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
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
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
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.