TOWN OF BROOKFIELD
From “The History of Chenango and Madison Counties, New York”
by James H. Smith (D. Mason & Co. - Syracuse, New York 1880)
BROOKFIELD was formed from Paris, March 5, 1795, and originally embraced Nos. 17, 18 and 19 of the Chenango Twenty Townships. The former was set off on the formation of Columbus, Feb. 11, 1805. It lies in the south-east corner of the county, and is bounded on the north by Bridgewater and Sangerfield, Oneida county, on the south by Columbus, on the east by Edmeston and Plainfield, Otsego county, and on the west by Hamilton and Madison. It presents an exceedingly rugged surface, the hills in some parts approaching the character of mountains. It is abundantly watered by numerous springs and streams, the latter of which flow in a general southerly direction through deep valleys worn in the shales of the Hamilton group, which covers the entire town, with the exception of a small portion of the south-west part, where the Ithaca group projects into the town. Unadilla river, flowing through a fertile and picturesque valley, forms the east boundary of the town, and receives numerous tributaries, the principal of which is Beaver creek, which flows south through the central part of the town, and furnishes along its whole course many valuable mill-privileges. It derives its name from a beaver dam which existed across it on the advent of the first settlers, and was utilized for several years to retain the water for White's mills. The east branch of the Chenango crosses the northwest corner, rising in "Terrytown swamp," which covers a portion of that section of the town and derives its name from the Terrys who were early settlers in that locality. Gorton Lake is a small body of water in the north part of the town, about a hundred rods long and fifty rods wide, and derives its name from the Gorton family, from the fact of its being partially located on the old Gorton farm. The soil is principally a gravelly loam, well adapted to grazing, though the valleys are enriched with alluvion. Hops have been an abundant and profitable crop in the north-west part of the town.
The Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley Railroad crosses the north-west corner of the town, along the valley of the East Branch of the Chenango, and is now operated as the Utica and Binghamton Division of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad.
The population of the town in 1875 was 3,511; of whom 3,267 were native, 244 foreign, 3,507 white, 4 colored, 1,755 males, and 1,756 females. Its area was 47,569 acres; of which 36,230 acres were improved, 10,855 woodland, and 484 otherwise unimproved. It is the largest town in the county. The cash value of its farms was $2,252,813; of farm buildings other than dwellings, $323,465; of stock, $349,942; of tools and implements, $77,697. The amount of gross sales from farms in 1874 was $314,720.
There are twenty-four common and two union school districts in the town. During the year ending Sept. 30, 1879, there were thirty licensed teachers at one time during twenty-eight weeks or more. The number of children of school age residing in the districts at that date was 1,163. During that year there were twelve male and forty-three female teachers employed; the number of children residing in the districts who attended school was 895, and residing in other districts, 97, of whom fourteen were under five or over twenty-one years of age; the average daily attendance during the year was 492.678; the number of volumes in district libraries was 971, the value of which was $671; the number of school-houses was 26, all frame, which, with the sites, embracing five acres and 105 rods, valued at $2,195, were valued at $13,310; the assessed value of taxable property in the districts was $1,842,448. The number of children between eight and fourteen years of age residing in the districts at that date was 81, of whom 30 attended district school fourteen weeks of that year.
Receipts and disbursements for school purposes:
Amount on hand Oct. 1, 1878 $ 228.27
Amount apportioned to districts 3,540.55
Proceeds of Gospel and school lands 50.81
Raised by tax 2,123.92
From teachers' board 412.75
From other sources 345.87
Total receipts $6,702.17
Paid for teachers' wages $5,237.41
school apparatus 142.86
school-houses, sites, fences, out-houses, repairs, furniture, etc 412.62
other incidental expenses 534.19
Amount remaining on hand Sept. 30, 1879 373.59
Total disbursements $6,702.17
The first persons who visited Brookfield with a view to settlement were Stephen Hoxie and Phineas Babcock, who, as advance agents of a company from Rhode Island and Connecticut who had resolved to emigrate to the newly opened lands on the Unadilla, came on with others of that company in the early spring of 1791; but the first actual settler was Capt. Daniel Brown, a Quaker, who came from Stonington, Conn., his native place, in the early summer of 1791, with a few friends whom he had induced to accompany him, but who returned in the fall. Capt. Brown, who was then well advanced in years, being sixty-six years of age, started with the intention of settling in the famed Genesee Valley. Fortuitously taking a southern route, after a toilsome journey of twenty-one days with an ox team, he arrived in the latter part of June, at the residence of Percifer Carr, who had settled on the east bank of the Unadilla, in the town of Edmeston. Mr. Brown and his weary companions gladly accepted Mr. Carr's proffered hospitality; and while enjoying this repose he was so charmed with the beautiful scenery, fertility of soil and delightful climate, that he resolved to abandon the projected settlement in the Genesee country and take up his abode on the west bank of the Unadilla, a few miles above the Carr residence. He accordingly located on lot 82 of the 19th township, and built his house on the hill, a mile west of Leonardsville, on the farm now occupied by Thomas Hewey, and owned by Daniel Hardin, who married a granddaughter of his. There he and his second wife, Abigail Crary, died, the former Dec. 25, 1814, aged 89, and the latter Feb. 18, 1810, aged 76.
Mr. Brown selected with a reverent appropriateness the Fourth of July, the nation's birthday, as the time to plant the germ of the settlement; and as the first rays of the morning sun gilded the tree tops on that day, his ax raised the first echoes of the woodman's song, and heralded the advance of civilization in the western wilds. Other members of his party settled near him, and several clearings were made before autumn; so that this year witnessed the settlement in various localities, or rather preparations for settlement, among others, by David Maine, Samuel H. Burdick, Samuel Billings and Stephen Collins. All returned east in the fall except Mr. Brown, whose ingenuity was taxed to provide a subsistence for himself and cattle during the severe winter which followed. The latter were mainly supported by browsing in the woods, with some coarse hay cut on the beaver meadow, and drawn home on hurdles "attached to the tails of the oxen."
In the spring of 1792, Capt. Brown's family came in; and in that year he built on Mill Creek the first saw-mill in the town. He was a clothier by trade, but had abandoned that vocation before coming here. He had two children by his first wife, Daniel and Thede, the former of whom removed to the Genesee country soon after his father left Connecticut; the latter died before they came here. He had twelve children by his second wife, viz: Abigail, Desire, Eunice, Lucy, Susan, Temperance, Anna, Fanny, Jabish, Nathan, Isaac and Catharine. His ten daughters were tall stalwart women, and it was facetiously remarked that Capt. Brown had sixty feet of daughters, each of them being six feet in height. Abigail, Desire and Temperance never married, but spent their lives in the town. Abigail died on the homestead about 1805. Desire and Temperance died in Bridgewater, where they went to live with their brother a year or two before they died. Both lived to an old age, the former dying at the age of 91, and the latter, who was an invalid four or five years before her death, at about the age of 89. Neither did Lucy marry; she joined the Jemima Wilkinson community, in Jerusalem, Yates county, and died there. Susan married in Stonington, and went with her half-brother to the Genesee country. Eunice also married in Stonington and settled and lived there.
The other children, most of whom married in Stonington, settled in the town with their families, and were among the first to locate here.
Anna married Nathan Steward, who came here from Stonington in 1794, and settled about two and a half miles northeast of Clarkville, where Erastus Maxson now lives, and where she died. He married again and afterwards removed to the river road and died there. Only one of his first wife's children is living, Abigail, who married Gideon Perry, who was a Baptist minister and afterwards became an Episcopalian clergyman. He had only one child by his second wife, Anna Maria, who is living in Ohio. Fanny married George Palmer, who settled in 1792, on the turnpike between Leonardsville and Clarkville, near the river, where Julius Fitch now lives, and where in 1793, he built the first frame house in town. It has been replaced by a new one. He removed with his family to the Genesee country about the close of the war of 1812.
Jabish Brown married Abigail, daughter of Oliver Babcock, who died of small pox contracted in the army during the war of the Revolution. He imparted the disease to two of his daughters, who also died, leaving his widow with an only child, Abigail. Jabish left Stonington, Conn., June 2, 1794, the day his daughter Catharine, his second child, was two years old. After a journey of seventeen days with an ox cart he arrived in Brookfield. He built a log house near his father's, and two years after removed about a half mile south, to the place now occupied by Roswell E. Brand. He built there a frame house which was replaced in 1806 by a larger frame house which is now occupied by Mr. Brand. Both he and his wife died on that farm, with their daughter Lois, to whom he gave a part of the homestead. He died July 18, 1843, and his wife July 18, 1851. They had six girls and one boy, only two of whom are living. Catharine, before referred to, now living in Clarkville, is the only one living in the town. She is now in her 89th year. Several grandchildren are living in this town, among whom is Emeline, wife of Calvin Whitford, the banker in Clarkville.
Nathan Brown married Lucy Palmer and after her death Hannah Langworthy. He had four children by each wife, but none of them are left in the town. He settled on a part of the homestead farm, and removed at an advanced age to live with his children in Ohio.
Isaac Brown married Rebecca, daughter of Lemuel Smith, and lived on the homestead till within a short time of his death, when he removed to Leonardsville, where he died May 3, 1840, aged 67, and his wife, July 19, 1851, aged 65. Three of their five children are living. Eliza, widow of Denison Hardin, and Lucy, wife of Daniel, brother of Denison Hardin, in Leonardsville, and Erastus, in New York.
Catharine Brown married Henry Clark, eldest son of Elder Henry Clark. He was for many years a merchant on the west side of the river opposite Unadilla Forks.
Samuel H. Burdick and Samuel Billings, to whom reference has been previously made as having settled in 1791, located at Five Corners; and Stephen Collins, to whom reference is made in the same connection, on Beaver creek, about one and one-half miles south of Clarkville, where the widow of Wheeler York now lives, and where he built soon after a grist-mill, which he sold at an early day to Daniel White, from whom it was long known as White's mill. White operated the mill till his death, when it passed into the hands of his son, Daniel D. White, who carried on the milling business until the dam was swept away by a freshet about 1861 or '62. The mill was not rebuilt. Mr. Collins, after selling the mill property, removed to the hill on the same farm, and continued to reside till his death, he and his wife, both of whom are buried on the farm. His daughter, Nancy, who married Elias Morgan, both of whom died in the town, was the only one of his children who remained here. Samuel H. Burdick settled where a descendant of the same name now lives, and died there Feb. 14, 1813, aged 73, also a son and grandson of the same name, the former Nov. 6, 1826, aged 59, and the latter Oct. 7, 1826, aged 30. He had only one son. Samuel Billings kept tavern several years in the house where Ephraim Curtis now lives. He sold his improvements to William Brown about 1816 or '18, and went west with his family.
Stephen Hoxie and his associate in the agency, Mr. Babcock, before referred to, came from Charlestown, R. I., and stopping on the way at Albany, they purchased thirteen lots in the south-east corner of the 19th township, paying therefore fifty cents per acre.* Having consummated the purchase they came on to inspect the lands, and Mr. Hoxie that year made a small clearing, and built a log-house, which was the first one erected in the town. Mr. Thomas Hoxie, a grandson of this pioneer, who, with his brother Stephen, occupy the homestead farm, says that the purchase money consisted of "light sovereigns," which had been drilled and plugged. The treasurer refused to receive the plugs, though they were of purer gold than the coin. It was, therefore, sent to a jeweler who removed the plugs and paid Mr. Hoxie more than would have been realized on them in the coin. The patent for lot 96, which Mr. Hoxie selected for himself, is dated May 3, 1791, and is signed by Gov. George Clinton and Lewis A. Scott, Secretary. It is now in the possession of the Messrs. Stephen and Thomas Hoxie.
*These lots were Nos. 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 92, 93, 94, 95 and 96.
In 1792, Stephen Hoxie, John and Elias Button, Lawton Palmer, Thomas and James Rogers, Paul and and Perry Maxson, Eleazer and Simeon Brown, Samuel Langworthy, Elder Henry Clark and Phineas Babcock, who were members of the company before referred to, came in and located, Hoxie, on lot 96, which was a large lot containing 350 acres, the Buttons on lot 82, Palmer on lot 95, the Rogerses on lot 83, the Maxsons on lots 93 and 94, Eleazer Brown on lot 84, Simeon Brown on lot 81, Langworthy on lot 80, Clark on lot 92, and Babcock on lot 79. John Button was the only one of the party who brought in his family that year. His brother Elias was a bachelor; both were from Rhode Island. John settled on the farm now occupied by David Judge, where he and his wife continued to reside till their death, and where both were buried. In that year (1792) he bought land on Mill creek, including the mill site known as Button's falls, and built the first grist mill in the town which proved a great convenience to the early settlers in that locality. This, together with the saw-mill built by Daniel Brown, and one built a little later by Jabez Brown on the same stream, were swept away by a freshet in the early part of the present century. A saw-mill was built on the site of Button's grist-mill in 1848, by Hosea and David Welch, grandsons of John Button, the former of whom now lives in that locality. this mill was in operation till about 1865. John had a numerous family, none of who are living.
Elias Button lived with his brother John and died at his house about the beginning of the second quarter of the present century at the age of 105 years. He taught school some sixty years of his life, and was familiarly known as Master Elias Button. He was one of the earliest school teachers in Brookfield, if not the first. Asa Carrier is credited with having taught the first school in the winter of 1796.* Mrs. Catharine Brown, of Clarkville, who was born June 2, 1792, attended school in a log school-house a half mile north of Button's falls in the winter of 1796-'7. She says that Elias Button was then the teacher.
* French's Gazetteer of the State of New York.
Stephen Hoxie again returned to Rhode Island in the fall of 1792, but left his son John, who was then seventeen and accompanied his father in his journey to the town in 1792, to care for the cow they drove in from Rhode Island, and prepare for the reception of the family. His lonely stay was not an idle one, for it is said that with the money realized from the sale of beaver skins obtained during this period he paid for the first fifty acres of his farm.
Mr. Hoxie brought in his family in 1793, with horse and ox teams, the journey occupying six weeks. He settled where his grandsons, Stephen and Thomas, now live, on the river road, a half mile above Leonardsville. His log-house, built in 1792, stood just in rear of the Hoxie residence, which he built in 1800. In 1793, he built for a cheese house the building still standing on the premises, and now used as a storehouse for agricultural implements. It has been twice moved. It originally stood on the site of the wing to the present dwelling, which was built to this, and removed when the present wing was built to the site of the shop on the premises, for which purpose it was used till the present shop was built, when it was removed to its present location. This was the first frame building erected in the town, and we question if it is not the oldest one standing in the county. It is still in a fair state of preservation.
Mr. Hoxie and his wife Elizabeth Tift both died on that place the former Oct. 6, 1839, aged 101, and the latter Feb. 16, 1828, aged 84.
Stephen Hoxie's children were Mary, Lodowick, Luke, John, Solomon, and Ruth, who died unmarried April 12, 1840, aged 56.
Lawton Palmer came from Rhode Island, where he married one of John Button's daughters. He settled a little north-east of Five Corners, where Maria Palmer, the widow of his son Elias now lives, and there he and his wife died. He died Dec. 3, 1825, aged 63. The first Baptist church in the town was built on a portion of his farm. He donated the site. Two of Palmer's children are living in the town, Fones and Ira. Two other sons, John and Samuel, removed at an early day to Steuben county, where both died. Elias, another son, succeeded his father on the homestead and died there March 10, 1866, aged 65. His widow still lives there. He had two daughters, one of whom became the wife of Major Button, and the other the wife of Oliver Wilcox. Both are dead. His son Lawton was the first child born in the town. He was born August 27, 1792.* He lived and died in the town, near where his widow now lives.
Thomas, James and John Rogers were from Rhode Island. Thomas settled a mile west of Leonardsville, on the farm, a part of which is owned by his great-grandson, Deloss Rogers, where he died January 17, 1815, and Avis, his wife, September 24, 1830. He came in with an ox team, his daughter Amy performing the journey on horseback. His other children were Thomas, James, John, Polly, who married Ethan Burdick, and Hannah who married Varnum Gorton. None of them are living.
* His tombstone bears this inscription "First white male born in town."
He died Jan. 11, 1866, aged 73 years, 4 months and 15 days.
James Rogers married a daughter of Elder Simeon Brown and settled on Button Hill. His farm adjoined that of Elias Button and is now occupied by Henry B. Dye. John married Mercy, daughter of Ezra Brown, and settled at Leonardsville. Both lived and died where they settled. James' son Thomas R. succeeded him on the homestead farm, and also died there. John had five children, four of whom are living, Dennison and Charles in the town of Plainfield, Mercy, wife of Avery Crandall, in Edmeston, and Thomas, on the homestead.
Paul, Perry, Ray and John Maxson were brothers. Paul and Perry settled at DeLancy's Corners, where they resided till their death. Paul kept a distillery there a good many years. Perry married Abigail, daughter of Vose Palmer. Ray settled in the adjoining town of Columbus. John never took up land.
Eleazer Brown settled on the farm, a part of which forms a part of John Searls' farm. One grandson, William Brown, is living in Plainfield. He is the only one living in this locality.
Elder Simeon Brown came from Stonington, Conn., and settled about two and a half miles east of Clarkville, on the farm now occupied by his grandson, Justus R. Brown, where he and his wife, Ruth York, continued to reside till their death, about 1826. He gathered and organized the First Baptist church in Brookfield, and was for some thirty years its pastor. Mr. Brown and his wife came into the country on horseback, and brought their children in an ox cart. The children were Simeon, Justus H., Ruth, Polly, Thankful, Lucretia and Phebe. Simeon, Polly and Thankful were married when they came in.
There were at one time eleven distinct families of Browns living in this town, most of whom were early settlers. Many of their descendants are still living here.
Elder Henry Clark settled on the Unadilla flats, near the Unadilla Forks. He was a Seventh Day Baptist minister and organized at Leonardsville the first church of that order in the town, which was also the first church of any denomination in the town. He was for many years its pastor, and until age and infirmities compelled him to relinquish the duties of the office. He died on the farm on which he settled and which is now occupied by a grandson, March 31, 1831, aged 74. The farm was afterwards occupied by Dr. Henry Clark, who lived and died on it.
Robert Randall settled in the locality of South Brookfield in 1792. He was born in Stonington, Connecticut, Oct. 25, 1751, and died at Cortland, N. Y., where his descendants have been prominent citizens, Jan. 3, 1833. He married in Stonington May 6, 1773, Lucy, daughter of Col. William, Jr., and Mary (Cheesebrough) Pendleton, who was born in Westerly, R. I., April 22, 1752, and died in Cortland August 27, 1839. He removed with his wife and nine children, all of whom were born in Connecticut, to Brookfield, where a number of his descendants still reside. His tenth child, Prudence, was born in Brookfield Dec. 6, 1793, and died here Dec. 1, 1794. This was one of the first, if not the first death in the town.
Gen. Roswell Randall received a good academic education and read law in the office of Stephen O. Runyan, of Oxford. He married there March 27, 1810, Harriet, daughter of Dr. Josiah, Jr., and Edith (Bush) Stephens, a native of Shelburne, Vt., and about that time gave up the practice of law to engage in mercantile business with his brother William in Brookfield.
In the latter part of April, 1793, David Gates and Ethan Babcock, two young men, the former then in his nineteenth year, set out for Leyden, Mass., their native place, on foot, and after enduring many privations arrived at West Winfield, where they rested several days, and purchased a yoke of oxen, a cow and some provisions, with which, on the 25th of May, they started for Brookfield. Their progress through the woods was necessarily slow, and it was near night ere they reached their destination, the Beaver creek valley, where Oliver Babcock, father of Nathan, had previously selected and purchased the mill site on that stream, in the north part of the village of Clarkville, now owned by Elijah Clark, together with two lots, including the east half of that village, the north and south road running through it being for some distance the lot line. Not having time to erect a shelter, they felled a basswood tree, split it open and lay upon it until morning. They were the first to locate on the site of Clarkville, and this was the first tree cut in its vicinity. It was located on the farm of Oliver Babcock, 2d, near the old burying-ground. The next day they built a cabin and commenced clearing the land. Game being plenty they had no difficulty in obtaining plenty to eat.
After having cleared a few acres and made a considerable amount of ashes, they began the manufacture of potash, which they carried to Winfield in tubs, upon the backs of the oxen. This was the first potash made in Brookfield, and some of the first made in Madison county. They continued clearing up the land and making potash during the summer and in the fall Mr. Gates returned to West Winfield and worked by the month for Dr. Hayward, while Mr. Babcock returned to his home in Massachusetts, and married Harriet Vann.
The next spring Mr. Babcock came in with an ox team, bringing his wife and his brother Oliver and wife. He completed the log house which he partially built the year before. This was the first house in the Beaver creek valley. It stood just east of the academy lot, in view of the academy building. Both occupied this house until Oliver built one for himself, which he did the same year, on the site of the frame house which he built soon after, and which is now occupied by the widow of his son Oliver. Both continued to reside there till their death. Ethan died April 4, 1859. Oliver died Sept. 1, 1856, aged 82.
In 1795, Oliver Babcock, father of Ethan and Oliver, came from Massachusetts and built the first saw-mill on the site of Elijah Clark's mill, which site has since been used for mill purposes. In 1857, the mill property passed into the hands of Elijah Clark, who built soon after the grist-mill in connection with it, which contains two runs of stones. The fall on the creek at this point is about ten feet.
Phineas Babcock came in with his wife, Sally Fenn, who died March 16, 1858, aged 82, and two children, Venever and Belinda, both of whom are dead. His children born here were Maria, Charlotte, Alfred, Leonard, William and Alzina, of whom the latter two only are living, both in the town. Hezekiah came in with his brother Phineas and settled on the north line of the town, on the farm now owned by Hall Green, Jr., where both he and his wife died. His children were Hezekiah, Henry, Joseph, a daughter who is the widow of Joseph Miller and a sister who is living with her in Clarkville, Leander and another who is living in Lewis county, all of whom are living, except Hezekiah who was a cooper and died in Leonardsville. Joseph, another son of Oliver, Sr., removed to Preston in 1804.
David Gates settled on fifty acres on lot 65, which is now owned by his son Darius. His log cabin stood in the meadow on that farm, about sixty rods south of Nathan Gates' residence. He also returned here from Winfield in the spring of 1794, and soon after married Nabby, daughter of Thompson Burdick. In 1821, he removed to the foot of the hill, to a frame house, which stood where his daughter Mary Ann Gates now lives, and there he resided till his death, Aug. 24, 1855, aged 80. His wife died April 29, 1866, aged 84. He had eleven children, seven of whom lived to maturity, and four of whom are now living, all in this town, near the homestead farm, viz: Amos, Nathan, Mary Ann, a maiden lady, and Darius. David and Ethel died in the town, the former Jan. 24, 1875, and the latter, June 17, 1870, and Eli, in Wisconsin, to which State he removed in 1855.
About this time John I. Morgan, who, as we have previously seen, together with Michael Myers and Jedediah Sanger, purchased in 1791, townships 18 and 20, and the unsold and major portion of 19, commenced to open their lands to tenants on the perpetual lease system, a measure which tended somewhat to retard the settlement which had so auspiciously commenced, as those who settled these western wilds generally preferred to own the lands they subdued to the uses of civilization. Mr. Morgan built an attractive cottage house in a romantic spot on the west side of Beaver creek, about two and a half miles south of Clarkville, which he visited with great regularity during the summer months, only missing, he said, two years during sixty, once while in Europe and again while in Congress. At the death of Mr. Morgan, Morgan Dix, of New York city, became heir to these lands, which, however, came under the supervision of General and late Gov. John A. Dix, who inaugurated the humane policy of selling them to actual settlers, at fair prices. Mr. Wait Clarke, now residing in advanced years in Clarkville, as agent for Gov. Dix, transacted much of the business incident to this change of policy. Mr. Clarke is the only survivor of eight children of John Clarke, who came from Exeter, R. I., in the fall of 1810, and settled on lot 16 in the 19th township.
Settlements were made in 1794, by Zadock Beebe, Joshua Whitford, John York, Wiot Hinckley, and probably others of whom we have no definite data.
Zadock Beebe came in company with his son Zadock, up the Mohawk to the locality of Herkimer, whence, becoming tired of the slow progress made by water, they performed the rest of the journey on foot. After prospecting the lands they returned to Massachusetts, whence they came. In 1796, they brought in their families, with ox teams. The elder Beebe took up lot 27; and his son and the latter's brother-in-law, James Beebe, lot 28, each taking one-half. Beth are in the 19th township. Zadock, Sr., settled a little east of North Brookfield, on the place now occupied by Joseph H. Blanding, who married his great grand-daughter. His log cabin stood opposite Blanding's residence, and there he and his wife died, the former, about 1835, and the latter March 19, 1833, aged 93. Zadock Beebe's children were Zadock, Priscilla, Thomas, Ezekiel, Seth, Sarah, all of whom married and settled on or adjacent to the homestead farm.
Joshua Whitford came from Stephentown, Rensselaer county, and took up a half of lot 76, and settled near the center of the town, where his grandson, Silas Whitford, now lives, where he resided till his death. He married in Stephentown, Phebe Palmer, with whom and their eight children he came to this town. They arrived here on the third of July, and on the fourth he cut the first tree upon his farm. Their children were William, Joshua, Palmer, Hosea, Stephen, Phebe, Grace and Lucinda, only the latter two of whom are living. Deacon William married and settled on lot No. 71, which was taken up by Vose Palmer, and after his father's death removed to the homestead farm, where he and his wife died, the former Jan. 26, 1850, aged 67, and the latter (Hannah Clarke) March 17, 1860, aged 73. He left four children, all of whom are living in this town, Clark M., Silas, Calvin and Edwin. John York and Wiot* Hinckley came here from Stonington, Conn., where the latter was born in 1739. York married Keturah Brown and settled on the east side of Beaver creek, about midway between Clarkville and South Brookfield, where Chauncey Hibbard now lives. There he and his wife died and are buried. His children were John, Thomas, who died June 8, 1854, aged 81, Ichabod, born in Stonington, Conn., Oct. 20, 1777, and died April 1, 1846, Sally, who married Thomas Prentice, Nancy, who married Elisha Palmer, Keturah, who married Wheaton H. Williams, Lucinda, who married Abel P. Clark, Lucy, who married a brother of Elisha Palmer's and Lydia, a maiden lady, all of whom are dead. Hinckley came with an ox team, bringing his family.
* The family now spell the name Wait.
Samuel Gorton, who was connected with the commissary department of the army during the Revolutionary war, came from West Greenwich, R. I., his native place, in 1795, and having selected two lots returned to Rhode Island. The following spring his sons Varnum and Benjamin came in on foot to make preparation for the reception of the family. They made a small clearing and built a log cabin, which stood about three miles east of North Brookfield. The locality is still known as Gorton Hill, and the school district as Gorton Hill district, though there is not a family of the name living there. In the fall of 1796 Mr. Gorton moved in with the rest of the family, consisting of his wife, Eunice Austin, and ten additional children, viz: John, Stephen, Wanton, Samuel, Thurston, Simon, Mary, Mercy, Keziah and Sally. He soon after erected and occupied as a dwelling the frame building now used as a hog-pen on that place.
In 1796, Asa Frink, Nathaniel, Joseph and George Denison and Thompson Burdick came in company from Stonington, Conn., with ox teams, bringing their families with them, and all settled in the valley of Beaver creek. Frink, who married for his second wife Thede York, widow of (???) Brown, located at Clarkville, where Rouse Burdick now lives, where he died Dec. 11, 1834, aged 87, and his wife, July 6, 1839, aged 81. He had two children by his first wife, Asa and George; and by his second wife his children were Jonas, Lydia, who married David Clark, Lucy, who married Martin Murphy, Betsey, who died unmarried, and Roxy, who married Gilbert Frink.
Nathaniel Denison settled on the west side of the creek, where Heman Hill lives, where he and his wife, Fanny Hewitt, died. Two of his children are living on a part of the homestead farm, Polly and VanRensselaer, the former of whom married Thomas J. Yaw, who practiced law at Clarkville from 1832 till his death in 1865. Joseph Denison settled on lot 65 in the 18th township, where Joseph Burdick now lives, and died there July 27, 1829, aged 62.
George Denison located on lot 65 in the 18th township, three-fourths of a mile south-east of Clarkville. Sixteen or seventeen years later he removed to the south-west part of the town, where he died April 5, 1847, aged 77, and Abigail, his wife, July 4, 1860, aged 87.
Thompson Burdick settled on the same lot as Joseph and George Denison, about a quarter of a mile south of Clarkville, where Mary Ann Gates now lives. He sold about 1809, to Eli S. Bailey, and removed to Scott, Cortland county.
Thomas Keith, who was born in Easton, Mass., May 13, 1769, removed thence to Lenox, on the Connecticut, where, Oct. 11, 1792, he married Abigail Percival, who was born in Cape Cod, Dec. 31, 1771. He came on foot, in company with Alexander Brewster, also from Lenox, Mass., and took up 250 acres, 40 of which he sold to Brewster. They chopped during that summer, and Keith, after making a small clearing, rolled up a log cabin on his land. In the fall they returned to Massachusetts, coming in again the following spring with their families. Brewster sold his forty acres some fifty-eight years ago to John Keith, and went to the Black River country, accompanied by his two sons Elijah and Lewis. Keith lived there till his death. It is now owned and occupied by Ira Burdick, who married his daughter Harriet. Thomas Keith came in 1797 with an ox cart, bringing his wife and one child, Susannah, who was then two years old. They took up their abode in the log cabin built the previous year, about a mile and a half south-east of North Brookfield, on the farm a part of which is occupied by his son Lewis. The homestead, now occupied by Leander Bailey, is still owned by his son Henry Keith, who now keeps the hotel in Clarkville. Thomas and his wife both died on that place, the former May 29, 1836, and the latter June 2, 1830.
Elisha Burdick came from Westerly, R. I., about 1795 or '6, and settled about a mile north of South Brookfield, on the farm now owned by Hills & Denison, where he and his wife died. He had a numerous family, most of whom settled in the same locality.
Augustus Saunders came from Westerly, R. I., in 1800, and settled three miles north of Clarkville, on 100 acres, which are now owned by Dr. L. N. Griswold. He resided there till about twenty-four years ago, when he removed to Clarkville, where he died March 23, 1868, aged 83, and Eunice his wife, Nov. 28, 1861, aged 70. They had ten children.
Elisha Johnson settled in the town as early as 1800, and Harris Chesebrough about that year. Johnson was from Connecticut. He settled about a half mile south of North Brookfield, where his son Col. Eli Johnson now lives.
Harris Chesebrough came from Petersburg, Rensselaer county, and settled in the locality of "Coontown," (W. Edmeston,) where he and his wife, Patty Champlin, died. They had nine children, only two of whom are living, Phebe, widow of Lyman Palmer, and Jared, both in Brookfield.
Josiah Livermore came from Brimfield, Mass., about 1804, and settled on the site of North Brookfield about where the store of his grandson, Charles O. Livermore now stands, where he carried on the tanning and currying business for several years. He removed about 1824, to a farm a mile east of North Brookfield, and continued to reside in that locality on various farms, till his death in March, 1839. His wife died in Sangerfield in 1843. They had seven children who lived to maturity, three of whom are living, all in North Brookfield, Sophia, widow of Robert Brusie, J. V. R. and Leonard.
Nathan Brown settled at an early day on the farm now occupied by Asa B. Baldwin. He came from Stonington, Conn., where he married Nancy Kinney. Both died on the farm on which they settled. He died April 13, 1807, aged 67, and his wife, Oct. 21, 1841, aged 93.
We gather from the town records the names of other early settlers in this town and Columbus, which was then a part of Brookfield, and classify them under the year in which they appear as officers of the town, from 1796 to 1800. Many doubtless settled a few years earlier.
1796. Asa Brown, Peter German, Elezer Goodwin, Jonathan Kingsbury, John Noyes, Jabez Brown, Moses Ward, John Wilbur, Nathaniel Haskel, Josiah Rathbun, Roswell Haskin, Gurden Thompson, Peter McIntire, Eliakim Palmer, Benedict Babcock, Powell Hall, Eliab Underwood.
1797. Charles Welch, Edward Works, James Satterlee, Nath. Calkins, Peter W. Delancy, Joel Cutler, Nathan W. Brown, Thomas Giles, Denison Palmer, Jesse Palmeter, David Smith, Jesse Palmer, Richard Butler, Isaac Brown, George Palmer, Absalom Miner, Jr., John Payne, Gilbert Strong, Samuel Billings, David Dickey, Ezekiel Scott, Joseph Garner, Amos Scott, Augustus Crandall, John York, Samuel Hall, Amos C Palmer, Jared Clark, Ebenezer Kelsey, Eld. Marsh, Jonah Slocum, Simon Brown.
1798. John Hoxsie, Capt. Samuel Berry, John Follet.
1799. Thomas Kenyon, Edward Green, Peleg Palmer, David Cole, Edmond Scott, Clark Maxson, Joshua Breed, David Whitford, Stephen Clark, John Whitmore, Jonathan Morgan, Weaden Witter, Jonathan Hubby, Elias Underwood, Joshua Morgans, Cha. Lee Usher, Nathan Clark, Clark Barber, Nath. Mane, Benjamin Brown, James Marsh, Nath. Marsh, Samuel Mosher, Charles Babcock, Nathan Steward, Luther Brown, Thomas Bowman.
1800. Samuel Marsh, William Davis, Thomas Mills, Roswell Brand, Nehemiah Palmer, Samuel Langworthy, Caleb Miller, Amos Wheeler, Wm. G. Greenman, Daniel Barber, Zebulon Brown, Gad Sutleaf, (???) Tuttle.
TOWN OFFICERS. The first town meeting was held at the house of Capt. Daniel Brown, April 7, 1795, and the following named officers were elected: Stephen Hoxie, Supervisor; Elisha Burdick, Clerk; Clark Maxson, Joshua Whitford and John Stanton, Assessors; Powel Hall, Joel Butler and John Chesebrough, Commissioners of Highways; Daniel Brown and Simeon Brown, Poormasters; Elijah Palmer and Oliver Brown, Constables; Oliver Brown, Collector; David Convers, Jaba Brown and Benedict Babcock, Fence Viewers; "Ashbe Cellogg," Ephraim Waldo, George Palmer and Jonathan Bedford, Path-masters; Daniel Brown, John Wilber and Willard Convers, Pound Masters.
The following list of the officers of the town of Brookfield, for the year 1880-'81, was kindly furnished by Duane B. Stillman:
Supervisor Oliver T. Brown.
Town Clerk Duane B. Stillman.
Justices Samuel Davis, S. A. Fitch, H. L. Spooner, Frank Blanding.
Assessors William Stanbro, A. B. Baldwin, E. D. Morgan.
Commissioners of Highways Peleg Stanbro, I. W. Allen, Leroy Maxson.
Overseers of the Poor S. Jordan, Henry Brown.
Constables J. P. Murphy, H. G. Knight, Charles Beach, Herbert Kingsley.
Collector A. O. Wells.
Inspectors of Election District No. 1 Harrison Marks, Joseph Jiff, C. N. Brown.
Inspectors of Election District No. 2 N. A. Crandall, T. A. Crandall, M. C. Barker.
Inspectors of Election District No. 3 A. J. Marsh, L. A. VanWagner, Ira S. Burdick.
Inspectors of Election District No. 4 C. T. Brooks, Herman Palmer, Simeon Brown.
Sealer of Weights and Measures Thomas Hoxie.
Excise Commissioners L. J. Worden, E. G. Fitch, A. C. Rogers.
Following is a list of the names of persons who have served the town in the capacity of Supervisor and Clerk since its organization:
Samuel H. Coon..
Samuel H. Coon
Henry Clark, Jr.
Nathan T. Brown
Hosea B. Clarke.
John T. G. Bailey
Elisha G. Babcock
J. V. R. Livermore
Thomas R. Gorton
William H. Brand
John T. G. Bailey
Thomas R. Gorton
Augustus L. Saunders
Hosea B. Clarke
John T. G. Bailey
John T. G. Bailey
Asa Frink, Jr.
Lodowick C. York
John D. Clarke
John D. Clarke
Nathan Brownell, Jr.
John T. G. Bailey
Putnam C. Brownell
William N. Stillman
Henry L. Spooner
Arthur J. Stillman
Myrtus A. Saunders
Duane B. Stillman
* Hosea B. Clarke was appointed Clerk, Feb. 24, 1824.
** John O. Wheeler was appointed Supervisor Dec. 26, 1864, vice C. Whitford, resigned.
March 1, 1797, tavern permits were granted to George Palmer, Samuel Billings, Henry B. Morgan, Rodolphus Edward, Peter German, Jonathan Brownell, and Amos C. Palmer, each of whom paid $5; and in 1798 to Ella Prindle.
The first election of Justices in Brookfield, pursuant to the law of Nov. 23, 1827, was held at the annual election Nov. 5, 6 and 7, 1827, and Patten Fitch, John Davis, Elisha Randall and Wait Clarke were elected to that office.