The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia


JUDD, Oliver - Cherry Valley

Oliver JUDD was a lineal descendant of Deacon Thomas Judd, 
who came from England in 1633, settled at Cambridge, Mass., 
removed to Hartford, Conn., in 1636, and to Farmington in 1644.
He was born in New Britain, Conn., June 9, 1782. In early life 
he learned the trade of a blacksmith, in company with Elihu BURRITT, 
serving a seven years' apprenticeship to an uncle. In March, 1804, 
he married, and, with others, came directly here, where he resided 
until his death, which occurred Nov. 24, 1859. In addition to iron 
work, he engaged in the manufacture of sleigh bells, and of brass 
work generally; was interested, with others, in making clocks, jewelry, 
and saddlery. During the war of 1812 he manufactured largely harness 
and saddlery trimmings. In 1823 he established an iron foundry, 
which is still carried on by his son. Elected a magistrate in 1816, he 
held the office for twenty-one years, declining longer service on 
account of other engagements. In 1816, and again in 1825, he was a 
representative in the State legislature from this county. Was 
postmaster during the administration of John Quincy Adams.
On the opening of the Erie canal and subsequent building of a 
railroad through the Mohawk valley, he was untiring in his efforts to 
secure better communications with those thoroughfares. Numerous 
explorations and surveys were made looking to the building of a 
railroad; but the grades and work were found to be too heavy to be 
practicable. A plank road was built leading to both Canajoharie and 
Fort Plain.
The records of school district No. 3, and of the Cherry Valley 
academy, attest his activity in educational matters.
Undemonstrative and retiring, making no pretensions or professions, 
his whole life was one of uprightness and integrity. Singularly correct 
in his judgments and decisions, his opinions were highly valued and 
continually sought in matters of both a public and private character.
In his office of magistrate he was notorious as a peacemaker, 
constantly adjusting differences without a trial. In so doing he often 
innocently thwarted the ambitious schemes of a troop of young 
lawyers, to say nothing of older ones, with which the locality 
On the question of the use of strong drink he early took a stand 
resulting in a life of perfect sobriety.
When first elected justice of the peace, it was the custom to hold 
courts for trials at a public-house, where, of course, the fashion of 
the day called for a great deal of social drinking, in which lawyers and 
magistrates naturally took part.
Being satisfied that the social drinking habits of the people lay
at the foundation of intemperance, he declared that he would neither 
treat or be treated. He also abolished among his own workmen the 
social sprees then so prevalent in all manufactories. This trait shows 
itself at the present day in his descendants, who are among the most 
active in the temperance cause. His public spirit and patriotism also 
appear to have descended.
Of the eight grandchildren old enough and qualified to enter the 
army at the breaking out of the late rebellion, six went into the 
service as volunteers. Two of them were killed.
The positive, independent characteristics of his mind showed 
themselves in his religious views.
Growing up under New England orthodox regime, and having 
established decided opinions in regard to the character and beatitudes 
of his heavenly father, his thoughtful mind discerned what to him 
seemed glaring inconsistencies with those opinions in some of the 
so-called essential doctrines of the church societies of the day. He 
became, and continued for the last fifty years of his life, decidedly 
Unitarian in sentiment, esteeming churches and creeds, forms and 
ceremonies, faiths and professions of value only as they contributed 
to righteousness of character. Notwithstanding this he gave his 
constant attendance and support to the Presbyterian church in this 
place; and on the occasion of their building a new house of worship 
in 1827, was one of three selected for their building committee.

Excerpt from History of Otsego Co., NY, opposite page 132


Return to Biography Index