Township Sections of Mini-Biographies

The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia



McCOLLUM- On the White farm is standing the barn near 
which Daniel McCOLLUM, son of Alexander McCollum, was 
captured by Indians in 1778. The narrative of his capture is as 
follows: In the spring of 1778, then but two years of age, he 
went with his father and eldest brother to a "sugar-bush" located 
a short distance from the house, for the purpose of eating warm 
sugar. He soon became weary, and wanted to go home. The 
others, not being ready to go, showed him the foot-path, and saw 
him start for the house. He proceeded safely until within hearing 
distance of the house and near a mill-pond. His mother and sister 
in the house, hearing a scream, recognized it as that of the little 
boy. The mother said, "Run, Kitty; for I fear something has 
happened to Daniel." She immediately ran to the place from 
whence the sound had proceeded, but could find no traces of him 
save a few small foot-prints near the pond. She went to the sugar-
camp, and there learned that they had but a little while before 
sent him to the house. The pond was drained, and during three 
days search was continued for the little one, but without success. 
Mr. McCollum, being a man of influence and property, left no 
means untried by which information might be obtained. But all 
in vain. The heart-broken parents were obliged to give up in 
despair. Daniel in the mean time was being carried on the back of 
a squaw towards Buffalo, by way of the Mohawk valley. This 
squaw had been in the habit of frequenting the McColllum 
neighborhood, several times visiting the house, and was often seen 
to take the children in her arms in a playful manner. As she was 
missing about this time, and was never after seen in the vicinity, 
it is supposed that she had taken him. He was about nine years 
among the Indians, when he was taken to Fort Stanwix (Rome). 
From here he went to Albany, and finally to Poughkeepsie, where 
he was taken by the poormaster and apprenticed to a man named 
Colonel Hay, who soon after removed to Lake George, taking 
Daniel with him, and naming him Clinton HAY. While at the 
lake he was seen and recognized by an aunt, who at once sent 
the information to his parents. They, however, failed to receive it, 
but subsequently learned from a lady residing at Cherry Valley 
that he was alive. Mr. McCollum immediately set out to reclaim 
the wanderer, and after furnishing Colonel Hay sufficient proof 
that the child was "Daniel McCollum," he was restored to his 
father and taken to his mountain home. But oh, how changed! 
The little prattling boy had grown up in Indian degradation and 
wretchedness, knowing nothing of civilized life except the little 
he had learned while among the whites. He spoke three Indian 
tongues, and upon his return he attended school, but it was with 
the greatest difficulty that he learned English. He grew to manhood, 
married, and settled on a farm given him by his father. His long 
captivity with the savages in a measure incapacitated him from 
business, and he subsequently lost his property, and to gain a 
livlihood published a narrative of his captivity and life among the 
BLAIR- Prominent among the pioneeers who left New England and 
settled in this town was Gardner BLAIR, from Massachusetts, who 
located in 1787 on the Bowers patent, about four miles southeast of 
Middlefield Centre. His family consisted of twelve children,- 
seven sons and five daughters. Two sons, David and Robert 
Blair, aged respectively eighty-two and seventy-fours years,
reside in the town on farms south of the Centre.
John PARSHALL emigrated to Newburg, N.Y, and from there to 
Middlefield Centre, then known as Newtown-Martin, in 1796, 
and purchased land of the McCollum family, located between 
Springfield and Middlefield Centre. He reared a family of eleven 
children,- three sons and eight daughters. Two daughters- Mrs. 
Delia Parshall, aged seventy-nine, and Mrs. D. DUTCHER, aged 
seventy-seven - are living in the vicinity.
From Chatham, Conn., came Noahdiah WHITE, in 1805, with a 
family of four daughters and two sons. He purchased a large 
farm of Alexander McCOLLUM, on Red creek, near the village 
of Middlefield Centre. There was a saw-mill on the place at the 
time of purchase. Mr. White died in 1835. Two daughters - Miss 
White and Mrs. RICE - are living in the vicinity.
GREEN- A soldier of the Revolution who sought the wilds of 
Newton-Martin at the close of the war was Isaac GREEN, who 
was born in Greenwich, Mass., in 1757. He purchased land about 
three-fourths of a mile north of Middlefield Centre. A number of 
apple-trees were standing on this farm at the time of purchase, and 
this was undoubtedly the first orchard in the town. His family 
consisted of twelve children,- ten daughters and two sons. A 
daughter - Mrs. David BLAIR, aged eighty-three - resides on a 
farm south of the Centre.
Samuel, Andrew, Abner, and Phinney WILSON, four brothers, 
came from Massachusetts in 1814, and settled near Middlefield 
Centre, on the Roseboom and McCollum tract. Mrs. Agnes 
CHURCH, a niece of Samuel Wilson, resides in the vicinity. 
(See portrait on page 191.)
PARSHALL- Prominent among those identified with the pioneer
history of Middlefield stands the name of James PARSHALL, who 
came from Long Island to Cherry Valley in 1795, and soon after 
to this town, locating at Middlefield Centre. He was an orderly-
sergeant in Clinton's army in his memorable campaign against the 
Indians, and assisted in building the dam at the foot of the lake. 
A son of the above, Mr. Gilbert Parshall, now residing at 
Whigsville, is one of the oldest residents in the town, having been 
born in Middlefield Centre in 1800. Mr. Parshall manifests much 
interest in the history of the town, and relates with zest many 
incidents of "ye olden time." He has in his possession an interesting 
Indian relic. It is a cup about six inches in diameter and one and 
one-half inches in depth, made of a black-ash knot. This curious 
cup was found by his father hanging in an Indian wigwam.
Major Jotham AMES, of Bridgewater, Mass., was a pioneer in 
in this town, where he died in 1812, aged seventy. He was a 
Revolutionary soldier, and served gallantly through the entire war. 
He was in the battle of Saratoga, where his captain was killed, and 
he took command of the company.
Another soldier of the revolution as Captain Stephen SMITH, who
was born in 1747. He came from Litchfield, Conn., and settled in 
Pierstown in 1790, and ten yeas after located in this town on lands 
taken from the Bowers patent, now owned by the county, upon 
which the county poor-house is located. Captain Smith was at the 
battles of Bunker Hill and Trenton, and the surrender of Cornwalllis, 
at Yorktown. He died in 1817. A granddaughter-Amanda, wife of 
Barzilla BRADLEY-resides in the town.
Captain Thomas RANSOM, a soldier of the Revolution, settled in 
the town at the close of the war, on lands near Phoenixville, on the 
Beaver Meadow road. Captain Smith (sic) was in the battle of 
Bunker Hill. He died in this town, in 1828.
James BRADLEY, of honored memory, entered the colonial army 
from Sandgate, Vt., and served three years. He was at Princeton 
and also at the crossing of the Delaware. He received his discharge 
at Greenbush, opposite Albany, and in 1799 came to this town and 
located near Phoenixville, on the Bowers patent. He died in 1831, 
at the advanced age of seventy years. A son-Mr. Barzilla Bradley-
resides on a portion of the land owned by his father.
Still another veteran of the Revolution was Moses THOMPSON, 
who enlisted from Walpole, N.H. He emigrated to this town at the 
close of the war, and settled on the Beaver Meadow road. He 
died in 1834.
William TEMPLE, a native of Walpole, N.H., was a soldier in the 
French and Indian war, and settled in this town in 1790, on the 
Beaver Meadow road. He died in 1826. Three granddaughters 
occupy the old homestead.
Another veteran of the Revolutionary struggle was Aaron SMITH, 
who enlisted from the "land of steady habits." He settled in 
Middlefield in 1807, on the Beaver Meadow road. He died in 1825, 
aged eighty years. Two grandsons-William and Fenimore Smith-are 
residents of the town.
Captain Ziba ROBINSON, from Rhode Island, served during the 
Revolution. He came to the western wilderness and settled in 
Hartwick in 1790, and subsequently located in this town, on the 
PATTEN farm. He died in 1840, at the advanced age of about 
ninety years. Three children are residents of the county.- one son 
residing in Hartwick, one in Milford, and a daughter, Mrs. COMPTON, 
in this town.
ELY- Of the early settlers of Middlefield none occupied a warmer 
place in the hearts of the people than Dr. Sumner ELY, of honored 
memory. He located in Clarksville in 1810, and commenced the 
practice of his profession, which he continued almost to the day of 
his death. He occupied many positions of trust within the gift of 
his fellow-citizens, always discharging his duties with credit to 
himself and the satisfaction of his constituency. He died Feb. 3, 
1857. His children were as follows: Adriel G. Ely, physician, 
residing at Girard, Pa.; Theo. D. Ely, deceased; Sumner Stow Ely, 
attorney, residing in New York; Benjamin C. Ely, physician, 
residing at Girard, Pa.; and William H. Ely, merchant, residing at 
East Worcester.
DUNHAM- A prominent settler below Bowerstown, and one of the 
first in the county, was Dr. Obadiah DUNHAM, who came from 
Pownal, Vermont, in 1755. He died in 1813, aged eighty-two years. 
His son, Abner Dunham, was born in this town in 1773, and during 
his lifetime occupied the farm upon which he was born. He died in 
1822, leaving a family of four sons and five daughters. Two 
daughters reside in the vicinity, viz., Mrs. Amy CAMPBELL, born 
in 1801, living at Middlefield Centre; and Mrs. Joanna MACKEY, 
born in 1804, living near Bowerstown.