Township Sections of Mini-Biographies

The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia



CRIPPEN- The first settlements in this town were madd soon after 
the Revolution, in about the year 1788. Prominent among the pioneers
was Silas CRIPPEN, of honored memory. He was an active and
influential man, and did much to advance the interests of his town
and county. He was supervisor eight years also justice of the peace,
judge of the court, and was a member of the assembly in 1816. He
owned and conducted successfully a large farm, and built the first
grist-mill in the town in 1790, and the first saw-mill about the same
time. The farm formerly owned by him is now occupied by Ethan
A. Hanor. At the time of his settlement this locality was a dense
uninviting wilderness; there were no roads, not even a foot-path or
marked trees, and he cut his way through to the settlement. Mr.
Crippen was accompanied to his forest home by his wife and two
sons, - Samuel and Asa.
Philip, a son, was the first white child born in the town. The other 
children were Daniel, Sally, Betsey, Silas, Mary, Silas, Charles. 
James M., son of Asa resides in this town; Philip has two sons and 
one daughter who are residents of the town, Harrison and Schuyler, 
and Sarah, widow of James B. COOLEY. Betsey, widow of J. P. 
RUSS, resides in the village of Worcester, at the advanced age of 
eighty-two years; a son, Hamilton Russ, and a daughter, the wife of 
D. T. GOTT, are residents of East Worcester. Mary married 
Leonard CARYL. The children of John are Charles H., a successful 
merchant at Worcester; Sabrina, wife of N. WOOD, of Westford; 
Mary A., wife of A. K. BRIGGS; Jane, wife of Timothy CASTELAR, 
and John, financial agent of Cornell university, residing at Mt. 
Vernon, Iowa. Schuyler Crippen was a prominent man and served 
in many official capacities within the gift of his fellow-citizens. He 
studied law with Jabez D. HAMMOND, of Cherry Valley, and 
finally settled in Cooperstown, where he died in March, 1872, 
aged seventy-seven years. He was one of the first circuit judges 
after the organization of the Sixth district, was member of assembly 
in 1831, and district attorney in 1837. He has two children, a son 
and daughter, residing in Albany, N.Y.
... The pioneer grist-mill as erected by Silas Criippen, on the site 
now occupied by the mill of Benjamin DEY. It was a rudely-constructed 
affair, but its completion was the occasion of much rejoicing among 
the early settlers, who previously had carried their "grists" to
Sharon. -----
Deacon Phineas FLINT was an early settler on the farm north of 
MORE [John More], now owned by Horatio Flint, and occupied by 
Lester G. Flint. Thos. Flint, brother of Luther and Phineas, was 
also a pioneer in this vicinity, on premises now occupied by Edward 
On the premises now owned by E. VAUGHN, Joseph FLINT, 
familiarly known as "Deacon," was an early settler He was quite an 
active pioneer, and added to his stock of worldly goods by the 
manufacture and sale of what was then facetiously called "white-
oak cheese." Many an amusing story is related of Deacon Flint and 
his cheese, and "the boys" took especial delight in annoying him. One 
day he drove to Leonard CARYL's store with a load of these gems, 
and while inside negotiating for their sale the mischievous youngsters 
slyly removed the linch-pin from his wagon. The deacon finally came 
out, mounted his wagon, and after getting comfortably seated started 
his team, when, much to his astonishment, the fore wheels went with 
the team, the "hind wheels" refused to follow, and the cheese rolled 
around on the ground. Mr. Caryl has two clerks in his employ, 
Josiah PICKERING and Ten Eyck LAMOUR. They sold one of 
these cheeses to a Mr. BRYANT, who lived on south hill, and slyly 
slipped a package of salts in his pocket. The next day he returned, 
and angrily asked, "Why did you put those salts in my pocket?"
"Well," answered Lamour, "you bought one of those cheeses, and there 
being none in your neighborhood, I thought I would give you some 
physic, it being the next best thing I could do for you."
A prominent pioneer at East Worcester was John CHAMPION. He 
was born near Lyme, Conn., in 1766, and at twelve years of age 
entered the American army of the Revolution as a teamster , he 
being too young to carry a musket as a soldier. He served as teamster 
until the close of the war. He had two older brothers in the army at 
the same time. They were taken prisoners by the British, and one 
of them starved to death in the old Jersey prison-ship, of Revolutionary 
fame. The other barely escaped with his life. At the close of the 
war, John Champion married Miss Elizabeth KELLAM,* of his 
native place, and the next week after being married, and at the age 
of twenty-two, 1788, emigrated with his young wife to what the 
Yankees called, "York State," and settled in what was at that time 
the town of Worcester, and subsequently the town of Decatur, 
Otsego Co., N.Y.
He settled on what is called Elliot Hill, and bought the farm afterwards 
owned by the Elliots. After paying for his land, and clearing a large 
part of it, he found out that he had been swindled, and that he had 
purchased his land of a man who had no title to it, and in consequence 
he lost his farm, and got nothing for his improvements. It was while 
living here, for a period of nearly ten years, that he suffered all the 
privations and hardships of a pioneer life.
* John Champion died at East Worcester, Otsego Co., N.Y., Sept. 1, 
1850, aged eighty-four years. Mrs. Champion died at East Worcester, 
June 16, 1845, aged seventy-five years.
After losing his farm, he moved to what is known as McCarthy's 
Corners, in Decatur, where he purchased another tract of land of about 
150 acres, and cleared 40 acres by burning the timber into ashes. He 
erected a potashery, and went to boiling potash, at which business 
he succeeded in paying for his land a second time-about $400. Potash 
at that time fetched a big price, and he did well at the business. 
Albany was the market place and the potash was hauled by Ox-teams, on 
roads cut through the woods over the hills, until they reached the
of Cobleskill creek, from which place to Albany the roads were 
better, and thus worked their way through. It took generally from a 
week to ten days to make the trip, and upon such occasions the settlers 
would all combine, and have those who went with a load of potash, 
bring back a load of groceries and other goods sufficient to supply 
their wants during the intervals of going. There were other asheries 
located in other localities, so that they could co-operate with each 
other in the marketing of their potash.
Among the early settlers of the eastern part of DECATUR, who 
were contemporaries with Mr. Champion form 1790 to 1800, were 
Peter ELLIOTT, Daniel ELLIOTT, Andrew ELLIOTT, William 
SEWARD, Jonathan PERRY, Jacob STONEMATCH, Philip 
STONEMATCH, James WORKS, Richard TAYLOR, Joseph 
BRISTOL, Jesse FERRIS, Gardner BOORN, Nathan BOORN, 
Samuel THOMPSON, Sr., Gilbert SMITH, James STONE, William 
RIPSON, Charles BARTHOLOMEW, Ephraim BERRY, Jesse 
OAKS, James CLARK, Thomas SHAW, John G. SEELEY, and 
About the year 1805 or 1806, John Champion sold his claim at 
McCarthy's Corners, and moved to what is called "Calcutta street," 
near East Worcester. The country around was all a heavy forest. 
He just cleared away a spot large enough for his purpose, and built 
a log house, which stood about forty or fifty feet south of where the 
woolen-factory now stands.
The first grist-mill was built by John Champion at East Worcester, in 
1808. It was situated near the present location of the woolen-factory. 
It was a herculean task to build a grist-mill in those days. .....
In 1812, Mr. Champion took down the old log house and built a frame 
one near by, in which himself or some of the family lived for over 
sixty years. His family was quite large, there being twelve children, 
seven boys and five girls; all lived to be men or women; some to be 
quite aged, and several are yet living, having emigrated to the western 
prairies. The name of the boys were Reuben, Moses, Aaron, John, 
Joshua Kellam, James Arminius, and Ezra; the girls, Samantha, 
Betsey, Polly, Ann, and Clarissa. Six of the sons and three daughters 
married and reared large families.
About the year 1795 or 1796, William RIPSON, with the aid of the 
settlers near by, built a log grist-mill at what is called "Ferris'
near the head-waters of the north branch of the Schenevus creek, 
which was the first grist-mill in Worcester, as it was then called, 
subsequently Decatur.
Samuel THOMPSON, Sr., was appointed a justice of the peace for the 
Hill district, and held the office until the town was divided.
PERRY- The following will illustrate one of the difficulties under which 
they labored in attending elections: The morning of a day on which 
an important town-meeting was held, which caused a general 
attendance, was dark and threatening; thick, murky clouds hung upon 
the hill-tops; everything appeared hushed to silence, except an 
occasional moan among the tree, which betokened an approaching 
storm. They heeded not the weather, but hastened on to the town 
election. During the day the storm came on in all its fury, and by 
night-fall the snow was nearly waist-deep, and then came the tug 
for home. Some thought best to stay all night, while others, more 
courageous, started for their homes, among whom were John 
CHAMPION, Jonathan PERRY, Gardner BOORN and Samuel 
THOMPSON, Esq. They wallowed through the snow as far as 
Decatur Hollow, where they rested a while, being very tired. Night 
had now arrived, and as the snow was falling thick and fast, it was a 
serious question whether they should attempt to go over the mountain 
to their homes or not. Finally courage prevailed, and they started 
through the snow, and in single file threaded their way along like a 
"forlorn hope," first one going on ahead to break the road, and then
another. Before they had got half way up the hill they became nearly
exhausted, and felt it almost impossible to reach their home; but, after
a little rest, with renewed courage they would start on again, well 
knowing that if they remained there, the "storm King" would soon chill 
their blood, and that they would fall frozen victims on the mountain 
side to the fierce and chilling blast. These thoughts, and the
remembrance of loved ones at home, would stimulate their courage, and
with renewed efforts they would again rush on , until at length Mr.
Perry gave out entirely, and said he could go no farther, and implore
them to let him lie down and sleep a while until he got rested, and then
he would go on. They knew very well it would be his last sleep if they
permitted him to do so, and they used their best efforts to keep him
awake and to urge him on, until it was by main force they lifted and
carried him on, until they themselves got so weak they could not carry
him any further. One would then take hold of his coat collar and hold
of each others' hands, and thus they toiled and dragged their exhausted
companion through the snow and over the drifts of Decatur Hill, until at
length themselves, 
nearly exhausted, reached the home of Gardner BOORN, a little 
over the top of the mountain, arriving there some time after midnight, 
having occupied about six hours in going less than two miles. Here, 
after getting warm and partaking of refreshments, they stayed 
until morning, thanking God for their safe deliverance from the fury 
of the storm and from a death-bed in the snow.
A few years after this, Mr. PERRY, moved to the south-western 
part of the State, and settled somewhere near the Pennsylvania 
line; and after having been gone some thirty years, business again 
called him to Worcester, and the writer of this was present and 
heard him and Mr. CHAMPION relate to each other the incidents 
that fearful night in the snow, while tears rand down their furrowed 
cheeks as they related to each other certain particulars which took 
place on that occasion, and said he should ever and always feel 
grateful to those men for saving his life.
SHELDON & KELSO- About the year 1812, Lionel SHELDON and 
Joseph KELSO put in a set of carding-machines for carding wool into 
rolls, and machinery for dressing cloth, in the lower room of Champion's 
mill; the first in the flour towns, if not the first in the county. 
Three or four years after, Sheldon & Kelso dissolved partnership, and
Lionel and Allen Sheldon, in company, built and put up carding and
clothing works about eighty rods below the grist-mill, where they
successfully carried on the business for twenty or twenty-five years,
when Allen withdrew from the first and emigrated to Ohio, the business
being continued by Lionel Sheldon for near twenty years longer, when he 
sold out to David ANTHONY. The site is now occupied by the 
paper-mill owned by H. & W. H. HARDER. A daughter of Lionel 
Sheldon, Mrs. O. La MORE, resides in East Worcester, and a son, 
D. L. D. Sheldon, M.D., in New York.
All of the Champion boys, who were old enough at the time of the 
War of 1812 was declared were members of some military company, 
and but one of them was drafted. That was Aaron, the father of the 
Mirror {Stamford Mirror paper] editor. Business that he was engaged 
being of such a nature as to make it difficult for him to leave home 
at that time, he hired a substitute. The drafting was done different 
from what it was during the late civil war. The company was called 
together, and stood in line. Pieces of paper, equal to the number of 
members, were prepared and figures, from one to the number 
required to fill the quota, placed on them, and the balance were black. 
The slips were put in a hat, well mixed, and the drafting officer passed 
along the line, each member drawing a ticket. It was like a lottery for 
life or death; and as each one drew his ticket, it was not long before 
it was known whether there was a figure on it or not.
LEONARD- The latter [Dr. George M. LEONARD] was in the 
51st Regiment New York Volunteers, and died at Brooklyn, N.Y., 
Feb. 4, 1862, aged thirty-seven years. His wife was Catherine 
BRADLEY, of Richmondville. She and four of her children now 
reside at Stamford, N.Y.
General Edmund B. BIGELOW was elected a member of assembly 
in 1837. In 1838-39 he built a brick hotel, the first brick building in 
the village. It was kept by him until burned March 19, 1860, after 
which he moved to Albany and kept a hotel on Washington street, 
and then in another part of the city until his decease a few years ago.
During the erection of the hotel, a son of Abijah BARRETT ran 
through a bed of lime that was being slacked, and burned his legs so 
badly that he died.
General E. B. Bigelow was a pioneer. He was a merchant at East 
Worcester, postmaster a long time, owned a large farm, a brigadier-
general of a regiment of infantry, and was one of the leading spirits 
in that part of the county. His wife was Huldah HOWE. His sons 
were Edmund B., Wallace, Jerome, Gouverneur, and Thaddeus. 
One daughter (Jane) became the wife of William L. GOTT, a man 
of considerable notoriety in later years.
On the lower side of the street was a hotel kept by Samuel WITT 
(after the Champions quit the hotel business), commencing in 1836, 
and continuing some twelve years. He removed to Carylville, kept 
a hotel there several years, at which place he died. His wife was 
Susan CARYL, a sister of Leonard CARYL, and she is still living.
Derrick LIVINGSTON kept a hotel for many years, just east of 
the old school-house. The Livingstons were quite numerous, and in 
1849 Chauncey kept a hotel near Richmondville.
Still farther east, Joseph POWERS kept a hotel, not far from the 
present railroad crossing. After his death it as continued by Chester 
Powers. This was quite a large family, and one of them, Ingraham, 
became a Baptist preacher.
An early settler was Isaac CARYL, who was born in Hopkinton, 
Mass., April 19, 1771. His ancestors were from England, and when 
quite young his father, Jonathan Caryl, moved with his family to 
Chester, Windsor Co., Vt.
On May 20, 1792, Isaac Caryl was married by Elder Aaron Leland 
to Susan SNELL, of Chester; by her he had five sons and two daughters. 
John, the oldest, was born at Chester, Oct, 1, 1792; Isaac, Jr., Nov. 8, 
1794; Susan, Dec. 28, 1796; Leonard, March 20, 1799; Emily, April 
20, 1801; Moses, Aug. 17, 1803; Joel, April 9, 1806. Susan, the 
mother of these children, died at Chester, Feb. 26, 1807, and a 
monument was erected to her memory by her sons. Her ancestry 
it is believed were also English.
Isaac Caryl, Sr., married his second wife, Mary BARNES, born March 
14, 1774. Married by Rev. Aaron Leland, aforesaid, in 1808, and 
moved to Sharon, Schoharie Co., N.Y.; thence to Worcester about 
1810, and bought the farm now occupied by William H. ELY, where 
he erected a distillery and carried on a large farm. His father was in 
the Revolutionary war with Washington until it closed; was then 
honorably discharged. Isaac Caryl, Sr., was highly esteemed by all 
who knew him. A few years before his death he moved to West 
Richmondville, a small village taking his name, called Carylville, 
where he died Sept. 17, 1843, aged seventy-two years.
John Caryl, eldest son of Isaac and Susan, lived with his father at 
Worcester aforesaid. He was a member of Captain Giles Kellogg's 
company of artillery, composed of 100 men. They all volunteered 
in the War of 1812 for two years, to be in active service one year. 
They were called out and stationed on the Canada line, and were in 
the battle at Sacket's Harbor. Before leaving home he married 
Hannah LAMPMAN, by whom he had five children,-two sons and
three daughters,-the eldest, John G. Caryl, born May 5, 1813. He 
received a good common-school education, became a merchant in 
Worcester, aforesaid, and traded for quite a number of years. He 
married Christina Ann SMITH, daughter of Samuel Smith, of 
Central Bridge, Schoharie Co., N.Y., to which place he moved, and 
continued a successful mercantile business and worked a small farm. 
He has been a number of times elected supervisor of the town of 
Joel Caryl, the second son, and his sister Susan are deceased; the 
other two daughters married and moved west. 
Isaac Caryl, Jr. married and lived in Worcester and vicinity many 
years. He moved to the city of New York, and thence to Iowa, 
where he died. His wife died before leaving New York city.
Susan, the eldest daughter of Isaac, Sr., was married at Worcester, 
to William GOTT, by whom she had three children, Isaac D., Mary D., 
and William S. After her first husband's decease she married Samuel 
WITT, by whom she had two children, John and Frances, both of 
them married and living in Nunda, Livingston Co., N.Y.
Leonard, the third son of Isaac and Susan, obtained by his own 
industry a good academic education at Chester, Windsor Co., Vt., 
and at the age of seventeen entered the store of Caryl & Fullerton, 
at Stockbridge ridge, in said Windsor Co., Vt., as clerk, and remained 
as such until he became of age, when he entered into a copartnership 
with Dr. Timothy P. Fay, under the firm-name of Fay & Caryl, buying 
goods in Boston, Mass. Doing a lucrative business for three or four 
years, he bought his partner's interest, and soon after closed business 
and removed to Worcester, in 1825. The year previous, in October, 
1824, he married Mary, the youngest daughter of the Hon. Silas 
CRIPPEN. She was born at Worcester, July 29, 1800. 
Leonard Caryl after his removal from Vermont to Worcester built 
a new sore and commenced mercantile business under the residence 
of his father-in-law in 1825. In 1826 he purchased a store, two 
dwelling-houses, and other buildings in the centre of the town, where 
he did an extensive business, not confined to Worcester only, but 
included the adjoining towns.
In 1841 he built the large brick building at East Worcester for a store 
and dwelling, at present occupied by his son-in-law, William H. ELY, 
the most expensive and elegant building in Worcester. The same year 
he was elected to the legislature by a majority of more than 1400, 
and in the town of 140, when the political parties were nearly balanced 
in town.
Mr. Caryl had four daughters and one son. The eldest died when 
about four years of age. The second, Mary Jane, married Lasell J. 
HAYDEN, of Middlefield, who was a partner of Mr. Caryl at East 
Worcester for a number of years, under the firm-name of Caryl & 
Hayden, when a dissolution took place, and Hayden removed to the 
city of New York and became a partner in the firm of Hurlburt, 
Vanvalkenburgh & Co., in the dry-goods jobbing business, until the 
war broke out, when the firm was dissolved. His wife died Oct. 12, 
1862, leaving two sons, Lasell J. Hayden and Louis C. Hayden.
Their father died at Elizabeth, N.J., and Mr. Caryl, the grandfather 
of the two boys, became their guardian. His third daughter married 
Dr. Benjamin C. ELY, son of Dr. Sumner Ely, of Middlefield 
aforesaid, and moved to Girard, Erie Co., Pa.; is a druggist; has 
four daughters and four sons.
His fourth daughter, Ellen, married William H. ELY, younger brother 
of Dr. Benjamin C.; was for many years in mercantile business in 
Middlefield aforesaid; was elected supervisor of said town for five 
years, sometimes without opposition; moved to East Worcester in 
the fall of 1868, and was elected supervisor of Worcester in 1874; 
was elected member of the assembly, and again in 1875.
Mr. Caryl's son Julius Henry was born Christmas-eve, Dec. 24, 1837, 
received a good academic education, and at an early age engaged in 
mercantile business in Worcester. Went from there to New York city 
and entered extensively into business, and has continued to the 
present time. In June 21, 1876, was married to Eliza, daughter of 
Nelson CHASE, Esq. Their residence is the Jumel mansion, on 
Washington Heights.
Moses Caryl died at Seward, Schoharie Co., March 27, 1869, and 
Joel Caryl the same year, the 7th November, at Richmondville, 
Schoharie co., universally esteemed.
[Note: there was more on Caryl family as much information on 
other settlers seemed to come from their family.]
TALLMAN- In the years 1808 and 1810, crossing the county-line 
going west, the first family as that of Elder Thomas TALLMAN. He 
came from England in the time of the revolution with Burgoyne, a 
drummer, when about eighteen years of age. After Burgoyne's surrender 
he remained in the United States, became a Baptist minister, and 
married many of the sons and daughters of the early settlers; lived 
to an advanced age, and died in Le Roy.
After striking Schenevus Creek road, Joseph POWERS, with a large 
family, grandfather of Rev. Ingram Powers, opened a hotel in 1813 or 
1814, and kept it for quite a number of years. After his decease it 
was kept by his son, Captain Chester Powers. The estate was 
settled in the court of chancery, and the farm of 224 acres was 
purchased by Leonard CARYL.
JOHNSON- The next in order, as we move down the Schenevus 
Creek valley, was Colonel Bela JOHNSON, who kept an inn and 
owned one of the best farms in the town; a man of some notoriety; 
married his second wife, sister of Seneca and General E. B. BIGELOW.
Nearly opposite lived Jonathan PICKERING, a hatter; elected justice 
of the peace. His wife's name was CASS before she was married; 
a relative of Hon. Lewis CASS.
Nearly opposite said STIMPSON's residence lived Dr. Uriah BIGELOW, 
born in western Massachusetts, March 9, 1765. He emigrated to 
Worcester, Feb. 20, 1794, and settled on the farm where he lived 
until his decease, Aug. 10, 1842, Dr. Bigelow was a man of energy 
and perseverance. Had a fine water-privilege on his farm, which he 
improved at an early day; built a grist-mill and a saw-mill; did much 
to sustain the Congregational church, of which he was a member; 
one of the principal men, if not the first, that engaged in erecting the 
Congregational meeting-house in 1822, which was repaired in 1860. 
Previous to the building of this house the people met in a large 
school-house, standing on the corner of the street where Delos 
VAN HUESON's residence now is, for public worship.
Says Leonard CARYL, "I have known four generations of Bigelows, 
and one or more doctors in each." Dr. Uriah had a son, Dr. Uriah 
Gregory, mentioned above. He had a son, Uriah G., who settled 
in Albany, practiced medicine, and died there; his son John succeeded 
to his practice, which is quite extensive.
We next come to the residence of Robert QUAIL, who came from 
Ireland when young. He owned the farm where Mr. John TRICKY 
now lives. His son, William C. Quail, was a man of some note; 
held various town offices. His sons are Luke, William, James and 
... the next, Henry ALBERT, emigrated from New England at an 
early day, settled on South Hill, and raised a large family,- Frederick 
Albert, now seventy-eight years of age, still a resident of the town, 
is a son of his, born in Worcester, his father was a member [of 
assembly] in 1817 ...
and Josiah DARWIN were some of the earliest pioneers to the 
Charlotte. The descendants are still living in the valley. Abraham 
BECKER, the grandson of Lodowick, became the most prominent
occupant of the valley, and from an untutored Dutch boy became 
one of the leading lawyers in the State. He accumulated a large 
fortune. He died leaving six children, who are all active business 
men. His son George, the oldest, was the counsel for the murderer 
Ruloff. His other sons are lawyers, and are doing well. In losing 
Abram Becker, South Worcester lost much of its energy and life, 
and it is now quietly pursuing its course more as a farming community 
than as a business centre.