Joseph Smith: (Illustrations & Photos)   |   Joseph's New York (Maps & Images)   |   Great Bend links


( 1869 )

( 1872 )

( May 1877 )

( 1880 )

( July 1880 )

( 1885 )

( 1895 )

( Apr. 1904 )

( May 1904 )

( 1957 )

( 1973 )

( 2000 )

Ontario County  |  Wayne County  |  Seneca County  |  Index

From: Gazetter and Business Directory of Chenango County, N.Y.
by Hamilton Child
(Syracuse: Office of The Journal, 1869)

                                      CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                       63


This County was formed from Herkimer and Tioga, March 15, 1798. Sangerfield (Oneida Co.) was taken off in 1804, and Madison County in 1806. It is situated in the interior, a little south-east of the center of the State, and is centrally distant ninety-four miles from Albany, and contains 898 square miles. The surface is a hilly upland, broken by the deep ravines of the streams. Two ridges of highlands extend through the County from north-east to south-west, the first lying between Unadilla and Chenango Rivers and the second between the Chenango and Otselic. These main ridges are subdivided by numerous parallel and lateral valleys, whose declivities are often too steep for profitable cultivation. The summits are broad and rolling, and present a fine plateau of nearly uniform elevation throughout the County, The highest points are from 600 to 800 feet above the principal valleys.

Susquehanna River flows south-west through the south-east corner, receiving as tributaries Unadilla River and numerous other smaller streams. The Unadilla forms the principal part of the eastern boundary of the County; its tributaries are Beaver Creek, Shawler, Great and Kent Brooks. Chenango River flows in a southerly direction, from the north border to near the center, and thence south-westerly to the south-west corner. From the east its tributaries are Handsome Eddy, Padgets and Pages Brooks, and from the west, Canasawacta, Fly Meadow, Ludlow and Genegantslet Creeks, and Pleasant, Fly, Cold and Mill Brooks. Otselic River flows through the north-west corner in a south-west direction, receiving from the east, Middletown Brook and Brackel Creek, and from the west, Manus, Buck and Ashbel Brooks and Mud Creek. Numerous ponds are interspersed among the hills, in basins, far above the valleys of the streams. The valleys of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers are among the finest in the State. They consist of fine intervales, about a mile in width, highly cultivated

64                                       CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                      

and bordered for the most part with finely wooded hillsides. The valleys of the County appear to have been formed by the action of large currents of water, which have plowed deep furrows in the gently rolling region which probably once formed the general face of the County.

The following description of the County is taken from the Oxford Gazette of 1823, furnished by H. R. Mygatt, Esq,:
"The principal part of the County lies in the region of what is called the Grand Alleghany Ridge of Mountains; its surface is therefore elevated and hilly; the hills run generally in a northeasterly and south-westerly direction, and are separated by valleys of moderate width. The Susquehanna River runs across the south-east corner of the County and opens a wide and beautiful valley of intervale land of superior quality, extending from the south-east line of the County to the mouth of the Unadilla River, winding a distance of about fourteen miles. The hills on the sides of the river are precipitous and lofty, approaching almost the character of mountains, and formerly were thickly covered with the towering and majestic white-pine, so justly styled the pride of the American forest. This valley, with a slight interruption, continues up the Unadilla River to the north line of the County, presenting a tract of uncommonly fine and fertile land, particularly adapted to the cultivation of grain. It is of various width, expanding towards the west as you proceed up the river.

"At the distance of a few miles west of this valley, lie the elevated towns of Coventry, Guilford, the eastern section of Greene, Oxford, Norwich, Sherburne, the w^estern parts of New Berlin and Columbus, The soil of this range ot highlands is loam, intermixed with gravel, stony and hard to till, but is exceedingly fertile in grain and grass, and richly rewards the plowman and grazier. The forest trees are beach, maple, birch, ash, elm, linden, chestnut, oak, poplar, tulip, hemlock, with less pines than are found on the hills near the river. West of this range of hills opens the charming valley of the Chenango, formed by the river and its numerous branches. This river, having at its source an east and west branch uniting at Sherburne, rises in Madison County, near the head waters of the Oriskany and Oneida Creeks, and flowing in a south-westerly direction, winds through the whole extent of Madison and Chenango Counties, part of the County of Broome, and falls into the Susquehanna at Binghamton or Chenango Point, This delightful valley, for the beauty of its winding stream, its richly fringed margin of highly cultivated fields, its gentle and graceful slopes, its easy and varied acclivity, its picturesque landscapes, mellowed with all the variegated hues of verdure, is scarcely surpassed by any section of the United States, In this far reaching valley are situated the pleasant and flourishing villages of Binghamton, in

                                      CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                       65

Broome County; Greene, Oxford, Norwich and Sherburne, in Chenango County, and Hamilton, in Madison County. Beyond this valley, to the westward, commences another and yet higher range of most excellent farming lands. No better grazing lands can be found in any region in the same latitude than are found in the towns of Smithville, Preston, Plymouth, Smyrna, McDonough and Pharsalia. This is abundantly proved by the numerous herds of fine cattle and the flocks of sheep that are every year driven from these towns to our different markets. The degrees of comfort, independence and wealth which are hence derived to the farmers of these towns, are facts that speak for themselves, and are the best evidences of industry and the excellence of the soil. The forest trees of this range are similar to those east of the valley of the Chenango, on the Guilford range. The towns of Pharsalia, Otselic and German, are principally watered by the Otselic and its numerous branches. This stream runs through the north-west corner of the County and falls into the Tioughnioga, in the town of Lisle, Broome County, The lands on the Oiselic and its branches are of a superior quality, better adapted to the cultivation of grain than the Preston range. The whole surface of Chenango is beautified and enriched with innumerable springs, brooks and rivulets of the purest water, affording desirable sites for mills of almost any power or description ; and the saw mills have heretofore produced immense quantities of lumber for Baltimore, Philadelphia and other Southern markets."

The lowest rocks of the County belong to the Hamilton group, which appear along the north border. Above these, the Tully limestone, Genesee slate, the Portage, Chemung and Catskill groups appear successively towards the south part of the County. The sandstone of the Portage group furnishes a good material for building and for flagging purposes. Several quarries have been opened along the valley of Chenango, betw^een Greene and Oxford. A little below Oxford is a quarry from which grindstones and whetstones are obtained. The summits of the hills in the south part are crowned with the red sandstone of the Chemung group. The soil of the various parts of the County is composed almost wholly of the disintegrated rocks in the vicinity. In a few localities drift is found to a limited extent. Upon the hills the soil is chiefly a shaly loam, and in the valleys a fine quality of alluvium, very productive.

The County is engaged chiefly in agriculture. Dairying is the leading department, and is gradually increasing and gaining upon all other branches. Stock and wool are raised to some extent, and grain is also produced, but is subordinate to the dairy, and the quantity raised is not sufiwient to supply the wants of the people. Hops are cultivated along the river valleys.

66                                       CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                      

The County Seat is located at Norwich. The Court House is a fine stone building, located near the center of the village and fronting on the Public Square. It is built in the Grecian style of architecture, with a colonade in front. The Jail is a stone building contiguous to the Court House, and the Clerk's Office is a fire-proof brick building on the same Jot. The courts were at first held at Hamilton (now Madison Co.) and at Oxford. From the formation of Madison County in 1806 until 1809, the courts were held alternately at Oxford and North Norwich. March 6, 1807, an act was passed locating the County Seat at Norwich. This act authorized the Supervisors of the County to select a permanent site for a Court House and Jail within one mile of the residence of Stephen Steere, Esq., in the village of Norwich. Mr. Steere then resided where the Hughson House now stands. To defray the expense of buildings and site the Supervisors were authorized to levy a tax, not to exceed five thousand dollars, upon the free holders of the County, one-half of which was to be collected the first year and the remainder the second year. While the subject was under consideration, Peter B. Garnsey, Esq., gave to the Commissioners about one and a half acres of land upon which to erect the County buildings. This land was the same as that upon which the present Court House stands, and includes the spacious green in front, upon the west side of Main street. About the time Mr. Garnsey made the donation of land just mentioned, Stephen Steere, Esq., made a similar donation to the village, of the spacious green cast of Main street. Those who contracted to build the Court House claimed to have lost money in the operation, and the Legislature to relieve them, authorized a further tax of $1,500 to be raised in the County and paid to them as an indemity for their loss, making, the whole cost of the building $6,500. The Court House was built and first occupied in 1809. The present Court House was built in 1837, under the direction of William Randall, William Knowlton and Erastus Lathrop, Commissioners. The present Jail was erected in 1830, at a cost of $2,000. It is a two story building, containing cells for the prisoners and a house for the Jailor. The first county officers were Isaac Foot, First Judge; Joab Enos and Joshua Leland. Judges; Oliver Norton and Elisha Payne, Assistant Justices; Uri Tracy, Sheriff; Sidney S. Breese, Clerk, and John L. Mercereau, Surrogate.

The County Poor House is situated upon a farm in the town of Preston, about six miles west of Norwich. The whole number of paupers relieved or supported at the Poor House for the year ending November 2d, 1868, was 128, of whom 83 were town paupers and 45 County paupers. The whole amount of expenditures for the support of the poor for the year was $5,138.77. The cost per week of supporting each county pauper, exclusive of clothing

                                      CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                       67

and transportation, was $1.13, The cost of supporting each town pauper per week was $.653.

The first Court of Common Pleas held in Chenango County was convened at the school house in Hamilton, in June, 1798. The first business transacted was the admission of Thomas R. Gold, Joseph Kirkland, Nathan Williams, Stephen O. Runyon, Nathaniel King, Arthur Breese, Peter B. Garnsey and Medad Curtis, to practice as attorneys and counselors in this Court. The second term was held in Oxford, in October, 1798; and after this the Courts were held alternately at Oxford and Hamilton, until the formation of Madison County. The Court met three times a year to transact county business. The Judges were authorized to open the Court on Tuesday, but not to hold beyond Saturday of the same week. The first Circuit Court was held July 10, 1798, at which Justice Kent, afterwards Chancellor, presided.

One of the most remarkable trials that has ever taken place in this County was in 1812. General David Thomas was indicted for an attempt to bribe a member of the State Senate from this County. Great interest was manifest in the trial and a very large number of citizens assembled to witness the proceedings. Judge William P. Van Ness, presided. Thomas Addis Emmet, the Attorney General, conducted the prosecution in behalf of the State. Some of the most eminent counsel in the State were arrayed in this trial. Many witnesses wore examined and numerous documents read in evidence. The trial occupied about fifty hours and resulted in the acquittal of the accused.

The public works of the County are the Chenango Canal, extending along the valley of Chenango River, through Sherburne, North Norwich, Norwich, Oxford and Greene, connecting Utica and Binghamton; the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad extending through Bainbridge and Afton, in the south-east corner, and connecting Albany and Binghamton; and the Utica, Chenango & Susquehanna Valley Railroad extending through Sherburne and North Norwich to Norwich, and connecting the last named place with Utica. The New York, Oswego and Midland Railroad, now in process of construction, is located through Sherburne, Norwich and Guilford, and is designed to open a direct communication between Oswego and New York. A railroad has also been surveyed from Norwich to DeRuyter, and thence to Auburn, and another is in prospect from Cortlandville to Norwich. The Chenango Canal crosses the river below Earlville, below Sherburne and below Greene, on wood aqueducts, supported by stone piers.

The Chenango Canal is so important a work, and so large a part of it is in this County, a sketch of its history will not be oui of place in a work like this. As early as 1834: the inhabitants of the Chenango Valley petitioned the Legislature for a survey of a canal

68                                       CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                      

connecting this valley with the Erie Canal. The Canal Committee reported favorably, but the report was not acted upon, as the session was drawing to a close. In 1825 a law was passed authorizing a survey; and in 182G a petition was presented fur its construction, and the Canal Committee of the Assembly made a favorable report, but the House, thinking the survey had not been sufficiently minute and accurate, rejected the bill. During the summer of 1826 the inabitants procured another survey of the summit level, and at the session of 1827 a bill for the construction of a canal passed the Assembly but was rejected in the Senate. In 1827 the citizens procured another survey of the whole line. Mr. Roberts, an able engineer, was employed, and he came to the conclusion that a sufficient supply of water could be procured, and that the work could be constructed for less than one million of dollars. This opinion was concurred in by several other eminent engineers. In 1828 a bill for its construction again passed the Assembly and was again rejected by the Senate. The application was renewed in 1829, but the objection was made that the State could not safely proceed under a survey that was not authorized by the Legislature, and a bill was passed authorizing its construction if it could be done for one million dollars, if there was sufficient water and if it would yield, when constructed, a revenue for ten years, including the increase of tolls on the Erie Canal, equal to the cost of repairs and the interest of the cost of construction. The Commissioners reported that the canal would cost more than a million of dollars, and the enterprise was again supposed to be killed. In the meantime the population was increasing, villages were springing up and the products of the soil were becoming more abundant. Another effort was made, and on the 23d of February, 1833, an act was passed to construct a canal from Utica to Binghamton, ninety-seven miles. The work was commenced in 1833 and completed in 1837, at a cost of one million, seven hundred and thirty-seven thousand, seven hundred and three dollars. It was constructed with one hundred and fourteen lift locks, two of which were of stone, the others were of wood and stone, culled composite. From Utica to the summit it rises 706 feet, by 70 locks, and from this to Binghamton it descends 303 feet, by 38 locks. The canal is supplied by the Chenango Eiver and six reservoirs, all of which are in the south part of Madison County. There was great rejoicing along the valley when the bill authorizing the canal became a law. Among the early and efficient friends of this measure were John F. Hubbard, William H. Maynard and Henry A. Foster, for many years State Senators; John Tracy, of this County, and Reuben Tower, Moses Maynard and many others. Mr. E. B. McCall, of Oxford, a surveyor and civil engineer, was an early and active participant in the construction of the canal. It is said that he once

                                      CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                       69

made a survey of the M'hole line of the present canal and that the levels were proved to be correct when the canal was completed.

There are seven weekly papers published in this County.

The first paper published in the County was The Western Oracle, by Abraham Romeyn, at the Four Corners, in Saerburne, in 1803. It was a single octavo sheet, containing very few advertisements and but little news. Its pages were chiefly occupied by public documents relating to our affairs with France. It was discontinued in 1808 or 1809.

The Olive Branch was started at Sherburne in May, 1806, by Phinney & Fairchild. In 1808 John F. Fairchild became sole proprietor. _____ Miller, Lot Clark and John B. Johnson were successively interested in its publication until 1812 or 1813, when Mr. Johnson changed its name to

The Volunteer. In 1816 John F. Hubbard purchased the press and commenced the publication of

The Norwich Journal. In 1844 it passed into the hands of LaFayette Leal and J. H. Sinclair, who merged it into the Oxford Republican in October, 1847, and changed the name to THE CHENANGO UNION. January 1st, 1854, Leal sold his interest to Harvey Hubbard, and the paper was published by Hubbard & Sinclair until September, 1859, when Sinclair sold to Hubbard, who continued its publication until his death in 1862. June 1, 1863, John F. Hubbard, Jr., became proprietor, and continued its publication until July 1, 1868, when he sold to G. H. Manning, the present publisher.

The Chenango Patriot was commenced at Oxford, in 1807, by John B. Johnson, and its publication continued three or four years.

The President was published in 1808, by Theophilus Eaton.

The Republican Messenger was started at Sherburne in 1810, by Pettit & Percival.

The Oxford Gazette was started in 1814, by Chauncey Morgan, who published it several years, when it was sold to George Hunt and subsequently to Hunt & Noyes. In 1826 Mr. Noyes again became proprietor, and after a few years the paper was discontinued.

The People's Advocate was started at Norwich, in 1824, by H. P. W. Brainard. It subsequently passed into the hands of William G. Hyer, and was discontinued after a short time.

The Republican Agriculturalist was started December 10, 1818, by Thurlow Weed. It soon after passed into the hands of Curtis, who continued it for a short time, when it was discontinued.

The Chenango Republican was started at Oxford, in 1826, by Benjamin Corey. In 1828 it was purchased by Mack & Chapman, and March 3, 1831, William E. Chapman & T. T. Flagler commenced a new series and soon after changed its name to

70                                       CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                      

The Oxford Republican. In 1838 Mr. Chapman became sole proprietor. During the next few years it was successively published by J. Taylor Bradt, Benjamin Welch, Jr., R. A. Leal, C. E. Chamberlin and LaFayette Leal. In 1847 it was merged with the Norwich Journal and published as the Chenango Union.

The Anti-Masonic Telegraph was commenced at Norwich, in November, 1829, by E. P. Pellet. In 1831 B. T. Cook becamee associated in its publication, and its name was subsequently changed to

The Chenango Telegraph. In 1840, on the death of E. P. Pellet, it passed into the hands of his brother, Nelson Pellet; and upon his death, in 1851, it was conducted for the estate by E. Max Leal and F. P. Fisher. In September, 1855, it was purchased by Rice & Martin, by whom it was continued until November 10, 1805, when it was united with

The Chenango Chronicle, started August 19, 1864, by Rice & Prindle, and the united papers were published as the

TELEGRAPH AND CHRONICLE. Berry & Kingsley are the present proprietors.

The Chenango Patriot was commenced at Greene, in 1830, by Nathan Randall. It subsequently passed into the hands of Joseph M. Farr, who changed its name to

The Chenango Democrat, and in a short time it was discontinued.

The New Berlin Herald was commenced in 1831, by Samuel L. Hatch, in 1834 it was published by Randall & Hatch. Soon after it passed into the hands of Isaac C. Sheldon, and afterwards into the hands of Hiram Ostrander, who changed its name to

The New Berlin Sentinel. It was discontinued about 1840.

The Chenango Whig was published at Oxford a short time, in 1835.

The Miniature, a small monthly, was issued from the same office.

The Sherburne Palladium was commenced in 1836, by J. Worden Marble. In 1839 it was removed to Binghamton.

THE OXFORD TIMES was commenced in 1836, by a joint stock company. It was for some time conducted by H. H. Cook. In 1841 it passed into the hands of E. H. Purdy & C. D. Brigham. In 1844 it was published by Waldo M. Potter; in 1845 by Potter & Galpin; and in 1848 J. B. Galpin became sole proprietor and has continued its publication to the present time.

The Bainbridge Eagle was started in 1843, by J. Hunt, Jr. In 1846 its name was changed to

The Bainbridge Freeman ; and in 1849 it was merged in

The Chenango Free Democrat, which was commenced at Norwich, January 1, 1840, by Alfred G. Lawyer. J. D. Lawyer soon

                                      CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                       71

after became associated in its publication, and it was in a short time removed to Cobleskill, Schoharie County.

The New Berlin Gazette was commenced in 1849, by Joseph H. Fox and M. E. Dunham, and was published about one year.

The Chenango News was commenced at Greene in 1850, by A. T. Boynton. J. M. Haight soon after became associated in its publication, and subsequently became sole proprietor. He removed the press to Norwich and, in connection with A. P. Nixon, commenced the publication of

The Temperance Advocate, in 1855, and published it one year, when it was discontinued.

The Saturday Visitor was commenced in 1852, by Joseph K. Fox, and its name was soon after changed to

The Social Visitor, after which it was published about five years.

The Spirit of the Age was commenced at New Berlin in 1852, by J. K. Fox; J. D. Lawyer, editor. It was published only a short time.

The Oxford Transcript was commenced in 1853, by G. N. Carhart, and was published about six months.

The Sherburne Transcript was commenced in 1855, by James M. Scarritt, and was published about two years.

THE CHENANGO AMERICAN was commenced at Greene, September 20, 1855, by Demison & Fisher. Denison & Roberts are the present publishers.

The Daily Reporter was commenced at Norwich in 1857, by G. H. Smith. In 1858 it was purchased by Rice & Martin, and was soon after discontinued.

The Literary Independent was commenced at Norwich in 1858, by a company of gentlemen connected with the Academy, and was published about four months.

THE NEW BERLIN PIONEER was commenced February 19, 1859, by Squires & Fox.

THE BAINBRIDGE LEDGER was started in 1866. The present publisher is G. A. Dodge.

THE CHENANGO DEMOCRAT is published at Oxford, by E. J. Watson.

The territory embraced in this County includes eleven of the "Chenango Twenty Towns," or "Governor's Purchase," the "Gore," lying between these and the Military Tract, a part of the "Chenango Triangle Tract" and several smaller tracts which will be described hereafter. The "Twenty Towns" were ceded by the Oneida Indians to the State in a treaty made by Governor George Clinton, at Fort Schuyler, September 22, 1788. At the organization of the County it included all of the Twenty Towns, but in 1806, on the organization of Madison County, two tiers of townships upon the north were included in that County. These townships

72                                       CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                      

ships were originally numbered from one to twenty, and were laid out about six miles square, or more accurately, five hundred chains, or as near to that as circumstances vyould admit. Those numbered from seven to seventeen are now in this County. Otselic comprises the seventh township, Smyrna the eighth, Sherburne the ninth, North Norwich part of the tenth, Plymouth the eleventh, Pharsalia the twelfth, McDonough the thirteenth, Preston the fourteenth, Norwich parts of the fourteenth and fifteenth, New Berlin the sixteenth and parts of the tenth and fifteenth, and Columbus the seventeenth. Owing to the sinuosities of the Unadilla River, several gores were left along its banks. Between these townships and the Military Tract on the west, was a Gore, purchased by the Holland Land Company, and including the towns of Lincklaen, Pitcher and German in this County. The Surveyor General was instructed to erect a monument at the termination of the outlines of each township, and also at the termination of every fifty chains between them. Each township was divided into four equal parts, as near square as possible, and afterwards into lots of 250 acres each, the lines dividing the lots passing through the monuments already mentioned. A copy of the map and the field book, containing a description of the soil, timber, creeks, &c., in the respective towns were ordered to be placed on file in the Secretary of State's office for public inspection. On the map of every township one lot "was to be designated " Gospel " and another "School," these two lots to be located as near the center of the township as convenient and to be reserved for religious and educational purposes respectively. The act authorizing the survey of this territory required the (Commissioners, assisted by the Surveyor General, to select five townships of choice lands to be sold only for gold or silver, or to redeem a certain stock which the State had issued in the form of bills of credit. The price at which the land was to be sold was to be such as to insure a ready sale and secure the greatest revenue to the State, but no portion of this tract was to be sold for less than three shillings per acre. The land was advertised for sale in the public prints of the cities of New York and Albany, three months previous to the sale. Owing to the tardy circulation of the notice and the great distance that people of the frontier must travel, over bad roads, to reach the place of sale, New York City, the land fell into the hands of speculators who compelled the actual settlers, in many instances, to pay twenty shillings per acre instead of three or four, which they themselves had paid. In addition to the advance in the price of the land sold, the original purchasers could select for themselves the most valuable portions, and in a few years become very wealthy. The terms upon which purchases were made of the State were one-fourth of the price down and the remainder in six months, but by reference to the bids sent

                                      CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                       73

in and accepted by the Commissioners we learn that these terms were not invariable. When an application for a town was accepted the applicant received from the Surveyor General a certificate of purchase, which entitled him to a patent under the great seal of the State, when all payments were adjusted. In addition to the price paid for the land purchased of the State, the purchaser was required by law to pay the State officers certain fees, in conformity to the following scale: To the Commissioners of the Land Office, for patenting a township, the purchaser paid three pounds ; for patenting half a township or any number of acres exceeding a half and less than the whole, two pounds; for a tract less than half a township, one pound was paid, and for a single lot of 250 acres, eight shillings were paid the Commissioners. The Secretary of State was allowed the same fees as the Commissioners. The first patent granted was dated December 2d, 1792, and was made to Leonard M. Cutting, and covered the fifteenth township, or parts of Norwich and New Berlin. The certificate of purchase was dated the 2d of November of the same year. The second certificate was dated November 3d of the same year, and covered the fourteenth township and was granted to Melancthon Smith and Marinus Willett, and included 7,049 acres. Mr. Cutting also purchased the eleventh township, and Robert C. Livingston the seventh, in 1793. William S. Smith purchased the eighth and ninth townships, April Gth, 1793, and received his patent April 16th, 1794. The tenth was purchased by James Talmadge and Ezra Thompson, and the thirteenth by Thomas Ludlow and Josiah Shippey, in 1793. The sixteenth and the seventeenth townships were purchased by John Taylor, Feb. 2d, 1793, and patent issued February 14, 1797.

That part of the town of Oxford lying west of the Chenango River was called the Gore, and was originally purchased by Melancthon Smith and Marinus Willett, and subsequently divided into sixty-nine lots of about one hundred acres each. Guilford, that part of Oxford lying east of the river, and a small part of the northeastern portion of Coventry, was included in " Fayette Township," a part of the purchase made of the Indians in 1785. This township was originally divided into 100 lots of 640 acres each, and patented to various individuals. South of the tract last mentioned was " Clinton Township," originally divided into 100 lots of 640 acres each. A tract of 16,000 acres was granted to Robert Harper, Jan. 4, 1787, and by him sold to various persons, and is known as the Harper Patent, and now constitutes the east part of the town of Coventry. The remainder is included in the towns of Bainbridge and Afton, a part of which was included in the Vermont Sufferers' Tract. This was granted to relieve those persons who had purchased lands of the State of New York, within the present limits of Vermont. This territory was claimed by New York and New

74                                       CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                      

Hampshire, and after a long and angry discussion, New York surrendered her claim and Vermont became an independent State. The "Township of Greene" embraced the oast part of the present town of Greene and the west part of the town of Coventry, and was divided into lots of G40 acres each, 16,138 acres of which were granted to Walter Livingston in 1788. The remainder, embracing 15,835 acres, was granted to Malachi Treat and William W. Morris, in 1787 or 1788, and was called the "French Tract." The remaining part of the County was included in what was called the "Chenango Triangle," which included the town of Smithville and a part of the town of Greene. This tract was granted to William Hornby, of England, and was managed by his agents.

The settlements of this County commenced about the year 1786, by immigrants from the New England States, but the settlements were few and small for a number of years. The want of roads was a source of great embarrassment to the pioneers of this as well as of other portions of the newly settled territory. Those who came from the borders of Pennsylvania often followed up the Susquehanna and the Chenango in canoes, while those whq came from New England and the eastern part of this State, came by land, often following the Indian trails through the almost impenetrable forests. The scarcity of food was sometimes a source of great distress to the settlers before they had sufficient land under cultivation to supply their ever increasing demands. In 1792 a colony of French, from France and St. Domingo, seeking a refuge from the horrors of the French Revolution, settled in the town of Greene. They purchased a tract of 15,000 acres of land, on the east side of Chenango River, of William W. Morris and Malachi Treat, but their leader having been drowned and the colonists fixiling to pay for their land, it reverted to the original owners, and the colony dispersed, all except Captain Juliand leaving for other parts.

The Chenango County Agricultural Society was organized in 1846 and its first Fair was held at Norwich in October of the same year. The fairs of the next two years were also held at Norwich, and the following ones at Oxford and Sherburne respectively. In the summer of 1851 the Society resolved to have a permanent place for holding their fairs, and for this purpose leased for a term of years a lot of five acres in the village of Norwich, upon which they erected a Floral Hall, and around which a track, about onethird of a mile in extent, was laid. From this time until 1864, inclusive, the fairs were held on these grounds. In 1865 the managers changed the site to another part of the village and secured a lot of fourteen acres, upon which is an excellent trotting course of half a mile in extent. Old Floral Hall was taken down and reconstructed and enlarged, making it one hundred and six feet in length. The first fair upon the new grounds was held in the fall of 1865

                                      CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                       75

and was a decided success. After paying all expenses of removing Floral Hall and erecting new pens, the balance in the treasury of the Society amounted to $550.00. In June, 1866, a fair was held for the purpose of exhibiting horses. This was an experiment but a successful one. The ferniers exhibited some very fine horses and the receipts of the Society were over 11,000. The fair of 1860 continued five days, on account of the rain, which came down almost unceasingly from Monday noon until Friday night. The receipts were much less than usual, but considering the weather the result was as good as could well be expected.

In several localities in this County artificial mounds of great antiquity have been discovered, indicating that at some remote period this region was inhabited by a race of beings who were subsequently dispossessed of their territory by the Oneidas and Tuscaroras. One of the most remarkable of these ancient remains of a departed race was found in Oxford. The following account is condensed from a paper written by DeWitt Clinton in 1817: On the east side of the Chenango River, in the center of the village of Oxfird, there is a piece of land containing two or three acres which is about thirty feet higher than the adjoining flat land around it. This rise of land lies along the river banks, and upon the southwest portion there appeared an ancient fort, containing about threefourths of an acre. The fort was semi-circular in fjrm, nearly straight along the river. The curve was a ditch regularly dug, excepting two spaces of about ten feet each at each extremity, which were probably left for ingress and egress. Although the ground upon which this fort was situated was as heavily timbered as any in the vicinity, the line of the ditch could be distinctly traced when the town was first settled by the whites. The distance from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the embankment was about four feet. The antiquity of this fort is further indicated by the fact that the dead trunk of a pine tree, fifty or sixty feet in height, stood upon the embankment, and on being cut, one hundred and ninety-six concentric circles or grains could be distinctly counted, though the sap wood was too far gone to admit of the grains being counted. This tree stood upon the top of the embankment and its roots conformed to its outline and that of the ditch, showing conclusively that it must have grown up after the ditch was dug. The tree must have been two hundred years in growing, and it might have stood another hundred after its growth ceased. The situation was a very eligible one for a fortress, being on high ground and commanding a view of the river for a considerable distance north and south. Bones and some implements of rude pottery have been found in the vicinity of the fort. Oxford was a favorite resting place for the Indians, and there was another some miles south.

The favorite resort of the Indians of this region was the Indian

76                                       CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                      

fields, about a mile below the creek bridge in Norwich. The plain occupied by the village of Norwich was also a favorite resort. It was dry and interspersed with numerous springs. In this vicinity the natives had cleared the land and had also cut clearings on the Unadilla River. The Indians have a tradition that a powerful chief once took possession of the fort at Oxford and for many years held possession in spite of the Oneidas. At length the Oneidas managed to get between him and the fort, when he ran down the river about six miles, to Warner's Pond, where he concealed himself but was at length killed. This chief was called Thick Keck, and the notorious Abrani Antone is said to have descended from him. Flint arrow heads of very large size have been found in the vicinity of Norwich, and hatchets carved out of stone have been discovered upon the banks of the Unadilla. In the town of New Berlin, adjacent to the Indian fields of Otsego County, gun barrels, stone tomahawks, arrow heads and human skeletons have been plowed up, indicating that a severe battle had been fought there. At Padgets Brook, about four miles below Oxford, were breastworks which appeared to be Indian fortifications. They are circular and consist of about twenty-five different embankments running into each other. A few years ago many Indian graves were broken in upon in the village of Oxford, while laying pump logs. The beds of the graves were lined with cobble stone, resembling in many respects the pavements in our city streets. About two miles south of the village of Greene there was a remarkable mound at the time of the first settlement of this region. Before the mound was dug down or plowed over, it was about six feet above the surfiice of the ground and forty feet in diameter, being nearly circular. There was also a large pine tree standing in the center, which although dead when cut down, showed 180 years growth. In 1829 an excavation was made into the mound and a large number of human bones were found, and lower down, bones that appeared to have been burned. There were also found about 300 arrow heads lying in a heap, cut after the usual form, and all either of yellow or black flint. As there is no rock of this kind in this part of the State, these arrow heads must have been brought from a distance. In another part of the mound there were found about sixty, made of the same form as those just mentioned. A silver band or ring was also found, about two inches in diameter, very thin and wide, the remains of what appeared to be a reed pipe lying within it, leading some to suppose that it was the remains of some kind of a musical instrument. Stone chisels of various shapes were also found, apparently fitted for different kinds of work.

During the later years of the residence of the Oneidas in this County, a tragical scene was enacted a short distance below Norwich. A young Oneida had paid his addresses to a beautiful

                                      CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                       77

squaw of the same tribe, and had gained the consent of the parents, who were accustomed to decide such things, though the fair one's affections were bestowed upon another. He succeeded in carrying the maiden to his wigwam, but she soon escaped with her more cherished lover. The husband pursued them, and while they were hacked in the embrace of sleep, entered their apartment, took the life of his rival and inflicted severe wounds upon his fugitive wife. For this he was tried by a council of his tribe and acquitted without even entering the plea of insanity, as would have been done in our more enlightened and christian age....

(under construction)

                                  GAZETTEER  OF  TOWNS.                                   81


AFTON was formed from Bainbridge, November 18, 1857. It is the south-east corner town of the County. The surface is a rolling upland, separated into two nearly equal parts by the broad valley of the Susquehanna. The highest summits are from 300 to 500 feet above the valleys, and the gradually sloping hill sides are very productive. The Susquehanna flows through the town, near the center, in a south-west course. Its valley is broad and beautiful, and among the most productive in the State, Kelsey's and Harper's Brooks are the principal tributaries from the north. Pratt's Pond is a beautiful sheet of water containing an area of about forty acres, and situated about one mile north-east of the village. It is twenty-five feet above the surface of the river and has no visible outlet. The soil upon the hills is a shaly loam, and in the valleys a clayey loam and alluvium.

Afton, (p. v.) situated upon the Susquehanna River, near the center of the town, is a station on the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad, and is distant from Albany 114 miles and from Binghamton 28. It contains four churches, viz., Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal and Universalist; two district schools, three hotels, half a dozen stores, two furniture and cabinet shops, a tub factory, a spoke factory, a sash and blind factory, two wagon shops, several other mechanic shops of various kinds, and about 400 inhabitants.

Bettsburg, situated in the south part of the town, contains a store, a hotel, a blacksmith shop, a wagon shop, a gristmill and about a dozen dwellings.

Elnathan Bush and his family commenced a settlement on the

82                                       CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                      

Susquehanna River, below the village of Afton, in 1786; here he remained until 1790, when he removed to Bainbridge, where he died. This was probably the first settlement within the present limits of Afton. They were originally from Connecticut, but had previously located in Otsego County. They removed from Cooperstown down the river in canoes. Among the other early settlers were Seth Stone, Nathaniel Benton, Isaac Miner, Hezekiah Stowell and sons, Orlando Bridgman and sons, and Ebenezer Church and sons, from Vermont. The last three families were "Vermont Sufferers," or persons who had purchased land in Vermont under titles from New York, which were subsequently declared invalid. This land was appropriated to them instead of that from which they had been driven.

The first child born was William Bush, in 1786, and the first death that of _____ Polly. Nathaniel Church taught the first school in 1790, and Asa Stowell kept the first inn, in 1788. The first store was kept by Peter Betts in 1805, and the first saw mill was built on Kelsey's Brook by David Cooper and Isaac Miner. The first church was organized in 1802, by Rev. Daniel Buck.

Joe Smith, the founder of Mormonism, operated quite extensively in this town and vicinity during the early years of his career as a prophet. Smith was born in Sharon, Windsor Co., Vermont, December 23d, 1805. When about ten years of age he removed with his parents to Palmyra, Wayne County, N. Y. The reputation of the family was very bad and Joe was considered the worst of the whole.
Somewhere about 1828 or 1829, Smith made his appearance in Afton and attended school in District No. 9. Here his supernatural powers manifested themselves by telling fortunes or "foretelling futurity." This was done by placing a stone in his hat and then looking into it drawn over his face so as to exclude the light. He first organized a society at the house of Joe Knight, on the south side of the river, near the Lobdell House, in Broome County. Excavations were made in various places for treasnres, and rocks containing iron pyrites were drilled for gold. Previous to digging in any place a sheep was killed and the blood sprinkled upon the spot. Lot 62 was the seat of one of these mining operations. To convince the unbelievers that he did possess supernatural powers he announced that he would walk upon the water. The performance was to take place in the evening, and to the astonishment of unbelievers, he did walk upon the water where it was known to be several feet deep, only sinking a few inches below the surface. This proving, a success, a second trial was announced which bid fair to be as successful as the first, but when he had proceeded some distance into the river he suddenly went down, greatly to the disgust of himself and proselytes, but to the great amusement of the unbelievers. It appeared on examination that plank

                                      CHENANGO  COUNTY.                                       83

were laid in the river a few inches below the surface, and some wicked boys had removed a plank which caused the prophet to go down like any other mortal. After pretending to heal the sick, cast out devils, &c., he gained quite a number of followers, but at length came to grief by being prosecuted as an impostor. He was tried before Joseph P. Chamberlain, a Justice of the Peace. Two pettifoggers by the name of John S. Reed and James Davison volunteered to defend him. Three witnesses were examined on the occasion, all of whom testified that they had seen him cast out devils. They saw "a devil as large as a woodchuck leave the manand run across the floor." One of them saw a devil leave the man and "run off like a yellow dog." These witnesses were Mr. Knight and son, and Mr. Stowell, all of whom subsequently went west with Smith. Preston T. Wilkins, of Ashtabula County, Ohio, lived in Broome County, near the line of Afton, at the time of the Mormon excitement, and while on a visit to a Mormon family learned that there was a chest of Mormon Bibles in the barn, that it was guarded by an angel, and that it would be utterly impossible for any one to steal one of them. Mr. W. prepared a key that would unlock the chest, and taking one of their Bibles carried it home in the evening and placed it over the front door, so that it would fall into the house on opening the door. The result was what he anticipated and the Mormons declared that an angel had brought the book and of course Mr. W. and his wife would become converts at once. The Mormons had been laboring for some time to convert Mrs. W. and had caused her much anxiety and her husband considerable trouble, which he wished to end. They would never acknowledge that one of their books was missing. Some time afterwards Mr. W. explained the miracle of the Bible and informed the Mormons that they must keep away from his house as he would no longer listen to their impositions. About 1831 most of them went west where the saints had been commanded to assemble.

The Suspension Bridge across the Susquehanna River at the village of Afton is one of the finest structures in the State. The length of the span is 362 feet and it is supported by six cables, 558 feet in length, each composed of 132 wires. The height of the towers is 36 feet and the arch of the bridge four feet. On the east side is an approach bridge 70 feet in length. The suspending rods are five-eighths of an inch in diameter, attached to needle beams four feet a part. The weight of the bridge is 100 tons; the carrying weight is 240 tons. The roadway is sixteen feet wide, and a railing four and a half feet high extends the whole length. The cables were manufiictured at Trenton, N. J. The contractors of the bridge were G. W. & J. V. V. Fishler, of Wellsburgh, Chemung County, N, Y. ; James Crowell, master builder. It is double...

(under construction)

From: Gazetter and Business Directory of Broome and Tioga Counties, N.Y.
by Hamilton Child
(Syracuse: Office of The Journal, 1872)

                                      BROOME  COUNTY.                                       61


BROOME COUNTY was formed from Tioga, March28, 1806, and named in honor of John Broome of New York, who was then Lieut. Grov. of the State, and who acknowledged the compliment by presenting the County with a handsomely executed silver seal, appropriately designed by himself, emblematical of the name. Berkshire and Owego were annexed to Tioga County, March 21, 1822. It is situated near the center of the south border of the State, centrally distant 110 miles from Albany, and contains 706 square miles. Its surface is greatly diversified, consisting of rolling and hilly uplands, broad river intervales and the narrow valleys of small streams. The hills extend from the Pennsylvania line northerly through the County. They are divided into three general ranges by the valleys of the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers. The first range, lying east of the Susquehanna, forms the east border of the County. Its highest summits are 400 to 700 feet above the Delaware, and 1,400 to 1,700 feet above tide. The declivities of the hills are usually steep, and the summits spread out into a broad and hilly upland. This ridge is divided by the deep ravines of a large number of small streams, and in several places it rises into peaks. The second ridge lies in the great bend of the Susquehanna, and is bounded by the valleys of that river and the Chenango. The highest summits are 300 to 500 feet above the Susquehanna, and 1,200 to 1,400 feet above tide. The hills are generally bounded by gradual slopes, and the summits are broad, rolling uplands. The southern portion of this ridge is high above the valleys ; but towards the north the hilly character subsides into that of a fine rolling region. The third ridge lies west of the Chenango and Susquehanna rivers. Its summits are a little less in elevation than those of the second ridge; and the general characteristics of the two regions are similar. The wide valley of the Susquehanna divides it into two distinct parts, the southern of which is more hilly than the northern. The hills in the central and western parts

62                                       BROOME  COUNTY.                                      

of the County are rounded and arable to their summits. The narrow valleys that break the continuity of the ridges are usually bordered by gradually sloping hillsides.

The geological formation of the County is so exceedingly simple that it scarcely received notice in the report of the geological and mineralogical surveying party of the State at an early day. It possesses little attraction to the scientist. The principal rock is graywacke, which is found lying in strata, in a nearly horizontal position, in all the hills and in the beds of the largest streams, and which forms the basis of the mountains. All the rocks are included in the Chemung and Catskill groups. The former -- consisting of slaty sandstone and shales -- occupies all the north and west portions of the County; and the latter -- consisting of gray and red sandstone, red shale and slate -- crown all the summits in the south and east portions. Much of the more level portions of the surface is covered to a considerable depth by depositions of sand, gravel, clay and hardpan. The rocks crop out only upon the declivities and summits of the hills. The valleys throughout the County give evidence of having been excavated by the action of water, whose currents exerted a force immensely greater than any which seek the ocean through these channels at the present day. Their origin is referred by geologists to the drift period -- a time when the gorgeous hillsides which now aflford so many attractive homes, were inundated, and the productive vales pulverized and prepared by the mighty agencies then at work for the occupancy of man. Weak brine springs were early found, extending for several miles along the valley of Halfway Brook in the north part of the County. Sulphur and other mineral springs are found in various parts of the County. Several excavations for coal have been made, but without success,

                                      BROOME  COUNTY.                                       63

as all the coal measures are above the highest strata of rocks found in the County. It is believed that the County has no valuable minerals, or at least none in sufficient quantity to render them profitable. Traces of copper and nickel are supposed to have been found at Osborne Hollow, but too little is known regarding it to warrant an assertion. The principal streams are the Susquehanna, Delaware, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Otselic rivers; Oquaga, Okkanum, Nanticoke, Little Snake, Big and Little Choconut, Castle, Yorkshire, Bradley, Tracy and Kattel creeks; and Halfway, Page and North brooks. *

* The Susquehauna, having its rise in Otsego Lake, enters the County at Nineveh, on the north line of Colesville, passing in a southerly direction throvigh that town and Windsor, and leaves the County near the southeast corner of the latter town. After forming the great bend in Penn. it again enters the County on the south line, and runs in a north-westerly direction to the north of Conklin, forming the division between that town and Kirkwood, when it turns and flows nearly due west through the town and city of Binghamton, forming the dividing line between Union and Vestal, and leaves the County on the west border, on the line of these two towns. Passing nearly its entire length through mountainous country, whose prominences are ofttimes abrupt and irregular, it is subjected to frequent changes in its course; and though this feature detracts from its value for navigable puposes, it adds vastly to the beauty of the country adjacent to its banks. In its upper course through the County its valley is contracted and rendered narrow by the high and steep declivities through which it meanders; but further west it expands into broad intervales, skirted by gradually sloping hillsides. The usually placid surface of its clear, sparkling waters, the gently receding banks, dotted with the evidences of thrift and industry and mechanical ingenuity, and crowned with the alternating foliage of the forest and cultivated field, combine to present the picture of rare and quiet beauty for which it is so celebrated. This picture is varied at intervals by its more wild and rugged aspects, which develope a romantic beauty, at times approaching the sublime. In Smith's history of Virginia, the name of this river is written Sasque-sa-luiyi-nough; and by Mr. Morgan, in the Onondaga dialect, Ga-wa-no-wa-nch. This last name, says C. P. Avery, in a paper on The Susquehanna Valley, which appears in The Saint Nicholas of March, 1854, is pronounced as follows: "The first and third a pronounced as in the syllable ah; the second one as in fate; the fourth as in at." The Delaware forms the southern portion of the east boundary of the County, commencing at the village of Deposit, and flowing in a south-east direction, through a deep, rocky valley, bordered by steep and often precipitous hills.

The Chenango enters the County on the north line, a little east and north of Chenango Forks, and pursuing a southerly direction, forming in its course the boundary between the towns of Chenango and Feiitou, augments the Susquehanna, with which it unites near the southern limits of the city of Binghamton. In the north part, the valley of this river is hemmed in by high ridges; but in the south it expands into abroad inter-vale. It has a uniform descent of five or six feet to the mile, and is free from rapids and sudden turns.

Upon Guy Johnson's map of 1771, this river is named Ol-sir-nin-qoo; upon DeWitt's map of about the year 1791, Che-nen~go; and in Mr. Morgan's work, O-che-nang. -- The Saint Nicholas, March, 1854, p. 412.

The "Indian name," says French, in his State Gazetteer, is "O-nan-no-gi-is-ka, Shagbark hickory," the second and fifth syllables m the name being accented.

64                                       BROOME  COUNTY.                                      

The soil along, the river intervales is generally very fertile, consisting of deep, sandy and gravelly loam, mixed with disintegrated slate and vegetable mold. The narrow valleys of the smaller streams are also fertile. The soil upon the north and west hills consists principally of gravelly loam intermixed with clay and disintegrated shale, and is well adapted to grazing. The declivities of the south and east hills are similar to the last in character, but their summits are generally covered with clay and hardpan. The large proportion of upland and the unevenness of the surface render this County best adapted to pasturage. While all branches of agriculture are pursued,

The Tioughnioga enters the County on the north, from Cortland county, and flows in a south-east direction, through the east part of Lisle, the south-west corner of Triangle and diagonally (from north-west to southeast,) across the town of Barker, until it unites with the Chenango at Chenango Forks. Its valley is very narrow, being bordered by high and steep hills.

"This name is formed from Te-ah-hah-hogue, the meeting of roads and waters at the same place." -- Spafford's Gazetteer of New York, 1813, p. 176.

The Otselic also enters the County from the north, and like the Tioughnioga, into which it empties at Whitneys Point, flows through a narrow valley, through the west part of Triangle. Oquaga Creek enters the County on the north line of Sanford and flows south through the center of that town to McClure Settlement, when it turns east and empties into the Delaware at Deposit.

By the early missionaries this creek was called Onuh-huh-quah-geh, and by the Iroquois, now in Canada, it is so pronounced. Upon an early map it is named O-nogh-qua-gy. -- The Saint Nicholas, March, 1854, p. 413.

Okkanum Creek, which flows east through the north-west part of Windsor; Nanticoke Creek, which flows south through Lisle, Nanticoke, Maine and Union, nearly to the south-west corner of the latter town; Little Snake Creek, which rises in the south-east corner of Vestal and flows east through Binghamton and Conklin; Big and Little Choconut Creeks, the former of which rises in Penn. and flows north-west through the center of Vestal, and the latter, in the north-west part of Chenango and flows south through the south-east part of Maine, north-east part of Union, crossing in a south westerly direction the north-west corner of Binghamton, and westerly through the south-east corner of Union; and Tracy Creek, which rises in Penn. and flows north through the west part of Vestal, are tributary to the Susquehanna. Castle Creek, which rises in the south-west part of Barker and flows south through Chenango; Kattel Creek, which rises in the north-east part of Chenango and flows south through that town; and Page Brook, which enters the County near the center of the north line of Fenton and flows south-west, are tributary to the Chenango. Yorkshire Creek, which enters the County from Cortland County, in the north-west corner of Lisle, and flows south-east through that town; and Halfway Brook, which also enters this County from Cortland, near the north-east corner of Triangle, and flows south through the east part of that town and to the north-east part of Barker, when it turns west, are tributary to the Tioughnioga. Bradley Creek, rises in the east part of Maine, through which town it flows, in a south-west direction, and empties into Nanticoke Creek a little south of Union Center, North Brook rises in the west central part of Sanford and pursues a south-east course to Oquaga Creek, with which it unites a little south of McClure Settlement.

                                      BROOME  COUNTY.                                       65

fruit culture, and stock and wool raising, in connection with the products of the dairy, form the leading interests. * Manufacturing is carried on to a limited extent at Binghamton and other places. A stronger disposition to engage in this branch of industry is manifest.

The County Seat is located at Binghamton, at the junction of the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers. Previous to the erection of this County, Binghamton (then Chenango Point) was a half-shire of Tioga County, and courts were held a part of the time at the house of J. Whitney, until 1803, in which year a court house † was erected. The County (Tioga) was divided into two jury districts in 1801. In 1828 ‡ an act authorizing the erection of a new court house passed the Legislature, and $5,000 were raised in the County for that purpose. § In 1857 the court house erected in 1828 was superseded by the present elegant structure, which is located at the head of Chenango street, fronting on Court street. || The County Clerk's office is a fire-proof building situated on courthouse square, adjacent to

* French's State Gazetteer.

† The first court house was located on the north-west corner of Court and Chenango streets, fronting on Court street. In size it was about 36x24 feet, finished in a plain and hasty style, and contained two log jail rooms, a room for the residence of the jailor below, and the court room above. It was afterwards moved across the road, and stood a little down from the top of Court house. -- Annals of Binghamton, p. 182.

The first county officers were: Gen. John Patterson of Lisle, First Judge; James Stoddard of Lisle, Amos Patterson of Union, Daniel Hudson of Chenango and Geo. Harper and Mason Wattles of Windsor, Associate Judges, (the last named two were added in 1807, the year following that in which the County was erected,) Ashbel Wells of Binghamton, County Clerk; and Wm. Woodruff, Sheriff. The first court was held on the second Tuesday in May, 1806, and the first cause tried under the authority of this County was between Amraphael Hotchkiss and Nathan Lane jr. -- a civil suit. The first criminal cause was the people against Ebenezer Centre.

Annals of Binghamton, p, 217. French says the first court house was superseded by the erection of a new one in 1826.

§ Ami Doubleday, Grover Buel and Geo. Wheeler were appointed commissioners to superintend the construction of the work.

|| This last building is ninety-six feet long and fifty-eight feet wide. The basement is built of stone and the upper stories of brick. A Grecian portico supported by four Ionic pillars, each six feet in diameter and thirty-six feet high, adds beauty and finish to the front. Its fine dome is surmounted by a statue of justice, whose evenly balanced scales, it is hoped, are a true symbol of the equity meted out in its courts. It contains the usual county offices, the rooms for which are large, convement and well ventilated. It was erected at a cost of $32,000.

66                                       BROOME  COUNTY.                                      

(under construction)

                                      BROOME  COUNTY.                                       67

(under construction)

68                                       BROOME  COUNTY.                                      

(under construction)

                                      BROOME  COUNTY.                                       69

There are ten newspapers published in the County; two dailies, one semi-weekly and seven weeklies.

The BINGHAMTON DAILY REPUBLICAN was started as The Daily Iris, in 1849, by Wm. Stuart and E. T. Evans. It was soon after changed to its present name and was published by Wm. Stuart alone, until 1864, when he leased it to Messrs. Carl Bros, and J. W. Taylor for five years. They, after publishing it about three years, sold their lease to Malette & Reid, the present publishers, who bought it of Wm. Stuart, April 1, 1867.

The BROOME REPUBLICAN was established at Binghamton, by Major Augustus Morgan, in 1823. It was published by him until 1824, by Morgan & Canoll until 1828, by Evans & Canoll, until 1835, by Canoll & Cooke until 1839, when it passed into

70                                       BROOME  COUNTY.                                      

the hands of Davis & Cooke. It was continued by Benj. T. Cooke until 1848, and by E. R. Colston until 1849. It subsequently became the property of Wm. Stuart, who published it until 1864, when he leased it for five years to Messrs. Carl Bros, and J. W. Taylor, who, after about three years, sold their lease to Malette & Reid, the present publishers, by whom the paper was purchased of Wm. Stuart, April 1, 1867, and by whom, in January, 1869, it was consolidated with The Binghamton Standard, and printed in connection with that paper as the Republican & Standard. July 4th, 1870, the two papers were disconnected and the original title, The Broome Republican, was resumed. It is published as a weekly.

The BINGHAMTON STANDARD & SEMI-WEEKLY REPUBLICAN was started as The Binghamton Standard in Nov. 1853, by J. R. Van Valkenburg, by whom it was sold to G. W. Reynolds, and by the latter to F. N. Chase. It was afterwards successively purchased by Alvin Sturtevant, M. L. Hawley & P. D. Van Vradenburg and, in Jan. 1869, by Malette & Reid, who consolidated it with The Broome Republican, and adopted a name embracing that of both papers, the Republican & Standard. July 4, 1870, itwas renewed as a separate paper, under its present name. *

The BINGHAMTON DEMOCRAT was started at Binghamton, as the Broome County Courier, in 1831, by J. R. Orton, who continued it until 1837, after which it passed successively into the hands of Sheldon & Marble, I. C. Sheldon, E. P. Marble, E. P. & J. W. Marble, and Marble & Johnson. In 1842 or '3, its name was changed to The Binghamton Courier & Broome Co. Democrat and was published by J. & C. Orton. It passed into the hands of Dr. N. S. Davis, in 1846, into those of J. L. Bnrtis in 1847, and its name was by him changed to the Binghamton Courier. Mr. Burtis sold it J. T. Brodt, who published it until 1849, when it passed into the hands of Hon. J. R. Dickinson, who changed its name to The Binghamton Democrat and published it until 1855, when he took W. S. Lawyer as a partner. This firm continued its publication until 1857, when Mr. Dickinson sold his interest. It was published by Messrs. Adams & Lawyer until the death of Mr. Adams in 1861, when it was continued by Mr. Lawyer alone until 1866, at which time his brother, G. L. Lawyer, was admitted to an interest. It is still published as a weekly by the Lawyer Bros.

The BINGHAMTON DAILY DEMOCRAT was commenced in 1869, by W. S. & G. L. Lawyer, and is still published by them.

* The Binghamton Daily Republican, The Broome Republican and The Binghamton Standard & Semi-Weehly Republican are issued from the same office by Malette & Reid.

                                      BROOME  COUNTY.                                       71

The BINGHAMPTON TIMES, weekly, was started by The Binghamton Times Association, April 6, 1871, and published by them until April 27, 1872, when it was purchased by A. L. Watson, who, on the first of August of the same year, took as partner Mr. E. H. Purdy and enlarged the paper from a quarto to a folio. It is now published by the firm of Purdy & Watson.

The DEMOCRAT LEADER, weekly, was started at Binghamton by A. W. Carl and E. H. Freeman, Sept. 10, 1869. Mr. Carl purchased Mr. Freeman's interest July 1, 1871, and still continues its publication.

The UNION WEEKLY NEWS was started as The Union News, in June 1851, by A. J. Quinlan, who published it until his death, in 1854, when it was purchased of the heirs by R. Bostwick, who continued it a short time and sold it to Cephas Benedict and E. M. Betts, by whom it was published about two years, when Mr. Benedict purchased Mr. Betts' interest and controlled it alone until 1866, at which time he sold it to E. C. & G. W. Mersereau, but continued its editor. Mr. Benedict repurchased it in 1867 and again sold it May 15, 1868, to M. B. Robbins, the present proprietor, who changed its name to that it now bears. It is an independent journal.

The DEPOSIT COURIER, weekly, was started in the spring of 1848, by M. R. Hulse, who published it five years, when it passed into the hands of his brother, S. D. Hulse, by whom its name was changed to The Deposit Union Democrat, and published seven years. In 1860 it passed into the hands of Lucius P. Allen, who changed its name to The Delaware Courier and its character to the advocacy of the principles of Republicanism. Mr. Allen published it seven years, when he sold it to Ambrose Blunt and Joshua Smith, who changed the name to that it originally bore, and now bears, and, after about two years, sold it to J. B. Stow. It was subsequently published by Charles N. Stow (son of J. B. Stow) and Adrian L. Watson. In March 1872, Mr. Watson retired and Mr. Stow continues its publication alone.

The LISLE GLEANER was commenced at Lisle, May 24, 1871, by Gilbert A. Dodge, who sold it, March 7, 1872, to Eugene Davis, the present publisher, by whom it was enlarged from a twenty to a twenty-four column paper. It is a weekly and is independent in politics. *

* The following is a list of obsolete papers published in the County: The American Constellation was started at Union, Nov. 23, 1800, by D. Cruger, as is shown by a copy of this paper now in the possession of Mr. Beebe of Owego, which is dated "Union, N. Y., Sept. 12, 1801," and marked "Vol. I, No. 43." It is generally supposed and admitted that this

72                                       BROOME  COUNTY.                                      

The first step looking to the settlement of the country adjacent to and partially included within the limits of this County, seems to have been taken in 1785, on the 28th of June of which year a treaty was held at Fort Herkimer between the Governor

paper was printed at "old Chenango," then located on the west bank of Chenango River, about one mile above Binghamton, as is asserted in the Annals of Binghamton, and, says Dr. Charles J. Seymour, in a letter dated Binghamton, Aug. 9, 1872, it was probably dated to correspond with the postoffice at Union, which, says Dr. Seymour, on the authority of a warrant issued by Postmaster General Habershaw, was established June 23, 1798, (Joshua Whitney being appointed postmaster,) at Binghamton, the station at which place was for several years called Union. French says this paper was published at Union Village, in 1800, but the assertion, as regards location, is believed to be unwarranted. How long this paper was published we have been unable to learn definitely, but there are indications that it was removed to Owego, and its name changed to The American Farmer, under which name alone, it is proper to say, Wilkinson refers to it. He says, after referring to The Broome County Patriot, which, he asserts, was the first paper printed in Broome County, "There had a paper circulated here, which was first printed in old Chenango, and afterward in Owego, called 'The American Farmer.' While issuing from the former place. It was conducted by Daniel Crugar; and while from the latter, it was conducted by Stephen Mack, afterward Judge of the County," who, it will be seen by referring to the history of The American Farmer, in the history of Tioga County, started that paper in Owego, though Stephen B. Leonard, the founder of The Owego Gazette, is of the opinion that The American Farmer was established and always published in Owego.

The Broome County Patriot was commenced in Binghamton in 1812, by Chauncey Morgan. In 1813 it was transferred to Dr. Elihu Ely and its name changed to

The Olio, under which title it was published one year, when it passed into the hands of Dr. Tracy Robinson, who changed its name to the Binghamton Phoenix. In 1815 Augustus Morgan became partner with Mr. Robinson and it was published by Morgan & Robinson until 1817, when Mr. Robinson's interest was purchased by Anson Howard. The firm then became Morgan & Howard and they published the paper one year, when Mr. Howard purchased Mr. Morgan's interest and continued it until 1819, when it was discontinued.

The Republican Herald was commenced in 1818, and successively published by Morgan & Howard and Abraham Bunell and Dorephus Abbey, until 1822.

The Evening Express, daily, was issued from the Republican office in 1848, by E. R. Colston, and was, after a short time, merged in the Republican.

The Iris, semi-monthly, was started in July, 1839, by C. P. Cooke. In July, 1841, it was purchased by Edwin T. Evans, who enlarged it and published it weekly until 1853, when it was merged in the Binghamton Republican.

The Binghamton Mercury was published a short time by Chester Dehart, as a semi-monthly.

The Susquehanna Journal was started in Oct., 1852, at Binghamton, by Rev. Wm. H. Pearne, and was merged in the Broome Republican in 1855.

The Broome County American was started at Binghamton in May, 1855, by Ransom Bostwick, in advocacy of the Know-Nothing principles, and lived but a short time.

The Binghamton Daily Times was published by J. R. Gould, about 1865 or '6.

The Binghamton Journal was started about 1870, by John E. Williams who published it about six months, when it was discontinued.

The Broome County Gazette was commenced at Whitney's Point in July, 1858, by G. A. Dodge, by whom it was published several years.

                                      BROOME  COUNTY.                                       73

(Pages 73-102 under construction)

                                      BROOME  COUNTY.                                      103

COLESVILLE was formed from Windsor, April 2, 1821. It lies upon the north border, east of the center of the County. Its surface is broken by an elevated ridge whose summits rise from 400 to 700 feet above the valley of the Susquehanna, by which it is cut in two. The Susquehanna and several small streams tributary to it are the only water-courses. The soil upon the river bottom is a deep, fertile, gravelly loam, while upon the summits of the hills it consists of clay and slate. It is generally much better adapted to pasturage than tillage. The town is traversed by the Albany & Susquehanna and the Delaware & Hudson Canal Co.'s railroads, both of which enter the town on the north line, at Nineveh, and pursue a circuitous course, the former in a general south-west direction and the latter along the valley of the Susquehanna. It covers an area of 47,283 3/4 acres, of which, in 1865, according to the census of that year, 29,696 1/4, were improved. The population in 1870 was 3,400. During the year ending Sept. 30, 1871, it contained thirty school districts and employed twenty-nine teachers. The number of children of school age was 1,218; the number attending school, 1,011; the average attendance, 472; the amount expended for school purposes, $6,948; and the value of school houses and sites, $9,090.

HARPERSVILLE (p. v.) is situated north of the center, about one-half mile west of the Susquehanna. It is about one mile

104                                      BROOME  COUNTY.                                      

south-west of the depot on the A. & S. R. R., at Nineveh, and is about one0half mile from the D. & H. Canal Co.'s R. R., in the same direction. It contains three churches, (Baptist, Episcopal and ___,) two dry goods stores, two drug stores, one grocery, one hardware store and tine shop, two cabinet ware rooms, one saw mill, a furnace and machine shop, a shoe shop, a merchant tailor's store, four blacksmith shops, three carriage shops, one harness shop, one hotel and 320 inhabitants.

CENTER VILLAGE (p. v.) is situated on the Susquehanna and the D. & H. Canal Co.'s R. R., a little east of the center of the town. It contains two dry goods stores, two grist mills, one saw mill, one lath mill, one carriage shop, two blacksmith shops, a tannery, a shoe shop, a harness shop, a wool carding machine, a hotel (now closed) and thirty houses.

NINEVEH (p. v.) is situated on the north line, on the Susquehanna and on the D. & H. Canal Co.'s and A. & S. railroads. It contains two churches, (Presbyterian and ____,) two dry goods stores, two carriage shops, three blacksmith shops, one cooper shop, one harness shop, a shoe shop and about 225 inhabitants.

DORAVILLE (p. o.) is located on the Susquehanna and on the D. & H. Canal Co.'s R. R. It contains a jewelry store, a grocery, a blacksmith shop, two cooper shops and about a dozen dwellings.

VALLONIA SPRINGS (p. o.) is located near the north-east corner of the town and on the line of the contemplated branch of the N. Y. & O. Midland R. R.

NEW OHIO, (p. o.) located in the north-west part, near the tunnel 4 on the A. & S. R. R., on which road it is a station, contains a telegraph office, two groceries, a blacksmith shop, a few dwelling houses and a church (M. E.)

NORTH COLESVILLE, (p. o.) located in the north-west corner, contains a grocery, a saw mill, a shoe shop and seventeen dwellings.

OUAQUAGA, (p. o.) situated on the Susquehanna, near the center of the south line, contains one church, (M. E.) one store, two blacksmith shops, a carriage shop, two shingle mills,

                                      BROOME  COUNTY.                                      105

two planing mills, two lath mills, one saw mill, a grist mill and twenty-three dwellings.

OSBORNE HOLLOW, located in the west part, on the A. & S. R. R., contains one church, one hotel, three groceries, two blacksmith shops, two wagon shops, one steam saw and feed mill and several dwellings.

WEST COLESVILLE, (p. o.) in the south-west part, contains a church, (Baptist,) a blacksmith shop, a shoe shop and a few dwellings.

COLESVILLE (p. o.) is located a little south of the center. It contains a Free Church.

John Lamphere, from Watertown, Conn., made the first settlement in 1785. He was followed by Lemuel and Nathaniel Badger and Casper Spring in 1786; Nathaniel and Vena Cole, Daniel Picket, J. Merchant, Bateman S. Dickinson, _____ Wilmot, Daniel Crofoot and Titus Humeston in 1795; John Ruggles and Isaac Tyrrell in 1796; and Eli Osborne and Peter Warn in 1800. The birth of Louisa Badger, which occurred May 28, 1788, was the first one in the town; the death of John Lamphere, which occurred the same year, was the first in the town; and the marriage of Benj. Bird and Mrs. John Lamphere, in 1794, was the first marriage. The first inn was kept by Benj. Bird, in 1794; and the first store, by Bateman S. Dickinson, in 1805. Job Bunnel taught the first school.

Religious services were conducted here by Rev. Joseph Badger as early as 1793, though it does not appear that his ministrations resulted in the formation of a church until 1799, in which year (April 15th) the St. Luke's Church, (Episcopal) at Harpersville, was organized. Their house of worship, which will seat from 300 to 400 persons, was erected in 1828, at a cost of $2,193, and was consecrated Sept. 28th of that year, by Rt. Rev. Jno. Henry Hobart, Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of New York. The first pastor, or missionary was Rev. Philander Chase; the present pastor is Rev. E. Dolloway. There are ninety members. The Church property is valued at $10,000.

106                                      BROOME  COUNTY.                                      

The First Baptist Church of Colesville, located at Harpersville, was organized with seven members in 1811, but their house of worship, which will seat 250 persons, was not erected until 1846. Its cost was $1,600. Elder Levi Holcomb was the first pastor; Rev. T. D. Hammond is the present one. The church property is value at $2,500. There are 105 members.

The First Methodist Church, of New Ohio, was organized by "Billy Way," in 1825, with eight members, and the Church edifice, which will seat 250 persons, was erected in 1844, at a cost of $800. The first pastor was Rev. Morgan Ruger; the present one is Rev. Chas. Shepard. There are twenty-five members. The church property is value at $1,500.

The Presbyterian Church of Nineveh was organized with thirty-five members, by Rev. M. Pratt, in 1831. The first Church edifice was erected in 1829; and the present one, which will seat 375 persons, and on which, in 1870, $4,000 was expended in enlargement and repairs, twenty years later, at a cost of $2,000. The first pastor was Rev. Willard M. Hoyt; the present one is Rev. Wm. H. Sawtelle. There are 180 members. The Church property is valued at $8,000.

The Baptist Church, at West Colesville, was organized with seven members, in 1846, and their Church edifice, which will seat 150 persons, was erected the following year, at a cost of $600. The present value of church property is $1,000. The first pastor was Elder A. B. Earle; the present one is Rev. Harvey Cornell. It has forty-one members.

The Ouaquaga M. E. Church was organized with forty-six members, by Dewitt C. Olmstead, in 1867, and their house of worship, which will seat 300 persons, was erected in 1868, at a cost of $3,000, which is the present value of Church property. Rev. Wm. Round was the first pastor; the present one is Rev. Wm. W. Andrews. There are fifty-two members.

The Colesville Free Church, located at Cole's Hill, is composed of twenty members, and is ministered to by Rev. Charles D. Shepard. Their house of worship 8 will seat 125 persons. The Church property is valued at $1,000.

                                      BROOME  COUNTY.                                      107

(under construction)

From: History of Chenango and Madison Counties by James Smith
(Syracuse: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1880)

[ 134 ]



Afton is situated on the south-east corner of the county and lies wholly within the original township of Clinton. It was formed from Bainbridge November 18, 1857, and derives its name from Afton Water, a small river in Ayrshire, England, immortalized

by the Scottish poet Burns. * It is bounded on the north by Bainbridge and Coventry, on the east by Delaware county, on the west and south by Broome county.

The surface is a rolling upland, separated into two nearly equal parts by the broad, beautiful and fertile valley of the Susquehanna, which crosses the town diagonally from north-east to south-west, and is one of the most productive in the State. The hills rise by long and gradual ascent to the height of 300 to 500 feet above the valleys. They are very productive and generally susceptible of cultivation to their summits. The principal streams other than the Susquehanna are Kelsey Creek and Harper Brook, which flow through the central part and empty into the Susquehanna on the north, and Bennett Brook, which flows through the north-east part and empties into the Susquehanna on the east, near the north line of the town. Pratt's Pond, situated about a mile north-east of the village of Afton, is a beautiful sheet of water. It is about a mile in circumference, elevated twentyfive feet above the surface of the river, and has no visible inlet nor outlet; yet its waters are pure and fresh, as if constantly changing. It "lies like a mirror, with its frame of sloping banks, grassy and clean on the south and west, while at the north-east there spreads out in beautiful undulations of surface a grove of second-growth chestnut, oak and pine."

The town is underlaid by the rocks of the Catskill group in which on the farm of Perry and Enos Ellis, about four miles east of Afton, a quarry was opened some five or six years ago from which good building and flagging stone is obtained. Another quarry on the Robert Corbin farm, also in the east part of the town, was opened some ten years ago.

The soil is a sandy loam and alluvion in the valleys, with some clay on the valley ridges; and a gravelly loam upon the hills. The soil in the river bottoms is very fertile, well adapted to corn, tobacco and hops. It is a dairy town, nearly every farmer keeping as many cows as his land will subsist. Dairying is carried on very largely in a private way.

The Albany and Susquehanna Railroad traverses the town in the valley and to the west of the Susquehanna.

The population of the town in 1875 was 2,237; of whom 2,193 were native, 44 foreign, 2,230 white, 7 colored; 1,140 males and 1,097 females. Its area was 28,369 acres; of which 17,582 were improved, 9,160 woodland, and 1,627 otherwise unimproved. The cash value of farms was $1,216,740; of farm buildings other than dwellings, $138,065; of stock,

* A somewhat bitter feud was engendered by the division of the town of Bainbridge and the discussions preceding it, and to give Afton a precedence over its rival, a name with an initial preceding the letter B was selected. From Rev. E. T. Jacobs' article on The Rise and Present of Afton.

                               AFTON -- EARLY  SETTLEMENTS.                               135

SETTLEMENTS. -- The first settlement in Afton was made in July, 1786, by Elnathan Bush, who came in from Sheffield, Mass., with his family, then consisting of his wife and four children. They came as far as Cooperstown on horseback, and thence by canoe down the Susquehanna, leaving Cooperstown May 2, 1786. He settled on the west side of the river, opposite the forty acre island, known as Stowel's Island, about two miles below Afton. This island and another near it, one of which contains ten and the other forty acres, had been cleared and cultivated by the Indians, and derive their name from Hezekiah Stowel, who subsequently owned them. Mr. Bush had visited this locality with a view to settlement before the Revolutionary war, in company with two others who were relatives. The Dominie Johnston (Col. Witter Johnston,) was then living at Sidney Plains, where he settled in 1772. He left his improvements during the war and returned to them at its close, having rendered service therein as Colonel. He (Johnston,) continued his residence there till his death October 4, 1839, aged 86. Lois, his wife, died there July 27, 1787, aged 22; and Jane, his second wife, Sept. 26, 1817, aged 47. January 30, 1790, Mr. Bush exchanged his property here with Hezekiah Stowel for a piece of land on lot 74 in Bainbridge, nominally containing 81, but actually 100 acres, which Stowel had taken up the previous year, the consideration being 80 œ, to which he removed. It is the farm on which his grandson, Joseph Bush, now resides, and there he resided till his death, May 15, 1791. Joseph Bush, just referred to, says he very well recollects hearing his father say there were no other settlers in the old town of Jericho when Elnathan came in. The Kirbys came next, a year or two after, and the Bixbys soon after. *

Hezekiah Stowel, to whom reference has been made, was a Vermont sufferer, and came in from Guilford in that State in 1786, and settled at Bettsburgh, on 220 acres on lot 63, on the east side of the river, and was the pioneer settler on the site of that village. He subsequently removed to the west side of the river, where he is buried, probably at the time he made the exchange with Elnathan Bush. He lived and died in the locality. It is not known that he lived on the place exchanged with Bush in Bainbridge. His children were:--Asa, who settled at Bettsburgh, on the place now owned and occupied by Enos M. Johnston, where, in 1788, he kept the first inn, in a log building ** which stood on the river bank, opposite the residence of Mr. Johnston and who married Hannah, daughter of Samuel Bixby, of Guilford, Vt. and died there November 3, 1826, aged 66, and his wife September 18, 1850, aged 88; Elijah, who settled on the west side of the river, on the farm now occupied by _____ Chamberlain, and who died childless, in advanced years, while on a visit to a relative in Pennsylvania, and whose wife, Rebecca, died here February

* It has been generally supposed, and is so stated in French's Gazetteer of the State of New York, and subsequent publications copied therefrom, that William Bush, a grandson of Elnathan Bush, was the first child born in the town, in 1786. The fact is, the William Bush referred to was born in Sheffield, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, April 15, 1785, and was brought to the present town of Afton, then a part of Jericho, the following July. He died November 15, 1858, aged 73, having been honored with three wives, Esther, who died November 5, 1813, aged 27, Sally, who died December 29, 1828, aged 33, and Maria, who, we believe, is still living.

** This building afterwards gave place to a frame one, which stood a little nearer the highway; and this in turn to a third, also a frame building, which stood on the site of Johnston's residence, for which it gave way in the summer of 1876, when it was moved just across the road, and a little lower down, and has since been converted by Mr. Johnston into a cheese factory, for which purpose it is now used by him. Stowel kept tavern in each of these, and till his death. There has not been a tavern kept there since. Lepha, daughter of Asa Stowel, who married Dr. Boynton, was, it was said, the prettiest woman who has lived in Afton.

136                                HISTORY  OF  CHENANGO  COUNTY.                              

25, 1837, aged 70; Betsey, who married Daniel Dickinson, who settled in Guilford and afterwards at Seneca Falls; Isabel, who married Elisha Stowel, who settled at the ferry about two miles below Bettsburgh; Polly, who married Calvin Stowel, who settled on a farm adjoining Asa Stowel's on the south; Levi, who settled on the homestead on the west side of the river, and afterwards, in advanced life, moved to the east side, to the farm now occupied by James Pool, and died at Seneca Falls while visiting relatives there; and Sally, who married Charles Grinnells, and settled on the homestead farm on the west side of the river, where she died. His only grandchild living in the county is Gratia Ann, wife of Gustavus Greene, in Afton, daughter of Levi. Four great-grandchildren are living in the county, Abel, Nathan and Jenette, wife of Henry Jones, in Afton, and Hannah, wife of Charles Bixby, in Bainbridge.

Ebenezer, John, Isaiah and Joseph Landers, brothers, the former of whom had served two or three years in the army during the war of the Revolution, came in from Lenox, Mass., in March, 1787. They started when the ground was covered with snow, with ox sleds, with which they arrived at Unadilla. There they built canoes to carry their families and goods down the river when the ice gave way; but becoming impatient of waiting they proceeded on foot, on the crust of the snow, Ebenezer carrying a feather bed on his back, and his wife, her youngest child, Stephen, in her arms. They reached their destination the last of March. Ebenezer afterwards brought in the goods by the river, making several trips for that purpose. Ebenezer and Joseph had been in the previous year and made some preparation for their settlement. They had made a small clearing, built a log cabin, and planted some corn on Stowel's Island. Ebenezer, who brought his wife, Olive Osborn, of Massachusetts, and three children, settled near Afton, on the east side of the river, on the farm now occupied by his grandson, Charles Landers. He took up 100 acres when he first came in, about forty rods above the place on which he subsequently settled, lying on both sides of the river, but his title proved defective and he had to relinquish it. His second selection was 50 acres on lot 58, to which he subsequently added by purchase. He was a carpenter and worked at his trade for several years. He died where he settled February 14, 1846, aged 87, and his wife, August 27, 1850, aged 93. The children who came in with him were Polly, Thomas and Stephen, the latter of whom was then two years old. Polly was born July 6, 1781, and married David Pollard and settled on the farm now occupied by Hiram Landers, where she died. Thomas was born November 2, 1782. He married Esther, daughter of Moses Hinman, and after living at home several years, took up the farm now owned by _____ Hard, where he died June 8, 1862, and his wife March 26, 1830, aged 46. Stephen was born August 10, 1785. He married Polly, daughter of Matthew Long, and settled one and one-half miles north of Afton, on the farm now owned by his son Thomas, where he died July 19, 1870, aged 84, and his wife, October 13, 1850, aged 60. Stephen was a millwright and put a great many buildings in the town. Ebenezer's children born after he came here were Joseph, who was born July 6, 1790, and married Jerusha, daughter of Lemuel Warner; Nancy, who was born March 17, 1795, married Billings Church, and died December 25, 1841, aged 48, and her husband, January 7, 1871, aged 82; Hiram, who was born December 31, 1796, and married Sophia, daughter of Jonathan Hammond; Solomon, who was born December 10, 1798, who married Mary, daughter of Benjamin Carpenter, and after her death, January 16, 1829, aged 26, her sister, Elizabeth A., (who died April 27, 1845 aged 45,) and died December 24, 1876, aged 78; and Isaiah, who was born in March, 1801, and died young. Hiram is the only one now living. John Landers, brother of Ebenezer, settled in Lisle; Isaiah, another brother, in Afton, where he died August 31, 1844, aged 75, and Thirza, his wife, April 8, 1836, aged 69. Joseph, the other brother settled nearly a mile up Kelsey Creek, on the place now occupied by Luman Pollard. He afterwards removed to Lisle. Jehiel Landers, who lives on the east side of the river, about two miles above Afton, is a son of Isaiah's, and the only one of his children living. Isaiah Landers, Jr., died March 8, 1839, aged 35.

Henry Pearsall came from Long Island about 1787 and settled in the north-east part of Afton, one-half mile west of what was known as the Middle Bridge, which went off in a freshet a number of years ago and was not rebuilt. Having built a small house in the woods, he brought in his family, consisting of his wife, Anna Simmons, and one or two children. The house thus erected answered the double purpose of a dwelling and shop, for he followed his trade till his death. About 1809 he removed to the north line of the town of Bainbridge, about three miles north of Bainbridge village, and took up 88 acres, on which he resided till his death, about 1840. His children were: Amos, who married Clarissa, daughter of John Nichols, an early settler in the north part of Bainbridge, and settled in the locality of his father in Bainbridge, where he died February 18, 1864, aged 72, and his wife July 4, 1878, aged 83; Ann, who married Alson Searles, a resident of Bainbridge, and is now living at Unadilla, her husband having died June 26, 1871; Smith, who married Polly, sister of Alson Searles, and settled

                               AFTON -- EARLY  SETTLEMENTS.                               137

near his father, where he died in 1874; Samuel, who married Sally, daughter of Henry Thompson, of Bainbridge, and settled and died in the same locality; Abigail, who married Ansel Phinney, a blacksmith, with whom she removed to Bainbridge village, where she died; Henry, who married Samantha Norton, of Guilford, and succeeded his father on the homestead farm, where he died December 23, 1871, aged 70, and his wife August 28, 1871, aged 68; and Polly, who married Leonard Norton, of Guilford, where they settled. He died October 23, 1870. She is still living, in Coventry, with her niece, Mrs. Chester Benedict. His grandchildren living in the county are Charles and Reuben, sons of Amos, in Coventry, where the former has been Justice of the Peace for twenty years, was Supervisor in 1856 and '57, and a Member of Assembly from this county in 1869; William and Hiram, sons of Smith, on the homestead of their father in Bainbridge; Frank, Charles, Emma and Sarah Phinney, children of Abigail, all in Bainbridge; James and Polly, wife of Melvin Yale, in Bainbridge, Amanda, wife of Hiram Landers, in Afton, and Matilda, wife of Chester Benedict, in Coventry, all children of Samuel; and Sherman Pearsall and Ada, wife of Jerome Wescott, in Bainbridge, and Lewis Pearsall, in Guilford.

Richard Church came in from Brattleboro, Vt., in the fall of 1788, and settled on the east side of the river, one-half mile below Afton, on the place now owned by the heirs of Levi Church and Andrew Johnston and Joseph Angell, the latter a son-in-law of Billings Church. He was a son of Col. Timothy Church, a Vermont sufferer, who did not settle here, but acquired land as such, on 300 acres of which Richard settled, and which, after the latter's death, in the spring of 1813, was divided between two of his sons, Billings and Levi, Billings' portion being that now occupied by Andrew J. Johnston and Joseph Angell, and Levi's that occupied by his heirs. Richard brought with him his family, consisting of his wife Polly, daughter of David Pollard, and one child, Billings, then an infant. Billings married Nancy, daughter of Ebenezer Landers, and settled on the homestead, where he lived till advanced in years, when, in the spring of 1857, he sold his place to his nephew, Devillo C. Church, and went to live with his daughter Frances, wife of Enos M. Johnston, with whom he died January 7, 1871, aged 82. Richard's children, who were born after he came here, were: Col. Ira, who married Angelia Atherton, sister of Cornelius Atherton, and settled about a half mile above Afton, on the east side of the river, on the farm, a portion of which is owned by Stanton T. Donaghe, afterwards purchasing the Peck farm, about a mile below Afton, on the east side, now owned by Ransom Merrill, and subsequently the farm which forms a part of the Ives farm, which he subsequently turned over to his sons, and removed to Morris, where he resided till his death, March 12, 1861, aged 70, his wife having died July 15, 1847, aged 56; Rufus, who married Phebe Turner and settled in Afton, and afterwards removed to Orleans County and died there; Polly, who married Dr. Gaius Halsey, of Kortright, Delaware county, where she lived and died; Warren, who married Saloma C. Hall, who died May 2, 1849, aged 37, who was of a roving disposition, and moved and died out of the county, December 24, 1857, aged 57, and Esther, his second wife, April 1, 1858, aged 39; Levi, who married Elathea, daughter of Joseph Works, and settled and died on the homestead; Permelia, who married Ezra Corbin, and is still living in Bainbridge; Rhoda, a maiden lady, who died in the town April 2, 1866, aged 66; Richard, who died, young and unmarried, of small-pox, June 2, 1828, aged 20; and Wilson, who married Eliza Ann Jones and settled in Afton, on the east side of the river, where he now resides, with his second wife, Fanny Nevins. Numerous descendants are living, ten in this county, viz: Devillo C. Church, a banker, Richard, Rush, Clara, wife of James Corbin, Frances, wife of Enos M. Johnston, and Polly, wife of A. E. Estabrooks, in Afton; George Corbin, Eunice, wife of Charles J. Humphrey, and William Corbin, in Bainbridge; and C. A. Church, in New Berlin. Dr. Gaius L. Halsey, a prominent physician in Unadilla; Dr. Richard Halsey, a prominent physician at White Haven, Pa.; Frank Church, Road Agent for the U. S. Express Co. at McGregor, Iowa; Alonzo S. Church, formerly Cashier of J. M. Little's Bank of Mason City, Iowa; Lafayette Church, who keeps a livery at McGregor, Iowa; Gaius H. Church, a prominent farmer at Cresco, Iowa; and George M. Church, a speculator at McGregor, Iowa, are grandchildren of Richard Church's.

Other settlers about this period were Seth Stone, Nathaniel Benton, Isaac Miner and Orlando Bridgeman, all from Vermont.

Seth Stone settled in Afton village, on the east side of the river, nearly opposite the Universalist church, where he died April 22, 1826, aged 65; and Eunice, his wife, July 12, 1815, aged 54. His son Horace married Rebecca Johnston and l ived on the homestead farm. He built a tavern about 1825, the first in the village, on the east side of the river, which he kept a good many years. It stood where Noble Buck now lives. He and his wife both died there, the former December 2, 1845, aged 60, and the latter July 5, 1874, aged 83. Seth had two daughters, Rachel, and Irene, the latter of whom married Jesse Easton, both of whom lived and died in that locality. Nathaniel Benton settled on the east side of the river, three miles above

138                                HISTORY  OF  CHENANGO  COUNTY.                              

Afton, at what was known as the Middle Bridge, which was built about 1825 or'6, and swept away by a freshet some thirty years ago. The Benton's were considered wealthy, and formed the nucleus for quite a settlement in that locality. A hotel was built there about forty years ago by a man named Stevens. It is now occupied as a dwelling. A grist and saw-mill were built there some sixty years ago. They have since been rebuilt and are still in operation. The Corbins, who also settled in that locality, were interested in the construction of the mills there. Quite a little business centered there at an early day in opposition to Afton. The Benton family mostly died in that locality, Nathaniel May 8, 1845, aged 84, and his wife Hannah, March 11, 1839, aged 71. His children were Belah who was a bachelor and lived and died at home, February 17, 1830, aged 40; Nathaniel, who removed to Ohio at an early day; Col. Ansel, who married Cornelia, daughter of Samuel weeks, and settled where William B. Grover now lives, near the homestead farm, and died a year or two after his marriage, September 6, 1845, aged 48, leaving one child, Albert Hyde, a druggist in Afton; Eunice, who married Hiram Ramsey and is now living in Ohio, well advanced in years; William, who accompanied Nathaniel to Ohio; Jared, a bachelor, who died there June 30, 1835, aged 35; Julius and Isaac, both bachelors, and both of whom died there, the former March 10, 1837, aged 35; and Orrin, who married a daughter of James V. Humphrey. Orlando Bridgeman settled one and one-half miles below Bettsburgh, on the farm now occupied by John Pool, where he died a good many years ago. Reuben and Abner Bridgeman were sons of his. Abner married Temperance Johnston, and, after living for a number of years below Bettsburgh, removed to Elmira, where he died. Reuben settled in the same locality.

David Pollard came in from Norwich, Conn., in 1790, and settled on the east side of the river, one mile below Afton, on the place now occupied by William Landers. He made a small clearing and built a log cabin and then sent for his family, consisting of his wife Polly, and six children. He died here December 30, 1830, aged 85, and his wife June 9, 1821, aged 69. His children were Polly, who married Richard Church, Lucy, who married William Olden, Cynthia, who married Heman Kelsey, Thomas, who moved to Seneca Falls some fifty years ago and died there, David, who married Polly Landers and lived and died on the homestead, Joseph, who married Polly Pool, and settled about a mile west of Afton, on the north end of the farm now owned by his son Luman C. Pollard, and after becoming too feeble to work it sold it to his son Jeremiah, (who is now living in California, to which State he removed in 1849,) and removed to the village, on the east side of the river, where he died March 13, 1859. Only two grandchildren are living in the county, Luman C. and Lysander Pollard, both in Afton.

In this year (1790) the first school-house in Afton was built. It was a log structure and stood at the forks of the river and bridge roads on the east side of the river, in the village of Afton, a little north of the water tank in that locality. The first teacher was Nathaniel Church. In this school-house the first church in the town was organized twelve years later.

Settlements were made as early as 1795, probably earlier, by Abijah Stevens, Abraham Benton, and Heth Kelsey, and as early as 1796 by Thomas and Capt. Enos Cornwell.

Abijah Stevens came in from Connecticut, and settled on the east side of the river, about one and one-half miles above Afton, on the farm now occupied by the widow of John Carr, where both he and his second wife, Esther, died, the former May 9, 1844, aged 87, and the latter January 1, 1832, aged 76. His children were John, who married Clara Landers and settled where Jonathan Farnsworth now lives, and died there, he and his wife, the former March 9, 1861, aged 73, and the latter November 11, 1877, aged 84; and Harvey, who removed to Ohio, children by his second wife. He had one child by his first wife, Lydia, who died September 1, 1822, aged 76, viz.: Sally, who married Samuel Hinman and died on the homestead. Abraham Benton, settled on the site of Afton, on the west side of the river, on a portion of the farm now occupied by Luman C. Pollard. His house stood just east of the railroad track. He was the first settler on the site of the village, on the west side. He died here August 3, 1816, aged 53, and Desire, his wife, who afterwards married William Beardsley, January 24, 1858, aged 85. Heth Kelsey, a Revolutionary soldier, settled in the upper part of the village, near the mouth of the creek which bears his name, where he kept a tavern. He afterwards removed to Coventry and lived with his daughter and died there February 5, 1850, aged 94, and Rhoda, his wife, November 26, 1838, aged 80. His children were Russell, who married Fanny Mersereau, of Otego, and settled on the homestead farm, afterwards removing to Bainbridge, subsequently to the locality of Elmira, and finally dying in a poor-house; Heman, who married Cynthia, daughter of David Pollard, and settled on one-half the homestead farm of 396 acres (Russell taking the other half,) and afterwards removed to the Chemung River and died there; Lois, who married Clark Smith, of Coventry, where both she and her husband died, the latter, in a fit, October 8, 1864, aged 82; Lodema, a maiden lady, who died in Afton; Rhoda, who married Alpheus Wright, who, in 1823, in company with his brother Josiah, built the

                               AFTON -- EARLY  SETTLEMENTS.                               139

Sullivan House in Afton, and kept it 15 to 20 years. Rhoda died in Afton. Her husband afterwards removed with his brother Josiah to the Chemung River and died there. * Thomas and Enos Cornwell were brothers. They settled on some 300 acres about one and one-half miles below Afton, on the east side of the river, which has since been cut up into several farms and divided among Thomas' heirs. Abel Cornwell, son of Thomas, is living on a part of the farm, and is the only one of his children living there. Thomas died on the place February 12, 1841, aged 71; and Anna, his wife, who was born February 3, 1783, died February 27, 1860. Enos was a bachelor. He deeded his farm to Samuel, Thomas' eldest son, to take care of him in his old age. He died July 27, 1843, aged 76. Samuel removed to Elmira several years ago.

Joab, Abner and Daniel Buck, brothers, came from England before the war of the Revolution. Joab settled at Canton, St. Lawrence county; Abner, in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, to which county he gave his name; and Daniel, settled first in Danbury, Connecticut, and a few years previous to 1800 removed to Afton, and settled on the farm now occupied one-half of it by Robert Clark, and the other half by William Ives. Daniel was a Presbyterian minister and organized in 1802 the first church in the town. Daniel S. Buck, his son, came in with him, but afterwards removed to Sheshequin, Pennsylvania, where he died February 8, 1870, aged 87, but was brought here for interment. Anna, his first wife, died July 25th, 1835, aged 57, and Eunice, his second wife, October 9, 1851, aged 61. Three sons of Daniel S. are living, Noble, in Afton; Daniel S. H., in Greene; and Lyman, in Hooper, below Binghamton.

Daniel S. Buck was a noted hunter. He took 300 acres of land for which he paid with the bounties received for the destruction of wild animals, $60 for each wolf and $75 for each panther, of the latter of which he killed eleven in one year. He made hunting his business while game lasted and some seasons made more than his neighbors did at lumbering. While in Afton we spent an evening very pleasantly with his genial son Noble, who is now well advanced in years, listening to the recital of his father's adventures while on hunting expeditions; but two must suffice to illustrate his prowess. At one time, about 1811 or '12, he, in company with Robert Church, followed a panther to its lair, which was in a ledge of rocks, about five miles south of the village of Afton, in the town of Sanford, in Broome county. The passageway to the den was about three feet high and two feet wide, and terminated at the distance of 24 feet in a cave about 20 by 30 feet and 11 feet high. His dog led the way into the den, and soon returned very weak from the loss of blood from a severe wound in the throat. Buck took from his neck a handkerchief and tied it around his dog's throat, and having stationed Church at the entrance of the cave with an ax in hand to assail the panther if it followed him out, he proceeded into the den himself with his rifle. He threaded the narrow passageway on his hands and knees. At its terminus there was a descent of some two feet to the floor of the cave, which was covered with leaves. There he halted, and on peering through the darkness discovered at the further side of the den the glaring eye-balls of the panther. He aimed between these orbs and fired, observing at the instant he did so a slight change in their position.

After delivering his fire he backed out closely followed by the panther, which forced its head into his face, but owing to the closeness of the quarters was unable to hurt him. On reaching the outer terminus he discovered Church retreating in the distance, notwithstanding his cries to him to be prepared to assist him should the panther emerge from the opening. Having prevailed on Church to resume his post he reentered the den, again took deliberate aim at the glaring eye-balls, and was again followed in his retreat by the infuriated beast. He entered the third time and noticed but one orb, the second shot having taken effect in the other. He aimed at the remaining one, fired and again backed out, this time without being pursued. His dog, though weak, was then sent into the cavern, and was followed by Buck, who, on reaching the further extremity of the entrance way, heard it lapping blood. He proceeded into the den on his hands and knees and had not proceeded far when his hand came in contact with the animal's head. This sent a cold shudder through him, but the panther was dead and was dragged from its den.

At another time, about 1815, while proceeding toward a deer he had chased through a thick brush, about two miles south of Afton, and shot, he discovered a huge panther standing upon the body of the prostrate deer, from the side of which he had torn a fragment of flesh. Without an instant's warning, the panther, as soon as it discovered him, leaped toward and within thirty feet of him. Quick almost as lightning, Buck raised his rifle, took aim between the eyes, and fired, and so nearly was the animal upon the point of making a second spring, that it half spanned the intervening distance, and, changing ends, fell dead. It measured eleven feet from the end of its nose to the tip of its tail, and was spotted with jet black spots

* We think it probable that Heth Kelsey, who died in Afton, July 3, 1846, aged 63, and whose wife Clarissa died January 20, 1852, at the same age, was a son of the one who died in Coventry, though none of the authorities consulted mention him in connection with the latter's children. He is probably the Heth Kelsey who kept tavern in the yellow building now occupied as a residence by Silas Fairchild in the village of Afton.

140                                HISTORY  OF  CHENANGO  COUNTY.                              

as large as a silver dollar, in this respect differing from the ordinary panther.

Daniel Hyde came in from Claverack, Columbia county, in 1801, and settled two and one-half miles north of Afton, at what is known as Ayrshire or North Afton, on the farm now occupied by Edward Wilkinson, where he died. His children were: Edward, who married Lydia, daughter of Nathan Bateman, and settled in the same locality, and who afterwards removed to Masonville and died there; Daniel, who married a woman named Graham, and settled in Ashtabula county, Ohio, where he died; Chauncey G., who married Lucretia, daughter of Amasa Newton, and settled and died near the old homestead; Elijah, who married Jemima, daughter of Amasa Newton, and also settled and died near the homestead; Sophia, who married a man named Martin, and removed with him to Paris, Canada, and died there; Polly, who married Leighton Joyce, and settled in Greene county, and died in Brooklyn; Cynthia, who married Dr. Archibald Welch, and settled and died in New Haven, Conn.; and Olive, who married Wells Newton, and settled in Bainbridge and died there. The grandchildren living in the county are: A. C. Hyde, only child of Chauncey G., a druggist in Afton; and Daniel A., Rosanna, wife of Jas. M. Olendorf, William E., Lodosca, wife of George Knight, Chauncey G., and Harriet, wife of Justus Carr, children of Elijah, also in Afton.

Judge Peter Betts came in as early as 1803 and settled at Bettsburgh, to which place he gave his name. He was a large land-holder, and opened there in 1805 the first store in the town, which he kept till his removal to Bainbridge, about 1820-'25, where he was also engaged in mercantile business. He represented this county in the Assembly in 1804-'5, again in 1808, and again in 1811. He was born in Norwalk, Conn., January 17, 1772, and died in Bainbridge, June 19, 1849. Eliza, his wife, died February 9, 1819, aged 40. His children were: Peter, Sally, who married a man named Kassam, Pamelia, who married Robert Harper, Eliza, who married a man named Rathbun, all of whom are dead.

Cornelius Atherton came in from Pennsylvania in 1803 or '4. He was born in Cambridge, Mass., in 1736, and was the fourth in descent from Gen. Humphrey Atherton of Boston, from whom all the Athertons in America are descended. He married Mary Delano and with her removed to Amenia, Dutchess Co., N. Y., in 1763. He was a blacksmith by trade, and having discovered the process of converting iron into American steel, in 1772 he entered into a contract with the Messrs. Reed, merchants of that place, to superintend the erection of steel works, to be constructed by them, and to instruct their workmen in the art. The works were erected and were in successful operation during the war of the Revolution. From Amenia he returned to Cambridge, where he superintended an armory belonging to John and Samuel Adams and John Hancock, which was burned by the British soldiers during the Revolutionary war. Thence, in 1775 or '6, he removed to Plymouth, Luzerne Co., Pa., where he worked at his trade. He was drafted at the time of the Wyoming massacre, but his place was filled by his eldest son, Jabez, who volunteered to become his substitute, and was accepted and mustered in. The youthful patriot fell in that sanguinary engagement and his name heads the list on the Wyoming monument. Atherton's wife, by whom he had seven children, died soon after the Wyoming massacre. He afterwards re-married and had seven children by his second wife. After his removal to Afton he continued to work at his trade till his death, December 4, 1809. Humphrey, his oldest son by his second wife, was a miller. He married a widow lady named Wicks, but had no children, and died in Afton, December 11, 1849, aged 62. Charles, his second son, was a blacksmith. He married a lady named Bramhall, with whom, a few years after, he removed to Friendship, Allegany Co., where he worked at his trade several years, till the death of his wife, when he sold his property and went with a friend to Emporium, Cameron Co., Pa., where he died May 13, 1869, aged 76. He had no children. Hiram, the third son, married Miss Lovina Sisson, of Plymouth, and followed his trade of wagon-maker a few years in Afton and subsequently for several years in Norwich, from whence he removed to Greene, and engaged in the cabinet business, which he pursued till his death, March 19, 1870, aged 73. They had five children, all of whom are dead, except one daughter, who is living with her mother in Norwich. William, the fourth son, was a shoemaker. He married Miss Jane E. Hamlin, by whom he had two children, both of whom died in infancy. They finally removed to Paterson, N. J., where both died, he August 2, 1879, aged 77. Cornelius, the youngest son, is still living in Afton. He has one son who is a telegraph operator on the Baltimore & Ohio R. R.

William Johnston, a Revolutionary soldier, came in from Hartwick, Otsego county, in 1807, and settled a half mile south of Bettsburgh, on the farm now occupied by Devillo Dutton. He took up 50 acres in Broome county, on the line of Afton, and bought about one and one-half acres in Afton, the title to which proved defective. He subsequently purchased it of Asa Stowel. He afterwards removed to the town of Sanford, in Broome county, where he died February 10, 1843, aged 91, and Deborah, his wife, April 14, 1843, aged 81. He had six children, only one of whom is now living, Levi, in Afton, aged 77.

                               AFTON -- EARLY  SETTLEMENTS.                               141

John Johnston, brother of William, also a Revolutionary soldier, came in from Montgomery county two or three years later, and settled about half a mile south of Bettsburgh, on the place now occupied by Ira Woodruff, where he and his son Samuel started a tannery and carried on the shoe business, and where he died. His children were: John S., William, Nathaniel, Nancy, Persis, Henry and Betsey, all of whom came in with him, and all of whom are dead. Nancy married Joshua Crosby, and Betsey, Whittington Sayre. Enos M. Johnston, a banker and merchant in Afton, but a resident of Bettsburgh, is a grandson of John and son of Henry Johnston, the latter of whom was a lumber dealer, speculator and oil stock dealer, and acquired considerable wealth. Andrew Johnston, a farmer in Afton, is also a son of Henry's, and these are the only two of his children living in the town. Several of William's grandchildren are living in the town, among them Lydia, wife of Jonathan Farnsworth. Samuel Johnston, brother of William and John, also from Montgomery county, came in a few years later, and has numerous descendants living in the town. He died December 1, 1830, aged 68. Nathaniel, a bachelor brother, and Mary and Christiana, maiden sisters of William Johnston, came in with him and lived with him till their death.

Oliver Easton came in from Wilmington, Vt., in 1809, and settled on Long Hill, where Matthew Long, from Vermont, with a large family of grown-up children, was the first settler at an early day. Easton settled on the farm now occupied by his grandson, Henry Devillo Easton, about three miles north-west of-Afton. He leased 60 acres of gospel lands, which he occupied till his death December 11, 1839, aged 74. Delight, his wife, died January 5, 1860, aged 86. He carried on farming and lumbering, mostly the latter. His children were eleven in number: Chauncey, who married Lucinda, daughter of Taft Pollard, (an early settler from Vermont, on the farm now occupied by Hiram Landers,) and settled and died at Ayrshire; Ebenezer N., who studied for the ministry and removed to Andover, Mass., where he married when well advanced in years and died; Jesse C., who married Irene, daughter of Seth Stone, and settled in the village of Afton, on the east side of the river, where Fayette Benton now lives, and who afterwards removed to Wellsville, N. Y., where he now resides, aged 80; Louisa, who married Stephen Williams, and settled in the south-west part of the town, and afterwards removed to Coventry, where she died; Lester, who married Asenath, daughter of Luke Nichols, and settled and died on the homestead, where Devillo Easton now lives; Lucretia, who married Heman B. Smith, for several years a merchant in Afton village, where she still resides; Rufus, who married Prudence DeWolf, and settled in Windom, Pa., and died in Afton while on a visit, September 10, 1845, aged 37; Riley, who was born in 1809, married Betsey, daughter of Nathan Bateman, who settled in Windom, Pa., and after fifteen years returned to Afton, where he and his wife still reside; Abby Ann, who married S. C. Bump, and settled in Afton, about two miles north-west of the village, and afterwards removed to the edge of the village, where, about 1846, her husband rebuilt the grist-mill erected several years previously by his father, and where she died, her husband subsequently remarrying and is now living in Baltimore; Elijah, who married Jerusha, widow of James Nichols, settled in Wisconsin, and is now postmaster at Winona, Minn.; Cynthia M., who married J. C. Flagg, a wagon-maker in Afton village, where she died.

Other early settlers were William Bateman, Aaron Slade, Joseph Peck, Levi Pratt, Silas Wright and Moses Hinman. William Bateman came from the New England States and settled at Ayrshire, on the farm until recently occupied by his grandson Henry Bateman, where he died. He was an Irishman and a Revolutionary soldier in the American army. His sons were Nathan, who married Dolly, daughter of Samuel Nichols, who settled at Ayrshire, opposite his father, and died there; and David, who married Margaret Campbell and settled in Bainbridge. After the death of his wife he went to live with his daughter in Masonville. He died June 7, 1866, aged 89, and his wife, September 5, 1862, aged 75. Aaron Slade was from Vermont. He too settled at Ayrshire and died there. Among his children was Aaron, who went to Buffalo with the Mormons when en route for Nauvoo, but returned and settled on the Chemung. He had a grandson also named Aaron. Joseph Peck settled about a mile below Afton, on the east side of the river, where Hezekiah Medbury now lives, and died there. His children were Joseph, who lived and died at Ayrshire; John, who lived in the south part of the town, where Abel Stowel now lives, and afterwards removed to Lisle; Ezekiel, who married Electa Buck, and after living some years in the town joined the Mormons; Noah, who was a bachelor; and Benjamin, who married Phebe Crosby, and lived and died on the homestead farm April 30th, 1829, aged 41. Levi Pratt came in from the New England States and settled near the Pond which bears his name, on the farm now owned by Joshua Hallett, where he died March 3, 1846, aged 81, and his wife, Sarah, August 11, 1858, aged 92. Silas Wright came in from Vermont and settled on the site of the village of Afton. He bought of David Church, who came in shortly previous and was dissatisfied with the quality of the land, a plank house which the latter had erected on the site of Dr.

142                                HISTORY  OF  CHENANGO  COUNTY.                              

James B. Cook's residence, and lived there till his death, May 27, 1827, aged 75. He was a farmer and lumberman. His sons were Alpheus and Josiah, the former of whom married Sophia Mersereau of Otego, and the latter Rhoda, daughter of Heth Kelsey, and who jointly built and kept for several years the Sullivan House in the village of Afton. Both subsequently removed to the Chemung River country and died there. He had one daughter, who married a man named Kelley, who is also dead. Moses Hinman settled about one and one-half miles above Afton, on the east side of the river, on the farm known as the Carpenter farm. He was a wheelwright and worked at his trade. He died July 22, 1872, aged 81. None of his children are living. Harvey, John, Seth and Pliny, who live in the south part of the town are grandsons of his....


Afton is situated on the Susquehanna River, near the center of the town, and on the Albany & Susquehanna R. R., by which it is distant 28 miles from Binghamton and 114 from Albany. It lies mostly upon the west side of the river, and principally along the street running parallel with it. The hills which bound the valley upon the east side are somewhat precipitous and largely covered with primitive forest or secondgrowth timber; while upon the west they are more rolling and susceptible of cultivation.

It contains five churches, (Baptist, Episcopal, M. E., Universalist and Presbyterian,) a Union school, with academic department, three hotels, a newspaper office, (Afton Home Sentinel, John F. Seaman, publisher,) a private bank (Enos M. Johnston & Co.,) a flouring and grist-mill, a saw-mill, a sash and blind factory, two wagon shops (kept by L. E. Jackson and W. E. Fleming,) three blacksmith shops (kept by H. M. Swift, O. E. Sackett, Jr., and Wm. R. Herkimer and Allen Estabrooks,) four shoe shops (kept by W. A. Piper, J. R. Brown, ____ Randall and Eli Christian,) two manufactories of butter tubs and firkins, one harness shop (kept by R. E. Smith,) thirteen stores of various kinds, and a population of 700. The village is growing very rapidly.

The Susquehanna is spanned in the upper part of the village by a suspension bridge, which is one of the finest structures of its kind in the State, and is at once an ornament to the village and a credit to the enterprise of the people. The bridge has a main span of 362 feet and an approach span upon the east side of 74 feet. It is supported by six cables 558 feet in length, each composed of 132 wires. They are double anchored, and were manufactured at Trenton, N. J. The height of the towers is 36 feet, and the arch of the bridge 4 feet. The suspending rods are five-eighths of an inch in diameter, attached to needle beams four feet apart. The roadway is 16 feet wide,

                               AFTON  VILLAGE  MERCHANTS.                               143

and a railing four and one-half feet high, extends the whole length. The weight of the bridge is 100 tons, and the supporting weight 240 tons. It was built in 1868, at a cost of $15,000. The contractors were G. W. & J. V. V. Fishler, of Wellsburgh, Chemung county, N. Y., and James Crowell, the master-builder. A meeting was held on the evening of April 1st, 1868, in the village of Afton, and a bill authorized to be drawn for a charter for its construction, and A. C. Hyde, Thomas Landers and H. R. Caswell were appointed a commission to supervise the work. To pay for the bridge the town issued its bonds for $12,000, $2,000 of which was to be paid in February, 1869, and the remainder in annual installments of $2,000 each.

Soon after the close of the war a beautiful covered bridge which spanned the Susquehanna within this village was lifted from its piers and dashed to pieces by a fearful tornado, leaving the town with nothing but a scow to cross the stream. The bridge company by duplicating their stock, erected another in its place, quite inferior and unsafe from the first. After standing about 18 months, "a reproach to the builder and a disappointment to the company, as well as constantly threatening peril to the public," it was carried off by an ice floe. The bridge company then proposed to surrender their franchise to the town, on condition that a good, substantial, free bridge be erected, and this action resulted in the present noble structure. *

MERCHANTS. -- The first merchants in Afton were probably Sayres Burgess and Isaac Miner, who did business during the war of 1812 and a few years afterwards in a frame building which stood on the site of the store now occupied by Harris Briggs. Burgess lived and died in the town. His death occurred January 7, 1832, aged 35. Miner, in company with David Cooper built on Kelsey Creek, about 1809, the first saw-mill in the town. There has been a mill there ever since. The old mud-sills are still in use. The mill is about one-fourth mile above the village and some seventy rods above the mouth of the creek. The water is conducted from the creek to the mill by means of a race about forty rods long. Albert Neely did business some three or four years and left the town at an early day. Hiram Long, a native and resident of the town till his death, February 9, 1844, at the age of 45, did business some six or seven years from about 1825. He afterwards, about forty years ago, built the Musson House, which was kept by his brother Lewis some ten years. Heman B. Smith, who was born September 11, 1803, and died August 28, 1858, came from Delaware county and opened a store about 1828 or '9, and kept it some eight or ten years, when he failed. He was succeeded by David

Loveland, who continued about two years, and died here August 20, 1842, aged 63. Murrin Jackson came from Butternuts, Otsego county, soon after Loveland failed, and was the principal merchant here for a good many years. He sold to J. B. Chaffee about the opening of the war of the Rebellion and removed to Binghamton, where he died. Chaffee did business some six or seven years and failed, when he removed to Binghamton where he now resides.

Whittington Sayre and _____ Goodsell commenced business on the east side of the river about 1815 or '16 and continued some two years. Goodsell came from Cooperstown and returned there. Sayre removed to Elmira and engaged in the lumber business. Their store stood a little above where Stanton Donaghe now lives. They are the only merchants who have done business on the east side of the river.

Following is an account of the present merchants and those who have been associated with them: --

Daniel A. Carpenter, general merchant, commenced business here in 1854, in company with his brother-in-law, Daniel Carpenter, to whom he sold his interest in 1857. In 1859, he and Eli M. Shay bought out Daniel Carpenter, to whom they sold again at the expiration of five years. The latter continued about three years, a part of the time in company with his son-in-law, James Collins, with whom two or three years later he removed to Bath and afterwards to Addison, where they now reside. Daniel A. Carpenter recommenced business in the fall of 1869, and has since continued it. He is a native of Afton, where he was born August 13, 1820. He is a son of Benjamin S. Carpenter, an early settler and prominent man in Bainbridge. He was elected Sheriff in 1864, and served one term.

Eli M. Shay subsequently engaged in the sale of groceries and clothing, which business he still continues, having been associated from 1876 to February 1878, with Norval W. Fletcher. Mr. Shay came from Colesville, in Broome county.

George B. Hickox, hardware dealer, a native of Gilbertsville, Otsego county, came in from Sherburne and commenced business in the spring of 1865. After one year he was associated about two years with Robert Paddock, who sold his interest to B. Frank Williams. The latter remained a like period and sold to Charles Fisher, who sold his interest to Mr. Hickox, April 1, 1879.

Harris Briggs, grocer, came in from Coventry, where he had carried on mercantile business six years, and commenced business here April 1, 1866. He was associated as partner with H. S. Chamberlin three years, and with C. L. Seeley about one and one-half years.

R. N. Gallup, came from Walton, Delaware county,

* From Rev. E. T. Jacob's article on "The Rise and Present of Afton."

144                                HISTORY  OF  CHENANGO  COUNTY.                              

in the spring of 1866, and commenced the hardware business. In March, 1877, he sold to his son, Russell Gallup, who still carries on the business, having been associated the first six months with Robert Beach, the second six months with Porter G. Northrup, and the succeeding two years with Robert Yale.

Charles Hill, grocer, came from Meredith, Delaware county, and commenced business in December, 1868.

Albert C. Hyde, druggist, who is a native of Afton, commenced business in the early part of 1869, in company with Joseph Angell, under the name of Angell & Hyde, and bought his partner's interest at the expiration of five years.

Martin D. Howard, furniture dealer and undertaker, commenced business December 29, 1869. He came from Hartford, Conn., where he was engaged in the manufacture of locks.

Enos M. Johnston & Sons. In the spring of 1875, Enos M. Johnston, Hiram Cornell and H. B. Johnston, commenced a general merchandise business, under the name of Johnston, Cornell & Co. In the spring of 1878, E. M. Johnston bought Cornell's interest and admitted to partnership another son. E. C. Johnston, and the business has since been conducted under the name of Enos M. Johnston & Sons.

Joseph A. Decker, grocer, commenced business in August, 1877. He is a native of the town.

Henry G. Carr, druggist, commenced business in October, 1877. He is a native of the town. He bought out T. L. Willey, who had done business some three years.

H. J. Fox, general merchant, commenced business April 1, 1878. He came from Binghamton, where he had done business nearly four years.

Mrs. A. L. Welch, milliner and fancy goods dealer, came from Worcester, Otsego county, and commenced business in March, 1879.

POSTMASTERS. -- Previous to the division of the town of Bainbridge, the village and post-office at Afton were known as South Bainbridge. The first postmaster was probably Albert Neely or Joseph P. Chamberlin, at least fifty years ago. Josiah Wright succeeded Chamberlin about 1830. Next was Zaccheus Smith, who came here from Delaware county and kept hotel in the Sullivan House. He held the office till about 1840, and was succeeded by Murlin Jackson. Cornelius Atherton was appointed about 1855 or '6, and was followed in 1861 by Lewis Post, who held it till his death February 12, 1863, aged 54, when Daniel A. Carpenter was appointed. Carpenter was succeeded in a short time by E. M. Shay, who held the office till June 23, 1877, when Theodore L. Willey, the present incumbent, was appointed. *

PHYSICIANS. -- William Knapp, who lives at Bainbridge, is believed to have been the first physician who practiced in this locality. He removed to Elmira. Dr. Nathan Boynton, who was located at Bettsburgh, and Drs. Starkey and Root, who studied with Boynton, and the latter of whom practiced in company with him at Bettsburgh, practiced here at an early day. They all removed to Elmira.

Abraham Benton, brother of Orange Benton, studied medicine with Dr. Boynton at Bettsburgh and settled in the village on the east side of the river, where he practiced several years nearly fifty years ago. He was a noted temperance man. He sold out in 1837 to Elam Bartlett and removed to Illinois. Dr. Bartlett practiced some ten years, when he bought a small farm in the town of Colesville, on which he died, January 9, 1862, aged 53. Herschel D. Spencer, M. D., came in from Lisle, his native place, and bought out Dr. Bartlett. He practiced here till his death July 27, 1857, aged 33. Dr. Koon, who came from Mt. Upton, succeeded Spencer, and remained about three years.

The present physicians are James B. Cook, Philetus A. Hayes and George Bissell.

James B. Cook, was born in Harwinton, Litchfield Co., Conn., July 20, 1817, and studied medicine in Oswego, N. Y., with Drs. Gardner and Brown, with whom he remained a little over two years. He next pursued his studies for one year with Dr. Frank Hine, in Franklin, Delaware county. He attended courses of lectures at the Fairfield Medical School in 1838 and '9, and in 1840 he attended a course of lectures at the Albany Medical Institute, where he was graduated in Feb'y, 1841. He commenced practice the latter year in Hobart, Delaware county, and removed thence in January, 1842, to Afton, where he is still practicing.

Philetus A. Hayes was born in Castle Creek, Broome county, September 10, 1848. He commenced the study of medicine in his native place with Dr. S. P. Allen, with whom he remained two years, one year before entering college and one between terms. He entered Geneva Medical College in the fall of 1868, and was graduated January 27, 1870. He commenced practice at Killawog, Broome county, immediately after graduating, and a year afterwards he removed to Afton, where he has since practiced.

George Bissell came from Valcour Island, Clinton county, N. Y., in the spring of 1877, and practiced a few months, till about the 1st of December, when he returned to Clinton county. He again came in the fall of 1878 and has since practiced here.

LAWYERS. -- The first lawyer in Afton was probably George Smith, who was here in 1830. He came in a young, single man and married a daughter of Henry Olendorf. He practiced here several years and removed

* We have been utterly unable to procure a satisfactory list of the postmasters at Afton. The above is as complete and accurate as the best available authorities could make it.

                               AFTON -- EARLY  SETTLEMENTS.                               145

(pages 145-152 under construction)

                               AFTON -- EARLY  SETTLEMENTS.                               153

MORMONISM. -- It is a fact worthy of note that a portion of the early career of Joseph Smith, Jr., the author of Mormonism, was spent in Afton, and that here were enacted some of the incidents which were precursors of his subsequent notoriety.

Joseph Smith, Jr., was born in Sharon, Windsor Co., Vt., Dec. 23, 1805, and in 1815 or '16 removed with his father, Joseph Sr., and his family, to Palmyra, and soon after just across the line of that town into Manchester, some two miles south-west of Palmyra village. Previous to the Mormon dispensation Joseph Smith, the father of the "prophet," supported himself and family by digging and peddling "rutes and yarbs," selling cakes, beer, etc. When a mere lad, as appears from evidence elicited in his examination before a court of justice in Afton, in 1826, Joseph Jr., became acquainted with a girl in the neighborhood of his home who was reputed to be able to see in a glass things which were hidden from others. He had frequent opportunity to look into this mystical glass, which always revealed to him a small luminous stone, situated, apparently, beneath the root of a tree, standing near a small stream which empties into Lake Erie not far from the New York and Pennsylvania line. This singular circumstance occupied his mind for some years, and he subsequently made a journey to the locality indicated and procured the treasure thus revealed to him. The stone in question was exhibited on his examination and is described as being "about the size of a small hen's egg, in the shape of a high-instepped shoe." It was composed of layers of different colors passing diagonally through, and was very hard and smooth. * By means of this stone, placed in his hat so as to exclude the light, he claimed to be able to see whatever he wished, even in the depths of the earth, and there were not wanting those whose testimony corroborated this affirmation. In 1819 or '20 the Smiths commenced digging for money and other hidden treasure for a subsistence. Their vocation was noised around among the community, and not a few were credulous enough to believe that they were within reach of a "chest of gold," "which had repeatedly eluded their grasp," and contributed money to enable them to continue their excavations. The Smiths, it is said, used the money thus obtained for the support of the family, and in the meantime kept their friends in a feverish state of excitement and expectancy while treasure hunting. Invocations, the blood of sheep slaughtered for the purpose, sprinkled upon the earth, and other mystical rites, were employed in the presumed effort to propitiate the angry demon who was supposed to guard the coveted treasure.

During the progress of these events in the obscure town of Manchester, Isaiah Stowel, a Vermont sufferer, and an early settler on the Susquehanna in this town, about two miles below Afton; a deacon in the First Presbyterian church of Afton, educated in the spirit of orthodox puritanism; a man of much force of character, possessing an indomitable will; a very industrious and exemplary man, who, by severe labor and frugality, had acquired property which "excited the envy of many of his less fortunate neighbors;" and who at this time had "grown up sons and daughters to share his prosperity and the honors of his name," became infatuated with the idea that he must go in search of hidden treasures, which he believed were buried in the earth. With hired help and provisions he repaired to the vicinity of Lanesboro, in Northern Pennsylvania, where for weeks at a time he encamped on the bleak hills of that region and prosecuted his search for hidden treasure, heedless of the admonition of his neighbors, the members of the church, and the importunities of his family. Rumors of the success of the Smiths in discovering concealed treasure reached

* Dr. W. D. Purple's Historical Reminiscences of the town of Afton, 1877.

154                                HISTORY  OF  CHENANGO  COUNTY.                              

his ears and fanned into a blaze his cherished hallucination. With his wagon filled with provisions he started in search of the youth, whose mysterious powers would, he fully believed, make him the possessor of untold wealth. He arrived in due time at the rude log cabin of the Smiths, who were living in squalor and poverty, and the object of his search, with his mystic stone, was soon transferred to his more pretentious mansion.

Mr. Stowel with his ward and two hired men, who were, or professed to be, believers, spent much time in excavating near the State line on the Susquehanna and many other places, among them his own farm. Rocks containing iron pyrites were drilled for gold.

In February, 1826, the sons of Mr. Stowel then residing with their father, seeing that the latter was squandering his property in search for hidden wealth under the direction of the youthful seer, caused the arrest of Smith, who was tried in that month before Albert Neeley, Esq., father of Bishop Neeley, of Maine. The trial was largely attended and the proceedings attracted much attention, though they elicited little but his history from his early boyhood. The witnesses examined besides Smith, were his father, Deacon Isaiah Stowel, and a Mr. Thompson, an employ‚ of Stowel's who always attended the deacon and Smith in their nocturnal labors.

Smith, while here, attended school in District No. 9. He gathered around him a few who were profoundly impressed with the reality of his supernatural powers, and these, (some of whom afterwards joined him in the west, Stowel among the number,) he formed into a society at the house of "Joe Knight," on the south side of the river, near the Lobdell House in Broome county. It is related that in order to convince unbelievers that he possessed supernatural powers, he announced that he would walk upon the water. The performance took place in the evening, and to the astonishment of many, he did walk upon the water, where it was known to be several feet deep, sinking only a few inches below the surface. This proving a success, a second trial was made which bid fair to be as successful as the first; but when he had proceeded some distance into the river, he suddenly sank, much to the chagrin of himself and proselytes, but to the great amusement of the unbelievers. It appeared on examination that planks were laid a few inches below the surface of the water, and that some wicked boys, being actuated by a greater desire for fun than to promote the prophet's fame, had removed one of them. Smith also pretended to heal the sick, cast out devils, etc., but his career here was terminated by his prosecution as an imposter before Joseph P. Chamberlain, Esq. Two pettifoggers named John S. Reed and James Davison volunteered to defend him, and three witnesses, Mr. Knight and his son and Mr. Stowel, testified that they had seen him cast out devils.

It may be well to relate here an incident replete with interest from its intimate connection with the rise and progress of Mormonism. In 1809, Rev. Solomon Spaulding, then residing in Conneaut, Ohio, formed the basis of a romance purporting to give the history of a lost race of people, the idea being suggested by the numerous mounds and relics of dilapidated fortifications in that vicinity. The original design of this literary production, which was entitled Manuscript Found, was merely to amuse himself and friends by an imaginary history. It claimed to have been written by one of the lost nations, and recovered from one of the mounds. After its completion it was left for perusal with a Mr. Patterson, publisher of a newspaper there; but as it possessed no real merit, Mr. Patterson refused to publish it. Spaulding neglected to call for the manuscript, and it was finally thrown among the waste paper, where it came under the observation of Sydney Rigdon, who was at that time connected with the office, and who took a copy of it. Rigdon, upon hearing of the doings of the Smith family in Palmyra, conceived an idea which resulted in the printing of the Mormon Bible. He at once proceeded to Palmyra, and had long and frequent private interviews with Joseph Smith, Jr. At this time, it is supposed, they formed the plan of a new religious dispensation. From this romantic legend the Book of Mormon was paraphrased. Smith repaired at night to a cave in the hillside, and dictated to his amanuensis, Oliver Cowdery, what he "mysteriously translated from golden plates," which he pretended to have found while digging for money in September, 1823, by the aid of spirit revelation, but was not permitted to take them from the earth until 1827, about the time the Bible was commenced. The greatest secrecy was observed during these pretended revelations, which were only given in the cave at night, without any light, no one else but he being able to read the inscription on the plates. When it was completed, they were in a quandary as to how to get it printed. This obstacle was soon removed, however, by Martin Harris, a convert, mortgaging his farm to defray the expenses, ruining himself in doing so. Application was made about June, 1829, to Mr. Egbert B. Grandin, the publisher of the Wayne Sentinel at Palmyra, for the printing of the book. Grandin at once advised them against the folly of the enterprise. All importunity, however, was resisted by Harris, and resented with assumed pious indignation by Smith. Upon the refusal of Grandin, application was made the same year to Mr. Weed, of the Anti-Masonic Inquirer, at Rochester, who likewise refused. They again applied to Grandin, who, seeing their determination,

                               AFTON -- EARLY  SETTLEMENTS.                               155

consented to print it, stipulating to print 5,000 copies of the book for a compensation of $3,000.

From such insignificant seed sprang the giant evil, which for fifty years, on the soil of a distant Territory, has subverted all principles of law and order, built a mighty hierarchy of falsehood and licentiousness, and has thus far thwarted nearly every effort made to suppress it.



Bainbridge was constituted a town and named Jericho, February 16, 1791, at which time it formed a part of Tioga county. Its name was changed April 15, 1814, in honor of Commodore Bainbridge of the American Navy. It originally included portions of Norwich and Oxford, which were taken off January 19, 1793; of Greene, one part of which was taken off March 15, 1798, and another the following year; and the present town of Afton, which was taken off November 18, 1857. It lies upon the east border and near the south-east corner of the county. It is bounded on the north by Guilford and Oxford, on the east by Otsego and Delaware counties, on the south by Afton, on the west by Afton and Coventry. The surface is a rolling upland, beautifully diversified, and is abundantly watered by the Susquehanna, which crosses it diagonally from north-east to south-west, and the smaller streams tributary to it; the principal of which are the Unadilla, which unites with it on the east border of the town, a portion of which it forms, Kelsey Creek, which flows south through the west border, and Bennett Creek, which flows in a westerly direction near the south line. The Susquehanna enters the town on the east border, from one to two miles south of the north line, and flows in a westerly direction till it reaches the village of Bainbridge, where it deflects to the south and maintains that course until it leaves the town. The valley of the river is about a mile wide and is bordered by moderately steep hillsides. The summits of the highest hills are 400 to 600 feet above the valleys.

It is wholly underlaid by the rocks of the Catskill group, in which quarries of good building and flagging stone have been opened, two near the north line of the town, on the farms of Richard Bush and M. Frank, and a third just east of the village, on the east side of the river, on the farm of Jehiel Evans. From the Bush quarry excellent, massive blocks for underpinning and building purposes are obtained; while that obtained from the Frank quarry, on an adjoining farm, is only suitable for flagging, the layers being thinner. From the Evans farm quarry, good massive building stone is obtained, but the superincumbent mass to be removed makes it too expensive to be profitably worked. It supplied the stone used in the abutments of the bridge crossing the river in the village of Bainbridge. The soil upon the hills is a gravelly and shaly loam, and in the valleys a fine fertile clay loam and alluvium. Dairying forms the chief, and almost exclusive branch of agriculture. The dairies are all private ones, the largest being that of Jerome B. Sands, who milks some fifty cows. There is not a factory in the town, nor has there been. The butter product is marketed in New York.

In 1875 the town had a population of 1,928; of whom 1,857 were natives, 71 foreigners, 1,917 white, and 11 colored. Its area was 20,982 acres; of which 14,446 were improved, 5,852 woodland, and 684 otherwise unimproved.

The Albany and Susquehanna Railroad crosses the town along the valley of the Susquehanna, which river it crosses near the east line....

From: History of Broome County by H. P. Smith
(Syracuse: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1885)

[ 324 ]



The town of Colesville is situated upon the northern border of the county, east of the centre, and contains 47,283 and 3/4 acres. It was formed from the town of Windsor on the 2d day of April, 1821, under an act of which the following is an extract: "All that part of the town of Wind­sor west of the town of Sanford and north of a line beginning at the southeast corner of Robert Harpur's patent; thence west­wardly on the south line of said patent to the Susquehanna river; thence down and across the river on the patent line until it strikes the river opposite James Stringham's; thence down the centre of the river until opposite the north line of John Doolittle's land in Hammond's patent; thence west as the line runs between the fourth and fifth tiers of lots to John Watts' patent; thence north forty chains to the north line of the second tier of lots in said patent; thence west on said line of lots to the east line of the town of Chenango."

The first town meeting in this town was ordered held at the house of Nathaniel Cole, at Cole's Hill. From this gentleman, who was an early settler and a prominent man, the town received its name.

The surface of the town is broken by an elevated ridge, the summits of which rise from four to five hundred feet above the valley of the Susquehanna river, which flows southward across the eastern portion of the town. This, with Belden brook and several other small streams, drain the town. The soil in the river bottoms is a deep and fertile gravelly loam, while upon the hills it is mixed largely with clay and slate; it is generally better adapted to grazing than tillage.

The Albany and Susquehanna railroad crosses the western and northern portions of the town with a long curve, on which are stations of Osborne Hollow, the Tunnel, Belden and Nineveh Junction. The Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's railroad

                                   TOWN OF COLESVILLE.                                     325

follows the valley of the Susquehanna across the eastern part of the town, passing the stations of Doraville, Centrevillage, Harpersville and Nineveh Junction.

Colesville is made up of the Smith patent, Watts patent, Hammond patent and the Harpur patent; it is bounded on the north by the town of Fenton and Chenango county; on the east by Sanford and Chenango county; on the south by Sanford and Windsor, and on the west by Fenton and Kirkwood.

The first settlement in this town was made by John Lamphere in 1785. He located near the site of Harpersville. He died in 1788, it being the first death in the town. His widow married Benjamin Bird in 1794, this being the first wedding in the town.

Lemuel and Nathaniel Badger and Casper Spring located in the town in 1786, and built a dwelling on the site of the Harpersville Hotel; one or both of them kept a tavern there at a later date; in the barn belonging to this hotel Mrs. Myra Quick remembers attending what was called a menagerie many years ago. Descendants of the Badgers are now living in the town.

The settlement of Edward Guernsey with his parents, David and Abigail Guern­sey, is given by David B. Guernsey as in the year 1788; they came from Litchfield county, Conn. David B. Guernsey married Nancy Dickson, and they have three sons. He was postmaster at Oquaga in 1868.

Nathaniel Cole settled on Cole's Hill in 1795, and Vena Cole at or about the same time. They became prominent citizens. Nathaniel had a son of the same name who kept a tavern at Colesville at a later date, and was one of the first settlers at that point.

"Jed" Merchant also located at Cole's Hill in 1795; his daughter married a Mr. Keech, who now lives in the town.

Bateman S. Dickinson located on the river below Centre Village, having first settled near Cole's Hill in 1795 He has descendants near Oquaga. David Crofut also located in the vicinity of Cole's Hill in the same year. Descendants of this family are now living in the town. Titus Humiston located on Cole's Hill in 1795; and John Ruggles and Isaac Tyrrell in the same vicinity and in that year. Both these last-named families have descendants in the town at the present time.

Hon. Robert Harpur [1] settled in Colesville at Harpersville in 1787 or soon thereafter. [2] He was born in Ireland in 1733 and came to New York in 1761, engaging as professor in Kings (now Columbia) College, where he remained for fifteen years. He was one of the members of the State convention of 1776, and also of the convention which formed the first State Constitution. At the close of the war he was elected Member of the Assembly for New York city, and in 1780 was appointed Deputy Secretary of State, which, office he held until 1795, when he came into Broome county, as stated. He died in 1825. He was the owner of the immense tract of land, some sixty thousand acres, embracing a portion of this town, which bore his name, and which he disposed of to the early settlers. [3] Robert Harpur, son of Secretary Harpur, was born in New York city in

1 This name is now spelled generally with an "e" in the last syllable; but there is no authority for this orthography in speaking of the elder Harpurs.

2 This date is variously given and generally as late as 1795. But reference to William MacClure's journal and letters in the history of the town of Sanford will indicate quite clearly that he must have come here considerably earlier than 1795·

3 Wilkinson is authority for the statement that Secretary Harpur, while still a resident of New York city, sent a woman in 1792 to superintend the building of a grist­mill upon his patent; her name was Peggy Ludlow. Although a woman, she vindicated the right of her sex to credit for executive ability, by superintending the work in a thorough and efficient manner.

326                               HISTORY OF BROOME COUNTY.                              

1793, and married Permelia Betts, in Afton, Chenango county, in 1816; they located at Harpersville, and he died in 1872 and his wife in 1862, leaving five children -- Myra, Robert G., Sarah K., Edward and Anna. Myra Harpur was born in 1817 and married in 1837 Mr. G. N. Quick. They now reside in Harpersville, in the old Harpur home.

One daughter of J. Warren Harpur married Mr. Whitney, of Binghamton, and one married Mr. Bryant, late of Buffalo. They inherited the old homestead of 550 acres in Colesville, divided equally in value and recently appraised at $36,250, by M. R. Hides and Edward Harpur. An old Indian orchard and burying-ground is on this farm. Robert Harpur was somewhat eccentric. It was in reference to him General Root, when making a speech in the Legislative Assernbly, in opposition to the bill for constructing the Erie canal alongside of Lake Ontario, that he repeated the following lines as a comparison. He said it was
"Like the man with two cats -- one big, t'other small,
For which he made places to pass through the wall;
He made a large hole for big puss to pass through,
And he made a small hole for his little cat, too."
The making of the Erie canal was greatly injurious to Delaware and Broome counties and to all the Southern Tier. Lands fell to less than one quarter of their previous value. Hence General Root's opposition.

Another anecdote is related as follows; In the last decade of the century David Hotchkiss, wishing to purchase a piece of land, went to George Harpur, who lived on the next farm below, to engage him to go to New York and buy it for him. Harpur objected at first, but finally agreed to go, provided Hotchkiss would go daily and pray in his family. This was agreed on. Harpur went, and on returning, Hotchkiss found that Harpur had bought the land in his own name! In speaking of it, Hotchkiss said, "I find it necessary to watch as well as pray." He laid the matter before the church, by which means he obtained the land.

Peter Hendrickson, a German, settled on the river below Centre Village, where he purchased fifty-four acres of Mr. Harpur. He was father of the hero of the hunting incident, in which two heifers were killed, as related in the preceding history of the town of Windsor.

Many of the descendants of John Doolittle's family are now living in the south­eastern part of the town, near where the first settlement was made, and which has been described in the history of Windsor, it having been over the line between the two towns. Edgar Doolittle, one of the leading farmers and blooded stock growers of the town, is a great-grandson of John. He married Rebecca Crary in 1839, and she died in 1859, when he married for his second wife Edith Crary; they have two children.

In the year 1788 occurred the first birth in the town, that of Louisa Badger; whether she was the daughter of Lemuel or Nathaniel Badger, we are not informed. Benjamin Bird kept the first tavern in the town in 1794, and the first store was opened by Bateman S. Dickinson in 1805.

In an old account-book of Robert Harpur, dating back to his first settlement in this town, we find Jacobus Vosburgh charged with fifty acres of land on the east side of the river below Harpersville, in 1795. Ezra Pratt, about 1800, bought lands of Mr. Harpur on Belden creek, three miles from Harpersville; he has descendants in different parts of the town. Frederick Shaffer settled on the river opposite Harpersville in 1800. David Goodenough settled before 1800, and purchased forty acres of Mr. Harpur, probably over the line in Chenango county. He has descendants in Windsor. David Way bought fifty acres

                                   TOWN OF COLESVILLE.                                     327

in 180I, about two miles west of Harpersville; he located at a later date below Doraville, on the river, where Egbert Doolittle lives. He was father of Albert, Hiram and Harvey Way" Isaac Tyrrell came into the town in 1796 and settled in the Martin school-house neighborhood. Amasa Tyrrell, bow living in Harpersville, is his son. Henry Thompson located here about 1800, and had a store, probably at or near Harpersville, which must have been one of the first; as we find in the old account-book of Mr. Harpur credits to Thompson for goods and merchandise, dated at the begin­ning of the century. Rufus Fancher bought ten acres of Mr. Harpur before 1802; it adjoined the Hendrickson property.

Linus Allen settled in the town in 1806. His grandson, Bennett B. Allen, now lives on the old homestead; he married Nancy R. Doolittle, and they have three children. Other descendants live in the Harpersville section.

Israel Williams settled in the town in 1800. He was a Revolutionary soldier and was, according to his grandson, Harry B. Williams, one of the number who ferried General Washington over from Long Island. His grandson (who is a son of Bartholomew Williams and Polly Humiston) is a prominent farmer. Bartholomew Williams married Polly, a daughter of Titus Humiston, as stated. He settled in the town before 1800, coming from Connecticut with a family of fifteen children, on an ox sled. It is related that one of the children was lost off from the sled and was not missed from the number until the family had gone some distance; the father went back and found the straggler.

James A. Chaffee was born in Colesville in 1812, and married for his second wife Eliza Jane Alden-Knox; the ancestors of the Alden and Knox families having been mentioned in the history of Windsor. James A. Chaffee is a son of Zebediah Chaffee and Patty Knox; he settled in Windsor in l803.

Levi Manville settled in the town in 1796 and was the father of Levi, jr., who was born in the town in 1814. He was colonel of the 100th regiment, N. Y. V., in the last war, and is said to be the last of the old Susquehanna river pilots now living in the town. His mother was the widow of Isaac Tyrrell, before mentioned. This constitutes the settlers who came into the town previous to the beginning of the century, as far as we have learned. The lands except along the river were heavily timbered, like all the territory in this section, and the pioneers found themselves with years of severe labor before them, to bring a portion of their farms under such a state of cultivation as would enable them to raise sufficient grain and vegetables for their own use; depending, meanwhile, almost entirely on the manufacture of lumber to obtain merchandise and money. Before the end of the first quarter of the century, saw-mills were located in all parts of the town and the timber of the forests was rapidly transformed into pine lumber, rafted down the rivers and sold. In an interview with Mr. George Collington, of Centre Village, he recalls the following mills that were operated before the end of the first quarter of the century; and there were doubtless many more: --

Two saw-mills were built at an early day in the southern part of the town, which were afterward owned by Warren Doolittle and Nathan Mayhew. Peter Quick built a steam saw-mill in the same neighborhood at a later date. Mr. Blatchley had a mill in the southwestern part of the town, and Ansel Thurber built one near by. John Hendrickson built a saw-mill on the "Doraville creek," at an early date, and John Freeman built one later on the same stream; both

328                               HISTORY OF BROOME COUNTY.                              

were long ago abandoned. Mr. Badger had a saw-mill with his grist-mill, and Robert Harpur and Colonel Mason also had mills. Hezekiah Stowell had two saw-mills on "Church Hollow creek." Up the Belden creek above Harpersville, Barton Pratt had a saw-mill; and others were owned by John Wakeman, Samuel Pratt, Ephraim Norcutt and Edwin Northrup. Joel Morse had one, known as Morse's mill, at the neighborhood called "Unitaria," and there is one at New Ohio, owned by John Wiley; these are now running, as are also those of Pratt and Norcutt. Ezra Pratt had a grist-mill fifty years ago at New Ohio, which was abandoned. Isaac Higley had an early mill at Osborne Hollow and George Addis also had one at the head waters of the Osborne Hollow Creek. One very early mill in this vicinity was owned by Isaac Gano. John, William and Joseph Whitaker had a grist-mill and saw-mill at Osborne Hollow many years ago. These numerous mills will indicate the magnitude and universality of the lumber business in early years. Prominent among the early lumbermen were Colonel Leman Mason, Samuel Badger, Jeremiah Rogers, Judson Allen, Warren Harpur and others. In those days the noble river presented an animated scene when its tide was swollen by the regularly recurring freshets. Rafts followed rafts down the swift tide, some of them of enormous proportions, and the old pilots, who gloried in their occupation, were a prominent element in the community.

Before grist-mills were built in this town, and after the erection of Hotchkiss's and Doolittle's mills at Windsor, the inhabitants went either to that place to mill, or else to Bainbridge. The journey to Windsor was commonly made with a canoe. Among the early hunters of some local note was "Uncle Frost." He took a grist to Windsor in his boat once, and left it to be called for the next day. He had an experience with a bear on his return trip, which he related to Mr. Collington. Said he, "I tell you I caught a famous piece of meat on that trip. I came upon a famous bear, and I just spoke to him (with his rifle) and he laid right down. I skinned him, wrapped the meat in the hide and hung it up. When I went for my grist I brought him home, and he was fat enough to fry the whole grist." A bear was killed in this town only thirty­five years ago, about three miles from Nineveh.

The inhabitants of this town in early days, in common with others settling along the river, had the benefit of the excellent shad fishing which then existed here. They were caught in seines, or dams of brush were made and the fish driven down stream into the close confinement of small pools, and caught, and they supplied the settlers with what proved a welcome variety in their otherwise monotonous bill of fare.

In the old account book of Robert Harpur, from which we have quoted (and which now belongs to his daughter, Mrs. Myra Quick), we find the following memorandum in Mr. Harpur's writing, which is interesting. It is under date of 1817: "Said William Scouten, being a young man, came to live with me until he should be of the age of 21 years. For his service I was to give him at the rate of ten acres of land yearly, besides maintaining and cloathing him all the time he remained with me. All w'ch I've perform'd and given him a deed in fee simple of 55 acres, 32 R., as described."

This land was about two miles northwest of Harpersville, where William Scouten's widow and a son now live.

Zenas Smith settled as early as 1815 on the farm now owned by Mr. Comstock, which joins the Joshua Baker estate.

We will now briefly notice the prominent settlers who came into the town during the first quarter of the century, in addition to

                                   TOWN OF COLESVILLE.                                     329

those already alluded to. Jesse Marsh and his wife, who was Achsa Knowlton, settled here in 1802. His son, Maurice O. Marsh, now lives on the old homestead. Harry Martin came to the town with his mother, who was a widow, in 1804, He became a prominent citizen, was a civil engineer and held local offices. Warren E. Martin, now living in the town, is his son. John Collington, father of George Collington, settled where the latter lives at the present time, in 1815, coming from Vermont. He bought fifty acres of Warren Harpur. George Collington married Mary Roberts in 1837; she died in 1854. and he then married Susan Martin Whitham in 1855. Mr. Collington says there is but one man living in Colesville, on either side of the river in the valley, who was there when his father settled; the exception is John Davenport. Joshua Baker settled in 1810 on the east side of the river below Harpersville. where he bought 111 acres. Mrs. Addison Austin is a daughter of Mr. Baker. John Andrews located before 1810 where Mr. Peckham now lives, below Centre Village. Charles Stringham was an early settler in this locality. His son, James W. Stringham, was father of Charles H. Stringham, one of the leading farmers and dairymen of the town. He married Rosetta Hurlburt in 1866, and for his second wife, Miss Ella Teller, daughter of the late Jacob Teller, of Doraville. Mr. Stringham was elected supervisor in 1884. John Davenport settled on the river in 1812, and is still living. Ahimaaz Estes settled in the town about 1810. S. F. Estes, who resides in the town and is a general farmer, is his son. Rev. "Billy" Way came from Northfield, Conn., and settled in Colesville in 1817. He was a local preacher and class-leader in this vicinity. Lorenzo E. Way, who now owns and occupies the old homestead, is his son. He has been engaged at different periods in teaching, lumbering and contracting. Herry Wilder settled in the town in 1818 and was the father of Addison S. Wilder, a farmer in the town. Amos Wedge is an old resident of the town, and was born in 1803, in Oneida county. His father was Abel Wedge, and his grand­father was David, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Other descendants also live in Colesville. Alvin Holcomb located in the town in 1825, and his brother Wi1liam at the same time. George A. Holcomb, a prominent farmer, is a son of Alvin. The latter was a prominent man, and held the office of highway commissioner for thirteen years and was also excise commissioner. George A. has held the office of assessor. Numerous descendants of the two families now reside in the northwest part of the town, Seth and Lyman Whitaker, brothers, came to Colesville in 1828 and purchased at first ninety-four acres; they worked in conjunction with each other for a number of years and finally acquired over 600 acres of land. They borrowed a yoke of cattle with which to transport their small estate into the town. They erected a log cabin and the wife of the Rev. "Billy" Way baked their bread for them until 1825. when Seth married. Seth Whitaker, jr., is a son of Seth, the pioneer. He owns 346 acres of land and is a prosperous farmer. Other descendants of the family live in the town. Isaac Hurlburt, father of Isaac A. Hurlburt, now of Colesville, came to the town in 1825 and purchased his homestead. His wife was Mary Parker, whose ancestors settled in the town in 1814. Isaac A. now lives on the homestead and is a leading farmer.

We cannot further trace the settlements in the town. There are other prosperous farmers and their descendants who settled here prior to 1825, some of whom will be alluded to a little further on in the history of the hamlets and villages; but those given

330                               HISTORY OF BROOME COUNTY.                              

will help the reader to a knowledge of many of those who have been prominently instrumental in clearing the wilderness that once covered the hills and valleys of Colesville. The oldest settlements were made in the vicinity of Harpersville and Cole's hill, but they gradually spread into the less desirable localities, until now the town is thickly populated in all directions and is one of the leading agricultural towns of Broome county.

Ofthe State legislation relating to this town may be mentioned an act of March 16th, 1821, giving Samuel Badger and Uri Doolittle authority to dam the Susquehanna at "Hemlock Rift," at the northeast corner of Amos Smith's land; the dam was to be thirty inches high, and made of brush and stone.

On the 17th of April, 1828, the Colesville Bridge Company was incorporated by the Legislature. The act empowered John W. Harpur, Thomas Blakeslee, Hezekiah Stowell, Judson Allen, Samuel Badger and Jeremiah Rogers to build a toll bridge over the Susquehanna at or near the "Fish place." The river was ordered kept clear of ferries and bridges for two miles up and down the stream.

On the 9th of April, 1838, the Harpersville Bridge Company was incorporated. The act empowered Robert Harpur, Judson Allen, Thomas Blakeslee, David Wilcox and Henry H. Shaffer to build a toll bridge between Robert Harpur's grist-mill and J. W. Harpur's distillery. This was at Harpersville.

On the 12th of April, 1842, the Susquehanna Centre Bridge Company was incorporated, with power to build a toll bridge in Colesville between the houses of Samuel Doolittle and John Lackeys. The commissioners were Hiram Blakeslee, Jonathan T. Wasson, David Bartow, Jonas Abbott, Nathan Noble, John Freeman, Samuel Doolittle, Freeman Putnam and William Doolittle.

According to Mr. Collington, two bridges have been built at Centre Village, before the one now in existence. The committee who built the first one (under the act last above mentioned) was George Collington, Elon Northrup and Seth Baker. The present bridge was built in 1876-77, at a cost of about $5,000.

The first dam across the river in Colesville was built just below George Collington's residence, by Dt. Little, as early as 1810. There was then an island at that point, which has since been carried away by the water. Most of the island now opposite Mr. Collington's home has formed since that time. The next dam was at Centre Village. Isaac Terry, Colonel Mason and Samuel Badger were interested in it. Samuel Badger built the grist-mill and saw-mill on the west side of the river at Centre Village, on the site of the present mill; it has been enlarged and changed since. Asel Barnes, Uri Doolittle and Geo. Freeman bought it, and Mr. Barnes afterward bought out his partners. It has been in the Barnes family's possession since until the present year (1884), when J. T. Peck purchased it.

As the pioneers of the town cleared up their lands, their log houses were rapidly displaced for more pretentious frame buildings. This work was made the more easy, on account of the plentiful supply of lumber at their doors. When the lumber interest declined, the farmers turned their attention more and more to dairying, and this is now the chief industry of the town. A cheese factory was built ten or twelve years ago at New Ohio, and two have been built recently, one of which is near Oquaga, and the other at what is called Merwin Settlement. The dairy products of this town enjoy an excellent reputation and there are

                                   TOWN OF COLESVILLE.                                     331

many farmers in the town who are quite largely engaged in the business.

Schools were established in Colesville almost with the advent of the first settlers. They were rude and primitive institutions at the: first, and the children of the pioneers knew what it was to go miles to gain the rudiments of learning, and to sit on seats that were cushioned only by the action of the saw-mill saw. But they learned, nevertheless, and the early schools gradually gave way to the present efficient institutions which are thickly scattered throughout the town.

The first religious services were held in 1793 by Rev. Joseph Badger, and six years later the St. Luke's Church (Episcopal) was organized at Harpersville. The church history of the town will be given with that of the different villages.

The first town meeting in the town was held on Cole's hill at the house of Nathaniel Cole, in 1822, and the following named officers were elected: --

Supervisor -- John W. Harpur (generally called Warren Harpur).

Town clerk -- Daniel Sanford.

Assessors -- Ozias Marsh, Harvey Bishop and Gervais Blakeslee.

Overseers of the poor -- Nathaniel Cole, jr.. and Elisha Humiston.

Commissioners of highways -- Amos Smith, Alpheus Goodenough and Daniel Sanford.

Constables -- John Wasson and George Wilcox.

Collector -- John Wasson.

Commissioners of common schools -- John W. Harpur, Jeremiah Rogers and Harvey Bishop.

Inspectors of common schools -- Harvey Martin, Garry Ruggles and Joel K. Noble.

Trustees of gospel and school lands -- George Wilcox, Samuel Badger and Samuel Martin.

Sealer of weights and measures -- Ira Bunnell.

The record of the town in the War of the Rebellion will compare favorably with that of other towns in the county. When the call to arms was sounded men and means in proper proportion to population and wealth were forthcoming, and many sons of the town gave their lives for the preservation of the Union. The reader is referred to the chapter on the military history of the county in these pages.

The records of the town previous to 1855, if not entirely lost or destroyed, were not accessible to the writers; but we give the supervisors of the town since that date, with the years of their service, as follows: --

Riley Bush, 1855; Wiley H. Scott, 1856; Riley Bush, 1857-58; Fred. H. Perry, 1859; Franklin Edgerton, 1860-61; Robert G. Harper, 1862 to 1865 inclusive; H. P. Bush, 1866; Ed. P. Northrup, 1867; Warren E. Martin, 1868-69; Edward Harper, 1870; Martin Ruggles, 1871; Abram Becker. 1873-74; (1872 missing); Martin Ruggles, 1875; Warren E. Martin, 1876; Henry F. Beardsley, 1877-78; Maurice O. Marsh, 1879 to 1883 inclusive.

Following are the officers of the town for 1884: --

Supervisor -- C. H. Stringham.

Town clerk -- P. A. Brainerd.

Justices of the peace -- P. A. Brainerd, J. D. Comstock, H. F. Beardsley, B. B. Badger.

Collector -- Robert Pierce.

Constables -- J. G. Brainerd, Lewis Doolittle. Jacob Miller. George Rowe.

Game constable -- Fred. Judd.

Excise commissioners -- S. J. Skinner, Fred Davis, Terris Doolittle.

Commissioner of highways -- Egbert A. Baker.

Inspectors (1st district) -- Emmet Humiston, Andrew P. Blake, L. Olendorf.

332                               HISTORY OF BROOME COUNTY.                              

Second district, George Bennett, H. A. Williams, Franklin Ross. Third district, Harry Collington, Lewis Jones, W. P. Northrup.

It is interesting to note that this town can truthfully boast (?) of being the field where the redoubtable Joe Smith, leader and promulgator of the Mormon faith in its infancy, first began his ministrations to a benighted world. Joe Smith came from Vermont to this vicinity when a boy and attended school here. His particular field of work, after he came back here as saintly prophet, was a little east of Nineveh, near where Joseph Knight had a carding-mill, about two miles above Centre Village. Knight was among the early converts to the new religion and went away with the sanctified. A number of other residents of the town went, some of whom subsequently returned, wiser and with less money. Smith had his twelve apostles and his inscribed plates, with which he sought to inspire the inhabitants. Of course the whole gang lived on their converts. These early Mormons became impressed with the idea that there was salt in the neighborhood, and spent a good deal of prophetic muscle in digging for it on the farm of George Collington. Mr. Collington relates that, on a particular evening, Joe Smith announced that he would give a practical exemplification of the power of faith and of his semi-divine character, by walking on the water of the river. A dock of plank was laid out into the water from which he was to start. The time came and he started across the dock towards the edge, when all at once down he went out of sight in the tide. Some boys had removed a plank from the dock. If Mr. Collington knows who did the deed, he declines to tell; but he smiles.

The town of Colesville is well supplied with post-offices, there being no less than thirteen; but few of them are of much commercial or manufacturing importance. The largest village in the town is

Harpersville -- which is situated about a half-mile from the Susquehanna river and about a mile from the station on the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad at Nineveh, and the same distance from the station at Centre Village, on the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's railroad; it is north of the center of the town and was the first point settled on the original Harpur Patent.

The post-office was established here in the early part of the century, and records of its occupancy are very meagre. One authority states that H. A. Olendorf was in mercantile business here as early as 1828 and had the post-office from that date for thirty-five years; but this is doubtful. The first postmaster remembered by George Collington was Jeremiah Rogers, who was probably followed by Judson Allen, and he by Olendorf. Darius W. Pearsall had the office in 1863 and was succeeded by William O. Bancroft, the present postmaster, who took the office in 1874.

We have already mentioned the probability that Henry Thompson kept a store at Harpersville at a very early date, judging by the account-book of Secretary Harpur. The earliest merchant of whom we can obtain definite information was Jeremiah Rogers. Mrs. Quick remembers his store at least sixty years ago. It was afterward kept by Rogers & Vosburg, H. A. Olendorf two or three years, Allen, Olendorf & Ketchum, Ruggles & Ketchum, Ketchum & Monroe, Edwin Ketchum, Bancroft & Martin, Barnes & Ruggles, Leverett Barnes, Pearsall & Pratt, and Jesse Brown, who began business in 1863, removing there from the post-office building.

The store building now owned by Henry Olendorf was built by Judson Allen and occupied by H. A. Olendorf from 1828 to 1882. It is not now in use.

                                   TOWN OF COLESVILLE.                                     333

Jeremiah Stow began business in a building now ownd by Robert Stow, which was built by Bartholomew Tyrrell in 1836. Mr. Stow began as a grocer, but soon after added a stock of drugs. He continued the business until 1868, since which time Robert Stow has owned it.

Martin Mudge began business as a general merchant in 1879, in the building erected by Martin Ruggles in 1862. Mr. Ruggles occupied it for several years, after which it was vacant for a time.

J. E. Bristol opened a store where he is now located in 1866, but after trading seven years he went away, returning in 1878. His stock is groceries and drugs.

One of the early shoemakers here was Jesse Brown, who came from Rhode Island before 1820. He carried on his work, manufacturing and selling, until 1869. Since then the people have been supplied with boots and shoes largely by the general stores.

The building now occupied by J. Hurd & Sons in the hardware trade was built by Judson Allen, probably as early as 1840. Mr. Hurd began trade here in 1875.

Hurlburt & Brainerd, hardware dealers, succeeded P. A. Brainerd in 1882. The latter came to the place in 1880, and began business in a small way.

A small foundry was begun m 1856 by C. M. & J. Richards, in a building erected by Mr. Corncil in 1848. David Stow was one of the earliest blacksmiths in the village and had a shop on the site now occupied by Jesse Brown as early as 1816. He worked there in 1830. There· has been a shop on the site occupied by Mr. Rikert for forty years; he has been there seven years and built his new shop in 1884. Matthias Merwin has had a shop where O. B. Merwin is located for some thirty years. John F. Bishop had a shop where John Ayers is located for thirty years. Ayers took the building in 1882. Edward Moore does the horse shoeing there. Sam. Brown has been on his present site eighteen or twenty years.

There have been, of course, public houses of some description on the site of Harpersville since almost the first white settlement. As in other localities, the tavern of those days was merely a pioneer's log domicile, with an extra bed in it, a jug of rum, and somebody to prepare for a traveler such a meal as happened to be procurable. We have alluded to one of the earliest inns of this character, which was kept at Cole's hill by Nathaniel Cole, as early as 1800. He had a sign displayed many years later bearing that date. The memory of the oldest inhabitants goes back about sixty years in the settlement of Harpersville, at which time Lemuel Badger kept the public house. Others who have since kept the house are Edwin Northrup, Walker Cole, Harmon Tyrrell, George Tirrell, and Simon Groat, who bought the property about twelve years ago and now owns it. John Bouck keeps the house.

The old saw-mill in the village, which is still believed to be capable of sawing lumber, was probably built by Lemuel Badger; it used to be known as the Badger mill. "Squire" James B. Frazer has owned it thirty years or more, and has done a cabinet and undertaking business during that period. He sold the building beside the mill to John Ayers in 1884. L. A. & L. H. Tyrrell built a steam saw-mill here in 1864. It was burned in 1878 and rebuilt, at which time L. A. Tyrrell bought his partner's interest, and now runs it He is a son of the venerable Amasa Tyrrell, the pioneer.

Mention has been made of the first religious services at Harpersville in 1793, which culminated in the organization of St. Luke's (Episcopal) Church in 1799.

334                               HISTORY OF BROOME COUNTY.                              

The meeting for organization was held on the 15th of April, and was presided Over by Rufus Fancher, and Rev. Philander Chase (afterwards bishop), as secretary. Titus Humiston and Rufus Fancher were chosen church wardens; and Isaac M. Ruggles, Josiah Stow, Asa Judd, Abel Doolittle, Samuel Fancher, Daniel Merwin, David Way and Wright Knapp, vestrymen. Their house of worship was built in 1828, and consecrated by Right Rev. John Henry Hobart. The first pastor in this church, in 1809, was Rev. James Keeler. The following pastors have since ministered to the church: Revs. Marcus A. Perry, Amos Pardu, Nathan B. Burgess, Ephraim Punderson, David Huntington, James Keeler, James Stokes, Asa Griswold, Noble Palmer, William Long, Moses E. Wilson, E. Dolloway, Joel Davis, A. W. COrneil, Horace Gates, who came in March, 1884. The present officers of the church are Dr. E. Guy and G. Burton Barnes, wardens; B. B. Allen, H. C. Peck, S. P. B. Whitaker, Robert Stow, G. W. Welton, H. P. Guy, Jesse Brown, George Richards, vestrymen; Robert Stow, treasurer; there are about ninety communicants.

The First Baptist Church of Colesville (at Harpersville) was organized with seven members in 1811; the names of the members were Nathaniel J. Gilbert, Stephen and Polly Parker, Silas Moon, Silas Hall, Peter Newton and Lucinda Denny. The church edifice was erected in 1846. Elder Levi Holcomb was the first pastor. Rev. Henry H. Douglas is the present pastor and succeeded Rev. Albert S. Guy in April, 1882. The church has 120 members. Following are the officers' names: Leroy Tyrrell, Warren Martin and S. S. Webster, trustees; W. O. Bancroft, clerk; G. A. Coombs, M. O. Marsh, W. Pearsall, James Fuller, deacons.

The history of the M. E. Church at this place is obscure. We learn that it was first a part of the Page Brook Circuit, and is mentioned as the Harpersville Appointment as early as 1842. The church build­ing was erected in 1843, and the parsonage in 1867-68. In 1858 New Ohio and all of the Page Brook Circuit was set offand called the Harpersville Circuit. Rev. N. J. Hawley is the present pastor and C. W. Hair class leader. The society has over fifty members.

There is a Free Methodist Church at Cole's hill. The house was built by a Presbyterian organization, who occupied it several years; the Baptists subsequently occupied it for a term of years; but interest declined and after remaining unoccupied for some time the Methodists repaired it in 1853 and have since occupied it.

In the brief reference to the settlement and career of the various physicians who have in the past located in the town of Windsor, which the reader will find in the foregoing history of that town, we have doubtless mentioned all, or nearly all, of those who ministered to the sick in early times in what is now the town of Colesville. Dr. Ezekiel Guy was born in Guilford, Chenango county, in 1816, and was a son of Timothy Guy, of Cherry Valley, who settled in Chenango county in 1814. Four of his six sons now live in the county; Timothy is a physician of Binghamton; Albert S. is a retired clergyman, and the others are prominent citizens Dr. Ezekiel Guy graduated from the Geneva Medical College in 1842, and settled in Jackson, Susquehanna county, Pa. In 1845 he came to Harpersville, where he has acquired a large practice and an enviable reputation as a man. His son, H. P. Guy, is also a physician in this town, located at Nineveh. He is a graduate of the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia, 1875.

                                   TOWN OF COLESVILLE.                                     335

Dr. James D. Appley was born in Hancock, Delaware County, in 1845, and is a son of Lawrence Apply. He is a graduate of the Eclectic University of Philadelphia and became a member of the County Medical Society In 1877. He began practice of medicine at Oquaga in 1871, with Dr. Butler, and In 1872 settled in Nineveh; from there he removed to Pennsylvania, but in 1884 came back to Harpersville where he purchased one of the finest dwellings in the place. He married Delphine Doolittle, of Colesville, in 1873; they have one child.

Dr. Andrew J. Butler was born in Roxbury, Delaware county, 1833; he is a son S. W. Butler, of Long Island, who settled in the town in 1866. They have two children, Andrew J. and Stephen W., the latter being a clergymen. Dr. Butler graduated from the Susquehanna Eclectic Medical Institution in 1874. as shown by the county register. He previously graduated from the Medical College in Pittsfield, Mass., in 1857. He began practice in Chatham, Columbia county, in 1861 and in 1863 settled at Oquaga, where he has since remained.

Dr. John Waldo Booth was born in Washington, Duchess county, in 1835, and settled at West Colesville in 1862. He graduated from the Chicago Medical College in 1870, having previously studied in the Geneva Medical College. He afterwards read with Dr. Geo. Burr. He married Almira Leake in 1833.

Dr. Harvey F. Beardsley, born at Richfield. Otsego county, 1826. married Jane Cornish in 1851; they have seven children. He is a graduate of the Medical Society of Broome County and began practice in North-Colesville in 1867. He now resides at the tunnel, where he is a prominent citizen; he has been justice twelve years and postmaster for many years.

Centre Village. -- This is a hamlet and post-office on the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's railroad, situated a little east of the center of the town. There has been a post-office here sincc 1855. E. P. Northrup was one of the earliest postmasters. Nelson Stow had the office in 1863; William Tice in 1870, and Solomon Weeks, the present incumbent, has been in the office since 1870.

Lewis Northrup built a tannery here and kept the first store. His house was where Wm. Osgood now lives. The store now occupied by Tice & Weeks was built by the Stow Brothers for a blacksmith shop about 1850. Wm. Miller occupied it as a shop for some time. Nelson Stow opened it as a store. He was succeeded by John Martin and Tripp & Pierce. The present firm began business in 1869.

The building now used by Thos. E. Marshall for a furniture manufactory was built during the last war by James A. Barnes and John Hurlburt for a store, and was occupied as such for two or three years. It then degenerated to a saloon. After that meetings were held in the building, while it was otherwise unoccupied. Mr. Marshall took it in 1882.

Nelson C. Humphrey built his wagon­shop in 1874, and a little later built his blacksmith shop; he is a practical work­man in both trades. H. E. Spencer bought the shop of Geo. W. Austin In 1870, enlarged it and has since occupied it. Neri Pine was an early blacksmith in the same shop.

Simon Harpur had a distillery in this place many years ago. Lewis Northrup built a tannery here in 1860, which turned out about 50,000 sides of leather a year. It was twice burned.

Of the hotel it is said that :Squire" David Wilcox, who had a clothing-mill here a little more than fifty years ago, lived

336                               HISTORY OF BROOME COUNTY.                              

in the upright part of the building and kept the house open to the public. It is thought that a hotel was first kept there by John Eldred about 1832. Since that time the proprietors have been almost immerable, among them being Walker & Lenox, Wm. Houghtaling, a Mr. Miles, Alonzo Haynes, Walter G. Baker, John Flansburg, and the present landlord, Geo. W. Austin, who is generally improving the house.

John Flansburgh, just mentioned, is a son of Conrad Flansburgh, and settled in this town in 1828, purchasing his present homestead. He has one child living.

One of the first school-houses on the east side of the river, in this town, stood where the District No. 10 house now is; the site of the village was then covered by forest. The school-house in the village was built in 1851. There is no church here, but meetings are held in the school­houses.

Nineveh. -- This is a small village situated near the north line of the town, about a mile from the Nineveh Junction station, on the Albany and Susquehanna railroad. It is on the site of some of the oldest settlements of the town. The post-office WaS established here before the end of the first quarter of the century, probably. Among the early holders of the office were J. W. Hobbs, Hial Edgerton, who had it in 1845, Riley Bush, Franklin Edgerton, 1863, E. C. Healey, Wiley Scott, Arthur Mudge and finally Chas. S. Smith, the present incumbent, who has been in the office about six years.

Riley Bush, whose name is mentioned above, is one of the prominent settlers in this locality, and was born in Bainbridge in 1818. He now lives in Nineveh. He has been supervisor five terms; is railroad commissioner of the town, and is a retired merchant and capitalist; he owns four farms in the town, the hotel at Nineveh Junction and other valuable property. His ancestors were early settlers in Chenango county.

The site of this village was once bought up by what was known as the Unadilla Company, in anticipation that the Erie railroad would pass through it, and surveyed into lots for sale as a speculation. The tract, or part of it, finally passed into possession of Edwin Northrup, of Harpersville, and then to Wiley H. Scott.

Edwin P. Northrup was born in Duchess county in 1801, his father being Daniel Northrup, who settled in Colesville at Nineveh in 1833, then he purchased the hotel; this he managed until 1839. In 1838 he bought the" Badger" House at Harpersville, running it until 1844, when he located on his farm, which he had purchased in the mean time. He is now retired from active business. His wife was Eliza Ann Velie, and they had two children -- Edwin H. and Jane E. Northrup. The latter married Robert G. Harpur, descendant of Secretary Harpur.

Charles S. Smith has kept a general store here for the last six years, and now has for a partner Mr. S. S. Webster. This store was built fifty years ago and has been occupied by Franklin Edgerton for many years next before Smith & Webster and Bush (Riley) & Edgerton. It was built by Mr. Butler.

William Tremaine has a general store since 1879. The building is one of those erected by Peter Dickinson, once a wealthy lumberman in this locality; he also built the house in which Riley Bush lives, and other structures in the village. Mr. Tremaine's store was occupied by a Mr. Tice, the Johnson Brothers, D. Niven & Son and others, before Mr. Tremaine began business.

The largest manufacturing industry in Nineveh, and one of the most remarkable

                                   TOWN OF COLESVILLE.                                     337

of its kind in thc country, is the carriage manufactory of the Hobbs Brothers, formerly J. W. Hobbs, who retired in 1878. The latter brought his business from Delhi in 1844, to escape the anti-rent troubles. He is a remarkably skilled mechanic, and taught his sons in the same manner. The result has been the manufacture of fine carriages that are scarcely excelled in the country. It is not at all unusual for them to turn out a vehicle which seils for $1,000, and their carriages are shipped to all parts of the Union. J. W. Hobbs has read law in his leisure and has practiced a good deal. He has been justice for sixteen years consecutively, and has held other local offices. He married Mary E. Williams and has two sons.

The hotel in Nineveh was built by Hezekiel [sic - Hezekiah?] Stowell and Peter Dickinson as early as 1831. It was owned by Edwin Northrup and Wiley H. Scott in 1843, and has since passed through various hands, among them being Jeremiah Pulver, E. W. Scott, Mr. McCall, Mr. Williams, Charles Pease, and possibly others. W. P. Bennett now keeps the house.

It is said by old residents of the village that a Mr. Butler kept a public house some description in a house that was afterwards used for the same purpose by a Mr. Pratt, and then by Reuben Lovejoy for a carriage-house, and now for the latter purpose by E. Lawton. The opening of this house to the public must have been before the beginning of the century.

Charles Pease, above mentioned, is a son of Anthony Pease, an early settler in Owego, where he died. He has several brothers who are successful farmers, and he is a prominent citizen. He purchased the hotel property in 1877. He has held several town officers.

A toll-bridge company at this point was chartered in 1828. The present bridge was built in 1880 at a cost of about $5,000.

Hezekiah Stowell built the original saw­mill, feed-mi1l and planing-mill; * it was afterwards owned by the Lovejoys, who also built the mills now owned by Riley Bush, in 1870.

The following history of the Presbyterian Church at Nineveh is from Rev. J. S. Pattengill's history of the Presbytery of Binghamton: --
"The south branch of the Bainbridge church, formed by Rev. David Buck, in 1802, of seven members, was supplied by him and Mr. Chapin until 1806, when, like the northern branch, it remains without a minister or a record until 1817. By the effort of Mr. Chapin the church was encouraged to begin a new life and join with thc north branch in the employ of Mr. Burbank. In 1819 a house of worship was erected as a union house. By the failure of the Congregational society to keep up its organization, the Universalists organized and claimed their inheritance.

"Rev. Isaac W. Ruggles was settled in 1820, and his pastorate continued about four years. After Mr. Ruggles's removal, the church is without a minister or record for the next six or eight years. When next heard from ten of its members are organized at Nineveh into a Presbyterian church by the name of Bainbridge and Nineveh Presbyterian Church, and the same day twenty-three were added by profession of faith. This organization was effected by a committee of Chenango Presbytery, with Ethan Pratt as chairman. For about two years previous to this organization at Nineveh, Rev. Ira Smith had labored in the vicinity and, finding Nineveh about the centre of his undefined parish,

* Hezekiah [sic - Josiah?] Stowell joined the Mormons, and it is said he mortgaged his farm to raise money to print The Book of Mormon, of course he lost all he was worth.

338                               HISTORY OF BROOME COUNTY.                              

proposed to the people to build a meeting­house at Nineveh. His wishes meeting with a favorable response, it was agreed as a signal for the effort to begin, M. Smith was to blow the horn to call the people to­gether. Accordingly on a Monday morning Mr. Smith blew the horn long and loud. The people heard and heeded, and the standing timber of Monday was erected into a meeting-house during the week; and on the ensuing Sabbath the Gospel trump was blown by Mr. Smith in their new sanctuary. When a people have a mind to work and make common cause, church erection is successful without foreign aid. When the society built their new and present house of worship their extemporaneous sanctuary was remodeled into the parsonage now in use. Mr. Smith's pioneer missionary work continued about two years. His successors were George Spaulding. two years, Crispus Wright, six months, Prince Hawes. two years. In 1842 Willard M. Hoyt was called to the pastorate and in 1843 was ordained and installed. Mr. Hoyt's pastorate was dissolved in 1865. In 1866 Wm. H. Sawtelle was ordained and installed, and his pastorate still continues. The second house of worship, erected in 1849, was enlarged and remodeled in 1870."

Since the publication of Mr. Pattengill's pamphlet, Mr. L. G. Ogden has assumed the pastorate of the church, which is in a flourishing condition.

We were unable to reach the records of the M. E. Church of Nineveh; but the society has had an organization since an early day. The present church building was erected about 1853. Rev. M. Hawley, of Harpersville, now serves the church as pastor. Joseph Jay has been a class-leader for the last ten years. He, with Uriah Wedge and Alonzo Dickinson, are the stewards.

Osborne Hollow. -- This is a hamlet and post-office, and a station on the Albany ane Susquehanna railroad, situated in the southernmost part of the town. The early settlement of Eli Osborne (from whom the place takes its name) has been alluded to. The place where Mr. Osborne formerly lived is now· owned by Eli Everts. Mr. Osborne's daughter married Jedediah Bump, who also came here in early years. Hiram Coller came to this section in 1818, with his father Abraham, who settled first in the northern part of the town. Wm. Russell was an early settler here and lived many years on the sight of the Odell HoteL Ezekiel Andrews was an early settler. Stephen, Daniel, John and Silas Reynolds came to this locality between 1840 and 1845, and all four died here at advanced ages. Stephen settled where Mr. Dart now lives; John where Cornelius lives, Daniel where Augustus lives, and Silas where Ira Reynolds lives. A. S. Reynolds, now telegraph operator at the station. is the youngest son of Cornelius Reynolds.

E. H. Odell began business as a general merchant in Osborne Hollow in 1855, and in 1858 connected the hotel business with it. He built the present hotel about 1865, and is now erecting a handsome residence He married Elizabeth Hamilton, daughter of Dr. H. R. Hamilton, of Harpersfield; they have four children.

Isaac Andrews opened the first grocery here about 1854. A. Everett built the store now owned by Isaac Craver about 1860. Mr. Craver has occupied the store since 1870 and been postmaster since that period.

Cornelius Reynolds was the first black­smith in the place. Daniel Chapman and Martin Strickland now have shops.

The first saw-mill was erected on the site of the present mill by Emory Andrews, in 1863; this was burned. George Vanzile owns the present mill, having operated it since 1870.

                                   TOWN OF COLESVILLE.                                     339

A pumping-house of the National Transit Company is located at Osborne Hollow; it has a capacity of 40,000 barrels of oil per day, and the line is connected with the Olean, Bradford and Alleghany fields.

The ground for the site of the M. E. Church at Osborne Hollow was bought of Samuel Andrews on the 5th of January, 1854. The building was erected soon afterward. Rev. Asa Brooks is the present pastor, coming here in April, 1884. He is a descendant of Levi Brooks, a Revolutionary soldier, and his father was Rev. Bethuel Brooks, a local preacher who settled in Lisle at an early day. The trustees of the church are Isaac Craver, I. J. Gano, Reuben Wallace, John Gano. Henry Kales is superintendent of the Sabbath­school.

Belden, -- This hamlet has come into existence principally since the construction of the Albany and Susquehanna railroad, on which it is a station and post-office. The locality was settled at a comparatively late date; in 1825 there was the frame house of Benjamin Hill and the log houses of Harvey Handy and James Webb where the hamlet is now situated; they were then the only buildings. Webb's house stood where the post-office is located. Seth and Lyman Whitaker came into the vicinity in 1828, Seth settling where he now lives and Lyman where his son resides. Wm. Shay located where he now lives in 1830.

The post-office was established here in 1868, when the railroad was opened. Asa Yager was the first postmaster; since his administration Norman S. Wallace, James Deal and Edwin R. Boyes, the present official, have occupied the position.

The postmasters down to Mr. Deal kept groceries, but since his administration there has been none here.

Asa Yager had the first blacksmith shop here; he is a son of Adam Yager, who came here about 1840. Egbert A. Baker is a retired blacksmith and farmer and lives in the vicinity of Belden. He married Elizabeth Holcomb; has held local offices and is a prominent citizen. His wife is a daughter of Alva Hdcomb, and belongs to a family of prominent farmers and carly settlers in the neighborhood of Belden.

Edwin R. Boyes has a blacksmith shop at Belden, where he began the business in 1870. The saw-mill was built in 1828 by Benjamin Hill. After numerous changes the property came into possession of Hen­ry Manville in 1869, and he still owns it.

Ephraim Norcott built the Belden Hotel in 1853; it was occupied principally as a boarding-house during the building of the railroad. Henry Manville became its owner in 1869. The shingle-mill was built in 1883 by Alden Webster and B. F. Hill. Its capacity is 10,000 shingles a day.

New Ohio. -- This locality was once known as Holcomb Settlement, from the numerous residents of that name in the immediate vicinity. There was a Methodist church a little southeast of the place, and that seems to have been the business point in the locality for quite a period. A store was kept there as early as 1834 and during the succeeding few years. At that date the post-office was also located there, remaining until about 1845, when it was removed to New Ohio. Harvey Miller was postmaster during the late war. The office is now located at the "Tunnel," as described below.

Elisha Kasson was an early settler in this locality, and became prominent; was justice of the peace and a teacher. Mr. Kasson is still living. Aaron Beman and David Waters also came here early. John Watrous, Horace and William Holcomb came into the settlement in 1834, the former locating where his widow now lives; Horace Holcomb where De Witt Watrous lives, and

340                               HISTORY OF BROOME COUNTY.                              

William Holcomb where Alvin Holcomb lives.

The first store kept here was opened in 1879 by Watson Watrous; his son, Hubert Watson, now keeps it. George Miller was a blacksmith in 1834 and for some years later. Edgar Hicks now has a shop, A saw mill was built here about 1830 by John Wiley and Elijah Church. It was burned many years ago. Hubert Watrous and Mr. Paddleford built the present mill and now own it. The cheese factory was built in 1878 by a company. It is now owned by T. D. Porter.

The Methodist Church at New Ohio was organized by Rev. "Billy" Way, in 1825, with eight members; the church edifice was erected in 1844. The first pastor was Rev. Morgan Ruger. The present pastor is Rev. Mr. Wood. The church is small.

The "Tunnel" is a station on the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad, a little east of the settlement of New Ohio just described, at which a post-office has been established since the railroad was constructed. The first store was built here by Robert Riley in 1869, which he kept until 1875, at the same time acting as postmaster. Jacob Miller then took the business and the post­office and kept the latter until 1883, since which time Dr. H. F. Beardsley has been postmaster.

Moses Baxter built a hotel here in 1871, which was also his dwelling. David Moat now has a saloon there.

Vallonia Springs. -- This is a post-office in the extreme northeastern part of the town. It has no commercial importance. The post-office was established about forty years ago. H. N. Terwillegar is postmaster.

Judge Betts erected a tavern there many years ago, which was then kept by a man named Wilkinson. Among the prominent farmers in that vicinity are Samuel S. Seward, whose father, Orrin Seward, settled in the town in 1835. Samuel S. followed blacksmithing here in connection with farming for twenty-five years. This place only came into being through what reputa­tion was acquired by the springs that are located here. The water is impregnated with sulphur, magnesia and iron, and is said to be efficacious in relieving certain disorders of the human sytem.

Doraville. -- A post-office and station on the Delcm'are and Hudson Canal Company's Railroad, a little south of Centre Village. The post-office was established here about forty-five years ago. It was located for many years, and until its removal two or three years since to its present site, in the dwelling of Samuel Doolittle, one of the early settlers here. C. K. Smith has a grocery store, and Charles Page is a black­smith here.

West Colesville. -- This is a post-office in the southwestern part of the town, containing one or two shops, a church and a few dwellings. William L. Laughlin began blacksmithing here in 1852, connecting with it the repair of wagons and farm tools. In 1854 he began farming in conjunction with his mechanical work. His wife was Amy Edwards, daughter of John Edwards, whose parents came to the county from Vcrmont in 1812. The Baptist Church at West Colesville was organized with seven members in 1846, and their church was erected in the following year. The first pastor was Elder A. B. Earle.

Oquaga. -- The post-office of this name is near the southern boundary of the town at about the center, and on the Susquehanna river. The post-office was first established here in 1820, and was then called "Susquehanna;" but the name was changed about 1860. John W. Harpur was postmaster in 1820, since which time the following have held the offiee: William Watrous, Peter Pine, William Doolittle,

                                   TOWN OF TRIANGLE.                                     341

Sidney J. White, Lewis H. Tyrrell, Jerry Ketchum, Uri T. Doolittle, D. B. Guernsey, Laura T. Dickinson, and D. B. Guernsey, the present incumbent. The first store was started by Uri Doolittle and Eli Pratt about 1823, since which time George W. Doolittle and Uri T. Doolittle, Jerry Ketchum and Harley Doolittle kept stores. There now two - one kept by B. B. Badger and the other by William Francis. The wife of Mr. Francis is the daughter of Dr. Andrew J. Butler, who is located at Oquaga.

The Methodist Church at Oquaga was organized with forty-six members by De Witt C. Olmstead in 1867, and their house of worship was erected the following year at a cost of $3,000. Rev. William Round was the first pastor. Present pastor, Rev. John A. Fransue. Trustees, J. J. Edwards, Milton Knox, A. B. Watson. There was formerl:y a post-office called Colesville, located a little south of the center of the town, for many years. There is no business at this point, and the office is discontinued.

North Colesville is the name of a post­office in the northwest corner of the town, established many years ago; but the place has little other interest....

From: Broome County Illustrated
(Binghampton: Bellflower Press, 1895)

                          BROOME  COUNTY  ILLUSTRATED.                           11


The History of Broome County is in reality the history of its city and towns, and will be carefully considered under those heads. There are, however, a few brief remarks which may be applicable to the whole, and can hardy be made local enough to come under any particular town.

About four hundred years ago rumors of a new world had seized Europe. Settlements were rapidly planted along the territory lining the western coast of the Atlantic. The vague stories of Lief's and Erick's discovery was only remembered in legend and song. Columbus stands out to us as the actua| discoverer. America boasts of a position not surrounded by European powers, which alone is worth more than a standing army. Her unequal systems of Lakes and Rivers, thousands of miles of sea coast with magnificently indented harbors; mines ladened with the richest of minerals; scenery the grandest in the world; and above and beyond all this a race of people amalgamated from the world's best blood, surpassing in wealth and enterprise anything the world has ever produced; such a country and such people trace their existence to the discoverer, Christopher Columbus.

[ graphic ]


Court Street is the great Business Thorough-fare of the City. It is to Binghamton what Broadway is to New York. The street is now built in solid with Business Blocks from the Chenango River to Carroll Street.

Henry Hudson, an English Navigator sailed up the Hudson River about eighteen years after Columbus made his discovery and the river was then named in honor of its discoverer. During this voyage Hudson trafficked considerably with the Indians and first learned them to drink rum. He also gave such a glowing account of the country that the Dutch commenced to plant colonies along the banks of the Hudson. In 1664 this territory which had been discovered by,and was now in possession of the Dutch was granted to the Duke of York by Charles II of England. In 1673 the Dutch again got possession, and in the following year by the terms of peace between England and Holland it was then restored to the English.

The history of Broome County would hardly seem complete without a passing reference to the famous Iroquois or Five Nations of Indians which were Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas. The Indians had eight family names: Wolf, Bear, Beaver, Turtle, Deer, Snipe, Heron and Hawk, and these families in each nation permitted no intermarriage and claimed as brother and sister any of the same name in another tribe. This confidence seemed bound by the strongest tie, so strong that for two hundred years no internal disputes arose among them; outside forces finally broke the confederacy. In war they possessed an education similar to the ancient Spartans and showed no mercy to their enemies. They were very corteous to strangers who came among them from other nations. There can be no question but that they were the most intellectual nation anywhere in this section and many of their regulations were almost a pattern for the white population. In war they were extremely sagacious and almost always gained great advantage by craft. Sullivans army found villages with frame houses, well furnished and some painted; also well cultivated fields with orchards. Had they possessed the advantages

12                           BROOME  COUNTY  ILLUSTRATED.                          

of European civilization, who knows but they might have equalled us in enterprise. Such is a brief mention of the great nation of Indians who subdued and exacted tribute from many other nations and entirely exterminated several tribes, until the country from Maine to the Mississippi was practically under their sway. When the French took possession of Canada they supplied the Adriondacks, or Algonquins, with fire arms and enablrd them to gain a victory over the Iroquois. Several battles were fought between the different nations soon after in which the Iroquois were usually successful, in one they almost entirely exterminated the Adriondacks. In 1654 a war broke out between the Five Nations and the Andastes who occupied this country; this war lasted with varying success for twenty years,but linally terminated successfully for the Iroquois. We pass over a very interesting period of over one hundred years of our Nation's early history, because it does not seem to possess any points which in any particular degree can be connected with the early history of our county. During the Revolution both armies tried to employ the Indians of the Six Nations as allies.

[ graphic ]


Looking down on the Bridge which connects CoUrt and Main Streets. View up Main Street showing the location of the High School at the left, and First Congregational Church at the right.

England alone reaped benefit from their employ. Joseph Brant a prominent Mohawk chief was taken to England where he was so well received that much uneasiness was felt by the colonists on his return. Also about this time (1776) the Six Nations had a great gathering at Oquago near Windsor, and Col. John Harper went thither to ascertain the meaning. He was well received and became convinced that the savages would take no action in the war. Brant appeared with these Indians some time later and went with a band of warriors to Unadilla. Gen. Herkimer interviewed him there and became convinced that the Indians would act in concert with the British. The Indians and Gen. Herkimer fought the bloody battle of Oriskany soon after. Brant destroyed the village of Springfield on Otsego Lake, also together with Butler committed the bloody Massacre of Cherry Valley and later the one at Minisink. To avenge these bloody deeds the colonists planed a compaign. In 1779 Gen. Sullivan with 3500 men marched up the Susquehanna from Pennsylvannia, while a divison started by the way of the Mohawk to meet him. They passed down the Susquehanna receiving a reinforcement near the present village of Windsor, and upon arriving at the present site of Binghamton encamped. In their voyage they did the Indians considerable damage. They had a skirmish near Union but the Indians fled.

Gen. Sullivan's army and the one from the Mohawk met on the Chemung River making a force of about 5000 men. Brant made several desperate stands in the vicinity of Elmira but was beaten by the overwhelming forces of his foe. Pursuing

                          BROOME  COUNTY  ILLUSTRATED.                           13

Sullivan laid waste many villages, destroyed corn fields, and broke the league of the Six Nations. Brant's spirits still seemed unbroken and he afterward led forces against and plundered many villages.

With the possible exception of Indian captives, Sullivan's army was beyond doubt the first white men ever within the present limits of Broome County. It may be hard to tell just what tribes at all times owned the county. The Delawares may have held it, but at a time later the Six Nations must have had possession. Oquaga is probably the most noted spot and seemed to be a resting place to cross by Binghamton, Wyoming or Deposit or in order to strike the rivers where these places are now located. Old Indian apples trees of great age were found at Oquago, also trinkets, bones, etc.

[ graphic ]


Over the line in Chenango county toward the present village of Greene is also to be found an interesting mound, some forty feet in diameter, built by Indians, and filled with human bones. Two hundred arrow heads and a large number of Indian trinkets were also found in the pile. Another of these mounds was found at Wyoming, Pa., and filled with bones of warriors, probably slain in the Grasshopper War.

In 1787, Captain Joseph Draper settled near the site of the County Farm, he and his associates found the Indians of this locality peaceable. Near the mouth of Castle Creek was situated what was called the "Castle Farm," this the Indians reserved when selling the land in this locality. It was a home for about twenty-five families of Indians.

These Indians dressed in shirts and moccasins, their heads were ornamented with feathers and ofttimes jewels in their noses and ears. Their houses were either of logs locked together at one end so as to form a slanting roof, or four crotched poles erected so as to form a slant and covered with bark, etc., to exclude rain, one end was left open and a curtain of skins suspended which could be lowered or raised at will. The three sides were covered with bark. Their fire was kindled outside, just in front. They had no chairs or tables but sat on the ground or skins inside. The Indians were swindled out of this farm by one Patterson whom the savages it is supposed afterwards murdered.

The whites treated the Indians with injustice at many times and may have deserved much of the cruel treatment which in many cases they received.

The first perminent settlements in the county were made in 1785 by Cap. Joseph Leonard and others, and were in the present towns of Vestal and Colesville. Leonard settled near the present site of Binghamton. A company was soon after formed which bought the land of the Indians at one shilling per acre. The methods employed when making purchases from the Red Men were substantially, feed the Indians well, give them rum, get on the right side of them, then buy as low as possible. Along the river and in many places the underbrush and small trees were cut out ; this enabled the Indians not only

14                           BROOME  COUNTY  ILLUSTRATED.                          

to raise crops if wanted, but also to see game. The Indians had paths through the forests which, with a little extra chopping could be reasonably well followed by a wagon. The pioneers of Broome County found an almost unbroken forest; and it took the hardest labor of one generation to remove these and pave the way for another to enjoy the fruit of their labors.

The first duty of the settlers was to fell some straight trees cut these up into suitable lengths, notch them and build a square cabin with a bark roof; greased paper for windows, if any at all, split planks for floor and doors. This he had to build alone unless he could obtain assistance from one who had before settled in that vicinity; as to furniture the bed was usually made at the side by boring holes into the logs and building a little frame which had poles laid over it and a bed made thereon. The chairs were mostly benches made of a'split slab with legs in it. A few articles of furniture were occasionally brought by the pioneers as a reminder of former civilzation.

[ graphic ]


In communities where neighbors were to be found a [bee] was made and with four men at the corners, trees were felled, and a house erected in one day; but, during all this time the jug of whisky was often passed around to brighten up the spirits of the laborer. Under these rude roofs we doubt not that there was as much happiness and as many true and devoted hearts as in the palace of to-day.

Amid these primitive forests there were many a happy "Logging Bee" in which the men of a community cleared in a day the field of a neighbor and seldom, if ever, was the jug an absent member on such occassions. There was also in these forests an abundance of wild game with numerous animals which not only preyed on the flocks, but often were an annoyance to the life of a man, among these wolves were the worst and at certain times became such a nuisance that a bounty was placed upon their hides; in 1822 this bounty was $10.

The lack of Grist Mills was another serious grievance of most settlements and journeys of a week or two were often made to them. One of the earliest located mills was at Tioga Point, about forty miles from Binghamton. The nearest at an early date on the east was about seventy miles distance at Wattles' Ferry. A stump was often hollowed out and the corn or grain pounded in it. Wheat was often boiled and eaten with milk nr maple sugar. In the year 1799 Henry Finch erected a mill at Castle Creek for sawing lumber, this caused a great improvement in the manner of house-building; two years later a grist mill was erected in the Town of Kirkwood on what was the farm of the heirs of E. Y. Park. The next year Jabesh Winchop built a mill at Union and also Cap. Dean built a sawmill where the present village of Deposit is located to this he added a grist mill the next season. Simon Rogers erected in 1795 a grist mill in the present town of Barker and two years later Nathan Lne started one in Windsor.

The year 1789 was one of famine. The hardships, although severly felt in Broome County, was much more severe farther down the river. Every sort of experiment to prevent starvation was resorted to; roots were dug and ate; drying

                          BROOME  COUNTY  ILLUSTRATED.                           15

rye in milk and pounding to a meal and many other things. Five years later, in 1794, occurred the historical "Pumpkin Freshet." The river overflowed its banks during the month of August carrying away and destroying much of the produce of the lowlands on which there was an unusualy large crop of pumpkins. This destruction of crops ushured in another period of privation, following which the story is always told of Major Stowe who gathered together a bushel of wheat, shoulder[ed] it and went to mill on foot and returned, a distance of forty miles. On his return there was a festival held by the neighbors who congregated to help him partake of a shortcake made from the flour and shortened with bears grease.

[ graphic ]


After whom the City of Binghamton was named. William Bingham obtained large patents of land in 1786, including most of Conklin, Kirkwood, Binghamton, Union and Vestal Townships.

Whiskey was a common beverage in pioneer life and distilleries were numerous, yet the people seldom drank enough to become intoxicated. The manufacture of block salts and potash from ashes was another thriving industry which realized considerable gain to the early settlers.

One of the greatest sources of wealth was the sale of lumber which was most frequently sent down the river in rafts; that from the far east of the county going by the Delaware, while the main part went down the Susquehanna, or came down the Tioughnioga and Chenango to the Susquehanna. Later on the bark of the Hemlock became worth more than the lumber, and whole forests were destroyed to obtain it for tanning purposes while the lumber was left to decay were felled.

Another thing that deserves passing notice is the early roads. In many places they were made to follow the Indian trails. In nearly every instance they were at first uneven, running over stumps and knolls, down into holes and creeks. These were gradually improved as the county became settled. In 1806 the Unadilla Turnpike Co. was incorporated which run from what is now Binghamton to Otsego Co. Toll gates were established every ten miles. The capital of the company was to be $62,500.

One year later the Saline and Chenango Turnpike Road Co. was incorporated, running from Saline, Onondaga Co. to Chenango Point (Binghamton). This same year Otsego and Broome Turnpike Road Co. was incorporated, also near this time the Great Bend and Union Turnpike Co. was incorporated, but did not get to work readily.

In 1812 The Chenango Turnpike Company was incorporated. This was to run from the 28th mile-stone to the house of John G. Christopher, now Binghamton. The estimated cost was to be $7,000. Later on there was established the Broome and

16                           BROOME  COUNTY  ILLUSTRATED.                          

Tioga, and also the Binghamton and Harpursville Turnpike Companies.

The rates of toll on these Turnpikes were about as follows: cart and two horses 12 1/2c, two horses and sled 6c, score of sheep or hogs 8c, a score of horses, cattle or mules 20c, horse and rider 4c, horses led or driven 4c, one horse sulky or chaise 12 1/2c, one horse cart 6c, chariot, coach or phaeton 20c, stage or four wheeled carriages 12 1/2c.

The Legislature directed certain men as commissoners to lay roads four rods wide, same as turnpikes, and later to have them annexed to certain highway districts where they were the most aproximate.

The river also afforded means of commerce and so important was navigation at an early date to the settlers that a law was enacted forbiding the construction of any obstruction to navigation. An act of the Legislature in 1813 made all the Susquehanna River in the State a public highway and the same act applied to the Chenango and Tioughnioga, but this act allowed the building of a few dams which were not to be high enough to prevent Navigation. The year 1825 which witnessed the completion of the Erie Canal, was one of interest to Broome Country, inasmuch, as the Legislature ordered, among other surveys, the one for the Chenango Canal, which was to run from the Erie Canal to Binghamton. In 1833 an act was finally passed authorizing its construction with Whites-boro in Oneida County as its northern terminus, with a route by the way of the Chenango River and terminating at Binghamton. One year later Utica was substituted for Whitesboro as the terminus. The work of constructing the canal was begun in 1834 and completed in about three years at a cost of nearly two million dollars. The act provided that the width should be forty-six feet and the depth four and one-half feet. The width was much less than forty-six feet in many places. The canal was found very valuable for shipping lumber, coal, etc. In 1864 an act was passed to extend the canal from Binghamton to Owego. The Rockbottom dam was built across the Susquehanna in this city and made a great feeder for this new canal. This dam was built in 1871; it is about four hundred feet long and thirty feet wide at the bottom, built in convex form, and raises the water about seven feet.

[ graphic ]


After whom Broome County was named. For the compliment of naming the County after him, Lieutenant Gov. John Broomc presented it with a handsomely Engraved Silver Seal.

The canal received a deadening blow in 1872, the year which witnessed the competition of Utica and Susquehanna Valley Railroad. The traffic of the canal was so suddenly transferred to the railroad that an act soon followed authorizing the city to fill and use it as a public street.

The furor of the canal was soon eclipsed by the railroad. The Utica and Susquehanna Railroad, above mentioned, was incorporated in 1832. The Binghamton and Susquehanna Railroad in 1833 with a capital of $150,000. The New York and Erie in 1832, its total cost was about thirty-three million dollars. It was started at Piermonton the Hudson and additional sections added covering a long period of time till at last it reached Dunkirk. The shops located at Susquehanna would, no doubt, have been located at Binghamton had the parties owning land been willing to sell it at a reasonable price. In 1849 a project was advocated for building a road from Auburn to Binghamton; this scheme soon died out. A charter was also granted in 1836 for building a road from Syracuse to Binghamton. Under a new charter granted in 1852, the work was hurried to completion and so rapid was the work that in 1854 the road was opened to traffic.

In 1868 the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company purchased the Syracuse and Binghamton road, and one year later they had extended their road by purchase to Oswego. In 1853 a company was formed and the road from Albany to Binghamton was begun, and this road by pieces was completed to Nineveh in 1867. The last forty miles to Binghamton has a tunnel through a gravelly hill over two thousand feet long and two years was used in completing this portion. The Erie Ring was soon formed and tried by false proceedings and force to take possession of the Albany and Susquehanna road. James Fisk, Jr. was appointed a receiver. The military had to be called out to quell the riot: soon after this the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company purchased the road and constructed a branch from Nineveh to Carbondale. In 1867 the railroad from Utica to Binghamton was begun, and in 1880 the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western commence to continue this track from Binghamton to Buffalo.

                          BROOME  COUNTY  ILLUSTRATED.                           17

[ graphic ]


18                           BROOME  COUNTY  ILLUSTRATED.                          

Early Settlements and Titles.

Having given a general idea of the means of transportation, we will return to the subject of early settlements.

A passing mention was made of the settlement of Captain Joseph Leonard. We will for a moment consider titles. There is a prevelent opinion that title was only obtained by driving out the "Red Skins." Great Britain had set forth her right to this territory in 1697. In 1774 Gov. Tryon said, "The boundaries of New York are derived from grant, from the King, and his brother James, Duke of York; also from the submission and subjection of the Five Nation to the King of England." The English claimed the territory of the Five Nations, but France did not recognize their right to put forward such a claim. In 1768 a council was held at Fort Stanwix to establish a line beyond which the whites were not to encroach; this line ran about on the east borders of Broome and Chenango Counties and all lands east of this was by this grant the property of King George III of Great Britain, however, six years later a new treaty was made in which the whites obtained possession to considerable territory lying west of this line, besides this Massachusetts set up claims to lands farther west in the state and gained a right to preempt it from the Indians, except that portion known as "Boston Ten Towns" and also a strip along the Niagara River. The Boston Ten Towns became the property of a Syndicate of sixty persons, known as the Boston Company. This land which comprised about 230,000 acres in Broome, Tioga and Cortland Counties was soon parceled out on speculation to numerous purchasers. In 1775 Gov. Clinton purchased a large tract of land of the Indians for $11,500, the southern portion of which rests in the county of Broome between the Chenango and Susquehanna Rivers.

On Nov. 1, 1683 New York was divided into twelve counties. The wilderness ttien an Indian domain comprised what is now Broome County, and not till the year 1791 was this divided up from the territory included in Montgomery County and called Tioga County. Tioga then included what is now Broome, Chemung and Tioga Counties, Newton now Elmira, Chenango Point now Binghamton were each, what was then termed half shires. The first court in the county was conducted by Morgan Lewis, who was afterwards Governor.

[ graphic ]


William Bingham a wealthy gentlemen of Philadelphia obtained a very large patent of land containing some over 30,000 acres and laying in the present towns of Union, Vestal, Binghamton, Conklin and Kirkwood. It takes very little except the river valleys. Hooper's patent was farther up the river next to the Pennsylvanian line and contained only about 2,000 acres. Both the Bingham and Hooper patents were obtained June 27, 1785 by R. L. Hooper, Wm. Bingham and James Wilson. Farther up the river and extending in Pennsylvannia, taking in Great Bend is Thomas's patent which contained about 8.000 acres.

A few other patents of importance are: Garnsey's of 1,000 acres mostly in Windsor, Allison's of 3,400 acres lying on both sides of the river in Windsor, John Carpenter's of 4,960 acres in various parts of the county. Moon's patent of 1,235 acres in Windsor and Thomas's, Garnsey's, Watt's and L'Hourmedieu in Randolph or western Windsor.

After the land along the Susquehanna was taken by patents the balance of the county was divided up into Townships or

                          BROOME  COUNTY  ILLUSTRATED.                           19

tracts with definite bounderies six to ten miles square. This division greatly facilitated surveying and locating tracts. These townships differ widely from towns in that the border of a town may be changed at will. These townships were eight in number and together with the patents named, Boston Ten Towns, etc . formed the early surveys of what is now Broome County. A considerable number of patents were made in the eight townships, the majority of which contained 5,000 to 15,000 acres each. Nearly all of these old surveys allowed five per cent for roads and were very inacurate in many respects. The Pennsylvannia line was taken as a basis for survey and the exact location of this has since been disputed.

[ graphic ]


Broome County was formed from Tioga, March 28, 1806, and named in honor of John Broome, then Lieutenant Governor of New York State. In return for the compliment Lieutenant Gov. Broome presented the county with a handsomely engraved seal which he designed. At this time the county embraced the area as now and was divided into three towns, Chenango, Lisle and Union. Chenango embraced the present towns of Chenango Colesville, Windsor, Sarford, Conklin, Fenton and Binghamton. Union embraced Union, Vestal and part of Maine. Lisle embraced the balance of the county lying to the north and the northwest.


Broome County is divided into three natural sections; first east of Susquehanna river which embraces the present town of Sanford and the eastern portion of Windsor and Colesville, here the hills are elevated and the declevities abrupt, valleys narrow and precipitous. The timber prevents disintegration to a considerable extent and also preserves the water supply. The second ridge lies between the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers, the hills are less abrupt than those of the eastern section which makes this section much more preferable for agricutlural purposes. The third section which lies west of the Chenango is somewhat broken, but on the whole contains the best land for agricultural purposes in the county. The ridges of this section are from 400 to 600 feet above the Susquehanna. The highest point in this section is said to be on the farm of Mr. S. Perry and is over sixteen hundred feet above the tide in this latitude. The valleys of Broome County are noted for their fertility as also are many of the top land plateaus. The form of the surface was evidently made in the the early periods of the earth formation, except the natural erosion and excavations.

The river valleys are: first, the Delaware on the southeast; here the hills are abrupt with little or no bottom land along the stream, the current is swift in its general course; second, the Susquehanna which enters the county from Chenango on the north winding its way through the towns of Colesville and Windsor than entering Pennsylvannia returning again passing between the towns of Kirkwood and Conklin to Binghamton, where it receives the water of the Chenango and from thence passing between Union and Vestal.

The Chenango river rises in Oneida County, flows through Madison and Chenango counties entering this county at Chenango Forks at which point it receives the water of the Tioughnioga. from thence it flows south to meet the Susquehanna; the old canal ran along its eastern bank.

The Tioughnioga rises at Pompey Hill entering the county at the north and flows in a south-easterly course to Chenango Forks; at the north the viilley of the stream is wide and fertile, while for a few miles above Chenango Forks the valley is so




History of the Town of Colesville.

This is one of the largest and most important towns of the county and contains an area of 47,284 acres. It was formed from Windsor in 1821. It received its name from Nathaniel Cole, an early settler and prominent citizen of Cole's Hill.

The surface of the town is mostly upland, There is some flat land along the river and a little in the creek valleys. The hills rises four to five hundred feet above the river, and their soil is composed mostly of a mixture of clay and slate.

The Albany and Susquehanna Railroad runs through the town forming along curve, making stops at Osborn Hollow or Sanitary Springs, Tunnel, Belden, Harpursville and Nineveh. The Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's Railroad follows the Susquehanna river and meets the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad at Nineveh Junction.

John Lamphere came to the town about 1785 and located near the site of Harpursville. The next season Lemuel and Nathaniel Badger and Casper Spring came, they located at Harpursville and at a later date kept a Tavern there. David and Edward Guernsey came about 1788, they went in the direction of Ouaquago. Nathaniel and Vena Cole and Mr. Merchant settled on Cole's Hill in 1795. The same year B. S. Dickinson, David Croffut, Titus Humiston and John Ruggles settled near them.

Hon. Robert Harpur settled in Harpursville in 1787. He was professor in Kings College fifteen years, a member of the state convention in 1776, and also the state convention which formed the first constitution, a member of assembly in New York City in 1780 and deputy secretary of the state. He was a great land owner controlling about 60,000 acres.

Israel Williams located in this town about 1800 He was one of the Revolutionary soldiers that ferried George Washington over from Long Island. Levi Manville came about 1796, he was father to Colonel Levi Manville.

This town like all others had at an early day many saw mills to turn the forests into marketable lumber, at an early date two were erected in the south of the town and were at a later date purchased by Warren Doolittle and Nathan Mayhew. John Hendrickson had one about this time on the Doraville Creek. Mr. Badger had a grist mill and saw mill, and, throughout the town mills sprang up, flourishing for years and as the valuable timber became cut, they were removed or abandoned. During the spring freshets raft followed raft down the river presenting sights which would produce profound astonishment should they be repeated now-a-days Grist mills were not common at an early day and early settlers went either to Windsor or Bain-bridge for their grists, but later a mill was erected at Ouaquago. Shad fishing along the river was a profitable employment.

Some of the principle points of history, aside from early settlements, are the incorporating of the Harpursville Bridge Company In 1838, they were to build a toll bridge between Robert Harpur's grist mill and J. W. Harpur's distillery. Four years later the Susquehana Centre Bridge Company was incorporated to build a toll bridge between the houses of Samuel Doolittle and John Lackeys. The bridge now crossing at Centerville is the third one which has been built there and cost about $5,000. In [1821] an act was past allowing Samuel Badger and Uri Doolittle the privilege of building a dam across the Susquehanna River at Hemlock Rift. This dam was to be thirty inches high and built of brush and stone. There had been a dam across the river previous to this, it was built near George Collington and later one was built at Center village.

After the town became cleared of lumber, dairying and agriculture became the chief industries, butter making in later years gave way to cheese factories.

This county boasts of being at one time the home of the famous founder of the Mormon faith, Joe Smith. Joe came from Vermont when a boy and was for some time in the localtity east of Nineveh where he obtained many converts and twelve apostles. Joseph Knight who owned a carding mill east of Centreville was an early convert to the new faith. Smith proved the power of the new faith by walking on the water of the river, but a boy had moved a plank in his dock and he went under.

We have previously mentioned that the first town meeting was held on Cole's Hill in 1822. The first town officers were as fellows: --

Supervisor -- John Warren Harper.
Town Clerk -- Daniel Sanford.
Assessors -- Ozias Marsh, Harvey Bishop and Gervais Blakeslee.
Overseers of the Poor -- Nathaniel Cole, jr., and Elisha Humiston.
Commissioners of Highways -- Amos Smith, Alpheus Goodenough and Daniel Sanford.
Constables -- John Wasson and George Wilcox.
Collector -- John Wasson.
Commissioners of Common Schools -- John W. Harpur, Jeremiah Rogers and Harvey Bishop.
Inspectors of Schools -- Harvey Martin, Garvey Ruggles and J. K. Noble.
Trustees of Gospel and School Lands -- Geo. Wilcox, Samuel Badger and Samuel Martin.
Scaler of Weights and Measures -- Ira Bannell.

Harpursville is situated on the west side of the Susquehanna river, between Centrevillage and Nineveh and is a station on the D. & H. R. R., which crosses the river just above the village. The A. & S. R. R. have a depot about one mile from the village called Harpursville Station, but it is in the more immediate neighborhood of Nineveh. The post-office was established here very early Henry Thompson built a store at an early date and probably here near the place of Jeremiah Rogers. Rogers Vosburg and H. A. Olendorf are among the old merchants. A foundery was started in 1856 by C. M. and J. Richards. J. F. Bishop had a wagon and blacksmith shop for about thirty years and was finally succeeded by John Ayers.

The Episcopal Church was organized in 1799 and a house of worship built in 1799. The Baptist Society was organized in 1811 and their church edifice erected in 1846. The Methodist Church was built in 1843.

Centervillage is rather smaller than Harpursville and is situated two miles farther down the river. The post-office was established here in 1855. The D. & H. R. R. depot is on the east side of the river, while the village lies on the west, a tannery was built here by Lewis Northrop who was also the first store keeper, his tannery turned out 40,000 to 50,000 sides annualy, it

                          BROOME  COUNTY  ILLUSTRATED.                           57

was burned twice. There was a distillery here at one time, built by Simon Harpur.

Nineveh is a small village above Harpursville and near the north line of the town; this place was settled very early and it is probable that the post-office was established before 1810. The site of this village was bought as a speculation at an early day and surveyed into lots, anticipating that the Erie Railroad would pass through here, Mr. Butler built a store at an early period.

The most noted manufactory at Nineveh is the Hobbs Carriage Works, which turnout only extra fine vehicles. The hotel has passed through many hands and has always provided good accommodations; there was at one time two hotels. The bridge across the river was built in 1880 at a cost of ^^5,000. Riley Bush has figured prominently in the history of this place.

The Presbyterian Church of Nineveh has an interesting history; it was agreed among the inhabitants that they should have a church at the blowing of a horn. Rev. Ira Smith blew his horn loud and long on a Monday morning and people assembled, cut down trees and by the following Sunday he preached in a new church. The Methodists erected a church in 1854.

Sanitary Springs or Osborn Hollow is a station on the A. & S. K. R. in the western part, taking its name from Eli Osborn. At present the principal attractions are the Kilmer Medical Institute and the oil tanks. The pumping house of the oil line has a capacity of 40,000 barrels of oil a day; two of these tanks were burned several years ago. Mr. E. H. Odell commenced as a grocer in 1855, and built the hotel in 1865. Isaac Andrews opened a grocery store the year before Mr. Odell.

Belden. -- This is a small hamlet and station on the A. & S. R. R. between the Tunnel and Nineveh. The post-office was established in 1868, when the railroad was completed. There has been stores here at various times, the one at present is kept by Mr. Kellogg. There has been several mills, blacksmith shops and a hotel.

New Ohio. -- Tunnel or Holcomb Settlement is just west of the tunnel. It contains few things of importance. A Grange store catches most of the trade in this locality. There is a Methodist Church here.

Vallonia Springs is in the extreme east of the town and has nothing of importance, except a summer boarding house. The water here contains sulphur magnesia and iron and is drank for its medicinal qualities,

Ouaquaga is on the Susquehanna river in the extreme south of the town. The post-office was established here as early as 1820. Uri Doolittle and Eli Pratt started a store here in 1823, and there are at present two stores. A Methodist Church was erected in 1868 at a cost of [$15,000?].

The other places in this town are Doraville, which is located on the east side of the river below Centerville. This post-office was established over fifty years ago. There has been a small grocery here. West Colesville or Pickerings Corners in the western part has little of importance. Mr. Blatchley for many years did a good business here making and repairing wagons. George Woodward keeps a small grocery. There is a Baptist Church. North Colesville and Coles Hill contain only a few houses.

From: Story of Afton: A New York Town on the Susquehanna
by Carlton J. H. Hayes
(Afton, NY: Afton Enterprise Press, 1957)
Copyright © 1957 Carlton J. H. Hayes - all rights reserved

[ 14 ]

No other church buildings were erected prior to Afton's separation from Bainbridge in 1857, In 1840 and again in 1842 the Rt. Rev, W. N. DeLancy, first Episcopal Bishop of Western New York, visited South Bainbridge and conducted afternoon services for his few co-religionists here, the first time in the Baptist Church, and the second time in the Universalist. An attempt at holding regular Episcopal services was made by the Rector of St. Peter's (in Bainbrido village) from 1810 to 1852 in the west-side schoolhouse of South Bainbridge. In view of the use of public schools for starting and housing most of Afton's early churches -- Presbyterian, Universalist, Methodist, and Episcopalian -- it appears that there was then less rigidity than now about separation of church and state.

Despite considerable local opposition to Freemasonry in the wake of the national Anti-Masonic movement of the 1830's, and despite an outright ban by some of the churches, a number of South Bainbridge residents joined the lodge F. and A. M. which was chartered at Nineveh in January 1855, and also the chapter of Royal Arch Masons which was established at Vallonia Springs in December 1856. Both were moved shortly afterwards to Afton.

Honorable mention should here be made of certain families that followed the very first settlers (named above) and, with them, contributed in no small way to the upbuilding and welfare of South Bainbridge and early Afton. Elder among them were the Medburys, the Corbins, the Pollards, the Farnsworths, the Barrs, the Carpenters, the Carrs, the Caswells, the Chamberlains, the Fishers, the Hinmans, the Hydes, the Johnstons, the Partridges, the Pecks, the Pooles, the Seelys, the Tarbells, the Wicks. A bit Later came the Mudges, the Bresees, the Doolittles, the Duttons, the Guys, the Halls, the LeSuers, the Loomises, the Lords, the Morgans, etc. Among these I am proud to include my own family, which descends on both sides from 17th-century Connecticut ancestors through Revolutionary veterans who "went west" in the 1790's, the one to the Greene section of Jericho, the other to the "military tract" of adjacent Cortland County. My parents settled in Afton nearly a century ago, and I was born here seventy-nine years ago.

[ 15 ]


Afton forefathers of the 1820's had a real celebrity in their midst, though at the time they didn't recognize him as such. Indeed, one of the most curious episodes of Afton's history in the period of its being South Bainbridge (1814-18P7) was its connection with Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon "Church of Latter-Day Saints." This has given rise to many stories and a vast deal of local folk-lore. The facts in the matter can be briefly summarized.

In the late summer of 1825, Josiah Stowell, a prosperous elderly farmer of the pioneer family living two miles below the village, journeyed to Palymra, New York, to visit a cousin (Simpson Stowell). Through the latter, Josiah met a tall, strapping 19-year-old youth named Joseph Smith, Junior, and became fascinated by his stories about a "seer stone" with which he could detect buried treasure. Josiah was quite sure that money must be hidden in hills along the Susquehanna -- he had been told that great quantities of it had been buried there by fleeing "Spaniards" -- and young Joseph seemed to be just the person to spot it. So in November 1825 Josiah took Junior back home with him, and the Senior Joe Smith, a roving character, went along for the ride. They travelled a little out of their way in order that Stowell might exhibit his promising Smiths to his good friend, Isaac Hale, who lived at Harmony (present Oakland) just over the Pennsylvania border. After trying out Junior, with no financial success, Hale became suspicious and contemptuous of him. On the other hand, Junior was quite smitten by Hale's 21-year old daughter, Emma. He must have felt he had found an authentic treasure in her.

While the elder Smith returned to Palmyra, the younger, retaining the confidence of Stowell, went on with him to his home in South Bainbridge. Here during the winter of 1825-26, Joe did farm chores for a monthly wage of $14 with room and board. He attended district school and spent leisure time digging for treasure in hill and gully and riding down the Susquehanna to see Emma Hale.

In March 1826 Peter Bridgman, a neighbor of Stowell's, member of another pioneer family, and stern PresbyLLerian, swore out a warrant for the arrest of young Smith for being "a disorderly person and an imposter." The trial was held at South Bainbridge

[ 16 ]

before Justice of the Peace Neely, and though Joe was found guilty, there is no record of any penalty having been imposed, He continued to enjoy the favor of Josiah Stowell and the disfavor of Emma Hale's father. At length, in January 1827, he and Emma eloped and were married by "Squire" Thomas Tarbell, a justice of the peace in South Bainbridge, in the house that until recently stood on the present Fair Grounds on the East Side.

Junior was then 21 years old, and, being unwelcome at his father-in-law's, he left with his wife for Palmyra. There, through divine revelation, according to his later account, he dug out of the "Hill Cumorah" an ancient book of golden plates, together with special eyeglasses ("Urim and Thummin") to enable him to decipher and translate the strange writing on the plates. Then, becoming partly reconciled with his father-in-law, and obtaining the use of a tenant house of Isaac Hale's at Harmony, he brought hither his wife and a box containing what he claimed were the golden plates. He worked on the farm, but most of the time he spent in the house dictating from behind a curtain to a scribe outside a supposed translation of the plates. It turned out to be the elaborate Book of Mormon, which was completed in July 1829, when Joseph Smith was twenty-three, and which was published the next year at Palmyra thanks to an advance of $3,000 by an enchanted farmer by the name of Martin Harris.

Already in 1829 Joseph Smith was preaching the new Mormon gospel and working dubious miracles in Harpursville and South Bainbridge. One was his feat of walking on the river, which, story has it, was abruptly terminated when a group of skeptical jokestors removed the boardwalk that he had built a foot or so below the surface. Nevertheless, he did win some converts hereabouts, including Joseph and Newell Knight, Reed Peck, Edward Partridge, and his old patron the over trustful Josiah Stowell.

Against the "prophet," however, there was strong opposition led by Dr. Boynton of Bettsburg and two associates, Benton and McMaster by name. In June 1830 he was arrested and tried for the serene time in South Bainbridge, This time the trial was before Justice Joseph P. Chamberlain, with the Knights and Stowell testifying they had seen young Smith "cast out devils," and it resulted in his acquittal. Whereupon he was promptly rearrested, retried,

[ 17 ]

and found guilty -- in less merciful Harpursville. This practically drove the Founder of Mormonism from the neighborhood. In August 1830, with a group of disciples, he finally left South Bainbridge and in the following January headed the Mormon trek into the West. Reed Peck eventually grew disillusioned and returned to a long and honorable life in Afton. The very valuable diary which Peck kept of his Mormon days was published by Lu B. Cake in 1899.

back to top of this page

Joseph Smith Home Page   |   William Smith Home Page   |   Oliver Cowdery Home Page