Samuel W Durant.

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

. (page 143 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 143 of 192)
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shops, 2 shoe-stores, 2 grist-mills, 1 cooper-shop, 3 physi-
cians, — Drs. Evan G. Williams, Richard H. Wiggins, and
his son, John Wiggins, — a paint-shop, a foundry and ma-
chine-shop, a small tannery, 4 churcTies, a two-story frame,
graded school building, and a marble-shop.

For information furnished we are indebted to Hon. Didy-
mus Thomas, 0. S. Evans, D. Spencer Anthony (corpora-
tion clerk), George E. Pugh (town clerk), and many others.
Owing to the sickness of Griffith 0. Griffiths, we were un-
able to obtain an interview with him, thereby undoubtedly
missing much of interest which he could have furnished.
His illness proved to be his last, and this aged native of
Steuben and prominent man of Remsen has since passed
away. An article from his pen will be found in the history
of Steuben. *


riiutus. bj •Williums.



This gentleman was born in Caernarvonstiire, North
Wales, Feb. 27, 1800, the youngest child of John H. and
Jane Owens. He had three brothers, Owen, Thomas, and
John. The family emigrated to the United States in
1801, and settled in Lower Dublin, Philadelphia, Pa., where
they remained eleven years. In October, 1812, they moved
to Steuben, Oneida Co., and in April, 1813, to Rem-
sen, having purchased fifty-four acres partly improved
land, and which is a part of the land still owned by Evan
Owens. A log house had been built near the spot where
Mr. Owens' residence now stands. The father lived the
remainder of his life here. Twelve years before his death
he became totally blind. He died Aug. 27, 1841, aged
eighty-two years. In less than one month, Sept. 25, 1841,
his wife followed him. The brothers are also deceased.
Evan Owens was the " home boy,' ' and worked the home-
stead. Except three months at the academy in Steuben,
he received his education in the district schools of the
neighborhood. When about twenty-two years of age he
took up the business of stone-cutting, and followed it for
about two seasons. But Mr. Owens will be remembered in
his town longest as a teacher. For about twenty-five sea-
sons he taught the district schools of the neighborhood in
winter, working the farm in summer.

He was married, April, 1829, to Honorah Smith, daugh-
ter of Bohan and Betsey Smith,* residents of Remson, by
whom he had children as follows :

James, born May .28, 1831 ; married Ellen Griffiths, by
whom he had one daughter, Libbie. He died Jan. 28, 1870.

Charles, a farmer, living in Remsen, born .June 8, 1833 ;
married Emma Nelson.

John H., born July 8, 1835, a carpenter, living in Darien,
Walworth Co., Wis.

Elizabeth J., bom Aug. 19, 1837, wife of William G.
Jones, a farmer, living in Sugar Grove, Kane Co., 111.

Martha, born Oct. 26, 1840, wife of John Brown, a
farmer, living in West Branch, Oneida Co.

* Bohan Smith was one of the most successful farmers of Remsen,
and was one of the leading members of the Fairchild Methodist Epis-
copal Church of Eemsen, and one of the earliest settlers of Remsen.

Mary Ann, born June 2, 1843 ; married Feb. 9, 1864,
to Wm. P. Dodge; died Feb. 12, 1874.

Hannah M., born Sept. 27, 1845, wife of William R.
Williams, of Prospect.

Evan Owens, Jr., born May 6, 1848, farmer, living in
Sugar Grove, Kane Co., 111.

B. Smith Owens, born Sept. 27, 1850 ; of the firm of
Emdin & Owens, silversmiths, in Utica.

Mrs. Owens died Oct 2, 1850. She was a woman very
much respected, and her loss was sorely felt not only by her
family, but by the entire neighborhood in which she lived.

Mr. Owens married for his second wife Catharine Pri-
chard, daughter of David W. and Mary Prichard, of Tren-
ton township. Mrs. Owens was born in Trenton, Sept. 17,
1833. By her he has one child, Ida, born March 5, 1868,
living at home. Mr. Prichard was born in Steuben, Mrs.
Prichard in Trenton. They now reside in Trenton township,
where Mr. Prichard is a prominent farmer, and both are lead-
ing members of the Baptist Church in Remsen village, and
are held in high esteem in the community where they reside.

Few men have been more prominent in his township than
Mr. Owens, and he has occupied various positions of
public trust. Nine years constable, six years collector, about
twenty-five years township school inspector, assessor, poor-
master, four years justice of the peace, supervisor six years,
and superintendent of schools ten years. The varied duties
devolving upon him in these different positions were per-
formed to the entire acceptance of the people.

In 1830 he received the nomination for member of the
Assembly, and, though he ran five hundred votes ahead of
his ticket, failed of an election.

To the original fifty-four acres of land which was willed
him by his father, he has added other lands, and is now the
owner of two hundred and seventy-five acres in a body. In
politics, first a Whig, but has been identified with the Dem-
ocratic party for many years. In religion he entertains liberal
views. For the last three years he has partially lost his eye-
sight. Few men hold a higher place in the esteem and
good-will of his neighbors than does Evan Owens, or will
be longer remembered as a worthy and useful citizen.

^%m^^ti:r , ^ ^,

□ ENCE or DIDYMUS THOMAS, RemsenViuage,OnodaC?N.Y. L H EvERTS, Phila,



F?OBERT Roberts.

Horos sy L 9 wuu*M^: utfcaWV

Mary Roberts.

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Residence OF HUGH ROBERTS, REMSEN.ONcruA Co., n. v.





This gentleman was born in Renisen, Oneida Co., N. Y.,
Jan. 1, 1802, the eldest child of Silas and Annis Kent.
His father, Silas, was born Feb. 5, 1778 ; his mother, Oct.
1, 1782, — the former in Southwick, Conn., the latter in
New Milford, Conn. They were married March 25, 1801,
in Remsen. His grandfather, whose name was also Silas,
was a native of Southwick. lie married Grace Root.
Their children were Silas, Jerusha, John, Annie, Joel, and
Ezekiel, all born in Connecticut, and all deceased.

His father moved from Connecticut and settled in Rem-
sen among its earliest settlers. Their children were Chester
G. ; Grace, born March 1, 1803, widow of Norman Brainard,
still living in Hartland, Oakland Co., Mich. ; John, born
Nov. 7, 1804, settled in Chautauqua Co., N. Y., died April
13, 1873 ; Sylvina, born July 27,1806, married to Eleazer
Green, living in Harmony, Chautauqua Co., N. Y. ; Silas,
born July 7, 1808, a retired farmer, living in Remsen vil-
lage ; Emeline, born June 9, 1810, wife of Paul Nelson,
living in Boonville ; Annis, born May 6, 1812, widow of
Mr. Sage, living in Fauquier Co., Va. The father died
Feb. 17, 1813, aged thirty-five years; the mother June 17,
1864, aged eighty-one years.

Upon the death of his father, at the age of eleven years,
Chester G. was obliged to assume responsibilities rarely
thrown on one so young. From the age of twelve to six-
teen he worked out by the day, at from one to three shillings
per day, all of which went to the support of the family. In
eight years' time a "store debt" of 8101.50 was contracted,
for which he gave his note at six months, which was paid
at maturity. The circumstance illustrates the close economy
of the times.

At the age of seventeen he made his first purchase of
land — 25 acres. His fii-st payment, $50, was made by
chopping and clearing land on the St. Lawrence River, at
810 per acre. He has purchased from time to time dif-
ferent pieces of land, and at the present time is the owner
of 430 acres in a body, for which he holds twenty deeds.

He was first married June 10, 1829, to Almira Shelden,
adopted daughter of Harry Shelden, of Remsen, Mrs.
Kent was born Feb. 9, 1812. By her he had three children,
viz., Caroline, born March 27, 1830, married to N. D. Sizer
Deo. 31, 1848. Their daughter, Caroline, born Sept. 18,
1851, wife of John Mowers, lives in Clarion, Wright Co.,
Iowa. They have four children. Burton, Annis and Arthur
(twins), and Bion. Mrs. Sizer died June 18, 1852.

Henry R., born Sept. 10, 1832; married Oct. 1, 1857,
to Amanda Wilkinson ; a merchant, living in Prophetstown,
Whiteside Co., 111. Tlieir children are Viola, Helena,
William, and Richard. Chester, born Feb. 11, 1836, died
Jan. 8, 1863.

Mrs. Kent died June 7, 1847.

Mr. Kent married for his second wife Polly Bly, Aug.
13, 1848. She was the daughter of William and Isabella
Bly, of Norway, Herkimer Co., N. Y., and was born there
March 0, 1814. By this marriage there are three children,
viz., Silas W., born Sept. 20, 1850 ; married Mary E. Chap-

man Sept. 16, 1872. Their children are Chester C. and an
infant son. Mary J., born Jan 16, 1854 ; living at home.
Bion H., born July 11, 1857 ; married March 17, 1875,
to Celia Charles.

From .small beginnings, Mr. Kent, by a life of untiring
industry and an enlightened economy, has accumulated a
handsome property, and ranks among the most substantial
farmers of the county. Both himself and wife are members
of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Remsen. He has
been identified with the Republican party since its organiza-


William Roberts was born in Caernarvon, North Wales,
Nov. 14, 1772. He married Winnie Hughes, and by her
had two children, Robei-t and Hugh. Both were born in
Wales; the former Dec. 25, 1806, the latter May 15, 1809.
The family emigrated to the United States in 1819, land-
ing in Philadelphia. They had barely means to secure
their passage over. On their arrival in Philadelphia both
the father and Hugh were sick. Dr. Charles Lukins is
remembered by the family as the good Samaritan who, with-
out price, attended them in their sickness, and through
whose kind offices the boys attended school the first winter.
Upon his recovery, the father journeyed 150 miles on foot,
hoping to receive assistance from his wife's brother, who
had, nineteen years previously, emigrated to this country.
He found him in no condition to render the desired assist-
ance. Returning, he made his way to Remsen, in which
place he determined to locate. Borrowing fifteen dollars
from Adam G. Mapa and five dollars each of John and
Richard Thomas, with this sum he moved his family in
May, 1 820, and first settled on the old State Road, in that
town. Both the father and mother lived to see their boys
prosperous farmers of Remsen. The father died in Febru-
ary, 1862 ; the mother, Aug. 11, 1850. Robert Roberts
married Mary Evans, by whom he had children, as follows ;
Ruth, born Feb. 12, 1847, married, Oct. 22, 1867, to Wil-
liam R. Thomas ; one child, — Robert Watson. For over
nine years they have kept house for their uncle Hugh.
Naomi, born May 1, 1849; married, Oct. 11, 1869, to
John S. Kent, farmer, in Remsen. William B., born June
19, 1857. Winnie, born Feb. 15, 1854; married, Nov. 4,
1873, to Joshua Griffith ; her husband died June 29, 1874.
John R., born July 20, 1856. Hugh R., born Dec. 14,
1858. Maryette, born July 19, 1861. Winfield Lincoln,
born Jan 19, 1864. Robert Milton, born Oct. 6, 1867.
Lillian M., born Dec. 8, 1869. The eight latter are living
on the homestead farm. Their father died Jan. 29, 1872 ;
their mother, July 28, 1874. A representation of the
home, together with portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Roberts,
appear on another page of this work.

Hugh Roberts never married. Few men in Remsen,
starting from small beginnings, have been more successful.
At the age of twenty-five he received a stroke of paralysis,
from the effects of which he never fully recovered. Three
years since he received another shock, since which time he
has been confined almost entirely to the house. In politics
he is Republican, as was also his brother Robert. Both
Mr. Roberts and his wife were members of the Bethel Con-
gregational Church of Remsen.



•was born in Rhiu, Caernarvon, Wales, Jan. 19, 1818, the
third child of Evan and Ann James. Their children were
Richard, John, John (2d), Elizabeth, William, Evan, and
William (2d). Richard, John (1st), William (1st), and
Evan are deceased. Elizabeth, widow of William Roberts,
resides in Remsen village. William is a farmer, living in
Remsen. The family emigrated to America in 1824, and,
like many other Welsh families that settled in Remsen,
came with very limited means. Their first stop was in
Trenton township, where they remained nine months.
They then moved on to the farm in Remsen, now owned
and occupied by John James, which they had rented, and
where they remained three years. For the next five years
they rented a farm of Milo Mitchell in Remsen. They
purchased a farm of 160 acres in what is known as the
Welsh district in that town. In 1862, leaving his son
William to work the farm, the father moved to Remsen
village, where lie died in May, 1865. His wife survived
him nearly eleven years. She died March 12, 1876, over
eighty years of age. In an obituary notice, published in
the Methodist Episcopal Advocate, the following is said
of her:

" Mrs. J.ames was a devoted Christian woman. She loved the house
of God, and her seat was seldom vacant when she was able to come.
We miss her in the Church militant, but expect to meet her in the
Church triumphant * in the sweet by-and-by.' "

John James was six years of age when the family emi-
grated. He worked with his father on the farm till twenty-
three years .of age. For five or six months he worked
for Henry Williams on a farm in Steuben. He then, in
company with his brother Richard, started a horse-power
furnace in Boonville. Just as it was ready to run, it burned
down, incurring a loss of about S300. He then engaged
for four years, working in the granite-quarries of Quincy,
Mass. He was married, Feb. 10, 1848, to Eliza Thomas,
daughter of John E. and Ann Thomas, of Trenton. Mrs.
James was born June 6, 1820, in Steuben township, Oneida
County. From the age of ten years she lived with her
uncle, John Jenkins, in the home now owned by her hus-

Mary Jones, her grandmother, emigrated from Wales in
1818, and purchased forty acres of the farm now owned by
John James, remaining two years, and died there, and was
buried in Steuben. John Jenkins married Mary Jones,
her daughter, who owned the place purchased by John
James. They have had five children, three of whom died
in infancy.

Ann Elizabeth, born Jan. 24, 1849, died Dec. 1, 1851.
The only child living is John James, Jr., born Oct. 11,
1856, living at home.

Mr. James, in politics, is Republican. He has served
nine years as assessor of the town. Mrs. James has been
a member of the Congregational Church since she was
eighteen years of age. A representation of their home,
with portraits of Mr. and Mrs. James and their son, John
James, Jr., appear on another page of this volume.


was born in Remsen, Oneida Co., N. Y., April 23, 1825,
the eldest child of Judsoa and Abbie Witherell. Of four

children (one died in inliinoy), those living are Jerome,
Abbie, and Judson. Abbie married Robert R. Roberts, and
lives at the homestead at Fairchild's Corners, in Remsen.

Jud.son married Ellen Jones, and lives in the same

Judson Witherell, the father, was an early settler in the
town of Remsen, and both himself and wife are still living,
surrounded by all the comforts of a pleasant farm home.

Jerome Witherell received his education in the district
schools of his native town. Feb. 25, 1843, he married
Sarah Mitchell, daughter of Milo and Catharine Mitchell.
Mrs. W. was born in Remsen, Nov. 2, 1825.

They have children, as follows : Milo James, born April
4, 1844, died Sept. 25, 1875; Elizabeth, born Sept. 10,
1846 (wife of George W. Owen) ; Dexter T., born March
19, 1853, died Sept. 11, 1855; Franklin J., born Oct. 18,
1856 (living at home); Katie A., born April 11, 1864,
died May 22, 1865 ; Katie, born June 13, 1868 (living at

In 1851, Mr. Witherell purchased the farm of his father,
which he still owns and occupies. It consisted of 121
acres. He has purchased of Griffith R. Jones an adjoin-
ing farm of 130 acres. The stone house occupied by the
family was built at an early day by Hugh Hughs. Mr.
W. has added most of the buildings and improvements sur-
rounding it. He has been a life-long farmer, and one of
the most thorough in the town.

In politics a Democrat. Both himself and wife have
been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Fair-
childs Corners, and are now members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church at Remsen village. Mr. W. has been a
class-leader in the church for many years.

A representation of their home, together with portraits
of Mr. and Mrs. Witherell, appear on another page of this


was born in Steuben, Oneida Co., N. Y., June 6, 1836, the
eldest child of Richard R. and Dorothy Thomas. His
father was born in Meroniethshire, Wales, June, 1812 ;
his mother in Anglesea, Wales, in 1812. They emigrated
to America the same year (1830), and were married in
Steuben in 1835. His father learned the tanner and cur-
rier trade, and worked twenty-one years for William J. Owen,
of Steuben. In 1853 he moved to Remsen, and built the
tannery in that part of the town known as Bardwell town.
He bought the water-power to run it of D. A. Bardwell.
He carried on the business for nineteen years, till his death,
which occurred Sept. 15, 1872. His wife died July 11,
1872. Their children were John R.

Elizabeth, born Sept. 20, 1838; wife of William P.
Jones ; living in Steuben. Three children, — George, Al-
bert, and Dora.

Mary, born May 29, 1841, wife of Dr. E. G. Williams,
of Remsen village. Four children, — Mary, R. Watson,
Jefferson, and Dora.

Bezaleel, born May 28, 1843 ; married Mary Jones ; a
farmer living in Steuben. Four children, — Dora, Jefferson,
Libbie, Mary, and Ella.

Jefferson, born Oct. 4, 1846; died in the fall of 1861.


John James, jj?

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Mrs John James.


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Clinton R., born Nov. 6, 1852 ; married Mary E. Grif-
fiths ; one child, — Leroy.

John B. Thomas learned of his father the tanner and
currier trade. He attended the district school of Steuben,
the academy of Holland Patent, the seminaries of Fair-
field and Hampton. He taught school two terms in Steu-
ben and Remsen. In 18G5 he entered into copartnership
with his father in the fanning business. After his father's
death he formed a partnership, under the firm-name of R.
R. Thomas' Sons, with his brother Clinton R.

The firm bought the Bardwellsaw-miil, together with the
water-power, in 1875, and carry on the lumber business in
addition to the tannery. The principal charge of the tan-
nery and lumber business devolves on John R., his brother
taking charge of the farm.

He married, Jan. 9, 1861, Guynor E. Hughes, daughter
of John W. and Elizabeth Hughes, of Remsen. Mrs.
Thomas was born in Remsen, Feb. 24, 1839. Their chil-
dren are Adelia, born July 3, 1864 ; Abigail, born March
18, 1869 i Richard Ruscoe, born Oct. 25,1873,— all living
at home.

In politics Mr. Thomas is Republican. He has occupied
various positions of public trust in the township, — collector
one year, justice of the peace three years, town auditor one
year, elected supervisor in 1877, and re-elected in 1878.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Thomas are members of the Bardwell
Baptist Church. His father was one of the founders of that
church, and was one of its deacons from its organization till
his death. For the last six years John R. has served in
that capacity.

A sketch, showing the old homestead, owned and occu-
pied by Clinton R., the saw-mill, tannery, residence of John
R., and the Bardwell Church, appears on another page of

this work.


was born in Remsen, Oneida Co., N. Y., Oct. 26, 1797,
the fifth child of Barnabas and Mary Mitchell. His father
and mother were both natives of Meriden, Conn., and in
1792, according to Jones' "Annals of Oneida County,"
moved from there and were the first settlers in the town of
Remsen, locating about five miles northeast of the present
village. Of their eight children, Clarissa, Olive, and
Tyler were born in Connecticut; Polly, Milo, Mellissa,
Charlotte, and Amanda, in Remsen. Polly was the first
white child born in the town. Barnabas Mitchell was a
Revolutionary soldier, and served during the entire war.
He died March 14, 1813. Both himself and wife are
buried in the Fairchild burying-ground in Remsen.

Upon the death of his father, the principal management
of the farm devolved upon Milo, who seems to have inher-
ited, in large measure, his father's enterprise, industry, and
perseverance. His opportunities for education were ex-
tremely limited. He man-ied in 1819 Catharine Hinkley,
daughter of Gershom Hinkley, a prominent man in the
early history of the town. The children by her were Caro-
line, James (a sketch of whose life appears on another
page of this work), and Surah. Caroline is still living in
Juliet, III.; Sarah, wife of J. B. Witherell, resides in

HLs wife died Jan. 11, 1829. He married, for second

wife, Mrs. Anna Humphries, widow of John Humphries,
and by her had five children, viz., Catharine, Eliza, Ann,
Hannah, Harriet, and Bell, all of whom are deceased ex-
cept the latter, who is the wife of Captain Andrew Wood,
of Remsen.

Photo, by Muiidy & Wini:iinB.

Mr. Mitchell was one .of the most successful farmers in
Oneida County. He owned, at the time of his death,
fourteen hundred acres of the best farming lands of Rem-
sen. For fifteen years before his death he retired from the
active working of his lands, renting them out. At the
suggestion of his son James, he built the first cheese-factory
in Remsen, the second in the United States, one built by
Jesse Williams in the town of Rome being the first. He
served in the town oflSces of highway commissioner, asses-
sor, and justice of the peace. He was a hard worker, ener-
getic, of strict integrity, and possessed of an indomitable
will. The poor had no better friend. First a Whig then
Republican in politics. From the age of fifteen a member
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he was a leading
spirit in the building of the Methodist Episcopal Churches
at Remsen village, Fairchild's, and Prospect. He died
March 31, 1870.

was born in Rem.sen, Oneida Co., N. Y., Dec. 26, 1823, the
second child and only son of Milo and Catharine Mitchell.
He worked at home on the farm to the age of seventeen.
He then commenced clerking for J. J. Owen, in Prospect,
where he remained two years and a half. He received his
education in the district schools of the neighborhood, at the
old Oneida Institute, and the academy at Holland Patent.
Taught school two winters and one summer at Prospect.

Was married, Dec. 26, 1844, to Sarah G. Thomas,
daughter of John and Sarah Thomas, of Prospect. Mrs.
Mitchell was born July 2, 1827. Her father was a native
of Wales, her mother of Germantown, Pa. William A.
Thomas, a farmer living near Rome, is her only brother.



To Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell children have been born as fol-
lows: Hinkley G., born Feb. 22, 1846, graduate of the
Wosleyan University, Middletown, Conn., also of the The-
ological University of Boston, now a student in the Uni-
versity of Leipsic, Germany ; Rosellen, born Jan. 22, 1848,
wife of Wm. B. Roberts, living in Remsen ; Edwin B.,
born Jan. 4, 1850, educated at Fairehild and Falley Semi-
naries, practicing law under the firm-name of Brown &
Mitchell at Herkimer, Herkimer Co., N. Y. ; James Edgar,
born Aug. 4, 1853, married Libbie J. Williams, living near
his father, and assisting in the conduct of his extensive
farming interest ; Milo Jesse, born Sept. 20, 1860, living at
home ; Katie B., born April 29, 1863, living at home.

Mr. Mitchell engaged in mercantile business at Prospect,
and nine years at West Branch, town of Lee. He then
purchased the General Root homestead and farm of two
hundred acres, situated near Remsen village, to which he
has since added one hundred more. He carried on these
farms, together with the management of the large landed
property of his father. After his father's death, by purchase
from heirs, he Cdme into possession of about eight hundred

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 143 of 192)