Township Sections of Mini-Biographies

The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia



MUMFORD- Among the first who located in the town after the war 
were David, Thomas and Mathew CULLY, from Cherry Valley, 
and the MUMFORDs, from Bennington, Vt. They came in 1788, 
and settled at Milford Centre.
The MUMFORD family consisted of the father, Thomas Mumford, 
and four sons, George, Gardner, John, and Joseph, and five 
daughters. Mr. Mumford purchased a grist-mill of David CULLY, 
and four hundred acres of land from David and Mathew Cully. He 
settled, with his sons, on the farm. In the year 1800, Joseph, 
desiring to change his location, purchased a farm on the site of the 
present village of Portlandville, on the west side of the river. In
1807, John purchased a farm on the east side of the river. One son, 
Alonzo, now resides in the vicinity. The only descendants are Delora, 
residing in Otego; Robinson, below Portlandville; and Captain Jesse 
Mumford. The latter now resides at Portlandville, at an advanced 
age. He has kept a public-house in this town more than forty years.
The village of Portlandville was formerly known as Mumfordsville; 
but the Mumfords, not caring that their name should be perpetuated 
in this manner, decided to change the name of the village, and 
finally, at the suggestion of Captain Jesse Mumford, it was called 
Portlandville. This designation pleased the inhabitants, and it has 
since retained that name.
The establishment of a post-office was an event hailed with much 
satisfaction by the people of Portlandville and vicinity. This was 
established in 1826, and Captain Mumford appointed postmaster. 
After officiating in this capacity four years, the office was removed 
to Milford Centre, and was subsequently removed to Portlandville, 
and Captain Mumford reinstated as postmaster.
The first tavern was built in 1825 by Captain Mumford, which he 
kept for a period of forty years.
The excellent water-power afforded by the Susquehanna at this 
point early stimulated the erection of mills, and in 1814 a large dam 
and saw-mill was built by a company, consisting of George GARDNER, 
Joseph and John Mumford, John LOWE, Sr., Jon LOWE, Jr., and 
David CULLY. In the following year, 1815, a grist-mill was also 
built by the same company.
Levi ADAMS was also an early settler in this vicinity. He came from
Pawlet, Vt., and located here in 1790. He was the first carpenter 
in the town. He built many of the pioneer houses, and was in many 
respects a useful man in the new county. A daughter, Polly, 
married Joseph MUMFORD. She lived to the advanced age of 
ninety-seven years, and died in 1876.
MOORE- A prominent settler below Portlandville was Colonel John
MOORE, who was born in Cherry Valley in 1767, and located in 
this town, then known as "Suffrage," in 1784. He afterwards moved 
to the village of Milford, and settled on a farm on the east side of the 
river, upon which a portion of the present village is situated. A 
daughter of Colonel Moore, Mrs. Mary M. SWEET, was born on 
the farm, and lives in the vicinity. Colonel Moore was a member 
of assembly in 1818. He was postmaster for a period of nearly 
forty years, supervisor three years, and a colonel in the militia. He 
died in 1855, aged eighty-eight years.
BISSELL- Conspicuous among the many prominent men who have 
at various times resided in Milford is mentioned the name of William 
H. BISSELL. He was born in the town of Hartwick, and came to 
this town when an infant. Here, in this picturesque vale of the 
Susquehanna, he grew to manhood, in the mean time preparing 
himself for the medical profession. This he finally abandoned, and, 
removing to Illinois, commenced the study of the law, and was 
subsequently admitted to the bar of that State. At the breaking out 
of the Mexican war he entered the United States service as the 
colonel of a regiment, and served with distinction. Among the many 
contests in which he participated was the battle of Buena Vista. 
At the close of the war he returned to his adopted State, and was 
twice elected to congress. His faithful attention to the interests of 
his State in that body won the confidence of the people, and he was 
elevated to the gubernatorial chair. He was re-elected, and died 
during his second term.
A prominent pioneer was Norman BISSELL, who purchased land 
near the village. Three children reside in the town, viz., Amos 
Bissell, Esq., a farmer, real estate and produce dealer, in Milford 
village; Mrs. Margaret LUTHER, in Hartwick; and Mrs. KING, in 
Milford village.
A soldier of the Revolution was Artemus WARD, who enlisted from 
Worcester, Mass. He was stationed at West Point during the gloomy 
days of Arnold's treachery to the colonial cause. Mr. Ward located 
near Milford village prior to 1800. He died in 1827. Amos BISSELL, 
Esq., mentioned above, is a grandson.
Jonathan SWEET was a prominent man in the early days, and did 
much to advance the interests of the pioneers. He came from the 
town of East Greenwich, R.I., and located in this town, one-half 
mile north of Milford village, on the Outhout patent. He had two 
sons, Amos and Abel. The former died here, leaving a large family. 
Abel, after residing here several years, moved to Oneida county. 
A daughter married Asa EDDY, who emigrated from Hoosick, 
Rensselaer county, N.Y., in 1805, and settled on lands a short 
distance north of the village on the Outhout patent. Mr. Eddy was 
an enterprising citizen, and built the first tannery in the town. This 
primitive establishment was in operation in 1806, and during a 
period of sixty-five years was conducted by the father and son. 
He had a family of four daughters and four sons. Two of the 
daughters, Mrs. Mary RUSSELL and Mrs. L. E. BOWE, reside 
in the village of Otego. A son, John Eddy, Esq., a prominent 
citizen, was born and resides in the town. He was a member of the 
constitutional convention in 1867.
FRENCH- A pioneer on Clark's patent, below the village, was 
Daniel FRENCH, who came from Massachusetts at a very early day. 
He was accompanied by his brother, Mr. David French. A daughter 
of Daniel French, Mrs. Chauncey BROWN, aged seventy-seven 
years, is living in the village. As an instance of the privations and 
hardships encountered by the settlers in a new county, it is 
related by Mr. French that during a year of great scarcity they 
subsisted on leeks and milk during six weeks, and before the 
ripening of their wheat it was gathered and boiled for food. So 
reduced did they become that he gave a yoke of cattle in exchange 
for seven bushels of corn.
SCOTT- The "Emerald Isle" sent few worthier representatives to 
the new county than Henry SCOTT. Mr. Scott, accompanied by 
his wife and daughter, emigrated from Ireland prior to 1796, and 
settled on lands north of the village. He was a successful farmer, 
and paid the purchase-money of his farm with the first crops of 
wheat. He was a prominent pioneer, the first clerk of the town, and 
was also a justice of the peace. A son, Henry Scott, was many 
years cashier of the Otsego County bank, located at Cooperstown.
A well-remembered pioneer was David L. SAYRE, who came from 
Greene county, N.Y., in 1868. He settled in the village, and opened 
a general store. He died in 1835. A son, George W., was born in 
the village in 1811, and died there in 1871. His widow occupies 
the old homestead.
COLLIER- Prominent among the early settlers who chose Milford 
for a home was Isaac COLLIER, who located at what is now known 
as Colliersville. A son, Peter Collier, of honored memory, was a 
prominent man in the vicinity, being supervisor from 1818 to 1825, 
and from 1827 to 1839. He was also presidential elector in 1832. 
A daughter married Jared GOODYEAR, who was supervisor of 
the town for a period of six years.
{Note: See bios for Peter COLLIER and Jared GOODYEAR]
The first child born was David BEALS, in 1786, and the first 
death that of Mrs. BEALS, in 1788.
The first marriage as that of James BROWN and Rhoda MARVIN, 
in 1788.