Arad Thomas.

Pioneer history of Orleans county, New York. Containing some account of the civil divisions of western New York, with brief biographical notices of early settlers, and of the hardships and privations online

. (page 7 of 32)
Online LibraryArad ThomasPioneer history of Orleans county, New York. Containing some account of the civil divisions of western New York, with brief biographical notices of early settlers, and of the hardships and privations → online text (page 7 of 32)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

He used to say when he left his father's house, his
father gave him a hoe and three slieep, and he thought


Ms father did as well by liirn as lie was able, as lie
not only gave him a hoe, bnt taught him to dig, for
which he always felt grateful.

Mr, Bailey was always industrious and frugal and
by a life of economy and prudence, acquired a
handsome property. He was liberal and public
spirited in his character, almost always holding some
public office or trust. He was for many years Super-
visor of the town of Barre and was relieved from that
office only after he had peremtorily declined being
a candidate, against the wishes of a large majority in
his town.


Hon. Gideon Hard was born in Arlington, Vermont,
A23ril 29, 1797. His grand-mother was sister of Col.
Seth AVarner, celebrated in the history of the Kevo-
lutionary war for his services in taking Ticonderoga,
and in the battle of Bennington. In his youth he
labored first upon a farm, afterwards with an older
brother at the trade of house joiner for two years.

About this time he resolved to obtain a college
education. Being poor and dependent mainly on his
own exertions, like many other New Englaiid boys,
he tauglit school in the winter seasons and studic^d the
remaindei; of the time, until he succeeded in passing
through Union College at S(;henectady, where he re-
ceived his first degree in July, 1822. In the autumn
of that year he commenced studying law with Hon.
John L. Wendell, then of Cambridge, Washington
county, since law reporter of the Supreme Court of
the State of New York.

The rules of the Supreme Court at that tinu^ re-
quired three years of law study previous to admission
to practice. B}' the aid of his friend and teacher, J.L.
Wendell, lu? was allowed to take his examination at
the May Tei-m of the Court 1825, and was then ad-
mitted attorney in the Supreme Court.

^cc^^^ - ^^^ Wa^(^


In March, 1826, lie settled to practice his profession
in Newport, now Albion, but did not move his wife to
liis new home until July of the same year.

He opened his ofRce and began his practice.

In 1827 he was elected Commissioner of Schools for
Barre and in the autumn of that year he was ap-
pointed County Treasurer, an office he held six years.
In 1832 he was elected a Representative in Congress
from the district comprising Orleans and Niagara
counties, and took his seat in Congress in Dec. 1833,
during the first year of President Jackson's adminis-
tration, in political classification being ranked as a
Whig. In 1834 he was re-elected to Congress, and dur-
ing the long session of 1836 he served on the committee
on elections. The case ot James Graham, a member
from North Carolina, whose seat was contested, came
before that committee, where after a lengthy examin-
ation a majority of the committee reported in favor of
the contestant. General Newland.

Mr. Hard drafted a counter report of the minority
in favor of Graham, which he presented and advo-
cated in a personal efi'ort before the House. He was
sustained by the vote of the House. This result, in a
body where he was largely in the minority, on a
question which was decided mainly on party grounds
and by his political opponents, was highly gratifying
to his political friends and party and fiattering to his

On the 4th of March 1837, he left Congress and re-
turned to Albion to practice his ])rofession.

In 1841 he was elected Senator in the State Senate
to represent the eighth district of New York, and was
the only Whig Senator elected in the State that year.
The Senate of the State at that time constituted the
Court for the Correction of Errors, of which Court he
thus became a member.

The business of the Court consisted in revicAdns:


the decisions of the Supreme Court and the Court of
Chancery, which might be brought before them on
appeal. , Tlie Court held three terms of four weeks
each annually.

As the Senate was composed largely of civilians,
who in the decision of cases which came before them
while sitting as a court of law, did little more then
vote upon the final questions, the main labor of the
Court fell upon the members who were lawyers, in
investigating the questions of law presented, and
writing out the opinions that were given.

Mr. Hard took his share of this labor, thoroughly
examining the causes in the Court and writing out
his opinions in support of the conclusions to which
he arrived, mau}^ of which are published in the Law
Reports of the State.

In 1845 he w^as re-elected to the State Senate and
appointed Chairman of the Committee on Railroads.

In 1848 his office as Senator having terminated by
the adoption of the new constitution of the State,
which abolished the old Senate and Court for Correc-
tion of Errors, Mr. Hard was appointed a Canal Ap-
praiser, which office he held two years, and in 18.50
returned to the practice of his profession until the fall
of 1856, when he was elected County Judge and Sur-
rogate of Orleans county, which office he held four

The year 1860 he was in ill health and did little
business. The next three years he spent mainly in
attendance upon his sick wife. She died, an event
which broke up his family, and since then he has re-
sided most of the time with his children engag(^d in
no business.

Mr. Hard married Adeline Burrell, of Hoosi(^ Falls
New York, in August, 1824.

They had two children, Samuel B. Hard, a lawyer
and business man residing in the city of New York,


and Helen B. who married Geo. II. Potts, and resides
in New York also.

Mrs. Hard died at Albion Sept. 15, 1864.


Dea. Ebenezer Rogers was born in Norwicli Conn.,
October 3, 1769. He married Betsey Lyman of Leba-
non, Connecticut, who died August 28, 1849. Mr.
Rogers removed from New England to Onondaga Co.,
N. Y., in 1812, and in March, 1816, settled on the
farm on which he afterwards resided in the south part
of the village of Albion. When he came, not more
than twenty families had settled in Barre and his
house was a home for many of the young men, who
came here to select a farm for themselves, or, who,
having a lot, were clearing it and building a cabin,
preparatory to occupying with their families.

Being a professor of religion and deeply impressed
with the importance of that subject, he was among
the most earnest of the settlers in introducing the
stated observance of the forms of public worship
among them ; and with his near neighbor, Joseph
Hart and others, he assisted to form the first Congre-
gational Church and Society in Barre, which finally
was established at Barre Center, and after Albion
became a village, he was conspicuous in organizing
the First Presbyterian Church and Society in Albion,
which was an oftshoot from the organization first de-
scribed. Of the latter church, Mr. Rogers was a long
time deacon, and a ruling elder.

He was by trade a tanner and shoemaker, but nev-
er followed that business.

Of a strong physical constitution, Mr. Rogers lived
to see his children settled around him in competence,
enjoying the abundance of the good things of this
good land, which he and his worthy compeers
had done so much to reclaim from the wilderness of


nature. Mr. Rogers died January 28, 1865, aged
ninety-six years, three months and twenty-five days.


" I was born in the town of Farmington, Hartford
Co., Conn., June 2, 1797. My parents were members
of the Presbyterian Church and gave their children a
strictly religious, as well as a common school educa-
tion, as was the custom in New England. In Febru-
ary, 1806, my father removed with his family, then
consisting of wife, foui- sons and two daughters, to
Candor, Tioga Co., N. Y., a journe}^ of about three
hundred miles.

My father, oldest brother and myself, performed
this journey, with a pair of oxen and one horse, at-
tached to a sled, being twelve days on the road.

A hired man brought my mother and her other
children in a sleigh.

That country was then wild, with but few settlers
scattered along the Susquehanna and Chemung riv-
ers, with dense forests stretching back thirty miles
without a human being, inhabited by bears, wolves,
panthers, deer and smaller animals.

A road had been opened between Owego and Ithaca,
on which a few settlers had located.

In the fall of 1806, 1 went to Ithaca with my father,
with oxen and wagon, after a load of salt.

I think Ithaca was then the most loathsome and
desolate place I had ever seen. It stood on low,
black soil, surrounded north and west by a quagmire
swamp. It rained hard, and the black mud was so
deep, it was with difficulty our oxen could draw two
barrels of salt home.

My father and another man, built the first school
house in the town of Candor, and opened the first
school there. The school house stood three miles
from my father's dwelling and I went there to school


tlironirli tlie woods, Avitli no (tther slioos tliaii such, as
my thoTIk'I- madp from w(joh^ii cloth fvoiii day to day.
In June, 180(5, my t'athei', his liircd man, my broth-
ers and myself, were lioeing corn, bet ween ten and
nleyen o'ldocdv in the forenoon, wlien wt- noticed a sin-
ti;ular appearance in the atmosphere ; the sky looked
sombre, the l)irds retired to the woods, the hens to
their r(X)sts, and we went to tlie liouse. The sun w«.»
all darkened, but a rim around the edge ; tlie
gloom and chill of evening settled on all the earth
around. This lasted but a short time, when the sun
came out frcmi its dark i)all, eyery thing assumed ilss
wonted actiyit}- and light and the • gieat eclipse'
])assed off.

I continued most of the time working with and U)T
my fathei-, occasionally working for others, till one
day as I was chopping in the woods, a young man
came along and said to me. he was not going to live
longer in that hilly, steille phice : that lie had l>een
to tlje ' rrenesee' and found a country far preferable
to that for beauty and farming purposes.

I heard his stor^' and determined that at some time
1 would see that famous * (renesee country.'

In the spring of 1816, 1 liought my time of my
father, for sloo, I \vas nineteen ytnirs old. 1 hired
out to work for sl4 jter month and in less than a
yeiiv earned enough to pay my father for my time,
and had inone}- left. T continued working where 1
could make it most profitable, got plenty of work and
good ])ay, until in the summer of 1810. feeling as if 1
had work(Ml for others long enough, having tlien ten
acres of land and several head of cattle, T felt a desire
to get a good wheat farm for myself.

T started with two young men, on foot. kna})sack!^
on our l)acks, Aug. 27, 1819, to go to tlie Genesee
country. AVe went through Ithaca, and took tile
road to Geneva, traveling as fai* as Ovid the first day,


forty miles. Xext day through CTeiieva and Carian-
daigria, we rejielied AVent Bloomfield. Xext day
through Liina and Avon, w»^ arrived at Batavia and
went to the otfice of the Elolhind Company to see
about land.

In the office the agent appeared rather sour, little,
disposed to l)e sociable. We asked him if he had
Land to sell. He said Jie had. He was asked where
it [ay and re])1ied 'everywhere, all over, you cannot
^■0 rimiss." T asked liini if it was wild, or improved
farms i He answered ' go and look, when you run
youi' head into a great iiuin-ovement you will know
it, won't you :" I turned indignantly and walked out
of the office, saying ' I had a mind to boot that fellow.'

'."he agent followed us out to close the blinds and
Iiearing our con versa ticm, said rather pleasantly,
^ boys keej) a still' u])per lip.'

U''e stayed that night at the old 'Pioneer tavern.'
'i'lie landlord tried hard U) convince me that the agent
was a Xew England gentleman, one that I wouhl be
pleased to do business witli.

We were informed of the rapid gj-owth of a new
town north from Batavia, called Barre, lying between
tlie Tonawanda Swamp and the Ridge road. Towaids
this new town we set (nit next morning.

After examining various ]iarts of Barre and (laines.
we selected oui- htcatiohs in Barre, and returned to
the Land office to secure our Articles for our land ;
but linding we lacked a tew dollars required to i)ay
tjio lirst payment, the agent kindly otfered to 'book'
tJie lots to us. until we got the numey.

We made no farther complaint against th(^ agent,
wiio -booked' the laiul to ns and we returned to
m'ake preparations fin- felling the timber on oui- new
farms. Never before did Ave complain of the rapid
flight of time, l)ut here, while laboring for ourselves,
we fhouffht these the shortest days we had ever seen.


1(>2 flONEKi: IlISTOKY

I caiiic lioriK* inspired witli new energy and determi-
nation to struggle on and overcome everj^ liardship
and diftienlty in my way.

We had l)nt little sickness compared witli our
neighbors, as yet. In the spring of 1828, 1 liad severe
intlamation of the lungs, and in the spring of 1828,
T was taken with fever and ague, which held me
through the seast)n.

The next spring my wife was sick with fever and
ague and tlirnsh. which kept her ill till the October


Online LibraryArad ThomasPioneer history of Orleans county, New York. Containing some account of the civil divisions of western New York, with brief biographical notices of early settlers, and of the hardships and privations → online text (page 7 of 32)