Township Sections of Mini-Biographies

The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia



SLEEPER-Soon after the advent of Mr. MAYALL came John 
SLEEPER, a Quaker preacher, who emigrated with his family
from Mount Holly, N.J., in 1774, and settled on a tract of land 
embracing two hundred acres, which were donated to him by 
the proprietors of the patent, in consideration of which he was 
to build a grist- and saw-mill. This settlement was made with a 
view of founding a Quaker colony in the locality, which, 
however, was stopped by the war of the Revolution. Mr. Sleeper
being considered neutral, his house was often the halting-place 
of both Indians and colonists on their way from Cherry Valley 
to Unadilla. ... The family soon after returned to New Jersey, 
suffering terribly on the way. 
At the close of the Revolution in 1784, and when peace again 
reigned throughout Tryon county, Mr. Sleeper and family 
retraced their steps and settled on their old location, and rebuilt 
the mills which had been destroyed by the Indians and Tories.
... Mr. Sleeper died in 1794, and Mrs. Sleeper in 1811. They 
reared a family of seven sons and five daughters. One son, 
Joseph H. Sleeper, settled on a portion of the original purchase. 
He died in 1830. A son, Hudson Sleeper, resides on the old 
CRAFTS-In the year 1794, Mr. Sleeper sold his grist- and saw-
mills and 1000 acres of land to Griffin CRAFTS, of honored 
Mr. Crafts came from Cherry Valley. He was a man that 
manifested much interest in all matters concerning the public 
good, and did much to advance the general welfare of the county 
and the community wherein he resided. He opened the first 
tavern, and was the first supervisor of the town, in 1811. In 1815 
he disposed of his mills, farms, distillery, etc., to his son, 
General Erastus Crafts, who was also a prominent man. He 
received his title from being in the old State militia. He was a 
soldier by nature, and so far excelled in military matters that he 
attracted the attention of General Harrison, who offered him 
the position afterwards held by General Scott. He was member 
of assembly in 1810, '13 and '14, the second supervisor of the 
town, and officiated in the latter capacity at various times for 
thirteen years.
He married a sister of Judge W. W. CAMPBELL, of Cherry 
Valley, and their family consisted of four children, viz.: Julia, 
a daughter, married a son of David H. LITTLE, of Cherry Valley, 
and is now deceased; a son, William, was killed in battle during 
the late Rebellion; a daughter, Caroline, married her deceased 
sister's husband, and resides in Rochester, N.Y.; a son, Laurens, 
resides in Toledo, O. General Crafts died April 9, 1851, aged 
seventy-one, and was buried at Cherry Valley.
Among the pioneers were Erastus and Ezra DEAN, who settled 
in about the year 1805, and opened the first store. The former 
was a prominent man and was the first town clerk, in 1811. 
A son, Delos W. Dean, occupies the old homestead.
Samuel ALLEN came from New Jersey in about the year 1793, and 
settled south of the village. The old homestead was subsequently 
owned by a son, Samuel, and a grandson, Albert, both of whom 
reside in the village.
In the locality known as Butts' corner, Jacob BUTTS, an 
honored pioneer from Windham Co., Conn., settled in about the 
year 1790. He penetrated the wilderness alone, and, after 
building a log house, returned to Connecticut, packed up his 
household goods, and with his wife, a wagon, yoke of oxen, 
and a single horse, started for their forest home. It required 
no small amount of courage in that early day to undertake a 
journey of several hundred miles, over almost impassable 
roads and through a forest which at night resounded with the 
howls of wild animals; but Mr. B. and his companions were 
ready to face the hardships of pioneer life, and after a weary 
journey of twelve days arrived at their log cabin, and there 
erected the standard of "home." ....
They reared a family of eight children,-five sons and three 
daughters. Two sons reside in the town, Harvey and Galen, who, 
with their children, occupy the old homestead. 
J. WHITCOMB was a pioneer who located soon after Mr. Butts. A 
son, David, now at the advanced age of seventy-five years, is 
living in Morris.
NEWELL-Coincident with the settlement of the above was 
that of Nathan NEWELL, also from Connecticut. A son, 
Nathan, resides in the town of Middlefield.
HARRISON-A large land-holder and active pioneer was 
Solomon HARRISON, who emigrated from the "land of steady 
habits" and settled on Otego creek, about two miles above 
Laurens, and subsequently moved to a location west of Laurens, 
where he purchased one thousand acres of land from the Otego 
patent. He erected a grist- and saw-mill, and sold a portion of 
his land to settlers, and the locality became known as 
Harrison's Mills, now called Brewster's Mills. A son, Wm. 
Harrison, lives on a farm between Butts' Corners and Laurens. 
A portion of the old homestead is in the possession of a 
granddaughter, Mrs. John WARD, who resides in the village 
of Morris.
STRAIGHT-Among the first preachers of the Society of 
Friends who raised their voices in the wilderness of Laurens 
was Calvin STRAIGHT, who settled north of the village about 
the year 1800. Two sons, William and Samuel, are farmers in 
the vicinity of Butts' Corners.
WEATHERBY-In the locality known as West Laurens, Daniel 
WEATHERBY, from Rhode Island, was a pioneer. He had four 
sons, Samuel, Henry, William, and Daniel; some of their 
descendants are residents of the town.
Rufus TUCKER, wife and children, came from Connecticut 
in 1792, and settled in West Laurens, on the Otego patent. 
Their family consisted of six sons and three daughters. Rufus, 
Jr., succeeded to the possession of the farm. Six children are 
now living, viz.: Ezra resides in this town, Eric in the village of 
Morris, Leroy is a merchant in the village of Laurens, Mrs. 
Eveline PERKINS resides in the town of Morris, and Mrs. 
Maryette HYATT and Mrs. M. LULL in West Laurens.
WINSOR-An early settler above Laurens, on the Mount 
Vision road, was Dr. Ezer WINSOR, who came from Rhode 
Island in 1794. He had a family of nine children. Amos, a 
prominent citizen of the county, who was sheriff in 1842, 
resides in the town, on a farm adjoining the old homestead, 
and Morris in Grand Rapids, Mich. Dr. Winsor died in 1834, 
at the age of sixty-six years.
Benjamin TIFFANY was a worthy pioneer in the vicinity of 
Gilbert's lake, having settled in 1794. One son, Mr. Thomas 
Tiffany, is the sole surviving member of the family, and resides 
at Mount Vision.
ELDRED-Another honored pioneer of Laurens who settled 
in the year 1793 was Daniel ELDRED, who located about two 
miles west of Mount Vision. He, together with six sons, 
subsequently moved to New Lisbon, and in 1837 to Michigan, 
and settled on Climax Prairie, to which a nephew who was with 
them gave the name. One daughter, Mrs. Thomas TIFFANY, is 
the only member of the family left in the vicinity.
Gilbert's lake derived its name from Benjamin GILBERT, 
a Revolutionary soldier from Connecticut, who settled in its 
vicinity soon after the war. Two great-grandsons, Loyd and 
Morris, lived on the estate.
HARRINGTON-An honored pioneer in the village of 
Laurens was Dr. Allen HARRINGTON, who came from 
Brookfield, Worcester Co., Mass., in about the year 1800. 
He was a successful practitioner, and his ride extended over 
a large territory. A son, Orlando, resides in Oswego Co., N.Y., 
and a son, Samuel H., is a practicing attorney in the village of 
Laurens. Mr. Harrington has in his possession an interesting 
relic, being the original parchment deed, with a map of the 
Otego patent, is which is conveyed 2000 acres of land by 
Thomas WHARTON to John SMITH, dated February 3, 1770, 
lots 25 and 50 embracing 1000 acres each. On this map the 
Otsdawa and Oneonta and Otego creeks are shown, and 
Oneonta is spelled Onabrienton creek.
A worthy pioneer is Cyrus HUDSON, who came into New
Berlin, Chenango county, from Rhode Island, in 1816, and in 
1818 to Laurens, and settled two miles below the village, where 
he bought a tannery and five acres of land. He conducted this 
business until 1832, when he sold out and moved above the 
village, where he still resides, at the advanced age of eighty-two 
years, with a daughter, Mrs. Caroline CURTIS. Two sons, 
Stephen T. and Horace, are hardware merchants in the village; 
Henry resides in New Lisbon, Cyril in Oneonta, and one 
daughter lives in Chenango county, and one in Monroe.
Moses POWELL, a Quaker, emigrated from Greene county 
in about the year 1800, and purchased the Mayall farm, upon 
which he resided until his death. He was killed at a raising. 
A son, Isaac Powell, came in with him and located below the 
village, on the east side of Otego creek. A son of Isaac, Mr. 
Erastus D. Powell, resides in the village.