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History of Chautauqua County, New York, and its people (Volume 3) online

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the site now occupied by the Prendergast block. The
Shaw Hotel was a regular stop for stage coaches, then
practically the only means of travel, a change of horses
being necessary at the hotel stables, and it was here that
the young man secured his first employment. Later
Oscar Oburg went to Ashville, Chautauqua county, N.
Y., where for some time he was engaged in the tailor-
ing business, having learned the trade in his native land.
He remained in this business for some time, subse-
quently becoming interested in the shoe business, which
he continued until after the Civil War, when he turned
his attention to farming, following this calling until old
age compelled his retirement. Mr. Oburg was a Re-
publican in politics, and was active on the local town
election boards; a devoted member of the Methodist
Episcopal church of Ashville for more than sixty-six
years. He was greatly interested in church work, being
at various times steward, trustee, class leader, super-
intendent of the Sunday school, and filled various other
offices. He was a man of high religious character, kind-
hearted and beloved by all who knew him. From an
humble immigrant boy he arose to a station of high re-
spect and esteem in his community.

Oscar Oburg married, in Ashville, Feb. 27, 1852, Bebe
Wellman, daughter of Barnabas and Pamela (Bullock)
Wellman. Mrs. Bebe (Wellman) Oburg. like her hus-
band, was a devoted Christian, affiliated with the Ash-
ville church from the age of fifteen years. Oscar Oburg
died at Ashville, April 9, 1919, aged eighty-six years.
His wife died at Ashville, .April i, 1918, aged eighty-
three years. Mr. and Mrs. Oburg were the parents of
six children, all born in .Ashville, N. Y. : i. Elon M.,
born Dec. 20. 1852 ; a farmer at Busti, Chautauqua
county, N. Y. ; married Mary Sherman. 2. \'iola D.,
born Nov. 14, 1854, who married Marvin N. Everett
(see Everett IV). 3. Minnie N., born Oct. 26, 1856;
resides at the family homestead at Ashville; unmar-
ried. 4. Lelia C, born March 20, 1859; married (first)
Jr'hn C, Walter, deceased; she married (second) Rollin
Lee, a business man in .Ashville. 5. Abbie D..
born Jan. 3, 1861, who became the wife of
Charles \\"ellman, who is connected with a large indus-
try in Jamestown, N. Y. 6. \'ictor F., born .April 9,



iSOj: a railroad man in Pittsburgh, Pa.: married Irene

iThe Wellman Line).

It is quite evident that the Wellman family took its
name from the city of Wells in Somersetshire, Eng-
land, whicli, in turn, obtained its name from a well
called St. Andrew's Well, near the Bishop's palace, and
from the fact that the founder of tlie family had received
from one of the bishops charge of St. Andrew's Well,
and had been called at tirst, John the Well-man, or Wil-
liam the Well-man, which later became John or William
Wellman. The name has been variously spelled as Well-
man, Wellmane, Wellmon, Welman, Welmon, Welmin,
Wilman, Wilmon, Willman, Willmon, Willsman, Wells-
man, and Weelman. In America the practice of spelling
this name as Wellman began quite early and has increased
in practice imtil it is nearly universally used by all of tlie
family here.

Arms — Argent, on a bend gules between two apples
vert, three mullets or.

Crest — A demi-llon argent holding bet'ween his paws
an apple as in the arms charged with a mullet or.

Motto — Dei providentia juvat.

The genealogy and history of the Wellman family and
its origin in the Old World has been made with some
success. Investigation in this country seems to show
that the early immigrant Wellmans were only two in
number, Thomas Wellman and William Wellman. How-
ever, famiiy recollection points to a third, in the person
cf Barnabas Wellman. The name Barnabas has been
carried through several generations and it is thought
tl;al a Barnabas may have been one of the immigrants,
and, if not, at least one of the sons of William Well-

Thomas Wellman was in Lynn, Mass., as early as
1640. He bought land, lived and died in Lynn End
(now Lynnfield), Mass.

William Wellman was in Marshfield, Mass., as early
as I '4-2. but moved that year to Gloucester, Mass., and
thence, in l'J50, to Xcw London, Conn., and a few years
later to Killingworth, Conn., where he died.

There is a line of seven generations bearing the name
of Barnabas Wellman, tlie first of whom there is any
inf.jrmation being a Capt. Barnabas Wellman, a sea-
faring man, who made voyages between Amefica and
China. On one of these voyages he brought home a set
of china dishes, a picture of his ship on each, and thece
were long preserved in the family. Another was Barna-
bas Wellman, who represented the family in the .Ameri-
can Revolution ; and last, a Barnabas Wellman, who was
an early settler in Chautauqua county, N. Y.

Barnabas Wellman, the Revolutionary soldier, was
y>m .Aug. 1.5, 1756, in Killingworth, Conn. According
to records, he was a drum major in the War of the
Revolution. His brother and sisters were: I'reelove,
U)rn May 22, 475,3; -Molly, born March 13, 1755; and
P;iiil, b'/rn .April 13, 1757. He married, and had the
I' Ilow'nK children: r. James, born Nov. 30, 1783. 2.
Hom'T, born March f>, 1786. 3. Barnabas, of whom fur-
Ihi-r. .4. Ford, born Jan. 3, 1706, 5. Lcandcr, born Oct.
14, i''oi. There were also two daughters, Millie and

Barnabaj (2) Wellman, son of Barnabas Cl) Well-

man, was evidently born at Killingworth, Corm., Sept.
16, 1793. He is later recorded amongst the first settlers
of Chautauqua county, N. Y., locating in the town of
Ashville. He had a small farm there, but he was chiefly
occupied as a stone mason, and it is said he was a man
uf strong character, very religious, and preached in the
village church in the absence of the local minister. He
was noted for his fine voice, which he used in connection
with his church work and local entertainments. He
was a kind-hearted man, reverenced by all, and known
to the townsfolk as "Uncle Barney,"

Mr. Wellman married Pamela Bullock, born Sept. 14,
170S, daughter of Jonathan (2) and Dorcas (Tabethy)
(Cody) Bullock, and granddaughter of Jonathan (l)
Bullock, of English descent. Jonathan (l) Bullock was
resident in Kentucky, and it is believed that he later
went from there to Berkshire, Mass., where he married
Bebe Brown, and when their son was eight months old
the father left for service in the French and Indian War,
dying in the army from quinsy. Jonathan (2) Bullock
married Dorcas (Tabethy) Cody, daughter of Joseph
and Mary (Whitney) Cody, and migrated to Ontario
county, N. Y., about 1797. Children of Jonathan (2)
and Dorcas (Tabethy) (Cody) Bullock: Jonathan,
bom Nov, 7, 1788, died at Panama, Chautauqua county,
N. Y., 1885; Bebe, born March 8, 1790, died at Sugar
Grove, Pa., 187S; William, bom Aug. 6, 1794, died in
Eusti, Chautauqua county, N. Y.; Pamela, of previous
mention, married Barnabas Wellman, and died in .Ash-
ville, Chautauqua county, N. Y., in 1874; Joseph, bom
April 18, 1S03, died in Ontario county, N. Y., in young
manhood; Alfred, Mary P., and Shubel, all died young.
Barnabas and Pamela (Bullock) Wellman were the par-
ents of nine children: i. Henry, married Alvira Pierce,
a farmer of Three Rivers, Mich. 2. Malinda, died aged
ten years. 3. Alfred, married Theodia Covey; he was
a farmer living near Three Rivers, Mich. 4. Matilda,
died at the age of thirty, unmarried. 5. Barnabas, mar-
ried Harriett Phelps; he was the owner of a lumber mill
at Cherry Creek, Chautauqua county, N. Y. 6. Delila,
married (first) Israel Millard, who died; she married
(second) Seymour Millard, an oil man at Titusville,
Pa., and a brother of her first husband. 7. Rachael,
married Alphcus Alexander, a farmer in Harmony,
Cliautauqua county, N. Y. 8. Bebe, married Oscar
Oburg (see Oburg line). 9. Lucinda, married (first)
A. Ilerrick, who died; she married (second) Nathaniel
Smith, a farmer of Harmony, Chautauqua county, N. Y.
Tlicso children were all born in Ashville, Chautauqua
county, N. Y'.

The Wellmans arc a well known family in Chau-
tauqua county, N. Y., and number among the first rank
citizens. Among them are a number of well known
professional and business men, and this name stands
foremost in the commtmitv.

HENRY E. MOSHER, D. S. C— On that historic
morning of June 26, 1917, when the "First Contingent"
of -America',s famous First Division set foot on the soil
of France at St. Nazaire, Chautauqua county was rep-
resented in the person of Lieut, (later Capt.) Henry
K. Mosher, Company K, 28th United .States Infantry.
Company K was the first company to disembark, Capt.
G, A. Hadsell commanding them as they landed, with




J. L. Dunn as first lieutenant, and Harry E. Mosher as
second lieutenant, Second Lieut. Hood attached to the
company being detailed in unloading. As a matter of
historic interest, Capt. Mosher sent home a photographic
copy of the following statement :

France, July 6. 1917.
Company K, 28th Infantry.
I certify that this organization landed from the
U. S. Transport Tenddores at about 10;00 A. M., June
26th, 1917, at St. Nazaire, France, and that it is the
first company of American soldiers ever in history to
land on European soil for service in war.

Captain 2Sth Infantry,

Comd'g Co. K.
The above statement is correct.

Major General. U. S. Army.
Comd'g. First American Expeditionary Division.

Henry E. Mosher, captain, Company K, 28th Infantry,
American Expeditionary Force, killed in action at Can-
tigny, May 28, 1918, first officer of his rank to set foot
on French soil in command of American troops for
service in war, and first soldier from Chautauqua county
to give his life in France in the service of the United
States, was born at Falconer, N. Y., June 18. 1S92, one
of the twin sons of Stiles B. and Martha M. (Cook)
Mosher. He was educated in the Falconer public schools,
Jamestown High School, and at St. Braden's School
at Highland Falls. In 1913 he entered West Point,
where he spent one year. In October, 1916, he passed
an examination at Fort Slocum, and on March 22, 1917,
was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United
States Army, assigned to the 28th Infantry, and ordered
to Fort Leavenworth for a course of training in the
Army Service School. When his course was but half
completed his regiment was ordered abroad as part of
General Pershing's "First Contingent," landing in
France, June 26, 1917. Promotion came rapidly, to first
lieutenant in the summer of 1917, and in February, 1918,
to captain, in which rank he had acted since the preced-
ing August. From July to October, the 28th Infantry,
as part of the First Division, was in training with the
French, the third battalion being stationed at St. Amand,
Meuse. During October and November the regiment
occupied the Sommervillier sector in Lorraine, and from
January to .-^pril the Ansauville sector, north of Toul,
from which station it was called to relieve the French
and push back the German advance in the Montdidier-
Noyon sector.

Says the Regimental History :

The German offensive launched on March 21 has
readied such proportions as to call forth every re-
source at hand for checking it. It TS'as at this time
that General Persliing placed at the disposal of Mar-
shal Foch the entire forces of the United States in
France. A survey of tlie American forces showed four
divisions whose training was considered complete
enough to allow of their taking an active part. The
First was chosen as the most fit to place at the point
of danger. The British and French had stayed the
German drive for the channel ports only after the
wedge had been driven down past Montdidier. At the
apex of this salient lay the village of Cantigny — taken
by the 2Sth Infantry on the morning of Jlay 2S — the
first American offensive, which General Pershing char-
acterized in his report as "a brilliant action with elec-
trical effect." as it demonstrated our fighting qualities
under extreme battle conditions, and also that the
enemy's troops w^ere not invincible.

It is significant of the standing of the regiment that
the 28th was given the place of honor among all the
regiments of the American Expeditionary Force, and

Capt. Mosher counted it the honor of his life that he
was chosen to lead his company in the assault.

"It was the memorable morning of May 28," wrote
a member of the company:

K Company of the 2Sth Infantry, commanded by
Captain Mosher, was on the left of the attack at Can-
tigny. Since 4 A. M. the counter batteries from the
5th, 6th and 7th Artillery had been smashing a path
for the planned advance of the infantry. Thirty min-
utes before this advance the trench mortars hurled
their load across No Man's Land. Then, at 6:45, sup-
ported by five tanks manned by Frenchmen, the Amer-
icans went over the top. The infantry got across with
few casualties, and commenced to dig in. The rais-
ing of earth works was observed from the air by the
enemy scouts, signaled to the German batteries and
then hell began. Six times the Germans counter-
attacked and six times were repulsed. Their lines were
but fifty and seventy-five yards away. After the first
counter-attack, Captain Mosher sent three messengers,
one after the otlier, with verbal messages to the bat-
talion commander. They never came back. Shell
from the enemy batteries was falling too accurately
for that. So Captain Mosher decided to send another
message, tliis time a written one. Crawling up and
down the lines past his company in the shallow tempo-
rarv trench he counted the casualties among; his men.
Then, crouching behind the earthworks, just high
enough for protection against the enemy machine-gun
fire, he began his message to his commander. He
wrote the words "Have suffered — " and fifty feet be-
hind him burst a shell, a fragment of which struck
him in the back of his head and the pencil was

Captain Mosher was a man of fine physique and bore
a dauntless spirit in a sound body. Inheritance as well
as training had fitted him for his career. He counted
among his ancestors John Vassal, a member of the Vir-
ginia Company who had commanded his ship in the
fleet which destroyed the Spanish Armada; John
Adams, of the "Fortune," 1621, brother of Henry
Adams, from whom descended the presidential family ;
John Abbey, of the "Bonaventure," 1634, a soldier in
king Philip's War; Hugh Mosher, of Salem, 1636,
friend and companion of Roger Williams in his exile;
Maj. Jonathan Bush and Capt. Thomas Abbey, of Con-
necticut, who served with Gen. Washington throughout
the Revolution.

Stiles Burt Mosher, father of Henry E. ilosher, was
born in Poland township, Chautauqua county, N. Y.,
March 27, 1851, and married, at Olean, N. Y., Oct. 29,
1879, Martha M. Cook, daughter of John Norbert and
Anna Kohley Cook. Stiles Burt Mosher was a son of
Ephraim Mosher, born in Oppenheim, Fulton county,
N. Y., May 8, 1802, died in Falconer, N. Y., Jan. 15,
1875, and Harriet Lucretia (Abbey) Mosher, born in
Guilford, N. Y., Sept. 3, 1816, died in Falconer, N. Y.,
Feb. 23, 1897, daughter of Henry and Eva (Ingersoll)
Abbey. Ephraim Mosher was a son of Peter and Mary
(Rarrick) Mosher, settlers in Fulton county, N. Y., in

Always characterized as a strict, courteous, and effi-
cient officer whose word was law, Capt. Mosher de-
veloped under stress of battle unusual qualities of lead-
ership and comradeship. An enlisted man who served
under him recounted how, after the company's objec-
tive was gained and the positions consolidated, he went
about commending and encouraging his men. adminis-
tering first aid to the wounded and comforting the dying.
Almost his last act was to drag a wounded private,
under heavy shellfire, to a place of safety. Letters re-
ceived by relatives from an officer of the 28th Infantry
say, in part :






I cannot express to you how infinitely cool and brave
were iiis actions as we advanced upon and attacked
the German trenches surrounding: the fortified town of
Cantigny. With his trench cane hooked over his left
arm he dealt death to five Germans, shooting them
down with his automatic as nonclialantl\" as if at tar-
Kel practice, and almost his last act was to drag- a
wounded private through heavy shell fire to a place
of safety. His example was an inspiration to all his
olBcers and men. and we are filled with grief at his

Lieutenant Samuel Parker, of tlie 2Sth Infantry, also

wrote :

I love and respect him above all other soldiers
whom I liave been thrown in contact during the |
war. He was a man and a soldier — ever\" inch of
1 have seen the intluence of many officers over
men. but I can honestly say that I have seen
whose death was felt so keenly by every one
knew him.

Capt. Mosher's name appears among those cited by
Gen. R. L. Bullard for conspicuous gallantry in action
during the operations connected with the capture and
defense of Cantigny. He was awarded the Distin-
guished Service Cross by Gen. Pershing, the citation
reading :

During a heavy bombardment near Cantigny, France,
on May 2Slh. 191S. he displayed heroic conduct and
utter disregard of his own safety while successfully
directing the consolidation and defense of the position
taken by his command. After succeeding in the
accomplishment of his task he was struck by enemy
fire and killed.

.■\ third citation for "conspicuous gallantry in action
and especially meritorious serv-ices" was bestowed by
General Summeral, later in command of the First Divi-

Capt. Mosher and two of his lieutenants were buried
where they fell. later being removed to the French
civilian cemetery at Cantigny and still later to the
-American cemetery at Villers Tournelles, Somme.
Eventually his body is to rest among his kindred in Pine
Hill in the village of Falconer, where the Henry Mosher
Post of the .American Legion, formed by his boyhood
companions and schoolmates, commemorates the name
of Chautauqua county's first soldier to make the supreme
sacrifice in his country's service in France.

Thus passed Henry Mosher, Christian gentleman, and

He wa.H a captain born and bred. In years

Thoueh yet a boy. he was a man in soul.

Ij«d older men and hob! them in control.

In danuer Htood enct and fuelled their fear.s.

When ";<'alh caH.s su'h a. captain, he but hears

A« 'twere a dlHtant bugle and the roll

(ft far-off druniH. We wronfr him If we toll

Th»- mournful bell. Give him our cheers, not tears!

ThrouKh deadly scorch of battle flame and gas,

Throiirh Iron hail and burst of shrapnel shol), —

SmlllrK,' an wIkti we pl.ayed at mimic wars, —

He ■.'.as our I'arbr. I.- It, then, not well,

That he xhoiiM bad before us to the stars?

.Stand at ait<-ntlorir Let his brave ."oiil pass!

(.1. liralnerd Thrall In "The Outlook").

OBED EDSON — There arc other rural counties in
.\'ew lork State that have had a more thrilling history
to record th;m Chriiitauf|itri, but none which has had a
more faithful historian than Obed Kdson. His passing,
in h\s eighty-eighth year, seems almost to close the
t<f/'/k of th'- pioneer history of the crninty, for there is
no man left v,h'> has anything aiiproarbing his knowl-
edge of if.

In the field of original historical research, Mr. Ed-
son had no superior in Western New York. The fruits
of his patient toil are fortunately gathered in perma-
nent form. He was an important contributor to
"Young's History of Chautauqua County," published a
generation ago, which deals especially with the early
settlers. He was the principal author of the county
history published in 1S04 by W. A. Ferguson & Com-
pany, which contains the annals of each town and much
information regarding the geology and archeology of
the county, branches of science with which Mr. Edson
was thoroughly familiar, especially in relation to this
region. He had reached the age of seventy, and was
then, perhaps, at the zenith of his splendid intellectual
powers, when, in IQ02, he contributed his "Annals of
Chautauqua County" for the "Centennial History of
Chautauqua County." The annals comprise three hun-
dred and sixty pages of that work, and for thein he
gleaned from the fruits of his historical studies the facts
most valuable for ready reference. Many special in-
dividuals and periods have since been covered in his
papers for the Historical Society and in his magazine
articles, so that the entire amount of his historical writ-
ings is very considerable in voluiue and will be priceless
in value to future Chautauquans. He well deserved the
title commonly bestowed on him of "county historian."

When, in 1919, the history of Chautauqua county was
proposed, he gave it his hearty support and cooperation,
and is the author of several chapters of the work, all
of which bear his name and may be considered his last
work for the people of his beloved county, in fact his
valedictory, and in a way his monument, as he was an
advisory editor up until the time of his death.

But it would be a mistake to remember Obed Edson
only as a historical student. This was his recreation.
His profession was that of an attorney, and he was at
the time of his death by many years the senior in serv-
ice of any luember of the bar in the county, having
been admitted in 1853. He came of a pioneer family,
bis father, John M. Edson, having removed to Chau-
tauqua county from Madison county in 1810. His father
was a stepson of Maj. Samuel Sinclair. This family
settled at Sinclairville, where Obed Edson was born in
1832, and where he was laid at rest. There the boy went
to school, later attending Fredonia Academy. Then,
in 1851 he studied law in the office of E. H. Sears, and
to ihe little village he came home from the Albany Law
School to hang out his own shingle and to practice there
for sixty years, before taking up his residence with his
son, Walter H. Edson, at Falconer.

As a youth, Mr. Edson was a surveyor, and in 1850
served as a cliainman on the New York & Erie railroad,
the year before its coinplction to Dunkirk and its memo-
rable opening by Daniel Webster. As late as 1867 he
ran the line of the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pitts-
burgh railroad down the Cassadaga valley and through
his lionie village. Sinclairville was in early days a com-
munity of more relative importance in the county than
it is to-day. It once aspired to be the county seat,
being located in the center of the county. Political con-
ventions were held there for tnany years. It numbered
many strong jnen among its citizens, b'rom tlu- bills
and valleys of the township of Charlotte, men have tome

^gal^ £hU^



who have made their names known beyond the limits
of the county.

Of the pioneer families of Charlotte, several belonged
to the Democratic party, among them the Edsons. Obed
Edson became naturally one of the Democratic leaders
in a strongly Republican county, and was steadfast in
his support of the candidates of that party. He was sev-
eral times nominated for public offices, for district attor-
ney in 1865, for member of Assembly in 1873 and 1874,
and for State Senator at a much later date. His elec-
tion to the Assembly in 1874 from the old Second Dis-
trict gave him the distinction of being one of the two
Democrats elected from this county since the Civil War
period, the other having been the late Charles H. Cor-
bett. of Sherman, chosen in 1882. At that time both
Jamestown and Dunkirk were in the same district, which
Mr. Edson represented. That Assembly was Demo-
cratic and served during the first year of Governor Til-
den's administration.

Mr. Edson was uniformly kind and courteous in all his
personal relations. He retained until the last a keen
interest in public affairs. This and his frequent visits
with younger men, all of whom enjoyed his company,
kept him young at heart even when he was an octo-
genarian. So he approached the end of his days with
a contented mind, and was a welcome guest at many a
public gathering. His relation to the community in which
he lived was that of a genial sage. He had lived more
than his allotted time. He had lingered later than his
fellows, as some lone pine upon our wintry hills defies
the storm and the woodman's axe. We find at the close
of his "Annals of Chautauqua County" Bryant's familiar
lines, "To a Water Fowl." which seems to suggest a com-
parison with his own last days :

Tet stoop not. weary, to the welcome land,

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