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
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
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