The History of Otsego County, New York
D. Hamilton Hurd
Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia
CLYDE, George C - Cherry Valley
Colonel Samuel CLYDE, father of the subject of this memoir,
was born in Windham, Rockingham Co., N.H., April 11, 1732, of
Scotch ancestry. His father was a farmer, and gave his son the
education commonly bestowed upon their sons by New England
farmers. At an early age he entered the military service of his
country, and was appointed captain of a company by General
Abercrombie (his commission bearing date 1758), which served
during the war between Great Britain and France, terminating in 1762.
He was at the taking of Fort Frontenac, and was with General Bradstreet,
and shared with him that disastrous defeat before Ticonderoga. In
this war he laid the foundation of that military knowledge and
experience that was called into use in after-life in resisting the
arbitrary acts of the British parliament. During that war he formed an
intimacy with Dr. Matthew THORNTON, afterwards one of the signers of the
Declaration of Independence, then surgeon of the regiment in which
Colonel Clyde was captain.
In 1761 he married Catharine WASSON, niece of Dr. Thornton,
and in 1762 removed to Cherry Valley, then the extreme outpost of
civilization in Tryon county, which included all territory west of
Albany. Colonel Clyde purchased a tract of land in Cherry Valley,
and engaged in farming, which he afterwards pursued until the
stirring scenes of the Revolution called him to other pursuits. He
early espoused the cause of the colonies, and was among the leading
spirits in preparing the minds of the inhabitants of the Mohawk valley
for that stubborn resistance which they subsequently displayed in
resisting the arbitrary power of the British crown. He was present with
his command at that terrible hand-to-hand fight at Oriskany, in which
General HERKIMER was killed. In this battle he was knocked down
by a blow from a British musket, but was rescued by a man named
John FLOCK, who shot the man who had given the blow.
This musket is now in the possession of his great-grandson,
James D. Clyde, M.D., of Cherry Valley.
He was a member of the committee of safety, from the beginning
of the war to the close, which had exclusive legislation for the county.
After General Herkimer and Colonel Cox were killed, the command of
the military devolved upon Colonel Clyde, who discharged his duties
with such marked ability that he acquired the confidence of all who
knew him, and a congratulatory letter of thanks was sent him at the
close of the war by General Clinton. He was elected a member of
the legislature from Tryon county, and served in that capacity in the
first legislature which met under the constitution of 1777, and was
appointed one of a committee by that legislature to wait upon congress
to memorialize that honorable body for aid in protecting the frontiers
from the incursions of the Indians. At the close of the war he returned
to Cherry Valley, and was appointed by Governor Clinton sheriff or
executive officer of Tryon county, a position which he in fact had held
during most of the war. When Montgomery county was set off from
Tryon county he was appointed by Governor Clinton sheriff of
Montgomery county, the duties of which office, as well as every public
trust reposed in him, he discharged with credit to himself and to the
satisfaction of the public. He closed his active and eventful life on
the 30th day of November, 1790, on the "Clyde Farm" in Cherry Valley,
which he purchased in 1762. This farm is now in the possession of Dr.
James D. Clyde. Colonel Clyde was commissioned captain in 1758,
adjutant in 1775, major in 1776, and lieutenant-colonel and colonel in
Hon. George Clinton Clyde, the subject of this sketch, grandson of
Colonel Clyde, was born on the old homestead farm April 25, 1802.
He received his education at the academy of Cherry Valley, in the
prosperous days of that institution, and when such men as Alvan STEWART
and the father of Postmaster-General RANDALL were at its head.
While yet young, and, as he himself afterwards said, much too young,
he entered as a student at law in the office of Hammond & Beardsley
(Jabez D. HAMMOND and Levi BEARDSLEY), historic names in the
county of Otsego. He was admitted to the bar of the supreme court in
1824, and in the following year he established himself in practice in
Burlington in this county, having formed a copartnership with Hon.
William G. ANGEL, prosecuted a successful professional business, and
remained there till the beginning of 1835, when he removed to
Cooperstown, having in the previous fall been elected clerk of the
county by a large majority. At the close of his official term, being in
poor health, he returned to Cherry Valley, and spent the year 1838 at
his father's, having determined at that time to close his professional
In 1829 he was married to Miss Catherine DORR, a daughter of Dr.
Russell Dorr, of Chatham, in the county of Columbia. That circumstance
caused him to turn his attention to that town as a place of residence,
and, on recovery of his health, he removed there in 1839. He was at
once received in Columbia with marked favor. For four years he was
one of the judges of the old court of common pleas, and in May, 1846,
he was elected delegate from Columbia county to the constitutional
convention of that year, called to frame a new constitution for the
State of New York. His grandfather had been a member of the first
assembly of New York. His uncle, the late colonel Joseph Clyde, had
been a member of the constitutional convention of 1821, and the judge
felt a laudable pride in his return, in the third generation, to the
convention of 1846. At the organization of that convention he received
a handsome complimentary vote for the office of president, and in its
proceedings he was an active and useful member. He spent twelve years
in Columbia county. But he had a strong attachment for the beautiful
valley where he was born, and in 1852, then fifty years of age, he
returned to the home of his birth and youth, there, in his own
expressive language, "to spend his days, and finally to sleep with his
Judge Clyde was a genial friend, a patriotic citizen, an excellent
lawyer, an able counselor, a wise judge, and an honest man.
He died Dec. 21, 1868, leaving a wife and son who still reside
in Cherry Valley.
"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await, alike, the inevitable hour;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
Excerpt from History of Otsego Co., NY, opposite page 120
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