by EZRA STEVENS
Several efforts have been made by different individuals to write a History of the Town of Milford and all are very imperfect and erroneous. It is my intention to give a true, correct and perfect History of the Town of Milford, together with a short Biographical Sketch of the early Settlers and by whom and where they migrated from and also their Nationality.
The first Settlement of the Town was made in 1773 just prior to the Revolutionary War by Matthew Cully of Cherry Valley; who was a Scotchman by birth, and emigrated from Scotland to America in or about 1765, and located at Cherry Valley.
Mr. Cully financially was possessed of plenty of money, and determined to make his mark as a useful citizen somewhere in a new Country. Mr. Cully was possessed of a roving disposition and was not satisfied with his location at Cherry Valley and determined to found a Settlement of his own selection. He had frequently heard of the Susquehanna River although he never had seen it. He furthermore knew it was a regular Indian thorough-fare which was principally occupied by the Iroquois (or the Five Nations they were generally called) who were well known to a Barbarous, powerful nation.*
*The five Nations consisted of the Onondagas, Oneidas, Mohawks, Cayugas and Senecas. History says in 1712 they united with the Tuscaroras and then they were called the six Nations.
Sir William Johnson says in his History of the Iroquois, the Tuscaroras were not invited with the five nations until 1753, which I think is correct.
Mr. Cully had two sons David and Thomas who were mere boys although old enough to be of great service to their father in his perilous undertaking, In the month of November of 1772 after the forest trees had shed their foliage Mr. Cully and his oldest son David provided themselves with provisions and feed for their homes; they set out on an exploring expedition, with a determinism to find a suitable place for a permanent settlement. They started early in the day down the Cherry Valley Creek, on the Indian trail, one carrying a rifle, the other an axe, with a determination to find a suitable home for himself and family.
After traveling about 18 miles they discovered the Susquehanna River at the confluence of the Cherry Valley Creek. There they refreshed themselves and horses and after refreshments they commenced to explore the Country. Upon close inspection he found the land rather low and swampy which was not at all suitable to his purpose, and the river deep and sluggish, which would not be admissible for the construction of mills, which would be an actual necessity for a new settlement; therefore he concluded to travel down the stream in pursuit of a more convenient site. After traveling about five miles he discovered a beautiful landscape which struck his admiration.
He said to his son David, here we will halt, and take a view of the surrounding country. The river at this point was swift and shallow. He crossed over to the west shore and went upon a beautiful plateau and reconnorited the country, and its surroundings. It suited his admiration; more beautiful than he expected, just the place he desired.
It being late in the day they started a fire and made preparations for the night. They set crotches in the ground, placed poles in them, covered with hemlock boughs, and had a cabin which would shelter them comfortably for the time they expected to remain, and had a good nights rest. The following morning the sun rose bright and the melodious sounds of the birds. He was charmed with his location.
Mr. Cully made a careful survey of the country and its surroundings and also of the river and found a natural place for the construction of the Mills, even without the expense of a dam. He discovered a natural dike which could be united with the river and conducted to a fine mill-seat with very little expense. Then he went upon the plateau and selected a suitable place for a house, felled the forest trees, cut them in suitable lengths for his house, cleared a spot sufficiently large, laid the foundation, made some other improvements and returned to Cherry Valley by improving the Indian trail by cutting it wide enough for a team. After Mr. Cully returned to Cherry Valley it was so late in the season he decided it advisable to defer his removal until Spring. He made ample preparation for an early journey and built a sled for his team constructed a scow and about the middle of April he loaded his sled and scow and bid his neighbors a hasty goodbye and started for his wilderness home on the west shore of the Susquehanna. He and his family landed at their destination without a single mishap the same day already for business.
Mr Cully was athletic and strong, of robust health, feared nothing and was well calculated to brest the hardships of a wilderness home.
After his arrival, himself and family soon had a very comfortable home erected; covered the same with hemlock boughs; split the flooring from the spruce and pines, fitted them with the axe, built a wall in one end for a fire-place and was ready for any emergency that might happen. After the hemlock boughs became dry, he feared the boughs might take fire and as soon as the bark would slip from the trees he scored it with haste.
Mr. Cully commenced clearing his land and made preparations for a garden, which was one of the necessities of life, and also had land enough cleared for planting corn, potatoes and some other grains sufficient for his family use. He was compelled to return to Cherry Valley to purchase two cows to supply his demands for family use. Cherry Valley was his nearest settlement and he was compelled to repair to that place quite often for supplies for his family, which was generally performed on horseback. He prosecuted his business assiduously and made long strides through the summer season; ready to commence his mill early in the fall, which he did by dressing out the timber, with a determination of finishing his mills the next season. But there he met with a disappointment for the reason the winter commenced so early, the snows fell a great depth and retarded his progress. He was compelled to suspend operations until spring.
As soon as was convenient he went to work on his Hydrarlic' but his farm work was so pressing his mill lagged behind. It was his determination to have his mills in operation before the next winter but in that expectation he was awfully disappointed.
Difficulties arose between the American Colonies and the Mother Country; the Indians became rather refactory. Mr. Cully had no recourse for defense the intrusions of the Indians; therefore he considered it imprudent to remain longer in his Wilderness home, consequently he returned to Cherry Valley. A short time after he returned to Cherry Valley war was declared by the Continental Congress, hostilities commenced and Mr. Cully espoused the American cause and joined the Federal Army. For this patriotism and meritorious acts he was promoted to the office of Major. After the war closed Major Cully returned to his wilderness home on the Susquehanna in 1783 to renew his former avocations, expecting to find his building burned, his property destroyed but to his great disappointment nothing was harmed or molested. (the word disappointment does not seem right here, but this is the way the text read, Joyce)
The Indians had taken advantage of his absence and used his house as a Hotel, for a stopping place to stay overnight, cook their venison which was so great an accommodation to them they saved his bulldogs. The Major became reconciled to his new habitation and prosecuted business with vigor, making good improvement, his Mills nearly finished, when Thomas Mumford and son, two gentlemen from Bennington Vt. had wended their way through the vast wilderness to Cherry Valley in pursuit of a new settlement as a place for commencing a primeval settlement and was informed by the people of Cherry Valley of Major Cully's situation on the Susquehanna about 25 miles distant from Cherry Valley. They were traveling on horseback and were informed they would have no difficulty in finding the Major and it would be a good location for them. They found the Major without difficulty and were well pleased with the location. Mr. Mumford was a very welcome visitor to the Major, he hoping to have neighbors to assist him in making improvements.
After making a thorough examination of the new Country, and its surroundings he was well pleased with the location. He made a proposition to Major Cully for the purchase of his improvements.
After a little parlaying a bargain was consummated and the premises changed hands. He paid the Major three hundred dollars and the Major Quit claimed to Mr. Mumford and Mr. Mumford owned his possessions.
Mr. Mumford and son returned to Vermont and as soon as convenient they made preparations, and started for the new home, in the wilds of the Susquehanna; with two ox teams they meandered their way through the forest and the sixth day they arrived at their destination early in January 1784.
After Mr. Mumford was well settled he purchased from the State 400 acres of land (including the Cully plot) for one dollar an acre, which made in all $700. Major Cully had made good improvements and had his mills well under way and Mr. Mumford was well satisfied with his purchase. Mr. Mumford had his Mills finished in the season of 1786 which was a great convenience to the new settlers.
Thomas Mumford and family were really the first permanent settlers of the town of Milford. He remained in the Town until his death which occurred July 28, 1828 aged 95 years. His wife Elizabeth Mumford died Sept. 17, 1822.
The next settlers in the town were Abram, Jesse, and Reuben Beals, three brothers who came from Mass. and located on the East side of the River at the extreme upper end of Milford, on the Franklin Patent in the year of 1784 or early in 1785 (the writer cannot say positively which).
The next were Moses & Noah Ford, brothers, who located on the west side of the River in 1785 and purchased a large tract . They were also from Mass.
John and James Moore came to town from Cherry Valley in 1786. Henry Scott from Ireland came in shortly after and located north of the village.
James McCallan came in town in 1787. Several families came to Milford about the same time which I will mention hereafter.
In the season of 1785 Isaac Collier and family migrated from the Mohawk River, Montgomery County and settled on the West shore of the Susquehanna River near the junction of Schenevus Creek.
Mr. Collier went to Fort Plain and up the Estquago Creek to VanHornes Falls and then to the head of Otsego Lake, purchased bateaus and floated down the lake and down the river to his destination and his oldest son William went on shore with the horses.
James Quackenbush a brother-in-law of Mr. Collier came the same season the same route, and settled on the east side of the river near the junction of the creek and river.
Thomas Burnside from Albany Co. with a large family, was the next settler at the lower end of the town, located about one-half mile east of the river on Schenevus Creek. A number settled at this place which I will mention later.
Levi Adams came from Pawlet, Vt. and located at Edson Corners in 1787. Mr. Adams was the first settler at Edson Corners and the first carpenter In Milford. Mr. Adams was the first carpenter in the County that could work by the square rule.
Stukely Whitford came to Edson Corners the same season as did Mr. Adams In 1787.
William Barnard in 1791 and several others whom I will mention in a subsequent chapter.
In 1796 the primeval settlers had multiplied to such a degree the people deemed it advisable to organize a town. A committee was appointed to call a meeting of the inhabitants, and the Committee named Isaac Colliers Inn as such a place of meeting. Such meeting was held according to public notice, at such time as specified and resolutions were drafted pertaining to the organization of the town.
A committee of three were appointed by the meeting, and the three gentlemen appointed were James Moore, Henry Scott and Joseph Mumford.
The committee presented the petition to the Legislature and their prayers were granted February 5, 1796. The Committee appointed a Town Meeting to be held at Isaac Collier's on April 5, 1796. Such meeting was well represented and the town was organized and called Suffrage. There was a diversity of opinion In regard to the name but James Moore suggested the name of Suffrage and it was adopted but not satisfactorily to all. The papers were drafted and placed on file and they proceeded to elect their officers. (The committee was appointed to call future meetings to complete the organization of the town.) The names of the officers elected at such meeting were as follows, viz.-
Supervisor -- James Moore Town Clerk .- Henry Scott Commissioners of Highways -- John Moore, Joel Stoddard, & Aaron Brink Assessors -- John Blivens, Joseph Culver, & Samuel Whitmarsh Overseers of the Poor - James Westcott & David Hamlin Constables & Collectors - John Felton, Jr. & James Westcott Poor Committee - David Cully, Henry Scott & James Moore Pound Master - Samuel Bidwell Fence Viewers . Samuel Sergent, Samuel Doolittle, Aaron Brink & Daniel French Commissioners of Schools -- David Cully, Samuel Doolittle, & Samuel Whitmarsh
Those named above constituted the Town officers elected at the first town meeting of Suffrage. This completed the organization of the Town of Suffrage.
Previous to the first town meeting a sort of a survey had been made of the town which ran as follows - Beginning at the center of the Susquehanna River, north-east of Milford Village, thence running West on the line between Otsego and Unadilla to the slope of the hill toward Otego Creek, thence South along its said slope to the plains North of the Otego Creek, thence East to the Susquehanna River, thence North along the center of the River to the place of beginning.
There were a large percentage of the inhabitants of the Town aggrieved over the name given, also its survey. Those that were aggrieved said the Town should embrace the River, & the whole valley of Susquehanna, & the line should be carried East to the top of Crumhorn. James Moore opposed the project & thought it better remain on the present survey. But the majority was too strong for him & he was compelled to submit. In 1800 the inhabitants caused a survey & reorganization. They called several meetings & a new survey was made which I will give verbatim.
The new town shall contain all that part of said County of Otsego bounded Westerly by lots number 70,41,42,43,45,46,& 47; in a tract of land granted to Charles Reed & others, commonly called the Otego Patent, & the Eastern boundary line of the said lots, continued Southerly to the middle of the Susquehanna River; Northerly by the town of Hartwick; Easterly & Southerly by a line beginning at the South East corner of Hartwick, & running thence Southeasterly down the Susquehanna River to the mouth of the Cherry Valley Creek; thence up the said creek to the Northeast bounds of lands now or late occupied by Daniel Hunt; thence Southeasterly along the line of said Hunt's land, South 55 degrees, East 88 chains to a soft maple tree marked for a corner; then South 29 degrees 15 minutes West, along a line of marked trees, 908 chains, to the middle of the Charlotte River then down the middle of the said river to the mouth of the same; then down the middle of the River Susquehanna until it intersects the Easterly bounds of Otego.
After the above survey was made the Town called a meeting to be held at Eatons Tavern, for the purpose of having a reorganization of Town & meet at the appointed time & place. The meeting was organized & resolutions were passed & a petition drafted to be presented to Legislature for change of survey & name.
The Legislature granted this request. A new Town Meeting was called by the Town Committee to convene at Eaton's Tavern, on the first Tuesday of May 1800.
The Committee organized the meeting according to public notice; the Town was reorganized upon the new Survey. Col. Joseph Mumford proposed the name of Milford & it was adopted unanimously. At the same meeting the inhabitants elected their Town officers, & James Moore was elected Supervisor ~ Henry Scott Town Clerk.
The town survey remains the same today except that part taken off in 1830 when Oneonta was organized which took the South end of Milford.
Suffrage was taken from Unadilla & Unadilla was taken from Otsego on the 10th day of September 1792, & embraced all of Otsego below the Hartwick line, to the Unadilla River.
Thus far I have outlined the town of Suffrage & its organization in 1796 & its reorganization as Milford in 1800.
I will now proceed to give a correct statement of the different localities, together with its inhabitants & their origin & a short Biographical sketch of the same.
So far, I have endeavored to give a true history of the primitive settlers of Milford, whom they were, & where they migrated from; & when & where they first located.
I will now proceed by taking up the different localities in separate sections & will give all the miseries, hardships & inexorable perseverance to become prosperous.
I will commence with Milford Centre, it being the first settled place in town, where the giant trees were felled to give place for the white man.
The first settlement in Milford was made in April 1773 by Matthew Cully to Milford Centre, who migrated from Cherry Valley through the primeval forest on an Indian Trail, down the Cherry Valley Creek confluence of said Creek with the Susquehanna & then down the River about five miles where he found a beautiful country which from the surroundings struck his fancy. There on the West side of the river Mr. Cully unloaded his avails & commenced the laborious task for a new primeval home of his own selection.
Mr. Cully and sons went to work vigorously & soon had a very comfortable log cabin, (See Mr. Cully's course in the 1st Chapter) He had a large country to explore, nothing molested his happens but the wild animals & they were quite numerous.
The log cabin was not very beautifully constructed, & in the evening the light of the fire which was placed in one end of the room would shine throu the crevices of the logs, & he said it presented the appearance of an old fashioned tin lantern, which was a great wonderment among the wild animals, which caused the forest to resound with their hideous howls through the night.
By his perseverance he very soon was able to live very comfortably. He Labored under some disadvantages, by living so far from any settlement (Cherry Valley was his nearest market) and he was compelled to repair to that place for necessary supplies which was generally made on horse back, to see the Indians floating on the river in their bark canoes, sometimes several in company & apparently very happy. Occasionally they would stop & pay him a visit. He always treated them kindly & by so doing gained their friendship.
Mr. Cully persevered remarkably well who labored under such great disadvantages, no one to assist him but his two boys, notwithstanding he cleared his land, & had his mills well under way, when the difficulty arose between the English & the American Colonies which was a set-back to his progress, It was well known the British had full power over the barbarous Iroquois; & their former friendship with Mr. Cully had vanished & had become rather refactory, which he deemed imprudent to remain longer in his wilderness home; consequently he with his family & avails returned to Cherry Valley to await results.
Soon after he arrival at Cherry Valley, the Continental Congress declared war with the Mother Country, for the depredations committed upon the American Colonies & hostilities commenced.
Mr. Cully espoused the American cause, was an ardent supporter of the Colonies, joined the Whig Army, became a faithful soldier.
For his patriotism & meritorious acts & fidelity to the American cause, he was promoted to the office of Major.
Mr. Cully made a brave officer, perfectly fearless in every respect. After the war had ceased, peace declared, (Major Cully returned to his new habitation & pursued his early avocation, as before the war broke out. He returned the season of 1783.
He was determined to complete his mills as soon as possible, for convenience of himself & new settlers, whom the expected would soon follow.
In the fall of 1783, Thomas Mumford of Bennington, Vt. Purchased Major Cully's improvements, paid him his money, $300 by receiving a quitclaim. Mr. Cully surrendered the premise. to Mr. Mumford in full. Mr. Mumford purchased 400 acres of State land at one dollar per acre which made $700 in all.
After the bargain was consummated Mr. Mumford returned to Vermont collected together his avails & with two joke of oxen started for the wilds of Susquehanna; although almost a vast wilderness, & the sixth day they arrived at their destination early in January 1784. Mr. Mumford's family consisted of himself, wife & five sons & six daughters. His oldest son Robinson remained in Vt. His second daughter married James Westcott of Vermont who migrated with Mr.Mumford & purchased 300 acres of State land, which lay contiguous to Mr. Mumford's on the south.
His four sons, & his remaining daughters all married after they came to Milford. His son George Mumford married Ruth Scott, a lady from Vermont who came to Milford & was married to George Mumford in the season of 1785.
George Mumford and Ruth Scott were the first couple to be married in Milford.
Gardner Mumford married Lois Stevens John Mumford married Nancy Fox Joseph Mumford married Polly Adams His eldest daughter Ruth was never married but lived to be quite aged. Abigail Mumford married William Aylesworth Elizabeth Mumford married Benjamin Aylesworth Hannah Mumford married Edward Baker Dorcas Mumford married William Collier, a son of Isaac Collier Mr. Mumford & all his family remained in Milford until their deaths.
Gardner Mumford family consisted of four sons & two daughters,
Hiram Mumford married Maria Tracy of Columbia Co. George Mumford married Eliza Baker of Cherry Valley Alfred Mumford married Maria Scott James, Amy, & Mary remained single until their deaths
John Mumford's family consisted of five sons & three daughters. Nelson his eldest, married Orissa Westcott & was a Baptist clergyman. John H. Mumford married a Miss Stever. Sylvester Mumford married a lady in Savannah, Ga. He migrated to Georgia when a young man & went into the mercantile business & remained there. Alonzo Mumford married Phidealia Spencer first & Lucy Barny second. Peter married Mary Stever, migrated to Michigan. Betsey married a Mr. Hand of Cobleskill Anzerrilla married a Mr. Hand first & Harris Winsor second & soon after her death Mr. Winsor married her sister Matilda Mumford.Joseph Mumford married Polly Adams in 1797 & had an issue of ten children. Seven sons & three daughters The oldest son
Jesse Mumford married Nancy McDonald Robinson Mumford married Anna Coon Archy Mumford married Catherine Van Valkenburg Orville Mumford married Jerusha Edson Deville Mumford married Abigail Herring Orris married Alvira Smith of Middlefield Delos married Mary Moak His daughters married the following gentlemen Savina married Lyman Scott Sabrina married Andrew Cunningham Lavina married Henry Edson
Joseph Mumford's sons were all professional men & mechanics except Jesse & he was an Inn Keeper, Robinson was a carpenter, Archie was an As manufacturer for several years and then practised Medason. Deville was a carpenter, Orville & Scuclator, Orris a practicing Physician located in Corning, Delos a Carpenter & farmer. Col. Joseph was a very prominent man in town. When he first married he purchased a small tract of land of Mr. Eaton, erected a house & barn on the same & carried on the Carpenter business. A part of the premises where the buildings stood today are owned by Demand Edson.
In or about 1807 he purchased a tract of land, which was bounded on the north by lands owned by Matthew Cully & on the south by lands owned by Benjamin Westcott, all on the west aide of the river containing 150 acres of land. He built a house & outbuildings on the south part of said lot & occupied the same over 20 years & then let his son Archie take possession of the premises. The plot the Col. Mumford purchased embraced the entire village of Portlandville on the west side of the river. Col. Mumford moved back to the Centre & took possession of his father's farm & also of his father & sister Ruth who were very aged.
After Thomas Mumford located in his Wilderness home he erected a new house & changed the road. Major Cully first cut a road on the west side of the river, directly north through the swamp strait to the present site of Portlandville.
Mr. Mumford changed the road farther west very near the present site. The house he built was composed of hewn logs, which was very comfortable. It was what was called a double block house with a fireplace in the centre. There were two large rooms below a fireplace in each room, an entry way between the two rooms, a ladder placed in the same entryway which gave them access to the chambers. This house was built very strong so if necessary it would answer for a Fort against the Indians.
In the meantime Mr. Mumford had finished his Mills which enabled him to saw his own lumber & grind his grain. (House built in 1789)
George Mumford Family His family consisted of himself, wife, 6 sons & 4 daughters, as follows: Elizabeth, Thomas, James, Jeremiah, Mary, John, Abigail, July Ann, & Orson.
Thomas married Hannah Baker of Burlington William married Susan Morris Abigail married Henry Bell Mary married Edwin Soule of Columbia Co. Jeremiah married A lady of Vermont Orson married Melissa WestcottThomas & William migrated to Ohio & remained there until their deaths. Their father, George Mumford went to Ohio on a visit, was taken violently ill & died there. (The whole family is now dead)
James Westcott family
Mr. Mumford's son-in-law came with Mr. Mumford & commenced operations on the farm he purchased from the State, by felling the giant trees and erecting a log cabin & barn for his own convenience after the new country fashion. He reared a large family, fostered his business & accumulated wealth amazingly fast. He had seven sons and one daughter. His sons names were Joseph, Gardner, James, Randolph, Sylvester, Daniel & George.
Joseph was born 1784, the first white child born in the town of Milford, he married Polly Youngs. Gardner was a physician, read medicine with Dr. Fuller, of Cooperstown. He located in Springfield & married a lady there. James married a lady in Saratoga Springs & kept a large boarding house & became immensely wealthy. Randolph married Maria Barr Sylvester married a lady in Cobleskill Daniel married Maria Mann George married a lady in Cobleskill Elizabeth married Timothy Cook of Vermont All have passed away.
Not one acre of the large farm of 300 acres remains in the Westcott name which was purchased of the State in 1784.
Of the 400 acres purchased by Thomas Mumford in the Hamlet of Milford Center not one acre remains in the Mumford name.
Of Mr. Mumford's large posterity but one grandson is living & that is Delos who is 82. There are several of his posterity living in town of the 4th, 5th, 6th, & 7th generations. There are a large number of his posterity scattered over different States down as low as the 8th & 9th generations.
George Baker's Family
George Baker of Bennington, was the next settler at Milford Center. He came in 1785, purchased a farm just north of Mr. Mumford's large purchase, which is owned & occupied by Dudley Segar at present. Mr. Baker had seven sons & two daughters. His sons names were Abel, Daniel, Charles, Thomas, Edward, Joseph, & Stephen. His daughters names were Asie & Susan.
Mr. Baker sold his farm in Vermont, when he removed to Milford, there was $500 remaining unpaid on it. He sent his oldest son, Col. Abel to Vermont for the money. He collected the money & that was the last ever heard of him. It was believed by some that he skipped with the money; & by others that he was robbed & murdered. At all events he was never heard from after he received the money.
Mr. Baker's 4th son Thomas married Sarah Morton & located at Edson Corners. Edward married Hannah Mumford. Charles, Stephen & Joseph all married & raised large families. Daniel married Susannah (Anna) Cumins. Charles, Stephen, and Joseph all married and raised large families and located in different towns. Edward Baker's oldest son, George left home and went to New York in 1830 and never returned to Milford. He remained in the city and when the T______ cholery broke out in 1832, it was supposed he was one of the subjects for he was never heard from after. His daughter Linda and his youngest son, Mumford Baker, removed to Pennsylvania. Both married and never returned to Milford. George, Daniel's son, married and settled in Laurens. Stephen remained on his father's farm in Milford Center until his death. He had one son Daniel who married Nancy Keyes, sold the old farm that was first settled by his grandfather and returned to Laurens.
Chidester - Baker - Keyes - Morris
Moses Chidester purchased the Baker farm & resided on the same until 1849; then sold it to William A, Bunn, migrated to Nanvoe, & remained with the Mormons until his death. His oldest son Dennis was a Mormon Priest and still remains with the Mormons.
Stephen Baker had one son Daniel, & two daughters, Nancy & Sally. Sally Baker married Russell Keyes, a Gazlar at Milford Center; carried on the business for several years & finally left the town.
Old Mr. Keyes & Family of Bennington, Vt. came in 1790. He had a son by the name of Pebody Keyes, who was married & occupied the same farm with his father. William Scott of Vermont married his daughter Martha, purchased Pebody's right & remained on the same until 1859 & he died.
Mr. Scott had an issue of seven children three sons & four daughters. His oldest son
William married Clarissa Squires. Lyman married Savina Mumford James married Joanna Rose. He commenced to preach and died before he was ordained. Charity married Edward Seegar of Caanon, Ct. Lovina married Elihu Gifford* Diana married Isaisa Reed* His youngest daughter married Alfred Mumford.
The Rev. Josiah Morris & Family
Rev. Josiah Morris was a Baptist Clergyman who emigrated from Wales, soon after the Revolution & settled in Rhode Island & in 1800 migrated to Milford Centre.
Mr. Morris purchased a farm a little below the Centre. Soon after he made his purchase & became permanently settled he instituted measures for the Organization of a Baptist Church which he fully accomplished. On Mar. 13, 1805 with eleven charter members: namely himself & lady; his son Charles & wife; his son Josiah, Jr. Old Mr. Keyes & wife; John Crydenwise Stukely Whitford & wife; & Mr. James Westcott which constituted the number.
It was conceded by the inhabitants a wise proposition by the principal leaders of the vicinity, to make a move for a school to improve the education of their children. Prior to the organization the children were taught at home.
A meeting was called by the inhabitants & a resolution was offered by Joseph Mumford to construct a School house & a plot was selected on a part of Mr. Baker's land very near the present residence of Damond Edson in 1794. Such building was constructed & & a suitable log School house was erected & John Jorden was the first teacher.
No particular boundry was specified for the District but included the whole settlement. The country seemed to prosper & Joseph Westcott built a new house of respectful dimensions & went into the Mercantile business (the first in Milford Centre).He also used a part of it for a Hotel. The hotel & store stood just south of the Stone Mansion. The exact date of the erection of such building the writer is unable to give but not far from 1807.
About 1808 John Blivens a gentleman from New England whose pecuniary circumstances were abundantly good purchased the property of Mr. Westcott, who gave up the Mercantile business & improved the Hotel which was considered the best in town. Mr. Blivens erected a large Distillery which was a great improvement to the Hamlet which became the most noted place in town.
Mr. Mumford was the most prominent man in this part of the town and in fact was one of the leading men of the town. Through his exertion & perseverance he caused an organization of the second Militia Company in town. If my information is correct the Company was organized in 1807 & Joseph Mumford was appointed & commissioned the first Captain.
This Company embraced Milford Centre, Colliers, & all the lower end of the Town (which now belongs to Oneonta). Mr. Mumford later was commissioned Col. & Joseph Westcott was appointed Captain.
When the war of 1812 was declared by Congress, between Great Briton & the United States this Company was called into service & Capt. Joseph Westcott complied with the orders.
Capt. Joseph Westcott was by the War Department directed to report to Sacketts Harbor. When they arrived at their destination they were ordered up to Niagara where they were stationed for a time. The British were stationed on the west side of the River & would occasionally exchange shots across the river. The Americans were of the opinion they could cross the river & rout the British & drive them back & take the Fort. The plot was conceived & Col. Stranahan was to lead the American troops. The Americans were not obliged to go out of the Territory of the U.S. unless they volunteered. Some of the America' Army refused to go but a majority were willing to make the effort & try titles with the British. The Volunteers took boat & started for Canada & the British commenced to cannonade the Americans & a cannon shot wounded Capt. Westcott so he was unable to command & such command fell upon Lieut. John Quackenbush. After they arrived on the Canada side the Americans got the worst of the battle. Some of them were taken prisoners out the most of them escaped & recrossed the river in safety. This the second Militia Company of Milford, retrained its standing until the State Militia was disbanded. This Company was very large & some of its members were very poor, hardly able to equip themselves. Some of them would attend the Company Training barefoot; & finely it was designated the barefoot Company.
Soon after the War closed Capt. Westcott constructed a new store & did a thriving business. He constructed several buildings at Milford Centre & became a useful man in society. He was appointed Justice of the Peace & held the office for a long time. At this time Justices of the peace were appointed by the Governmental officers at Albany.
When the Baptist Church was organized by the Rev. Josiah Morris their meetings were generally held in the log school-house; sometimes evening meetings were held at different houses about the district.
People were very friendly in those days, no wrangling or neighborhood quarrels. The Church prospered & grew to such extent it was deemed advisable to erect a new Church. In the meantime the school had become very large & it was considered wisdom to construct a building of suitable size to accommodate both. Such a building was erected. A very large frame building was constructed which proved to be sufficiently large to accommodate both Church & school. A respectable pulpit was placed in the west end, well furnished, painted red & represented a respectable appearance. This building was occupied for a Church & School room until 1827, when the church had increased in numbers to such a degree the Church believed it was necessary to build a large Church. The members of said church drafted a plan for such building & the job or contract was given to Orren Adams & Jacob Edson. The job was commenced in the month of May 1827 & completed & dedicated the Fourth of July 1828 as a suitable house for the worship of God.
When it was completed it was constructed with Pews & every one was compelled to purchase a Pew or he must take a free seat or in other words a Niggar Seat.
The Church was remodeled in 1840, the old Pews were taken out & free seats have taken the place of the old pews. In 1840 the church was somewhat repaired & a bell hung in the belfry which added much to its church going principals. This church from 1820 to 1833 was composed of about 250 traveling members. Shortly after a Baptist Church was organized in Oneonta which drew off a large number of the influential members & since it could not recuperate its loss. Probably fifty five representatives joined the Oneonta Church. According to the discipline of the Baptist Association when a church is organized they are obliged to elect two Deacons to transact business & to report the members in regular form according to church discipline. If any of the members commit any irreligious acts the Deacons must see to it.
When this church was organized Charles Morris & John Crydenwise (later known as Miser) were elected as such officers. The church prospered for some time when a difficulty arose. Some of the members and these two deacons resigned & Wilhemas Yager took the place of Deacon Miser & a little later John Wilcox was elected in the place of Deacon Morris.
Since 1833 there were several changes in the church, a good deal of bad feeling among the members, a great many church meetings, & broils &. contentions which I will omit. For several years past the church members have dwelt together in unity & at this writing the church is in a flourishing condition & increasing in numbers.
Soon after 1796 Mr. Thomas Mumford constructed a new house which was considered at that time very stylish & was considered extravagant. It was one & one-half stories high of rather fine dimensions, painted red & looked upon by those who lived in log houses with envious eyes.
This was the first frame house built in town of note. The old gentleman lived in it until his death which occurred July 28, 1828, aged 95 years. His wife Elizabeth (Swart) Mumford died Sept. 17, 1822.
Thomas Mumford was a native of R. I. of English origin.
James Westcott was also a native of R. I. of English origin.
Return to the Church
After the organization of the Church by Rev. Josiah Morris he was Pastor for several years but was quite aged; he resigned the pastorship in 1809 & Edmund Richmond of (Broome, Scho. Co.) Mass. came to Milford & accepted the pastoral chair of the Church & was its minister for a long time until 1829 when he sold his farm & emigrated with his family to Astabuly, Ohio. The month of April 1829 before he left the town he procured for the church a young man, a young man who was a graduate from Hamilton College, to take his place. Mr. Israel Roberts was his name. The church was well pleased with him & they hired him to become their Pastor. Mr. Roberts was not an ordained Minister at the time the church procured his services. In the month of June 1829 & was ordained the following June. Mr. Roberts proved to be a very great man. He became one of the greatest orators, surmanizers, & general speakers that ever lived in Otsego Co. He became a traveling Minister. went to Europe, returned to America & died in the state of Mississippi.
When he became pastor of Milford Baptist Church he added over 100 Members to the church by conversion. After he left College he commenced the reading of law, but like St. Paul, he became converted to the cause of Christ & commenced promulgating the religion of Jesus Christ; and if this community was ever blest with a true Christian it was the Rev. Israel Roberts. When Elder Roberts commenced his services at Milford Centre he possessed a wife & two small children; was in low circumstances financially. I have seen him stand in the sacred desk with patches on the elbows of his coat & proclaim the gospel of Jesus with all the beauties & elegance of Cato. He would propound the sacred Oricals with such force of eloquence & oratory that he seemed to electrify the whole audience. Such were the powers of the great & virtuous man.
The Church had a low uncalled for, contestable difficulty with this great minister & flower of our Savior which nearly ruined the church. I will make a short statement of the trouble which arose between the Elder and a certain member of the church. As I stated above Elder Roberts was very poor, had no horse, neither had anything to buy one. A certain wealthy member of the church (who had more money than religion) owned a cheap horse, told the elder he would let him have the horse for its keeping. The elder looked at the horse, thought it would answer his purpose & said he would take it on those terms. When the Elder took the horse the brother said to him; you take the horse as I said, as you may at any time pay me $25 and keep him. The Elder said "you are very generous, I will pay you or return him to you as agreed." Under those stipulations he took the horse. He used the horse for some time and it answered his purpose very well. The Elder went to Louisville (now Morris) to see an old friend & while there this old friend said to the Elder "your horse is not sufficient for your business. I have a great deal better horse I will exchange with you even". The Elder said "I could not do that for I do not own the horse". The Elder told the deacon the circumstances & the deacon said you are all right I will lend you the money to pay the brother & then you will have a good horse. The deacon gave the Elder the money to pay for the horse & Elder Roberts felt well pleased with his trade & returned home with the money to pay for the horse. Well - what was the result? Soon after his return home the Elder went to brother ----- & tendered him the money & brother ----- refused to take it. He saw the new horse was worth more than the one he lent him and wanted the horse instead of the money. The Elder told him he could not let him have the horse for that would be committing a great wrong upon the deacon that furnished him with the money. Bur brother ----- persisted in having the horse. Brother ----- you said any time I could return the horse or pay you the money & either would be satisfactory. The brother refused the money & demanded the horse.
The Elder was badly grieved over the matter & left brother ----- to meditate over the matter. According to the Church discipline brother ----- could not sue for the horse, consequently he sold or assigned the demand to his son who was a member of the Methodist Church & he had the Elder arrested for convertion of Property which did not belong to him. The constable presented the Elder to Court which caused a great excitement. A large concourse of people gathered at court & almost the whole church which created a very great excitement.
The Elder having been a lawyer, he plead his own case. Brother ----- & son were easily beaten & charged with the cists & the prisoner discharged. The Rev. Israel Roberts resigned his pastorate position, called for letters of separation & left the town. After letters of discharge were issued to the Elder "pandemonium reigned supreme in that church for a year before matters were settled". Thus far I have given a short history of the Milford Centre Baptist church. I have not given all for want of space, which would be volumtious.
About 1822 William V. White of Mass. came to town, purchased the hotel of John Bliven, ran the tavern successfully for several years.
He considered the old house insufficient for his business, consequently he erected the large stone building in 1828. He was successful in business after he settled in his new Hotel. He continued the hotel business until 1836, when he sold to John & Tompkins Tanner of Oneonta.
They continued the business one year & sold to James B. Gilbert & he abandoned the hotel & gave his attention to farming.
In 1835 Joseph Westcott erected a large dwelling on the west side of the highway & after Gilbert threw up the tavern Mr. Westcott opened a hotel in his building, & that was run as a hotel until 1870 when the hotel business was abandoned at Milford Centre.
James Netherell had purchased a lot of land in Columbia Co. and he was transporting lumber from Milford to Columbia Co. when an accident transpired at Milford Centre which caused his death in June 1825. Mr. Netherell had been at Mr. Reed's Mill for a load of boards & on his way to Milford Centre in the road (right where Marrian Rose now resides) as he was descending the hill the neckyoke ring broke, the wagon tongue dropped to the ground, his horses became frightened and unmanageable, the wagon went over the bank, the load turned over & caught Mr. Netherell under the load & he was crushed to death instantly. The horses became detached from the wagon & ran down to the tavern shed, & were stopped. Alvin Lyon was present, & knew the horses & told where they were. A number of men went in pursuit of Mr. Netherell & soon found him as described above. His friends were notified of the facts & the whole neighborhood turned out to take care of the corpse.
In 1829 Elder Roberts commenced to lecture upon temperance, began to dissuade people from drinking ardent spirits as a beverage. He drafted Resolutions to that effect & organized a Temperance society, in Milford Centre, in fact the first Temperance society that was organized in the Country. He was the first man that was known to advocate the temperance cause in Otsego Co. It went out through the Country like wildfire that a minister at Milford Centre had organized a society to prohibit people from drinking anything but cold water. He was scoft at by some, & ridiculed by others & called an impostor hypocrite of the worst sort because he believed in reform & was opposed to drunkenness. But this opposition amounted to nothing, he soon had a large following. He went to Milford Village & the people of that place started a Temperance Society which prospered finely. Levi Stewart (afterwards Judge of the county) was a strong advocate & Elder gained friends all over the county for his perseverance. Some had an idea they could not or was not allowed to drink tea, & it was designated the cold water society. One old lady said she could not join the cold water society because when she worked she would have tea. She said a good cup of tea made her feel like a young bride.
The First Doctor
When Milford was first settled for a few years they possessed no regular Physician; & people were compelled to administer such medicine as they were in possession of, which consisted of roots & herbs.
In 1787 Peter Van Alstine from Schoharie came to town, settled at Colliers, the first physician of the town of Milford. Dr. Van Alstine was considered very skillful in his profession for several years left the country mysteriously and never returned. After his disappearance the people were compelled to go to Laurens by the Indian Trail & marked trees (for there was no road for Dr. Allen Harrington, who was the first doctor in Laurens & the only one obtainable in the country. He would take his saddlebags on his arm & tramp through the Wilderness by the Indian trail which led from Milford Centre to Laurens by Pikes Corners & sleepers Gorge to the Otego creek.
The next & first physician Milford Centre was Dr. Brown from Cobleskill who remained some little time & went west.
In 1829 Joseph Westcott was instrumental in securing the first post office at that place. A.P.O. had been organized at Portlandville one & one-half miles above & by the assistance of Judge Pye. Joseph Westcott caused it removal. Then the question came up what should the place be called? It was suggested by some it should be called Mumfordville. Mr. White & some of the Mumfords were at variance. He said he would prefer the old name of "Pudding Street" than Mumfordville. Joseph Westcott proposed the name of Milford Centre which was perfectly satisfactory to all & was adopted. The Post Office was removed in 1825 & Joseph Westcott appointed Postmaster.
In 1825 Mr. Westcott sold his store to a Mr. Dickinson of Cobleskill & he conducted a mercantile business for two years & he sold to Alphin Moore of Green Co. He conducted the store for two years & he sold to Joseph Gates of Franklin. Two years & Gates sold to the Rev. Mr. King. He ran the store for one year & sold to Levi B. Tarbox of Oneonta. In 1825 he turned the business into Blacksmithing & gave up the mercantile business. Thus ended the dry goods store at Milford Centre. This same store that has changed hands so many times was built by Joseph Westcott in 1824 & today is owned by Mr. & Mrs. Menzo Fuller.
Milford Centre Cemetery
This plot of land was donated to the public by the first settler at Milford Centre, Thomas Mumford, in 1753 for a public burying-ground & a road two rods wide which no one has any legal right to interfere with or molest. In addition to the above a certain piece was reserved for the Mumford family but the remainder to the public.
The Christian Church at Portlandville was first organized at Milford Centre by the Rev. John Peevie, assisted by Stephen & Isaac Soul in 1823 in the old red school house & had a large following. Mr. Peevie was a man of great oratorical powers, well calculated to create excitement & have a large following. When the church was first organized it seemed to prosper well but rather dwindled & it had a reorganization at Portlandville Dec. 29, 1838. Since it has prospered exceedingly well.
The first association of the Baptist church at Milford Centre was held in the month of June, 1824. The association was held at Bro. Rose's barn. The old red school house was not of sufficient size to hold so large an audience which was expected to attend such Meeting. A Committee was appointed to prepare liquors for the occasion & a table place in conspicuous place for the convenience of such meeting. Today it would be looked upon as almost sacrilegious but at that time it was customary. The liquors were free for every one, ministers, deacons, & lay brotheren, & no one was any worse for it. All enjoyed the religious services.
Mr. Eaton purchased the farm which is now occupied by C.S. Morris.
(Adolphus Morris purchased the farm in 1860 & C.S. his son operated it with him after 1882). Mr. Eaton constructed what was called a double log house; on the ground (where the Morris mansion now stands) & converted it into a Tavern. It had two rooms below, a chimney stack in the center, a fireplace in either room & sleeping rooms & sleeping rooms overhead, which were accessible by a ladder. The Bar room & sitting room was one, kitchen & dining room the other. Such was the accommodations for a new country Hotel. The first town meeting after the reorganization & change of name from Suffrage to Milford was held at this on the first Tuesday in May, 1800.
Mr. Eaton sold to Stephen Jarden, Jarden to Gotia Van Dusen & he sold to John Francisco, & then the Tavern was abandoned. Mr. Francisco turned his attention to lumbering, ran rafts of lumber to Baltimore. John Francisco sold to Stephen Soul of Columbia Co. in 1822.
In 1814 Mr. Ayers from Vermont constructed a grist mill on the brook at Milford Centre about a quarter mile west & did a considerable business for a short time. In August 1817 there came a great flood & swept his Mill away, not even the foundation was left.
Soon after the close of the Rev. War Rev. Josiah Morris & family came to America from Wales & settled in R.I. & from R.I. to Renselaer Co. & from there to Milford in or about 1800, purchased a wild farm on the Susquehanna. The Rev. Josiah Morris & sons after they were permanently located commenced improving their wilderness farm by felling the giant trees & established a permanent home. The Morris farm remained until about 1900 then his great grandsons conveyed it to a man by the name of Sickler. The Rev. Mr. Morris' oldest son remained single as long as he lived & was very devoted to Christ. Deacon Charles Morris, his second son, married Catherine Elerson of Schoharie Co. Mrs. Morris had a brother "Daniel Elerson" who was a soldier in the Rev. War & a celebrated Indian Hunter, a mate of Timothy Murphy. When Gen. Clinton was ordered by the war department to meet Gen. Sullivan at Tioga Point David Elerson was one of his soldiers.
Gen. Clinton was directed to go to Canajoharie with his army & then out a road from there through the Wilderness to Otsego Lake in order to transport his army down the lake & Susquehanna to meet Sullivan at Tioga Point. He did as was directed, transported 212 battans & boats & his Artillery to the lake by horses. He commenced cutting the road June 5, 1779 & arrived with his army & equipment at Otsego Lake June 17, 1779. He dammed the outlet at the foot of the Lake to raise the water two feet which would give him an ample supply of water to float his fleet down the river. After the lake had risen two feet he demolished the dam, embarked with his Army, descended the river & arrived at Tioga Point Aug. 22, 1779 & met Gen. Sullivan with his army.
While Gen. Clinton was waiting for the lake to raise, unbeknownst to him Brant with a large company of Indians was prowling around the lake watching Clinton's movements. While the Army was lazing idly around Elerson got into a canoe & went up to the head of the lake to an old settlement to gather some greens for the army. Not dreaming of any danger he was busily engaged gathering his greens , the Indians had discovered him & knew him. The Indians had an inveterate hatred for Elerson & had laid several plots to capture him but had failed in all their attempts. When they saw him so far away from the Army they were sure they had a sure thing of it. They could have shot him easily but they wanted him alive to torture him. They managed the matter very shrewdly by cutting off his retreat from the army. Mr. Elerson did not notice them until they made a rush for him. He just had time to snatch his rifle before they grabbed him. He being very agile he cleared them. As soon as he got started he was so fleet of foot he distanced them easily. After they found they could not overtake him they commenced firing at him and wounded him but not sufficiently to slack his speed.
They followed him but could not overtake him, when he ascertained he was clear of them, he had become weak from loss of blood, he crept into a hollow tree & remained there two days & two nights without any aliment or having his wounds dressed. Then he backed out of his hollow tree & was so weak & dazed he did not know what to do for some time.
He found himself very hungry. A robin was sitting on a limb near him. He shot & dressed it & ate it raw, which gave him strength enough to start & after traveling through the Wilderness about three miles he came out at Cobleskill. Mr. Elerson soon recovered from his wounds & was ready to practice pranks on the Indians again.
The Morris Family
Deacon Charles Morris was the parent of nine children, three sons & six daughters.
David, the oldest son married Susan Westcott Charles, Jr., the 2nd son married a lady in N. J. & remained there Deacon Richard married Zilpha Westcott Susan, the eldest daughter, married William Mumford Hannah Married Datus Soule Sally married Otis Westcott Eliza married Dennis Chidester, a Mormon Priest & migrated to Nanvoe Philemelia married a gentleman of N. J. July, the youngest married Ira Yager & migrated to N. J. Death has overtaken the whole family.
The first settler in this Vicinity was John Moore of Cherry Valley who settled on the farm now owned by James Ferguson (better known as the Benj. Westcott farm). Mr. Moore commenced on this place about 1789. He constructed a log house after the usual style of log houses covered with bark. It had puncheon floor. He commenced like all new settlers by felling the forest trees, & clearing the land for the purpose of raising cereals & other crops to support his family, with the expectation of growing up with the country & at some future time becoming rich & prosperous. Mr. Moore retained his farm for several years & sold to Micah Baskins about 1794. He removed to the upper end of town, purchased a farm (now owned & occupied by Dorr Sweet) and remained on it for a long time.
William Stevens purchased the same farm of Mr. Micah Haskins in 1798 who emigrated from Mass. Mr. Stevens was a Cooper by trade & conducted a business & carried on both occupations. He remained on the farm until 1801 when he resold to Mr. Haskins & purchased a large wilderness farm on the hill about three miles distant from the one he sold. This Country at that time was an almost unbroken wilderness; no settlement north of Mr. Haskins for about three miles to Jacob Brewer on the west side of the river.
Col. Joseph Mumford purchased a tract of wild land north of Mr. Haskins which embraced all the land as far north as the Samuel Russel farm. this purchase was made in 1803. The entire village of Portlandville stands upon this plot of land. Soon after he constructed a good sized frame house & occupied it for several years, then removed to Milford Centre & his son Archy occupied the vacant house.
In the year 1814 a company was formed for the purpose of erecting new mills on the river. The company consisted of Geo. Mumford, Gardner Mumford, Joseph Mumford, & John Low, William Fairchilds & David Cully.
A dam was constructed across the river, a grist mill was built on the West side of the river, a saw mill on the east side, a carding machine & fulling mill & cloth dressing mill on the West side Just below the grist mill. These were great improvements for the country. Gardner Mumford was a clothier who ran the factory. The river was bridged by the oompany & Portlandville became a prosperous place of business. A man by the name commenced Blacksmithing & the place assumed name of Company Mills. A large amount of lumber was manufactured there then rafted down to Baltimore.
John Mumford purchased a farm on the east site of the river just prior to the construction of the Mills & remained on the same till his death in 1848.
In or about 1805 Benjamin Westcott purchased the farm owned & occupied by Micah Haskins & in addition to farm carried on Blacksmithing. Mr. Westcott was the brother of James Westcott who was one of the early settlers of the town.
Benjamin was the parent of nine children. He was a native of R. I.
His oldest son John married Ann Swartwout Rufus married Ann Richmond & moved to Ashtabula, Ohio in April 1829. Stukely married Evaline Soule Daniel Tompkins married Miss Washburn Benjamin, Jr. married Margarit Ray Polly the oldest daughter married Richard Francisco Betsey married Daniel Barney Amy married a Mr. Draper of Westford Ann married Hamilton A. Babcock of Westford
The Mills were conducted by the Company for several years without change. Some additional buildings were added by the company such as dwellings & out buildings, for the convenience of the men who conducted the business.
About 1822 Samuel Crippen of Worcester purchased the grist mill & saw mill & made some improvements on same. Mr. Crippen also purchased a large wild lot & turned his attention to lumbering. Mr. Crippen ran his lumber down the river to Baltimore on rafts until the Erie Canal was built & then drew it to Fort Plain & run it to Albany which he considered a better market.
The Woolen Mill was retained by the company until 1825 when it was sold to David & Daniel Osborn. They took in Darias Richards as a partner & the new Company constructed a large Woolen Factory on the same plot as the old Factory. This new factory employed a large number of men & women.
In 1825 Jesse Mumford by the assistance of his father, Col. Joseph Mumford, constructed a large dwelling & commenced keeping a Hotel for the convenience of the place.
Col Joseph Mumford being one of the leading men of the town -he conceived the idea of having a Post Office for the Village which would be a great convenience for the people of this vicinity. He made an effort & soon had a P.O. established & gave it the name of Portlandville. (It has been stated by some that it was called Mumfordville, which was not the case. They gave it its present name) This place has had several fictitious names given it. William Chidester (a sort of wag, better known as "Whistling Dick," gave it the name of Skunks Mirery) After the woolen factory was built they placed a copalo on it for the purpose of putting a bell for their own convenience. Instead for a bell they took a bar of steel & bent it in shape of a clavis, & fixed a tongue in it & hung it as a bell & it answered every purpose of a bell. The steel bell created quite a sensation in that community. Ephriam Moon a shoemaker who lived a little south of the village gave it a new name. He called it Cupalaville & composed a little poetry on its name which ran thus.
Later our Friend M. C. Cash has given it another name. Mr. Cash calls it Tight Nipping. The reader will readily see the place does not lack for names. A gentleman by name of Adams from Albany County purchased the Grist & Saw Mills in 1830 & took possession but did not remain long before he moved away. The Mills did very little business for a year. Finally Robert Campbell of Cooperstown purchased them. reconstructed them & put them in charge of Barack Spencer of Little Lakes. Mr. Spencer gave good satisfaction.. Later Julius Ellwell of Cherry Valley purchased them & made some improvements in them & they were considered the best Mills in the County. These mills have changed hands several times of late but looked upon as the best flouring mills in the County.
Daniel Babcock of Westford purchased a plot just below the factory & constructed a large Tannery in the year 1827 which became a very conspicuous firm for Portlandville.
About 1825 Russell Briggs kept the first store in Portlandville. It was rather a small concern. He kept a few groceries, a little cotton cloth & a few pieces of calico at high prices, a little tobacco & a little snuff which constituted pretty much his whole stock of goods. Briggs ran his store one year & sold to two young men by the names of Paddleford & Sloan who conducted the better Store of goods & done the most business that was ever conducted in the village of Portlandville.
Paddleford & Sloan sold out & left & in the fall of 1831 Steere & Winsor of Hartwick purchased the Store & also Babcock's Tannery & done a large business. Steere & Winsor bought a house & lot on the corner of the road that crosses the river of John Browning & erected a store on the same in the summer of 1832. Col. Steere erected a large dwelling just north of the store the same season. A long time after this was sold & the same changed hands several times & later Monroe Westcott purchased the store, moved the old store a little north built the present store which is occupied by Eldridge Bros.
Jesse Mumford bought the Col. Steere house & after his death Charles McLaury bought the house of the Mumford heirs & built a large addition & occupied the same at the present time.
Philip Schermerhorn of Schodock, Renslaer Co. moved in Portlandvllle in 1826 & worked at Blacksmithing; the second blacksmith in the place. A man by the name of Carmody ----- was the first Tailor. Doctor Suttle was the first Physician in 1812, 1815, 1828.
After Col. Mumford vacated the house he built on his Portlandville plot his son Archy moved into the same.
Austen Hamlin a young man from Mass. came in 1827. He was an Axe manufacturer & formed an acquaintance with Mr. Mumford. They formed a company & erected an Axe Factory on these premises and were very successful in their undertaking. In the meantime Mr. Hamlin married Jane VanValkenburgh, a very beautiful young lady, a sister of Mrs. Mumford. Mr. Hamlin found where he could do better, sold his interest to Mr. Mumford & went West. Mr. Mumford ran the factory a few years, sold to Col. Steere who converted it into a Tannery.
Dr. Stuart of Worcester was the 2nd Doctor in Portlandvllle. In 1825 remained one year and left.
Rocerick Richards of Columbia erected a Cabinet Factory 1831 and was very successful until his death in Sept. 1846.
The Christian Society was reorganized at Portlandville in 1838 with a membership of 25 or 30. Members held their meetings in the school-house just south of H. R. Wellman's dwelling.
After the construction of the woolen factory the company deemed it advisable to construct a large Boarding house for their own convenience; & plot was selected just north of the Hotel barns. The contract for building such boarding house was given to Aaron Chidester, who commenced the job, dug the cellar & did some other work & mysteriously disappeared, was never heard from again, so that ended the boarding house. His wife Sally Chidester remained in Portlandville until her death. In 1840 before her death she sold the plot where the boarding house was to be constructed, to the Christian society & they built the present Christian Church in 1840.
Jacob Edson was the builder of the Church & he had the contract. Mr. Edson built the Church & had it finished about the first of October but had not yet surrendered it to the Society.
About the 10th of Oct. the Whigs had appointed a "Log Cabin Meeting" to be held in Portlandville & they had not selected any particular place for such meeting: consequently Mr. Edson tendered them the use of the new church which was accepted & the new church was dedicated by the Whig party.
James B. Gilbert & Albert Steere entered into partnership as Merchants & constructed a large store & dwelling combined & did an enterprising business for a few years & the inhabitants were well pleased with the new firm. In 1842 Steere & Gilbert sold the store & goods to Jacob Isaac Quackenbush. He continued the business until 1843 when he was taken violently ill & died. Later Louis Cronkite purchased the property.
In 1831 Dr. Gardner located In Portlandville & remained there until 1841. Dr. Gardner was Bottanic & very skillful in his profession. His practice was so large he gained an enviable reputation among professional men. In several cases where the Allopathlc professors had failed & given up their patients Dr. Gardner raised them almost from the grave. His reputation as skillful diagnosis was superior to all others. Dr. Joel Thorn became a celebrated Physician who was one of students. Dr. Ezra W. Spafford was also one of his students. Dr. Spafford stood as high as any man in the medical profession in the country. He was a great practitioner & the medical profession lost one of their very best when he died.
Dr. Gardner embarked in the mercantile business & was unsuccessful in his undertaking & likely to fail, left his family, procured a young girl, left the State and never returned.
Louis Cronkite established himself in Portlandville in 1833 as a Carriage Manufacturer & was one of the best in the County. Mr. Cronkite was celebrated mechanic. He conducted the business until his death, which occurred In 1866. In addition to his mechanical ingenuity he was a good politician. He was leader of the Whig party as long as he lived. Mr. Cronkite never aspired to any office but once, & then through the assistance of Richard Fanchot he was elected Doorkeeper of the House of Representatives at Washington.
His son Nelson has stepped into his father's shoes as a Mechanic but the old shoes are a little too large for him, he cannot quite fill them.
As regards the mercantile business Portlandville has had many changes Eli Van Etten was quite a successful merchant for several years but gave up trade & devoted his attention to farming. Several hardware stores were established but have all disappeared.
The first lawyer located in the village was a man by the name of Beardsley in the year 1838. He remained there till 1841. He was not much of a lawyer. He became insolvent, applied for the bankrupt act, borrowed $20 of Col. Steere to carry him through bankruptcy, served a notice of bankruptcy on the Col. to pay the debt, & ran away to parts unknown & was never heard from after.
The second lawyer was Frederick Basinger, located about 1850 remained a short time & left. Then came Edward Card of Hartwick who established a good practice, later was elected Surrogate & left the place. R. M. Townsend took his place. After removed to Cooperstown M. S. Cook opened an office for the practice of law & still remains in Portlandvllle.
In 1833 Daniel Winsor was elected Justice of the Peace. Mr. Winser was the first Justice of the peace in Portlandville & the ablest man Portlandville ever boasted of.
Portlandville had no School district of its own until 1834 when It organized a School District, erected a new school just south of H. R. Wellman's present residence. It formerly belonged to Milford Centre District. The .Milford Centre District was so large & the distance was so great for the children to travel so it was considered wisdom to form a new district which was done as stated above. Portlandville had become quite prosperous, a good business & supported three Churches but no Cemetery; consequently a Company was organized & the present Pine Grove Cemetery was established In 1861.
The Christian Church was built in 1840. Jacob Edson, built it.
The Methodist Church was built in 1848 by Erastus Soule
The Episcople Church was built In 1866, Jeremiah Strait builder.
The Free Methodists organized a church about 1870 & converted a certain building into a Church which had been used as a Dry Goods store, a Grocery store, law office, but answered very well for a church. The Methodist Church was rebuilt in 1866 & an ell added to it.
In the year of 1826 Dr. William Stewart of Worcester, by the solicitation of Sam Crippen, located at Portlandville & opened an office for the practice of Medicine. Dr. Stewart was a man of pre-possessing appearance & was well received by the inhabitants & established a lucrative practice. He was a young single man & was very proficient in his practice. He selected Capt. Mumford's Hotel for his boarding place.
At the same time Dr. Riley I. Tibits had opened an office about one-half mile below Portlandville who was also a single man & of rather fine appearance. Well, all the young ladies in Portlandville & vicinity were all fascinated with these two young doctors.
Capt. Mumford made a large party & gave these two doctors invitations. The party was a very brilliant gathering & the recipients were well pleased with their entertainment. It was well known that a certain young lady who stood on pretty high heeled shoes, rather expected Dr. Stewart would select her for his partner; but he did not.
He selected Jane Van Valkenburgh, a very pretty young lady although of poor parentage. Jane Van Valkenburgh supported herself by teaching school & was highly respected. After the party had passed the young lady who stood on high heeled shoes said the would not have thought that Dr. Stewart would have stooped so low as to have taken that poor Jane Van Valkenburgh to so respectful a party as that proved to be. After Dr. Stewart practiced medicine one year in Portlandville he returned to Worcester where he remained during his life.
Mr. Cook was a native of the Town of Laurens, but was employed by Steere & Winsor of Hartwick & migrated with them to Portlandville to take charge as foreman of their Leather Factory, Mr. Cook became acquainted with Miss Clarissa Smith, a fascinating young lady & a daughter of "Mary Smith who was a native of R. I." He married her in 1833 & located in Portlandville. Mr. Cook was the parent of two children, a son & daughter. Mr. Cook was rather mirthful in his young days & a lively politician & leader of the Whig party. In about 1837 a large reformation was conducted by the Christian Church & Mr. Cook was converted to the cause of Christ. He Joined the Christian Church & lived a different life. He espoused the cause of Christ & soon commenced the study of Theology & became a celebrated Clergyman & followed the profession until his death in 1876. Mrs. Cook was attacked with a very severe illness, lingered a long time & died from her dreadful disease. After a reasonable time he married his second wife & lived but a short time after.
His son, W. S. Cook, became a lawyer, married Jennet Westcott, located in Portlandville.
His daughter married Thomas Hall, a promising young man. was employed by the Cooperstown Railroad Co. to take charge of a gang of hands & was killed by a railroad collision between the Junction & Portlandville.
I will return to the Cronkite Family
Mr. Cronkhite left two sons. Nelson remained in Portlandville. James the younger son enlisted in the 121 Regt. N.Y. Volunteers when the great American Rebellion broke out in 1862 & remained until the war closed. He was wounded & lost one of his legs. Afterward he had a position in the Custom Office in N. Y. & later was appointed Consol to Haytie. He was taken sick with a fever & died.
The first settlement made at .Milford village was made by Noah & Moses Ford in year of 1785. They emigrated from Mass.
James McCollom was the next settler from Mass.
Artemus Ward from the same state was the next permanent settler. Then came John & James Moore from Cherry Valley who were or Irish Descent. Henry Scott emigrated from Ireland to America & to Cherry Valley & then to Milford in 1786 & located about a mile north of the village on a farm now owned by the Barney Bros.
James McCallom kept the first Tavern In Milford Village In 1788 in a log house located exactly where the Methodist Church now stands. The Ford brothers purchased all the land on the West side of the road, from the Williams Wilcox farm to the Griswold Walworth farm.
James McCallom purchased a small piece of land of the Fords & constructed a log Tavern on the same in 1738. The entire village on the north side of the street stands upon that plot of land formerly owned by the Ford Bros. After Mr. McCollom had kept the Tavern about two years he sold out to Major Cully who ran the same a short time & gave up the business. A Tavern was built on the corner where the present Hotel is kept. After Major Cully gave up the McCollom Tavern he & his two sons went down the River about two miles & purchased a large farm In its wild state (commonly known as the Mattias Lane farm) & went into the Hotel business again. They seemed to prosper very well & they built a large Mansion & converted it into a fashionable Hotel and ran the same until the father died in 1813. They divided the farm & ran the Tavern until the father died. The brothers sold the south half to Samuel Russell. The north half and Tavern was sold to Agrippa Martin after the father died in 1813. The brothers then went to Hartwick & purchased a farm now owned by the Bunyan estate.
After Major Cully sold his possessions at Milford Center to Mr. Mumford he took a trip south with the expectation of locating there but returned without making any purchases. As was said above he possessed a roving disposition & could not be contented a long time in any place. After the first settlements were made In Milford the people multiplied quite fast for a few years & it was thought advisable to bridge the river for their convenience; consequently the people built a bridge in 1789 which was a very great convenience. They were compelled to go up the river a quarter of a mile to the fording place & in the winter they crossed on the ice to get to Cherry Valley.
John & James Moore came from Cherry Valley & located in Milford in 1786. James located at Milford Village & John a little below Portlandville on a wild farm, remained a few years & sold to Micah Haskins, & joined his brother James at Milford village. The Moore Brothers made greater progress than any of the settlers. James seemed to be the leading spirit of the new settlers & did more toward improving the place than any other man. Through his energy the river was bridged & a church organization was consummated & the first District was formed & a School house built. Increase Niles was the first teacher in 1790.
Isaac Edson a gentleman from Kenebec, Maine came to Milford & kept the first store in 1794.
The new country had become quite well populated & it was thought advisable to organize a town; consequently James Moore being the most energetic citizen, drew up such papers as were required, set notices in different places of the settlement for a Caucus to be held at Isaac Colliers & they convened according to notice, & an organization was agreed upon & a petition was made to the Legislature, the town organized as stated in a prior Chapter. Soon after the organization James Moore formed a Military Company & was appointed Captain of the same. The first in the town. James Moore left the town in 1810 & his brother John was appointed Capt. & later was promoted to Col.
John Moore was the first P. M. in town. He had one son, John Moore, Jr. who became quite noted, held several offices in town; entered into partnership with Alonzo Bridges. They were in the Mercantile business for several years before they dissolved. Col. Moore owned a large farm just north of the Village, sold to Amos Sweet & went to Indiana. His son John accompanied him & never returned. His eldest daughter married Hiram Sweet who soon followed the Col. and family. The Col. lived to a good old age of 88 years, his son died younger, his daughter Mary (Mrs. Sweet) lived to age of 88.
According to the best information obtainable from the records & tradition was organized in 1803. The Church was commenced soon after by Ezekiel Follet & William Angel, as builders but was not completed until 1807. Alexander Conkey was the first settled Preacher. The bell was purchased & hung in the Belphrey in 1825. The first officers of such society were as follows: Henry Scott & James Moore returning board; Jonas Perey, John Moore, Moses Ford; Juda Waters, Daniel French & Willlam Cross were Trustees. When this Church was finished off, the seating capacity was constructed with pews and closed doors. If people desired a seat they were compelled to purchase a Pew or they must take a free seat which was generally designated a "Nigger seat".
A Methodist Society was organized in 1817 by the Rev. Abner Cgase. The first members of the society were Asa Eddy, John Badger, Levi Stewart & several others, who were the prime movers. Asa Eddy & John Badger were the first officers. The present Church was erected in 1839 by Babcock & Griggs as carpenters & William Stevens as mason. Previous to the erection of this house of Worship Meetings were held in the Village School-house.
Jonathan Sweet was born in R. I. as was his wife, Mary Brimer Jones. His children were as follows Amos, Abel, Sibyl, Nancy, Freeborn, Jeremiah, Margaret Mary, & Rosanna. All came to Milford about 1800.
Amos, the eldest, married Patients Eldred, daughter of Thomas Eldred who also came from R. I. Children of Amos & Patients were: Stephen, Hiram, Amos, Jr., Mary, George W., Albert, Nancy, Eliza, John, Caroline, Sibyl, James, & Jane.
Hiram married Mary Moore & conducted a Store in Milford for a time, sold out & went to Indiana.
Amos, Jr. married a daughter of Orrange Bissel, purchased the Bissel hotel, ran the same a short time & sold to John Brown, & went to farming.
Mary Sweet married Anson Knapp He purchased a farm on the east side of the river & remained upon it until his death.
George W. married Mary Sergent, daughter of Hiram Sergent. She died 1901.
John married Miss Eddy first & second the widow of Miran Bates.
The Sweet family have all passed away but James & he resides in one of the western states.
Amos Sweet, Sen. purchased the farm on the road to Edson Corners, sold to William Kirby then bought the Col. John Moore farm now owned & occupied by his grandson Dorr Sweet. Mr. Sweet died on the same farm.
I think the man who erected the first Hotel on the corner. It is now occupied by Aaron Salisbury. About 1820 the hotel was owned by Thomas G. Alexander & he sold to Orrange Bissell & erected a new Hotel, ran it several years, & sold to Col. Moore & went out of business. Today owned by the Wilbur Estate.
When the Presbyterian Church was erected the Society purchased a plot of land on the corner where the buildings now stand & later leased a part of it to Deacon Brown & he built a large house on the same plot. The proprietors took leases of the Church & was compelled to pay rent on the same to the Presbyterian Society for the privilege of occupying the ground.. For a long time a large green was in front of the church which made a convenient playground for the boys.
The same Society purchased a large farm south of the Village which is leased for the benefit of the Church. Those two pieces of land cannot be sold, must remain the property of the Church.
The Bissell Hotel remained in the hands of Bissel Sons until Amos Sweet, Jr. purchased the same & since then it has changed hands several times.
After Edson left Milford, no store of any note was kept until Babcock & McNamee went into the mercantile business.
The Stewart Family came from Danbury, Conn. & were of Scotch origin. They claim to be relatives of the English Stuarts who have worn the Crown of England since Charles the First. The reader will readily see they do not spell their names alike. Our Stewarts & the English spell theirs Stuart, although the English Stuarts were of Scotch origin.
A great English Historian says the Stuarts that wear the Crown of England were regular descendants of Sir Robert Bruce who was one of the greatest Generals that Scotland ever produced. It is not for me to say whether they are of the same origin or not.
The Stewarts came to Milford about or very soon after 1800. Levi & Lemon were twin brothers. They were Hatters by trade. They commenced making hats as soon as they arrived at Milford. Their Factory was located on the corner opposite the Hotel where Parshals store now stands.
Levi Stewart married Lana Starr, a lady from Mass. Her uncle was a noted Hotel Keeper on Washington St., Albany.
Leman Stewart married Susan Wallay, who resided on Schenevus Creek in Milford, she was the daughter of Garret Walley.
Levi & Lemon dissolved partnership & Lemon went to Ohio. Levi was quite a prominent man in town & also in the county. He became a Military Man & held the titles of Capt., Col., & General. He also held the office of Justice of the Peace; & was appointed Side Judge of the County, under the Old Constitution. His first wife died & he in his old age took for his second better half the celebrated Betsey Donnely, a maiden lady & was very happy.
William P. Wait was one of the early settlers of Milford Village. The exact time he came to Milford, the writer is unable to state; probably near 1815. Mr. Wait was a manufacture of Cabinet ware He was the first of his kind in the town. He was very prosperous in his undertaking & manufactured all kinds of household furniture, both common & fanciful. His Factory was run by horsepower & erected where the Hawver Block now stands. Mr. Wait was Deacon of the Presbyterian Church a long time. He had two children. His daughters name was Eliza & the son's name was Albert. Albert died when quite young. Eliza married Elijah Brown who was a lawyer. She lived to be quite aged.
Ezekiel Follett came from New England & settled in Milford about 1790. Mr. Follett was the first Carpenter in Milford Village. He reared a large family & all were very intelligent. His family consisted of three sons & three daughters. The sons names were Dwight, Burley & Emons. The daughters were Augusta, Charlotte & Mary. Mr. Follett was the Architect & Builder of the old Presbyterian Church. He married Miss Smith. He died about 1823. His entire family have passed to the spirit world.
Milford has raised some prominent men, among then were Sanford E. Church. The Church Family came from Conn. & located in Milford according to tradition, in 1812. Sanford E. Church was born in Milford Apr. 18, 1815, died in Albany Co. May 14, 1880.
Mr. Church was elected Lieut. Governor in 1860 & elected Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals in 1876 & died while holding this office .
Thomas Eldred, a native of R. I. migrated to Milford before the town was organized as Suffrage & purchased a farm about one mile south of the Village. Mr. Eldred had three sons & six daughters.
His oldest son Robert married Pheby Swartout His oldest daughter Polly Married Joseph Manchester of Middlefield His 2nd daughter Patience married Amos Sweet His 3rd daughter Waity married Mr. Walker, a Methodist priest. His 4th daughter Amy married Francis Wellman His 5th daughter Betsey married Peter Swartout His 6th daughter Anna married Charles Buttler
After the death of his father, Robert retained the old homestead was a successful business man. In addition to his farming he became a large dealer in stock such as Cattle & Sheep for a number of years. He finally sold his farm to David Belknap, & purchased a farm in Hartwick, occupied it a few years, sold out & emigrated to MacHenry County, Illinois & remained on the same until his death. The Eldred family have all passed away.
David L. Sayer was born in New Jersey, married Huldah ________ of the same place & migrated to Milford in 1809. (Mr. Sayer's father's name was Thomas Sayer) Mr. Sayer commenced the mercantile business as soon as he came to Milford & continued in the business until his death. He was also a practical Engineer & Surveyor & was a great benefit to people in this Country. Mr. Sayer was the parent of seven children viz: Eliza, Mark A., Caroline, George W., Mary Ann, Harriet, & Jael.
Mark A. Sayer was a Lawyer & went to Ohio, located at Newark & also remained there. George W. was Surveyor & farmer, retained the old homestead; & after he died it was left to his son David who is the inheirentent at the present time.
Joel emigrated to west to the State of Ohio & has always remained there. David L. Sayer was one of the best business men that ever lived in Milford Village.
Deacon George Babcock was one of the early settlers of Milford but the exact date he came the writer is unable to state. He was quite prominent in that locality. He raised a very respectable family. Horace, his only son, located at Cooperstown, & was Justice of the Peace a long time.
His daughter Harriet married Amos Bissel. Bissel was a prominent business man, became an Egg Merchant. The first permanent egg merchant in the County.
Olivia married Norman Bissel, a brother of Amos, who was a partner as long as he lived.
Mary remained a single lady.
Amos left one son & Norman left one son also but both have left the town and are engaged in some other business. Their fathers left them large estates but they have met with some reverses & have lost the greater part of it, in bad investments or in some imprudent management.
Some time between 1735 & 1790 Daniel French & brother David settled in Milford about one mile below the village on a tract of land owned by George Clarksen, known as the Outhaut Pattent, an entire wilderness, & commenced operations as a farmer. Like all new settlers he was compelled to build a house after the new country fashion for his family & abide by the consequences. Mr. French was very well prepared for the emergencies & hardships of a new country but misfortune overtook him when least expected & he had a hard struggle for a while. But he persevered & was successful in the end. At a certain season he became short of provisions & he said "he and his family subsisted on leakes & milk for six weeks* (*after leakes and milk for six weeks and was compelled to cut wheat and boil it for food before it was ripe. It has been stated that he gave a pair of cattle for 7 bushels of corn. The last part requires confirmation - doubtful.). Mr. French had a son David & two daughters. The eldest married. Chauncey Brown, and Eliza remained single. Mr. French remained on his farm until his death, which was rather mysterious. He retired as usual in the morning and was found dead in his bed.
The second child born in the town of Milford was David Beals in 179\86 on the east side of the river.
The second marriage was that of James Brown and Rhoda Marvin in 1788 all east of the river.
The third death was that of Mrs. Beals in 1788 from natural causes. Mrs. Beals was the first person buried in the Milford Cemetery in 1788.
The first school taught in Milford was by Increase Niles in 1790. Joseph Rice was the first lawyer in Milford; died in 1826.
Henry Scott emigrated to America, according to the best information obtainable, about 1750 and stopped at Cherry Valley a short time and then went to the Susquehanna soon after.
Mr. Scott and wife were natives of Ireland. He located about a mile north of Milford on a farm and cleared the primeval forest trees. He became very prominent in the town. Mr. Scott reared a family and his son Henry Jr. Became a man of great financial ability. He was one of the principal members of the organization of the Otsego County Bank which was chartered in 1830. Henry Scott Jr. Was the first Cashier and afterwards President of the Bank. Henry Scott Sr. Was one of the best business men of the town.
In due time he constructed a large two story house on his farm - the second two story house in the town.
After his death, the farm was purchased by James Donaly, a nephew of Mr. Scott. It remained the property of Mr. Donaly until his death and then his heirs disposed of the property to Daniel Barney and it was held by the Barney heirs.
Griswold Walworth came to Milford according to tradition about 1800 & purchased a farm about one-half below Milford Village. Mrs. Walworth had one son and four daughters. His son Leyman became a lawyer. He read law with Joseph Rice & after Rice died, he conducted the law office himself. He was admitted to the Bar and considered a very able Councilor. He sold his office to Elijah Brown & located at Cooperstown & practiced his profession until his death.
Mr. Walworth's oldest daughter married James Donoley. His second daughter married Louis Berg, a German. His third daughter married William Lane. His fourth daughter married Dewit C. Bates, a lawyer of Cherry Valley. Mr. Walworth married Lydia Eldred who was a native of R. I., located after marriage at Hoossock, N. Y.; then migrated to Milford & made that his final home. Mrs. Walworth was a sister of Thomas Eldred who located a little below Mr. Walworth on the same road.
David Cully built a Mill on the Eddy bank first. Then he constructed mills on the creek below Eddy's Tannery north of the village. He built a grist mill and saw mill which was a great convenience to the inhabitants. The settlers were before compelled to go to Cherry Valley for their milling. After the town was organized Mr. Cully sold his mills to a man from Mass. by the name of Ellis. Mr. Ellis employed Silas Moore to run the grist mill. Silas was rather a singular man in some respects. In those days people were saving & prudent. They made their clothing and shoes last as long as possible. When their shoes became somewhat worn, it was quite common to put a with around their shoes to make them last. Silas Moore's shoes had become somewhat worn and he placed a with around on of his shoes to make it last. He went over to the Village one night & on his return He stepped into a hole & lost his shoe in the mud. He got a stick & went to poking the mud hole. While he was looking for his shoe, one of his neighbors came along & asked Silas what he was doing. He said he had lost his shoe and there was a Dammed good with on it. It appears Silas valued the with more than he did his shoe.
Nicholas was an early settler in the town. He settled about a mile north of the village & made a very good selection. Mr. Kittle was from Schodac, Renselaer Co. He commenced business as a farmer & about 1825 he sold to William` Wilcox of Edson Corners.
Mr. Wilcox proved to be a prosperous business man, reared a family & they seemed to possess the business ability of their father.
William Wilcox married Leticia Breese, a daughter of Capt. John Breese of Virginia; a noted Revolutionary Soldier.
Mr. Wilcox reared a family of seven children, three sons & four daughters. His oldest son married (Henry) Lucina Turner; his second son Courtland married Axia Chaffee of Hartwick; his third son George married Jane Scollard; his eldest daughter Arsilla married Thomas Eddy; his second daughter Maria married Ephram Swartout; His third daughter married Dwight Chaffee; his fourth daughter Jane married a Mr. Turner.
Mr. Wilcox old farm fell into the hands of his second son, Courtland Wilcox, & is in the possession of Courtland's heirs.
In 1834-5 Andrew Shute & Amos Sweet Jr. Constructed a Tannery on the brook west of Amos Sweet' Sen. & ran the same for several years. They sold the same to Moses Luther & Walter Stickney who continued the Tanning business for a long time until Tannery stock became high. So much so they gave the Tanning Factory & it ran down & has been discarded.
The first Hop Yard planted in the Town of Milford was by Alonzo Bridges & John Moore Jun. In the thirty's about one-half mile north of Milford Village. Bridges and Moore were merchants and purchased the store of Abel Babcock about 1826 & were very successful for several years. At last business seemed to wane with them & they sold the store & abandoned the mercantile business.
Mr. Moore emigrated to Indiana while Mr. Bridges remained in town, became embarrassed financially & went West to seek his fortune.
Juda Waters located about a mile west of Milford Village about 1816. He constructed a Grist Mill & a scythe & Hoe Factory. Mr. Waters employed several men & became a celebrated mechanic which was a great benefit to the country. A great many scythes & hoes were manufactured by Mr. Waters. His mill was well patronized & he was a celebrated man as a manufacturer. About 1840 he sold his establishment to Wolcott Wakefield & emigrated to the state of Ohio together with his family. Mr. Wakefield sold his establishment to John Doolittle. Mr. Doolittle sold to John Moak. Since then the premises have changed hands several times & at present the plant does not amount to much.
Juda Waters reared a large family who became quite noted for their perseverance in business.
Christofer Ellis purchased a farm of the Hill a mile west of Milford Village & became quite wealthy for a farmer. He married a daughter of Joseph Perey & had an issue of four children; two sons and two daughters. The eldest son's name was Fardeman & his second son's name was Giles. His daughters' names were Hannah & Caroline. The old gentleman & lady died a long time ago, and his children were all married & have all passed to the spirit world. His heirs sold his farm to Andrew Spencer of Herkimer County. The farm today is owned by Morrell Bennet.
David Breece, the youngest son of Capt. John Breece of Laurens, married Ruth Baker, located first at Edson's Corners & later purchased a farm a little west of Milford Village, & lived on the same until his death. Theodore d. Breece, his son married Orceilia Applebee & retained the farm his father and mother left.
His daughter Lucinda married Sylvester Shermann at Laurens. His second daughter Aerilla married John Stewart of Milford.
The first Post Office of Milford was established about 1810. John Moore was appointed Postmaster. The mails were carried by a Post Rider once a week. There was no other postoffice in Milford for several years, until a P.O. was established at the lower end of the Town, called Milfordville (now Oneonta). The first Post Rider went from Cooperstown to Unadilla & returned once a week.
The next P.O. at Colliers about 1822. Peter Collier, Postmaster. The next at Portlandville, 1826, Jesse Mumford, Postmaster.
After the Presbyterian Church was erected at Milford it went by the name of the "Meeting House", for a long time. If people were going there on business, they would say "going to the meeting house". They would say I made the purchase at the meeting house. All business was done at the meeting house. People knew the place by no other name.
The church was commenced in 1804, but was not finished until 1807. The Bell was purchased and hung in the belfrey in 1825. When the church was constructed, its seating capacity was about 400.
A long time after, the Church was renovated; the old Pews were removed & new seats were put in place thereof, & were free for all church going people.
The Presbyterian Society is flourishing & has a very respectful attendance. About 1846 the Lutheran Organization of Hartwick Academy started a newspaper in Milford in the interest of the Lutheran Church & the paper was edited by J. D. Lawyer of Schoharie. It was called the Lutheran Herald. Mr. Lawyer, the editor, was rather sarcastic in many of his editorials; so much so that he gave offense to a number of the inhabitants of Milford; and why he should take the course he did was a hidden mystery. People denounced him, stopped their patronage, & he was compelled to remove his printing establishment to Hartwick.
That was the end of the Lutheran Newspaper in Milford.
About 1878 a paper was started in Milford by George Ingalls called the Milford News. He ran it a short time & was likely to fail for want of patronage, but Charles Hawver took hold of the paper and kept it running a short time and sold his interest to George Ingalls & he sold to John Crowe of Schenectady in 1889, who was quite successful in his undertaking. Mr. Crowe sold it to John Wilcox in 1891, an enterprising young man who raised the credit of the paper & has maintained the same & had a large patronage. It is looked upon as one of the best edited Democratic papers in Central New York. Mr. Wilcox took the editorial chair in 1891.
In 1874 John Armstrong & Son purchased a plot of land in the village & erected Steam Mills for the benefit of the people in the community.
They erected a saw mill and fuel mill and manufactured cabinetware of different kinds, & manufactured lumber of all kinds. This business is a very great benefit to that vicinity. They employ a large number of men to carry on their mills. It has become a lucrative business.
Hiram Sargent purchased a building on the north side of the street that leads to the river. He constructed a shoe shop at first & converted into a tavern. He ran the Hotel several years. He sold out to Larrand Pratt who kept a tavern several years. He sold to _____ Adams & he converted it into a Furniture Store.
It appears that the Beals Family were the primitive settlers of this locality in the year 1784-5. Three brothers of the name of Beals came from Boston, Mass. with their ox teams (as was customary with most of the settlers). They commenced the laborious task of felling the giant trees, expecting to make their wilderness home as pleasant as possible; & due preparations for a happy life.
Of course, the first thing for them to do was the Construction of some sort of a building to shelter them from the inclemency of the weather which was done by erecting a log cabin after the new country style.
The brothers' names were Abram, Jesse & Reuben. In the course of time, Abram emigrated to what is now called Masonville, Delaware County, N.Y. Jesse Beals emigrated to Illinois. Reuben Beals remained on the first settled place in Milford, on the east shore of the Susquehanna, during his natural life. It was located on the Franklin Patent. Mr. Reuben Beals' oldest son Reuben Beals Jr. Was five years old when they came to Milford. Reuben Jr. Remained with his father & married Miss Betsey Jewel. After his father's demise, he retained the old farm & reared a very prominent and respectful family. He prospered in business & accumulated a large property.
Mr. Beals' issue was six children: five sons and one daughter. The sons were Whitney, Leroy, Mason, George & Edward. His daughter's name was Leury.
Whitney Beals married Olive D. Lake. Edward Beals is a noted school master & ranks high in the Education class of School Teachers. He held the exalted position of School Commissioner of the second District of Otsego County & acquitted the office with honor. There was a time when the Beals name was very numerous in Milford; but at the present time the old name has become extinct in the old town of Milford.
Reuben Beals Jrs's family have all passed away except one; Edward, and he lives in the State of Michigan. The obituary states Kansas. The other offsprings are scattered to different States.
There is a sacred family relic remaining with Edward E. Beals. It is a very ancient Bible which dates back to 1713. It has been in the Beals family 190 years. It contains the old family record in full. The Beals family were the third settlers in Milford. The Beals farm was where the three Indians captured Ingalls.
Juda Waters' native place was Sutters, Mass. Mr. Waters moved to a town called Ward, Mass. & from there to Milford, Otsego Co., N.Y. in 1803. He married Olive Fuller of Meadway, Mass. His family consisted of six sons & two daughters, viz: Amos, Juda, Jr., Abigail, Olive, George Daniel, Jason & Thomas. All were born in Mass. except Thomas who was born in Milford. The Waters family located on the East side of the Susquehanna in the same locality with the Beals. They remained on the East side of the river for years before they separated.
Amos married Relief Clark & remained on the farm his father first settled.
Judah Waters Sen. Settled in Milford on the East side of the Cherry Valley Creek in about 1803 about 1 1/2 mi. east of the Susquehanna bridge. His farm was located on the Franklin Patent. Juda Waters Sen. Was born in Sutton, Worcester Co., Mass., April 12, 1758; he married Oliver Fuller of Meadway, mass. in 1780. Olive was born Dec. 20, 1764.
They had 11 children, viz.: 1. Amos Waters born Sutton, Sept. 23, 1781 2. Judah Waters born Sutton, July 23, 1783 3. Jason Waters born Sutton, Sept. 20, 1785 4. Josiah Waters born Sutton, Jan. 7, 1789 5. Olive Waters born Sutton, Mar. 18, 1791 6. Lewis Waters born Sutton, May 3, 1793 7. Abigail Waters born Ward, April 20, 1795 8. Daniel Waters born Ward, June 5, 1797 9. George Washington Waters born Ward, July 29, 1799 10. Sarah Waters born Ward, November 20, 1801 11. Thomas Jefferson Waters born Milford, NY, June 14, 1804
Amos Waters married Relief Clark of Mass. Amos F. Waters born Milford, Jan. 6, 1809 Brooksena Waters born Milford, May 30, 1805. Simeon Waters born Milford, August 1811 Russel Waters born Milford, Jan. 14, 1815 Amos F. Waters married Eunice Lyon May 15, 1836 Brooksana Waters married Moses Janes of Westford, Dec. 1822; died Oct. 11, 1823 Simean Waters married Harriet Haines, daughter of Charles & Mary Haines in August 1832. Russel Waters married Eunice Ann Barnard, daughter of Wm. Barnard, May 28, 1840. Eunice Ann was born in Milford, Dec. 17, 1821; still living & occupies the Old Capt. Waters farm that he settled in 1803 & where he died in Feb. 23, 1838. Russel Waters died Jan. 14, 1884
Sarah born in Sutton, Mass. Dec. 27, 1807 Nathan born in Sutton, Mass. Dec 12, 1810 A son born in Milford, NY Oct. 13, 1813 Freeman born in Milford, NY June 12, 1816 Harriet born in Milford, Ny March 1820 Olive born in Milford, NY Nov 1, 1825 Lewis born in Milford, NY Dec 29, 1822 Sarah Waters married Justice Perry of Hartwick, N.Y. Feb. 13, 1825; moved to Genesee, Livingston Co., N.Y.; thence to Oswell, Ohio. Nathan Waters married Susan D. Perry, daughter of Jonas Perry of Hartwick, N.Y., June 1, 1836. Migrated to Oswell, Ohio. Freeman Waters married Cordelia Waters of Livermore, Maine, July 19, 1840; they moved to Sulpher Springs, 20 miles south of St. Louis on the Mississippi River, where he died in April 1849. Harriet Waters married Rufus Barnard of Milford Jan. 6, 1841. Migrated to Oswell, Ashtabula Co., Ohio & still resides there. Olive Waters married Henry Sansom of Brookfield, Ohio (he was a native of England) March 3, 1847.
Judah Waters 2nd. Migrated from Sutton to Milford, N.Y., Otsego County, about 1811. The Scythe and Hoe Factory was built 1816. The Stone Mill in 1827 sold to Walcott Wakefield in 1840.
Capt. Judah Waters enlisted in the Revolutionary Army when quite young & continued in the service until the close of the War. The company he belonged to was on guard duty in South Boston near Roxbury. He participated in the Battle of Bunker Hill, White Plains, Dorchester Heights at the time Gen. Howe eevacuated Boston Town & sailed for Halifax.
Mr. Waters was one of the prominent early settlers, & assisted in opening up the new country. Olive, his wife, was very much esteemed in the ladies society of the early settlers.
Lewis Waters, son of Capt. Waters, constructed a house near his Fathers & remained in it until his death, May 3, 1820. He married Mary Hunt. He left a widow and one girl whose name was Celia. Jason Waters married Harriet Phillips of Charleston, Mass., Sept. 7 1815. They moved to Valley Forge, Pa. Josiah died when young.
Olive Waters married Luther Jewel in 1809. They migrated to Painesville, Ohio. Abigail Waters married Ralph Jorden, a son of Stephen Jorden of Hartwick, N.Y. in 1816. They moved to Oswell, Ohio in 1832.
Daniel Waters married Eunice Fitch, daughter of Buckingham Fitch of Pierstown, in 1821 & had five children.
Judah Fitch Waters born in 1823 Amos W. Waters born Aug. 11, 1825 in Milford. Laura E. Waters born in 1827 married William F. Thayer Hannah E. Waters born in 1828 Fifth died in infancy.Mrs. Waters died at Roseville Nov. 3, 1832. George E. Waters never camed to Milford, N.Y., but entered West Point Military Adademy in 1819 & graduated in June 1823 as 2nd. Lieut. Of Infantry & was ordered to report to his company at Council Bluffs, Iowa which he reached safely after 112 days journey. He was there three years; then was selected as an Engineer to locate & lay out Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1826. In 1831 he married Letiecia Isreal of Phil., Pa. They went to Jefferson Barrachs in Missour 6 mi. below St. Louis. While located ther, he was in the Seminole War in Florida. He was also on the Sabine Frontier between Louisania & Texas during the boundary Question with Mexico. In the early 40's he opened a farm on west side of trhe Mississippi River 20 miles below St. Louis, a place called Sulpher Springs, where he died in 1846 leaving a wife & four children, all boys, still living & reside where they were. Their children Sarah died young.
Thomas Jefferson Waters married Deborah Hoose of Middlefield about 1826. In 1831 they moved to New Albion, Catteraugus Co., N.Y. where they died.
Captain Juda Waters was a Revolutionary Pensioner & drew $8.00 per mo. All the Rev. soldiers in or about the immediate vicinity of Capt. Waters would congregate at his house every July 4th; drink New England Rum; & have a very pleasant & sociable time, spend the day joyfully, and depart stronger friends than ever.
The Waters Family were of English Origin; but what year they came to America, the writer has no means of knowing. The descendants are as follows: Richard Waters 1st.; John 2nd.; Richard 3rd.; Amos 4th.; Capt. Juda Waters 5th.; Juda Jr. 6th. The grandchildren of Judah Waters were of the seventh Generation from the first English Waters that came to America.
Capt. Juda was appointed Captain quite early in the Rev. War & received his commission from Governor Hancock.
A. W. Waters, son of Daniel Waters, was a practical Engineer & Surveyor. He was engaged by several different Companies in laying out several Railroads, & locating the same. Also he was engaged by the Government in surveying Public Lands.
He came from France, & settled in Saratoga with his parents when he was eight years old. John Low Sen. Settled in Milford in 1795 & married Abigail Hopkins.
His oldest son John Low Jr., born in Albany, Dec. 5, 1793 & married Amy Barbour of Milford. Rinold Low married Susan Sutlif. Joseph Low died when 16 years old in 1823 with smallpox. The eldest daughter, Anna, married Ebenezer Wilcox. The second daughter, Catherine, married Alvin Crafts of Hartwick. The third daughter, Esther, married Oris Adams. The fourth daughter, Margaret, married William R. Hardy. Johns's fifth daughter, Abigail, married Luther Brewer. Hannah and Betsey both died young.
Mr. John Low Sen. Purchased a wilderness farm on the east side of the River & was a prosperous farmer, energetic in his business & amassed a goodly property. Mr. Low was a very intelligent man & was considered one of the first citizens of the Town. He always remained on the farm he selected for his future home until his death June 3, 1847. John Low's sons have all passed away & also their companions.
A list of the Births of the Low Family.
Parents: John Low born April 18, 1771 New York. Abigail Hopkins, his wife, born May 5, 1767 New York
Children: John Law Jr. Born Dec. 5, 1793 Albany, N.Y. Mahetable " Aug. 3, 1794 Lansingburg, N.Y. Elizabeth " Sept. 25, 1796 Milford, N.Y. Hannah " July 13, 1798 " Reynold " July 7, 1800 " Mariah " Sept. 1802 " Catherine " Aug. 17, 1804 " Margaret " Apr. 15, 1807 " Joseph H. " Nov. 18, 1809 " Abigail " June 13, 1813 "
Nicholas Weaver settled on the east side of the river a little in advance of Mr. Low. One Harmon came the same year that Mr. Weaver did, but did not remain long & sold to Daniel Reynolds who reared a large family & remained there until his death. William Chidister was an early settler in the same neighborhood & also Laurens Tarpening. William Chedister went to Albany with a load of farm produce & had the misfortune to take the smallpox & died with the same disease.
The Doctor that attended him did not understand the disease until it was too late; consequently he died, but not till after several had been exposed to the fatal disease. The consequence was that, before Dr. King ascertained the true nature of the disease, several died. Dr. said at the onset he believed it was smallpox, but Dr. Low said it was not. Dr. King, to satisfy himself, sent a man after Dr. Fuller of Cooperstown & he pronounced it Smallpox. Then the settlement was quarantined; the Malady was stopped. It created a great excitement all over the Town & almost every person was vaccinated. A little after the smallpox scare, two brothers located on the east side of the river, had made good improvements & they were stricken with Typhus Fever & both died. Their names were William & Benjamin Allen.
John Low, Jr's eldest daughter Laura Ann married John Brewer. Alonzo Low married Samantha Chase of Hartwick The second daughter Sally married Ebenezer Cronkite. The third daughter Betsey married John Smith of Middlefield. The second son, Philo, married Cemantha Applin of Hartwick. The third son, Philip, married Minerva Winsor. The fourth daughter Amy never married.
Dr. John Low Sen's daughter Margaret Low married W. R. Hardy, a very intelligent man. They were married in 1893 & reared a very respectable family of children. His eldest son, Albert, was a lawyer and migrated to Nebraska, & became a noted attorney at the State Bar. His second son, Oscar, was a clergyman of the Lutheran denomination, located in New Jersey & died rather young. Abigail married and died soon after. George was a Carpenter & located in Unadilla. Mahlon and Henry were farmers & died young. Henry was killed by the kick of a horse. Elbridge, a farmer, remains on the homestead. Esther, the youngest daughter, died when a young lady with Dipthery. (The children, listed above, Albert through Esther, are the Hardy children.)
The Hardy Family consisting of Father, Mother, & eight children have all passed away but their sons, Albert, George, & Elridge. Thus ends the Hardy Family. Squire Hardy was one of the first men of the town. He held the office of Supervisor, School Commissioner, Justice of the Peace, & several other offices in town & was also County Superintendent of the Poor.
Dr. Thadius Sweet came to Milford about 1810 from Hoosaic, N.Y. & settled on the east side of the Susquehanna river.
He was a native of R.I. and married a lady of R.I. & had one son, Thadius Jr. & she was sickened & died when her son was quite young.
He afterward married Betsey Eldred, a native of the same place.
Dr. Sweet was an expert Bone Setter; he belonged to the Sweet Family that were natural Bone Setters. The original family came from England quite early & were designated as the "Bone Setter Sweets", because they were such skillful bone setters.
Dr. Thadius had an issue of seven children by his Eldred woman, three sons & four daughters.
Thomas, the eldest, married Mrs.______(son) Holden, the second son, married Eva Cornsike. Caleb, his third son, married Lucy Wickwire of Middlefield. Lucy, the eldest daughter, married William Stevens, Jr. Mercy, his second daughter, married Claudius Dreet of Massachusetts Sally, his third daughter, married Jacob Wellman. Betsey, his fourth daughter, married Louis Barber.
Dr. Sweet's sons Holden & Caleb were expert Mechanics. They were both Carpenters & Millrites. Holden finally relinquished his trade & read Medicine & became a celebrated Physician. Dr. Holden Sweet proved to be the most skillful bone setter in the county. He had patients from all parts of the State. As soon as he saw the patient & put hands upon the defective limb, he would tell in the twinklin of an eye the difficulty. It appears that they were possessed of an art that no other class of men had. Dr. Thadius Sweet's Family have all passed away. The Sweet farm was purchased by John Wager who lived on it until his death.
The first Settlement made at Edson Corners was by Levi Adams in 1767. Mr. Adams migrated from Pawlet, Vermont. He was a Carpenter by trade & was a very useful man in this Wilderness country. "He broke the ice as it were" by felling the giant trees of this primeval forest, built the first log cabin, drove back the timid wild animals which gave place for civilization. His labors as a mechanic were sought for all through the county. Mr. Adams was a native of Massachusetts. He had a family of five children.
Ezra Adams, the eldest son, married _? & was a useful man, like his father. He was a carpenter and had a large business at his trade. He was elected Town Clerk 12 different time; & held the office of Justice of the Peace & was elected Supervision 5 times. Polly Adams, his daughter, married Col. Joseph Mumford & reared a large family. Orrin, the 2nd son, married a daughter of Daniel Lee. Orris, the third son, married Esther Low. Levi, Jr. Never married.
Steukeley Whitford settled at Edson Corners in 1787, the same year as Mr. Adams & by some said to be a little in advance of Adams. At all events there was but little difference. Mr. Whitford remained at that place but a short time, before he removed about a mile north toward "Bow Hill". In 1790 or after he purchased a farm a half mile west of Edson Corners & lived on the same until his death which occurred in 1835.
Mr. Whitford had an issue of three sons & one daughter. William, his oldest son, married Jerusha Houghton. Noah, his second son married & emigrated to Ohio. Polly, a daughter, married John Thurber & emigrated to Ohio. Joseph, the third son, married Thusa Wetherell; sold the old farm & moved to the Town of Cattin, Tioga Co., N.Y.
He has one great granddaughter living in the town, & she is the last of the Whitford Family living in Milford.
Steukely Whitford was the first Surveyer in Milford; he was a native of Massachusetts.
William Barnard came from the Town of Tolland, Conn. In 1790 & settled at first at Edson Corners, constructed a log house in new country style and returned to Conn. For his wife. Mr. Barnard married Eunice Baker of the same place as himself. He came all the way from Conn. With ox-team, in winter, & arrived in safety after a long & tedious journey.
William Barnard was born in Tolland, Conn. Sept. 22, 1764. His wife Eunice Baker was born in Tolland, Conn. Apr. 5, 1765.
After remaining at Edsons Corners two years he sold his possessions & went about a mile west, purchased an entire wilderness farm, improved it & lived upon the same until his death which occurred Apr. 18, 1850, aged 86 years. Mr. Barnard was a prosperous farmer & highly respected. He held the office of Justice a number of years. Mr. Barnard reared a very respectable family which have all passed away. William Barnard's family consisted of six sons and one daughter.
William Barnard Jun. Born in Tolland, Conn. Aug. 15, 1788. Solomon Barnard " in Milford, N.Y. Mar. 2, 1793 Eunice Barnard " in Milford, N.Y. Oct. 27, 1795 Asher Barnard " in Milford, N.Y. Nov. 2, 1797 Frederick Barnard " in Milford, N.Y. Aug. 10, 1802 Samuel Barnard " in Milford, N.Y. July 20, 1805 Moses Barnard " in Milford, N.Y. July 6, 1808
William Barnard was a Soldier in the Revolution under General Washington, he was at Yorktown when Lord Cornwallis surrendered to Gen. Washington & marched up to him at the tune of "Yankee Doodle" & gave Washington his sword, & became very humble to the great American General. Mr. Barnard had a brother in the American Army and a father. They were taken prisoners at Long Island, thrown into the British prison at New York & starved to death. Mr. Barnard participated in the American recreation at York Town & danced with the soldiers as did Gen. Washington. The tune the band played when Gen. Washington danced has ever since been called the Soldiers' Joy.'
I will now proceed to give marriages in the Barnard family as they occurred. William Barnard, Sen. Was married to Eunice Baker, Feb. 23, 1786 - both of Tolland, Conn.
William Barnard Jun. married Ann Bunn of Hartwick. Eunice " " Roswell Grover July 4, 1813 Asher " " Sally Squire Feb. 24, 1816 Solomon " " Julia Bissel Jan. 1, 1817. Frederick " " Lucy Wilcox of Laurens Jan 1, 1824 Moses " " Delia Grover of Hartwick Apr 23, 1836
The old Barnard farm is in the hands of his grand daughter, Harriet, who married Walter Brownell of Hartwick.
Dr. H. H. Barnard at Milford has his Grandfather's old Musket he carried through the old war with fixed Bayonet all ready for action in good repair. It should be kept a sacred relic.
George Wilcox was a native of Dartmouth, Bristol Co., R.I. Mr. Wilcox married Margaret Allen of the same place and emigrated from R.I. to Dutchess Co., N.Y. & from there to Milford, Otsego County, N.Y. some time prior to 1800 & purchased the wilderness farm & always remained on it until his death. Himself & his wife were both buried on the farm he first purchased. Mr. Wilcox died June 9, 1836 - 77 years. His wife died June 9, 1844 - 84 years.
He was a prosperous farmer, a good business man & reared a very respectable family which consisted of four sons & four daughters.
Williams, the oldest son, married Laeticie Breese. Ebenezer, the second son, married Anna Low. Ebenezer, the second son, married Anna Low. Jason, the third son, married Polly Westcott. George, the fourth son, married Miss Arnold of Hartwick. Elizabeth, the oldest daughter, married Isaac Powell of Laurens Abigail, the second daughter, married Lorenzo Bates. Ruth, the third daughter, Gidean Ray. Sally, the fourth daughter, married Thomas Page (may be Hoag or Hoyt.) of Laurens.
Mr. Wilcox's daughters & sons have all passed away; but a large number of Grandchildren & Great Grandchildren remain in Town & some are scattered to different states.
William Wilcox, the oldest son, purchased a large farm which lay contiguous to his father's farm & became very wealthy. Later he purchased a farm on the river, removed to the same & let his son Henry take possession of his Edson Corner's farm, who remained on it until his death. Henry married Leucina Turner & had an issue of one son Williams (named after his grandfather). Williams married Emogene Shute & he had one son John Henry Wilcox. Williams died quite young & John Henry occupies the old Williams Wilcox farm.
Daniel Lee, a Soldier of the Revolution was among the early settlers of Edsons Corners, who came just before 1800. He had three sons & four daughters.
His eldest daughter married Jacob Edson, who was a Lawyer & erected the first Tavern at the place. His second daughter married Oren Adams. His third daughter married John Downs. His fourth daughter married Joseph Wallin of Oneonta. The oldest son Barns Lee married Azuba Sergent. Barns had four children: two sons & two daughters. He died & was buried at Edson Corners Cemetery. His family after his death migrated to Penna. Daniel Lee's second son Willard was a shoemaker & located at Hartwick. His third son Milow went to Penn.
The Lee Family have all passed away. Daniel was Town Collector every year as long as he remained in town. He collected the taxes at 5% & went to every man's house; commenced about the first of December & finished up about the first of May.
The Union Church was built by the Universalist Society in 1819. Ezra & Oren Adams, builders. Captain Lorenzo Bates was Superintendent, director & prime mover in the matter. It was built by general Subscription & was free for all Denominations, except when the Universalists wanted it. They had the preference. After the death of Capt. Bates in 1859, it remained for a short time & then it was moved by Henry Wilcox & converted into a Wagon barn.
Simeon Bates, father of Barnabas Bates, came from Tolland, Conn. Before 1800. Barnabas Bates married Betsey Hedges. His oldest son was David. The second son was David. His daughter Almira Bates married Samuel Bixby of Conn.
Barnabas Bates married a daughter of Major Lemuel Sergent. He purchased a farm near Edson Corners & when quite old, his son Lorenzo purchased the farm of his father & remained on it until his death, 1859.
Lorenzo Bates married Abigail Wilcox & had an issue of eleven children. His oldest daughter Henrietta married Hosea Westcott. Sally, the 2nd daughter, married Harvey Westcott. His eldest son Adin never married; died when a young man. Margaret, the third daughter, married Abner Bruce. His second son DeWitt married Armenia Wilcox. Elizabeth, his fourth daughter, married Elisha Robinson of Hartwick. The fifth daughter Emeline married William Scott. The sixth daughter Abigail married Hamilton Westcott. His third son Myrin married Adeline Morris. Ruth, the seventh daughter, married Chester Kingman. Henry, the last son, married Louisa Mumford.
Capt. Lorenzo Bates, a mason by trade, constructed a number of magnificent buildings in the Country. He built the Morse Cotton Factory at New Berlin, the Hope Factory on Oaks Creek below Cooperstown, the old Union mills at Toddsville & also the Phenix Mills on the river in Middlefield. Capt. Bates was a prominent builder, a useful man & a gentleman of the first order.
Carder Stone was a native of Conn. & migrated to the wilds of Tryon County about 1788 & settled on a wild farm in the town of Laurens, which today is owned & occupied by Harland White. Mr. Stone commenced to improve his farm by felling the giant trees & erecting log buildings after the new country fashion, by rolling up the logs & covering the roof with bark, & laying punchean floors placing a wall in one end of the room or a fireplace, split boards for a door. Then they would cut a hole in one end for a window, and all was completed.
Mr. Stone remained on his farm until 1792, when he sold & moved to the town of Milford, about a mile west of Edson Corners & purchased another wild farm. He reared a family of five children: two sons & three daughters.
Steukely, the eldest son, married a daughter of Elder Edmund Richmond & in 1829 moved to Ashtubuly, Ohio His oldest daughter married Ebenezer Grover. The other two daughters the writer is unable to give any particular history of. His son Andrew married & purchased a farm adjoining his father's & resided on it until some time in the fifties. He sold out and emigrated to the State of Iowa & there spent the remainder of his days.
In 1846 Carder Stone sold his farm to Alvin Lyon, moved to Edson Corners & there he & his wife spent the remainder of his days. Carder Stone died May 3, 1856, aged 93 years. Mr. Stone was born on 1763. He was the first Cooper in the town of Milford.
Thomas Baker came from Bennington, Vt. Prior to 1790 & located in the wilderness of Edson Corners. Mr. Baker married Hannah Watson & was the parent of eight sons & two daughters.
Leonard, his oldest son, married Deborah Burnside of Maryland. Allen, his second son, lived and died a bachelor. Reed, his third son, married Julia Harrison of Hartwick. Russel, his fourth son, married ? Windsor, his fifth son, married ? Clark, his sixth son, like his brother Allen died a bachelor. Spencer, his seventh son, married a lady in Illinois. Darwin, his eight son, married Miss Silliman. Mr. Baker had two daughters who died when young ladies & were never married.
The oldest son, Leonard, was s farmer and reared a large family. Allen was a school teacher & a practical engineer & Surveyed. Allen was elected Justice of the Peace a great many times & in fact was an acting magistrate when he died in July 1850. He was elected school Commissioner under the old law a number of years. He was a very brilliant man. Reed and Winsor Baker were both Blacksmiths. All of Thomas Baker's sons were very intelligent men. They have all passed away except Darwin & he is an old man & lives at Oriskany Falls, Oneida County. Allen & Spencer Baker died very mysteriously, supposed to have been murdered by poisoning. Mrs. Spencer Baker was charged with the crime but was not convicted. (No doubt was guilty). Thomas Baker, was Constable a long time & was an energetic officer; about 1815 a number of citizens of Milford organized a company & established a town Library at Edson Corners & Thomas Baker was chosen Librarian. The Library was kept at Mr. Bakers' for several years. Several members of the Library Company were living at Milford Village & in time they outnumbered Edson corners, & they moved the Library to Milford Village & David L. Sager was appointed Librarian. Mr. Baker was a prosperous farmer & a great wheat grower. He had raised a heavy crop of wheat & had it all threshed & secured in the granary ready for market. He was very cautious with his wheat & kept his granary well secured by lock & key to be sure it was safe from thieves. Well, he had sold a large lot to a certain gentleman, & wend to the granary to measure it up, & to his surprise he saw a great sink in on of the bins which he could not account for. He made a close inspection of the matter & found some one had crept under the barn & had tapped one of the bins with a two inch auger & had drawn out a large amount of wheat & he was never fortunate enough to find the intruder. Reed Baker's eldest son was a prominent lawyer. Leonard Baker's sons were enterprising and held some prominent offices. James O. Baker was Justice of the Peace as long as he lived. Warren L. Baker was School Commissioner of the 2nd. District & gave good satisfaction.
The Edsons were from Kenebec, Maine. Isaac Edson, the oldest son of Jacob Edson, came to Milford about 1793 & located at Milford Village when the town was sparsely settled & kept the first store in town.
Soon after his brother Jacob came to town as a School teacher. Isaac conducted his mercantile business for several years & by the assistance of his brother Jacob they erected an Ashery & carried on quite a business for a new country. They continued their business until 1804. Then they changed their location & went about two miles West & build an Ashery & a new store; also a Tavern & made a business place of their new situation.
Jacob married Miss Lee & he had charge of the hotel & Isaac had charge of the Store & Ashery. At that time the new place was given the name of Edson Corners, & it was the best business place in town.
Jacob Edson by his thoroughness organized a Military Company of Artillery & Jacob Edson was commissioned Captain of said company.
A six pound field piece was obtained from the State; a Gun House was erected & Edson Corners boomed very high.
Edson Corners had the best school in the town, & in fact rated as high as any school in the County. More teachers were educated in that school & better qualified than all other schools in town. Col. Wm. Bissell, that eminent lawyer, Military man, gentleman & statesman, was a pupil of the Edson Corners School. He died while Governor of Illinois.
The Edsons sold out their store & Tavern & moved away & the place began to wane & it kept going down until there is nothing left of the once celebrated Edson Corners but a little hamlet.
John Edson, the father of Isaac & Jacob came from Kenebec about 1802 with the remainder of the Edson family which consisted of 4 sons & 4 daughters.
John, the third son, died while living at the corners; also the old people. Nehemiah married Parnel Reed who came from Maine. Ruth married Bezar Reed from Maine. Silva married James Cyphers. Daniel Savage married one of the daughters & one of the girls married a Mr. Davis.
These constituted the Edson Family
Major Lemuel Sergent, a Soldier of the Revolution, came with his family from Tolland, Conn. Before 1795 & purchased a farm about one-half south of Edson Corners, which is now owned by Elbridge Hardy.
Lemuel Sergent Sen. was Drum Major in the war & always retained his patriotic principles. His oldest son Lemuel married a daughter of Barnabas Bates. He purchased a farm contiguous to his father's & was a celebrated "Corn Raiser", was styled "Corn King". It was said that he was the only man that raised corn that was for seed in 1816, the cold season. He planted a piece on a high hill that had been burned off, but not logged & and that ripened & was good for seed. He sold his seed for $1.25 a peck.
Lemuel Sergent, Jr. Had 3 sons and 3 daughters.
Joseph, the oldest, married Minerva Scott. Job, the second son, married Tina Van Buren, who was accidentally killed by his team being frightened by a dog. One of the horses became detached from the wagon, the tongue dropped and ran into the ground. It threw the lady out; she struck her head & broke her neck. She sprang to her feet, brushed down her clothes & dropped to the ground dead. It happened a little north of Leonard Baker's dwelling, March 5, 1829. For his second wife he married Maria Moore. The third son Hiram married Sally Lyon. The eldest daughter Azuba, married Barnes Lee. The second daughter Hannah married Abram Van Buren. The third daughter Sally married Jacob Moore.