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Collection: History of Chenango and Madison Counties New York

Biography of Henry Pearsall

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, consisting of his wife, Anna Simmons, and one or two children. The house thus erected answered the double purpose of a dwelling and shop, for he followed his trade till his death. About 1809 he removed to the north line of the town of Bainbridge, about three miles north of Bainbridge village, and took up 88 acres, on which he resided till his death, about 1840. His children were: Amos, who married Clarissa, daughter of John Nichols, an early settler in the north part of Bainbridge, and settled in the locality of his father in Bainbridge, where he died February 18, 1864, aged 72, and his wife July 4, 1878, aged 83; Ann, who married Alson Searles, a resident of Bainbridge, and is now living at Unadilla, her husband having died June 26, 1871; Smith, who married Polly, sister of Alson Searles, and settled near his father, where he died in 1874; Samuel, who married Sally, daughter of Henry Thompson, of Bainbridge, and settled and died in the same locality; Abigail, who married Ansel...

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Biographical Sketch of John Johnston

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. His children were: John S., William, Nathaniel, Nancy, Persis, Henry and Betsey, all of whom came in with him, and all of whom are dead. Nancy married Joshua Crosby, and Betsey, Whittington Sayre. Enos M. Johnston, a banker and merchant in Afton, but a resident of Bettsburgh, is a grandson of John and son of Henry Johnston, the latter of whom was a lumber dealer, speculator and oil stock dealer, and acquired considerable wealth. Andrew Johnston, a farmer in Afton, is also a son of Henry’s, and these are the only two of his children living in the town. Several of William’s grandchildren are living in the town, among them Lydia, wife of Jonathan Farnsworth. Samuel Johnston, brother of William and John, also from Montgomery county, came in a few years later, and has numerous descendants living in the town. He died December 1, 1830, aged 68. Nathaniel, a bachelor brother, and Mary and Christiana, maiden sisters of William Johnston, came in with him and lived with him till their...

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Biography of Hezekiah Stowel

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 west side of the river, where he is buried, probably at the time he made the exchange with Elnathan Bush. He lived and died in the locality. It is not known that he lived on the place exchanged with Bush in Bainbridge. His children were:–Asa, who settled at Bettsburgh, on the place now owned and occupied by Enos M. Johnston, where, in 1788, he kept the first inn, in a log building(+) which stood on the river bank, opposite the residence of Mr. Johnston and who married Hannah, daughter of Samuel Bixby, of Guilford, Vt. and died there November 3, 1826, aged 66, and his wife September 18, 1850, aged 88; Elijah, who settled on the west side of the river, on the farm now occupied by (???) Chamberlain, and who died childless, in advanced years, while on a visit to a relative in Pennsylvania, and whose wife, Rebecca, died here February 25, 1837, aged 70; Betsey, who married Daniel Dickinson, who settled in Guilford and afterwards at Seneca Falls; Isabel, who married Elisha...

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Biography of Atherton, Cornelius

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. He was a blacksmith by trade, and having discovered the process of converting iron into American steel, in 1772 he entered into a contract with the Messrs. Reed, merchants of that place, to superintend the erection of steel works, to be constructed by them, and to instruct their workmen in the art. The works were erected and were in successful operation during the war of the Revolution. From Amenia he returned to Cambridge, where he superintended an armory belonging to John and Samuel Adams and John Hancock, which was burned by the British soldiers during the Revolutionary war. Thence, in 1775 or ‘6, he removed to Plymouth, Luzerne Co., Pa., where he worked at his trade. He was drafted at the time of the Wyoming massacre, but his place was filled by his eldest son, Jabez, who volunteered to become his substitute, and was accepted and mustered in. The youthful patriot fell in that sanguinary engagement and his name heads the list on the Wyoming monument. Atherton’s wife, by whom he had seven children,...

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Biographical Sketch of Judge Peter Betts

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 represented this county in the Assembly in 1804-‘5, again in 1808, and again in 1811. He was born in Norwalk, Conn., January 17, 1772, and died in Bainbridge, June 19, 1849. Eliza, his wife, died February 9, 1819, aged 40. His children were: Peter, Sally, who married a man named Kassam, Pamelia, who married Robert Harper, Eliza, who married a man named Rathbun, all of whom are...

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Biographical Sketch of Daniel Hyde

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 locality, and who afterwards removed to Masonville and died there; Daniel, who married a woman named Graham, and settled in Ashtabula county, Ohio, where he died; Chauncey G., who married Lucretia, daughter of Amasa Newton, and settled and died near the old homestead; Elijah, who married Jemima, daughter of Amasa Newton, and also settled and died near the homestead; Sophia, who married a man named Martin, and removed with him to Paris, Canada, and died there; Polly, who married Leighton Joyce, and settled in Greene county, and died in Brooklyn; Cynthia, who married Dr. Archibald Welch, and settled and died in New Haven, Conn.; and Olive, who married Wells Newton, and settled in Bainbridge and died there. The grandchildren living in the county are: A. C. Hyde, only child of Chauncey G., a druggist in Afton; and Daniel A., Rosanna, wife of Jas. M. Olendorf, William E., Lodosca, wife of George Knight, Chauncey G., and Harriet, wife of Justus Carr, children of Elijah, also in...

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Biographical Sketch of William Johnston

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 proved defective. He subsequently purchased it of Asa Stowel. He afterwards removed to the town of Sanford, in Broome county, where he died February 10, 1843, aged 91, and Deborah, his wife, April 14, 1843, aged 81. He had six children, only one of whom is now living, Levi, in Afton, aged...

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Biographical Sketch of David Pollard

David Pollard came in from Norwich, Conn., in 1790, and settled on the east side of the river, one mile below Afton, on the place now occupied by William Landers. He made a small clearing and built a log cabin and then sent for his family, consisting of his wife Polly, and six children. He died here December 30, 1830, aged 85, and his wife June 9, 1821, aged 69. His children were Polly, who married Richard Church, Lucy, who married William Olden, Cynthia, who married Heman Kelsey, Thomas, who moved to Seneca Falls some fifty years ago and died there, David, who married Polly Landers and lived and died on the homestead, Joseph, who married Polly Pool, and settled about a mile west of Afton, on the north end of the farm now owned by his son Luman C. Pollard, and after becoming too feeble to work it sold it to his son Jeremiah, (who is now living in California, to which State he removed in 1849,) and removed to the village, on the east side of the river, where he died March 13, 1859. Only two grandchildren are living in the county, Luman C. and Lysander Pollard, both in...

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Biography of Seth Stone

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 in the village, on the east side of the river, which he kept a good many years. It stood where Noble Buck now lives. He and his wife both died there, the former December 2, 1845, aged 60, and the latter July 5, 1874, aged 83. Seth had two daughters, Rachel, and Irene, the latter of whom married Jesse Easton, both of whom lived and died in that locality. Nathaniel Benton settled on the east side of the river, three miles above Afton, at what was known as the Middle Bridge, which was built about 1825 or’6, and swept away by a freshet some thirty years ago. The Benton’s were considered wealthy, and formed the nucleus for quite a settlement in that locality. A hotel was built there about forty years ago by a man named Stevens. It is now occupied as a dwelling. A grist and saw-mill were built there some sixty years ago. They have since been rebuilt and are still in operation. The Corbins, who also settled in that locality, were...

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Biography of Daniel S. Buck

Daniel S. Buck was a noted hunter. He took 300 acres of land for which he paid with the bounties received for the destruction of wild animals, $60 for each wolf and $75 for each panther, of the latter of which he killed eleven in one year. He made hunting his business while game lasted and some seasons made more than his neighbors did at lumbering. While in Afton we spent an evening very pleasantly with his genial son Noble, who is now well advanced in years, listening to the recital of his father’s adventures while on hunting expeditions; but two must suffice to illustrate his prowess. At one time, about 1811 or ’12, he, in company with Robert Church, followed a panther to its lair, which was in a ledge of rocks, about five miles south of the village of Afton, in the town of Sanford, in Broome county. The passageway to the den was about three feet high and two feet wide, and terminated at the distance of 24 feet in a cave about 20 by 30 feet and 11 feet high. His dog led the way into the den, and soon returned very weak from the loss of blood from a severe wound in the throat. Buck took from his neck a handkerchief and tied it around his dog’s throat, and having stationed Church at the...

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Biography of Abijah Stevens

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...

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Biography of Richard Church

Richard Church came in from Brattleboro, Vt., in the fall of 1788, and settled on the east side of the river, one-half mile below Afton, on the place now owned by the heirs of Levi Church and Andrew Johnston and Joseph Angell, the latter a son-in-law of Billings Church. He was a son of Col. Timothy Church, a Vermont sufferer, who did not settle here, but acquired land as such, on 300 acres of which Richard settled, and which, after the latter’s death, in the spring of 1813, was divided between two of his sons, Billings and Levi, Billings’ portion being that now occupied by Andrew J. Johnston and Joseph Angell, and Levi’s that occupied by his heirs. Richard brought with him his family, consisting of his wife Polly, daughter of David Pollard, and one child, Billings, then an infant. Billings married Nancy, daughter of Ebenezer Landers, and settled on the homestead, where he lived till advanced in years, when, in the spring of 1857, he sold his place to his nephew, Devillo C. Church, and went to live with his daughter Frances, wife of Enos M. Johnston, with whom he died January 7, 1871, aged 82. Richard’s children, who were born after he came here, were: Col. Ira, who married Angelia Atherton, sister of Cornelius Atherton, and settled about a half mile above Afton, on the east side...

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Biography of Oliver Easton

Oliver Easton came in from Wilmington, Vt., in 1809, and settled on Long Hill, where Matthew Long, from Vermont, with a large family of grown-up children, was the first settler at an early day. Easton settled on the farm now occupied by his grandson, Henry Devillo Easton, about three miles north-west of-Afton. He leased 60 acres of gospel lands, which he occupied till his death December 11, 1839, aged 74. Delight, his wife, died January 5, 1860, aged 86. He carried on farming and lumbering, mostly the latter. His children were eleven in number: Chauncey, who married Lucinda, daughter of Taft Pollard, (an early settler from Vermont, on the farm now occupied by Hiram Landers,) and settled and died at Ayrshire; Ebenezer N., who studied for the ministry and removed to Andover, Mass., where he married when well advanced in years and died; Jesse C., who married Irene, daughter of Seth Stone, and settled in the village of Afton, on the east side of the river, where Fayette Benton now lives, and who afterwards removed to Wellsville, N. Y., where he now resides, aged 80; Louisa, who married Stephen Williams, and settled in the south-west part of the town, and afterwards removed to Coventry, where she died; Lester, who married Asenath, daughter of Luke Nichols, and settled and died on the homestead, where Devillo Easton now lives; Lucretia, who...

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Biographical Sketch of James Anderson

James Anderson settled in the south-west part of the town, on the farm now occupied by Roderick Fuller, where he died April 14, 1832, aged 62, and his wife, Electa Kelsey, Sept. 2, 1848, aged 74. His son Stephen also died in this town May 2, 1853, aged 55. Richard Jackson settled at a very early day at Sherburne Four Corners, where his father kept a tavern. He died in the first house north of the corners, Jan. 17, 1821, aged 67, and Sarah, his wife, Oct. 20, 1834, aged 74. John Smith settled on the Cyrus Hartwell farm, where he was killed in his door-yard by a young team, Aug. 16, 1810, aged 49. His wife, Lydia, survived him many years. She died July 14, 1854, aged 84. Jeremy Warriner and Benjamin Lyon settled at Sherburne Four Corners, where the latter died Nov. 10, 1854, aged 87, and Hannah, his first wife, May 16, 1806, aged 35, and Debora, his second wife Nov. 10, 1859, aged 80. Warriner removed to Hamilton and died there Jan. 14, 1868, aged 83. Simeon Paddleford erected in 1804 the first machine for carding wool, a mile below Sherburne village. This is said to have been one of the two first machines in the...

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Biography of Devillo White, M.D.

The original of this sketch, Devillo White, of Sherburne, Chenango county, N. Y., was born Feb. 11, 1801, and was married to Caroline Pratt, oldest daughter of Joshua Pratt, Esq., (one of the respected pioneers of the town,) in 1824. Devillo White’s early life was passed in a hotel kept by his father, and was not of a character that generally precedes a record so full of interest and usefulness as his proved to be. At the age of 23 years, after having sowed his share of the wild oats of his day, he found himself educated and qualified to assume the arduous and responsible duties of a physician, but without means to purchase his saddle-bags to begin with; but his indomitable will and determination overcame all obstacles in his pathway and he finally settled down to his life-work, resolved to succeed professionally and financially. After over fifty years of active practice, we find he has fully succeeded in his purpose, standing high as he does in his profession, and having amassed a fortune second to none in this section. In politics he was always a fearless and zealous advocate of the principles of the old Whig party, and afterwards was warmly attached to the Republican party, ready and eager at all times to do battle for the cause whenever opportunity presented itself. During the late war, when the...

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