Township Sections of Mini-Biographies

The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia



JARVIS- Among the first who ventured into the wilderness were 
two brothers, Asel and Dr. William JARVIS, who located at what 
is now known as Fly Creek. They were prominent citizens, and the 
latter was the first practicing physician in the vicinity. Chester, 
Dwight, and Kent, sons of Asel Jarvis, were also enterprising 
citizens, and prominent in the old militia organizations.
Asel Jarvis did much towards the advancement of the town, and in 
1813 erected the first foundry and machine-shop at Fly Creek 
village. William Cooper Jarvis was the first child born on the 
Cooper patent, and received a farm from Judge COOPER. 
Numerous descendants of the Jarvis family are residents of the 
[ Note: see William NICHOLS below]
George SCOTT, a native of Yorkshire, England, emigrated to 
America in the year 1788, and coming to this county located about 
one mile north of fly creek. One son, Samuel Scott, who was born 
in 1809, now resides in the town, a short distance north of the 
old homestead.
PATTEN- Among those who left the "banks an' braes" of old Scotia, 
and sought a home in the new county, was John PATTEN, a native 
of Perthshire, who came to this county, and, upon his arrival, 
entered the employ of Judge Cooper. In 1810 he purchased land 
in Fly Creek valley. His family consisted of nine children. A 
daughter, Mrs. Janette WILLIAMS, now occupies the old homestead. 
David, a brother of John Patten, settled in the town at the same 
time, and purchased lands at Pierstown, where he erected the first 
brewery in the county.
PIER- The close of the Revolutionary war witnessed the arrival in 
this town of many brave soldiers who had participated in that 
sanguinary struggle, and who, during eight long and dreary years, 
had endured its hardships and sufferings. Prominent among this 
number was Abner PIER. In an encounter with the Indians during 
the war he was scalped and left in the woods to die. The savage, as 
he dashed into the forest, with the scalp of his supposed victim 
dangling at his side, little thought him otherwise than dead, and 
had he visited the spot soon after, and witnessed the signs of 
returning consciousness, he doubtless would have considered it 
an intervention of the Great Spirit in behalf of the pale-face. Pier 
recovered from the shock, and subsequently settled in the locality 
known as Pierstown. From him the place derived its name. 
Major George PIER, also a pioneer in this vicinity, was a soldier 
in the War of 1812. He was celebrated as a musician.
A prominent resident at Pierstown was Hon. Isaac WILLIAMS, 
of honored memory, who settled in 1793. He occupied a prominent 
position among the citizens of the county, and served in various 
official capacities. He was sheriff in 1810, and subsequently 
re-elected to that office. He was a member of congress in 1813, 
1817, and 1823. A son, Isaac K. Williams, resides in Cooperstown, 
and is foreman in the office of The Freeman's Journal.
Darius WARREN emigrated from the land of "steady habits," and 
in 1788 located in this town, and was the first person who received 
a deed of land from Judge William Cooper. He had a family of 
three sons and four daughters. The sons were Julius, Russell, and 
Julius died at the age of eighty years. Russell, now at the advanced 
age of eighty years, and Cyrenus at seventy-seven, are still 
residing on the original purchase. Russell has two sons and one 
daughter, and Cyrenus one daughter, living in the vicinity.
Jonah SPRAGUE, a native of Rhode Island, came in 1791, and 
located on "Whipple Hill," where he remained a few years, and 
subsequently removed to a farm which he purchased of Ira TANNER 
in 1797. He married Esther, a daughter of Oliver BATES. He was 
a member of the 12th Regiment Artillery, New York State militia, 
in 1813, and served with the army near Sacket's Harbor. The 
regiment was commanded by Colonel Elijah H. METCALF. Mr. 
Sprague remained on this farm until his death, which occurred in 
1820. Mrs. Sprague died in 1850. Two sons are now living, viz., 
Jenks Sprague, M. D., a resident of Hastings, Minnesota, and 
Colonel Hezekiah B. Sprague, of Upper Fly Creek valley who now 
owns and occupies the farm where he was born in 1802.
Oliver BATES was also an early settler in Upper Fly Creek valley; 
he located in 1793 on lands north of the Sprague farm.
Rudolphus ELDERKIN is also mentioned as a pioneer in this 
vicinity; he located in 1790. Shelden Elderkin, a great-grandson, 
resides in this vicinity.
In company with Rudolphus Elderkin came William LATHROP, 
from Connecticut; he owned a store, ashery, and distillery. A 
granddaughter now occupies a portion of the farm upon which he 
located. In those days wild animals were in abundance, and the 
settlements were much annoyed by the depredations of wolves and 
bears. Wolves were great cowards during the day, but in the night 
season made havoc upon the sheepfolds. Bruin was not considered 
dangerous to human life but had a propensity for visiting the pig-pens; 
and woe to the unfortunate "porker" that came within his grasp. It 
is related of Mrs. Lathrop that she once made a charge with a 
broomstick on a bear that was making it unpleasant for the pigs, 
and succeeded in driving him from his prey.
TAYLOR- Among the honored representatives of "ye olden time" 
was Erastus TAYLOR, who emigrated to this town from Benningnton, 
Vt., when there were only three log houses on the site of the present 
flourishing village of Cooperstown. He purchased a tract of land, 
embracing 500 acres, lying in Fly Creek valley, three and a half 
miles above the village. His family consisted of four sons and two 
daughters. The longevity of the Taylor family is remarkable: 
Eleazer died aged eighty-seven years, and Daphne at the age of 
seventy-three. The following are still living in the vicinity: Joanna, 
aged eighty-one; Alexander, aged seventy-six; Amon, aged 
seventy-three; and Lester, aged seventy.
The healthful climate and fertile soil attracted others, and four years 
after the location of Erastus Taylor, his father, Thomas Taylor, 
came to the town, accompanied by his sons Thomas and Chester, 
and three daughters, Cynthia, Lucy, and Arena, and settled on the 
same tract purchased by Erastus. Thomas' family consisted of two 
sons and two daughters, whose descendants reside in the vicinity. 
Numerous descendants of Chester, Alexander T., Amon, Daphne 
(Mrs. JARVIS), and Eleazer are numbered among the prominent 
citizens of the town.
On the old homestead of Reuben HINDS lives a daughter of 
that pioneer, Mrs. PICKENS.
A prominent settler in upper Fly Creek valley was Nehemiah HINDS, 
who located in 1816. Many of his descendants are numbered 
among the influential citizens of the town.
An enterprising pioneer above Fly Creek Village age John BADGER, 
who in an early day had a trip-hammer and pail-factory, long since 
abandoned. He had two sons, Orestes and John R. Badger. A 
grandson is a merchant at Fly Creek village.
Vine WELCH was an early settler. He had two sons, Vine Jr., and 
From Litchfield, Conn., came John BALDWIN, in 1832, who 
located on a farm formerly owned by one CRAFTS. Mr. Baldwin 
died in 1861. A son, Leonard Baldwin, resides in the town.
John WILEY, Sr., an honored pioneer, came from Schodack, 
Albany county, in 1807, and settled near the Wiley school-house. 
A son, John Wiley, Jr., resides with his granddaughter near the 
original location.
Daniel ROBERTS, a son of Deacon James Roberts, a pioneer of 
Burlington, was born in Burlington, and subsequently moved into 
this town and settled on a farm near Oaksville. A son, Jonathan 
P. Roberts, now resides on lands located a short distance west of 
the old homestead.
HARTSON- Prominent among those who left the conveniences and 
comforts of New England for an abode in the wilderness was 
Samuel HARTSON, who emigrated from the "Granite State," and 
located in this town in 1798, then but seventeen years of age. Upon 
arriving at the age of twenty-one, he purchased a farm at "Snowton 
Hill." A daughter, the wife of William KINNEY, now seventy-six 
years of age, resides on the old homestead. William Kinney, Jr., was 
born in Burlington in 1799, and removed to this town in 1822, where 
he has since resided. A sturdy pioneer in the west part of town was 
William KINNEY, Sr., who came from Connecticut in about the year 
1791. He was a wheelwright, and learned the trade of Stephen MORSE.
Platt ST. JOHN was a pioneer, and his widow, with her grandchildren, 
reside on the old homestead. 
A New Englander named Richard DAVIDSON, accompanied by his 
sons, Asel B. and Titus, was also a pioneer. Titus' widow resides on 
the old homestead with her son Lewis.
Toddsville derived its name from Jehiel TODD, who came from 
Connecticut in an early day and settled in that locality, and built the 
first paper-mill in this section of country. He had two sons, -
Lemuel and Ira.
CHENEY- Among the earliest and most prominent settlers at Fly 
Creek were the CHENEYs, consisting of Ebenezer Cheney, of 
honored memory, accompanied by his three sons,- William, Joseph, 
and Ebenezer, Jr. They were natives of Connecticut. The father 
and one son, William, were soldiers in the Revolutionary war. Joseph 
Cheney built a log house and frame barn, and subsequently a farm-
house, which he kept as an inn soon after the opening of the turnpike. 
As an instance of the estimation in which he was held, it is related 
that during the surveying of the line for the turnpike some differences 
of opinion arose as to the proper location through this town, and Judge 
William Cooper, to whom the matter was referred told them that they 
must make the road to accommodate Joseph Cheney, who had built 
a new house and was an enterprising man.
A son of Joseph Cheney, Colonel J. A. Cheney, resides on a portion 
of the old homestead at Fly Creek.
[Note: see bio for Colonel Joseph A. Chenry]
Stephen NORTH, also a native of Connecticut, was a prominent 
settler in this vicinity. His sons, Albert, Linus, and Stephen, Jr., 
were leading citizens, and the founders of the Presbyterian church.
David SHIPMAN, the "Leatherstocking" and "Deerslayer" of J. 
Fenimore Cooper's novels, was a resident of this town, living in a 
log cabin on the east bank of Oaks creek, about equi-distant between 
Toddsville and Fly Creek village. Aden ADAMS, of Cooperstown, 
aged eighty-one, states that he knew David Shipman well. He 
dressed in tanned deerskin, and with his dogs roamed the forest, 
hunting deer, bears and foxes. Cooper says that he went west, and 
there leaves h him. Colonel CHENEY, however, states that he 
returned to his old home and lived several years afterwards. His wife 
died, and was buried in wet ground, the water partially filling the
Elder BOSTWICK, a Baptist minister from the town of Hartwick, 
officiated at the funeral, and upon remarking to Leatherstocking 
that it was a poor place to bury the dead, the old hunter answered, 
"I know it, and if I live to die, I expect to be buried there myself." 
He did "live to die," and was buried in the Adams cemetery, where 
he lies with no marble slab to mark his resting-place. 
had one son, Samuel Shipman, who reared a large family of sons 
and daughters.
*There seem to be conflicting statements in regard to
"Leatherstocking." -----
Calvin GRAVES, who has resided in Cooperstown since 1794, says 
that he knew Shipman, the "Leatherstocking" of Cooper's novels, well, 
and that he was never married. He lived a roving life, his only 
companions being his dogs and gun. Mr. Graves often visited the old 
hunter's cave in company with him, and having resided here during 
eighty-dour consecutive years, it would seem that his statements 
were entitled to credit.
On Dec. 31, 1874, died Mrs. Sarah CLINTON, in the ninetieth year 
of her age. She and her husband, the late Simeon Clinton, were 
born at Fly Creek. Mrs. Clinton was a daughter of John ADAMS. 
Her sister, Dolly, married Samuel WILSON who built the well-known 
white house near the west line of this town, which has ever since 
retained the name. They moved to Worthington, O., where they 
died. These families received their deeds from Judge William Cooper, 
and were the first to settle north of Tubb's mills, on the Oaks creek 
valley, and cut the first road through on the east side of the creek. 
This was in the day of Judge Wm. Cooper, when his patent was a 
wilderness. Then bears, deer, wolves, and other wild animals were 
a great terror to the inhabitants wolves making night hideous 
with their demoniac howls.
John ADAMS, a pioneer, located in Fly Creek valley in 1790. A 
descendant, Aden Adams, aged eighty-two years, resides in Cooperstown.