The History of Otsego County, New York
D. Hamilton Hurd
Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia
LULL, Joseph, Deacon - Morris
Deacon Joseph LULL came to the town of Butternuts (now
town of Morris), Otsego County, with his father previous to the
Revolutionary war, in 1773, at the age of seventeen, when the
town embraced but two or three families. Three years after he
married Martha, daughter of Ebenezer KNAPP. They were the
first couple married here, the ceremony being performed by a
justice appointed by the few inhabitants to manage their affairs in
the little colony. They built the first house to entitle a settler to
his land. In 1778 they were obliged, in consequence of the war, to
leave their home. Mrs. Lull carried two children in her lap, on
horseback, to Dutchess county, a distance of one hundred and
sixty miles, where they resided five years and a half, during which
time Deacon Lull experience religion. After his return the family
maintained the worship of God on the Sabbath, and generally at
the house of the deacon, until June 1, 1793, when the few professors
met at his house to propose articles to form the (now) first church
of Butternuts. On the 28th of August following, when the church
was constituted, he was baptized by Elder Joseph CRAW, of
Greenfield, Saratoga county. Nov. 12, 1798, he was chosen deacon,
which place he honorably and satisfactorily filled forty-two years.
During the last two years of his life he was deprived of attending
meeting by reason of his infirmity, but ever exhorted his brethren
to persevere, as the reward was sure at the end of the race.
He was the father of sixteen children, fifteen of whom lived to
adult age and married. The oldest was sixty-three the day the father
died. Twelve of them, in answer to fervent prayer, and the example
of pious parents, have made a profession of Christian religion; nine
united with the church. It may truly be said of this family, "As for
me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Four of the children
were called home by death previous to their father's decease.
Deacon Lull left a pious, godly widow, whose society he had
enjoyed in the sanctuary and family circle for sixty-four years, and
eleven children and ninety-nine grandchildren to mourn his loss.
In him the church lost one of its most exemplary members, and
society one of its most benevolent citizens.
Mrs. Martha LULL, daughter of Ebenezer and Mary KNAPP,
was born at Nine Partners in 1762. Her earliest years were passed
with few advantages save those afforded under the parental roof.
The facilities of education in those days were few; hence her
attention until her eleventh year was chiefly confined to the ways
and arts of domestic life, which necessity as well as the customs of
the age made of an intricate and arduous nature.
In 1773, removing with her parents from the place of her birth
into a dreary wilderness, uninhabited except by savages and wild beasts,
she was not unfrequently called from the performance of household
duties to participate in the severe toils of the fields and forest. She
on several occasions had her nerve tested in an exceedingly trying
manner by being attacked by wild beasts and savages, a brief mention
of which we give. Early in the spring of 1775 she employed herself
in the sugar-bush, where on one occasion she was obliged to remain
until midnight, and while engaged in keeping up the fire under four
kettles she heard a fierce howl, which betokened the near approach
of hungry wolves. She immediately returned it, at the same time
swinging firebrands in defiance of their attack. The ingenious device
was attended with success.
The following year the first marriage that little settlement had
witnessed took place between her and Joseph, son of Benjamin Lull.
They soon after settled on a farm about a mile distant from their
father's, to enjoy, however, but a brief repose. The Revolutionary
war, which began the year previous at Lexington, had now penetrated
the wilderness, and broken in upon the peace and quiet of those
valley homes. Her husband, father, and brother were arrested on
the charge of being Tories, and conveyed to Albany for trial. Thus
left a lonely occupant of her new home, she was in a few days
called upon to defend herself and property against the frequent
attacks of the enemy. She finally, with her children, set out for
her father's house, where they arrived in safety, and found the
people there entirely ignorant of what had occurred. Restless and
discontented while separated from her husband, and fearing a
repetition of the same alarming scenes through which she had just
passed, she desired to go to Cherry Valley, from which place a
communication with Albany was more direct, and where friends and
a more thickly-settled region offered protection to herself and little
ones. Resolved to proceed thither, she returned to her own house in
search of a horse which she had left pasturing in a field; but the
search was in vain. The Indians had been there, killed a hog, and taken
the horse to carry off the pork. Almost despairing of being able to
accomplish her object, she was now cheered by the return of her
brother from Albany, with three horses, one of which she obtained;
and, with her sister, she set out for Cherry Valley, thirty miles
distant, the path leading through an unbroken wilderness, marked trees
being their only guide. They rode alternately, carrying three children.
After enduring many hardships, they reached their destination; but
here another difficulty presented itself, - they were without
On application to the colonel commanding, however, they received
an order on the commissary for half-rations for three weeks, when
Joseph, Martha's husband, returned. He had been found innocent of
the charge alleged against him and released. Hearing that the Indians
designed an attack upon the place, he immediately obtained a horse,
and, with his family, started for Dutchess county, which then seemed
to be a place of refuge. They had advanced four miles, when the
loud report of fire-arms told that the attack had commenced.
Congratulating each other upon their timely escape from this scene
of devastation and bloodshed, they hastened onward, and reached
in safety the place of destination, - a distance of one hundred and
sixty miles. There they remained until the close of the war. After
peace was declared they started for their long-deserted home, which
they reached with great difficulty, after five years' exile.
So far, Mrs. Lull's life has been one of continued hardship and
adversity. It had, however, served to cherish and develop those
principles which parental fondness had instilled into her young mind.
Her husband died in the eighty-fifth year of his age - sixty-four of
which had been passed with her on the farm where they first settled.
Soon after this event she removed with her son, Jacob, to Louisville
(now village of Morris), where she remained until her death, which
occurred June 6, 1851, at the advanced age of eighty-nine years,
retaining her faculties until the last, and relying upon those sacred
promises which had been the comfort of her declining years. She
died surrounded by her kindred, honored by all who bore her name,
and pronounced blessed by all who knew the extent and unvarying
character of her example.
Excerpt from History of Otsego Co., NY, page 217
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