Collection: History of Chenango and Madison Counties New York

Biographical Sketch of Joel Hatch

Joel Hatch built a machine shop on Handsome brook, a mile north of the village, in 1812. He also set up the first turning lathe in the town, probably the first in the county, for turning the various parts of spinning wheels. It was a primitive affair, and consisted in a cord wound around the article to be turned, with one end attached to a spring-pole overhead and the other to a foot-piece. By the alternate action produced by the pressure of the foot and the spring pole the article revolved backward and forward. This contrivance was the best that was in use for many years. None of the Hatches are living here now. Joel Hatch, Jr., was the author of a History of the Town of Sherburne, published in 1862. He died Dec. 27, 1864, aged 73, and Melona, his wife, May 14, 1846, aged...

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Biographical Sketch of John Guthrie

John Guthrie settled on the south line of the town, and after the death of his wife Polly, who was a daughter of Abner Purdy, (April 30, 1821,) he removed to Sherburne village. Stephen Kelsey settled on the Thompson Fisher farm, in the south part of the town, and died there Sept. 9, 1807, aged...

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Biographical Sketch of Levi Follett

Levi Follett came from Winchester, N. H., in 1798 or ‘9, and settled in the south part of the town of Hamilton. He removed thence within a year about a half mile south, to the north edge of Sherburne. He bought of John Watts 50 acres on lot 41, to which he made subsequent additions, and resided there till his death April 29, 1830, aged...

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Biographical Sketch of Nathaniel Gray

Nathaniel Gray was born March 17, 1736. He returned here in the winter of 1793, and located a mile and a half north of Sherburne, and resided there till his death, June 24, 1810. He had two children by his first wife, who died in Connecticut, where he married for his second wife Bethiah, widow of Benjamin Newcomb, who was born Feb. 26, 1735, and died on the same farm August 19, 1811, and who had five children by her former husband, all of whom came here. The children by his first wife were Elijah and Bethiah. Gray’s second wife’s children were Abraham Newcomb, James, Mercy and Hannah Raymond. The first school, which was organized for the winter, was kept at the log house of Nathaniel...

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Biographical Sketch of John Gray

John Gray’s land extended from the river east to the quarter line and included all that part of the village of Sherburne lying north of the State road now known as State street. His log house stood near the site of the Upham block, on the north-east corner of the business part of the village. He was born in Windham, Conn., in 1793, was a revolutionary soldier, and married Elizabeth Skeel, who was born in New Milford, Conn., in 1745, and died in Sherburne in 1824, aged 79. He had six children, all of whom were born in Connecticut: John, Jr., Nathaniel, Mabel, Betsey, Margaret and Reuben. John, Jr., married and settled on the river, his farm lying upon both sides of the river. His house stood on the bank ten or twelve rods from the west end of the bridge on the old State road. He was Justice here several years and Associate...

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Biographical Sketch of Judge Joel Thompson

Judge Joel Thompson settled at Sherburne Four Corners, where Edmund Purdy now lives, and resided there till he was well advanced in years. Jonah Poyer settled at a very early day, when there were only two or three log houses in Sherburne, on the forks of the river, up which he came from Oxford. After a few years he removed to the town of North...

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Biographical Sketch of Samuel Stebbins

Samuel Stebbins came from Hartland, Conn., in 1804, with his family, consisting of his wife, Sarah Boardman, and six children, Eleanora, Sarah, Harlow, Sophia, Melissa, and Jerusha. Mr. Stebbins came here first in 1803 and built that year the rear portion of the Medbury House on the site of which he settled, and where, in company with Bela Scoville, he kept tavern till about 1809. He died March 6, 1833, aged 74, and his wife, September 4, 1833, aged 70. He was a Revolutionary...

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Biographical Sketch of Capt. William Newton

Capt. William Newton was born in Colchester, Conn., Oct. 15, 1786. His father, Asahel Newton, had served several years in the army of the Revolution. He was in straitened circumstances and had a large family of children, of whom William was the oldest, and on him devolved a large share of the burden of supporting his brothers and sisters. Having learned the trade of a clothier he came to Sherburne in 1806 and worked with Landon & Mills at Bullocks Mills. He took a factory in New Berlin in 1807, and went to Camden, N. Y., and worked in 1809. Aug. 22, 1810, he married Lois Butler, a native of Wethersfield, Conn., who still survives him and is living in Sherburne with mental faculties unimpaired. Mr. Newton moved his family to Sherburne May 11, 1812, and resided here from that time till his death, which occurred August 13, 1879, at the age of 92 years. He bought twenty acres of land and in 1812 built the house now occupied by Jacob Kuhn, and near it a woolen factory, on the bank of Handsome brook, which was ready for cloth dressing in the fall of that year. The factory was burned in 1822 and rebuilt in 1823. It was again burned in the winter of 1826-7 and was not rebuilt. The house in which he resided at the time of...

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Biographical Sketch of Jeremiah Purdy

Jeremiah Purdy came from Dutchess county and settled at Sherburne Four Corners, where Milton Bentley now lives, and resided there till he had become advanced in years. Benjamin and Israel Ferris were brothers, though the latter settled in North Norwich, about a mile above the village, on the Dalrymple farm. Benjamin settled about a mile west of Sherburne village, where Morris Buell now...

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Biography of Hector Ross

In the town of Sherburne, and near the village of the same name, Chenango county, is a locality known as the “Quarter,” taking its name from the fact that it comprises one-quarter of the town. Here is located a thriving little manufacturing and trading settlement. By far the greater part of the life and prosperity of this place are due to the business capacity and the energy of the man whose portrait appears above. Hector Ross was born in Greenock, Scotland, in 1811. His father’s name was John Ross, who was a molder. living in Greenock. His mother’s maiden name was Isabel Melville. She was also a native of Scotland, and came to this country in the year 1844. With her came also two brothers of Hector Ross–William and George, and one sister, Bell, all residents of Binghamton. When Hector Ross first came to this country, in 1837, he landed in Canada, where he was employed for a brief time in a foundry. Leaving the Dominion, he crossed to Charlotte, and from there went to Rochester, walking the distance, as he was entirely out of funds. Finding no employment in Rochester, he started on foot eastward, but found nothing to do until he reached Brownell’s mills, in Oneida Co., where he worked one day, during the absence of one of the hands, who was known as a hand mule...

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Downfall of the Iroquois Confederacy

“The Pawnees, following the buffalo in his migrations, and having always plenty of animal food to subsist upon, are a much better fed and a larger race than those who find a precarious subsistence in the forest chase, while the woodland tribes, who, though not so plump in form, are of a more wiry and, perhaps, muscular make, have again a decided advantage in figure and gait over the fishing and trapping tribes of the North-west that pass most of their time in canoes. This difference in character and physical appearance between the different Indian [tribes], or rather between those which have such different methods of gaining a livelihood, has not been sufficiently attended to by modern authors, though it did not escape the early French writers on this country. And yet, if habit have any effect in forming the character and temper of a rude people, it must of course follow that the savage who lives in eternal sunshine upon flowery plains, and hunts on horseback with a troop of tribesmen around him, must be a different being from the solitary deer-stalker who wanders through the dim forest, depending upon his single arm for subsistence for his wife and children.” The advent of the European nations to the American continent was the precursor alike of the downfall of the Iroquois Confederacy and the ultimate extinction of the American...

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The Iroquios Council

The Chippewa, however, furnished an exception to this rule. With them the son of a chief had a legal right to succeed his father. The rule, though binding, was very elastic, and capable of stretching to the farthest limits of the tribe–each tribe being allowed to select its chief from among its own members. Almost invariably the chief was succeeded by a near relative, always on the female side; but if these were manifestly unfit, his successor was chosen at a council of the tribe from among remoter kindred, in which case he was nominated by the matron of the late chief’s household. 1Lafitau. In any event the choice was never adverse to the popular inclination. 2Parkman. The new chief was inducted into office by a formal council of the sachems of the league; and on assuming its duties he dropped his own name and substituted that which, since the formation of the league, had belonged to his especial chieftainship. 3Parkman. The chief was required to be a skillful hunter, if not the best in his tribe, and liberal with his game. He must also be a good physician, and able to advise and assist the sick in every circumstance. It was his duty to take care of orphans, to harbor strangers, and to keep order in the town. But he, like the sachem, had no power of compulsion;...

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The Adirondacks

The Iroquois were not always the same fierce, rapacious and blood-thirsty people which they are now familiarly known to have been, but were once engrossed in the peaceful pursuits of the husbandman. Colden graphically relates the circumstances which led them in a measure to forsake that occupation, and involved them in a war with the Adirondacks, in which they were engaged when the French first settled Canada. We quote: “The Adirondacks formerly lived three hundred miles above Trois Rivers, where now the Utawawas are situated; at that time they employed themselves wholly in hunting, and the Five Nations made planting of corn their business. By this means they became useful to each other, by exchanging corn for venison. The Adirondacks, however, valued themselves, as delighting in a more manly employment, and despised the Five Nations, in following business, which they thought only fit for women. But it once happened that the game failed the Adirondacks, which made them desire some of the young men of the Five Nations to assist them in hunting. These young men soon became much more expert in hunting, and able to endure fatigue, than the Adirondacks expected or desired; in short they became jealous of them, and, one night, murdered all the young men they had with them. The Five Nations complained to the chiefs of the Adirondacks of the inhumanity of this action;...

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