TOWN OF LEBANON

 

From “The History of Chenango and Madison Counties, New York”

by James H. Smith    (D. Mason & Co. - Syracuse, New York 1880)

 

 

LEBANON was formed from Hamilton Feb. 6, 1807, its name being suggested in the Legislature by General Erastus Cleveland, of Madison, who championed the bill which divided the original town of Hamilton into four towns, as it was then composed of four townships, the 5th forming the town of Lebanon. It is the center town on the south border of the county, and is bounded on the north by Eaton, south by Smyrna, east by Hamilton, and west by Georgetown. Its surface is a hilly upland, lying mostly between the Chenango and Otselic valleys, the former of which, extending through the east border of the town, is beautiful and fertile, expanding to about a mile in width, and bordered by steep hillsides. The highest summits, in the western part, are 500 to 800 feet above the valley. The other streams are small, but numerous, and are tributary to the Chenango.

 

The town is mostly underlaid by the rocks of the Hamilton group, those of the higher groups prevailing in the west part. Good stone for underpinnings is obtained from a quarry in the latter on the farm of Mr. Grassfield, near the east border of Georgetown; and in the former, up the gorge a mile west of Smith's Valley. The stone from the latter was used for State purposes, for building locks and abutments on the canal. The soil upon the hills is a gravelly loam, underlaid by hardpan, and in the valleys, alluvium. The people are engaged almost exclusively in agricultural pursuits, dairying being the chief branch of agriculture. Hops are raised but not extensively. The dairies are mostly private ones, there being only two factories in the town.

 

The New York, Ontario and Western Railroad crosses the east border of the town along the valley of the Chenango, connecting at Smith's Valley with the Utica, Clinton and Binghamton Railroad, which extends a short distance into the north-east part of the town, and at Earlville with the Syracuse and Chenango Valley Railroad, which extends diagonally through the central part of the town, from north-west to south-east.

 

The population of the town in 1875 was 1,473; of whom 1,362 were native, 111 foreign, 1,461 white, 12 colored, 760 males and 713 females. Its area was 26,125 acres; of which 20,682 acres were improved, 4,922 woodland, and 521 otherwise unimproved. The cash value of farms was $1,262,525; of farm buildings, other than dwellings, $163,710; of stock, $220,185; of tools and implements, $47,971. The amount of gross sales from farms in 1874 was $152,119.

 

There are twelve common school districts in the town. During the year ending Sept. 30, 1879, there were twelve licensed teachers employed at one time during twenty-eight weeks or more. The number of children of school age residing in the districts at that date was 421. During that year there were seven male and sixteen female teachers employed; the number of children residing in the districts who attended school was 330; in other districts, 23; of whom seven were under five or over twenty-one years of age; the average daily attendance during the year was 192.010; the number of volumes in district libraries was 604, the value of which was $272; the number of school houses was twelve, eleven frame and one stone, which, with the sites, embracing one acre and 137 rods, valued at $465, were valued at $2,995; the assessed value of taxable property in the districts was $695,498. The number of children between eight and fourteen years of age residing in the districts at that date was 47, of whom 42 attended district school fourteen weeks of that year.

 

Receipts and disbursements for school purposes: 

 

  Amount on hand Oct. 1, 1878 $ 4.35 

  Amount apportioned to districts 1,300.90 

  Proceeds of Gospel and school lands 62.69 

  Raised by tax 392.32 

  From teachers' board 112.00 

  From other sources 1.00 

  

  Total receipts $1,873.26 

  Paid for teachers' wages $1,665.16 

  Paid for libraries 1.52 

  Paid for school apparatus .50 

  Paid for school-houses, sites, fences, outhouses, repairs, furniture, etc. 74.20 

  Paid for incidental expenses 126.82 

  Amount remaining on hand Sept. 30, 1879 5.06 

  

  Total disbursements $1,873.26 

 

 

SETTLEMENTS

 

Lebanon was one of the six towns originally patented to Col. William S. Smith, who soon after transferred the major portion of it to Sir William Pultney, reserving, however, a large tract bordering the Chenango. There were, therefore, two agencies active in promoting the settlement of the lands in this town, and under their stimulus it was both rapid and important.

 

In 1791, the year in which Mr. Smith's purchase was made, but previous to the consummation of the purchase, that gentleman commissioned his friend, Joshua Smith, a native of Franklin, Conn., who was an officer under him in the Revolution, to select lands for him in the Chenango Twenty Townships, then recently opened to settlement. Joshua Smith visited the lands that year, making the journey upon horseback, and having built a log house for future occupancy about a hundred rods south of Smith's Valley, where Nathaniel Barr now lives, he returned East, and on his report Col. Smith's purchase was made. These were the first measures looking to the settlement of the town. Joshua Smith afterwards returned here, married and raised a family, but subsequently removed to Riga, Monroe county.

 

Col. Smith sent his brother, Justus B., here to act as agent for the sale of these lands, and he, together with his brothers John and James and five sisters, after wards joined him in the settlement. The Smiths were natives of Long Island, wealthy and highly educated, and all the brothers were officers in the Revolution. Col. William S. Smith, was graduated at Princeton college in 1774. He was appointed the first United States Marshal for the District of New York, Sept. 26, 1789; and a Representative in Congress from 1813 till his death. He died in Smith's Valley in 1816, before the expiration of his Congressional term. Justus B. Smith died there the same year, or rather at the residence of John W. Bulkley, with whom he went to live shortly before his death. He was a bachelor, and lived on the east side of the river, at the lower landing, three-fourths of a mile below Smith's Valley Station.

 

The first settlement, however, was made by Jonathan Bates, from Vermont, who, in the fall of 1792, came in company with Enoch Stowell, from New Hampshire and John and James Salisbury from Ver mont. The Salisburys located in Eaton; Bates and Stowell on the north line of this town, on lot 7, in the north-east part, Bates where Joshua Cramphin now lives, and Stowell where his son Horace now lives. They erected a bark shanty and during that fall cleared twenty acres of land. They then went to Bainbridge and spent the winter with friends from Vermont who had settled in that town. The following spring Bates returned with his family which was then the only one in the town, and resided on the farm he first located till his death, April 20, 1827, aged 72, also his wife Elizabeth, who died April 25, 1828, aged 77. His son Henry succeeded him on the homestead and died there August 14, 1831, aged 39. David, and older brother of Henry's, who was a cooper, lived in the town a great many years, and removed to Cazenovia where his wife died, when he removed to Richfield Springs and died there. None of the family are left here.

 

Enoch Stowell returned a little later and married here Cynthia, sister of Benjamin Church, who came in soon after Stowell and settled a little below him, on the opposite side of the flats, where, till recently and for many years, James Betts lived. He died June 3, 1859, aged 92. His son Horace who succeeded him on the homestead, is the only one of the children left in the town.

 

Settlements were made in the spring of 1794 by David Hartshorn and Samuel Felt, and during that year by David Felt, brother to Samuel.

 

David Hartshorn, who had previously prospected the locality, came from Lisbon, Conn., with his family, consisting of his wife Lemira Lillie, a native of Windham, Conn., and one child, John, and settled at Wheeler's Mills, on the west bank of the Chenango, a half mile above Smith's Valley, to which his farm extended. He kept tavern here at an early day and for several years, and here his wife died.

 

John Hartshorn, his oldest child, was the first postmaster at Smith's Valley. He was appointed about 1817 and held the office till his removal to Syracuse, in 1820. He is still living in that city and was 87 years old March 11, 1879.

 

Jacob Hartshorn and Joseph Phelps, the former a brother and the latter a brother-in-law of David Hartshorn's, came in a little later and settled in the north part of the town.

 

Samuel Felt settled on the west side of the Chenango, in the locality of Earlville, and David near him. They were from Summerstown, Conn. Samuel had been in the previous year, selected his land and erected a cabin. Both the Felts died early, Samuel, July 31, 1803, aged 68, and David, August 3, 1810, aged 47. Both had large families, their children generally settling near them, and many of them died there. Samuel's sons were Jehiel, Samuel, Elam, John, Jabin, Sylvester and David. Elam died August 7, 1843, aged 68. Asa, a son of David's, died here Jan. 24, 1875, aged 87. Horace, another son of David's, who was born here Aug. 18, 1795, was one of the first, if not the first, children born in the town. He died Nov. 27, 1851, aged 56.

 

Lent Bradley and Solomon Jones settled in the town as early as 1797. Mr. Bradley located on lot 4, on the north line, where John Bennett now lives, and both he and his wife died there.

 

John W. Bulkley came as early as 1798, and David and Dunham Shapley and Arunah Moseley about that year.

 

The Shapleys and Moseley were members of the Shaker Community at New Lebanon, Columbia county, in which David Shapley was a ruling elder, so highly esteemed that his father made obeisance to him. They clandestinely left that community in company with three female members whom they afterwards married. David brought Lydia, sister of Arunah Moseley, and Moseley, Sally, sister of the Shapleys. David settled about a mile below Jonathan Bates and Enoch Stowell, where his son Lewis, and grandson, Spencer Shapley, now live; Dunham, a younger brother, about a mile south-east of him, on a farm now owned by Deloss White, a lawyer in Hamilton; and Moseley on the east border of the Campbell Settlement, where Palmer Kenyon now lives. Each died where he settled.

 

The Campbells settled here at an early day, previous to 1800. There were nine distinct families, all of whom were related, and came from Sterling, Conn., viz: Daniel, Allen, James, Steward, Isaac, Archibald and John*,  sons of the widow Patience Campbell, and John and Charles, sons of the widow Nancy Campbell. They all settled in the west part of the north-east quarter in the north part of the town, at what is known as Campbell Settlement. Both Nancy and Patience came in with their children. Nancy, who was then seventy years of age, taught in her house in 1801, the first school in the town. She lived with her sons, who settled on adjoining farms, Charles where Thomas Price now lives, and John where Amos Green now lives. Patience lived with her son James, who located where Norman Congdon lives. Steward settled adjoining the latter, on a farm of fifty acres now owned and occupied by Alfred Seymour, who also owns and occupies the farm on which their brothers, John, Isaac and Archibald settled. Daniel and Allen settled in the east part of the Campbell settlement, which comprised several hundred acres, on the farm now owned by Mrs. Anna Faucett, of Eaton, and occupied by George C. Cady. A part of the farm is occupied by the Kingsley Brook Reservoir. Both farms passed into the hands of John G., oldest son of Allen Campbell, and from him to his only child, the present owner. With the exception of Steward, "Little John," and Isaac, who went west, and Daniel, who died on the farm now occupied by his grandson, Stephen R. Campbell, near the south line of the town, all the original settlers of the Campbells died where they located.

*Familiarly known as "Little John," to distinguish him from Nancy's son John.

 

Daniel and Elisha Wheeler, brothers, came from Chatham, Columbia county, about 1797 or '98. Daniel settled about three miles west of Lebanon Springs, and both he and his brother engaged in milling operations, and were the first to supply the great want of the settlers in this locality,--a saw and grist-mill. They were both millwrights. Elisha built a saw-mill on the west side of the Chenango, at Smith's Valley, in 1798; and Daniel a grist-mill soon after on the east side of the river, about a mile above Smith's Valley. The latter was destroyed by fire about 1804, just after having been repaired and supplied with new stones obtained from Albany. This loss was felt to be a public calamity, and the next day as soon as the misfortune was made known the settlers gathered from the surrounding country for miles around at the scene of the conflagration. Arrangement were made before night for the rebuilding of the mill, and operations were commenced the following day. The saw-mill now owned by Mr. Simmons occupies the site of the old saw-mill. The grist-mill occupied the site of the Armstrong mill, which, after the construction of the canal feeder, which injuriously affected the water power, was used as a carriage shop, and at present as a store house by Waldo Armstrong, who owns the property, which was previously in possession of his father, Jabin, some forty years.

 

Settlements were made about 1800 by Malchiah Hatch, Dane Ballard, Elihu Bosworth, Jabin Armstrong, Thomas Buell and Abraham Webster. Hatch was a prominent man in his day. He settled near the Shapleys, on what is known as the Ladd farm, where he died at an early day.

 

Dane Ballard came from Pelham, Mass., to Madison, in 1800, and settled just north of the Rhode Island quarter, where John B. Coe now lives, whence, in 1803, he removed to Lebanon, settling on lot 58, on the site of Lebanon village, which is on lots 57 and 58, the north and south street being the lot line. He located on the place now owned by Alexander D. Thayer, where, in 1804, he built the first saw-mill on the site of the present one in Lebanon village.

 

Silas Seymour, the seventh and youngest son of his father's family, was born in Hartford, Conn., May 7, 1777, and removed soon after his father's death the same year, to Stillwater, N. Y., and his brother, William, who brought him up, and who, together with his next two brothers, were in the American army and present at the surrender of Burgoyne, on the 17th of October following. There, in 1800, Silas married Sally Gilbert and removed the same year to Lebanon, where he took up some sixty acres on lot 24, which, by subsequent acquisitions, he increased to over two hundred acres, the major portion of which is owned by his son, Alfred. There he resided till his death, August 2, 1845. His wife also died there Oct. 5, 1850.

 

Elihu Bosworth came from Guilford, Conn., as early as 1800, and settled in the north-west part of the town, on the farm now occupied by Peter Nevin, where he resided till within a short time of his death, which occurred in the county house about 1853 or '4.

 

Jabin Armstrong, who married soon after coming here Clara Hartshorn, niece of David Hartshorn, came from Connecticut and settled just below David Hartshorn, between him and Smith's Valley.

 

Thomas Buell was from New Hampshire. He settled as early as 1800, on a large farm* in the southeast part of the town. Buell died Oct. 1, 1820, aged 64, and Irene, his wife, March 17, 1839, aged 79.

*In 1815, he was the largest landowner in the town, except Justus B. Smith, having 342 acres and 80 rods, then valued at $4,815.

 

Deacon Abraham Webster, brother of Dr. Noah Webster, the lexicographer, came as early as 1802, probably from Hartford, Conn., and settled about the center of the northwest quarter, where Reuben H. Geer now lives. There he raised his family and there his first wife died.

 

Rev. Matthias Cazier was born in Delaware, of French ancestry, Oct. 4, 1752. His grandparents fled from France to escape the penalties of the edict of Nantes and settled on Staten Island. He served three years in the American army during the Revolution, and at its close finished his studies at Princeton, where he was graduated and received a license to preach. After a year spent in the South for the benefit of his health he became the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Crane's Corners, (Newark,) N. J., where May 29, 1789, he married Lydia Crane, with whom, in 1790, he removed to Castleton, Vt., becoming the first settled pastor in that town, in consideration of which fact he received a State grant for 160 acres of land. In 1800 he removed his family to Salem, Conn., and in company with a friend explored Central New York with a view to settlement. In that year he purchased 800 acres in Lebanon. In 1802 he removed his family from Salem to Hamilton, and in 1804 to their new home in Lebanon, locating his habitation on lot 22, in the north-west part of the town, where Otis Dunham now lives, where he died in June, 1837.

 

Daniel Clark came from Colchester, Conn., in 1803, and settled in the south-east part of the town, where he died Feb. 18, 1853, aged 85, and Hannah, his wife, March 7, 1853, aged 78.

 

Orsamus Gilbert and Francis Whitmore joined the settlements in 1805. Gilbert came from Becket, Mass., in January, with a three-horse team, and settled in Lebanon village, in the house now occupied by his daughter Annas, widow of William Tompkins, which he built in the winter of 1805. It is the oldest house standing in the town. It has since received two additions. He left his family at Madison while he came and built a log-house, bringing them in the following spring. He was a cloth dresser by trade and established there a carding machine. He died here March 9, 1843, aged 72. He married, in Massachusetts, Annas Blair, who died August 9, 1853, aged 82.

 

Francis Whitmore was a native of Connecticut, whence he removed to Wilbraham, Mass., where, in 1802, he married Sally Stebbins, with whom, in 1805, he removed to Lebanon Hill in the south part of the town, about two miles west of Earlville, where the Hutchins family now lives. In 1817 he removed to the place now occupied by Justus Swift, where he died in 1841.

 

Ephraim Gray, a native of New Lebanon, Columbia county, removed thence in 1807, and settled on 86 acres, a half mile east of Lebanon village, which are now owned by his son, Cooley C. Gray, where he resided till his death, Feb. 21, 1851, aged 71.

 

Benjamin Hewes came in about 1807 or '8, and settled on lot 59, in the west part of the town, where Martin Day now lives, and resided there till his death.

 

Other early settlers were Thomas Hueston, Daniel Stowell, Deacon Asa Tenney, Captain Roderick Moore, Philip Kibbie, Captain Truman and Jabez Billings, John Sheldon, Giles Collins, and Richard Taylor.

 

Thomas Hueston, who married Susan, daughter of Archibald Campbell, came in with the Campbells and settled in the same locality, in the west border of the Campbell Settlement. He afterwards removed to the farm on lot 57 now occupied by Sidney T. Campbell and subsequently to Michigan in 1831. Daniel Stowell was a brother to Enoch Stowell. He came in at a later day, and settled in the east part of the town, where John Harmon now lives, but removed from the town at an early day. Deacon Tenney also settled in the east part of the town, but lived there only a short time. Captain Moore settled on the farm on lot 24, now owned by William Geer, and afterwards removed to lot 41, in the west part of the town, where John Fisk, Jr., now lives. He either died there or removed from the town at an early day. Philip Kibbie kept the first tavern in the town, on the river road between Earlville and Smith's Valley. The Billings, Sheldon and Collins, located south of the center of the town on what is known as Collins' Hill. Henry Taylor was a highly respected colored man from Lebanon, Conn., who located on a farm on lot 18, on which he was succeeded by his son, Henry D. Taylor. He planted on that farm the first nursery in this section of country, and from it the stock was furnished for the old orchards in this and adjoining towns.

 

Curtis Hoppin, though less early, was a prominent settler. He was a native of Guilford, Conn., and came here in 1810 from Berkshire county, Mass. He came in the spring and on foot, and settled on lot 18, in the north-west part of the town, on the farm now owned by Lucius Hopkins, and occupied by Peter Nevin. Later in the season he brought in his family. About 1831 or '32 he bought out Joel Bradley, on lot 4, on the north line of the town, where John Bennett now lives, and died there Nov. 8, 1868, aged 83. With Bradley he became the proprietor of a saw-mill property, which was the first saw-mill built in the west part of the town. It was built about 1808, by (???) Hoyt, from Utica, and afterwards passed into the hands of Eason Northrop, from whom Bradley purchased it. There is no mill on the site now. He was also interested with Amos Pettis in a woolen-mill a little below Eaton village, which was burned in 1844.

 

 

TOWN OFFICERS

 

The first town meeting was held in the red school-house in this town, and the following named officers were elected: John W. Bulkley Supervisor; Silas Seymour, Clerk; Giles Collins Josiah Lasel and Jacob Kennedy, Assessors; Malatiah Hatch and Roderick Moore, Overseers of the Poor; Jacob Kennedy, Daniel Clark and Roderick Moore, Commissioners of Highways; David Hartshorn and Joseph Hitchcock, Constables; Joseph Hitchcock, Collector; George Morey, Walter Baker, Clark "Willcocks," Stephen James, Orsamus Gilbert, Samuel Lewis, Abraham Webster, Jacob Hartshorn, Justus B. Smith, Ezra Gates, John W. Bulkley, Elisha Wheeler, Darius Sperry, Sheldon Smith, Gardner Salsbury, Moses Pomeroy, William Taggart, James Dorrance, Roderick Moore, Archibald Campbell, David B. Hitchcock, Aaron Davies, Giles Collins and William Sloan, Overseers of Highways and Fence Viewers; Charles S. Campbell, Pound Keeper.

 

At a special town meeting held at the red school-house Nov. 23, 1807, it was "voted that we agree to be centered," and "that the center be as near the center of the town as the ground will admit." John W. Bulkley, Constant Merrick, Jacob Kennedy, Moses Wylie and Roderick Moore were appointed a committee to select the spot. Their action was ratified at a special meeting held at the house of Oliver Mead, Dec. 7, 1807, and Constant Merrick, John Niles, Malatiah Hatch, William Austin and Moses Wylie were appointed a committee to "draw up" subscriptions for the purpose of building a town house 40 by 50 feet, two stories, and to wait on Captain Aylmer Johnson to obtain the land. But for some reason the town house was not built, and the meetings were held, with but few exceptions, at the red school-house till 1820. From that time till 1834 they were held continuously at the Baptist meeting-house, "near Zor Benedict's."

 

March 1, 1808, a fine of twenty shillings was imposed on the occupants of farms for allowing Canada thistles to grow on the same or highway adjoining, after six days' notice, one-half to go to the informant and one-half to be applied to the destruction of those weeds. March 5, 1811, a bounty of $13 was voted for killing wolves.

 

The first Commissioners of Schools, elected at the annual meeting of March 2, 1813, were Constant Merrick, Amos Crocker, Moses Wylie; and School Inspectors, James Campbell, Curtis Hoppin and Francis Whitmore.

 

The following is a statement of the votes cast in Lebanon, April 30, 1807: 

 

For Morgan Lewis,

for Governor

158

For Daniel D. Tompkins,

for Governor

33

For Thomas Storm,

for Lieut. Governor

153

For John Broome,

for Lieut. Governor

33

For Caleb Hyde,

for Senator

155

For Moses Kent,

for Senator

155

For Alexander Rea,

for Senator

29

For William Floyd,

for Senator

29

For John W. Bulkley,

for Assembly

182

For John Lincklaen,

for Assembly

164

For Erastus Cleveland,

for Assembly

2

For Sylvanus Smalley,

for Assembly

15

 

 

 

The following list of the officers of the town of Lebanon for the year 1880-81 was kindly furnished us by Edward G. Gilbert: 

 

Supervisor    Sidney D. Smith.

 

Town Clerk    Edward G. Gilbert.

 

Justices    Henry Seymour, Amos F. Campbell, Ephraim Fisk.

 

Assessors    Truman Baker, Herman Snell, Henry Taylor.

 

Commissioner of Highways    Asa Hartshorn.

 

Overseers of the Poor    Sidney T. Campbell, Samuel Wood.

 

Constables    Isaiah S. Head, Burton Brown, C. Dewitt Rice, Clark D. Willcox.

 

Collector    Frank W. Armstrong.

 

Inspectors of Election    District No. 1    Edwin M. Lamb, Jarvis A. Head, Frank E. Wynn

                                    District No. 2    Morris N. Campbell, Sanford Baker, Francis C. Sherman.

 

Game Constable    Alburtus I. Guthrie.

 

Excise Commissioners    John Fisk, Jacob Bowen, R. Perlee Fisk.

 

The following have been the Supervisors and Clerks from the organization of the town to the present time: 

 

 

SUPERVISORS

CLERKS

1807-9.

John W. Bulkley.

Silas Seymour.

1810-11.

James Campbell.

do.

1812-14.

Francis Whitmore.

do.

1815-19.

Amos Crecker.

do.

1820-1.

Francis Whitmore.

do.

1822-4.

Daniel Clark.

Josiah Owen.

1825-8.

do.

Silas Seymour.

1829-30.

Josiah Lasell.

do.

1831-2.

Francis Whitmore.

do.

1833-4.

do.

Ezra Campbell.

1835.

Jacob Hartshorn.

do.

1836.

do.

William Robinson.

1837.

Erastus B. Burroughs.

do.

 

1838.

Curtis Hoppin.

William Robinson.

1839-40.

do.

Stephen S. Sabin.

1841-2.

Jeremiah Ballard.

do.

1843-4.

David Clark.

do.

1845-6.

Curtis Hoppin.

do.

1847.

Joseph A. Norton.

Jason Owen,

1848.

David Clark.

do.

1849.

do.

Edwin M. Lamb.

1850.

Joseph A. Norton.

do.

1851-2.

David Clark.

Alex. Y. Whitmore.

1853.

Jason Owen.

do.

1854-5.

do.

Oliver A. Benedict.

1856.

David Clark.

do.

1857-8.

do.

Edwin S. Benedict.

1859.

Aylmer Ballard.

do.

1860-1.

John C. Head.

do.

1862-5.

E. M. Lamb.

do.

1866-7.

Geo. W. Baker.

Chas. W. Brasse.

1868-9.

Henry Seymour.

do.

1870.

Albert O. Pierce.

Edwin L. Lewis.

1871.

Edwin M. Lamb.

John B. Gilbert.

1872-3

Ephraim. Fisk.

do.

1874.

do.

J. Mott Throop.

1875.

do.

Edward G. Gilbert.

1876-7.

Ladurna Ballard.

do.

1878.

John S. Ross.

George Holman.

1879.

Sidney D. Smith.

John B. Gilbert.



 


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