By Holice and Debbie
Butternuts Firsts, Part II
Mr. Thorp, father of Edward, John, and Charles, was a pioneer, north of the village. Edward died on the homestead, aged ninety. The same premises are now occupied by Hon, Henry Thorp, a prominent citizen, who was a member of assembly in 1873. Charles Thorp was town clerk in 1806-08, and subsequently became a Presbyterian minister.
The father of Charles Root was an early settler in the east part of his town, and the old homestead is now occupied by a son of Charles,--Major Charles P. Root.
James Myrick was also a pioneer in the locality, and many of his descendents reside in the town. A. M Beardsley and a son, Daniel, early located in this vicinity. The latte died at the age of about ninety years, and the old homestead is now occupied by descendents.
Daniel Adcock, a brother-in-law of Richard Musson, settled in about 1790 on East Hill, and lived and died there. Nathaniel Healoys, also a native of England, located in about 1790 on the farm now occupied by a nephew, John Healoys. He married a sister of Richard and William Musson, who was a prominent woman in the Presbyterian church.
Still another native of "old Albion' was Thos. Strongithams, who with his wife located in an early day on a farm south of the old village plat, which has since been divided and added to the village.
A prominent pioneer was Deacon Samuel Shaw, who moved with his wife and family from Massachusetts in about 1796, and settled about two miles east of the present village. He died in 1799, this being the first death in town. William and Colonel David Shaw, brothers of Samuel, came into town at the same time. The former, settled about one mile from the village, and was accidentally killed while logging. The latter settled about three miles east of the village, and was a farmer. He died here in 1837, aged eighty-seven. He served with distinguished ability in the war of the Revolution, and refused to receive a pension, saying that he entered the service through the promptings of patriotism alone. He was one of the first to espouse the colonial cause, and served through the entire eight years of that unequal contest. He was supervisor of the town in 1810 and 1811. His family consisted of three sons and three daughters. Colonel David, Jr., married Miss Chapin, of Winfield. He was active in the affairs of the town, and was supervisor in 1826-7-8-39. He was also prominent in the military, and for several years was colonel in the militia. Colonel David, Jr., and his wife both died within a week of each other, in the year 1843.
John Shaw moved to Iowa, where he died, and Clark lived and died on the farm; Elizabeth married A. S. Rockwell, and of their family of eight children, only three survive. Catherine married A. R. Rockwell, and a son, Dr. George A. Rockwell, is a dentist in the village of Gilbertsville, Mrs. Stebbins lives in Norwich, and Mrs. Dr. A. L. Comstock near New York. Sarah married Jared Comstock, and died in 1864, at the age of sixty-eight years. Mr. Comstock resides on a farm near the village, which he has occupied since 1828. He conducted the woolen manufacturing business for twenty-seven years, in the factory that was erected by Nathaniel B. Bennett in 1808, which was the first in the town. Ferdinand Shaw, a son of Colonel David, Jr., is a merchant in the village of Gilbertsville, of the firm of Hurd & Shaw.
William Shaw, a cousin of Colonel David and Deacon Samuel, came from the same town in Massachusetts, and early located in the vicinity. He was celebrated as a wolf-hunter, catching them in traps. It was not an uncommon occurrence for him upon finding a wolf in the traps to tie its nose to a piece of bark to prevent biting, and, placing it on the horse with him, jog along to the house with it alive. Two daughters of Mr. Shaw are residents of the town.--Mrs. Sally Gamble and Mrs. Phebe Shaw.
Joseph Chapin came from Massachusetts in about the year 1796, and settled across the creek on the premises now owned by Thomas G. Hukes. A grandson, Luke, lives in the south part of the town.
In the locality known as "Gregory Hill," Noah Gregory and Nathaniel Huntington were pioneers.
Abner Ford was a pioneer from Greene county. His sons were Valorous, John, Corydon L and Hiram.
A prominent pioneer is that locality now known as "Dimock Hollow," in the present town of Morris, was James Blackman. James, Jr., a son, lived there many years, on the old homestead, which originally embraced 600 acres, a portion of which is now owned by A. T. Blackman. J. Russell Blackman now owns the farm lying above the grist-mill, where his father lived and died, and on this farm was erected the first Presbyterian meeting-house. A. J. and J. Russell Blackman reside in the village, and the latter has held the office of supervisor six terms. A daughter of James Blackman, Jr., is the wife of Dr. H. H. Wickes, and they reside on a large farm in Maple Grove, in Morris.
A pioneer tavern-keeper was John Marsh, who emigrated from Hartwick, Mass., in about 1790, and located above the village, where he opened a public-house, which was for many years the leading tavern in this section. Here the town-meetings were held, and it was also the headquarters for the "general trainings." A son and son's widow reside near the village.
An active pioneer was Captain John Bryant, a son-in-law of Abijah Gilbert. He was the proprietor of a tannery, and was also postmaster many years, and at various times officiated as supervisor and town clerk. A son, Henry C., lives in the village.
Benjamin and Eli Rockwell and other brothers were pioneers, and many of their descendents reside in the east part of town. James M. occupies the old homestead, and Selah and Dr. Geo. A. Rockwell are residents of the village.
Other early settlers were Ezra Calkins, Elisha Burgess, Charles, Joseph, and Elisha Smith, Edmund Pettingill, Jason lee, Samuel Comstock, Reuben Barber, and on martin, major Alexander Bryant, a Revolutionary pensioner, Jared Lillie, Russell Millard, Ezra Calkins and Edward Davis. The widow of the latter resides on the old homestead, at the advanced ag of nearly one hundred years.
The village of Gilbertsville is pleasantly located on the west side of the Butternut creek, and contains many costly and attractive residences. It has suffered severely from the effects of fire, the first of any importance occurring in 1866, when a portion of the business part was destroyed. It was rebuilt, and began to resume its former prosperity when, in 1874, was again visited by a disastrous conflagration, which swept away more than thirty buildings.
The present business interests are as follows, viz., general stores, J. K. Brewer, Hurd & Shaw, William Oliver (estate), G. Sturdevant; drugs and groceries, G. O. Whitcomb, W. W. Stockwell; hardware, Bedient & Freeman; furniture, F. Blackman; jeweler, C. V. Daniels; Otsego Journal, William Dietz, proprietor; marble works, Park & Ward; planing-mill, etc., H. C. Bushnell, H. R. Shade; foundry, etc., J. Mayne; boots and shoes, S. B. Cone, L. W. Parks; dentist, Dr. G. A. Rockwell; attorney-at-law, William C. Bentley; physicians, F. H. Winans, H. H. Wickes, and L. E. Thorp; photographer, William R. Smith; millinery, Mrs. J. B. Howland, Miss M. N. Rockman; grist-mill, John S. Kellogg; blacksmiths, A. L. Thompson, A. J. Dixon & Son, R. S. Hollis; wagon-shop and blacksmithing, John Morrissey; harness-shops, E. Griffen, C. Coos, Wm. Wood; barbers, L. H. Coye, P. Loos; billiards, C. L. Gregory; Cooper, Jehiel Griffen; livery, H. Gregory, L. Emerson; tailor, Robert Drysdall; brick, Mr. Middleditch; cheese-factory, J. H. Gilbert.
There are four churches in the village, viz., Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist. (The History of Otsego, NY, by Duane Hamilton Hurd, 1878)
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Transcribed by Holice B. Young
Copyright Debbie Axtman and Holice B. Young
December 23, 1999