Afton is situated on the south-east corner of the county and lies wholly within the original township of Clinton. It was formed from Bainbridge November 18, 1857, and derives its name from Afton Water, a small river in Ayrshire, England, immortalized by the Scottish poet Burns. (A somewhat bitter feud was engendered by the division
Thomas Ryan, of Topeka, lawyer, soldier, congressman and diplomat. was born at Oxford, New York. November 25, 1837, but while he was an infant his parents moved to Bradford County; Pennsvlvania, where he was reared upon a farm and attended the country school. He had been admitted to the bar when the Civil war broke
Henry Pearsall came from Long Island about 1787 and settled in the north-east part of Afton, one-half mile west of what was known as the Middle Bridge, which went off in a freshet a number of years ago and was not rebuilt. Having built a small house in the woods, he brought in his family,
John Johnston, brother of William, also a Revolutionary soldier, came in from Montgomery county two or three years later, and settled about half a mile south of Bettsburgh, on the place now occupied by Ira Woodruff, where he and his son Samuel started a tannery and carried on the shoe business, and where he died.
Hezekiah Stowel, to whom reference has been made, was a Vermont sufferer, and came in from Guilford in that State in 1786, and settled at Bettsburgh, on 220 acres on lot 63, on the east side of the river, and was the pioneer settler on the site of that village. He subsequently removed to the
William Johnston, a Revolutionary soldier, came in from Hartwick, Otsego county, in 1807, and settled a half mile south of Bettsburgh, on the farm now occupied by Devillo Dutton. He took up 50 acres in Broome county, on the line of Afton, and bought about one and one-half acres in Afton, the title to which
Cornelius Atherton came in from Pennsylvania in 1803 or ‘4. He was born in Cambridge, Mass., in 1736, and was the fourth in descent from Gen. Humphrey Atherton of Boston, from whom all the Athertons in America are descended. He married Mary Delano and with her removed to Amenia, Dutchess Co., N. Y., in 1763.
Daniel Hyde came in from Claverack, Columbia county, in 1801, and settled two and one-half miles north of Afton, at what is known as Ayrshire or North Afton, on the farm now occupied by Edward Wilkinson, where he died. His children were: Edward, who married Lydia, daughter of Nathan Bateman, and settled in the same
Judge Peter Betts came in as early as 1803 and settled at Bettsburgh, to which place he gave his name. He was a large land-holder, and opened there in 1805 the first store in the town, which he kept till his removal to Bainbridge, about 1820-’25, where he was also engaged in mercantile business. He
Seth Stone settled in Afton village, on the east side of the river, nearly opposite the Universalist church, where he died April 22, 1826, aged 65; and Eunice, his wife, July 12, 1815, aged 54. His son Horace married Rebecca Johnston and lived on the homestead farm. He built a tavern about 1825, the first