Samuel W Durant.

History of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers online

. (page 120 of 192)
Online LibrarySamuel W DurantHistory of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 120 of 192)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of Asher Bull.

" Voted, that the late town clerk of Sangerfield deliver up the town
books to the town clerk of Bridgewater.

"Voted, that the supervisor of Bridgewater negotiate all matters
to final settlement with the supervisor of Sangerfield.

"Voted, that this meeting be dissolved."

On the 1st of March, 1798, the following persons paid
to the town of Bridgewater |5 each as innkeepers' licenses:
John W. Brown, Timothy Andrews, Ezra Parker, and
Joseph Farwell. On the 9th of the same month Thomas
Converse and Timothy Andrews paid their back license
for 1797.

In the winter of 1801-2 the smallpox broke out, and
numbers were afflicted with it. By-laws were adopted by
the town board for devising means wherewith to check its
progress and care for those who were sick.

The Supervisors of Bridgewater from 1798 to 1877 in-
clusive have been the following persons, viz. : 1798-1800,
James Kinnee, Esq.; 1801-2, Job Tyler; 1803, Asher
Flint; 1804-6, Peabody Fitch; 1807-13, Daniel Rindge;
1814, Samuel Jones, Jr. ; 1815-17, Willard Crafts; 1818,
Oliver Brown; 1819-21, Samuel Jones; 1822, Willard
Crafts; 1823, Sardius Denslow ; 1824, James A. Rhodes;
1825-26, Sardius Den.slow ; 1827, Willard Crafts; 1828,
Samuel Jones; 1829, Peleg Brown; 1830-31, Absalom
L. Groves; 1832-35, Laurens Hull; 1836, Levi Carpen-
ter; 1837, Peleg Brown; 1838, Theodore Page; 1839,
John F. Trowbridge; 1840, James A. Rhodes; 1841-42,
Peleg Brown ; 1843-44, Oliver R. Babcock ; 1845, Oliver
B. Brown; 1846, Milton Converse; 1847, John South-
worth; 1848, Everett Lewis; 1849, Samuel De Wolf;
1850, Elisha Baker; 1851-54, Peleg B. Babcock; 1855,
Nehemiah N. Peirce; 1856, Elisha B. Brown; 1857,
William N. Southworth; 1858-60, Peter B. Crandall ;
1861-62, Albert A. Steele; 1863-64, Milton Converse;
1805-66, J. Jerome Budlong ; 1867-69, Nehemiah N.
Peirce; 1870-71, Albert N. Bort ; 1872, William Foote;
1873-74, A. N. Bort; 1875, Gould H. Parkhurst; 1876-
77, Newton Sholcs.

The following are the officers for 1878 ; Supervisor,
William N. Southworth; Town Clerk, H. T. Mallory ;
Justices of the Peace, George H. Burgess, G. H. Park-

hurst, Joshua W. Chase, I. D. Peckham, and William N.
Southworth (the term of the latter expires Dec. 31, 1878,
and that of Mr. Burgess begins Jan. 1, 1879) ; Assessor,
W. Harrison Briggs; Commissioner of Highways, David
S. Wood ; Overseer of the Poor, W. Henry Hayes ; Col-
lector, James Tefft ; Town Auditors, James H. Tompkins,
John B. Tuckerman, and Albert N. Bort ; Inspectors of
Election, Orson J. Wolcott, Henry B. Hook, and Fred. A.
Holmes ; Excise Commissioners, Adelbert W. Daggett, G.
Taylor Brown, and John Bliven.


This thriving village is located in the south part of town,
near the line of Madison County. The place began to grow in
1810, upon the completion of the Cherry Valley Turnpike.
Previous to that date the principal settlement was on Far-
well's Hill, at the county line, about half a mile farther
south. There were at the latter place two taverns, one of
them in Oneida County and the other in Madison ; two
stores, an ashery, a Masonic lodge, a post-office, and a con-
siderable number of dwellings. When the above-mentioned
highway was constructed on a route passing north of the
bill, business followed it, and the new settlement sprang up,
while the old one rapidly declined. The post-office wiis
removed to Bridgewater, where it has since remained. In
those days the mail was carried by a " post-rider" from
Utica. The present postmaster at Bridgewater is William
C. Marsh.

The hotel known as (he " Hibbard House'' was built by
Levi Bostwick, probably previous to 1812. He continued
as its landlord for a number of years. The building has
been enlaiged to double its original capacity, and in various
ways improved. The house at present, under the manage-
ment of A. C. Hibbard, has achieved popularity throughout
the surrounding region, and is the favorite resort for trav-
elers. An excellent livery is kept in connection.

The brick building opposite the Hibbard House, now
occupied by the store of Williams & Bort, was built for a
hotel by Harvey Curtis in the same year the former was
erected. Curtis kept it for many years. It has been en-
larged and remodeled at various times, but has long been
out of use as a hotel.

The present edifice known as " Wilson's Hotel" occu-
pies the site on which at an early date stood the store of
Abner Ives. The store was tran.sformed into a tavern by
Piatt Herrick, who occupied it for some time. It was
finally burned down, and the present large frame building
has been erected on the spot within recent years. The
proprietor is William Wilson.

Among the early physicians who lived in the village
and practiced in this vicinity were Doctors Laurens Hull
and Daniel Avery, who located about 1804. The present
physicians of the village are Hiram P. Whitford, Francis
A. Baker, Silas Bailey, and Anthony Knight. Dr. Avery
came into the town in 1792 or 1793, and was the first who
settled within its borders. He located first in the neigh-
borhood of Babcock Hill.

One of the ablest attorneys who ever practiced here was
John Ruger. Leander Babcock, of this town, and later of
Oswego County, was elected to Congress from the latter.


Nehemiah N. Peirce was born in Bridgewater, Oneida
Co., N. Y., Oct. 25, 1818. His father, Frederick Peirce,
was from Mansfield, Conn., and was of English descent.
He settled in Bridgewater in 1796, when the town was
without a road and with very few settlers. After settling
in Bridgewater he married Miss Rebecca Blood, who was
of Scotch descent, and came to this town from Massachu-
setts. She survived her husband about thirteen years,
departing this life January 29, 1858. He died March 27,

Colonel Peirce was educated at the common schools and at
Clinton Liberal Institute, and has followed the occupation
of farming and land surveying nearly all his life. He was
commissioned by Governor Bouck a colonel of militia of
the State of New York, Nov. 17, 1843, and that military
appellation has since followed him. He has been four

times elected supervisor of his town, and in 1849 repre-
sented his Assembly district in the Legislature. Among
the citizens of his town Mr. Peirce justly holds a high
rank for his excellent character and efiBcient public services,
while as a private citizen he commands universal respect
and confidence.

Colonel Peirce was married, January 8, 1861, to Miss
Emily Pullman, daughter of Elias B. and Nancy (Du Bois)
Pullman, of the town of Norway, Herkimer Co., N. Y. The
family on her mother's side were descendants of the French
Huguenots who emigrated to this country over two hundred
years ago and settled on the Hudson Eiver. She was born
Sept. 8, 1834, and educated at Fairfield Seminary, at the
State Normal School, and at Fort Edward Institute. She
is a lady of fine culture and of high intellectual and sociiil



De Witt C. Littlejohn, of Bridgewatev village, has several
times been Speaker of the House at Albany. There are at
present no lawyers residing in town.


Western Star Lodge, No. 15, -f. ai,id A. M., was or-
ganized in June, 1797, and is the oldest Masonic Lodge in
the county. Its original number was 59, but during the
" Anti-Masonic" excitement, consequent upon the Morgan
aifair, its number dropped to 15. At the time of its
organization George Clinton was in the Executive chair of
the State. It was chartered at Leonardsville, the settle-
ment previously mentioned as located south of Bridgewater,
and in 1812 was removed, as was also the building which
contained the lodge-room, to the latter place. Its first
Master was Jared Kinny. On the 1st of May, 1798, it
was " Voted, That Brother John Jacob Astor, Master of
Holland Lodge, in New York, be our proxy to represent
the Western Star Lodge in the Grand Lodge of the State
of New York." As its number indicates, this Lodge is the
fifteenth in age of those now in existence in the Slate.
During the Anti-Masonic excitement the charter was kept
alive mainly through the instrumentality of J. A. Rhodes,
Esq., and Samuel Richards, who are both yet living. The
building then stood upon the south street of the village.
Mr. Richards joined the Lodge in 1820, and Esquire Rhodes
at an earlier day, and these two are the only persons now
living who were members at that time. They are among
the oldest Masons in the country. The present officers of
Western Star Lodge are : Worshipful Master, A. W. Dag-
gett ; Senior Warden, C. W. Stoddard ; Junior Warden,
W. E. Foote ; Senior Deacon, C. N. Brown ; Junior Dea-
con, E. D. Waldo ; Secretary, I. D. Peckham ; Treasurer,
Frank Babcock ; Chaplain, A. T. Worden.

Warren Chapter, No. 22, R. A. M., was organized at
Leonardsville in 1808, removed to Bridgewater in 1812,
and to Waterville in 1856, where it has since remained.

The village of Bridgewater contained, in June, 1878, 2
hotels, 1 dry-goods and general store, 1 hardware-store and
tin-shop, a boot and shoe store, a grocery-store, a millinery
and dress-making establishment, 3 blacksmith-shops, a
wagon-shop, a meat-market, a cheese-factory, etc. As many
as four general stores have been in operation at one time in
the place, but this was in the palmy days of the past. The
cheese-factory is owned by Zenas Eldredj who has also
several others in the northern and western portions of the

is a small place located in the north part of town, on the
Utica and Chenango division of the Delaware, Lackawanna
and Western Railway, which road also passes through
Bridgewater village. The cheese-factory at this place is
owned and operated by a stock company, of which John
Tuckerman is president. It is the largest of the three
located in the town, and does the most business. The
other stockholders are N. Sholes, T. W. Parkinson, Alonzo
Brown, William Palmer, and B. L. Webb. Another fac-
tory is located between this and Bridgewater, owned by
William N. Southworth.

The post-office at North Bridgewater was established

about 1850, and Elisha Baker appointed first postmaster.
Some political differences caused trouble over the office at
Babcock Hill, and this was the reason why the one at
North Bridgewater was established. The present incumbent
of this office is Thomas Parkinson, who has held it since the
fall of 1875.


Asa and Oliver Babcock, from North Stonington, Conn.,
were among the first settlers on the hill, and from them it
received its name. Asa came in 1797, and settled on the
farm in the town of Paris now owned by George Chapman.
This farm joins the one in Bridgewater upon which Oliver
Babcock located in 1799, the latter now the property of
Nehemiah N. Peirce, of Bridgewater village. Martin
Babcock, a younger brother of these two, came to the town
in 1807, and located on the farm now owned by his son,
C. H. Babcock. He purchased of Roland Stiles, who had
made the first improvements on the place. Neither of the
three was married at the time of their settlement. Asa
Babcock was a cabinet-maker by trade, and erected a shop
upon his premises, in which he carried on the business for
some time, but finally discontinued it, and paid attention
exclusively to farming. Martin Babcock did some work in
the cooper's line. Asa originally took up 200 acres of
land, and Martin's place contained 100. Oliver began
with a small amount, but in after-years became a large
land-holder. The first trips of the brothers to this region
were made on horseback. Martin and Oliver Babcock
both served in the army during the war of 1812, the
former being stationed at Ogdensburg and the latter at
Sacket's Harbor. Both of them died before the act grant-
ing pensions to the soldiers of 1812 was passed.

Major Anthony Rhodes, a veteran of the Revolution,
and a resident of North Stonington, New London Co.,
Conn., came to this town with his family in 1792. His
wife was an aunt of the Babcocks before mentioned. It
is stated that while she was living in Connecticut she dis-
tinctly heard the cannonading at the battle of Louisburg !*
Major Rhodes purchased a 500-acre lot of land of Judge
Sanger, of New Hartford, 200 acres of which are now
owned by his son, James Avery Rhodes, Esq., who resides
on the place, which has been his home since the winter
after his father settled. The major had been here the pre-
vious summer, and built a log shanty on the place, into
which he moved his family when he settled. The son,
J. A. Rhodes, was born in Connecticut, in 1790, and was
consequently two years old when he was brought to this
town. He is the oldest settler now living in Bridgewater,
yet even at his advanced age manages his farm of 250 acres.
He has been a prominent man in the town, and is recog-
nized authority on all matters pertaining to its early history
and that of the " region round about." He is somewhat of
a connoisseur in geological matters, and has gathered some
fine specimens. Upon his place are very good quarries of
limestone. The house in which he now resides was built
by his father about 1806. The latter removed finally to a
farm in Herkimer County, where he died. His remains were
broun-ht back to Bridgewater, and interred on the old farm.

« About 1000 miles.



Esquire Rhodes remembers seeing many of the Oneida
Indians in this neighborhood when he was a boy. Most of
them could speak no English except to say all brothers,
which had been taught them by Rev. Samuel Kirkland, or
" Old Priest Kirkland," as he was long familiarly known.

Major Rhodes' wife used to relate the circumstances
which induced her husband and herself to remove to this
town. Her brother, Captain Oliver Babeock, came this
way at some time during the Revolution with a small band
of Connecticut soldiers. They proceeded from Schenectady
to what is known as the " Carr Farm,"* in Otsego County,
and thence up the Unadilla and down the Oriskany to Fort
Stanwix. On the way they camped on the very ground
which was afterwards selected by Major Rhodes for a home.
Captain Babeock mentioned the place to his bvother-in-law
after his return to Connecticut, and the latter came out and
bought it, settled upon it, and he and his wife are now
buried- upon it.

On Esquire Rhodes' farm are a number of apple-trees
which grew up at the spot where Captain Babeock and his
party bivouacked. They probably sprang from seeds thrown
down by those men, as they undoubtedly procured apples
while at the Carr farm. One of the trees is now ten feet
in circumference.

When Major Rhodes settled he was accompanied by
John W. Brown and brother, the former locating on Bab-
eock Hill, and the latter at the forks of the Unadilla; Dr.
Daniel Avery and John W. Collins, who also settled in
town. Several others came not long afterwards.

John Rhodes, a brother of the major, settled at about the
same time, and purchased a largo amount of land, riding on .
horseback to New York City to procure his deeds. His
grandson, J. S. Rhodes, is now a resident of the town.

Babeock Hill Post-oiEce was established in 1845, with
John M. Champion, M.D., as first postmaster. The mail
was brought here by carrier from Cassville, in the town of
Paris. Dr. Champion was succeeded by David Palmer,
since whom the postmasters have been Clark Green, Dr.
Champion a second time. Mills Barnet, James Johnson,
Lewis J. Tripp, Gould Benedict, John P. Babeock, and
the present incumbent, Edward L. Austin. These may not
be in their regular order, but Mr. C. H. Babeock, who fur-
nished the information, believes the list to be nearly or
quite correct.

The hotel on the hill was built in 1812, by Asa Bab-
eock, who carried it on until he died. It is now the prop-
erty of Lewis J. Tripp, but is not used as a hotel.

The first store at this place was kept by P. Mott, and
Henry Robbins and others have been in the business since.
There is now no store upon the hill.

We are indebted to the following persons for information
given while compiling the foregoing sketch : J. A. Rhodes,
Esq., and C. H. Babeock, of Babcoek Hill ; J. S. Rhodes,
T. Parkinson, and others, at North Bridgewater; Miss
Charlotte Ives, the Kirkland brothers, N. N. Peiree, A. N.
Bort, Silas B. Wood, Garret Scott, and others, at Bridge-
water village and vicinity.

* Named from one Carr, an Indian .agent.



is a native of Brookfield, Madi.son Co., where he spent his
early professional life in the practice of the old or allopathic
system of medicine, but after long and careful investigation
changed to homoeopathy, which he has practiced in Water-
town and Utica, N. Y., and Toledo, 0. In putting hot and
cold water into his new house at Bridgewater, he connected
with it an apparatus for administering Russian, Turkish,
and electro-thermal and medicated baths, which are being
used by many needing such to great profit and convenience.



The town of Camden lies on the western border of the
county, near its northwest corner, and includes the whole
of township number seven and half of township number
eight of Soriba's Patent. Its area is 31,438 acres. The west
branch of Fish Creek flows through the town, uniting at
Camden village with Mad River, and near the southeast cor-
ner with Little River, which flows along the southern border.
These streams are all rapid, and furnish excellent power,
which at Camden village has been extensively utilized. There
are also numerous smaller tributaries of these of more or
less importance.

The surface of this town is high, level in the southern
part, and hilly and broken in the northern. Its soil con-
tains a large amount of sand, yet there are many very pro-
ductive and excellent farms within its borders. In the
western portion is a section known as " Hillsboro','' which
is quite stony. Several quarries of good building-stone are
found, one on Mad River, in the village. From these are
taken considerable quantities of flagging-stones, used for
pavements in the village and elsewhere.


The first permanent settler of this town was Judge Henry
Williams. The date of his arrival cannot now be satisfac-
torily ascertained. Previous to this time Jesse Curtiss
had been here, and erected a saw-mill, but his family did
not arrive until after that of Judge Williams. It is pre-
sumed that several other families came into town at nearly
the same time with the judge, but all of them, with the
exception of the latter, returned to their homes to remain
the first winter. Following Williams, came Levi Matthews,
Daniel Parke, Seth and Joel Dunbar, Aaron Matthews,
Thomas Comstock, Jesse and Elihu CurtLss, Samuel Royce,
Noah and Andrew Tuttle, Benjamin Barnes, Sr., Benjamin
Barnes, Jr., Philip Barnes, Israel Stoddard, and a Mr.

Judge Israel Stoddard visited the town in 1798, and pur-
chased a farm upon which a small house had been erected.
In 1799, he returned to it with his family, and upon arriv-
ing found that a funeral was being conducted within it. It
seamed that a Mrs. Bacon, with her infant child, was, in


[BUILT IN 1731 )

Residence or E.B. UPSON, Camden. H.Y.




company with another woman, crossing Mad River in a
canoe, which by some accident was upset, leaving the three
occupants to the mercy of the waters. Mr. Carrier, who
was near at hand, rescued the woman who was with Mrs.
Bacon, but the latter and her child were drowned. These
were the first deaths in town, and it was the funeral of these
persons which was being attended when the judge arrived
upon the scene with his family.

Noah Tuttle, one of the first settlers, lived half a mile
southwest of the village. His youngest son, Daniel, born
April 22, 1798, was the first white male child born in town.
The first birth of a white child was that of a daughter
of Judge Henry Williams. The first marriage was that of
Elihu Curtiss and Anna Northrup.

Elijah Perkins came firom Connecticut in 18Q3, and set^
tied in the north part of town, on the farm now owned by
James Nisbet. He brought with him his wife and two
sons, Elijah M. and Woodard. The former and his brother,
Lyman, served in the war of 1812. Lyman was wounded
at the battle of Little York, and died from the effects, and
Elijah died at home soon after of disease. Woodard Per-
kins now resides on the road between the village of Camden
and the station of West Camden.

Abel Munson, from Windham, Greene Co., N. Y., set-
tled in 1809, moving into a house on land now owned by
Wallace Barnes, and afterwards locating on what is known
as the " Marvin place," now occupied by a Mr. Lewis. His
son, Lorenzo Munson, resides a mile above West Camden,
and has lived in the town continuously since his father set^
tied, or for the term of sixty-nine years.

Eldad Smith, the grandfather of S. L. Smith, of West
Camden, settled in 1800, coming from Connecticut with an
ox-team, the trip occupying two weeks. He brought away
from his old home with him a dash-churn full of chickens
to cook on the way. He located on the farm now owned
by Robert Sparrow, great lot number nine, east of West

John Bryan, from Watertown, Connecticut, came about
1805, driving through with a yoke of cattle and one horse,
bringing his family and what furniture he could conveniently
load in his cart. He settled on what is now the Taberg
road, in the east part of the town. He was away at Saok-
et's Harbor with the miUtia in the war of 1812. His
daughter, Abigail, the widow of Amos D. Mix and mother
of J. W. Mix, proprietor of the canning-factory, at present
resides in the village of Camden.


A frame school building stood in the park in Camden
village in 1803, and was probably built two or three years
previous to that time. The names of the early teachers
cannot now be ascertained.

About 1809-10 a school-house was built in the Perkins
district, in which the first teacher was Clark Crofoot, a
resident of Florence, which town included a portion of
the district. Mr. Crofoot's death occurred at a compara-
tively recent date.

A school was kept soon after the war of 1812 in the
log house of Manning Barnes, at West Camden, and was
probably the earliest in the neighborhood. The teacher

was a lady named Rachel Hungerford. The present
schools of the town are in a fine condition, and are con-
ducted by an able corps of teachers.


" The First Congregational Church of Camden was organized in
Paris, on the 19th of February, 1798, by Rev. Eliphalet Steele, pastor
of the Congregational Church at Paris Hill, Oneida Co., N. Y. It
consisted of eight members, — Benjamin Barnes and Jemima, his wife j
Noah Tuttle and Thankful, his wife; Philip Barnes and Laura, his
wife,- Marshall Meriam and Benjamin Barnes, Jr., — all dismissed
from Mr. Steele's church. The first sermon preached in the new set-
tlement was by Rev. Joshua Johnson, of Redfield, from Isaiah xxxt.
1 : ' The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and
the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.' In this case it was
a significant prophecy remarkably fulfilled. The church was organ-
ized a year before the organization of the town. ' Thus,' says the
second pastor of the church, writing about 1826, ' thus the settlement
of the town commenced under religious auspices; public and private
worship was immediately set up on the Sabbath in a log house, ser-
mons were read, the praises of God sung, and prayer ofiered by the
brethren of the church.' The settlement grew from year to year, and
the little church received accessions. In September, 1800, 12 persons
were received; in November, 1803, 11 more were added.

" There were two rival settlements, known as the east and west
villages. From the first, services had been held alternately in each.
About this time (1803), to favor local interests, a number of persons
withdrew from the First Church and formed at the west village the
Second Congregational Church.

" In 1807 the first church erected and inclosed a meeting-house.
Hitherto this church had hired occasional supplies, but had not en-
joyed the ministrations of a settled pastor. Oct. 16, 1809, they gave
the Rev. Ebenezer Leavenworth, a licentiate of the Association of
Berkshire Co., Mass., a call to become their pastor, on a salary of

Online LibrarySamuel W DurantHistory of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 120 of 192)