Town of Hector History, pub. 1879 (partial)
History of Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins & Schuyler Counties, NY
Published by Everts & Ensign, 1879.
contributed by Lynn Stevenson Fisher
History of Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins & Schuyler Counties, NY
Publishers: Everts & Ensign, 1879
Is the southwest corner township of the Military Tract, and forms the northeast corner town of the county. From the lake, on its entire western outline, rise rocky bluffs, nearly perpendicularly, to the height of from 50 to 100 feet, except the points of land that jut into it at the mouths of the various streams which empty into the lake. From this elevation the land rises in a gradual slope to from 500 to 700 feet above Seneca Lake, and from 1200 to 1400 feet above tide. The surface is a rolling upland, much broken by deep valleys and high ridges. The soil consists mostly of clay, or sandy and gravelly loam. The inhabitants are mostly engaged in agricultural pursuits. On the western slope, bordering on the lake, the soil is particularly adapted to the culture of fruit, and much attention is given to the raising of peaches, plums, and grapes, which are raised in large quantities, and of fine quality.
The town is drained by many creeks, one of which, Cranberry Creek, rises in the centre of the town, flows in a southwesterly direction, and empties into Seneca Lake. Bennetsbury (1) and Burdett are situated on this stream. Hector Falls is also on this stream.* Several other streams in the northwest part of the town empty into Seneca Lake, among which is Breakneck Creek, near north Hector. The other streams are Taghanic, and its tributaries Bolter and Mecklenburgh Creeks, which flow in an easterly direction through the town, and unite in Ulysses, gliding along almost uninterruptedly towards Taghanic Falls, so steady and so quiet in their flow that, like many a calm life in our midst, we are only aware of its presence by the strength and refreshment it seems born to distribute. but only for a season does the stream thus calmly glide. A plunge is beyond, fearful in its immensity, and most picturesque in its grandeur. The change is coming. The waters are hurrying, the stream widens, all is preparing; and when they reach the magnificient rock, standing with stern and silent eloquence between the two miles of the chasm, out from its edge they dart, down, down, 215 feet, into the dark, seething, circular basin below, their bright drops catching many a mimic rainbow to light their passage, and weaving a soft and luminous veil of spray to mark their fall.
Hector embraces an area of ten miles square: 48,002 acres are improved. It has a population of 4970 inhabitants, according to the census of 1875.
In 1779, by authority of Congress, an army of 5000 men was raised and placed under command of General Sullivan, with orders to seek out the hiding-places of the Indians, and by superior numbers and well-trained men overpower them, if possible, and put an end to the barbarous cruelties they had been inflicting on the brave pioneers. At Newtown, now Elmira, they met, and after a desparate engagement of several hours, both sides fighting bravely, the Indians were overpowered, and being confused, fled precipitately across the river, following the Chemung Valley and down the east side of Seneca Lake, Sullivan still pursuing. In this raid the principal villages of the Indians were burned and their corn-fields destroyed.
Even in the hasty and impetuous rush through the wilderness, unsuited to observation, pictures were stamped upon their minds in the pauses of the march, or as they hurriedly passed through the open country, of the sloping uplands, the dense forests, and the blue lake lying as if asleep in the blaze of the sun or mirroring the white clouds dreamily, the fertile fields even then improved by the hands of the Indian; and when, years after cession of these lands was made by the Iroquois to the State of New York, the country through which they had hastened was surveyed and opened to civilization, upsprang the seed then planted, and bore fruit, for Sullivan's soldiers found their way to the fertile fields again, and there effected settlements.
During the summer of 1790, a man whose name is unknown came into what is now this town, with his wife and child, and built a hut near the present village of Burdett, but being discouraged, or for some other reason, he left his wife in the wilderness during the winter and until the next summer, when he returned and they moved to the eastern part of the State. The first permanent settler was Wm. Wickham, who left Orange County with his wife and four children in the fall of 1790, and came as far as Tioga Point, now Athens, where they passed the winter. In the spring they again took up the line of march, loading their effects into a canoe, together with a barret of flour he had purchased.
He paddled up the Chemung to Newtown, then working their way through the pine swamp slowly and laboriously, as best they could, to Catharinestown, then paddled on down the creek and the lake until they reached the point on lot No. 40, which Mr. Wickham had purchased of his brother at $1.25 per acre, and which is below the present residence of his grandson, M. L. Wickham, arriv- (continued on page 617)
* Horton's Run has upon it Glen Excelsior, and
"A brawling cataract falls in sheets of snow
Prone from the precipice, and steals unseen
Through birchen thickets to the lake serene,
While softened echoes join in cadence sweet,
And sheltering scenery form a blest retreat."
Thus wrote Alexander Wilson, the ornithologist, of this cataract, in 1804, while on a journey through this section of country. This fall is about 300 feet high, but is not perpendicular, and is about 40 rods from the lake.
PAGE 616 B
Mrs. Wm. H. Fish; Wm. H. Fish, M.D.
Photos by R.D. Crum
"Park Place" Residence of Wm. H. Fish, M.D. Mecklenburg, Schuyler Co. N.Y.
Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.
PAGE 616 C
Henrt M. Boyce; Elizabeth Boyce
Photos by R.D. Crum
Residence of Henry M. Boyce, Hector, Schuyler Co. N.Y.
Lith. by L. H. Everts, Phila.
ing here May 3, 1791. They climbed the hill a short distance, and came to the road that had been made by Sullivan's army, and is now known as the Lake Road. Here he built a temporary hut and commenced a clearing. As soon as a sufficient number of logs were prepared, he invited his neighbors -- living at what is now Havana and Watkins -- to assist him in raising his log house. It was commenced Saturday morning and finished on Sunday. This undoubtedly was the first house built in the town, and stood a few rods south of M.L. Wickham's present residence. The barrel of flour was left at the Point some time before it was brought up to the house.
One and a half acres of land were cut over and the brush burned the first spring, and corn planted wherever a space could be found. For three or four years the logs were burned, or left where they fell. For the first year or two his work of clearing was down without oxen. But he finally bought a yoke of oxen fo a Deacon Waldron, and they were used by several families. The nearest blacksmith was at Newtown, and Mr. Wickham was so unfortunated at one time as to break the yoke-staple, and he was compelled to follow the Indian trailon foot to Newtown, to get it repaired.
They raised a large family of children, -- Samuel, William, Clark, Phebe, Fanny, and Mary, who married Harry Ely, who is still living at the age of ninety years. Richard Ely, of North Hector, is their son. Clark was born, lived, and died on the old homestead. His youngest daughter is the wife of William H. Wait, ex-County Treasurer of Schuyler County. William married Martha Hultz, of Enfield, who was the mother of fourteen children. When the thirteenth child was still a babe, she journeyed on horseback over the hills to visit a brother living at Ithaca. He met her with the remark, "What! another child, Patty?" She replied, " Oh, yes, I have just commenced on my second dozen."
There are several descendants of William Wickham living in the town, among whom is Erastus Wickham, of Bennetbury. The old road from Culverstown (now Watkins) to Hamburg (now Burdett) crossed the head of the lake on a bar, which extended from near the traditional elm, diagonally to the point at Glen Excelsior. While crossing this bar, on the evening of Nov. 2, 1800, his horse lost his footing, and he was thrown into the lake. He was an excellent swimmer, but in the darkness was unable to save himself, and, it is supposed, swam out into the lake, as his body was found next day some distance up the inlet. Mrs. Wickham was left with six children, and the farm upaid for. At his death they had one cow. She was killed by a large tree falling upon her the next spring, leaving a heifer-calf a few days old, which was raised on hay, tea, and eggs. From this calf, as a beginning, Mrs. Wickham raised cattle, which she sent to Orange County, and paid for the farm. She was of a resolute and fearless nature, and it is related of her that on one occasion, while she lived in the frame house, which was also used as an inn, a half-drunken Indian came in, and wanted more "fire-water." She declined to furnish him with it, judging that he had enough already; and he seized a broom, and endeavored to enforce his argument with that. But as he raised it to strike her it caught in the joists overhead, and threw him forcibly to the floor. She promptly wrenched it from him, and turning his own weapon upon him, succeeded in driving him from the house. John Livingston came into the town in 1791. Where he first settled was unknown, but later he lived where Lamoureux Smith now resides. He was a well-educated man, and a surveyor. He was the first school-teacher in the town. His daughter, Betsey, married Stephen Pratt, a mason. Their daughter, Mary is the mother of J.A. Wager, who lives about one mile west of Logan. Richard Ely Smith married a granddaughter. Mr. Livingston afterwards moved to the West, with his family, and was drowned in Lake Erie.
Reuben Smith, with his sons Jabez and Harry, and Daniel Everts, left Salisbury, Conn., for the western country, and arrived at what is now Peach Orchard, a short distance north of Mr. Wickham, June 1, 1793. They commenced a clearing, built a temporary hut, did their own cooking. Venison, fish, and game of all kinds were abundant. They remained that season, putting in crops of corn and wheat. After harvest they returned to Connecticut. In the spring of 1794, Reuben Smith, with his wife and five children, and Daniel Everts, with his wife and eight children, and Grover Smith, commenced their journey to the settlement; Jabez, the oldest son of Reuben Smith, and Grover Smith, going on foot, and driving cattle. The goods were packed on sleighs, which were drawn by oxen. Everts settled with his family on the next lot north of Wickham; Grover Smith, between Peach Orchard and North Hector. Reuben Smith had four sons -- Jabez, Harry, Chauncey W., and Caleb -- and one daughter, Amanda. Jabez married Betsey Ely. They had twelve children. He settled on the farm where Whitley J. Smith, his son, now lives, near Logan, in 1801.
Richard Ely Smith, the eldest son, is living at Burdett. Mrs. Julia E. Jaquish is also living at Burdett.
Harry married Melinda Warner; none of the family are living here. Amanda married Peter Hager; they had seven children, some of whom are living in town. Caleb married Lucy Peck, and they had eleven children. A daughter, Hannah, married Wesley Reynolds; now living in town. Chauncey W. married Hester Smith; they had six children, two of whom, Mrs. James Spencer and Philetus Smith, are living in town. Reuben Smith made improvements and cleared many acres on the lot he purchased, only to find his labors were in vain, for after 1799 a suit of ejectment was commenced against him at Auburn, then in Cayuga County. He then purchased 80 acres on lot No. 42, where he lived without molestation. Mr. Smith built a saw-mill on the Peach Orchard Creek in 1795-96.
Daniel Everts had eight children -- Aranthus, Charles, Polly, Daniel, John, Asena, and Abraham. Colonel Aranthus Everts settled near Logan, on lot No. 42, buying 50 acres. He had no team, and rolled the logs together by hand. He sold to Jacob Brichly, and the farm is now is possession of Wm. Couse. He married Margaret Matthews, daughter of Amasa Matthews. He was in the war of 1812, and had command of a fort, when a flag of truce was sent to him, and a demand for surrender, which was refused. The general in command sent word, "I want you to under-
stand we will take our breakfast in this fort to-morrow morning.” Colonel Everts replied, “If you undertake it you will take your supper in h_ll.” Charles Everts settled first at Logan; married Clarissa Peck. Polly married Amasa Matthews, and they lived where Milford Matthews now lives. Daniel married Mary Ann Wightman, and settled at Logan. John married Hannah Wightman. Asena married Jeremiah Howell, brother of Geo. Howell. Abraham married Rebecca German, daughter of Deacon Henry German, and settled where his daughter, Helen Everts, now lives at Logan.
Daniel Everts died in 1833, aged eighty-three years, having had two wives, -- Polly, who died in 1817, aged sixty-three years, and Abigail, who died in 1831, aged sixty-two years. They are buried in a family cemetery on the Lake Road, on the farm he first cleared.
Grover Smith bought lot No. 21, containing 640 acres, where Alfred Everett and Hector Ely now live. He had five sons, -- Reuben, William, Richard, and Ezra. He gave his son Reuben 150 acres, and moved to Cayuga Lake for a time. Reuben Smith’s daughter married Aaron Hanley, and she is still living at Peach Orchard.
Samuel Hanley was a captain in the Revolutionary army, and for his services was entitled to lands. He selected, in township 21, lot No. 39, where Perry* now is, and settled upon it, selling part of it to Elisha Trowbridge, in 1800. In 1811 he removed to the Lake Road, and settled where his grandson, Samuel Hanley, now lives. He had several sons, among whom was Aaron Hanley, who lived and died on the Lake Road.
Richard Ely and his wife and children, old neighbors of the Smiths and Everts in Salisbury, Conn., learning of the fertility of the soil, excellence of timber, and other advantages so desirable, determined to try their fortunes there, and, packing their goods, they started in the year 1795, and, after the usual trials incident to such a journey, arrived at the residence of their old friends, and were warmly greeted as a welcome addition to the new settlement. They soon located on the Lake Road, where Rice Ervey now lives. They had eight children, -- Betsey, Richard, Augustus, Harry, William, Irena, Hector, and Calvin, the last being by a second wife. Betsey married Jabez Smith; Richard married Sally Boardman; Augustus married Olive Scoville. Their son, William Ely, lives near the homestead of his father, about a mile east of the Lake Road. Harry married Mary Wickham, and he is still living on the Lake Road, at the age of ninety years. William married Fanny Curry; Irena married John King; Hector married Ann Hinckley. He was the first white child born in town, and has a son, Hector, living on the Lake Road. Calvin married Julia Hager.
Even at this time the whole region was covered with dense forests
of pine, oak, and maple. The woods abounded in berries, grapes, and
“While here and there, in lazy columns, rise
The woodman’s smoke, like incense, to the skies.”
Far to the north stretched the broad expanse of Seneca Lake, its sparkling waters glittering in the sun or flocked with mirrored clouds, while
“Far-spreading forests from its shores ascend,
And towering headlands rise.”
Morning, noon, and night the far-reaching landscape varies, changing as the shifting lights and shadows play, through the first bright days of spring, the long, lovely days of summer, and the rich-toned days of autumn, while many an evening, “as the sun is setting, the mists rise suddenly in strange sweeps and spirals, and are smitten through with the golden fire, which, melting down through a thousand tints, passes with the rapidity of a dream into the cold purples of the night.”
At this period no settlers had located east of the lots bordering on Sullivan’s Road, in the town. Elisha Trowbridge, with several other young men, left Cooperstown, Otsego Co., on a viewing expedition, first going to Cherry Valley, then across to the Delaware River. Not finding the country as they desired, his companions became discouraged and went back, but he pushed on with energy to the Lake country, and entered what is now this town from the east, by way of Goodwin’s Point and Truman’s Settlement, now Trumansburg, and reached the present site of Perry, Jan. 28, 1798. He located on the southeast corner of lot 39, built a cabin of brush and bark, and soon had a piece of corn growing, which he harvested, and then returned to Cooperstown. He persuaded his father to sell his farm and go with him to the place he had chosen. Accordingly the household goods were loaded on a sled, with the family. They started with an ox-team, having $500 in silver, secreting it in various places, some in clothing, some in a caldron-kettle. The kettle and other relics are now in possession of William Trowbridge. They came by the way of Tioga Point, Owego, and the Indian trail to Ithaca; then to Trumansburg, and on West, as that was the route by which the early settlers had passed into that section. They passed one night of their journey under their sleigh-box and a large tree, which, considering the severity of the season, was but a poor shelter. Near where they camped that night, between the forks of Mecklenburg and Taghanic Creeks, there resided an old Indian, who had a cabin, and continued to occupy it some time after the first settlers came. The next day they finished their journey, and occupied the hut, arriving in February, 1799. Caleb Trowbridge, Elisha’s father, built a small log house on lot 49, and spent most of his time hunting and fishing. He died at the age of eighty-six years, leaving seven children. Elisha married when he was thirty-two years old. He was an indefatigable hunter, and turned his skill to good account in the memorable winters of 1816 and ’17, when the frosts had destroyed the crops, keeping seven families from starvation with the game he distributed among them. He lived five years in the bark shanty before he built his log house. His wife died at the age of eighty-three, and he at ninety years. She was the daughter of Nathaniel Pritchard, who came into the town about 1800, and settled on the same lot with Trowbridge, a little north of Perry, where Joshua Makeel lives. His family met with an accident while crossing Cayuga Lake, and came very near drowning. Pritchard had two daughters, Abigail and Susannah.
The Trowbridge brothers, Elisha and Hermon, were (continued on page 619)
* Transcriber’s Footnote for Page 618: Perry refers to the hamlet now known as Perry City.
PAGE 618 A
[Illustration]: GROVE HOTEL AND GOODWIN’S FERRY. One of the most picturesque and romantic spots in Central New York. Only 12 miles from Watkins Glen. Four daily boats. Terms reasonable. Special rate to families or parties by the month. It can be reached by steamers from Watkins and Geneva, or N.C.R.R. to Starkey and Goodwin’s Ferry at North Hector. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.
PAGE 618 B
[Photos]: Mrs. Wm. H. Jeffers; Wm. H. Jeffers Photos by Hale
[Illustration]: Residence of Wm. H. Jeffers, Hector, Schuyler Co. N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.
PAGE 618 C
[Photos]: John C. Sackett; Mrs. John C. Sackett Photos by A.W. Porter
[Illustration]: Residence of John C. Sackett, Hector, Schuyler Co. N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.
PAGE 618 D
[Illustration]: Residence of Spencer Wheeler, Burdett, Hector, Schuyler Co. N.Y.
[Illustration]: Residence of Nathan C. Fitzgerald, Hector, N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada
PAGE 618 E
[Photo]: David Jones. Photo by Updike & Pratt
[Photo]: Hannah Jones. Photo by A.B. Tubbs
[Illustration]: Residence of Minor T. Jones, Hector, Schuyler Co. N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada
PAGE 618 F
[Photo]: Mrs. Grace P. Culver. Photo by R.D. Crum
[Photo]: Enos Culver. Photo by R.D. Crum
[Illustration]: Residence of Mrs. Grace P. Culver, Mecklenburg, Schuyler Co. N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada
boiling sap one spring in a sugar-maple grove, on lot 38, the two sisters above mentioned assisting them. Under the sweet influences of the occasion friendship soon ripened into love, and the two brothers married the two sisters. These marriages were the first in the eastern part of the town. It is related of Nathaniel Pritchard that while a boy he enlisted as a soldier in the Revolutionary army. He was one day placed on picket duty, and was accosted by Washington, who was dressed in citizen’s dress, and who wished to go outside the pickets. Pritchard demanded the countersign, which Washington refused to give. Wishing to test the boy’s mettle, he presed closer to him, insisting on passing through without the countersign, but he put the bayonet to his breast, and ordered him back at the peril of his life. He was sent for the next day to Washington’s headquarters, and praised for his soldierly qualities and persistence in obedience to military law.
Amasa Matthews, with his family, came to this town in 1798, when Aaron K. was nineteen years old, and Amasa twelve years. He settled on the Lake Road, and had several children. Aaron commenced housekeeping when first married, and lived and died on the same farm, having reached the age of ninety-one years. Amasa married Polly Everts, the daughter of Daniel Everts. Mrs. William Himrod is a daughter. Milford Matthews lives on the farm. Amasa, where his father first settled. Amasa Matthews, Sr., died at the age of seventy-eight years. Daniel, Sylvenus, and Stephen Matthews, brothers, all located east of Polksville, or Logan, and lived with their wives until past eighty years.
Many of the family are buried in the Everts family cemetery.
Captain Jonathan Owen was an officer in the Revolution, and entitled to
a military lot. He lived at Middletown, N.Y. William Bodle,
Sr., the father of James, Jonathan, and William Bodle, Jr., was a neighbor,
and he traded a horse with a soldier for his claim. In locating,
one lot was selected in Ulysses, near the present site of Waterbury*, and
where Captain Jonathan Owen afterwards settled. The other lot was
No. 65, in Hector township. They divided their lots, each taking
the half of the lot. Mr. Owen selected the north half of lot 65,
and gave it to his oldest son, Nathaniel. In the summer of 1798,
Nathaniel, recently married to Miss Mehitable Tucker, came here, cleared
a small plat of ground, planted it with corn, erected a rude shanty covered
with bark, which he finished during the season. After harvest he
returned to his home in Middletown, and made preparations for moving to
his abode in the wilderness. In the spring of 1799, loading one horse
with his wife and child, clothing, etc., started for his forest home.
The place on which he settled is where Thomas W. Thompson, Deacon Henry
Owen, and William B. Reynolds now live, and the apple-trees in their orchards
were raised from seed brought by him in his vest pocket from Orange County.
His nearest neighbors were the Smiths, at Peach Orchard, and the Trowbridges,
at Perry. The Indians were very friendly, and many a wrestling match
did he have with them, and invariably came off victorious. They gave
him the appellation of the “Stout Yankee.” The Indians often borrowed
a large iron kettle of him in the morning, and at night returned it with
about a quart of salt, but would never reveal the location of the spring
from which they obtained the salt water. Mr. Owen raised a
family of seven children, -- four sons and three daughters, -- William,
Jonathan, Eleanor, Nancy, Alanson, Harry, and Caroline. Harry resides
on the old homestead. Eleanor married Henry Rudy, and lives near
Trumansburg. Nancy married Charles Cressman, and resides in Mecklenburg.
Caroline married Jonas R. Neate, who died in Washington, D.C., in 1863;
afterwards married Nathan Fitzgerald, and now resides on lot 64.
Nathaniel Owen died
Sept. 6, 1862, at the age of eighty-nine years, and his wife at seventy.
In the year 1797, Henry Sayler, Sr., came up the Susquehanna River, in a flat-boat, with his family and one horse, and located at Painted Post, Steuben Co. He became acquainted with Nathaniel Owen, of Hector, who offered him fifty acres of land in that town if he would settle upon it, which offer Mr. Sayler accepted, and in the month of March, 1800, moved into town and settled on the northeast corner of lot 64. Mr. Owen intended to, and did, give Mr. Sayler the land in the northwest corner of lot 65, but through a mistake of the lines, he afterwards found that the land he actually settled upon belonged to another person.
His father was a Swedish sailor, who landed at New Castle, Del., before the Revolution. He mother was a French lady, by the name of La Roche. They settled at Frederick, Md., where they raised several children, one of whom was a solider in the Revolution, and under General Morgan at the battle of Cowpens. Henry learned the gunsmith trade at Harrisburg, Pa., and after he settled in this town his cabin was a rendezvous for hunters throughout that region, who would frequently spend two or three days at his house telling stories of their hunting days, while having their guns repaired. His old account book, now in the possession of his grandson, Henry Sayler, contains many interesting items. The following are a few of the accounts:
Hector Town, March 28, 1800:
Nathaniel Oan, To one Ox Yoke … P. 0 s.3 d. 0
April the 9th, to tapping and mending a pair of shuse … 0 4 0
August 11. To working at the hay and halling wheat, 3 dayse … 0 15 0
August 14. To working 4 dayse at the thrashing flore … 1 4 0
To making Sith Sneth … 0 0 6
Hector, Nov. 14th, 1812
Then settled with Joseph Hager Capt., all debts and book accounts, from the beginning of the world to this date, and found due to Henry Sayler the sum of … 0 15 3
This book dates as far back as 1789.
While living at Harrisburg he married a German girl by the name of Catherine M. Slegl, by whom he had four sons and one daughter, -- Jacob, Daniel, John, Henry, and Mehitabel.
Henry Sayler, Sr., died in April 1821, aged sixty-three years. Catherine, his wife, died in 1822, aged fifty-five years. Jacob Sayler, his oldest son, moved to Indiana. Daniel removed to Rossville, Carroll Co., Ind. He enlisted in the war of 1812, under General Scott, and was at the battle of Lundy’s Lane. He enlisted in the regular army, and served for five years. At the raising of Sullivan D. Hubble’s barn, about 1810, a squirrel pot-pie was served
* Transcriber’s Footnote for Page 619: Waterbury refers to the hamlet now known as Waterburg.
for supper, which contained forty-nine black squirrels, said to have been killed in fifty shots by Daniel Sayler.
John Sayler commenced housekeeping in part of his father’s log house. He was elected to the Legislature in 1828, and held the office of justice of the peace for sixteen years. He was with Daniel in the war of 1812, and after the war he married Deborah Hanley, daughter of Captain Samuel Hanley, and they raised a family of twelve children. Many of them married and lived in the town. Henry Sayler, the youngest son of Henry Sayler, Sr., located on the farm his father first settled on through mistake. He had three wives. The first was Jane Potts, sister of James, who settled, about 1820, where Nathan Fitzgerald lives, and now lives in Burdett. His second wife, Hannah, is the daughter of Rev. James Reynolds.
Mehitable Sayler, the only daughter of Henry Sayler, Sr., married Otis Williams, and moved to Richmond.
Many incidents of Mr. Henry Sayler are told of the pioneer life. An old Seneca Indian named Taylor Bone, owing Mr. Sayler a few dollars for repairs on his gun, tried to avoid payment by pretending he had no money, remarking, “Me go ‘way, what you do?” Mr. Sayler replied, “I will load up my rifle and follow you, and shoot you!” upon which statement of the case the Indian produced a buckskin wallet, with plenty of money in it, and paid the debt. He afterwards took lessons in hunting of the same Indian. One day he was lying in wait for a deer at a deerlick; a fine buck stepped into the open space, when he immediately fired and killed him. Springing from his hiding-place, he ran to cut his throat, leaving his gun against a tree. Scarcely had he commenced the work of skinning the deer, when from behind the tree, where his gun stood unloaded, came a large bear, growling fiercely, eyeing the game on the ground, as if to dispute title with the hunter. His ammunition was nearly gone, but as the bear neither advanced nor receded, he concluded to obtain his gun and fight for his life, and save his game if possible. He went boldly and quickly to the tree, seized the gun, stepped back, loaded it hastily, and shot the bear, thus ending the dispute.
David Larrison lived at Goodwin’s Point, and came here in about 1799, and settled on lot 67, purchasing 75 acres. At the time he moved in there was no dwelling between his and Owen’s and no road but a foot-path. His son, Joseph Larrison, lives on the west live of Enfield.
At Reynoldsville, Captain Joseph Hager settled, in the latter part of 1799. He was the father of Peter, Jacob, John, Joseph, Henry, and Annis. Peter was senator from 1826-29; member of Assembly in 1823; and Peter Hager (2d) in 1824. He filled other prominent positions in the town and county. Descendants of the family are still residing in the town.
Joseph Gillespie, a soldier in the Revolution, drew a military lot, and in 1799 came to Burdett and took possession there. About two miles south of the village of Mecklenburg, Joseph and William McIntyre located on lots 85 and 86. They came from Oneida County with Elihu Barker, whose daughter Annie married John, son of Sullivan D. Hubble, and John Mears, whose wife was a McIntyre. None of the family are now in the town. John Mears settled first about half a mile above Mecklenburg, on the creek. Afterwards moved into the village, and built the first grist-mill in Mecklenburg. His daughter Polly married Cephas Culver, and their son Chauncey lives on the old homestead, where William McIntyre first lived. Samuel Mears married Anna Bates. John Mears, Jr., married Hannah Hatfield. John Mears, Sr., died in 1845.
George Howell came from Cayuga County in 1802, and settled on the place where his son now lives, on lot 32, about half a mile north of Logan. They had five sons and seven daughters. George remained on the farm, married Sally Durland, and they had five children, -- Emma M., married Prof. A.C. Huff, is now living on the old homestead; Robert D., is living on the Robert Durland homestead; Harriet, married Harry Ely (2d).
Robert Durland came from New Jersey, and bought a farm west of Jabez Smith, between the farms of Chauncey and Caleb Smith. He had four sons and two daughters.
William Spaulding, the youngest son of Thomas Spaulding, was born in Canterbury, Conn., Feb. 11, 1754; married Mary Dunham in 1783, and soon after moved to Dutchess Co., N.Y., and thence to Ulster County, from which place they resolved to try their fortunes in the lake country. Their family consisted of themselves and six children, viz.: William, Thomas, Samuel, George W., Silva, and John. William was about seventeen years old, and John, the youngest, about three years, at the time they started. With only one team to carry household goods, and one cow, they slowly made their way through the wilderness, following Indian trails and bridle-paths up the Delaware River, and crossed over to the Susquehanna River, passing through Tioga Forks, Owego, Ithaca, and Shin Hollow (now Trumansburg), and from that they were obliged to cut their road through, or go around trees and logs that lay across their paths. After leaving Owego a portion of their children broke out with the measles, which detained them a few days. They arrived in the town in the spring or summer of 1801. He purchased 150 acres of land lying near the west bounds of lot 29, and put up a small log cabin, with clapboards for a roof, held down by poles. There were in the eastern part of the town but few families, -- Trowbridges, Pritchards, and Gilletts, near Perry; Nathaniel Owen and Henry Sayler, near Mecklenburg; and Captain Joseph Hager, at Reynoldsville. James Stillwell and family moved in the same year. William Spaulding, Jr., the eldest son, settled on the southeast corner of lot 28, and raised a family of six children. Thomas, the second son, settled on the northwest corner of lot 48, and married Elizabeth Ayres in 1807. They had nine children, -- Richard, William B., Samuel, Mary, Elmer C., Lavina J., Harry, Daniel A., and Elias J. William B. married Amanda Howell, and owns most of the old homestead on lot 48. Samuel married Hannah Hausner, and settled on lot 37 in the town. Mary married Jacob Stillwell and had three children, and now lives in Ulysses. Elmer C. first married ____ Jones, by whom he had two children, -- Oliver J. and Abretta H. His wife died in 1874. He afterwards married Almira E. Owen, in 1876, and now resides in Mecklenburg.
Daniel A. married Jane Stillwell, and they had two children, Ira and George. George owns part of the old
PAGE 620 A
[Illustration]: Residence of Merritt C. Burd, Hector, Schuyler County, N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.
PAGE 620 B
[Photos]: Chester Benson; Mrs. Chester Benson. Photos by R.D. Crum
[Illustration]: Residence of Chester Benson, Hector, Schuyler Co. N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.
PAGE 620 C
[Photos]: Mordecai Carman; Mrs. Agnes Carman.
[Illustration]: Residence of Mordecai Carman, Mecklenburg, Schuyler Co. N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.
PAGE 620 D
[Photos]: Elnathan Wixom; Mr. Elnathan Wixom. Photos by Wm. Frear.
[Illustration]: Residence of Elnathan Wixom, Hector, Schuyler Co. N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.
homestead of his grandfather, on lot 29. He married for his second wife Hester Darling, and they now live near Reynoldsville. Lavina J. married Daniel Goldsmith, and had three children, and live in the town. Other sons and daughters of William Spaulding married, and live in other parts.
One of the most prominent men among the early pioneers of Schuyler county was Cornelius Humphrey. He was born in 1735, and was in the prime of manhood at the time of the breaking out of the Revolutionary war. He was a man who was possessed of a good education, and also became a ready speaker and quite distinguished in public life. He was elected to the Second Provincial Congress of New York in 1775, and served afterwards as colonel, under Washington. He was member of Assembly from 1779 to 1785, inclusive; also State senator three years, commencing with 1787, and was again member of Assembly from Dutchess County, in 1800 and 1801. On the first organization of the Board of Regents, in 1784, he was a member. He sold his property in Dutchess County, taking its value, $30,000, in Continental money. He waited long years for its redemption, and finally, seeing the earnings of his life lost, he abandoned all hope, and sought a home for himself in the western wilderness. He came to this town in 1802, and purchased the State’s Hundred, being the southeast corner of lot 58, one mile east of Mecklenburg, where he lived and died. Soon after the organization of Seneca County, in 1804, he was appointed county judge, and held the office for six years, and represented Seneca County, in the Legislature, during the time, in the year 1806-7. He was instrumental in founding the “Society of Friends” in Hector and Ulysses, though he was a Presbyterian. His daughter married Charles Carman, a Quaker. He died in 1812, aged seventy-seven years, with faculties unimpaired, as he was in the Legislature when seventy-two years old, and his term as county judge did not expire until he was seventy-five. A portion of the apple-trees which he planted is the only vestige remaining of the place on which he first located.
William Carman, the oldest son of Charles Carman, and grandson of Cornelius Humphrey, in the year 1807, visited his grandfather, and was so pleased with the country that he concluded to purchase the south half of lot 58, excepting the State’s Hundred. He was the first of the Society of Friends who settled in Hector. Charles Carman, his father, in 1810, with his wife and younger children, -- Elizabeth, Phila, Amy, and Morris, -- came in with three teams and a horse and carriage, and were three days on the road, coming by way of the Auburn and Geneva Turnpike. William sold his father’s 110 acres, and soon after bought the half of an adjoining lot, building nearly on the site of the present school-house of District No. 3. Thomas Carman’s present residence stands near where Charles Carman built. Cornelius Carman purchased the north half of lot No. 58, and his brother Richard settled on the same lot. Caleb Carman and his family came in 1811, and settled in what is now Perry City. The line between William and Charles passed a few feet east of the present residence of Thomas Carman, and the noble shade-trees in his yard sprang up in what was then the line fence. William Carman’s sons are Mordecai, Thomas, and Richard. His daughters are the wives of Elnathan and Parken Wixom. Cornelius Carman settled on the farm on the north half of lot 58, where Elnathan Wixom now lives, and who came into the town in 1828.
Richard Carman bought the south half of the same lot, where Mordecai Carman now lives, and was killed three years afterwards by a tree falling upon him, killing him instantly.
Joshua and Jesse Makeel came in the eastern part of the town, near Searsburg, about 1813. Each bought a military lot, -- Nos. 15 and 16.
Joshua had four sons. Aaron and William lived in the town. Jesse had five sons. Isaac and Abram V. reside here. A.V. Makeel is living at North Hector, and has represented his county as member of Assembly.
James Stillwell, in 1801, came from Ulster County, and settled on the Corners, and on the road that has been known as Stillwell Street. Isaac Stillwell came in 1807, on the farm where Stephen and Morgan Stillwell now live. He removed to Caroline, Tompkins Co., in 1814, and died there at eighty-two years of age. Many of the families of the Stillwells are living in the town.
Richard Sutfin, about 1800, came from the State of New Jersey, and rented land first at Peach Orchard. In 1816-17, bought the farm where Peter O. Sutfin, his grandson, lives.
Robert Curry came from Lodi, Seneca Co., in 1799, where he had lived five years. He settled on lot No. 2, where Mr. Wardner lives. He drove his cattle from there on the Indian trail, and sent his wife up in a scow. At the time he came, John Livingston, Benjamin Gilmour, and James Gilmour, father of David, were living here, Benjamin living in a log hut where F. F. Chandler’s house now stands. Garrett Clawson settled on the north town line and raised a large family of children, who are living mostly in Lodi. Many of the family are buried on the old homestead.
Benjamin Coddington was a solider of the Revolution. In 1803 he came to this State from New Jersey, having emigrated from England, and settled in the northeast part of this town, on land now owned by the heirs of Le Roy Baker. His son, John M. Coddington, was born in Fishing Creek, Northunberland Co., Pa., in 1787; came here with his father; remained with him until June, 1806, when he started for West Bloomfield, Ontario Co., intending to work by the month for Jasper Sears, leaving here with his wardrobe and provisions in his knapsack, and only three sixpenny pieces in his pocket for the expenses of the entire journey.
The first night he arrived at Seneca River, paid a ferry-man a sixpence for carrying him across, and remained overnight with him, sleeping up-stairs on the floor. He resumed his journey next morning, and passed through Geneva, then a small hamlet, and reaching the State road, followed it to Canandaigua. There he bought a lunch, consisting of gingerbread and a glass of beer, which cost him another sixpence, and arrived at his destination the second night. He worked for Mr. Sears until the latter part of September, when he returned home, and remained
here until 1810, working for whom he could and by the job.*
He then settled on the farm where he now lives, having contracted for fifty acres of land in 1807, paying $4 per acre. He was married Feb. 22, 1810, to Sally Owen, and moved into a little log cabin without either door, window, or upper floor, until 1826, when he built the house he now occupies.
He, with his boys, cleared up the farm of one hundred and seventy-five acres, which was heavily timbered with pine, oak, and maple. He owned at one time all but sixty acres of land between his house and Mecklenburg, -- a distance of two miles. He took his chances in four different drafts in the war of 1812, and escaped each time. In the first years of his residence here, they went to the mill at Goodwin’s Point, on the west shore of Cayuga Lake. His first wife died in 1864, at the age of seventy-five years, they having lived together fifty-four years. In 1871, he was married to Elizabeth, widow of Calvin Jewel, with whom he still lives. He has had a family of ten children, -- six boys and four girls; three sons and three daughters are still living. His first vote for President was cast for James Madison, and he has voted at every presidential election since, and has filled positions in town with honor to himself.
In 1840, in company with the Darlings, he went to Potter Co., Pa., deer-hunting, and stayed seven days, and brought home thirteen deer. In 1860 he made his last deer-hunt, at the age of seventy-three years. He still keeps the old rifle with which he has killed many a deer, and has repeatedly killed two deer at one shot. He is still living, in his ninety-second year.
General William Himrod came in the town in 1802, from Easton, Pa., and bought the south half of lot No. 55, afterwards known as “Himrod’s Settlement.” He raised a regiment of soldiers for the war of 1812, and died in 1813. His descendants are living in the town. Joel Reynolds bought the north half of lot No. 55. Timothy Scoville came from Chengago County in 1805, and settled first where J. B. Kinan now lives. He afterwards moved to Hector Hill, and bought 26 acres. His daughter, Olive, married Augustus Ely. His wife, Chloe, was one of the constituent members of the Presbyterian Church in Peach Orchard.
Augustus Ely bought 50 acres. The farm is now owned by his son, William B. Ely, and the heirs of Sheldon Barrett, who came into the town about 1828, from Connecticut. He was born in 1780; came to this town when forty-four years of age; remained a bachelor until fifty years old, and married a sister of Major Roscoe, of Starkey. He was a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church; one of the foremost in all benevolent works. They had three children, -- Joseph Barret, the oldest, living on the homestead. His only daughter married a Mr. Hurd, a missionary, and they went to India. He died in1876, in the ninety-seventh year of his age. Timothy Scoville died in 1846, eighty-seven years old. John Waldron died in Burdett, aged ninety years; probably the Deacon Waldron of whom Mr. Wickham bought the oxen, about 1792, as noticed in his life.
These records are found in the Presbyterian Church book, in possession of William B. Ely.
John Kinan emigrated from New Jersey in 1809, located lot No. 2, and returned home. The following spring he came in with his wife and three children. Thomas Kinan and his wife came the same year. Daniel P. Budd, with a family (wife, four boys, and two girls), also came in 1810, and located on lot No 2. Representatives of these families still reside in this town. Joseph Potter, in 1814, settled on the farm where Hon. A. V. Makell now lives. They lived at Aunt Betsey Budd’s until their log house was built. None of this family are living here at this time. Mr. Potter was an elder in the Presbyterian Church. Sullivan D. Hubble, in 1807, settled on lot 64, where Charles Rathbone now lives, and the orchard now on the farm was set out by him in 1808. John Proper came from Ulster County in 1810; located on lot 28, in the north part of the town; bought 128 acres, for $6 per acre Five of his sons are living in town. Albert E. Proper is living on the homestead. Peter Woodward was captain in the Revolutionary army, and drew for his services lot No. 96. He died in New York, and Mrs. Woodward and four children came to this town in 1817; Richard, the oldest son, remaining in New York to study law. He, however, came on about two years later, and lived and died on the homestead. Harriet H., a daughter, married Dr. Edmund Brown, who came from Cortland County in 1821, settled in Burdett, and followed his profession six or seven years, and removed to Buffalo, where he practiced nine years, and carried on a wholesale and retail drug business; after which he returned, and spent the remainder of his days, and died Feb. 18, 1874, aged seventy-four years; having been an elder in Park Church, Buffalo, and the church in Burdett for the period of thirty-six years. Mrs. Dr. Brown is living at Burdett. Her father was the Rev. Amos. Fowler, a Presbyterian minister, who was pastor forty-seven years over a congregation in Guilford, Conn.
William Martin settled in what is now Ithaca, and in 1812 removed to this town with his wife and three children, where Adam Snyder lives. June 4, bought 100 acres on lot No. 79. Archer Martin, a xon, lives on part of the farm.
Thomas and David Sears came into what is known as Searsbury [Transcriber’s Note: Searsburg], after 1805. Their descendants are still living here.
Christopher Smith came from Morris Co., N.J., and settled in the north part of the town. He had five sons. John came before his father, and took up land across the road from one Skinner, and married his daughter.
Joseph Jewell moved to Durham, Greene Co., N.Y., from Salisbury, Conn., and from that place to Hector, in 1813, in company with Zerah Carter and Abiel Gardner
* He chopped an acre of land for one of the neighbors, receiving for his services three fox-skins, and at Colonel Camp’s store, in Trumansburg, sold them for one dollar apiece, taking in exchange three yards of cambric, at one dollar per yard, and had a shirt made of it by his aunt. When finished, he asked her price of making; she replied, “The usual price is the same as a yard of the cloth.” He had just one silver dollar, and he was left penniless.
PAGE 622 A
[Photos]: Mrs. A. L. Snyder; A. L. Snyder. Photos by R.D. Crum
[Illustrations]: View of Seneca Lake from residence. Residence of A. L. Snyder, Hector, Schuyler County, N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.
PAGE 622 B
[Photos]: Mrs. James Hazelitt; James Hazelitt. Photos by R.D. Crum
[Illustration]: Residence of James Hazelitt, Hector, Schuyler County, N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.
PAGE 622 C
[Photos]: Samuel Warren; Mrs. Samuel Warren. Photos by R.D. Crum
[Illustration]: Residence of Samuel Warren, Hector, Schuyler Co. N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.
Their route was along the Catskill and Ithaca road, and by Applegate’s Corners, in Enfield. Mr. Jewell located on the south part of lot No. 33, about half a mile east of Logan, where his son-in-law, A. O. Armstrong, lives. Land, at that time, cost $5 per acre. The war of 1812 was still in progress, and drafts for the army were frequent. At last he volunteered, after having, at different times, under the drafts, drawn, for himself and others, fourteen blanks. The war had come to a close before he was mustered into service.
Ebenezer and Elias Jewell, brothers of Joseph, moved into the town, and located near their brother, after the war closed. They soon afterward moved West. Rev. Joel Jewell, son of Joseph Jewell, lives at Columbia Cross-Roads, Pa.
Abiel Gardner settled in the valley, on the south part of lot No. 43, near the present residence of James Bond. He had a large family. William, a son, resides about three-fourths of a mile east of Logan. Zerah Carter located on the hill above Logan.
The following is taken verbatim from notes furnished C. T. Andrews, county historian, by Rev. Joel Jewell, and gives an account of the settlements at that time:
“In 1813 there were little patches cleared at the following places, between Reynoldsville and Peach Orchard. For the first mile and a half from Reynoldsville, the path followed the gully east of the present road, which was not opened until 1823. The first clearing was that of Timothy Scovill. North of him was one Gillen. West of the “Backbone,” Mr. Burroughs had a cabin, on the northeast part of lot No. 43, where George Auble lives. North of him lived Simon Boardman. Then came the log house of Elias Case, a few rods east of Logan, and just below the present residence of John Velie. Charles Everts, father of Alfred Everts of the Reading House in Watkins, kept a tavern at Logan, and Harmon Kingsley had just commenced blacksmithing and drumming in the same place. Three-fourths of a mile west Jonathan Slocum had commenced a clearing, where Harry Ely (2d) now lives, and half a mile farther on, one McCann was laying the foundation of the place long occupied by Samuel Pruden. Robert Armstrong, father of Annin, had a place on the north side of the road, just above the Lake Road. An excellent spring of water still attests to the wisdom of his location. A building on the farm now occupied by George Howell, on lot No. 32, was occupied by transient families. North of this a dense wilderness extended for two miles, to the block schoolhouse. A man by the name of Bumpass had made a clearing at this point. He was followed by Adee, who settled south of him, and he by Deacon German, who settled farther south and west. South of Logan Daniel Everts was living on the southeast part of lot No. 32, where his widow still resides. Jacob Hager was located at the present residence of his son-in-law, A.C. Tracy. His brother, Peter Hager, had a house in the fields, east of the present road, and on the farm now occupied by C.D. Smead. Farther south were Jabez Smith, Brickley Monell, Willcox Buckbee, and Mowbry Owens.”
Zalmon Barber*, brother of Elihu, came from Otsego County, in 1817; settled on the farm now occupied by Parvis Elston. Zalmon, his son, lives at Mecklenburg. Abner Treman, of Trumansburg, built a grist-mill on the creek at Mecklenburg, assisted by John Mears and James Bowley, who came in town in 1812, and located three hundred acres, where Wallenbeck now lives. Calvin Treman, son of Abner, came from Trumansburg, and settled here, and died Oct. 18, 1849. His grandsons are merchants in the village.
Religious services were held in this old log mill, and preaching by Elders Reynolds and Sturtevant, Baptist ministers.
Ashbel Treman, a brother of Calvin, came in soon after. He died here, Nov. 14. 1837. His widow is living at Ithaca. His sons are the “Treman Bros.,” of Ithaca.
Wm. Jaycox came from Ogdensburg, and built a large tannery across the creek, at Mecklenburg; married a daughter of Robert Swartout, who was an early settler, and located where J.F. Stillwell lives. He lived here several years, and moved West, where he died in 1842. His sons own large breweries in Syracuse.
Reuben Wood came from Vermont in 1814; rented the woolen-mills at Hector Falls, of Samuel Seely, who came from Orange County some years previous, and built the mills there.
George, the son of Reuben Wood, came from Hector Falls to Mecklenburg in 1828, and went into partnership with Calvin Treman in a woolen-mill.
Thomas Searles came from Putnam Co., N.Y., in 1814, and settled where John Stillwell now owns. Henry Jeffries married Searles’ daughter, and came with Searles and settled on the same farm Cornelius Jeffries, his son, now lives on, on the hill west of Mecklenburg.
Thomas Coon came from Somerset Co., N.J., in 1817, and settled on the farm now occupied by Charles W. Davis. He was peddling hats through this region in 1807, when there were but two log houses in Burdett, and he stopped with Samuel W. Seely, at Hector Falls, that being at that time the business point in that part of the town. Mrs. Coon was the daughter of William Clark, and was born in Chambers Street, opposite City Hall Park, New York City, in 1790, and remembers picking whortleberries where Canal Street now is. William Coon, a son of Thomas, now living at Burdett, represented the second district of Tompkins County as member of Assembly before the division, and Schuyler County in 1869-70.
James Thompson and John Mackey came from Orange County in 1817; each bought 100 acres, -- Thompson where States lives, and Mackey where his son Joseph lives. Thomas W. Thompson, son of James, lives on the Nathaniel Owen farm, which he bought in 1842, and on the farm of 146 acres he has about 2000 rods of stone drain. Daniel Thompson, also a son of James, settled on a farm near Burdett, where he now lives. John W. Matthews, in 1820, came from Connecticut, with his wife, and bought a part of the Nathaniel Owen farm, -- 100 acres, -- paying therefor $1300. Mrs. Thomas W. Thompson is a daughter, and is living on the farm her father bought.
Deacon Henry Geman settled in the town before 1810. William
Barber, of Dutchess County, settled in 1813, where F. G. Barber, his son,
lives. Phineas Bennett bought 300 acres for $3 per acre, at Bennettsburg,
(continued on page 624)
* Page 623 Transcriber’s Note: Zalmon “Barber” appears to be a typo or mistake. These individuals were Zalmon and Elihu Barker.
1828, parts of lots 71 and 72. He was originally from Chenango Co., N.Y., but had lived at Ithaca several years. Mrs. Martin Keep and Mrs. Mary Benson are daughters, and are living in the town. Martin Keep came from Cortland Co., N.Y., in 1832, purchased 500 acres on lot 72. Martin and Caleb Keep, his sons, are living near the old farm.
Jacob Banker, about 1820, removed from Putnam County to this town, and purchased 400 acres where Jacob, his grandson, now lives. There was an acre or two cleared at the time he came in that was supposed to have been cleared by the Indians. He had four sons and three daughters. Isaac, his son, lives at Burdett. Hannah, wife of Jacob, was a daughter of John Smith, of Seneca County, one of the early settlers in that county.
M.J. Jaquish, in 1823, emigrated from Delaware Co., N.Y., and settled where Augustus Manning lives. He now lives at Burdett. His last wife is Julia, daughter of Jabez Smith. Dr. Henry Fish was born in Vermont, in 1800, and moved, with his father, to Groton; studied medicine with Dr. Mead, of Milan, Cayuga co. Came to Mecklenburg in 1821, and commenced the practice of his profession. At that time the village was nearly surrounded by forests for many miles, and contained a grist-mill, store, blacksmith-shop, log hotel, and five or six log houses. The principal inhabitants were Calvin and Ashbel Treman, William Jaycox, Joshua Morgan, and Zalmon Barker. He was a skillful and judicious physician, enjoyed the confidence of the entire community, both as a physician and a man, and had a large practice. He was called to many offices of trust and responsibility, and was the first member of Assembly from Schuyler County, and was supervisor many years. He had nine children, one of whom is Dr. Wm. H. Fish, now living at Mecklenburg, and who has served his county and town as member of Assembly and supervisor. Dr. Henry Fish died in 1873, when seventy-three years of age. He was stricken with paralysis in 1869, after which time he was mostly confined to his rooms until his death.
The primitive houses were built of unhewn logs for walls, the roofs being made of clapboards, held down in tiers by heavy poles, as they used no nails. The floors were made of logs, split and hewn. The battens of the doors were made of ash, and fastened by wooden pins. The window was a hole cut in the side of the house, and frequently curtained by a table-cloth, secured in its place by forks. Their door-latches were of wood, raised by a tow or leather string, which could be drawn in at night. When the latch-string was out it signified that the family would willingly entertain their coming guests, thus giving rise to the expression applied to hospitably-disposed people, -- “Their latch-string is always out.”
The first settler in the town was one whose name even is unknown. He came from Orange County with his wife and child in the summer of 1790, and built a hut in the locality where Burdett now stands. He removed to the eastern part of the State in the summer of 1791. The first permanent settler was Wm. Wickham, who arrived with his family on the third day of May, 1791, coming down the lake in a canoe to the point on lot No. 40. They climbed the hill, and commenced a clearing on Sullivan’s Road, and built there the first log house, a few rods south of the present residence of Mr. M. L. Wickham.
He kept the first tavern at this place. Nov. 2, 1800, he was drowned while crossing the head of a lake, and was buried in about the middle of his farm. Cortwright Matthews dug the grave. This was the first death and burial of the white people in the town. Mrs. Wickham, shortly after his death, built the first frame house in town. It is still standing on lot 40, on the east side of the road, and is occupied by Mr. K. Foster.
Charles Everts built the first frame barn, near the school-house.
William Wickham, Jr., is said to have been the first white man to raise peaches on the Lake Road.
The first school-house was built of logs, where Peach Orchard now is, and John Livingston was the first teacher. He was also a surveyor. The first wedding in the town was at Judge Grover Smith’s house. The contracting parties were Betsey Livingston, daughter of John Livingston, and Stephen Pratt, a mason. Mr. J.A. Wager, who lives a little west of Logan, is a descendant, his mother, Mary Pratt, being a daughter of Stephen and Betsey Pratt.
The first white male child born in the town was the seventh child
of Richard Ely, and who was born Jan. 21, 1796, and was named Hector, in
honor of the town. His son, Hector Ely, lives on the Lake Road, near
the old homestead.
Richard Ely built the first tannery, which was a small affair. He had nothing to grind his bark in, and he thrashed it with a flail. The first pair of shoes, probably, made in town were made by him, in 1794, for Amanda, daughter of Reuben Smith, using for an awl a one-tined fork.
Richard Ely Smith, a grandson, and still living at Burdett, remembers when he went to school with rags tied on his feet for shoes, and wearing his mother’s dress-waist for a coat.
A log saw-mill was built by Reuben Smith in 1795 or ’96, on the creek at Peach Orchard. In 1801, Samuel A. Seely erected a cloth-mill at Hector Falls, and in 1805 a log grist-mill. The stone that was used is still there, is in the possession of Mr. Mattison, and is about two and a half feet in diameter. Prior to the building of this mill, all grain that was ground, except by that primitive mill, the hollowed-out stump and wooden pestle, was taken by canoe to Hopetown, on the outlet of Keuka Lake. This mill was built about 1800.
The first store was kept at Hector Falls, by John B. Seely.
The first religious gathering, as far as can be learned, was at McIntyre’s Settlement, in 1805. The first church organization was the Presbyterian, and was constituted Sept. 10, 1809, and the first church edifice was erected in 1818, at Peach Orchard, by the Presbyterian Society.
The first post-office was established near what is now Peach Orchard, and was called Hector Post-Office, Jan. 1, (continued on page 625)
PAGE 624 A
[Photos]: John Proper; Albert E. Proper Photos. by J.E. Hale, Trumansburg.
[Illustration]: Residence of Albert E. Proper, Hector, Schuyler County, N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.
PAGE 624 B
[Photos]: Alexander Morgan; Margaret Morgan. Photos. by R.D. Crum
[Illustration]: Residence of Alexander Morgan, Hector, Schuyler County, N.Y. Lith. by L. H. Everts, Philada.