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
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.