by Stephen G. Virgil. It was constructed just where Tatan Mills stand at present. Afterwards he sold it to one of the Burnsides. Since then they have changed hands several times. After Renselaer Dayton purchased this, he added a fulling mill and a clover cleaning mill. The fulling mill and the clover cleaning mill have been removed and nothing remains but the saw mill and planer.
The Methodist Church organized in or about 1815 as near as can be ascertained from tradition, but the charter members and the number that composed the church, the writer cannot give. The society held their meetings in the district school house until 1876 when the church grew to such a degree that members deemed it advisable to construct an edifice large enough for public worship in 1876. This church was built by the church members; no particular boss was procured for the construction. The society is in a flourishing condition.
The Universalist Society erected a church 1n 1876 a little east of the Methodist Church on the same road which is a splendid building. The Universalist edifice was constructed by Barnes & Fox of Colliers. Public worship is held regularly.
Long before any white settlers located in Milford, the Indians made a small settlement at the confluence of the Schenevus with the Susquehanna, but when, no one is able to state. It was long before the Revolution.
It has been stated in a prior chapter that the Susquehanna Valley was a regular thoroughfare for the Iroquois from Pennsylvania to the Mohawk River and Canada.
At the mouth of the Schenevus Creek an Indian diverged and went to Schoharie. While the Indians were living at this point, they set out an orchard for their own convenience. That orchard was in existence a long time after the whites commenced to multiply in the Schenevus Valley. This orchard was set upon the farm which is today owned and occupied by John W. Wright. This Indian settlement commenced to wane long before white people came to Milford and the county was settled by whites. It was at this point that Col. Harper surprised a small party of Indians who were sent to capture the Cully family about two miles above the Schenevus. but the Cully family had taken refuge at Cherry Valley before the Indians arrived.
Col. Harper had been apprised of the Indians' intent and he raised a company sufficiently large and dressed them in disguise and prepared himself and company with ropes and approached the Indians cautiously, waited until they were all asleep, and then pounced on them tigerlike and captured them, bound them, before they could make their escape. -After he had them all secured and bound, he removed his mask, and the old chief looked at him and said "Me know you now, Col. Harper," and said that he .was greatly surprised. The Colonel assured the old chief that they would not be injured, but must submit as prisoners. This they did.
A tract of 8000 acres of land was granted by the state to the people for school and literary purposes and was divided into 79 districts. This tract of land was situated in the toms of Milford, Maryland, and Westford. The first settler on this patent was Aylesworth on the west shore of Crumhorn Lake in 1812. His Christian name the writer cannot give but he was designated as "Mountain Aylesworth" who made a very good improvement settler. Prior to Aylesworth's settlement, two men from Schoharie, commenced on the south part of Crumhorn as squatters, but did not remain long. The next settler on this Patent was Allen Wickham of Albany County about two miles south of the lake in 1821. He was a Quaker. Mr. Wickham was a very industrious man who persevered until after severa1 years of toil and labor, he accumulated a fair property, sold out and went west.
David Gurney and three sons migrated from Albany County to the Crumhorn Patent in 1822. Crumhorn is the Indian name for Stony Hill. The names of his sons were Benjamin, Abram, and Jesse. Benjamin married a lady before he came to Milford and reared a large family. Abram also married and had an issue of one son and two daughters. Jesse married Polly Hodgekins, and had five children: three sons and two daughters. The Gurneys became very prominent and prosperous in both Milford and Maryland. Two of Jesse's sons were merchants, and the youngest an expert speculator. Abram's son was a merchant, located in Portlandville and remained in business until his death. Benjamin's sons were all prosperous farmers.
Benjamin and Samuel Yeomans migrated to Crumhorn with their families from Albany County about 1824 and made it their permanent home and became quite numerous.
John and Dennis Thorn were cousins and came to Crumhorn about the same time the Yeoman s brothers did. The Thorn family like all the primitive settlers on Crumhorn were industrious and frugal people, maintained a good reputation, and stood high in society. John Thorn was a shoemaker by trade and was successful in his occupation. He reared a family of four sons that were ornaments of society. His eldest son was a practicing physician, located in Portlandville, and remained in the village until his death. Leonard, his second son was a minister of the gospel. Lewis was a mechanic and preacher. Clavin, the youngest son, was a mechanic and preacher. Dennis had no children, was mechanic and was a useful man.
Solomon Townsend was one of the primitive settlers on Crumhorn who migrated from Schoharie County in 1827 and made a beginning by felling the giant trees in a wilderness country with the expectation of being master of his situation. Mr. Townsend cleared a piece of his land, erected a log house made some other improvements, and returned to the land of his birth, selected a young damsel to marry. He married Miss Charlotte Lester and returned to his wilderness home on Crumhorn to try the realities of a new life. Mr. Townsend reared a large family who were highly respected in society. The family consisted of eight children; three sons and five daughters.
Robert M, Townsend became a prominent lawyer. First he located in Portlandville and had a lucrative business. He was Supervisor in Milford and District Attorney of the County, and held other prominent positions. Pheby, the eldest daughter, married Henry R. Wellman of Laurens, who was a wagon trimmer, writing master, and exhorter. Catherine married Malcomb Bishop for the first husband and Oren Swift for her second. Robert Townsend married Mary Lent, a daughter of the Rev. Mr. Lent. Maria married Augustus Hibbard, a farmer. Sarah married Charles Card. Elizabeth was unmarried. John Townsend married Ursuba Barlow. Lester Townsend married Louisa Westcott. Solomon Townsend became a successful farmer, accumulated a large property, and remained on his first settled farm until his death.
Benjamin Estes and family migrated from Duanesburgh, Schoharie County to Crumhorn in 1835. Mr. Estes was a Quaker preacher and followed his profession as long as he lived. His family consisted of himself, wife, and one daughter and five sons. Eliza Ann Estes the oldest was well educated, highly respected young woman. She died of consumption when young. Stephen, the eldest son, commenced business as a clerk for Dr. Gardener at Portlandville, and from there to, Milford Village and was a clerk for Hecktor Brown. Later he went into partnership with Delos Bartlett in general mercantile business. After he became agent for Eddy & Wilbur as hop factors.
Stephen married Elizabeth Brown and was elected County Clerk of Otsego County. His health failed him and he finally died with that dreadful disease, consumption.
Benjamin Jr. was a lawyer by profession and practiced at Milford and removed to New York City, and became prominent in his profession and accumulated a fortune and was attacked by a peculiar disease and died very suddenly. Ira, Wilbur, and Thomas were all farmers. The old gentleman returned to Duanesburgh and died there.
Isaac Wilber and family which consisted of himself, wife, three sons and one daughter, migrated to Crumhorn inn the spring of 1837 from Duanesburgh, Schenectady County. Mr. Wilber purchased a farm on the Crumhorn Patent, and utilized it for several years.
Mr. Wilber's oldest son, David, married Beilinda Jones, purchased a cheap farm on Crumhorn, and moved into a log house and commenced business as a hop farmer and was successful in his undertaking. George Issac Wilber was born on Crumhorn in this same log house mentioned above.
David Wilber by his energy and perseverance accumulated a fortune. Chandler Root of Cooperstown employed him as an agent to purchase hops on commission and was well pleased with him. Mr. Wilber had an iron constitution and could endure more hardships than any other man in the county. He stated to me himself he would work in his hop field through the day and start out at dark, and ride all night to buy hops and the next day work in his hop yard till night and start out to purchase through the night. He said he purchased hops enough in one night his commission amounted to $200 dollars. In due time he purchased a farm on the river of John Armstrong, better known as the Brewer farm about 1850, and moved on it and planted large hop yards which gave him a large profit.
While living on the Jacob Brewer farm, he entered into partnership with John Eddy and organized the hop firm The firm's name was Eddy & Wilber Hop Merchants. This firm was established in Milford in 1855. This was one of the largest hop firms in the county. It continued a number of years and dissolved in 1866. After their dissolution Mr. Wilber started a National Bank at Oneonta and removed to Oneonta and became a resident of that place. Mr. Wilber was elected to Congress three times, but died before taking his seat the third time.
Aaron, the second son of Isaac Wilber, purchased a farm on the east side of the river, about a mile above the Junction and occupies the same at present. This farm and the one lying south, adjacent to it, are celebrated for being the place where Gen. Clinton camped the first night after he left Otsego Lake, and went with his army down the river to meet Gen. Sullivan at Tioga Point. It was there where he was infested with rattle- snakes. Mr. Campbells' book called the Annals of Tryon County places his first night in the town of Oneonta, but here he is mistaken. It was the place named above
Ira Wilber, Isaac Wilber's third son, is still in Milford although his health is very poor.
Pauline married a gentleman from Hartwick. I think Ira Aaron and Ira are all that remains of the Wilber family. Ira in deceased since the above was written.
After the primitive settlers were well located on Crumhorn, who were of Quaker origin or Friends as they were rightly called, they organized a Friends' Society and held regular meetings at their School House which had been constructed by the Friends. But the school house was inadequate for their large audience and it was deemed advisable by the society to erect a suitable church. The church was erected in 1826 which was well patronized and a great convenience. But harmony was not of long duration among the Friends.
In 1827 Elias Hicks created a great sensation among the Friends by introducing a new doctrine to the Quaker discipline. Mr. Hicks' new doctrine destroyed the unity among the Friends and almost ruined the Quaker church. They became so embittered with one another. Neither would they associate with nor hold meetings in the same church. The Quaker society commenced to wane and the church was dissolved on Crumhorn.
The Thorns, the Yeoman s, The Wickhams, the Estes, and the Wilbers were followers of Elias Hlcks. The Gurneys' the Lusters, the Haights, the Harts, and the Townsends held to the old orthodox proclivities. That same obnoxious sentiment inculcated in the Hicks discipline is perfectly abhorred by the orthodox Friends to this day. They say Elias Hicks ruined the Quaker Society.
When the town of Milford was settled, Crumhorn was considered a tract of land almost worthless, created by the almighty as a heritage for wild beasts and rattle-snakes. But in that respect they were laboring under a delusion. Crumhorn was the last settled locality in the town and it has certainly outstripped every other locality in Milford. It has turned out more public men than any other settlement in the town. It was peopled by an industrious class who always maintained their true manly principals and dignity. They were industrious, energetic, and persevering in their daily avocations.
Crumhorn has produced three clergymen, two lawyers, and one physician, four merchants, one accountant, one hop merchant, and two bankers. All were prominent in their professions.
R. N. Townsend is a celebrated lawyer, has held several prominent positions of trusts: Supervisor of Milford, District Attorney of Otsego County, and stands high in the State Bar.
Benjamin Estes, a child of Crumhorn, became a prominent lawyer and first located at Milford, and went from Milford to New York City where he became a noted practitioner. Mr. Estes accumulated a fortune, was taken suddenly ill and died.
Joel Thorn was a practising physician, located there and remained there until his death.
Stephen Estes was a clerk, accountant, and merchant. He was hop agent for Eddy & Wilber and then County Clerk of Otsego County.
David Wilber was a large hop agent and merchant, located at Milford, established a National Bank at Oneonta, was elected to Congress three times, but died before taking his seat the third time.
Samuel Gurney was a hardware merchant located at Schenevus.
Milton Gurney established himself as a dry goods merchant at Oneonta and was very successful.
Chester Gurney is an agent and a speculator.
William Gurney was a merchant 1ocated at Portlandville.
No other locality in Milford has turned out so many enterprising men as that once despicable place, called Crumhorn.
I will now proceed to give a general history of the Revolutionary soldiers who formerly lived in the town of Milford for the benefit of the rising generation. By a careful investigation in regard to these old veteran soldiers who spent the greater part of their days in Milford and the most of whom are buried in different cemeteries of the town. I have carefully compiled the names of such for the benefit of those who are desirous of knowing who they were.
In my boyhood days I knew a large percentage of those old veterans and was personally acquainted with them. I have frequently seen these old soldiers congregate on public days such as general training, town meeting, and election days. I have listened to their war stories, their sufferings, their tragic scenes, and heard them fight over their old battles, which I thought were terrible. They were very friendly and happy. Sometimes they would take a little rum together, but it was all pleasant.
I will give the names and generals whom they served under and those who were officers in the army.
The following served in the Northern Division under Arnold, Gates, and Stark: Col. Abel Baker, major Gidean Marlette, Privates George Baker, Daniel Baker, Charles Baker, Artemas Ward, James Frasier, James Westcott, Lemuel Lilly.
The following were under General Washington: Captains Abel Wright, William Russell, Judah Waters, Drum Major Lemuel Sargent, Lieutenant Jacob Wellman, Privates John Campbell, John Browning, William Barnard, Elezar Cross, William Hardy, Steukley Whitford, Ayres, Baranabas Bates, Benoni Wellman, Daniel French, Roger Lake, Ezekel Seegar, Daniel Lee.
The writer is unable to state what general the following soldiers served under: Major Matthew Cully, Privates Noah Ford, Moses Ford, William Van Buren, Isaac Collier, William Pettingill, James Quackebush, Thomas Burnside. The privates in this last list were militiamen and went when ordered by the State authority.
Captain John Breese served under Gen. Francis Marion. Joseph Camp was in the Navy. Artificer Walter Fitch was under General Washington. George Baker and his three sons Abel, Daniel, and Charles, and Judah Waters, and Jacob Wellman participated in the battle of Bunker Hill,, and afterwards Abel Baker, Judah Waters, and Jacob Wellman were transferred to the regular army under General Washington.
Isaac Curry was a Revolutionary Soldier, came from Dutchess County, lived and died on Crumhorn. He died there about 1837.
Jacob Wellman was Marshal of the Guard, when Major Andre, the British Spy was executed. He said "Major Andre placed the noose around his own neck, shook hands with General Washington, and bade him goodbye, and the wagon which drew Major Andre to the gallows, was driven away, and Major Andre was suspended between the Heavens and Earth."
Washington said he was too noble a man to suffer such ignominious death, but it was the rules of war. Marshall Wellman said, "the tears trickled down Washington's face".
I shall not attempt to make a general statement of all that transpired at the Cherry Valley Massacre but will relate some facts concerning the brutality and murderous acts of Butler's Rangers and Brant at that place. Mr. Pettengill, one of the soldiers sent from Fort Plain to drive Butler and Brant from Cherry Valley gave me a brief history of the murderous transaction. He said, "Before the Army arrived at Cherry Valley, and the Indians and Tories had left, and all we had to do was to assist the inhabitants to collect the dead, and give them as decent a burial as circumstances would permit." He said, "they saw one lady and four children whose heads had been cleft by the murderous tomahawk, stretched out side by side, and blood still oozing from their wounds." He said, "When we started, hardened soldiers gazed upon the horrible scene; it caused us to mingle our tears." Such were the sickening scenes at the Cherry Valley Massacre.
When the people meet to decorate the graves of the late soldiers, why are the graves of the old Revolutionary Soldiers ignored and unnoticed? Why does not someone drop a green sprig or a flower upon the graves of those veteran soldiers? They were the men who wrenched this country from the grasp of the British tyranny and made it an asylum for the whole world.
Those old soldiers suffered everything but death and should be reverenced before all others. The people of the town of Milford should volunteer and see that the graves are decorated and given due attention and show proper respect to those brave soldiers.
The following names are gentlemen who have had the honor of representing the town of Milford in the legislature of the State of New York at different times since the organization of the town in 1796:
1830 James Moore 1804 Henry Scott 1805 Henry Scott 1808 Henry Scott 1818 John Moore 1822 Joseph Mumford 1824 Samuel Russell 1829 Peter Collier 1831 Peter Collier 1836 Lyman J. Walworth 1850 Edward Pratt 1856 Elihu C. Wright 1876 Simeon R. BarnesThe following is a correct list of the Supervisors of the Town of Milford, when first organized in 1796 as Suffrage and when reorganized as Milford in 1800, down to the time of 1903.
1796 James Moore 1797 James Moore 1798 James Moore 1799 James Moore 1800 James Moore 1801 James Moore 1802 James Moore 1803 James Moore 1804 James Moore 1805 James Moore 1806 James Moore 1807 James Westcott 1808 James Westcott 1809 Ezra Adams 1810 Ezra Adams 1811 Ezra Adams 1812 Ezra Adams 1813 Ezra Adams 1814 John Moore 1815 John Deitz 1816 John Moore 1817 John Moore 1818 John Badger 1819 Peter Collier 1820 Peter Collier 1821 Peter Collier 1822 Peter Collier 1823 Peter Collier 1824 Peter Collier 1825 Jacob Dietz 1826 Jacob Dietz 1827 Peter Collier 1828 Peter Collier 1829 Peter Collier 1830 Peter Collier 1831 Peter Collier 1832 Peter Collier 1833 Peter Collier 1834 Peter Collier 1835 Peter Collier 1836 Peter Collier 1837 Peter Collier 1838 Peter Collier 1839 Asa Eddy 1840 Asa Eddy 1841 Asa Eddy 1842 Jared Goodyear 1843 Jared Goodyear 1844 Jared Goodyear 1845 Elijah Brown 1846 Elijah Brown 1847 Zebediah Martin 1848 Zebediah Martin 1849 Jared Goodyear 1850 Jared Goodyear 1851 Norman Griswold 1852 John Eddy 1853 Daniel Bow 1854 Hiram C. Cline 1857 Jared Goodyear 1858 David Wilber 1859 David Wilber 1860 Amos Stickney 1861 R. M. Townsend 1862 David Wilber 1863 Wm. R. Hardy 1864 Hiram C. Cline 1869 Simeon Barns 1870 Elhihu W. Clark 1871 Abraham Diefendorf 1872 Andrew Spencer 1873 Andrew Spencer 1874 Oscar Soule 1875 R. M. Rose 1876 R. M. Rose 1877 Spencer Pratt 1878 John F. Lidell 1879 George Luther 1880 Charles Brown 1881 Abram S. Seeber 1882 George S. Somers 1883 Ezra Stevens 1884 Charles J. Armstrong 1885 C. Sextus Morris 1886 Delos W. Burnside 1887 Freelin D. Alysworth 1888 W. D. Blanchard 1889 E. W. Clark 1890 E. W. Clark 1891 E. W. Clark 1892 Andrew Spencer 1893 Andrew Spencer 1894 Levant W. Seegar 1895 Wellington Morris 1896 Wellington Morris 1897 Wellington Morris 1898 Wellington Morris 1899 Charles S. Barney 1900 Charles S. Barney 1901 W. R. McLaury 1902 W. R. McLaury 1903 Washington R. McLaury 1904 Washington R. McLauryThe following gentlemen have been elected to County Offices from the Town of Milford.
County Clerks District AttorneysThe above named gentlemen were all residents of the Town of Milford when elected to the different offices.
Samuel Russell in 1840 Elijah Brown in 1850 Stephen Estes about 1864 or 1865 Robert M. Townsend 1880
Surrogate Superintendents of Poor
Edward M. Card 1862 William R. Hardy Ebenezer Cronkite John Eddy Andrew Spencer Ephram Burnside
School Commissioners Second District
Edward E. Beals 1876 Warren L. Baker 1873 Sylvester Bentley 1882
Sheriff - John Brown 1842
The Susquehanna rises in Otsego County, starts from Otsego Lake and terminates at Chesapeake Bay. The town of Milford is situated on said river.
There is a diversity of opinion and some ambiguity in regard to its name. Geographers say its an Indian name for crooked river. I will give the different versions of its name as it appears in different histories. I have a history called The Source of the Susquehanna which was discovered by a Spaniard as early as 1535. This Spaniard had straggled off from Cuba, and lived among the Indians and always made his home with them. He stated that he and another Indian were traveling through the forest when they came to a river, and as they looked upon the other shore, there stood another Indian, and the Indian with the Spaniard knew him, called him by name, which was Susque and Susque replied by calling him Hanna which was his name. The Spaniard put the two names together and called the river Susquehanna.
I will give Sandford's History of the Aborigines. After DeSota was appointed Governor of the Spaniards of Cuba in 1538, he formed a large army of Spaniards (about six hundred men), and explored the country of Florida. His object was greed.
He noticed the Indians had some rude trinkets of gold and silver, which led him to believe gold and silver existed in many places on the main continent; consequently he made an extensive exploring expedition, north as far as what is now Pennsylvania in pursuit of finding those anticipated mines. But he failed. He found a river which the Indians called "Susquechanna" which the Spaniards interpreted the Indian dialect as Susquehanna.
This I believe to be the true name of the river. Whether the name Saquechama is the name for crooked river, I will leave for the reader to draw his own conclusions. Thus far I have narrated the different phrases of the Susquehanna for the benefit of the reader.
I will now proceed to give a short sketch of some ancients relicts kept in the town of Milford. I have in my possession a "Rolling Pin" which must be about 200 years old. It is rather romantic in it origin. My great grandfather on my mother's side was William Whitney, the first Whitney who emigrated to America some time prior to the year 1740 and settled on Long Island. He was an Englishman. He married a lady in England in 1720, and his wife's mother gave her daughter a rolling pin as one of her domestic articles. When she came to America, she brought the same rolling pin with her.
Before the war they moved to Canaan, Connecticut. While living in Connecticut, one of the daughters Sally married Loel Holcomb in 1700 (my grandfather). Her mother, Mrs. Whitney gave her daughter Sally this same rolling pin. When my mother was married in 1795, her mother, Mrs. Holcomb, gave her the self same rolling pin and it has been in constant use ever since it first was given to Mrs. Whitney in 1720 in England. I presume it has rolled out enough pie crust to blanket the town of Milford. It is worn down to an inch and a half in diameter. This is the history of an ancient relic.
The Squire family is in possession of a very beautiful stick which was made in Wales in 1700. This stick is made of mahogany with an ivory head made or turned from a walrus tusk about four inches long with a broad silver band, below the head which is engraved on the band 1700. It has a brass ferule two inches wide on the lower end. This walking stick has been handed down from generation to generation and today is in the hands of the seventh generation.
I will return to the Whitney family for further information. Whitney was not the real name. Whitney was a title name. The father of William Whitney was appointed "the Duke of Whitney" in England. After he was appointed Duke of Whitney, he assumed the name and always wrote his name Whitney and all his posterity after him did the same. Mr. Whitney first settled on Long Island. He resided there a number of years and then removed to Canaan, Connecticut, but was not well pleased with his location and after a lapse of years, sold out and located at Poughkeepsie on the Hudson River and spent the rest of his life there.
Mr. Whitney's posterity was very large. The Biography of the Whitneys says all the Whitneys of America sprang from the same man who first located on Long Island.
This appendix added to the foregoing history of the town of Milford together with their powers and customs, and habits of the living, and their recreations in a new country is for the sole purpose of conveying to the reader the inconveniences those primeval settlers underwent.
At the present time, but little is known of the privations the pioneers of Milford underwent; when they first migrated to the shores of the Susquehanna, twenty five miles from the nearest settlement.
How little do we merit the unbounded favors which we are receiving from the suffering of our parents, who broke ice, as it were, for the benefit of their posterity, expecting some future day to be the recipients of their labors. Shall we ever pay tribute to our parents, and grandparents for the blessings we enjoy at their expense? Think of it, reader.
When they constructed their rude cabins, they were inspired by a true sense of duty, for the future, which carried them above reproof for future benefits. They were happy and cheerful; which made the forest resound to the sound of the woodman's ax, which was as sweet music to them as the sweet strains of Paganinna's violin was to the Peers at the French court. Every morning after the people gave thanks to the Supreme Being, for their preservation, they were ready to resume their daily avocations.
Some time before the Revolution, people from different localities were migrating to the wilds of Otsego County, in order to better their pecuniary circumstances. A large percentage came from the Mohawk River. Among those were the Ferguson family who came by the way of Cherry Valley to the Susquehanna. The Ferguson Family were on their way to the Otego Valley. They were descending the river in canoes when a little below Portlandville Mrs. Ferguson and her sister and a nursing infant were accidentally drowned by the upsetting of a canoe. A strenuous effort .was made to rescue them but before they were rescued, life had become extinct.
This awful tragedy cast a gloom over the whole party for a long time. I will make this matter a little more explicit in regard to the great misfortune of the death of Mrs. Ferguson. William Ferguson, the father of Thomas and James Ferguson, first located at Cherry Valley and from there he left for the Otego Creek to make a permanent settlement. He embarked with canoes down the Cherry Valley to the river and down the river to the mouth of the Otego Creek and then up the Creek to the farm which is now occupied by his great great grandchildren.
William Ferguson and family, his wife and his wife's sister and some other members of the Ferguson family were all in the company.
Mrs. Ferguson and sister had changed babies for some cause, and when this unexpected catastrophe occurred, Mrs. Ferguson's baby was with her sister and her baby was saved and her sister's baby was lost. Mrs. Ferguson's baby was named Thomas. The late Thomas Ferguson died March 16, 1864, aged 93 years. Polly, his wife, died June 8, 1854 aged 82 years.
This accident occurred in April 1771, just prior to the Revolution. After they had located, they were soon compelled to return to Cherry Valley and from there to Montgomery County till after the war had closed. Then they returned to the Otego Valley to their wilderness home. This is a short biographical sketch of the Ferguson family together with their hardships and misfortune. The place and time where this great calamity occurred should be marked by a suitable monument and give all particulars.
The very earliest settlers of the town were people of some means financially. Notwithstanding their task was great.
For all necessary articles which they desired They were compelled to go to Cherry Valley for such purchases. This being the nearest market. Their inexorable determination never faltered; their determination was success. As the inhabitants increased in numbers, their hardships lessened, and they were made jubilant and happy by the thoughts of future prospects. As soon as they could raise their living, prospects brightened.
Mr. Mumford finished his mills 1786 as soon as possible Which proved a great blessing to the settlers.
Sugar making in the spring of the year was well conducted by a11 who were fortunate enough to have kettles which proved beneficial to all. Those who could make sugar generally had a surplus and would sell to those who could not make. Brown Sugar was so high that people could not buy it. It was worth twenty or twenty five cents a pound. Loaf sugar was worth forty to fifty cents a pound.
The early settlers were compelled to manufacture their own cloth, both woolen and linen. Every farmer had a few sheep which he would place a bell upon so they could be easily found. They were placed in a yard every night to keep them from being devoured by Wolves.
The wool was carded by hand with hand cards into rolls for the spinner. After that the hum of the spinning wheel would be heard from early in the morning until sunset. The lady spinner must spin her days work every day in order to make her weeks work. A Day's work for the spinner was a run of the warp, or a run and a half of filling. A run is twenty knots. A knot is forty threads around the reel. When the spinner reels her yarn, she turns the reel forty times, then the reel snaps. Then she ties a string around the forty threads of yarn which is called a knotting band. Then she turns the reel till the reels snap; then she ties again until all the yarn is reeled from the spindles. A week's work was five shillings and board.
In manufacturing linen cloth, the same maneuvers were gone through with as in making woolen cloth except spinning. Linen cloth is made from flax. Flax is dressed by the farmer and hackled before it in ready for the spinner. After it has left the flax dresser, it is hackled the second time and what is hackled out the second time it is called tow. The tow is carded into rolls and spun on a wool wheel. It is generally used for filling.
Ezra Stevens, b. town of Milford, 1819, m. Anna Carpenter.
They dwelled on the farm of Dutch Hills on which his father settled about 1800; later dwelling in Portlandville. He compiled and finished about 1906, a voluminous genealogical information of the Stevens and other families in the earliest years of settling the upper Susquehanna valley, which sections now include Milford and Oneonta in Otsego County. His history was to have been published by the late John Wilcox, then publisher of the Milford Tidings, since discontinued. However, both died before the work was started. The Manuscript in 1932 was in the possession of Mrs. Jay S. Lawson, Oneonta. Some arrangement should be made to publish it, for it would be a valuable contribution to the early history of the community.
In those days, people were very precise about their clothing. The finest wool was manufactured for nice clothes, which must be dressed nice and kept nice. The course cloth was for every day wear.
In the winter season the women wore woolen dresses of their own make. They would select the nicest cloth, and take it to the clothier and have colored a wine color, and pressed, and when made into a dress, it was very fine; worn for a meeting dress.
Farmers had their shoes made up at home. They would have a shoemaker come to the house every fall and make up enough shoes enough to last a year. It was called whipping the cat.
When people went to church, they rode in lumber waggons with chairs placed in the wagon, or boards placed across the box for seats. A large number of people would go on foot. When ladies went on foot, they put their white stockings and morrocco shoes in their waist pocket , and carry them until a short distance from the place for meeting; then they take off their coarse shoes, and put on their white stockings, Morocco shoes, to wear into the meeting.
Such were the fashions of a new country when the inhabitants all lived in friendship. Elliptic springed wagons were not known in those days. It was quite common for people to ride on horseback, both men and women, especially if they were going a long distance. ladies would get on a horse and carry a baby before them a long distance; and even take a pail of butter before her to the store, and trade it out, a distance of five miles, and put her articles in her pail, and carry them home with her, and call it pleasure.
The ladies in those days wore calico dresses to church, and looked very fine. For a wedding dress, the lady was generally dressed in white, or a silk waist and white skirt, and the gentleman, Would wear broadcloth coats, white vest, knee breeches, and long stockings, with knee buckles. When they rode out, they want on horseback. Such were the fashions in a new country.
When the young people had dancing parties, they went on horseback; the gentleman would attach a pillion to his saddle for his lady, and take her behind him and have a pleasant ride. When the dance was over, all would return home the same way.
What would the ladies think of such fashions at the present time? It was all right and no one took any exception to the method of a gentleman conveying his partner to a social ball.
People were very strict in regard to keeping the Sabbath. No work was allowed to be performed on the Sabbath.
The early settlers were compelled to be very economical in their habits; and when they cleared their land, they were very considerate in all their daily proceedings. They were very cautious in saving everything, and see that nothing was wasted. When clearing their land, when they burned their log heaps they see that all the ashes were saved, and gathered, and put in bins, and when a suitable amount was gathered, they were leached and boiled down into "black Salts", and were sold to the asheries, which brought cash. When the gentlemen cleared their land, it was customary to make logging bees and have a large space logged up in an afternoon, and when they were dry enough to burn, they were set on fire, and the farmer would see that they were all burned, and then gather up the ashes.
It was quite often the case when the man had their logging bees, the women would have a spinning bee, and come off the same afternoon. The way spinning bees were conducted; the lady would send or deliver her rolls about to all the ladies that could spin, and then set a day or afternoon, to return the yarn and have a nice supper and a happy time. If the gentlemen had their logging bee the same day - at night they were sure to have a dance and have a wonderful time.
That was the way they recreated in a new country. I have heard the settlers say they never enjoyed themselves as well an when they had those old fashioned bees. They would go three or four miles to help a neighbor do his logging.
Husking bees were common with the early settlers, and all would turn out and husk a large pile in an evening. And quite often the case, they would be invited to help some other neighbor the next night, and so they would go all around the neighborhood. Of course they always had a plenty of rum which kept up their spirits.
After the orchards commenced to bear, their apple bees were a great pleasure. Most always when the young people attended an apple bee, the young men should engage a fiddler and wind up with a social dance. And after the dance the young gentlemen would escort the ladies home. The fiddlers would charge a dollar an evening, or, if they held pretty late, he would charge the men sixpence apiece. At New Year's and the Fourth of July, they would have ticket balls, and none could attend, only those who had tickets. Then they would engage music, and commence in the afternoon and dance until morning. Such parties were considered a grand ovation.
A custom practiced in the early days of the frontier settlers by the Dutch people on New Year's morning.
A habit practiced by the Dutch frontiers in the early days of this country on New Years morning, was to form a company of men, armed with guns and to go around from house to house, before daylight, to wake up the inhabitants by firing guns. They would call the man's name three times and he would answer. After he had answered to the call, the foreman would respond as follows:
Last night when I in bed did lie
There came a flea and bit me on my thigh.
Then the word was given to fire. Then the gentleman of the house would get up and treat them with rum, and nut cakes, and they would go to the next neighbor, and go through with the same performance, till they had went all around the neighborhood. After they had performed their custom of waking up the people, the remainder of the day would be spent in games, and feasting, be roasting turkey, and sparerib, before a fireplace.
The Yankies made a greater _____ on Christmas and Thanksgiving Days. They would generally attend church in the forenoon, and feast in the afternoon and evening. The evening would be spent in telling stories and singing songs. When the turkey and sparerib were hung up before the fire, a dripping pan would be placed under the sparerib and turkey, and someone must attend to them, and baste them with a preparation fitted for the purpose. The writer was generally assigned to do that business when a boy, and see the spit was placed right to keep them in their proper place. After they were sufficiently roasted, they were taken down and a suitable hand was employed to do the carving which must be done scientifically. Then everyone around the table was properly served.
These were the fashions in the early days of a new country on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. After they had disposed of the turkey and the spareribs, then the dessert would be served with great caution, and see that all were properly served.
The Milford Steam Mill was constructed by John Armstrong and son, Charles J. Armstrong, in the season of 1894. This mill has proved to be a very great benefit to Milford Village. It gives constant employment to a large number of men, and a convenience to the whole town.
The Milford National Bank was organized in the month of April 1898, and was just what was desired for the village and vicinity for a long time. The first charter was placed at fifty thousand dollars, and the following were elected officers of the institution.
Charles J. Armstrong President Samuel H. Sherman Vice President
H. E. Kinne Frank Green M. I. Keyes C. E. Carr Charles S. Barney J. R. Kirby Directors
Since the bark received its charter, it has been well patronized not only by the company, but by the general community, and by all persons who are desirous of doing banking business, The charter has been reduced to twenty five thousand dollars, which is plenty large for business.
The Cooperative Organized Company under the state laws have erected a creamery at Milford Village which adds greatly to the interest of the farmers. It is well patronized.
This factory has been doing business for two years, and seems to be well patronized, and ranks well with other factories of the same kind in the country.
Jacob Edson of Maine was the first lawyer who located in Milford in 1796. Mr. Edson was a regular read lawyer but wass never admitted to the Bar, but he done all kinds of law business. Joseph Rive was a practicing lawyer in 1812 or 1815 in Milford; he died in 1826.
Peter Van Alstine of Schoharie was the first practicing physician in Milford located at Colliers in 1786. The first practicing in Milford Village as Morris HQWS in 1806. The first practicing physician in Portlandville was Dr. Sottle in 1816.
It was early one pleasant summer morning after Mayall had reposed through the night and had his breakfast of venizen of his own cooking; he was saluted by three Iroquois in friendly fashion, and he saluted them in the same manner, whom he supposed to be friendly Indians. They were Senecas. After a short conversation, one of the Indians wanted to look at his gun. Mayall handed it to him, and they told him he was their prisoner.
Mayall protested, but it was of no avail. They took the lock from his gun, handed it back to him, and made him carry it. Mayall was determined that if an opportunity occurred he would make his escape. They traveled down the river until night; The next morning, they started down the river, and reached Unadilla. There they proposed to cross. He understood the Indian dialect sufficient to understand them, and he watched his opportunity to escape. The strongest concluded to try the fording place, and, if he succeeded, the others were to follow. He succeeded. Another tried it; when about half way across, Mayall seized the opportunity , and dealt the one on shrore with himself a heavy blow with his rifle which killed him, and seized the Indians rifle as quick as thought, shot the one in the river and sprang behind a tree, The Indian fired at Mayall and missed his mark.
Mayall reloaded his rifle and stepped out and cried out to the Indian and said it is "now peak for peak". Through a little strategy he soon shot the Indian and returned home about twelve miles. He was captured in Milford on the Beals farm.
The first public improvemant was the woolen factory at Portlandville which was constructed in 1825 by David and Daniel Osborn, and Darias Richards, as partners. The factory employed about twenty hands, some ladies and some men. When it was first built, it had no power looms; the weaving was done by hand looms, and spring shuttles, for several years, and the power looms were introduced. This factory turned out a large amount of cloth of different dimensions; broadcloth, cashmere, satinettes, and flannels of different kinds.
After about 1830, the firm became insolvent. They sold to Zeri Todd of Toddsvrille. Mr. Todd conducted the factory for seven or eight years and sold to a company who prospered for a time, but seemed to fail in business, and sold the machinery and gave it up for a bad bargain. Chester Davidson purchased the building and water power and converted it into a pail factory. Since, it has been converted into a saw mill, cider mill, and today it is not much of anything.
The neat public improvement was the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad, which was organized in Albany in 1851. Erastus Corning was elected president of the road; the company encountered a great many difficulties before it was constructed, but finally they succeeded after having a hard time.
The company had strong opposition -- opposed by the Central Railroad Company and they almost failed for want of' funds. The Legislature passed an act by loaning the company a million dollars to be paid in installments. When they reached Cobleskill, they were to receive one third of the loan. The company failed to reach Cobleskill and they were likely to fail, but Mr. Goodyear was an ardent supporter, and he stepped forward and gave his note for eighty thousand dollars, and they built the road to Cobleskill, and then they drew the state loan. They were to construct the road to Oneonta, and then they could draw another third. They seemed to fail in securing funds enough to reach Oneonta and, Mr. Goodyear stepped forward and advanced his note the second time for one hundred and twenty thousand dollars. The road was constructed to Oneonta and the first train ran to ()neonta the fourth of July 1865 and 0neonta was made jubilant. The Albany and Susquehanna railroad was completed to Binghamton the twelfth day of January 1869, and the first train ran from Albany to Binghamton on that day.
The Cooperstown and Susquehanna Railroad Company was organized February 22, 1865 at a meeting held in Cooperstown, of which Calvin Graves was chairman, and Dorr Bissel secretary. The first directors of the road were as follows: Luther I. Burditt, J. P. Sill, George W. Ernst, William M. Clinton, Rufus St eere, John F. Scott, James W. Shipman, Calvin Graves, E1lery Cary, George L. Bowne, William Brooks, Joshua H. Story, and Dorr Bissell. The first election of officers occured May 5, 1865;Luther I. Burditt was elected president, and Joshua H. Story, Vice President; George A. Starkweather secretary; John F. Scott, treasurer.
The road was constructed and completed in the summer of 1869 and July 17 of the same year, the first train of cars passed over the road, from Cooperstown to the Junction, drawn by the locomotive Ellery Cary. Since, the road has been extended to Davenport Center, Delawre Count y.
In the month of July 1829 Elder Roberts organized a "Temperance Society, for the purpose of restraining people from liquor drinking and to abate drunkenness. It was a new thing and people generally opposed the project for the reason they did not properly convey the idea.
Some called him an imposter; others called him a hypocrit; while others believed him sincere in his undertaking. Nevertheless he had a large following. This was the first temperance organization in the town, and in fact the first in the county. It was designated by some as the "cold water" society, and that people were not allowed to drink anything but cold water; not even tea or coffee; and a large number objected to it for those reasons. But as soon as they ascertained the facts, very few raised any objection to it and the society grew to be a very large society.
For nearly a year they had no regular services, but were supplied by different ministers. There were three young men in town that belonged to the same church who were converts of Elder Roberts who had commenced to study theology and they would come on almost every Sunday and preach; so their meetings were not wholly abandoned. Their names were James Van Valkenburge, Nelson Mumford, and Joshua Cook. All were in course of time celebrated preachers. In September 1831 a gentleman by the name of David Sweet of Pawlet, Vermont'' came to Milford and the church procured his services for a year who gave general satisfaction. The church hired him for the second year. Then they hired him for the third year and then a difficulty arose between Elder Sweet and some of the members and he resigned his pastoral charges and vacated the sacred desk.
After a short time the church procured the services of Nelson Ferguson of Montgomery County. He occupied the desk for three years and he resigned and took his letter and left. After the difficulty with Elder Sweet, the church procured the services of Elder Baldwin Crane of Otego for one year. They tried to have him perpetuate for another year, but he said "No". He said "You are not worthy of a pastor. I will not remain any longer with you".
After Elder Ferguson resigned, the church obtained the services of Elder Elijah Spafford of Westford who filled it for four years and then resigrned and returned to Westford. During Elder Elijah Spafford's services in 1840, the church was repaired and remodeled, and a bell placed in the belfry which was considered a great advantage to the church. When the church was built, the seating capacity below were finished with pews and no one could occupy a pew without purchasing a seat. When the house was first constructed, the pews were so1d at auction to the highest bidder. If any occupied a seat below, he must take a free generally designated a "nigger seat".
There were two rows of seats in the gallery which were free for all. When the church was repaired in 1840, a new desk was constructed and the seats were all free above and below. Elder Spafford commenced his services with this church in the month of April 1838 and closed his services in the year 1842.
I have given you a general of this from its organization up to 1842. Now I will call a halt.
George Baker, the senior of the Baker family, was born in England before 1600, and was persecuted for his religious proclivities; consequently, he took refuge in Holland. He joined the Puritans and embarked in the Mayflower, with the Pilgrims and came to America, and landed at Plymouth in 1620. Mr. Baker, afterwards, settled near Boston, Massachusetts. I think that George Baker., the first Baker that settled in Milford was a grandson of the Baker that came from England. George Baker, of the first Milford, one of the settlers, was at Concord, Lexington, and Bunker Hill. At the battle of Bunker Hill, his three oldest sons, participated with their father in the fight. His sons' names were Abel, Daniel, and Charles.
Abel was promoted to the office of Colonel and after was under Washington in the main Army. It is stated in an antecedent chapter, that Abel was sent to Bennington by his father to collect a sum of money and that was the last that was heard of him. That was a mistake. It was learned after that he procured the money and with what he had of his own, he went to Philadelphia, and went to speculating and became immensely rich. But he never returned his father's money.
The old gentleman, when he 1earned the facts in the case, felt very much grieved over his misconduct towards his father. He was a man that stood high in the community, and little did he think, his son would resort to so comtemptible and outrageous an act as to rob his father of his money, when he had placed confidence in his integrity. The old man felt very much grieved and said he deserved severe punishment. The poor old man had the misfortune to die a horrible death from the effects of a cancer.
Mr. Baker was in the hard fought battle of Bennington, under General Stark, who said, we will win this battle or Mollie Stark will sleep a widow tonight. Mr. Baker sent for his son Thomas to fetch his horses to carry in the wounded, and disabled soldiers, and tell the people we have killed all the Indians and Tories this side of hell.
John D. Lawyear, a native of Schoharie County, published a newspaper at Milford in 1846 called the Lutheran Herald. Dr. Lawyear was one of the principals of Hartwick Seminary. Mr.Lawyear was a member of the Lutheran Church who thought it advisable to establish a Lutheran paper in Milford, in ofrder to propagate the religious principles of the Lutheran Church. After he published the paper about two years, he was rather sarcastic in his editorals, which gave offense to some of the patrons and they denounced him bitterly, so much so he stopped the publication and moved back to Hartwick.
In or about 1875 and 1876 George Ingles published a paper at Milford for a short time which was called the Milford News. This paper seemed to prosper very well for a short time, but for some cause he rather failed, and gave up the publication for a time. After a short interval Charles Hawver commenced the publication of a paper which he called the Leader. If my memory served me correctly, Mr. Hawyer run the paper a short time and Mr. Ingles resumed the editorial chair again, and entered the name Milford News. I recollect Ingles published the News in 1853. Ingles published it a few years after and Mr. Crowe purchased the establishment and ran the paper until 1891. Mr. Crowe called the paper Milford Tidings. Mr. John Crowe sold to Mr. John Wilcox in 1891.
Mr. Wilcox called the paper Otsego Tidings, and continues the publication at the present time. The Otsego Tidings is well edited and patronized and Mr. Wilcox stands high as an editor. He has made a political paper of it. Advocates Jefferson democracy.
Joseph Westcott of Milford Centre was the first white child born in the town of Milford in 1784. In the margin in another handwriting is written -(Incorrect - he was born in Vermont at Bennington in 1784).
The second birth was David Beals, in the extreme north east corner of the town in 1786.
The first marriage was that of George Mumford and Ruth Scott of Milford Centre in 1786.
The second marriage was James Brown and Rhoda Marvin in 1788. The first death that occurred in the town of Milford and her sister's infant child in 1771 by accidental drowning. The second death from natural causes was Mrs. Beals, who died in 1788. She was the first person buried in Milford Cemetery.
The first regular organized in Milford was taught by Increase Niles in 1790. Schools were taught in private fami1ies; no regular districts were formed before 1790.
In 1826 soon after the Erie Canal was constructed, the people of Otsego County believed they were entitled to some public improvements and it was the general opinion of the leading men of the county, a canal could be constructed from Otsego lake to the village of Bainbridge which could be a vast benefit to the State by extending it to Summit Lake in Springfield and from there to Fort Plain.
The state officer did not think there was water enough from Summit Lake to support a canal to Fort Plain.
Then the people of Cooperstown surveyed for a canal from the Lake to Bainbridge, but the state officers would take no action upon the project . Consequently, it failed. Sherman Page, of Unadilla, proposed a slack water navigation from Bainbridge to the Lake and Angel and Jacob Dietz fell in with his proposition.
Page wanted to go to Congress, and he devised the black water navigation scheme, and made it work. The river was surveyed and Page was elected to Congress and that was the end of the slack water navigation.
Col. William Bissell was born in the town of Hartwick, just over the line between Milford and Hartwick, a son of Luther Bissel, but lived in Milford and received primary education at the Edson Corner School in Milford, of the same class of Moses Barnard, Parker Scott, Clark Baker, Spencer Baker and others of that class.He had a brother Frank, who was a very intelligent man.
After William Bissel finished his education at Hartwick Academy, he read medicine, and 1ocated at Colesville, Ninevah), Broome County. He followed the medical profession for several years and changed to that of law.
Mr. Bissel migrated to Illinois, opened an office, and became very popular. When the Mexican War broke out, he registered a regiment and volunteered his services and was commissioned colonel. He went to the seat of the war and was under Benjamin Taylor. He participated in the great battle of Beuna Vista and was highly eulogized by General Taylor for his bravery. Jefferson Davis was also under General Taylor at the same time. Bissel and Davis belonged to Ingles staff, and some difficulty arose between them, and Davis challenged Bissel to a duel and Bissel accepted the challenge, and was ready to meet Davis at any time he pleased to name. Davis named the time, and asked Bissel to name the weapons. Bissel said rifles at ten paces.
That rather set Davis back. He wanted Bissel to modify the weapons, and name pistols. Bissel said no. Bissel was an expert with the rifle and he preferred a weapon he could depend upon.
Davis perceived he had met a "Tartar", and would have been pleased to have some way to reconcile the matter. That ended the duel.
Col. Bissell returned to Illinois and was the leading man of the state, was elected Governor, and died while holding the office.
Captain Josiah Arnold was a noted character in the north west part of the town. Arnold's Lake takes its name from Capt. Arnold. He was a sea captain and was noted for telling great stories. After he located on his farm, he said he was ploughing with his oxen, and a heavy thunderstorm came up and he unhitched his oxen, and took refuge under a large soft maple tree, which was very winding. He looked up at the top, and he see a chain of lightning strike the tree and run from under the tree before the lightning got to the ground".
He thought that was not a very safe place to stay; consequently, he went out in the lot and got under a large rock, and he had not stood there more than two minutes, before seven claps of thunder took him upon the head, and drove him into the rock up to his knees, and he was compelled to make a bee line) and ask his neighbors to pull him out. The reader will see he was a great and courageous man.
In 1829 Joseph Westcott went to Albany, and purchased a large pipe organ for his daughter Melissa Westcott. This was considered almost a wonderment.
Miss Westcott had a large number of callers to hear her discourse her musick. I think it was stated there were only two other organs in the county at that early period, one at Cooperstown and one at Cherry Valley. She retained it a long tine, and finally sold it to Joseph Gates of Milford Centre.
Mr. Gates had a daughter who was a young lady and was his desire to give her a musical education.
After two years he sold his store and moved to Albany. The first piano, Major Collier, purchased in Albany, for his granddaughter, Alvira Goodyear. The same remains in use today.
Organization of the Baptist Church of Milford by the Rev. Josiah Morris, the 13 and 14 of March 1805. Rev. Josiah Morris and lady Charles Morris and lady, Josiah Morris Jr., Mr. Keyes and lady, James Westcott, John Crydenwise and lady, Stukely Whitford.
Prior to the organization of the church by the Rev. Josiah Morris (who was a native of Wales) Migrated to America soon after the close of the American Revolution and located in R. I. with his family in the year 1789 or 1790 and remained there until 1793 when emigrated from R. I. to Rensslear County, New York.
In the meantime his son Charles had married Catherine Ellerson, sister of David Ellerson, of Revolutionary notoriety, who was celebrated for his meritorious acts during the American struggle for liberty.
After Major sold his possessions to Mr. Mumford, he remained in town, Major Cully was highly respected and also both of his sons. Major Cully had no other children than these two sons: David and Thomas and they both had families. David was a very prominent man in town and held several offices of trust, and was a very intelligent and good business man; Thomas more quiet and unassuming.
After they had purchased their large farm about two miles above Portlandville, They erected a log house and went into the hotel business in their doublelog house They soon erected a large mansion and established a popular hotel. Quite often town meetings and elections were held at Cully's Hotel. Major Cully was a very strong American patriot, and was very athletic and fearless.
It was on Election Day, and the Major and another man had a little controversy over the execution of Major Andre. The Major said, "Washington, the greatest man that ever lived, did right in hanging Andre," and would have hanged Arnold on the other end of the rope, if he could have got hold of him, and gave him what he deserved. The dispute ran so high that they clinched and the Major was the best man, but the bystanders soon stopped them.
After they were parted, the Major stepped up to his antagonist and said (Benjamin, in his Scotch phrase) you got the wrong Sue (sow) by the ear. After the Major's death in 1813, his sons sold the south half to Samuel Russel in 1822. They sold the other part in 1828 to Agrippy Martin and made their exit from the county.
Mr. Cook was a native of Laurens, but was employed by Steere and Winsor of ___ and migrated with them to take charge of their large tannery at Portlandville.
Mr. Cook became acquainted with Miss Calrissa Smith, a fascinating young lady, daughter of Mary Smith and a native of R.I. and married her in 1833 and located in ___.
Mr. Cook was the parent of two children: two sons and one daughter. His son became a lawyer, married Jennett Westcott who lived very happily together until her death. His daughter Emma married Thomas Hall a fine young man who was employed by the Cooperstown Railroad Company and was accidently killed in a collision between Portlandville and the Junction. Both are still living in Portlandville. Mrs. Cook had a long and tedious sickness and died I think in about 1870. He married his second wife and lived a few years and was taken seriously ill and died quite suddenly.
Cronkhite married Caroline Lane, daughter of Aaron Lane, a highly respected young lady and was doing business for several years, but unexpected to almost every one
(this next section appears to be missing several words)
_____ occurred in the family and the breach was never healed. His oldest son, Nelson ran the business at Portlandville. His youngest son James ___ 121st Reg. Of Volunteer in 1862 ____ remained until the close of the war. Major was wounded by losing one of his legs, a pension, ____ custom office of New York ____ consul to Haiti
The Stewart Family came from Danbury, Connecticut, and were of Scotch origin. They claim to be relatives of the English Stuarts who have worn the crown of England since Charles the First. The reader will readily see they do not spell their name alike. Our Stewarts spell their name Stewart and the English spell theirs Stuart; although the English Stuarts were of Scotch origin. Mr. Tyler, the great English historian says the Stuarts that wear the crown of England were regular descendants of Sir Robert Bruce who was one of the greatest generals that Scotland ever produced. It is not for me to say whether they are of the same origin or not. The Stewarts came to Milford about or soon after 1800. Levi and Leman were twin brothers and hatters by trade. They commenced making hats as soon as they arrived at Milford.
Their factory was located on the corner opposite the hotel where Parshall's store now stands. Levi married Lana Starr, a lady from Massachusetts. Her uncle was a noted hotel keeper on Washington Street, Albany.
Leman Stewart married Susan Walley, a daughter of Garret Walley who resided on Schenevus Creek in Milford. Levi and Leman dissolved partnership and Leman went to Ohio. Levi conducted the hat factory a long time; the business became unprofitable and he gave it up. Levi was quite a prominent man in the town and also in the county. He became a military man, held the office of Captain, Colonel, and General. He also held the office of Justice of the Peace, and was appointed side judge of the county under the old constitution. His first wife died and he in his old age took for his second better half the celebrated Betsy Donnely, a maiden lady and very happy.
Prosper Stewart, a younger brother came to Milford some time after his two brothers, and constructed a comb factory and manufactured ladies' shell combs, horn combs, and all kinds of ladies' fancy combs. After these large combs went out of fashion, Mr. Stewart followed his brother Leman and went west to Ohio.
Levi had no issue, but his brother Leman had. Leman's son John was placed in the hands of his brother Levi, who adopted him as his own child. After he arrived to manhood, and went for himself, he married Eliza Griswold and was successful in business. He had the misfortune to lose his wife and for his second he married Aurelia Bruce. John passed away. His second wife also passed away. This is a brief history of the Stewart family after they came to Milford.
The Bartlett family cane to Milford at a later date but were quite prominent. The old gentleman was a carpenter by trade, and was very faithful in his calling. He raised a large family and all proved to be quite intelligent and possessed good business qualifications. His oldest son Deloss, first went into business as a harness maker. Afterwards he went into Brown's office and read law for awhile, became a great pettifogger, dropped the law, and went into the mercantile business, followed it for several years - became an agent for Eddy and Wilber, left them and turned his whole attention to the mercantile business at Portlandville. His son and son-in-law located at Addison, Steuben County, as egg merchants.
Mr. Bartlett went to Addison to assist them in some matters, was stricken with a fit of some kind and died very suddenly. His brothers and sisters were very prominent in business, but have all left the town of Milford and scattered to different parts of the county. I would state that Deloss Bartlett married Miss June B. Barnard of Milford.
The Bissel Hotel remained in the hands of Bissel Sons until Amos Sweet, Jr. Purchased the same and since then it has changed hands several times. After Edson left Milford, no store of any note was kept until Babcock and McNamee went into the mercantile business. Bridges and Moore purchased the store and goods and transacted the business as merchants for several years. And after they wound up the mercantile business, the store stood on the corner where the present Wilber Block now stands. The old store house built by Babcock and McNamee was burned down.
Asa Eddy came from Hoosack to Milford in 1805. Asa Eddy born in Massachusetts. Mr. Eddy was a single man when he came to town and commenced business as a tanner and currier. 1806 Mr. Eddy soon married after he came to town Miss Nancy Sweet, a daughter of Jonathan Sweet and was very successful in his undertaking. It has been said he was the first tanner in town but there is some doubt about that.
Thomas Martin came to Milford in 1805 and started a tannery in the extreme west of the town, and followed tanning for several years. He sold out and emigrated to Black River. I think Mr. Martin was a little in advance of Mr. Eddy.
Mr. Eddy was a very prominent man in town, held several town offices. He held the office of town clerk for nine consecutive years and was elected Supervisor in 1845. Mr. Eddy had eight children: four sons and four daughters. Jesse, his oldest son, married Nancy Starr. Thomas married Orilla Wilcox, Lyman was a Methodist clergyman and married. John married Sarah M. Clark, a young lady from Elmira. Mr. Eddy's oldest daughter, Marie, married Martin Marvin a Methodist clergyman. Mary married Joseph Russel who bought out Elisha Eldred of Hartwick Seminary. Caroline married Leroy E. Bowe, a young lawyer. Jane Eddy married Reuben Nelson, a preacher. It appears the Eddy girls fancied professional men. The entire Eddy family have become extinct. John Eddy, conducted the tannery, erected by his father for several years, and established himself as a hop merchant in 1850 and in 1855 took in David Wilber as a partner.
Eddy and Wilber became the heaviest county hop firm in the county. They dissolved partnership in 1870 by mutual consent. After their dissolution, there were two hop firms in Milford: Eddy and Sons and Wilber and Sons. Finally eddy went to New York and Wilber located in Oneonta, and both firms in Milford were discontinued. After Mr. Eddy went to New York, he got into trouble, and lost the most of his immense property and died insolvent. His sons went west running a cattle ranch.
Albert Westcott was the first man to open a tailor shop in Milford Village. James Donnelly the first wagon shop. Mr. Donnelly gave up the business and Daniel Barney commenced the manufacture of wagons and was very successful as long as he lived. Ebenezer Cronkhite ran a shop for many years and finally gave up the business and became an undertaker. After his death Austin Cronkhite has assume the same.
The first settler on the hill west of Colliers was John Shaw which was about 1818. Soon after Peter Scott and Warren Ackley settled on the wilderness hill and commenced new county farming. Soon after the first settlers - John I. Quackenbush purchased a hill farm, erected log buildings, and was very prosperous. William Yeoman and others followed their example. The place was then called Shaw Hill. The land on this hill was of good soil, and well timbered, but rather stony. In consequence of the stone, Lemuel Ackley gave it a new name. He called it "Stone Arabia" and it has always retained the same name.
At the present time not one of the old settlers or their children live on that hill. Warren Ackley reared a family of five sons and six daughters. His oldest son Mitchell married Eliza Quackenbush. His third son Lemuel married Lydia Gurney, who had several children. One of his sons Charles is the principal undertaker of the town of Laurens. His son Willis was a hop merchant.
The Coon family were among the early settlers of Schenevus Valley in the town of Milford. They migrated from Saratoga County. Coonrad Coon was the father, but the date of his birth I cannot give, he was of German origin. I will give the names and date of birth of his children who were mostly born in Saratoga.
Jane Coon born Oct. 4, 1771 George Coon born Sept. 18, 1773 Fanny Coon born Nov. 30, 1775 Hannah Coon born Oct. 8, 1778 James Coon born Dec. 12, 1781 Betsy Coon born Jan. 28, 1784 Mary Coon born Mar. 28, 1788 (m. Thos. Burnside, Jr.) Elizabeth Coon born Dec. 11, 1790 Sarah Rose born Oct. 10, 1805 (belongs to the Coon family)
This constitutes the original Coon family when they emigrated to the town of Milford some time before 1800.