The History of Otsego, NY
Edmeston Early History 

By Holice and Debbie



Organization—Geographical—Topographical—First Settlers and Their Location—Percifer Carr—Incidents—Initial Events—Town Officers, etc.—Agricultural and General Statistics—Area—Assessed And Equalized Valuation—Population.

Edmeston was formed from the town of Burlington, on the 1st of April, 1808, the same year in which Westford, Decatur, and Maryland were organized. It is located on the western border of the county, north of the centre, and is bounded as follows: on the north by Plainfield, on the east by Burlington, on the south by Pittsfield, and on the west by the Unadilla river, which separates it form Madison county. The surface is an elevated upland, broken by numerous valleys. The highest elevations are about 400 feet above the Unadilla. There are several small streams in the town, most of which are tributaries of Wharton creek, which flows across the southeast corner, entering the Unadilla in the town of Pittsfield. The soil is fertile and well adapted to agricultural pursuits.

This locality was within the bounds of the Oneida nation, and along the Unadilla, through this delightful valley was one of the favorite haunts of the Indian, and here was the Oneida chieftain’s favorite hunting-ground, as the river produced great quantities of fish, while deer and other animals roamed at will in the adjacent forests. This territory was in the undisputed possession of the red man until about the year 1770.

In 1770 a grant, embracing a large tract of land lying along the rover, was made to colonel Edmeston, in return for his services for having been a soldier in the British army, and served meritoriously in the French war of 1863. Soon after the grant was made, colonel Edmeston sent Percifer Carr, a faithful soldier who had served in his command, to settle on the tract, and for a long series of years this courageous pioneer, with his wife and servants, were the only whites in the valley of the Unadilla. But for the Revolutionary war, which followed soon after, and Carr’s unfortunate sympathy with the king, they might have developed their forest home, and the remainder of the old soldier’s days might have passed in rest and quietude. That he was in friendly intercourse with Brant, is clearly exhibited by a letter written him by the dusky warrior, under date; "Tunadilla, July 9, 1778." Not only was in sympathy with the kind’s people, but he rendered the Tories substantial assistance by sending them supplies from the estate.

Before the close of the war, a band of hostile Indians invaded the estate, killed the servants, burned the buildings and carried Mr. and Mrs. Carr into captivity. Their capture exhibited a savage and inhuman spirit, and caused them to submit to many degradations. They were particularly severe in their treatment of Carr, and while crossing streams he was compelled to lie down in the mud and water as a bridge for the savages to cross upon.

They were taken to Canada, and there kept until the close o the war, when they wre set free, and immediately retraced their steps to the Unadilla. But what a change met the gaze of the exiles as they reached the old location. Their home was in ruins, and the fields in which they had labored so hard to redeem from the forest were covered with briers and underbrush. No human voice in the wilderness to welcome them, and no relic left as a remembrance of the once happy home. "Hard! What is that noise? ‘tis the snapping of brush under the tread of some animal which is coming in this direction." The sound comes nearer, nearer, and at last through the thicket and before the astonished exiles walks the old family horse. He had been overlooked by the marauding savages, and during these long years had lingered around the old home, living on wild herbage and buds.

Their home was soon restored to something of its original comfort, where they remained until the death of Colonel Edmeston, when Carr was neglected by the remaining heirs and for some time suffered in want and poverty; at last, however, a piece of land was secured to him, upon which he remained until his death. Thus endeth the story of the pioneer of Edmeston.

Upon the death of colonel Edmeston the estate fell to heirs and minor children residing in England, from whom no secure title could be obtained for many years, which greatly retarded the settlement of the town.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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