Township Sections of Mini-Biographies

The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia



HARTWIG - In speaking of himself, he says, "My name is 
Johannes Christopher HARTWIG, which the English, according 
to their dialect, pronounce and write HARDWICK, a native of 
the dukedom of Sax-Gotha, in the province of Thuringia, in 
Germany, sent hither a missionary preacher of the gospel, 
upon petition and call of some Palatine congregations in 
the counties of Albany and Dutchess, etc."
He was a peculiar man and a determined woman hater. His life 
would seem to warrant the assertion that he regarded women as 
"A bosom serpent, A domestic evil, a night invasion, And a 
mid-day devil."
It was no common thing for him, if he saw that he was about to 
meet a woman on the road, to cross over, or even to leap a 
fence in order to avoid her. It is said that on one occasion, when 
he was disturbed in preaching by the presence of a dog, he 
exclaimed, with much earnestness, that they had better keep 
their dogs and children at home, and it would not matter if they 
kept their women there too.
This eccentric man died in the town of Clermont, Columbia Co., 
N.Y., on July 12, 1796, as the following extract shows, from a 
letter to Jeremiah Van , from R. R. Livingston, bearing the 
date " Clermont, 18th July 1796."
Sir, - It is proper that I should inform you that on Wednesday 
last the Rev. Mr. Hartwig landed here from a sloop going to 
Albany, being, as he said, fatigued with the sloop. He remained 
at my mother's till Sunday noon, when, without any previous 
indisposition other than the asthma, after conversing much at his 
ease with me for an hour, he died, without pain, and perfectly in 
his senses." In J. Fenimore COOPER's "Chronicles of 
Cooperstown," page 11, it is erroneously stated that he committed 
suicide with a razor, in June, 1800. He was buried under the 
pulpit of Ebenezer church in the city of Albany.
DAVIDSON - Prominent among those sturdy pioneers who, at 
close of the Revolution, left the comforts of an eastern home 
and sought an abode in the wilds of "Tryon county" was Nathan 
DAVIDSON, who came from Massachusetts, and located in 
this town about the year 1780. He was accompanied to his 
prospective home by his wife, and they came down the lake 
from Springfield on the ice. It was late in the spring, and the 
ice was covered with water, which rendered the journey, to one 
unaccustomed to the lakes, not at all pleasing. As he approached
the shore, and at last found himself safely on terra firma, casting 
a backward glance, he exclaimed, "You'll never catch me on that 
ice again." At this time there was but one small house on the site 
of Cooperstown.
.... He was a blacksmith by trade, and during the Revolution 
assisted the colonial cause by shoeing the horses of the soldiery, 
making swords, etc. He was a useful man in the new settlement, 
working at his trade for the pioneers, who in turn assisted in 
clearing his land. The first clearing was made by John Davidson, 
and he built the first frame barn in the town. He was an early 
justice of the peace, and one of the trustees of Hartwick 
seminary. He died in 1821, leaving a son and daughter. His 
son, Mr. Clark Davidson, was born here March 14, 1795. He 
was a prominent and useful citizen, and many years held the 
position of justice of the peace and postmaster. He died March 
11, 1873, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. A son, William 
C., and a daughter, Catharine L., reside on the old homestead.
John Davidson, a brother of Nathan, came to the town in the 
following year and located on an adjoining farm.
Joseph WINSOR, an honored pioneer, came into Hartwick 
from Rhode Island in about the year 1790, and settled on the N. 
LYON farm. The incident of purchase is related as follows: 
Mr. Winsor was passing the clearing made by Lyon, and in 
answer to the question if he would sell out, the latter replied, 
"Yes; I want to move away." the bargain was made, and for an 
axe and twelve shillings in money the land was transferred to 
Mr. Winsor. He returned to Rhode Island, and two years after 
came to the town and located on his purchase. He died at the 
age of eighty-four years. Three children are residing in the 
town, viz." Harris, at Hyde Park; Isaac, at Portlandville; and 
Mrs. Ada FIELD, in the vicinity of Toddsville.
FIELD - Two worthy pioneers of Hartwick were William and 
Nathan FIELD, who emigrated from Rhode Island in 1787 and 
settled on lands about one mile northeast of Hartwick village. 
After selecting their land they returned to Rhode Island and 
married, and immediately thereafter started for their abode in 
the forest. Here they erected rude cabins, and christened them 
with the endearing title of HOME. 
"Our forest life was rough and rude, And dangers closed us round; 
But here, amid the green old trees, A home we sought and found. 
Oft through our dwelling wintry blasts Would rush with shriek 
and moan; We care not - though they were but frail, We felt they 
were our own!"
William Field's family consisted of seven children, - three sons 
and four daughters. Elisha, aged seventy-eight, and William, aged 
sixty-seven, are living in the vicinity, and a daughter, Mrs. 
MURDOCK, in Cooperstown. Mr. Field died aged seventy-seven 
years. Mr. Elisha Field, mentioned above, has in his possession 
a dog-collar which was plowed up on his father's farm in about 
1856; which bears the following inscription: 
John Slater His Dog Albany March 27 1757
It is supposed that the dog was stolen by the Indians, or that he 
was lost while hunting with his master through this locality. 
Jerry POTTER, a soldier of the Revolution, emigrated to 
Hartwick at the close of the Revolution, and soon after removed 
to this town, locating near Hartwick village. Seven children 
reside in the county, viz." Irving Potter, in Hartwick village; a 
daughter, Mrs. A. E. BEAMAN, in Oneonta; another daughter, 
Mrs. Dorinda BOLAND, adjoining the old farm; and the 
following sons on the homestead: Alfred T., William H. H., 
Isaac L., and Ansel W.
Jedediah ASHCRAFT was an early settler. He came from 
Connecticut with his wife and children, in 1796, and located on 
lands near the central part of the town. His sons settled on 
farms in the vicinity. Jedediah, a grandson, survives.
Joseph MARSH, of honored memory, came with his wife from
Connecticut in 1807 and located in New Lisbon, and in 1821 
moved to Hartwick village. He died on the farm north of the 
village now owned and occupied by Mr. H. K. Marsh, who was 
born in 1809.
Another pioneer was Nicholas STEERE, who, with a wife and 
one son, emigrated from Rhode Island and settled in Hartwick 
in about 1794. He purchased land on the Cooper patent about 
three miles northeast from Hartwick village. His son, Ira 
Steere, grew to manhood here, married, and had a family of 
six children, - three sons and three daughters, - all of whom are 
living, viz.: Mrs. Martha PERRY, resides in the village of 
Morris; Mrs. Hosea WINSOR, in the town of Hartwick; Mrs. 
Minerva JARVIS, at Hartwick seminary; Delos, on his father's 
farm; Elizur, on the farm occupied by his grandfather; and 
Schuyler, in New Orleans.
WINSOR - A sturdy pioneer from Rhode Island was Elijah 
HAWKINS, who, accompanied by a brother, Rufus, settled in 
1790 on a farm about three miles northeast of Hartwick 
village. In 1793 he sold this farm to Amos WINSOR, who had 
just arrived from Rhode Island, with his wife and children. 
The old homestead is now owned and occupied by Hosea Winsor, 
son of John and grandson of Amos Winsor. Nathan Winsor, son 
of Russell and grandson of Amos Winsor, resides in Toddville.
WELLS - A prominent pioneer, and Hartwick's first supervisor, 
was Philip WELLS, who came from Foster, Rhode Island. He 
was accompanied by two brothers, Joshua and John, and by a 
man named Rhodes FRY. They settled on lands about one mile 
east of the village. He died in 1812. A grandson, William 
BURLINGHAM, now owns a portion of the old homestead. 
John and James, sons of Philip Wells, were in the war of 1812, 
and both participated in the battle of Queenstown, where the 
former was wounded.
Hopkins BURLINGHAM, wife and eldest daughter were 
pioneers from Connecticut, and settled southeast from the 
village. Orman and William Burlingham , sons of William, 
and grandsons of Hopkins Burlingham, reside in the village.
Calvin GOODRICH, a prominent pioneer from Sharon, 
Connecticut, came into the county in an early day and located 
in this town. His family consisted of four sons and five 
daughters. A son, Chauncey Goodrich, born in 1806, is a 
prominent resident of Milford village, where he has lived 
thirty years, during which time he has held the office of 
postmaster seventeen years, and justice of the peace two terms.
A prominent pioneer was Deacon Ziba NEWLAND, who came 
from Norton, Massachusetts, and settled in what is now South 
Hartwick, in about the year 1792, then twenty-four years of age. 
Deacon Newland was a nail-maker by trade, and soon after 
locating set up a shop and forge, which business he followed in 
connection with farming. He married Lucy HENRY, and had a 
family of nine children. A grandson, Henry Newland, resides in 
Otego village.
A prominent pioneer was Amasa PETERS, from Connecticut, 
who settled on the present site of the village in 1796. He had 
a family of two sons and six daughters. One daughter, Mrs. 
Torrey J. LUCE, resides in the village, on a portion of the old 
Among the earliest settlers in the county was Uriah LUCE, who 
came from Rhode Island, and located near the lake in Otsego. 
A son, Uriah Luce, Jr., was sheriff in 1798. Torrey J. Luce, a 
son of John Luce and grandson of Uriah, was born in Cooperstown 
in 1798, and became a resident of this town in 1837; was a 
merchant and justice of the peace. Rufus P., a merchant, and 
the present supervisor of the town, and Henry J., sons of John 
Luce, are residents of the village. 
[see Bio on Torrey J. Luce]
Stephen INGALLS was a pioneer in this town. He came from 
Cheshire, Mass., in about the year 1780. A son, Samuel M., was 
member of assembly in 1823.