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Chauncey Todd of Otsego County NY
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Chauncey Todd6, (Jonah5, Stephen4, Samuel3, Samuel2, Christopher1) born March 24, 1784, in Cheshire, Conn., died July 26, 1855, in New Berlin, N. Y., married Sept. 13, 1812, Susan Hotchkiss, of Bethany, Conn., who was born July 18, 1792, died April 20, 1854.
There must have been some Horace Greeley in those days telling young men to “Go West”, for he set forth for the unbroken wilderness of Central New York in 1805. He returned later to Connecticut to look for some young woman also anxious to “Go West”, and found her in the person of Susan Hotchkiss to whom he was married on Sept. 13, 1812. It is the tradition that the wedding trip was made on horseback to the new home in the forest in the town of Butternuts, Otsego County, N. Y. In this pioneer home they lived for many years and there was born the patriarchal family of eleven, all of whom grew to man and woman-hood, nine of them marrying and having families. He was a true pioneer, for after spending many years on the Butternuts farm, he moved to the vicinity of New Berlin, Chenango County, and there carved out another home. Late in life he again became restless and was with difficulty dissuaded from again breaking up and emigrating to the wilds of Michigan.
The following sketch was written by his son, Rev. Russell Todd.
My father, Chauncey Todd, aged twenty-one, in company with a young man, Enos Lawrence by name, came from Cheshire, Connecticut, into Morris, Otsego County, N. Y., then an almost unbroken wilderness, in 1805. Selecting a tract of land about one mile north from the present village of Morris, my father at once began the clearing of a space for a log hut, the beginning of a future home, then commenced the toilsome labor of felling trees and clearing the land. By late autumn two acres of land were cleared and sowed to wheat. He then returned to Cheshire for the winter.
By the pleasant sequel which followed our fancy may take the pleasant liberty of imagining that the winter was not altogether void of pleasure to my father. In the neighborhood was a home to which he made frequent visits. Here he found her who was to be his future wife, Susan Hotchkiss by name, to whom he was to be married in the near future. Whether he was married in the spring following I am not certain. But it was not long before they traveled together to their new home in the wilderness.
Our fancy must supply the picture of the next twenty years. The portion of the forest selected by father in Otsego County became a well cultivated farm with orchard, a comfortable dwelling and good outbuildings. Here in this home were born eight sons and three daughters. In 1836 my father sold this farm and purchased another about two miles north of New Berlin, Chenango County, N. Y., to which he moved in the spring of the same year. Here he remained until within a year or two of his death, which occurred in the year 1854, my mother preceding him the previous year.
As I recall the memory of my parents, after the lapse of fifty years, the relation they bore to each other as husband and wife gives me great pleasure and profit. There is a witness of a uniform mutual confidence and trust. The display of affection was quiet and undemonstrative, of such a nature that the home life seldom if ever suffered a chill. In all the twenty-five years of my life under the home roof, I do not recall such a difference of feeling between my father and mother that there arose any hardness of words on either side. The best and truest evidence of my father’s love and devotion to my mother was his studious watchfulness to lighten her cares and burdens of the home life. The boys being in number more than the girls, when it was apparent that the day’s duties were to be of an unusually hard nature my father’s quick eye took in the situation, and one of the former was commissioned to be the helper of the mother. Again and again was it my lot to be an assistant at the wash-tub, a helper in the preparation of meals, clearing away and washing dishes and sometimes applying the mop to the kitchen floor. This relief to my mother was by no means transient, fitful or the result of a special appeal on her part. It was a regular fixed custom of my father that she be relieved in time of need.
It was my father’s custom in the winter season to spend his evenings in the shop at the cooper’s trade. Being a very industrious man, his labors extended well into the evening, when he would join the family group, finding mother mending or knitting, the children, some reading and some at their games. From well established habits of my father, the children had learned what greeting to expect from father when he had taken his seat in the family circle. “Susan (he always addressed her by her christian name) is there nothing the boys can do for you, no apples to pare for sauce, no pumpkins to be made ready for tomorrow’s pies or something else they can do for you?” Often in late years have I gone back in memory to my boyhood days to the old home on the hillside and thought especially of the fact how watchful and tender was my father of her who was his helpmeet in the affairs of home. The cares of such a numerous family of eleven children were by no means light or few.
Another characteristic of my father worthy to be noticed was his firm regard for what he thought was right. There seemed to be no place in his nature for compromises, no place for light or trivial action when a principle was at stake. I mention but one incident to show this character in him, the same adherence to duty which he thought was right was shown in every phase of life. It was a Sunday morning in the early dawn of winter. There had been many days of constant and heavy rains, the roads were in a fearful condition. On the preceding night a heavy snow storm had set in, a fall of six inches was already on the ground and underneath a great deal of mud. It was still snowing and fair promise that it would continue all day. The question of not getting to church on such a day under such circumstances, was a foregone conclusion on the part of the boys. We can’t get to church to-day was the unanimous verdict of the whole household save the small minority of two who remained silent and undisturbed. The usual hour for starting the two mile ride to church drew near. The children were anxious. They saw evident signs of preparation for going to church on the part of the silent two. At last the firm but gentle command from father came, “Boys, you may go down and harness ‘old grey’ to the single wagon, your mother and I will go to church.” It is difficult to describe the feelings of us boys as we saw our aged parents go down the hill towards church that Sunday morning. This sense of our moral weakness is better imagined than put down in words. I do not think any of us children did ever forget the lesson of that Sunday morning.
Speaking of a religious custom of my father, it was his uniform habit, every Sunday evening, to gather his children, old and young about the old home fireplace to teach and hear them say the old church catechism, mother joining with the rest in saying the creed and the ten commandments and the remainder of the matchless formula.
Turning in thought to the memory of my mother, her life seemed to run in helpful harmony with my father’s, exerting a most potent influence on the household. My mother’s character was of the gentle type. Her life, as it seems to me now in this far away time, was like the running of a quiet stream through a peaceful meadow. Very seldom a ripple of temper or excited manner of speech. Correcting or rebuking her children was always in the manner and tones of love. I do not recall a time when she lost her self-control or gave way to harsh words.
As to my mother’s personal appearance, I will only relate what as a boy of ten years I overheard from a group of ladies standing around the stove one winter’s Sunday noon in old St. Andrew’s Church, New Berlin. “Mrs. Chauncey Todd bears the sweetest and most winning face of all the ladies who appear at church.” Her eyes were a soft brown, a pleasant smile about the mouth, her hair a light brown lightly touched with auburn, remaining untouched with grey to the last.
*666. Lucy, b. Oct. 30, 1813.
*667. Jared, b. Dec. 3, 1814.
*668. Albert, b. Aug. 15, 1816.
*669. Juliana, b. April 12, 1818.
*670. Charles, b. June 3, 1820.
*671. Edward, b. Aug. 21, 1822.
*672. Ambrose, b. Dec. 12, 1825.
673. George, b. Dec. 13, 1827, d. Dec. 29, 1853, unmarried.
*674. Russell, b. Jan. 5, 1830.
675. Mary, b. Aug. 7, 1832, d. Oct. 7, 1857, unmarried.
*676. Chauncey, b. April 24, 1835.
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