HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF PAWLING

From
HISTORY OF DUTCHESS COUNTY, NEW YORK
By James H. Smith
1882

Chapter XLVII

Part Two

        Among the settlers who came into the Pawling Valley at about the period mentioned were William and Daniel HUNT, Comfort SHAW, Nathan and Henry CARY, Jeremiah SABIN, Ephraim NICHOLS, Abraham SLOCUM, John SALMON, William HALLAWAY, and Nathan PIERCE.
        William and Daniel HUNT were brothers, and located on the place since owned by Samuel H. ADEE. That family long since removed from this section and the name has become extinct.
        Comfort SHAW was a native of the Eastern States, and possessed the enterprising spirit, characteristic of the New Englander, but with a love for roving not so frequently found in the denizens of the East. The first that is definitely known of him was when he owned the place now in the possession of Nathaniel PEARCE, where he built a house and barn and set out an orchard, which from its extent and appearance, must have been one of the first in the valley. He married either the daughter or sister of Nathan CARY, the great-grandsire of the CARYs who formerly resided here.
        Henry CARY came here about the year 1730, probably from Great Barrington, Mass. He was a graduate of some New England college, and was the first regularly ordained and salaried minister in this town. He located on the West Mountain on the place since known as the Amos WOODEN farm. He was a Puritan of the most uncompromising pattern, and was “after the strictest sect of his religion”, a Calvinist. Mr. CARY began his ministerial labors in his own house, where for several years he continued them every Sabbath day, but without witnessing many very promising signs of success. As his membership and congregation increased he began to hold services in the houses of his parishioners, who, it would appear, never became prosperous enough to build a house for public worship. In this way his services were continued for many years.
        Jeremiah SABIN was born in Pomfret, Conn., about the year 1720, and came to this town with the influx of settlers from the East, probably about 1740. He was a blacksmith by trade, and a man of great physical strength and excellency of character. He built a house on the east side of the turnpike on the land since owned by B. H. VANDERBURGH, and afterwards bought of Henry BEEKMAN, the patentee of the Precinct, a tract of some two thousand acres.
        Ephraim NICHOLS cam from Stratford, Conn. And had at one time been High Sheriff of that, then, Colony. He came here some years prior to the outbreak of the Revolution, and bought the place since owned by the heirs of D. P. WOODEN. He was for a number of years an innkeeper. He had four sons, John, Joseph, Elijah, and Ephraim.
        Another settler, who located on the West Mountain, was James STARK, Sr. He married the eldest daughter of Rev. Henry CARY between 1755 and 1758, and with her emigrated to the Wyoming Valley.
        In the war of the Revolution the cause of the Colonies found ardent supporters in what is now the town of Pawling, Among those who rendered efficient aid in that struggle for National independence, none are more worthy of honorable mention that the family of Nathan PEARCE. This family can trace their origin to John PEARCE, a Welshman, who, with his three sons, emigrated to this country about the year 1660. The first one of this name of whom anything definite is known, was Nathan PEARCE, Sr., a grandson of the John above mentioned, from who was descended the family of that name in this town. He was born in Providence, in the Colony of Rhode Island, in the year 1706. He first settled in North Kingston, Washington county, Rhode Island, where four of his children were born. From there he went to Prudence Island where he lived some years, as three of his children were born there. He then removed to Providence where his two youngest children were born. About the year 1760 he came to Pawling, his youngest son, Colonel William PEARCE, being then fifteen years old. (His other sons were Benoni, Ephraim, and Nathan.) He first located on the place since owned by O. S. DYKEMAN, and in the year 1767 he purchased the place now owned by Nathaniel PEARCE, where he lived through all the turbulous period of the Revolution.
        In 1778, when Pawling was formed as a town, Nathan PEARCE, Jr., was elected the first Supervisor, which office he filled with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his townsmen. He died in 1790, at the age of eighty-four.
        Captain William PEARCE, towards the close of the war, received a Colonel’s commission. After the war he held the office of Supervisor, and was a Justice of the Peace from 1785 to 1801. About that time he was elected to the Legislature, where he served two terms. He died in January, 1813.
        The descendants of this family are quite numerous in the town, and still rank among its ablest citizens. To Nathaniel PEARCE, a grandson of Col. William, we are indebted for much valuable assistance in this history of Pawling. A man of letters by nature, he has taken more than an ordinary interest in local and general historical events, and the results of his labors, both published and unpublished, were kindly placed at our disposal. Mr. Pearce was born in Pawling in 1809, on the farm on which he lives, and which has been in his family since 1767.
        General WASHINGTON had for a time his headquarters in Pawling. In this town was also held the trial by court martial of General SCHUYLER on an accusation of cowardice and treason at the loss of Ticonderoga, in the summer of 1777. The trial was held on the 1st of October, 1778, in the house in which Washington at one time had his headquarters–the KIRBY House–at the foot of Quaker Hill then owned by Reed FERRIS. (This house was built by Reed FERRIS in 1771.)
        SCHUYLER was accused not only of cowardice and treachery, but of using the public money for his private benefit. These charges came at a time when he had placed the ;invading army of BURGOYNE in the most extreme peril, and was prepared to strike those invaders a crushing blow.
        General GATES, who was SCHUYLER’s enemy, and whose previous plottings had been disastrous to him, was appointed by Congress to the Command of the Northern Department, succeeding SCHUYLER in August 1777. SCHUYLER demanded a court martial, to which demand Congress for some time paid no attention, and for a year justice was denied him. At length, after frequent appeals to Congress to bring him to trial, a court martial was convened to try him in the house above named.
        This house is now destroyed. It stood on the site of the present residence of Archibald DODGE, on the more southerly road leading from Pawling Station to Quaker Hill, and about half way between the two points. It had been occupied by Washington when a portion of the Continental army lay in that vicinity, and at the time of the trial it was the headquarters of General Lincoln, who acted as the President of the Court.
        The records of the town were destroyed by fire on the night of May 4, 1859. By that disaster was lost much valuable matter relating to the early days of the town and precinct. The books now in the clerk’s office contain no record of yearly records previous to 1854. From that date to 1881 the succession of Supervisors and Clerks has been as follows:

Year Supervisor Clerk
1854 Sherman HOWARD George T. NOBLE
1855 James CRAFT Joseph P. HAZELTON
1856 Sherman HOWARD Edward MERRITT
1857 William H. TABER Joseph P. HAZELTON
1858 Theron M. GREEN Albert WOODIN
1859 James CRAFT Henry C. SWORDS
1860 Asa B. CORBIN Darius CHASE
1861-1862 Samuel A. BARNUM John FERRIS
1863 David R. GOULD Darius CHASE
1864-1865 ditto ditto
1866 J. Wesley STARK ditto
1867 John J. VANDERBURGH ditto
1868 ditto Theron W. STARK
1869-1870 J. Wesley STARK Miah PECK
1871-1872 John B. DUTCHER Philip H. SMITH
1873 William B. ROSS John J. FERRIS
1874 ditto Fernando OLMSTEAD
1875-1876 Jedediah J. WANZER James S. PEARCE
1877 ditto ditto
1878 ditto Sewell WHITE
1879-1880 Albert W. CORBIN James S. PEARCE


Here the Pawling Chapter continues with a section on the Village of Pawling

 

Typed and submitted by Lynn Airheart Brandvold
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