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

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


MADISON was formed from Hamilton, February 6, 1807, and named in honor of President Madison. It lies upon the east border of the county, south of the center, and is bounded on the north by Augusta and Stockbridge, on the south by Hamilton, on the east by Brookfield and Sangerfield, and on the west by Eaton. It corresponds with No. 3 of the Chenango Twenty Townships. Its surface is a rolling upland, abundantly watered, the principal streams being the headwaters of a branch of the Chenango flowing south, and the headwaters of a branch of Oriskany Creek flowing north. There are several ponds in the town, the principal of which is Madison Brook Reservoir in the south part, which covers an area of 235 acres, is 45 feet deep, and is connected with the Chenango Canal by a feeder two miles in length. The ponds in the north part are rapidly filling with deposits of marl.


The town is wholly underlaid by the rocks of the Hamilton group, but there is no stone of any consequence quarried within its borders. It is generally deeply covered with drift, and cobble-stone cellar walls and to a less extent cobble-stone houses and other buildings prevail throughout the town to a noticeable extent. The soil upon the hills is a clayey loam and in the valleys a gravelly loam, being well adapted to mixed farming. Hops form the great staple production of the town, though dairying is by no means an unimportant industry. The hop crop of Madison in 1875 was more than a fourth of the entire product of the county, and, with the exception of Stockbridge, nearly doubled that of any other town in the county.


The Utica, Clinton and Binghamton Railroad crosses the north-west part and south-west corner of the town, extending through the town in the same general direction as the Chenango Canal, to which it is contiguous in its whole extent. The summit level of the canal lies in this town and is almost confined to it. The town is bonded in the sum of $100,000 in aid of this railroad.


The population of the town in 1875 was 2,434; of whom 2,092 were natives, 342 foreign, 2,427 white, 7 colored, 1,222 males, and 1,212 females. Its area was 22,910 acres; of which 18,662 acres were improved, 3,042 woodland and 1,206, otherwise unimproved. The cash value of farms was $1,961,950; of farm buildings other than dwellings, $245,735; of stock, $228,463; of tools and implements, $48,373. The value of the fertilizers used in the town in 1874, amounting to $1,583, exceeded that of any other town in the county; so likewise did that of its farm products the same year, amounting to $414,997, exceeding by more than $100,000 that of any other town in the county.


There are twelve common and one union school districts in the town. During the year ending Sept. 30, 1879, there were fifteen 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 647. During that year there were four male and twenty-two female teachers employed; the number of children residing in the districts who attended school was 488, not residing in the districts 13, of whom only 3 were under five or over twenty-one years of age; the average daily attendance during the year was 311 and 205; the number of volumes in district libraries was 363, the value of which was $113; the number of school-houses was thirteen, twelve frame and one stone which, with their sites, embracing two acres and seventy-six rods, valued at $1,970, were valued at $9,945; the assessed value of taxable property in the districts was $1,328,899. The number of children between eight and fourteen years of age residing in the districts at that date was 197, of whom 162 attended district school fourteen weeks of that year, and one attended private school or was instructed at home during a like period.


Receipts and disbursements for school purposes:


Amount on hand Oct. 1, 1878 $ 24.66

" apportioned to districts 1,750.25

Raised by tax 1,691.95

From teachers' board 118.00

" other sources 107.64


Total receipts $3,692.50

Paid for teachers' wages $3,146.00

" libraries 4.26

" school apparatus 12.65

" " houses, sites, outhouses, repairs, furniture, fences, &c 129.82

" incidental expenses 331.05

Amount remaining on hand Sept. 30, 1879. 68.72


Total disbursements $3,692.50






The settlements of this town, like the rest of the Chenango Twenty Townships in which Sir William Pultney was interested, was both early and rapid, a fact which is to be ascribed not so much perhaps to the natural advantages of the location, though these were important, as to the uniformly humane, even generous, treatment which the early settlers received at the hands of Mr. Pultney's agent, Robert Troup, through whom the early settlements were made, though Benjamin Walker, as agent for Mr. Troup, was most immediately connected with those in this town.


As early as 1791 the town was visited by prospecting parties, and in 1792 the first permanent settlement was made by Daniel Perkins, who came from Kennebec Co., Me., and took up two lots lying south of the pond near Madison village, portions of which he afterwards sold to other settlers. He located a mile east of Bouckville, where Theodore Spencer now lives, and having built a house he returned to Maine for his family, which he brought in early the next year. He soon after transferred the homestead farm to his son-in-law, Theodore St. Clair, with whom he contracted for his future support. He spent his latter days with his son, Solomon, who settled in the Black River country. He had left the town previous to 1806. St. Clair built in 1807 the hotel in Madison village, which took his name and was kept by him a short time.


This same year Jesse Maynard came in from the east and took up a farm on lot 45, about a mile south of Madison village, on lands now owned by Lewis W. Curtis. He did not remain long in the town, however. His brothers, Amos and Moses, came in somewhat later, Amos as early as 1798 and Moses as early as 1801. Amos was a young, single man, and married and settled on the same lot as Jesse, on lands now owned by Mr. Austin and Lewis W. Curtis, at the Center. He and his first wife died on that farm. Amos was the first military captain in the town. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and rose to the rank of Colonel. Moses came with his family, which was large, and located at Madison village, where he kept tavern for many years. He afterwards built the hotel at Bouckville and died there May 27, 1853, aged 77.


About this time also, John Berry, the founder of Madison village, came from New England and took up lot 36, on which the village of Madison is located. He settled a quarter of a mile south of the village, on the road leading to Hamilton, where Samuel G. Cleveland now lives. At an early day he sold the farm to his son, Samuel, who some years later sold it to Gen. Erastus Cleveland, who married a daughter of the elder Berry's, bargaining with Cleveland to care for his father and mother, the former of whom became blind, so as to leave him free to go West, which he did. Berry and his wife, Lucy, spent the rest of their days with their son-in-law, Gen. Cleveland, and both died in 1821, at the age of eighty years.


Erastus Cleveland, originally from Norwich, Conn., but immediately from Whitestown, visited this town on a prospecting tour in the summer of 1792, and the following spring took up his abode here. He located on Oriskany creek, in the north part of the town, at what is known as Tyler's Mills, a mile below Solsville. He purchased all the mill sites on that stream and built thereon, at different times some half dozen gristmills, as many saw-mills, and a woolen factory, the latter at Solsville, but it has been gone some fifty years. He was engaged among his first business operations in Madison in buying ashes and making black salts, on a part of the old John Niles farm on the hill. While thus engaged he kept a few coarse woolen goods which he exchanged for ashes among the early settlers. He did not keep a regular store at that time, though he had been accounted the first merchant in the town.*


The spot selected by Cleveland for his future abode is remembered by the few remaining early settlers as an exceedingly rugged and uninviting one when he commenced to fell the giant forest trees. But it possessed elements which the genius and energy of Cleveland made a source of wealth. He was a carpenter by trade and built there in 1794 a saw-mill, which he supplemented the following year by a grist-mill, the latter of which was the first of its kind in the town. It occupied the site of the mill now owned by Lyman Tyler. He continued his interest in the milling business till his death, which occurred on the old Berry farm, which is now occupied by his son Samuel G., Jan. 23, 1858, aged 86. The house in which he died was built before 1800, and is said to have been the first frame house built in the town. Jonathan Pratt built a frame house the same year opposite to it. Cleveland built on the Berry farm the first brick house of any consequence in the town. It was in its day a splendid establishment, equal to any in the county. He was also an early and prominent cattle drover, and was extensively engaged in brewing and distilling. About sixty years ago he built the brick store in Madison village and carried on mercantile business in it a year or two, surrendering it to his son and others of his family. He was one of the constructors as well as a large shareholder and one of the directors during the greater part of his life of the Cherry Valley turnpike. He amassed by his varied business enterprises a large fortune for those days.


Erastus Cleveland was a man of distinguished ability, and in his day was one of the most prominent and influential men in Madison county. He was one of the first, if not the first, Members of Assembly from this town. He was a member of the Legislature when the law authorizing the construction of the Chenango canal was enacted and was largely instrumental in securing its passage. Being an advocate of that canal he was elected to the Assembly on that issue. He was the projector of the movement which led to the establishment of the Madison county poor house, the towns independently having previously cared for their own poor. He was for many years a County Judge. During the war of 1812 he had the command of a regiment at Sacket's Harbor. Upwards of forty years ago he was appointed to the command of a militia brigade and was afterwards familiarly known as General Cleveland. He possessed many noble qualities, not the least conspicuous of which was his uniform kindness towards the poor.


Numerous settlements were made in 1793. Prominent among those who came that year were Colonel Samuel Clemens, Thomas McMullen, (now spelled Millen,) Stephen F. Blackstone, Russel Barker, Warham Williams, William and David Blair, James Collister, Henry W. and Israel Bond, Elijah Blodgett, Joel Crawford, John Niles, Francis Clemens and Seth Snow.


Col. Clemens was from Massachusetts. He settled on the Cherry Valley turnpike about a mile east of Madison village, on the farm now occupied by Algenas Lovejoy, where he kept a place of entertainment for new comers. He purchased a large tract of land in the north-east quarter. He removed from the town at an early day. Thomas McMullen was from Pelham, Mass., and settled a mile north-east of the center, on the farm till recently owned by D. Z. Brockett, of Madison village, and there he and his wife died.


Stephen F. Blackstone and Russell Barker came in company from Brantford, Conn., where they married sisters. Blackstone located in the south-east corner of lot 47, where Henry Fredericks now lives, and Barker on lot 48 on the farm now occupied by Thomas D. Bishop, where he died at the age of 57. Blackstone was a Member of Assembly and a County Judge for some years. His son Stephen, who was born here in 1794, was one of the first children born in the town.


The Blairs were brothers. William settled at Madison Center, on land now owned by John Coe and his sister, where he lived and raised his family. In advanced life he went to live with his son-in-law, Brownell Tompkins, father of Sidney Tompkins, and there he and his wife died. David settled a mile south-east of the center, where his son David now lives, and died there, he and his wife. James Collister came from Massachusetts, and settled at the center where his grandson, Deloss Collister, now lives. He and his wife both died there. Among their children was Marcena, the first male child born in the town, who succeeded to and died on the homestead farm. The Bonds were brothers and Revolutionary soldiers, and settled in the north part of the town, Israel on the farm still occupied by his son William, on which he and his wife died. Henry Bond did not remain long in the town. He built in 1793 the first saw-mill in the town. It was located on the Oriskany at Solsville, and that, or one on its site, was in operation till about the time the canal was built. He and Elijah Blodgett, who settled on the flats at the forks of the road near the saw-mill at Bouckville, and kept tavern there, were jointly interested in land in the north-west quarter of the town. Blodgett was the first surveyor in the town. He was a man of good abilities, and was, for some years, justice of the peace. He left the town for the west previous to 1807.


Joel Crawford settled about two miles east of Madison Center, on the farm now occupied by Timothy Jones. He removed with his family many years ago to Michigan. Francis Clemens settled a little east of Madison village, at the foot of the hill which skirted the old Cherry Valley turnpike, on a part of the Samuel White farm. The line of the turnpike has been altered in that vicinity by straightening it. He removed from the town at an early day. Seth Snow settled on the Cherry Valley turnpike, on lands now owned by Samuel Putnam. The family removed from the town at an early day. He planted the first apple tree in the town, having obtained it from the Indian orchard in Stockbridge; he also built the first brick house in the town.


Joseph Niles came from Chesterfield, Mass., by way of the Mohawk, and stopped one summer in Clinton, and in the winter came down the valley and cleared an acre of land on lot 43, a half mile east of Bouckville, near the spring on the farm still known as the Niles farm. In the spring he returned to Clinton, and brought in upon his back, corn, beans and potatoes, which he planted on the land he had cleared. He also brought in his wife, whom he had then recently married in Clinton. The following year he was joined in the settlement by a number of his relatives, among them his brothers Ephraim, Isaac, Calvin, Nathan and Samuel, and father, Nahum, all of whom, except Calvin, had families. Ephraim never took up land here. Isaac settled on the Solomon Root farm, which he sold to Root; Nathan, on a farm adjoining John's; and Nahum, who was then advanced in years, between John and Isaac. Ephraim Partridge and Waldo Littlefield, who married sisters of John Niles, also came in. Partridge settled a half mile east of Bouckville, on a part of the Brockett farm and the Babcock farm, which are now separated by the Cherry Valley turnpike. Littlefield lived in a log house near the others, but did not take up land. In 1808 John Niles sold his farm to James D. Coolidg, and removed to Lebanon, where the others soon after joined him. They located in that part of Lebanon known as the Niles settlement, where they became a numerous and highly respectable family.


In 1794 settlements were commenced by a colony from Rhode Island in the south-west quarter of the town, which had been previously purchased in their interest by their agents* who visited the locality in 1792, and which was thereafter and is still known as the Rhode Island quarter.** Among these colonists were the Simmonses, two or three Peckham families, numerous of whose descendants are still living in the town, Samuel Brownell, Joseph Manchester and Samuel Coe, who came from Little Compton, R. I., and an adjoining town, though all did not settle here this year. The Peckhams, Charles and George, (?) Brownell and Coe, and possibly others, came in 1794, by the Mohawk, and stopped awhile at Paris Hill, where relatives had previously settled. After leaving the Mohawk the rest of the journey was made with ox teams. They came with their families, household goods and provisions, a numerous company of them, through the woods, much of the way by marked trees. The others mostly came in within a few years. Brownell settled east of the reservoir, on the farm till recently occupied by L. B. Putnam, his son-in-law, to whom he transferred it. He died in Madison village. Samuel Coe settled on the farm now owned and occupied by Marion F. Risley. His daughter Nancy, who was then three years old, is still living on that farm. She was 89 years old in September, 1879. She is somewhat lame from paralysis, but her general health is good. She retains her faculties remarkably.


Nicanor Brown also settled in the town this year (1794) and Samuel Rowe about this year, the latter, who was from Farmington, Conn., on lot 13, on the farm now occupied by Deacon Matthew R. Burnham. Brown was from Massachusetts and settled a mile west of Solsville, on the Markham farm. He afterwards located a little south-east of the center, near Seth Blair's, afterwards known as the Collins place, where he died.


Settlements were made in 1795, by Abial Hatch, Elijah Thompson, Israel Rice, James and Alexander White, Abizar and David Richmond and by William McClenathan as early as that year. Abial Hatch located about a mile east of the center on the farm now owned and occupied by his grandson, Erastus T. Hatch, where he and his wife died. Capt. Zenas Hatch, his only child, married a daughter of Deacon Taylor, an Englishman, and an early settler on Water street, in the north part of the town, on the farm now occupied by Josiah Root, where he died at an early day. Zenas succeeded his father on the homestead and afterwards removed to Madison village, where he and his wife died. Elijah Thompson was a Revolutionary soldier and served six years in the artillery. He came from Charlestown, Mass., and settled on land purchased of William Blair. Israel Rice was from Worcester, Mass. He settled on lot 32, in the east part of the town, on the farm now occupied by his son Francis. James and Alexander White, brothers, came from Northampton, Mass., and settled on a farm adjoining Rice's. They were joined the following year by their brother John, who purchased 100 acres of Samuel Clemens. In the winter of 1797, the latter, in company with his brothers Samuel and Thomas, brought in their families with sleds, woodshod, drawn by oxen. The ground was so bare much of the way that they were obliged to stop and replenish their sleigh-shoes from the friendly forest trees. Abizar and David Richmond, brothers, were originally from Massachusetts, but came immediately from Fairfield, Herkimer county. Abizar settled in the south-east part of the town, where his son Merrick now lives; and David, in the south-west part, where he died Dec. 23, 1869, aged 89, and his wife, Mary Simmons, Aug. 12, 1872, aged 87. William McClenathan, also his brother James, settled in the north-east part, on what is known as McClenathan Hill.


Dr. Jonathan Pratt and his brothers James and Daniel came from Belchertown, Mass., as early as 1796, and located at the center. Dr. Pratt was the first physician in the town and practiced his profession till his death in 1839. He was a prominent and influential member of the First Congregational church, of Madison. He acquired a very respectable property, the whole of which has been squandered in litigation over his will. At an early day it was customary in the churches to sit during singing and stand during prayer. About forty years ago the evangelist Finney, for some years President of Oberlin College, Ohio, and the author of protracted meetings, established the reverse of this practice, an innovation which Mr. Pratt opposed during his life. His will bequeathed a very considerable amount (30 per cent. of certain parts of his property,) to the church of which he was a member, provided it would establish itself on "gospel grounds" by conforming to the old practice. The church has steadily conformed to the change introduced by Finney; notwithstanding, after Pratt's death it sued the estate in the Chancery court to recover under the will. The case has since been in litigation. The court decided some twenty years ago that the church is not on gospel grounds according to Mr. Pratt's interpretation and the intent of his will. The whole estate was swamped in defending the will, and the church impoverished in trying to break it. The case is likely soon to be reopened by the church.


Dr. Pratt's brothers were young, single men and studied medicine with him. James married Eunice, daughter of Joseph Morse, the pioneer settler of Eaton village, and sister of the late Ellis Morse of that village. He settled in that village, where he taught the first school in the town of Eaton, in which also he was the first physician. He practiced there from the time of his marriage, about 1797, till his death. Daniel married and settled in Fenner, where he was an early physician and where further mention will be made of him.


David Pratt, father of these Pratt brothers, served several years during the Revolutionary war. He was the father of twenty children, sixteen of whom he lived to see grow to maturity. All except the oldest three, whom we have named, settled in the New England States.


Nathaniel Johnson, from Worcester, Mass., joined the settlements in 1796, and Gideon Lowell, from Maine, about this time. Johnson died Feb. 10, 1822, aged 69, and Sarah, his wife, Sept. 23, 1827, aged 72.


Numerous additions were made to the settlements in 1795 to 1797. Among those who settled in this period were the Simmonses, William Sanford, Judson W. Lewis, Nehemiah Thompson, Peter Tyler, and Thomas Dick, who came in 1797.


Zerah Simmons and his sons George and Thomas, Benjamin Simmons and his sons Benjamin and Cornelius, and Gideon Simmons, cousin of Benjamin, who was a connection of Zerah Simmons, members of the Rhode Island Colony, came in from Newport, R. I., and located in the Rhode Island quarter,


William Sanford, Judson W. Lewis and Nehemiah Thompson came from Stratford, Conn. Sanford settled in the south-west part of the town; Lewis on lot 19, and Thompson on lot 17. Peter Tyler also settled on lot 17, where Hon. J. W. Lippett now resides.  He died Sept. 15, 1831, aged 59, and Polly, his wife, May 3, 1866, aged 93. Thomas Dick was from Pelham, Mass. He located a mile east of the center. He had prospected the town with a view to settlement in 1791.


Captain Seth Blair, Joseph Head, Samuel Collister and Joseph Curtis settled in the town in 1798, and Deacon Prince Spooner, as early as that year.


Joseph Head, a native of Rhode Island, and a Quaker, was a member of the Rhode Island colony, and settled a half mile south-west of the center, where Mr. Kimberly now lives, and died there in December, 1837, aged 77. Joseph Head, though a Quaker, was a Revolutionary soldier, but refused to receive a proffered pension therefore.


Joseph Curtis came from Stratford, Conn., and settled on the north line of the town, on lot 4, and died July 15, 1840, aged 66, and Naomi, his wife, Oct. 9, 1846, aged 70. Robert, Samuel and Timothy Curtis came from the same place about the same time. Robert settled on land purchased of Nehemiah Thompson, on lot 17; and Samuel and Timothy, on Stratford street. Samuel died April 28, 1853, aged 85, and Lucinda, his wife, Aug. 30, 1855, aged 81.


Settlements were made in 1799 by Gilbert Stebbins, Reuben Brigham and Agur Gilbert, and as early as that year by Joseph and Job Manchester. Stebbins was from Wilbraham, Mass., and settled in the south-east part. He died Dec. 9, 1845, aged 76, and Betsey, his wife, March 20, 1859, aged 87. Brigham was a native of Sudbury, Mass., and located in the north part, on the road from Solsville to Augusta Center, on a slightly improved farm purchased of Abner Bellows. It is now occupied by his grandson, Daniel Richards, son of his youngest daughter, Mrs. Aaron Richards, who succeeded to the homestead. Agur Gilbert was from Stratford, Conn. He settled at Solsville and died there in 1840. His son Deacon John Gilbert, succeeded to the farm, on which he also died, July 1, 1870, aged 72. The latter, it is said, never saw a railroad train nor rode in a stage coach, and was never twenty miles from home, except on one occasion, when a young man, he went to Utica, a distance of twenty-two miles. Joseph Manchester was from Tiverton, R. I., and settled in the south-west quarter, on the line of Hamilton. Job Manchester was also a member of the Rhode Island colony, and settled in the Rhode Island quarter, on lot 57, where he lived and died. He was succeeded on the same farm by his son William, who also died there April 7, 1857, aged 78, and his grandson, L. B. Manchester, son of the latter.


Abijah Parker, Paul Hazzard, Jared and Samuel Wickwire, Nehemiah Fairchild and Paul Greenwood settled in the town about 1800. Parker located about a mile west of Bouckville. His son Zadock was the first physician in the west part of the town. Paul Hazzard was born in South Kingston, R. I., Nov. 8, 1775, and removed to Westport, Mass., thence to Albany, from there a few years later to Paris, from which town he removed to Madison. He settled at the Center. He was a carpenter by trade, and found remunerative employment at his trade on his arrival. In 1801 he built the Baptist church at the "opening," and in 1802 the Congregational church. He died March 22, 1852.


Jared and Samuel Wickwire, natives of Cornwall, Conn., removed thence and took up some 500 acres in the south part of the town. Jared then worked some two years by the month for Elisha Payne, of Hamilton, to get money to pay for his land. A few years later he returned to Connecticut and married Molly Hopkins, with whom, and his brothers Samuel, (who also returned to Connecticut and married,) Nathan and Hiram, he came in with an ox team and settled on the land previously taken up. Jared located on the farm, a part of which is now owned by Truman Chase, and Samuel, on the farm now owned by Mr. Truesdell, of Hamilton, and occupied by the latter's son. Hiram settled in Georgetown, and Nathan about a quarter of a mile south of Log City, (Eaton,) on what is now the poor house farm, which he sold to the county, and removed to the west part of the State. Jared and his wife continued to reside where they had settled till their death.


Nehemiah Fairchild was from Stratford, Conn., and settled on five acres at the Center. He was a tailor by trade, and followed that vocation there till his death about 1812.


Paul Greenwood was born in Massachusetts, Oct. 5, 1767, and married there Betsey Brigham, who was born in the same State, Aug. 26, 1777. On removing to Madison, about 1800, they settled at the Indian opening, on the pond just north-west of Madison village. Some twelve years later they removed to Lebanon, locating about two miles north of Lebanon village. They afterwards located at Smith's Valley, where they both died, he Nov. 17, 1841, and his wife, Feb. 9, 1839. They had ten children, only one of whom is living in the county, Dr. Levi P. Greenwood, a practicing physician in Erieville.


Jonas Banton came from Wilbraham, Mass., in 1801. He was a man of great physical strength and powers of endurance, and a highly respected and industrious citizen. He died Sept. 8, 1871, at the ripe age of 90. Anna, his wife, died Sept. 24, 1849, aged 61. Moses Phelps came from Charlton, Saratoga county, in 1801 or '02 and settled at Solsville, where his grandson, Benjamin Phelps, now lives, where he and his wife died. John Edgarton came from Shirley, Mass., soon after 1800, and was the first to locate on lot 39, on which the village of Bouckville is situated. He had previously lived a few years about a mile north, and made brick on the old Abijah Parker farm. He married Mercy, daughter of Samuel Lewis, who lived about a mile south-west of Bouckville, on lot 41. Edgarton died at Bouckville, April 8, 1844, aged 69.


Eli Bancroft and Abner Burnham came from Hartford, Conn., in the spring of 1804, and purchased land of Jeremiah Mack on Water street, and in the fall brought in their families. They occupied that winter one part of a double log-house previously erected by Mack, whose family occupied the other portion.


Luther Rice came from Worthington, Mass., his native place, a young, single man, about 1804 or '05, and learned the trade of a blacksmith with his brother Joseph, who came in from the same place some years previously, and was the pioneer blacksmith in the town of Madison. Joseph located at the Center, where Thomas Davis now lives. He married in Massachusetts, Mary Burnell, of Worthington, and continued to carry on the blacksmith business here till within twenty-five years.


Dr. Samuel McClure located at Bouckville in 1805, and opened a tavern there. David Peebles, from Pelham, Mass., located in the north-east quarter as early as this year.


James D. Coolidg came from Stowe, Mass., in 1806, and in 1808, purchased of John Niles an improved farm of some 180 acres, situated on lot 43, a half mile east of Bouckville, which is now occupied by Charles Z. Brockett, where he resided till his death, April 11, 1844, having increased his farm to about 500 acres. To the enlightened exertions of Mr. Coolidg is due the vast enterprises which the hop business has developed in this section of country. He had the first hop field in this part of the State. Solomon Root, who came in from Chesterfield, Mass., the same year, and settled on a farm adjoining Coolidg's on the south, soon after engaged in the business, and they two took the lead in the culture of hops, which gradually extended over the county. Mr. Coolidg's wife died in 1814. He married for his second wife, Martha Taylor, of Stowe, Mass., who also died on the old farm. He had two children by his first wife and three by the second. Only two are living, James, the eldest child, who was 94 years old July 23, 1880, near the homestead in Bouckville. James was an early and expert surveyor, and followed that vocation some thirty years. He was also a justice some twenty-four years.


Solomon Root, before referred to, settled on the farm now owned by his son-in-law, Henry Lewis, and rented to tenants. He was a native of Connecticut. He died in the town Jan. 5, 1859, aged 86.


Captain Gilbert Tompkins, a native of Rhode Island, was one of the agents, who, in 1792, visited and purchased in the interest of the Rhode Island colony the south-west quarter of this town. At that time he selected lot 84, in the south part of the town, east of Madison Reservoir, expecting to remove his family here the following season. But, owning a vessel, on his return he was constrained from pecuniary considerations to resume the coast trade, in which he had formerly been engaged. In 1808, he came in from Westport, Mass., to which town he had removed from the adjoining town of Little Compton, R. I., and settled on the land previously selected. He built the house now occupied by his son, Dea. Philip Tompkins, and resided there till his death, at the age of 82. He married Mary Brownell, of Little Compton, R. I., whose parents joined the colony, and had eleven children, ten of whom lived to maturity.


Other early settlers were Ralph Tanner, Samuel Goodwin, Solomon Alcott, and Daniel Holbrook. Tanner was an early tavern keeper and postmaster at Madison village. The tavern was built about 1800 by Major St. Clair, who kept it several years. It was the first one in the village. The next one of any importance was built about 1812 or '15, and kept by Samuel Goodwin, father of Daniel B. Goodwin, the first President of the Waterville Bank. The building is now occupied by George Root as a dwelling. The Tanner tavern is the one now kept by George L. Foot. Goodwin was the most enterprising man in Madison county during his entire day. He originated and was the proprietor of the first line of stages that ran through the place, carrying passengers and mail. He ran the stages for many years between Utica and Albany, in connection with T. L. Faxton and Jason Parker, the old pioneer mail contractor, both of Utica. Goodwin acquired a competency, sold his stage property to Colonel Thomas C. Nye, of De Ruyter, and retired to Waterville, where he and his wife died. Thomas C. Nye ran the stages for a long series of years, residing during the time in Madison. He enlarged the business very much, and it was said that Madison was one of the most central points for staging, outside of the cities, in the State, stage lines converging from every direction. His drivers boasted that he had 300 horses on the road and in his employ. He ran stages as long as staging was profitable, and finally abandoned most of his routes, as they brought him in competition with railroads and other improved methods of conveyance. He afterwards kept for a while the Park House in Hamilton.


Solomon Alcott, a social, clever fellow, settled prior to 1800, at Solsville, which derives its name from him. The old house in which he lived stands near the depot. At that day, all there was of Solsville was a small tavern, kept by William Lewis, and a saw-mill, built and managed by Daniel Rymple. The saw-mill was destroyed by the Chenango canal. Alcott raised his family and in advanced life went to live with his son, Giles, in Oxford. His family have been gone many years. Daniel Holbrook was an early tavern keeper a mile west of Solsville, and is said to have been the first in the town.




The first annual town meeting was held March 3, 1807, and the following officers were elected: Erastus Cleveland, Supervisor; Samuel Berry, Clerk; Seth Blair, Stephen F. Blackstone and Levi Morton, Assessors; Elijah Thompson and Jonathan Pratt, Overseers of the Poor; John White, Israel Rice and Ephraim Blodgett, Commissioners of Highways; Silas Patrick, Constable and Collector; Jonathan Pratt, William Blair, William Manchester, Moses Phelps, Calvin Whitcomb, Giles Peckham, Abial Hatch, Samuel Jones, Stephen Thompson, Robert McCune, Elijah Herrick, William Dix, John Camp, Joseph Manchester, Abial Perry, Abijah Markham, John Clough, John Pattison, John Swain, David Blair, Samuel Lewis, Erastus Edgarton, Solomon Root, William Brown and Ezra Pierce, Pathmasters; Joseph Curtis, Pound Keeper.


At the annual town meeting in 1808, Levi Dick and Edward B. Colton were appointed grave diggers, and Isaac Coe to clean the meeting-house,* each to be paid in the same manner as other town officers. It was also voted "that widows be exempt from paying highway taxes."


Nov. 1, 1813, Madison was divided into fourteen school districts. John White, Levi Norton and William Manchester were the School Commissioners.


The following list of the officers of the town of Madison for the year 1880-'81, was kindly furnished by Frank H. Benjamin:--


Supervisor   David G. Brockett.

Town Clerk   Frank H. Benjamin.

Justices   Allen Curtis, Lester J. Martin, Festus H. Manchester, Riley A. Goodrich.

Assessors   Solomon Henderson, Alberto O. Lovejoy, Leroy Curtis.

Commissioners of Highways   Austin G. Lewis, Oliver H. Rice, Samuel R. Mott.

Overseer of the Poor   Erastus T. Hatch.

Constables   Frank C. Curtis, Henry Bacon, John Kelly, Giles E. Newcomb.

Collector   Frank C. Curtis.


* Up to and including 1827, except in 1824, when they were held at the village meeting-house, the town meetings were held at the center meeting-house, and annual appointments were made for its cleaning. From 1827 to 1839 they were held at the house of Ralph Tanner; at the house of Isaac Curtis, 2d, from 1840 to 1861; and since 1861 at Military Hall, now the

Union Free School.


Inspectors of Election   Warren H. Benjamin, George W. Baker, John B. Coe.

Sealer of Weights and Measures   Warren H. Benjamin.

Game Constable   John E. Henderson.

Excise Commissioner   Edward Baylis.


The following have been the Supervisors and Clerks since the organization of the town



                   SUPERVISORS                 CLERKS

  1807         Erastus Cleveland               Samuel Berry

  1808                    -do-                         Jonathan Pratt

  1809         Seth Blair                                     -do-

  1810                    -do-                         John Lucas

  1811                    -do-                        William Manchester 

  1812-18    Levi Morton                                -do-

  1819         Wm. Manchester                Truman Stafford

  1820-1      Edward Rogers                            -do-

  1822-4      Rutherford Barker                       -do- 

  1825-7      Samuel Goodwin                John Lucas

  1828         Levi Morton                                 -do-

  1829-32   Wm. Manchester                          -do-

  1833-6               -do-                           Edward Rogers

  1837                  -do-                           Daniel Barker

  1838                  -do-                           Thomas C. Nye

  1839-40             -do-                           Thomas Miller

  1841         Samuel White                              -do-

  1842         Samuel White 2d                         -do-

  1843                  -do-                           John Putnam

  1844         Samuel White                               -do-

  1845-6     Samuel White 2d                           -do- 

  1847         Hiram L. Root                    Adin Howard

  1848         Samuel White 2d                Lyman N. Root

  1849         Wm. Manchester                John Putnam

  1850         Samuel White, 2d               Charles A. Coffin* 

  1851                  -do-                          Yale Leland

  1852                  -do-                           Henry L. Putnam

  1853                  -do-                           Henry B. Mowrey

  1854-5               -do-                           John Putnam

  1856         Gilbert Tompkins                 James House

  1857-8              -do-                            James D. Lane

  1859-60   Allen Curtis                                    -do-

  1861                  -do-                            Lewis W. Coe** 

  1862         John W. Lippett                  Erastus D. Hatch

  1863                  -do-                            James Brown

  1864                  -do-                           A. Eugene Peck

  1865-71             -do-                           Rufus J. Burton

  1872                  -do-                           Addison J. Cushman

  1873-7               -do-                           Frank H. Benjamin

  1878-9     David Z. Brockett                           -do-


* April 6, 1850, Allen Curtis was appointed Clerk in place of Coffin, removed from the town.

** Nov. 19, 1861, James Brown was appointed Clerk in place of Coe, removed from the town.


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