Samuel W Durant.

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

. (page 142 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 142 of 192)
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was 'owned by Tunis Leroy. The lot on which it stood he
purchased of Hiram Holman. Leroy finally sold out and
went to Pennsylvania, where he died.

Briggs, while running his distillery, kept a small store.
Before this, William Holman, brother of David Holman,
Jr., who came a few years after the latter, bought a lot
of his brother and built a house and small grocery-store
upon it, which was the first in the place. He moved away
from the village, and David Holman, Jr., built a store near
where Hiram Holman now lives, and carried it on until
compelled by ill health to discontinue business. He died
soon afterwards. His father, David Holman, Sr., came to
the place some years after the son had settled, and finally
died here.

After the distillery went down the business of the grist-
mill of necessity declined, and Hiram Holman and his
brother George W. built a mill for manufacturing cotton-
batting and yarn, which they operated a few years, or until
the large mills farther down the creek went into the same
business. The building was then rented to Mix & Kendall,
who manufactured " draw-shaves." A man named Wells was
for a time associated with them. These men afterwards made
hoes for a man named Smith, who finally removed to Grand
Rapids, Mich., where he is now engaged in the hardware
business. After the manufacture of hoes was discontinued,
cabinet-work was carried on upon a small scale, together
with the manufacture of boxes, saw-frames, etc., and the
property was eventually sold to Charles Cooper, the present
proprietor of the cabinet-shop.

A colored man named Wigdin had a small shop here at
one time, in which he turned wooden bowls, which he
peddled around the country.

The place now has a blacksmith-shop, a wagon-shop, and
a shoemaker, besides the establishments already mentioned.
There is also a wagon- and sleigh-shop a short distance down
the stream, owned by Benjamin G. Chapman, and another
party has recently purchased a small power here, with the
intention of putting up a building in which to manufacture
block maps.

Darius Dunham, grandfather of the present George D.
Dunham, and the Stedman, Potter, Baker, and other fam-
ilies, were among the early settlers in the eastern part of
Paris. Zachariah P. Townsend, an early resident of the
adjoining town of Litchfield, Herkimer Co., finally removed
to this town, and lived in it until his death, at an advanced
age. His widow occupies the old place southeast of

To the many who have aided us in gathering the fore-
going items we return sincere thanks. Among them may
be mentioned J. V. H. Scovill, of Paris Hill; Dr. L.
Bishop, Colonel C. S. Butler, and H. D. Brownell, of Sau-
quoit; B. T. Randal, of Cassville; Esq. Albert Barnett,
G. W. Burt, and others, at Clayville ; and Hiram Holman,
of Holman City ; together with the various pastors, mem-
bei-s of churches, and many others.



was born in Rhode Island in 1798. When three years of
age his father came to Bridgewater, Oneida County, N. Y.,
where he purchased a farm. Stephen spent his boyhood days
upon his father's farm, receiving such educational advantages
as the district school of that day aiforded. Nothing of special
importance occurred until Feb. 28, 1822, when he was
married to Miss Betsey, daughter of David and Huldah
Holmes, by whom he had two children, — John H., born
Nov. 27, 1822; George W., born June 11, 1833. Mr.
Chapman was a progressive, energetic farmer, his only aim
in life to succeed in his chosen calling; and that he con-
quered success, the only evidence needed was the farm
upon which he lived until his death, which occurred in
1875. In his religious afliliations he was a Baptist, and
a prominent supporter and a zealous member of that organi-
zation, in which he officiated as deacon for twenty-seven
years. In politics he was a Republican. He had no desire
for political preferment, the duties of his business and
his family absorbing his entire attention. His devoted
wife, who is all that is expressed in the term amiable and
intelligent, is still living at an advanced aije.



This town is in the northeastern portion of the county,
and has an area of 23,364 acres. A strip in the south
part lies in Servis' Patent, another on the west in Steuben's
Patent, and the balance is included in the Remsenburg
Patent. It was named from Henry Remsen, one of the
original patentees of the latter, and was formed from Nor-
way, Herkimer Co., March 15, 1798. It is watered by
the Black River, West Canada Creek, and Cincinnati
Creek, with their tributaries. Its surface is in general very
hilly and broken, and its soil such as is peculiar to this
part of the county. The present inhabitants of this town,
with few exceptions, are Welsh. Owing to the fact that
some errors have crept into the heretofore published histo-
ries of this town, we copy extracts from the lecture de-
livered at Remsen in 1851, by Hon. Didymus Thomas,
still a resident in the village :

..." By the act erecting the county from Herkimer, it was enacted
that all of the town of Norway lying in the said new county of
Oneida should be erected and organized into a new town, to be called
Remsen. Thus we find that, unlike jnost other towns, the town of
Remsen was organized by the Legislature, without any petition from,
or action, or movement on the part of the inhabitants of said town.
This was in the year 1798, March 15, just four years after the arri-
val of the first settler on said tract of land. The first white inhabit-
ant of that part of the town of Norway now constituting Remsen
was Shubacl Cross, of Massachusetts, who, in March, 1794, left the
valley of the Mohawlt at Ulica, and with his family struck into the
forest, and formed a line of marked trees along the valley of Cincin-
natus Creek, through the site of the present village of Remsen, and
finally stopped and put up a log cabin at what has since been called
Burrett's Mills, now called Boardwell Settlement, and there struck



the first blow, and felled the first tree, and made the first clearing
within the present limits of the town of Remsen, and there con-
structed the first grist-mill in town; and, instead of using the fine
water-power there, it was propelled hy wind, and in place of stone to
grind he used pestle to pound and mash the corn, — possibly, and
very probjbly, hollowing out the top of a large stump for a mortar,
and a spring-pole for pestle, as usual with pioneers. Subsequently he
put up the firrt sawmill, a little below the site of the Boardwell saw-
mill, and getting wot in cold stream (well known to our fisher-
men) gave him a cold, which, for a season, caused a derangement of
his mental powers, and finally ending, as near as I cun learn, in the
first death in town, and that of the first pioneer, who was the first
constable and collector in town ; and the bi.dy, without the benefit of
clergy or the solemnities of burial-service, was placed in the lap of
its mother eai-th in the wilderness of Crosstown.

"The following year, 1795, Shubael Cross was followed by three
more with their families; John Bnnner, a native of England, moved
here from A''ermont, and took up the lot afterwards owned and occu-
pied by Jenkin Jones. Subsequently he moved "West, where a son re-
sided, and where he died. Of him and the noted hunter and Indian-
killer, Grei n White, of this town, is told rather an amusing anecdote.
Whilst out on a hunting tour they had a falling out, which ended in
a fight. Grt en "White bein^ small in stature, but smart and nimble,
for a spell pelted Bonner rather uncomfortably, but Bonner finally
getting hold of him, and being a large, powerful man, and good-
natured, as strong men generally are, crushed White to the earth and
there held him. Finally, when White saw there was no chance for
him, says he, 'Bonner,'s the use to fight? There's no one to
see who whips!' Bonnncr at once released hitn, and they were
friends again.

"At the same time with Mr. Bonner, jMr. Barnabas Mitchell and
Amos Bull, with their families, moved into town, said Mitchell being
the father of Mrs. Polly Van Slykc, the first-born of the town of Rem-
sen, who settled on the land siuce owned an 1 occupied by his son,
Milo Mitchell, where he lived for a series of years and where he dlid.
Amos Bull settled on and cleared the land which was long called Bull's
Commons, and later the ' Camp Farm,' which place be left in disgust,
— believing (.as others did for years) the place to be not worth fencing,
even where cleared, — and removed to the town of Floyd, where he

"These four first settlers were soon followed b}' Ephraim IloUister,
father-in-law of Judge Storrs, of Trenton, who followed brick-making
on the Mitchell ' Bryn y Glock' farm, and who, in April, 1798, was
elected the first supervisor of the town of Remsen, at the first town-
meeting, held at the log dwelling of Samuel Howe, at Cross Settlement,
and who the first justice of the peace in this town. He subse-
quently removed to Trenton, where he died."

A Mr. King at-i-ived aboiit this time also, and kept tlio first
public-house. His daughter is supposed to liave been tlie
first person married in this town, having entered the bonds
of wedloclc about 1800. Stephen Hutoliiiison idso came
early, and located on the Price farm ; be was subsequently
elected the overseer of the poor, and in his barn was
delivered, by an itinerant missionary, the first religious dis-
course ever preached in Remsen.

The pioneer settler of the village of Reiuscn was Peter
Becker, who built a small log cabin, subsequently selling
the saiue, with his one-hundred-acre lot, to Deacon Piatt, of
Steuben. The cabin was soon after set on fire and burned.
About the .same time Jo.seph Brownell bought the one-hun-
dred-acre lot on which stands the upper tavern. He was one
of the three road commissioners elected at the first town-
meeting. He soon sold his place to Oliver Smith, and re-
moved, probably to the town of Steuben. Gershom Hinkley,
a surveyor, was elected highway commissioner in his place.
On the farm of the latter, at Fairchild Corners, was erected
the first in town.

James Smith and his son, Joab, settled about 1795.
The former kept a public-house in 1797, on the place after-

wards occupied by Captain Root. The son died at Sacket's
Harbor during the war of 1812. There came also about
the same time Jacob Dayton, Nathaniel Rockwood, Solo-
mon Gillett, Perez Farr, Ebenezer Dodd, William Plato
(the monomaniac money -digger), Philip Scott, the 'first
physician in town, who lived on the Richard Morgan place,
and for several years after the organization of the town
ofiiciated as town clerk, and Rev. Edmund TeflTt, the first
resident minister. He was a Baptist, and an inveterate
snuff-taker, and was wont to take a pinch in the middle of
his discourse.

The first Welsh settler in this town was David Jones,
father of Mrs. John Pugh, of Remsen village, who took up
the Billings lot, on the Steuben Road. The first Welsh-
men who came here were great curiosities to the earlier
settlers, and when William Tefft, a native of Remsen, saw
one for the first time (who happened to be Thomas Thomas,
then of Steuben, and afterwards of Remsen), he could hardly
tell which was the greatest curiosity, his face as a Welsh-
man or his wooden leg.

" In the year 1803, Broughton White, and his brother-
in-law, Lemuel Hough, moved into town from Steuben, and
started an ashery in company, on Steuben Street, and after-
wards Esquire White opened a small grocery-store in a log
building on the site of the present store, where he kept a
few goods, principally to exchange for ashes ; this being the
first store ever opened in the village of Remsen. . . . Es-
quire White subsequently put up a part of the yellow build-
ing adjoining the store, which is said to be the oldest frame
building now in the town of Remsen." Broughton White,
E.sq., sold out his store to John Mappa and Jacob Belticher,
who subsequently disposed of the property to Heman Ferry.

The cast part of town, commonly called " Ninety-six,''
was settled about 1816. The first frame building erected
in this part of town was a barn belonging to " Uncle Tom

About the year 1808, David Manual, John James, Grif-
fith I. Jones, John Owens, and Hugh Hughes, from Wales,
located in town. Griffith 0. Griffiths, of Remsen village,
recently deceased, was the first Welsh child born in the
State west of the Hudson River.


was held in 1798. Tlie early records of the town are miss-
ing, and it is impossible to give the names of those elected
at that first meeting. Hon. Pomroy Jones, in his "Annals
of Oneida County," has fortunately given the Supervisors
of the town up to 1851, as follows: 1798, Ephraim Hol-
lister; 1799-1808, Gershom Hiuckley; 1809-19, Brough-
ton White; 1820-21, James Sheldon; 1822-23, Zalmon
Root; 1824-25, Luther Conkling ; 1826-28, Lemuel
Hough; 1829-34, Henry R. Sheldon; 1835-38, Mather
Beecher ; 1 839-43, Evan Owens ; 1844, Thomas R. White ;
1845, Obadiah J. Owens; 1846, Griffith 0. Griffiths;
1847, Andrew Billings; 1848-49, William H. Thomas;
1850, Evan Jones. Mr. Jones held the office through
1854, and the Supervisors since have been : 1855, Joseph
H.Montague; 185G-58, Didyraus Thomas ; 1859, Samuel
Lamb; 1860-61, John J. Vaughn; 1862, William H.
Owen ; 1863, James Mitchell ; 1864, William H. Owen ;



1865, Morgan Owen; 1866-67, Silas Moore; 1868, Wil-
liam A. Thomas; 1869-72, James Mitchell; 1873-74,
Evan G.Williams; 1875-76, Richard R.Jones; 1877-
78, John R. Thomas. The balance of the officers for 1878
are : Town Clerk, George E. Pugh ; Justice of the Peace,
William P. Jones ; Assessor, Richard Richards; Commis-
sioner of Highways, Richard J. Thomas ; Overseers of the
Poor, Hugh R. Hughes, Thomas Roberts; Collector, John
H. Jones ; Constables, John H. Jones, John H. Williams,
John W. Roberts, Thomas J. Williams, Edgar Mitchell ;
Town Auditors, Samuel Lamb, Francis J. Evans, Lewis
Francis; Inspectors of Election, District No. 1, Edgar
Mitchell, George W. Owen, Fred. C. Phelps; District
No. 2, Stephen James, Luther Davis, William H. Smith ;
Game Constable, William M. Jones; Sealer of Weights
and Measures, Robert Edwards ; Commissioner of Excise,
Griffith Richards.


The first school in town is referred to in Mr. Thomas'
lecture. The first district school in the village was built
in 1814; the first meeting of the inhabitimts of the dis-
trict for school purposes having been held September 4,
1813. At this meeting Joseph Halstead was moderator,
and Herman Ferry clerk. The first trustees were John
Piatt, Lemuel Hough, and Ezra Green. In December,
1813, it was voted by the board '' that Broughton Wliite
be instructor of said school for this winter.'' Austin Ward
was another early teacher, and also taught singing-school.
He was several times candidate for Governor of the State
on the abolition ticket. This first was a frame
building, and stood in the upper part of the village.

The town contains eleven districts, including two joint
districts in connection with Forestport and Trenton. The
number of school children is 380, and the average attend-
ance, 160. The .amount of school moneys paid to districts
for 1878 is $1127.94.


The first religious organization was a Presbyterian so-
ciety, which was formed at an early date in Remsen village.
It has become extinct.

The oldest Welsh religious society is the Calvinistic
Methodist, which has several churches, including one in
the village. The Welsh Congregation alists and Baptists,
organized at nearly the same time, are next in age. Each
denomination has a church in the village; the Baptist
organized in 1832, and the Congregational in 1837. There
is also a Methodist Episcopal Church in the place, which is
the only society other than Welsh in the town.

The town contains twelve churches at present, viz., three
Welsh Congregational, two Welsh Baptists, four Welsh
Calvinistic, two Methodist Episcopal, and one Wesleyan
(also Welsh). One of the Congregational Churches is lo-
cated in the eastern partof town (near the Wesleyan Church),
and has taken the name of that locality,^" Ninety-six."

was incorporated by an act of the Legislature passed in
1845. On the first Tuesday in May of that year an elec-
tion was held, at which the following officers were chosen.

viz. : Trustees, John H. Smith, Andrew Billings, Griffith
B. James ; Assessors, Thomas R. Hawley, G. B. James,
Morgan Owens; Fire- Warden, Mather Beecher; Clerk,
Evan Jones ; Treasurer, John T. Griffiths ; Collector,
Josiah Griffiths.

July 19, 1845, the trustees appointed the following fire-
men : George P. Bridgman, Morgan Owens, John Edmunds,
Owen E. Jones, William L. Williams, William E. Lewis,
Thomas Jones, Edward James, Henry Crosby, Griffith J.
Griffiths, Is.iao W. Roberts, DjIos Bearhyte, A. H. Doty,
Francis Prindle, Seth Wells, Jr. These were ordered to
" appear in uniform adopted by themselves." This company
was called " Engine Company, No. 1." Isaac W. Roberts
was chosen foreman, and a uniform adopted consisting of
red coat and black tarpaulin hat. A hook-and-ladder com-
pany was organized July 19, 1845, with nine members,
having John T, Griffiths as foreman. A small hand-engine
was procured, and for some years the village rejoiced in the
possession of an efficient fire company. It at length became
disorganized, and finally disbanded.

An election was held again in 1846, which through
some informality was found to be illegal, and the officers of
1845 held over. The trustees since 1847 have been ;
, 1847. — Z. D. Root, Mather Beecher, Isaac W. Roberts.
1848.— G. A. Yeomans, N. C. Phelps, 0. J. Owens.
1819.— F. W. Buckingham, J. H. Smith, Z. D. Root.
1850. — Morgan Owens, Fred. E. Hale, Jonah Griffith.
1851. — No record.

1852.— William E. Owen, Griffith 0. Griffiths, Josiah

1833.— Griffith 0. Griffiths, John R. Jones, Robert P.

1854. — Morgan Owen, James Owens, William W.

1855. — No record.

1856.— A. C. Herron, G. 0. Griffiths, Didymus Thomas.
1857. — No record.

1858.— Henry W. Roberts, Delos Bearhyte,* R. P.

1859. — Morgan Owens, S. Douglas, D. Bearhyte.
I860.— G. 0. Griffiths, William W. Thomas, William
E. White.

1861.— D. Bearhyte, W. H. Williams, W. S. Evans.
1862.— Same as 1861 ; also same in 1863.
1864.— G. 0. Griffiths, J. Mitchell, John D. Griffiths.
1865. — James Mitchell, Morgan Owen, Josiah Griffith.
1866. — Richard R. Jones, William H. Williams, Robert
W. Roberts.

1867-68.— No record.

1869.— John P. Samuel, Robert W. Roberts, Hugh

1870.— William W. Thomas, Evan G. Williams, Row-
land Anthony.

1871. — No record.

In 1872 a new charter was obtained under the general
act for incorporation of villages. The officers elected in that
year were: President, Dr. R. H. Wiggins; Trustees, Joseph
Roberts, R. W. Roberts, " Jink" Jones.

^' Also written Burhyte.



1873.— President, Dr. E. H. Wiggins; Trustees, R. W.
Roberts, Thomas J. Anthony, Evan Roberts.

1874. — President, Dr. R. H. Wiggins ; Trustees, Rich-
ard R. Jones, Jenliin Jones, Thomas 0. Roberts.

1875. — President, Dr. R. H. Wiggins; Trustees, R. W.
Roberts, Hugh H. Thomas, John P. Samuel.

1876. — President, Joseph I. Francis; Trustees, John P.
Samuel, Hugh H. Thomas, R. W. Roberts.

1877.— President, R. W. Roberts ; Trustees, Joseph P.
Samuel, John R. Ellis, Hugh H. Thomas.

1878. — President, Richard R. Jones ; Trustees, John
R. Ellis, Richard Richards, Owen S. Evans ; Treasurer,
George W. Owen; Collector, William J. Jones; Corpora-
tion Clerk, D. Spencer Anthony.

William Piatt, who settled at the village in 1795, built
a small grist-mill on the creek, and its foundation is now a
part of the mill owned by Matthew Jones. There were
several brothers named Piatt who settled in this town,
Steuben, and Boonville, and erected mills.

The early settlers of the village came mostly from the
town of Steuben, after the death of the Baron ; they were
in every instance intelligent and capable men, and made
good citizens.

Among the early merchants here were William and
Heman Ferry, the latter of whom finally removed to TJtioa.
William Ferry emigrated to Michigan, and was the father
of Hon. Thomas Ferry, United States Senator from that
State. Other members of the family have become distin-
guished in the State of New York and elsewhere. Brough-
ton White, who has also been mentioned, was long a mem-
ber of the family of Baron Steuben, and a surveyor by

The Remsen post-office was established previous to 1812,
and Broughton White was probably the first postmaster.
Heman Ferry was also among the early postmasters. The
present incumbent is Morgan Owen.

One Dr. Bill erected u part of the present Dawson Hotel
at an early day. He finally removed to Ohio, and lived to
be about a hundred years of age. His son, Horace N.
Bill, was long editor of the Roman Citizen. Dr. Bill
practiced medicine for many years, and was the first phy-
sician in the village.

■ A Baptist deacon, named Samuel Burohard, was one of
the early settlers here, and was also from the town of
Steuben. His sons subsequently became pi-oininent in
business, politics, and the church. One of them (Samuel)
is now a minister in New York City. Jabez and Charles
emigrated to Wisconsin, and others (their children) after-
wards to Illinois.

The present butter-tub factory was built for a grist-mill,
by A. C. Herron, to run by steam or water power. The
proprietor is now David E. Pritohard, who manufactures
butter-tubs, and also has one run of stone in the grist-
mill part for custom grinding. No steam is at present

There was at one time a flourishing academy in the vil-
lage, but it has long since gone out of existence. A oard-
ing-mill, which stood on the creek some distance below the
village, was built early by John 6. Jones. It was finally
abandoned and the machinery removed, and some ruthless

individual applied the torch, and only its ruined walls are
now standing.

The place has several times been visited by destructive
fires. Twenty years ago, or more a hotel, which stood on
the corner now occupied by Dr. Wiggios, was burned ; and
two stores and various other buildings have also fallen
victims to the demon of fire, pf the entire population of
the village there are but two families which are not wholly
or partially Welsh.

Remsen Lodge, No. 677, F. and A. M., was organized
in 1867, under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of the
State. The first lodge-meeting was held Oct. 19, 1867.
The Lodge was instituted under a charter dated Aug. 13,
1868, and is the only one in the town. Its first principal
officers were Eugene L. Hinkley, W. M. ; James Mitchell,
S. W. ; James Roberts, J. W. ; William- A. Thomas,
S. D. ; Harry Barwell, J. D. ; 0. S. Evans, Sec. ; Edwin
Thomas, Tyler.

The members in April, 1878, numbered 124, and the
officers for 1878 are : Fred. Owens, W. M. ; James Mit-
chell, S. W. ; William P. Dodge, J. W. ; William Griffith,
Treas. ; L. G. Wanful, Sec. ; William Jones, S. D. ; L. G.
Griffiths, J. D. ; Hugh B. Jones, Sl M. C. ; L. E. Adsit,
J. M. C. ; Robert Griffiths, Tyler.

Remsen Lodge, No. 462, /. 0. G. T., was organized
Jan. 1 ] , 1876, with 20 members and the following officers :
Alexander Pirnie, W. C. T. ; Celia Roberts, W. V. T. ;
J. L. Shorts, Chaplain ; Fletcher D. Jones, P. W. S. ;
William A. Williams, Treas. ; M. B. Evans, Financial
Sec. ; A. B. Owens, Sec. ; Delia J. Thomas, Assistant
Sec. ; Delos Thomas, Marshal ; Kitty Pirnie, Deputy Mar-

The membership in the spring of 1878 was 95, and the
following were its officers : Delos Thomas, W. C. T. ;
Robert Murray, P. W. V. T. ; Jenny M. Griffiths, W.
V. T. ; Thomas E. Pritchard, W. Chaplain ; Robert H.
Everett,' Sec. ; Millie Hughes, Assistant Sec. ; Roscoe C.
Roberts, Treas. ; Delia J. Thomas, Financial ^ec. ; Thomas
C. Hughes, Marshal ; Kitty A. Richards, Deputy Marshal ;
Katy W^iUiams, I. G. ; David R. Griffith, 0. G.

The village of Remsen contains at present 6 general
stores, 1 hotel, 1 grocery, 1 hardware-store and tin-shop, 2
tailoring establishments, 1 harness-shop, 2 blacksmith-shops,
2 wagon- and carriage-shops, a butter-tub factory, 2 shoe-

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 142 of 192)