Township Sections of Mini-Biographies

The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia



[Note: These following sketch of early inhabitants of Cherry Valley 
is taken from Beardsley's Reminiscences" by Levi Beardsley"

James CAMPBELL died in 1770, aged eighty years. Sarah 
SIMPSON, his wife, died, in 1773, aged seventy-nine years. 
James Campbell was the first of the Campbell family who came 
here among the early settlers, not far from 1740, and was the 
father of Colonel Samuel Campbell, who died in 1824, aged 
eight-six years; and great-grandfather of Hon. William H. 
Campbell, author of the "Annals of Tyron County," who now 
resides in this village. Jane CANNON, wife of Colonel Samuel 
Campbell, died in 1836, aged ninety-two years.
Colonel Campbell was an active, patriotic Whig of the Revolution. 
He was in the ill-fated expedition against Crown Point, during 
the old French war, where Abercrombie was repulsed and defeated, 
and Lord Howe killed. 
At Oriskany battle, in 1777, he was in the thickest of the fight, 
and after General Herkimer was wounded and Colonel Cott killed, 
Colonel Campbell succeeded to the command, and after 
maintaining the contest with obstinate bravery, brought off that 
portion of survivors who had stood their ground manfully, instead 
of running away as some did on being surprised. He had several 
bullet-holes through his clothes, one ball cutting the string by 
which his powder-horn was suspended.
In 1778, when Cherry Valley was surprised, and the settlement 
broken up by Tories and Indians, his buildings were burned, his 
wife with two or three children made captives, and carried off to 
Niagara, thence to Canada, and down to Montreal, where, after 
an absence of two years, they were exchanged for the family of 
Colonel John Butler. Colonel Campbell, who was on his farm 
some distance from the house, escaped. When he learned that 
the savages had made their onset, his first impulse was to reach 
his house and defend it and his family to the last extremity, but 
upon coming in sight he saw it on fire and surrounded by Indians. 
He could not save his family, though by flying to the woods he 
was able to escape himself.
Colonel Campbell was an old-fashioned Republican of the 
Jeffersonian school, and always a decided friend and admirer of 
Governor George Clinton, as he was afterwards of Governor 
De Witt Clinton, his nephew. Colonel Campbell represented 
the county of Otsego as one of its members of assembly not far 
from the commencement of the present century. During the war 
of 1812 he was decided in his approval of its declaration, and 
was for sustaining vigorous measures for its prosecution.
His eldest son, Dr. William Campbell, is buried near his father. 
He was an excellent man; represented the county in the assembly 
several sessions, and in 1835 was made surveyor-general, the 
duties of which office he discharged with fidelity and skill. 
He died in 1844, his wife having died in 1830.
Eleanor, wife of Samuel DICKSON, and daughter of Colonel 
Campbell died in 1844, aged seventy-four years.
Samuel Dickson, her husband, died in 1822, aged fifty-seven 
years, who previous to his death, erected a stone at the grave of 
his mother, with this inscription: "In memory of Elizabeth 
Dickson, wife of William Dickson, who was barbarously 
murdered by the savages, 11th November, 1778, aged forty-eight 
Matthew Campbell, another son of Colonel Campbell, aged 
about seventy years, and his wife, about the same age, are both 
buried in the old cemetery.
Colonel ALDEN, who was in command when Cherry Valley was 
destroyed, and was killed outside of the fort, has a plain slab to 
mark his grave, bearing the following inscription" "In memory 
of the brave Colonel Ichabod Alden, a native of Danbury, 
Massachusetts, who was murdered by the savages in this place, 
on the memorable 11th day of November, 1778, in the thirty-
second year of his age." His remains are by the side of Colonel 
and Mrs. CLYDE. Mr. Beardsley says, "When her grave was dug 
in 1825, being crowded upon that of Colonel Alden, his remains 
became visible. I saw and examined his skull, which was sound 
as when first buried. The tomahawk with which he was struck, 
after being shot, had not cut through the skull to the brain, but 
seemed to have glanced off, chipping away a portion of the skull. 
The cavity was discolored with blood, and several lines or marks 
where the tomahawk had entered were red and bright. Alvan 
STEWART took of the loosened teeth."
Colonel Samuel CLYDE, mentioned above, was born in Windham, 
Rockingham county, New Hampshire, April 11, 1732, and died 
in Cherry Valley, Nov. 30, 1790. He was an ardent, devoted Whig 
during the Revolutionary struggle, and all agree that he was a man 
of indomitable will and true courage. During the French war he 
held a commission as captain, and was in the expedition against 
Ticonderoga during the war, and was engaged in that sanguinary 
struggle. He was also at the taking of Frontenac, under Colonel 
On the breaking out of the Revolution he took an active part 
against the mother country. He was a member of assembly in 
the first legislature under the State constitution of 1778, having 
been elected from what was then Tryon, and subsequently 
Montgomery county, of which county he was the first sheriff. 
He came to Cherry Valley about eighteen years before the 
He was engaged in the Oriskany battle in 1777, where he was 
knocked down by a blow from a British musket, but was rescued
by a man named John Flock, who shot the man who had given 
the blow. The following year he was appointed colonel of the 
Canajoharie regiment, which he commanded till the war closed.
With this regiment, or a portion of it, he was engaged in the 
Palatine battle, when his men took a field-piece from Sir John 
Johnson, and Colonel Clyde captured a musket.
Colonel Clyde was also present with General Herkimer when the 
conference was held with Brant. He was held in high esteem by 
the government, and a fort which was erected in Canajoharie soon 
after the destruction was named in his honor "Fort Clyde."
There was in the British service an active, and desperate partisan 
officer, who was a Tory, named Joseph Bettis. He was hung at 
Albany as a spy before the war closed.
This Bettis offered a reward of $100 to any one who would 
deliver Colonel Clyde into his hands. The colonel, of course, 
was on his guard, and was always armed when he went from home. 
Bettis told Archibald McKellip that on a certain occasion he 
was in the woods, when he saw Colonel Clyde, who was armed 
with a gun, within eight or ten rods of him. Colonel Clyde was 
not aware that he was in the presence of his dangerous enemy, 
and Bettis drew up his gun by the side of a tree to shoot him. 
He told McKellip that on taking aim at him he felt an impression 
that he was about to shoot a brave man, who, if not killed, would 
be very likely to fight desperately and to kill him before the 
contest was over, and on reflecting on it he dare not shoot, and 
thus assassinate even an adversary. Colonel Clyde was the first 
justice of the peace in Cherry Valley after the Revolution. During 
the war, and even after its close, he was very much devoted to 
the public service, to the neglect of his own affairs; for, in 1784, 
he went to New York, and on State security raised money to pay 
arrearages due to the officers and soldiers of his regiment. 
His wife, Mrs. Catharine WASSON Clyde, was born in Worcester, 
Mass., April 5, 1737, and at an early age came with her husband 
to the present town of Amsterdam, near the residence of Sir 
William Johnson.
She was intimately acquainted with the celebrated Indian chief 
Brant, who, when a boy, frequently came to her father's house 
to play with her brothers.
Up to the time of her death, which was in 1825, at the age of 
eighty-seven, she always expressed a confident belief that if she 
could have seen Brant before the massacre at Cherry Valley she 
could have prevailed on him to have saved the inhabitants. She 
was a niece of Matthew Thornton, one of the signers of the 
Declaration of Independence, a courageous woman, well informed, 
recollected all the events of the Revolution, particularly all the 
incidents relating to the destruction of Cherry Valley. On that 
disastrous occasion, when she found the settlement attacked, she 
left her house, and finding all communication with the fort cut 
off, she ,with part of her family, concealed themselves in a 
thicket, where they remained through the night of Nov. 11, 1778. 
It was cold and stormy, and considerable snow fell.
The darkness was enlivened with the light of burning buildings in 
every part of the settlement, and in the course of that long and 
dreary night she heard Indians pass and repass several times but 
a short distance from where she was concealed. She kept her 
children still, but she had with her a small dog who gave her 
intense solicitude, lest by his barking he should attract the 
attention of the savages; but the dog seemed to understand the 
importance of a "silent tongue," and remained quiet.
On the morning of the 12th a scout of twelve men was sent from 
the fort, and then she emerged from her concealment, all wet 
and chilly from the snow that had fallen, and went with the party 
to the fort. Here she was presented by the officer with one of 
his shirts to take the place of her wet undergarment. She retired 
to put it on; but one of her daughters were missing, who separated 
from her when they fled from the house, and who the mother 
with painful apprehensions supposed had very likely been captured 
or murdered by the enemy. Soon after Mrs. Clyde had adjusted 
her dress she was delighted to see her daughter approaching the 
fort. When the family left the house they hurried to a thicket to 
conceal themselves, and in the confusion of the moment became
separated. The young woman remained concealed through the 
night, and the next morning crept stealthily from her concealment, 
intending to make a desperate effort to reach the fort.
Her father had a mare on which the girls were accustomed to 
ride, and so gentle that the young woman did not hesitate to 
mount her without a saddle or bridle. Guiding her with a stick, 
she made directly for the fort by a foot-path across the flats, 
and came galloping up to the gateway, her disheveled hair 
streaming in the wind, and thus she was reunited with her family. 
It has often been remarked that the influence of Mrs. Clyde was 
as great in keeping Revolutionary ardor as was any of the settlers 
on that frontier, whether male or female. 
[The following people are all buried in the old cemetery]

HOLT - Among other buried in the old cemetery was General
Elijah HOLT, then of Buffalo; died in 1826, aged sixty-four 
years. His brother, Major Lester Holt, was also buried there.
So was Ephraim HUDSON, who died in 1801, aged eighty-eight; 
Ephraim, his son, in 1805, aged forty-eight; 
William COOK died in 1829 at the age of eighty-one years, and 
his wife, Candice, in 1835, aged sixty-nine.
This William Cook was an Englishman by birth, an old seaman, 
and was the "Ben Pump" of Cooper's "Pioneers." 
Patrick DAVISON, one of the early settlers, died in 1813, aged 
seventy-nine years. His wife, Mary, died in 1830, aged 
Archibald McKELLIP was a Whig in the Revolution, served 
seven years in the army, and was at the storming of Quebec 
when Montgomery fell, and was an honest, worthy, and 
industrious man, and good citizen.
James CANNON, another Revolutionary Whig, brother to 
Mrs. CAMPBELLL, the wife of Colonel Campbell, died in 
1829, aged seventy-eight years. His wife, of nearly the same 
age, rests near him. 
Colonel Libbens LOOMIS, an early settler, is also buried in the 
old cemetery. He was an officer in the Revoltution, and a 
member of the Cincinnati society. He died in 1836, aged 
WHITE - A prominent pioneer, and one whose memory is still 
cherished by the inhabitants, was Dr. Joseph WHITE. He died 
in 1836, aged forty-six. [buried in old cemetery}
Dr. David LITTLE was also a prominent man. He died in 1832, 
aged sixty-five, and his wife in 1846, aged seventy-seven. 
William PEESO, a Revolutionary soldier, in 1831, aged 
seventy-three; his wife, Lydia, died in 1846, aged eighty-two.
Elizabeth, wife of the late Rev. Amos PUTNAM, of Pamfret, 
Conn., died in 1835, aged ninety.
Mr. Beardsley says, " Hugh MITCHELL, an old man and 
respectful, whom I used to know, lies in the old cemetery 
without a stone to mark his resting-place. He was very near 
one hundred years old when he died, and was buried near the 
south side of the yard by the remains of his first wife and six 
children, who were butchered by the savages in 1778. He barely 
escaped by fleeing to the adjacent woods, where he concealed 
himself until the enemy was gone, when he returned, placed his 
murdered family on an ox-sled, and drove them to the fort, where 
they were buried, and the old man, by request, was placed beside 
them when he died."
FOSTER - Another very old man lies there, who died in 1814, 
at an exceedingly advanced age. He was known as "Old Jackey 
FOSTER;" was at Cherry Valley long before the Revolution; 
came there from Scotland or the north of Ireland, and was, as 
he said, in the battle of Culloden, in 1746, and used to sing 
anti-Jacobite songs.
One of his couplets was something like the following:
"And buttocks bare were turned up there,
Of many a brawny Highland mon."
Foster was a man of low, coarse wit, and used to crack his jokes 
and play his tricks with an almost unlimited license. At the 
early organization of the county there was considerable strife 
between Cherry Valley and Cooperstown in relation to public 
The former was settled fifty years before the latter, and had been 
destroyed during the Revolutionary struggle, and hence felt 
entitled to public favor.
It is said that Judge COOPER on one occasion playfully 
remarked that the court-house should be placed in Cooperstown, 
the jail in New-Town-Martin (Middlefield), and the gallows in 
Cherry Valley. Foster, who was always poor and inclined to his 
drink, had not much credit with his neighbors. He frequently 
wanted to borrow small sums of money, and would go to Judge 
Cooper, always taking care to conciliate his feelings, as Foster 
supposed, by soundly abusing Messrs. WHITE and RICH, and 
other men of influence at home. Judge Cooper, who understood 
the object, would listen to Foster's various devices to obtain 
money, and sometimes obliged him by small loans, though none 
the more for the abuse of his neighbors. On one occasion he 
had been sworn as a witness, when, on coming out of court, the 
judge asked him whether he had swore to the truth? Foster laid 
his hand on his breast, and raising his eyes, said, with much 
apparent solemnity, - 
"I have, Judge, as I am a Christian mon."
"But did you tell the whole truth?" says the judge.
"Yes, Your Honor," he replied, with a significant wink of his 
eye, " and a d----d sight more."
The following incident is also related in connection with Old 
Jackey Foster:"
The summer previous to the destruction of Cherry Valley, 
William McKNOWN, then a lad, was raking hay on the McConnell 
farm, when, late in the afternoon, he heard footsteps, and on 
turning around saw a man stealthily approaching him who was so 
near that escape seem impossible.
The stranger was BRANT, who was armed, and came out of the 
adjacent woods. McKnown was alarmed and his first thought 
was to make his escape, but Brant told him not to be alarmed, 
as he would not hurt him.
He then inquired where one of the settlers might be found who 
was suspected of being a Tory in his prejudices, if not openly 
so, and on being directed to his residence, peaceably departed. 
The settler referred to was "Old Jackey Foster."
There is no doubt Brant came there privately to ascertain the 
strength of the fort, and the condition and location of the 
inhabitants, preparatory to the contemplated attack.

Additional information contributed by Cornelia Taylor May 2001:

Rev. Samuel Dunlap/Dunlop -- 
He arrived 1741, and left at the Massacre Nov 1778, with one
daughter. Lived only a year at most, and died of "broken heart." 
He returned to marry his sweetheart in the old country, and brought her back
to live at Cherry Valley. Many of their children, and Mrs. Dunlap died 
during the massacre. 
Sources: History of Cherry
Valley, Sawyer; and Campbell's Border Wars.