Township Sections of Mini-Biographies

The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia



DUNLOP- Chery Valley has been occupied for twnety years by a 
company of Presbyterians, originally from Scotland, but a portion of 
the colony-that coming in 1719 to Londonderry, in New Hampshire-
emigrated hither in 1741. Rev. Samuel DUNLOP wsa their minister.
Their growth, though the the town then included many of the present 
surrounding towns, was very slow. In 1751, twelve years after the 
first settlement, there were but forty families.
DAVY- In the battle of Oriskany, in which the insidious efforts of the 
traitorous party to lead over this region to the enemy was foiled, there 
were soldiers from this town, and among them Captain Thomas DAVY, 
grandfather to the three brothers who still reside on the paternal
James, Jeremiah, and Harvey. He went forth to the fight after bidding 
good-bye to his wife and two little ones (then living in a log house 
burned the next summer by Indians), but never to return. He was 
doubtless shot in the battle. The noble white steed on which he rode 
was returned, and his bereaved widow's first fears of his fate were
started by his familiar whinnying, heard at the distance of a mile. 
was in August, 1777. In June of the following year, five months 
previous to the bloody massacre in Cherry Valley, the great chieftain 
and captain of the Six Nations, Joseph BRANT, came to Springfield 
with a party and burned the town, carrying away several prisoners, 
among them John and Jacob, two sons of Mr. TYGART, who were 
taken to Canada. "Brant collected together the women and children 
into one house, and there left them uninjured,-an act of mercy not 
always followed by his allies." Among the houses burned was one 
owned and occupied by Mr. SPALSBURY, a few rods north of the 
present residence of Mr. Daniel FRANKLIN. Another was that of 
Widow Thomas Davy; she had prepared dinner for the men, and was 
about calling them from the field when she saw the Indians approaching, 
and hiding herself in the woods and her child beneath her skirts her
eyes witnessed the destruction of her dinner and her home; and that 
night she made her way, with no attendant save her little son, to the 
nearest fort, several miles away. These invasions and perils put a 
stop to the frontier settlement of Springfield for some years. Most 
if not all the inhabitants fled away and remained till after the war, 
and peace and security was restored. Some returned, as the names 
of YOUNG and FERGUSON and KLUMPH in the immediate 
succeeding years are found on the town and church records.
COTES- Among the first who threaded their way into the wilderness 
was John COTES, who emigrated from Pomfret, Conn., and located 
in the town in about the year 1780, on premises now owned by Daniel 
SPRINGER, east of what is now known as the Middle village. In his 
native State he was a neighbor of General Israel PUTMAN, of 
Revolutionary fame, and with him served in the Colonial army. He was 
in the battle of Bunker Hill, then only sixteen years of age. His 
family consisted of the following children, viz.: Evan, Erastus,
John, Davis, Prudence, Levant, and Albert. Only two survive: Levant 
and Albert; the former resides in Batavia, N.Y., and the latter in this 
town. Mrs. A. A. Cotes WINSOR, widow of Davis, resides at 
Springfield. Evan Cotes was supervisor of this town from 1821 to 
1826 inclusive. Davis officiated in the same capacity in 1848 and 
Albert in 1855.
A sturdy and honored pioneer was Benjamin RATHBUN, who came 
from New England and located in the south part of the town, on premises 
now owned by a great-grandson, Williams Rathbun. Numerous 
representatives of the Rathbun family are numbered among the 
prominent citizens of the town. Levant W. Rathbun, who was born 
in this county in 1824, is an influential citizen, and represented 
Springfield in the board of supervisors for the years 1870 and 1871.
John, James, and Robert YOUNG were among the pioneers and 
extensive land-holders of the town. This family was closely identified 
with pioneer events, and did much to advance the welfare of the town. 
Although more than a century has rolled ways since the first 
representatives of this honored family came to Springfield, many 
descendants are yet found in the vicinity.
The BASINGERs were pioneers in the north part of the town, near 
where Mrs. Jacob W. Basinger now resides, in district No. 3. 
A worthy pioneer was Moses FRANKLIN. Two sons, Daniel and 
Henry, reside in the town. Daniel was supervisor in 1863 and 1864, 
and sheiff in 1870 to 1873.
Elisha HALL was an active pioneer at Springfield Centre locating 
upon the site now occupied by the hotel of Jacob CASLER. He was
active in advancing the interests of the place, and erected a foundry 
which for many years drew about the town a knot of intelligent and 
industrious mechanics. The locality was known as Hallsville, 
subsequently changed to Springfield Centre. Mr. Hall was a skilled 
mechanic, and attained considerable notoriety as the inventor of 
the Hall threshing-machine. He removed to the vicinity of Rochester, 
where he died. A son, Hayden Hall, is a resident of New York city.
Aaron and Bond BIGELOW were pioneers at Springfield. William L., 
a son of Aaron, was the first postmaster in the town, and held the 
office about thirty years.
SMITH- A worthy pioneer and native of the Green Mountain State 
was Luther SMITH, who emigrated to this town in about 1791, and 
located in East Springfield on the farm subsequently known as the 
Vedder farm. He opened one of the first hotels in the town. He 
subsequently removed to Canajoharie, Montgomery county, where 
he died in 1873. Of his family only one, George O., resides in the 
town. He is a prominent citizen, and represented his town in the 
board of supervisors in 1876-77. Helen M., John C., and Martin L. 
are residents of Canajoharie; J. M. is deceased.
WOOD- Many soldiers of the Revolution who had served in that 
sanguinary struggle from other States subsequently found their way 
to Springfield; and prominent among that number was Robert WOOD, 
who, with his son Samuel S Wood, came from Rhode Island in 
1797, and located about two miles southwest from Springfield Centre, 
on premises now owned by the window {sic-widow] of Joseph Wood. 
Samuel S. remained there a short time, and removed to the farm now 
owned by Hiram R. Wood, Esq., where he died at the advanced age 
of eighty-seven years. He was an active pioneer, and erected a 
carding-machine at the Centre, at that time called "Hallsville." Two 
sons, Hiram R. and Samuel J., and two daughters, Mary A., wife of 
R. O. BURNHAM, and Winona, reside in Springfield, and Sarah E., 
wife of Philip H. POTTER, in Cooperstown. Henry S. is deceased. 
Hiram R. is a successful merchant at Springfield Centre, and was 
supervisor of the town in 1859-60.
The name of HAYDEN is closely identified with the history of the 
town of Springfield. Hezekiah HAYDEN was a pioneer, settling on 
lands south of the Centre now owned by Hiram R. WOOD, Esq. His 
family consisted of twelve children. Henry Hayden is an enterprising 
business man at Jackson, Michigan, a banker, and president of a 
railroad. Levi is a resident of New York city, and superintended 
that great engineering feat of modern times, the explosion of Hell Gate. 
Albert is a prominent citizen, of Michigan. One daughter of this 
family, Mrs. Elisha HALL, survives.
General Walter HOLT was a leading pioneer. A son, Walter, is an 
attorney in Chautauqua Co., N.Y. Calista married C. L. FLINT, and 
resides in Delaware Co., Iowa. She inherits much of the sterling 
character of her father. She was appointed by the State government 
of Iowa to assist in superintending the affairs of that State at the 
Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia in 1876, and herself 
superintended the erection of the Iowa State house, one of the 
finest State buildings on the grounds. One representative of the Holt 
family resides in this town, Lucy Holt KINNEY, now at the advanced 
age of ninety-four years. This venerable old lady is still possessed of 
much of her youthful vigor of mind and body. 
THURSTON- The most eccentric person, perhaps, that ever dwelt 
within the bounds of Springfield was Daniel THURSTON. He was an 
easy, careless, Rip Van Winkle sort of personage, wore his hair long 
and braided, and went hatless in the coldest weather. He was locally 
famous as a fiddler, and it is related of him that one winter's night, 
while fiddling, some one ran to him with the intelligence that his house 
was on fire. "Well," said he, "melt some snow and put it out!" 
Plyluria Thurston, sister of Daniel, now at the advanced age of eighty-
five years, educated the Rev. Hiram Hutchins, a Baptist clergyman 
of Brooklyn. Linus Thurston and wife, about eighty-three years, 
reside in the vicinity, and during the autumn of 1876 stood at the same 
box picking hops.
Deacon Sterling WAY as a pioneer on lands now owned by a son of 
Deacon Martin Way. He was an active man, and is said to have been 
the first person baptized in the Baptist church west of Albany.
WHITE- Among the earliest and prominent settlers of this town was 
Isaac WHITE, who was born in Brimfield, [someone wrote Greenwich 
in pencil in the book] Mass. He came to Springfield in 1789, and
on premises now owned by David TAYLOR, about two miles north 
of the head of the lake. He served gallantly in the War of the 
Revolution, and was wounded in the battle of Bennington. His family 
consisted of the following, viz.: Martha, Sarah, Cynthia, Alfred, 
Almond, Lyman, Almira, Armenia, Lyman and Susan. Lyman 
married Mary Donaldson CARY, daughter of Colonel Richard Cary. 
The family consisted of the following, viz.: Maria Theresa, Grenville 
Temple, John Randolph, Jacob Jamison, Ann Cary, and Harriet 
Amelia, all of whom, together with their parents, were born in 
Springfield. All are living, except Jacob Jamison and Harriet Amelia. 
Her two eldest-Maria Theresa and Grenville Temple-reside with their 
mother on the old homestead where they were born. John Randolph 
resides in Iowa, and Ann Cary is the wife of W. G. SMITH, of 
Cooperstown. Mrs. White, although now at the advanced age of 
eighty-two years, retains much of her youthful vigor of mind and body. 
She occupies the premises where she was born in June, 1795.
Mr. Grenville White has in his possession an interesting relic, being a 
chair which was brought to America by the White family, who came in 
the "Mayflower." This old relic is rendered doubly interesting to this 
family from the fact that in it was placed Isaac White when taken 
from the battle-field of Bennington. It is, without doubt, the oldest 
relic in the United States.
CARY- A prominent settler and large land-holder in this vicinity was
Colonel Richard CARY, who settled in 1793. He married Ann LOWE, 
daughter of Cornelius P. Lowe. His family consisted of Cornelius, 
Cornelius Lowe, Richard, Elizabeth, Ann Lowe, Cornelius, Nathaniel 
Dowse, Louisa, Mary Donaldson, Helen, Amelia, and Harriet, all of 
whom are deceased, except Mary Donaldson, widow of the late 
Lyman WHITE, mentioned above.
An early settler and extensive land-holder was George CLARK, father 
of G. Hyde Clark. The following description of George Clark is given 
by Hon. Levi Beardsley, in his reminiscences: "Looking up to the north, 
over the blue expanse of waters may be seen a high headland jutting out 
into the lake, where stands Hyde hall, the splendid and costly residence 
of the late George Clark, now owned and occupied by his son. Mr. 
Clark, the elder, was an Englishman by birth, and came to this country 
a few years after the Revolution. He was a descendant in the direct 
line from Lieutenant-Governor Clark, a former provincial governor 
of New York, from whom the late George Clark derived a large landed 
estate in this county, as well as other portions of the State, and in 
other States also. 
"George Clark encountered at an early day much opposition from 
his tenantry. The tenure by which they held their lands was not in 
accordance with the views of our citizens generally. For many years 
I was a tenant under Mr. Clark, and always found him kind and 
gentlemanly, so that I wanted to better landlord. To do justice to his 
memory, I wish to state, as the result of my honest and unbiased 
judgment, that had tenants treated him with respect and kindness, and 
paid him the rents honestly due to him, they would have had no good 
right to complain; But they disliked the relation of landlord and
and hence he was frequently annoyed with insolent demands which 
his high English notions of strict right would not allow him to concede. 
He would be as obstinate as they, and hence collision. He was a man 
of extensive reading, well informed, social in his feelings, hospitable 
to those with whom he was on intimate terms, and I believe a strictly 
honest man.
"Mr. Clark in his feelings was thoroughly English. He delighted to 
have his dinners got up in old English style, with the best of roast 
beef and mutton, garnished with such delicacies as the lake and 
county afforded, and just such as his countrymen, who know how to 
appreciate good things, would order were they the caterers, and in 
these particulars he hardly ever failed to excel." George Hyde Clark
now occupies Hyde hall, and is the largest land-holder in the county.
Henry DAVY, son of Colonel Thos. Davy, was born in this town in 
the year 1773, and died in 1829. He was the father of eleven children, 
viz.: Mary, Elizabeth, Hannah, Margaret, James, Clara, Charles, Selinda, 
Jeremiah, Henry Harvey, and Catharine, six of whom are still living, 
the oldest being seventy-seven and the youngest sixty-one. Three of 
the brothers, James, Jeremiah, and Henry Harvey, have always lived 
in town, James still occupying the old homestead.
Silas GRAY came to this town fro Madison Co., N.Y., is the year 1816. 
In about the year 1825 he set out the first hops in Springfield, which
was probably the first in the county. He reared a family of four
children, two whom are living.
Benjamin HUNTINGTON was a pioneer surveyor, who located in the northern part of the town. A son, Benjamin, resides in Washington.