The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia


PHELON, Joseph - Cherry Valley

Joseph Phelon was born in Suffield, Hartford Co., Conn., Aug. 
27, 1778. He received the rudiments of his education at the 
district school, and subsequently entered the Westfield academy, 
closing his studies at the celebrated private school of Mr. Ebenezer 
GAY. He pursued his studies with diligence and attention, and 
succeeded in acquiring an education that well qualified him for his 
subsequent successful business career. He taught the high school 
at Suffield two years, and in 1809 came to Litchfield, Herkimer Co., 
N.Y., and in the following year commenced the mercantile business 
at Bridgewater, Oneida Co. During the war with England, in 1812-15, 
the troops at Oswego were supplied with provisions from the 
Bridgewater establishment on contract, delivered at Oswego by 
wagons or sleighs The provisions were received at Oswego by 
Alvin BRONSON, now residing in that city at the advanced age of 
ninety-four years, who at that time was agent for I. & J. Townsend, 
the contractors for supplying the northern army with provisions. 
In 1815 he became interested in the Susquehanna cotton and 
woolen manufactory, situated on the Susquehanna river, in the 
town of Hartwick, which he managed until 1819, when he became 
interested in the Union cotton manufactory, located on the outlet 
of Schuyler's lake, which was about the first in the State. Here he 
commenced the manufacture of calico prints with indigo and madder 
dyes, by block prints, having procured a practical workman from 
England, and succeeded until the manufacture of prints by copper 
rollers and machinery was commenced, which was in about the 
years 1821-22.
The vending of early manufactured goods of shirting, sheeting, 
and ticking, blue-dyeing having been successfully established at the 
Union factory, Mr. Phelon personally opened a business for the 
sale of the Union articles with merchants in all the principal cities 
and villages between Otsego and the Pennsylvania on the south, 
and Lake Ontario north, to Chatauqua county west; became 
familiar with all roads, business men, and banks, and to this day 
can locate and give a history of the rise and progress of this portion 
of the State for the last fifty years, and of his business acquaintances 
in the city of New York and Albany till the last twenty years, when 
he left off traveling, and retired.
In 1832 he removed to his present location, then known as the 
Hudson farm, originally known as "Lindsay's Bush," where the 
first settlement in Otsego County was made. Since locating upon 
the farm where he now resides he has manifested a lively interest 
in agricultural pursuits, and has been considered one of the leading 
and progressive agriculturists of the county. Lindsay Bush farm, as 
this location might properly be called, is one of the finest farms in 
the county, and here was manufactured the first cheese that was 
sent to England. Mr. Phelon was also interested in stock-raising, 
and became the owner of the first imported cattle brought into 
Otsego County.
In January, 1815, he united in marriage with Alcena DENSLOW, 
daughter of Benjamin Denslow, a patriotic soldier of the Revolution, 
who was wounded on the battle-field of Saratoga. The family 
consisted of nine children, five of whom are living.
Mr. Phelon, although now at the advanced age of ninety years, 
retains, in a remarkable degree, much of the vigor and ambition of 

Excerpt from History of Otsego Co., NY, page 140


Return to Biography Index