Township Sections of Mini-Biographies

The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia



The first birth in the village occurred in 1792, and was that of Nathan 
HOWARD, a son of John HOWARD. The first death was that of a 
son of Joseph GRIFFEN, also in 1792. The second death was that 
of Jabez WRIGHT, a cabinet-maker, who was drowned in the 
outlet; and the third, James BARBER, died of smallpox in 1795.
Among the earliest settlers in the village was James AVERELL, who 
located, in 1786, on premises now owned by Mrs. Jane R. CARTER, 
a granddaughter. Mr. Averell was the pioneer tanner in this section. 
He sold leather in Cleveland, Ohio, and invested the proceeds in 
real estate in that city, which subsequently increased in value, 
rendering him a wealthy man.
PHINNEY- A prominent pioneer, and one who did much to advance
the interests of the village, as Elihu PHINNEY, a native of Connecticut, 
who arrived in the place Feb. 28, 1795, bringing with him the 
materials for printing a newspaper, and on the 3d of the ensuing April 
issued the first number of the Otsego Herald or Western Advertiser. 
He published this paper until 1813. Two sons, Henry and Elihu 
Phinney, conducted a large publishing business in this village until
1849, when, their establishment being destroyed by fire, the general
business was removed to Buffalo. In 1854, H. F. Phinney removed to New
York, and, with H. Ivison, formed the first of Ivison & Phinney. Elihu 
Phinney, Jr., resides in the village on the old homestead. Henry F., 
[Note: Among Necrology list for prominent deceased citizens was 
listed Elihu Phinney died 1863 Jan 26 @ 78 yrs & Henry Fred'k 
Phinney 1875 Oct 28 @ 59 yrs]
An early settler and self-made man was Lawrence McNAMEE. He 
opened a store here in about the year 1802, and succeeded in amassing 
a fortune. He died in 1854, aged eighty-two years. A nephew, Theodore 
McNamee, who was here while a boy, subsequently became a member 
of the firm of Bowen & McNamee, of New York. John L., a son 
of Lawrence McNamee, resides in the village, and has held the office 
of county clerk.
A worthy pioneer was John Frederick ERNST, a Lutheran clergyman, 
and the second regularly employed clergyman in the village, who 
located in 1799. His family consisted of seven children,- four 
daughters and three sons. One son, John Frederick Ernst, Jr., was 
a jeweler and silversmith, and occupied a building which stood on 
the present site of the Ballard House. He was an active business man, 
and also manifested a deep interest in religious matters, and was 
warden and vestryman of Christ church many years. He died in 1830, 
and his wife in 1856. Their family consisted of five children,- four 
sons and one daughter. John Frederick was educated at Hartwick 
seminary and New York Theological seminary, entered the 
Episcopal ministry, and now resides in Buffalo; Elizabeth married 
Abel H. CLARK, and died here; Henry B. continued the business of 
his father until 1837. He died in New York. George W., the third 
son, is a life-long resident of Cooperstown. At the early age of 
twelve years he entered the store of Henry SCOTT as clerk, where 
he remained about eight years, and then began business for himself. 
He remained in active business until 1862, and has ever been identified 
with the progress of the village. He has served in various official 
positions in the village, town, and county, among which may be 
mentioned trustee of village, supervisor eight years, loan commissioner 
twelve years under both political organizations, county clerk, etc. He 
was active in raising the quota of the county during the late Rebellion, 
and was appointed by Gov. Morgan chairman of the war committee for 
this senatorial district. He has been a Republican since the 
organization of the party, and has figured conspicuously in the politics 
of the county and State. He has been a vestryman of Christ church 
many years, and warden for the past four years.
Joshua STARR was an early settler who located in 1792, and occupied 
a house which stood on the site of the present residence of J. M. 
WESTLAKE, M.D., corner of Chestnut and Lake streets; and directly 
opposite, between the residence of Mrs. TURNER and the AVERELL 
homestead, he owned and operated a pottery. A daughter married Judge 
BROWN, for many years a practicing attorney here, who subsequently 
removed to Chicago, where his descendants now reside.
Dr. RUSSELL settled in 1796. Two children, Catharine and Rensselaer, 
died here. Another daughter became the wife of the late Judge NELSON.
An honored resident of the village was Henry SCOTT. He was an 
active business man and during a long period was cashier of the 
Otsego County bank. His widow resides in the village. 
BALDWIN- Another pioneer who added to the industry of the village 
was Joseph BALDWIN, a cooper, who settled in 1790. Two 
granddaughters reside here, viz., a maiden lady, Mary L., and 
Frances, the wife of Washington WILSON. A son, Horace Baldwin, 
died in this village.
CAMPBELL- Among the prominent attorneys who early settled in 
Cooperstown, was Robert Campbell, who located in 1802. A 
daughter, wife of the late Levi C. TURNER, resides in the village.
Ralph WORTHINGTON was a hatter, who early chose Cooperstown 
for a home. Of his family of eight children the following are living, 
viz., Henry, in New York, and Mrs. MOORE, in Brooklyn. John R. 
Worthington, a son, was an active citizen of the village, and together 
with his son, John, many years conducted a successful banking 
business. He died Jan. 15, 1878, in the house in which he was 
born on Dec. 13, 1804.
An honored representative of "ye olden time" was Ellery CORY, who 
came to Cooperstown about the year 1815, and located near the 
present residence of Asel JARVIS, on Lake street. He first engaged 
in the furniture business and subsequently in hardware in the old stone 
building nearly opposite the Central House. He was prominently 
identified with the progress of the village, and took an active part in 
building the Cooperstown and Susquehanna Valley railroad. He died 
January 22, 1874. Three children are living, viz.: William E. Cory, 
Esq., a successful hardware merchant in this village; Mrs. L. C. 
STOWELL, also in Cooperstown; and Mrs. STEBBENS, in Madison 
Holder CORY, brother of Ellery, also an honored pioneer, came soon 
after and engaged in business with his brother, which he continued 
until his death, in September, 1863. His widow, now at the advanced 
age of seventy-one years, resides in this village. Three children are 
residents of the village, viz.: Ellery P. Cory, an undertaker, and the 
present town clerk; Caroline, wife of Charles R. BURCH, a jeweler; 
and Frances. 
William NICHOLS, a jeweler, was an early settler. He was a 
prominent citizen, and was elected county clerk. The only surviving 
descendant in Cooperstown is Mrs. Asel JARVIS. 
Stephen GREGORY was also an early settler, and a pioneer settler, 
and a pioneer shoemaker. His widow and a son, Charles Z. Gregory, 
reside in the village, and a daughter, wife of John BURGIS, is a 
resident of Jersey City. 
Henry BEADLE early located in the village. A son, Elias, is a 
Presbyterian clergyman in Philadelphia; Tracey, another son, died a 
short time since in Elmira.
A worthy pioneer from the "Granite State" was Abner GRAVES, who, 
with his wife and family, settled in this vicinity in the year 1794,
first locating across the river in Middlefield, where he remained one
year, and then removed to the village. He subsequently located on a
below the village, where he resided until old age came creeping on, 
when he returned and died here at the advanced age of ninety years. 
His wife died six years previously, aged eight-four years. Their family 
consisted of eight children, only four of whom are living. (See 
biography of Calvin Graves, at close of Cooperstown history.)
BOWERS- A prominent early settler just outside of the village, in the 
town of Middlefield, was John M. BOWERS, one of the largest 
land-holders in the county, who came from New York city in 1803. 
In 1804 he erected the residence known as "Lakelands," and in the 
following year took possession of it. Here he remained until his 
death, which occurred in 1846. He was seventy-three years of age. 
His widow, Margaretta M. S. Bowers, died Feb. 6, 1872, at the 
advanced age of ninety-three years. Two daughters and one son 
are residents of this village, Mrs. F. A. LEE, Miss Martha Bowers, 
and Henry J. Bowers, Esq. Miss Martha Bowers occupies the 
old homestead.