Township Sections of Mini-Biographies
The History of Otsego County, New York
D. Hamilton Hurd
Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia
GILBERT - Among the honored pioneers who sought a
home in the western wilds was Abijah GILBERT, of honored
memory. He emigrated from Warwickshire, England, to this
country in about the year 1787, and soon after joined an expedition
to this locality under General Morris, who had accepted the agency
of the Morris patent, and was to receive for his compensation the
first choice of 1000 acres of land, leaving the second choice to Mr.
Gilbert, who, in consequence of his superior knowledge of soils,
notwithstanding his disadvantage of choice, secured much the
better tract of land, purchasing 1000 acres for $1000.....
Having secured a home in the western wilderness, in the year 1796
Mr. Gilbert returned to England, and emigrated with his family to
this country. They came by way of Springfield in a large wagon,
stopping the first night at the spring on Deacon JACKSON's farm,
near Morris. The men stood around, keeping at bay the wolves,
which treated the party to a most vociferous and discordant concert,
at intervals, all the night long. ....
Mr. Gilbert raised the first field of grain, which was watched with
the greatest interest by the pioneers, as they were dependent on
it for seed in the coming year. After passing an active life he died
in 1811, leaving a family of six children, viz., Elizabeth married
Lewis Lee MORRIS; Lucy married Samuel COTTON; Mary
became the second wife of Samuel COTTON; Harriet Catherine
married John BRYANT; John T. married Lydia SMITH; Joseph T.
married for his first wife Hannah THORP, and reared a family of
fifteen children, ten of whom are living, and his second wife was
Caroline CHAPMAN, by whom he had three children, two of
whom are living. Samuel C., Catherine W., Chester, George Y.,
John H., James L., and Edward reside in or near the village. Abijah
is as resident of St. Augustine, Fla., and has represented that
commonwealth in the United States senate. He married Anna W.
GILBERT, of New York, and has two children, - Maria L. and
Joshua W. Charles T. resides in New York city. Joseph T., Jr.,
married Lucy ALLIS, of Oxford, N.Y., and resides in Milwaukee;
they have two children, - Joseph T., and Samuel C., - both of whom
are at Harvard college. Elizabeth married Nathan C. CHAPMAN,
and died in St. Louis in 1876; they had three children, viz., Florence
married Henry ALCOCK, of Staffordshire, England, and Joseph G.
and Charles reside in St. Louis. Hannah married Dr. James W.
COX, and resides in Albany; they have four children, - Caroline,
James W., Frederick, and Edward. Samuel C. married Elizabeth
A., daughter of Benajah DAVIS, of the village of Morris, and their
family consists of three daughters, viz., Elizabeth A. became the
wife of Judge J. D. COLT, of Pittsfield, Mass. Catherine W.
married Francis M. ROTCH, of Morris, and a son, Francis, lives
in Boston; she subsequently married Thos. RIGGS, of Baltimore,
Md. Martha D. married Chas. A. BUTLER, of Utica, N.Y.
Catherine W. married for her first husband Jabez S. FITCH, and
for her second, Elisha W. CHESTER, of New York; two grand-
daughters reside here. Geo. Y. married Mary S. FITCH, of
Marshall, Mich.; their family consists of two children, viz., Fitch
Gilbert lives in Eau Claire, Wis.; Marion became the wife of James
MURRAY, of London, England. John H. married Elizabeth
LATHROP, and has five children, viz., Helen L. married Rev.
James ECOB, of Augusta, Me., and Frances, Caroline, Catherine,
and J. Henry reside with their parents. James L. Gilbert married
Jane BLACKMAN ,and has two sons, viz., J. B. Gilbert, M.D.,
and Robert W., both resident of New York city. Edward resides
on the homestead. Chas. T. married Charlotte DISOOSWAY,
and reside in New York; they have two children, - Anita and
Frances. Benjamin C. married Anna TAYLOR, of Albany, and
[Note: some info in this book is in error. For complete info
on Abijah Gilbert and family, contact Leigh Eckmair, Gilbertsville @
Joseph COX, mentioned above, a worthy pioneer, purchased lands
of Mr. Gilbert above the village, and his marriage with Elizabeth
NICHOLS was the first in the new settlement. This family consisted
of six sons and one daughter. Two sons, Richard and Isaac, reside
in the town, the former above the village, and the latter at Mt. Upton.
Levi and Thomas HALBERT were pioneers who came from
Chesterfield, Mass., in about the year 1790, and settled in lands
about two miles west of what is now the village of Gilbertsville.
After clearing and improving the land the brothers separated, Levi
purchasing a farm nearer the village. Levi married Deborah SMITH
and had a family of ten children, only one of whom, E. S. Halbert,
resides in the town. Mr. Halbert is a leading citizen, and has been
supervisor of the town six terms; has held the office of justice of
the peace over twenty years; was a member of assembly from
Cortland county in 1832 and 1833, and was sheriff of Chenango
Asa, Asel, and Emmett, sons of Thomas Halbert, are residents of
the town, and the former occupies the old homestead.
Mr. Enos SMITH, a pioneer from Massachusetts, came
with his wife and family in 1790, and located immediately south
of the Halbert brothers, and died a few years afterwards. Captain
Daniel Smith, a son, settled about one mile west of the village, and
married Roxa, daughter of Timothy DONALDSON, and in about
1810 changed his location to what is now the town of Morris, one
mile below the village, and opened a public-house, which he kept
for a number of years. Of his descendants, the only one living in
the county is a daughter, Mrs. PECK, of Noblesville, New Lisbon.
Soldiers of the Revolution were Timothy and Calvin DONALDSON,
who located here in about the year 1790. Chester, a son of Calvin,
resides on a portion of the old homestead. Timothy Donaldson was
secretary of the meeting in 1797, at which the Presbyterian church
at Gilbertsville was organized. He was in the battle of Bunker Hill,
and during the conflict his gun was disabled by the enemy's
bullets, and a part of it shot away. They both served gallantly
during the arduous struggle for independence, and Calvin crossed
the Delaware with Washington, and participated in the capture of
the Hessian troops at Trenton. Lothario, a brother of Calvin and
Timothy, a surgeon in the Revolutionary war, came into this town
in about 1796, but soon returned to Roxbury, Mass. Still another
brother, Atlamont, was a pioneer in Butternuts, who subsequently
removed to Michigan, where he died.
Nathaniel DONALDSON was a pioneer who also came from
Massachusetts, in about the year 1792, and settled about one mile
east of the village, across Butternut creek. He married Miss
Candace SYKES, of Springfield, and their family consisted of ten
children. Lewis, now aged seventy-six, lives on a portion of the
old homestead with his son, Nathaniel S. Dwight resides in
Cleveland, and another son, Nathaniel S., in Milwaukee.
Mr. THORP, father of Edward, John, and Charles, was a pioneer
north of the village. Edward died on the homestead, aged
ninety. The same premises are now occupied by Hon. Henry
Thorp, a prominent citizen, who was a member of assembly in
1873. Charles Thorp was town clerk in 1806-8, and
subsequently became a Presbyterian minister.
Nathaniel HESLOYS, also a native of England, located in about
1790 on the farm now occupied by a nephew, John Hesloys.
He married a sister of Richard and William MUSSON, who
was a prominent woman in the Presbyterian church.
A prominent pioneer was Deacon Samuel SHAW, who moved
with his wife and family from Massachusetts in about 1796,
and settled about two miles east of the present village. He
died in 1799, this being the first death in town. William and
Colonel David Shaw, brothers of Samuel, came into the town at
the same time. The former settled about one mile from the
village, and was accidentally killed while logging. The latter
settled about three miles east of the village, and was a farmer.
He died here in 1837, aged eighty-seven. He served with
distinguished ability in the war of the Revolution, and refused
to receive a pension, saying that he entered the service through
the promptings of patriotism alone. He was one of the first to
espouse the colonial cause, and served through the entire eight
years of that unequal contest. He was supervisor of the town
in 1810 and 1811. His family consisted of three sons and
three daughters. Colonel David, Jr., married Miss CHAPIN,
of Winfield. He was active in the affairs of the town, and was
supervisor in 1826-7-8-39. He was also prominent in the
military, and for several years was colonel in the militia.
Colonel David, Jr., and his wife both died within a week of each
other, in the year 1843. "The black camel death halts once at
each door, A mortal must mount to return nevermore."
John Shaw moved to Iowa, where he died, and Clark lived and
died on the farm; Elizabeth married A. S. ROCKWELL, and of
their family of eight children, only three survive. Catherine
married A. R. ROCKWELL, and a son, Dr. George A. Rockwell,
is a dentist in the village of Gilbertsville; Mrs. STEBBINS lives
in Norwich, and Mrs. Dr. A. L. COMSTOCK near New York.
Sarah married Jared COMSTOCK, and died in 1864, at the age
of sixty-eight years. Mr. Comstock resides on a farm near the
village, which he has occupied since 1828. He conducted the
woolen manufacturing business for twenty-seven years, in the
factory that was erected by Nathaniel B. BENNETT in 1808,
which was the first in the town. Ferdinand Shaw, a son of
Colonel David, Jr., is a merchant in the village of Gilbertsville,
of the firm of Hurd & Shaw.
William Shaw, cousin of Colonel David and Deacon Samuel,
came from the same town in Massachusetts, and early located in
the vicinity. He was celebrated as a wolf-hunter, catching them
in traps. It was not an uncommon occurrence for him upon
finding a wolf in the traps to tie its nose with a piece of bark to
prevent biting, and, placing it on the horse with him, jog along to
the house with it alive. Two daughters of Mr. Shaw are residents
of the town, - Mrs. Sally GUMBLE and Mrs. Phebe SHAW.
BLACKMAN - A prominent pioneer in that vicinity now known
as "Dimock Hollow," in the present town of Morris, was James
BLACKMAN. James, Jr., a son, lived there many years, on the
old homestead, which originally embraced 600 acres, a portion
of which is now owned by A. T. Blackman. J. Russell Blackman
now owns the farm lying above the grist-mill, where his father
lived and died, and on this farm was erected the first Presbyterian
meeting-house. A. J. and J. Russell Blackman reside in the
village, and the latter has held the office of supervisor six terms.
A daughter of James Blackman, Jr., is the wife of Dr. H. H.
WICKES, and they reside on a large farm at Maple Grove, in