Biography of Abijah Stevens
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Abijah Stevens came in from Connecticut, and settled on the east side of the river, about one and one-half miles above Afton, on the farm now occupied by the widow of John Carr, where both he and his second wife, Esther, died, the former May 9, 1844, aged 87, and the latter January 1, 1832, aged 76. His children were John, who married Clara Landers and settled where Jonathan Farnsworth now lives, and died there, he and his wife, the former March 9, 1861, aged 73, and the latter November 11, 1877, aged 84; and Harvey, who removed to Ohio, children by his second wife. He had one child by his first wife, Lydia, who died September 1, 1822, aged 76, viz.: Sally, who married Samuel Hinman and died on the homestead. Abraham Benton, settled on the site of Afton, on the west side of the river, on a portion of the farm now occupied by Luman C. Pollard. His house stood just east of the railroad track. He was the first settler on the site of the village, on the west side. He died here August 3, 1816, aged 53, and Desire, his wife, who afterwards married William Beardsley, January 24, 1858, aged 85. Heth Kelsey, a Revolutionary soldier, settled in the upper part of the village, near the mouth of the creek which bears his name, where he kept a tavern. He afterwards removed to Coventry and lived with his daughter and died there February 5, 1850, aged 94, and Rhoda, his wife, November 26, 1838, aged 80. His children were Russell, who married Fanny Mersereau, of Otego, and settled on the homestead farm, afterwards removing to Bainbridge, subsequently to the locality of Elmira, and finally dying in a poor-house; Heman, who married Cynthia, daughter of David Pollard, and settled on one-half the homestead farm of 396 acres (Russell taking the other half,) and afterwards removed to the Chemung River and died there; Lois, who married Clark Smith, of Coventry, where both she and her husband died, the latter, in a fit, October 8, 1864, aged 82; Lodema, a maiden lady, who died in Afton; Rhoda, who married Alpheus Wright, who, in 1823, in company with his brother Josiah, built the Sullivan House in Afton, and kept it 15 to 20 years. Rhoda died in Afton. Her husband afterwards removed with his brother Josiah to the Chemung River and died there (we think it probable that Heth Kelsey, who died in Afton, July 3, 1846, aged 63, and whose wife Clarissa died January 20, 1852, at the same age, was a son of the one who died in Coventry, though none of the authorities consulted mention him in connection with the latter’s children. He is probably the Heth Kelsey who kept tavern in the yellow building now occupied as a residence by Silas Fairchild in the village of Afton.) Thomas and Enos Cornwell were brothers. They settled on some 300 acres about one and one-half miles below Afton, on the east side of the river, which has since been cut up into several farms and divided among Thomas’ heirs. Abel Cornwell, son of Thomas, is living on a part of the farm, and is the only one of his children living there. Thomas died on the place February 12, 1841, aged 71; and Anna, his wife, who was born February 3, 1783, died February 27, 1860. Enos was a bachelor. He deeded his farm to Samuel, Thomas’ eldest son, to take care of him in his old age. He died July 27, 1843, aged 76. Samuel removed to Elmira several years ago.