The History of Otsego, NY 
Exeter Biographies

By Holice and Debbie


John Keyes, grandfather of Hervey Keyes on his fatherís side, was of English descent, came over from England, and settled in Middlestown, Conn.; enlisted in the Revolutionary army, and served during the war, figuring in most of the principal battles; married a lady in Middlestown, and moved to Montgomery county, N. Y., and settled on a farm.

Cornelius Lane, his grandfather on his motherís side, was of German descent, came to New Jersey with his father, and settled on a farm; served in the Revolutionary army during the war; was married to a lady of German descent, and moved to Montgomery county, N. Y.

Thompson Keyes, the oldest son of John Keyes, and May Lane, oldest daughter of Cornelius and Elizabeth Lane, were married some time in the year 1797, and the fruits of that marriage whilst living in Montgomery county were Josiah Keyes, born Dec. 30, 1799; Betsey Keyes, born Jan. 11, 1801; Hervey Keyes, born Oct. 30, 1808.

In the year 1805, Thompson Keyes, removed with his family to Otego, Otsego County, now called Laurens, and settled on a farm in the valley of the Otego creek, and commenced clearing up his farm with the assistance of his family. Here were born four more children, viz.:--Diantha Keyes, born April 3, 1807; Maria Keyes, born April 10, 1809; Emily Keyes, born Aug. 25, 1813, and John Keyes, born Sept. 21, 1816.

Hervey Keyes was educated in a common school in Laurens; worked on the farm with his father until he was twenty-two years of age; was married to Margaret Marlett, daughter of Peter and Elizabeth Marlett, of the town of Milford, Oysego County, and settled on a farm in the town of Laurens. The fruits of that marriage were nine children, viz., Washington T. Keyes, born June 7, 1827; Mary Keyes, born Aug. 15, 1828; Omar Keyes, born Sept. 20, 1830; James H. Keyes, born July 10, 1836; Hiram Keyes, born Sept. 9, 1839 (deceased); Marquis L. Keyes, born Oct. 24, 1841; Melville Keyes, born Jan. 16, 1845; Irvin Keyes, born Jan. 1, 1847 (died Feb. 16, 1850). After six years of unremitting toil, on the part of both husband and wife, his health failed; he then built a house and store in Jacksonville and engaged in merchandise, which business he followed for twelve years, during which time his health again failed by being overtaxed. For twelve years he continued this business; he had the duties of postmaster and justice of the peace to attend to besides his mercantile business. He received a commission as captain of cavalry in the eleventh regiment from Nathaniel Pitcher, lieutenant-governor of the State of New York, Dec. 20, 1827, which he accepted, and performed the duties of the said office. May 15, 1830, he received a commission from Enos T. Throop as major of cavalry, which he also accepted and performed its duties. Jan. 19, 1833, received a commission from Wm. L. Marcy, assigning the command of the eleventh regiment of cavalry to his charge, which he accepted, and performed the duties of said office in the County of Otsego.

In the year 1851 he was elected at the November election, member of assembly from the second assembly district of Otsego County, and served out his term after the first of January, 1862. Since that time he has been engage in farming.

Washington T. Keyes is now engaged in merchandise at Jacksonville, town of Laurens.

Mary Keyes was married to Henry Shove on the first of January, 1860; their family consisted of three sons,--Melville, Hiram, and Henry Shove, Jr.

Omar Keyes was married to Mary Cheny, daughter of William Cheny, and they have one son,--Franklin Keyes.

Josiah D. Keyes was married to Margaret Lane, Dec. 28, 1853; they have two sons,--Irvin Keyes and Lavern Keyes.

James H. Keyes was married to Adelia Lane, Aug. 7, 1862; they have two sons and one daughter,--Hervey Keyes, James Keyes, and Ama Keyes.

Second marriage,-- James H. Keyes was married to Jenale Menfort, at St. Paul, Minnesota, Dec. 28, 1874.

Melville Keyes was married to Emma Bassettí the fruit of that marriage was three sons,--Ralph Keyes, Washington B. Keyes, and Thomas B. Keyes. (Ralph and Washington B. are deceased.)

Marquis L. Keyes was married to Helena Pruine, Jan. 1, 1873;they have one daughter,--Eva Keyes.


Hudson Sleeper was born in the town of Laurens, Otsego Co., N. Y., July 28, 1802. His father, Joseph Sleeper, was born in New Jersey, Burlington County,. In 1765. Irene Frisbee was born in Connecticut, Litchfield county, august, 1773. His grandfather, John Sleeper, was born in New Jersey, Aug. 14, 1731. Hannah Sleeper was born March 13, 1735.

He came to Otsego county about 1774, he being one of the family of nine children. His father was influenced by Reed & Co. to come to Otsego County, and settle upon a farm of 300 acres, which they gave him to come and build mills. During the Revolutionary was he was driven from his home by the Seneca Indians. After an absence of six years he returned to his original location, and added to his farm 1700 acres more in all 2000 acres. He lived in the wilderness until his death, Nov. 24, 1794. Joseph H. Sleeper came with his father to Otsego county about 1774; lived with his father un the age of twenty-one; them commenced clearing land where Hudson now lives; kept bachelorís hall three years.

In 1790 was united in marriage with Miss Irene, daughter of Captain Greekson Frisbee, of cherry Valley. Of this union wee born nine children, viz.: Cynthia, Jonathan, Lucy, Reuben, Lydia,--Lydia, the second,--Morris, Hiram, and Hannah; of whom three are living, viz., Hiram, Hannah, and Hudson.

The subject of this sketch now lives on the old homestead where he was born. He was united in marriage to Miss Manda, daughter of Daniel Weller. Of this union were born three children, viz.: Caroline Eliza was born Jan. 9, 1833; charlotte was born Nov. 12, 1838; Julia was born Jan. 14, 1840; only one of whom are living. Julia was married to Elias Cosseller, May 2, 1863.

Hudson Sleeper is in good health at the age of seventy-five, and respected by all. Politically, a Democrat. Has voted fifty-four times.


Among the old man now living in the town of Hartwick, there is none more worthy of having his life record placed upon the imperishable page of history than the subject of this sketch. He was born in the town Feb. 2, 1807, being the son of David and Lois Maples, they having emigrated from Connecticut, and settled in this town about the year 1800. Like other pioneers, he struggled with the inconveniences, trials, and hardships incident to the settlement a new country, but he has lived to see cultivated fields take the place of the forest, swamps and marches changed to fertile meadows, and the beautiful farm-house, with its modern conveniences, take the place of the rude log cabin, and villages grow up around him with their stores, mills, churches, schools, and comfortable residences. His early life was replete with hardships and toil; his education much neglected; but during his life he has complied faithfully with the scriptural injunction of "Whatsoever your hands findeth to do, do it with your might." At the age of twenty-eight he was married to Hannah, daughter of Seth Robinson, the ceremony taking place Feb. 1, 1835. Her parents were originally from the New England States, and early settlers of the town of Hartwick, where she was born April 10, 1815. Their family consists of only two daughters, Lucina, who was born March 5, 1836, and was married to Edwin A. Wells, March 26, 1856, and Mary Jane, born Jan. 27, 1838. Mr. Maples has been very successful in business and by industry and frugality enjoys a well-earned competency. He always voted the republican ticket. Not being a member of any church he has given largely of his means for the support of the various churches in the town. His wife is an active member of the Christian church of Hartwick.


John S. Coon, of Edmeston, son of Daniel and Rhoda Coon, was born in Plainfield, Otsego Co., N. Y., Jan. 21, 1807. His father and mother wre natives of Rhode Island, of English origin, and were among the early pioneers to Otsego County, and settled in Plainfield, at Leydeville, in 1793.

His business was farming, and he owned at one time nearly 500 acres. He reared a family of nine children, namely: Betsey, Ezra, Fanny, Clarissa, Laura, Polly, Daniel, John S., and Alanson, the last two of whom are the only remaining members of the family. In politics he affiliated with the old Whig party, and was always closely identified with public interest. He was justice of the peace for several years. For many years he was the sole owner of all the mills at West Edmeston.

He died aged about sixty-four, and his wife at about the same age, three or four years previously.

John S. was reared on the farm until he was fifteen years of age, and then commenced to work at the clothier business, working in the falls and early winters, and during the summers he work at the carpenter and joiner trade, continuing to work at the former trade till he was about twenty-two. He has continued to work at his carpenter trade more or less ever since. When he was about twenty-eight years of age he built him a furnace at West Edmeston, in which he made all kinds of farming implements, and continued to follow the same for some twenty years, and then he manufactured wagons and cutters, and this, in connection with his carpenter trade, has been his principal business ever since.

He was married to Miss Aurilla Burdick, a native of Plainfield, Otsego Co., N. Y., Sept. 24, 1829. She was a daughter of Chas. L. and Rebecca Burdick, and was born Oct. 4, 1808. By this alliance three children were born, namely: Adelbert C., Almeron S., and Myron H. Adelbert C. was born Feb. 27, 1838, and died Jan. 18, 1859; Almeron S., born May 27, 1841, and died Feb. 5, 1842; and Myron H. born March 6, 1849, and died Oct. 4, 1850. In politics he was formerly a Whig, and when the Republican party was organized he joined it.

He and his wife are members of the Seventh-Day Baptist church at West Edmeston. Mrs. Coon died Feb. 24, 1877. Mr. Coon has been living on his present home about twenty-nine years.

Mrs. Aurilla coon was a member of the Ladiesí Auxiliary Tract Society of West Edmeston. She was its first treasurer, and one of its most influential and efficient members. She is the first of that noble organization that is removed by death. By her sound judgment, with a mind endowed with superior graces, combined with dignity of character, and over all a loving heart imbued with the divine spirit, consecrated to His service, strong in faith, "rich in works," her whole life becomes a monument of grace.

Mr. John S. Coon is one of the most liberal of men, having contributed largely to the church of which he and his faithful wife were among the working members.


Henry D. Crandall, son of Henry and Polly Crandall, was born in Brookfield, Madison Co., N. Y., April 17, 1806. His father was a native of Hopkinton, R. I., and his mother, of Stonington, Conn. They reared ten children, seven sons and three daughters, of whom Henry D. is the second child and eldest son. Henry D. parents removed into Brookfield, Madison County, about 1796, and continued to reside there till they death. Here their children were born, save the eldest daughter, who is a native of Connecticut. Henry D.ís father was a farmer, hence Henry D. was reared to know full well the value of time and money, and then was early inculcated in his youthful mind those cardinal principles which you will always see in every successful manís life. He continued to live with his parents until he was nearly twenty-two years of age, having had very limited advantages for an education.

In 1822 he went into Chautauqua, County and worked by the month for six months; then made arrangements for a farm of 200 acres, which he very soon sold to his brother, Daniel S., and returned to his native place, having been from home about a year. He then worked on the Erie canal till haying-time; then worked during haying and harvest for thirteen dollars per month; then went into Chautauqua county and sold his farm and took in part payment a yoke of cattle, which he drove back home and kept a year, and sold for forty dollars. In the spring of 1834, he tool a farm to work n shares, and on Sept. 9, 1824, he was married to Prudence Clark, of Brookfield, Madison County, by whom five children wre born, one only of them are still living. Mrs. Prudence Crandall was born in 1794. On April 1, 1825, he purchased 31-1/2 acres, lying just east of West Edmeston, on the side hill, paying for the same seven dollars an acre, one-seventh down. On Nov. 26, 1833, Mrs. Crandall died, and about that time Mr. Crandall buried two of his children. On July 17, 1834, Mr. Crandall was married to Miss Phebe dye, of Brookfield. Mr. Crandall added to his farm near West Edmeston till he had 90 acres, which he sold in 1835, and bought where James Sawyer now resides. His first purchase here was 150 acres, and to this he kept adding until he was the owner of 465 acres of good tillable land. In 1856 he removed into Brookfield township, Madison county, on to a farm of 155 acres, which he had purchased the year before; here he was enjoying life with his estimable wife, when, just as night had thrown her noble curtain over the day of Dec. 7, 1865, this happy family was doomed to pass through a scene of blood and death of which but few are ever called upon to experience. On the eve mentioned Mr. Crandall came in from doing his evening chores, when all at once there appeared two men in his house, demanding his money and his bonds which, being refused them, he was violently assailed by them, but was so far successful in defending himself, unaided by any weapon, as to get one of the men down on the floor, where he remained some minutes, but the other desperado drew a revolver and would have shot Mr. Crandall had he not seized a stick of wood, and knocked him down, but the ruffian fired, and the ball made a slight flesh wound just over the right eye and on top of the head. Mr. Crandall then went into his bedroom on the pretense of getting his money and bonds, but, in fact, only to get hold of a weapon,--a stick some three feet long, which he remembered to b e near the head of the bed. As he was about to return he saw a hand with a pistol in it through the partly-open door; it being dark in the room, they could not see him, and hence the firing did no hurt. As the second manís hand appeared through the door, Mr. Crandall struck it a fearful flow with his club, and rushed out upon his assailant, and he would have been more than a match of them, had not some unknown third person came up behind and knocked him down; he was then shot just below his right eye, the ball passing downward and lodging in his cheek-bone. He was also shot in the back part of his head, causing a flesh wound.

The last that Mr. Crandall remembers o that sad affair his wife was alive and uninjured, but when he awoke to consciousness he found that his wife had been shot through the head, the ball entering just above the right ear and coming out above the left, and that she had been buried about two weeks. The villains left Mr. Crandall for dead, but went away without any money or bonds save a few dollars that Mrs. Crandall had in her possession.

Mr. Crandall married his present wife, Marian E. Manning, March 4, 1867, by whom five children are born, namely, Henry d., Marian E., and Louisa J. (twins), Byron M., and Carrie P. Mr. C. settled in Leonardsville in 1867, and continued to reside there till September, 1874, when he purchased his present fine home, a view of which, together with a view of his former residence ion Brookfield, may be seen on the opposite page. In April, 1863, Mr. Crandall was burnt out in Brookfield, and rebuilt the same year. In politics he is a Republican.

He is a member of the Seventh-Day Baptist church at West Edmeston, and so is his present wife, as well as his two former wives. Mr. Crandall has been one of the most successful farmers in the town or county. He began life poor, and has accumulated a fine property.


Hon. David B. St. John, of Edmeston, son of Benjamin and Dianthe St. John, was born in Providence, Saratoga Co., N. Y., Jan. 9, 1803. His father was a native of Connecticut, and was one of the early pioneers to Saratoga County. He reared eight children. By occupation, school-teacher. He died may 9, 1815, aged forty-six. Mrs. Dianthe St. John lived to be nearly seventy. She died July 8, 1850. David B.ís paternal grandfather was of English origin, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. His maternal grandfather was also of English origin, and was a Revolutionary soldier during the entire war; was flag-bearer, and was the only surviving flag-bearer of his regiment.

David B. had very limited advantages for an education, but by reading and reflection he has acquired a good, practical business education. At the age of ten he commenced working out by the month, and continued until he was twenty-four years of age. He settled in Otsego County, at Edmeston, March 6, 1820. He married Mrs. Polly Deming, widow of John Deming, of Edmeston, Sept. 6, 1828, by whom two children were borne, namely, Solomon C. and Freelove.

Mrs. St. John was born in Richfield, Otsego County, N. Y., March 17, 1803, and died Nov. 24, 1868. Solomon C. married Miss Ann Eliza Pope, of Edmeston, April 27, 1851. They have two children, Ella and David B., second. Freelove married Mr. Alvin Peck, of Pittsfield, Otsego County. She had four children, Wm. G., Sarah, Nellie, and David B. Mrs. Peck died October 6, 1866, being thirty years of age.

David B. St. John, made his first purchase of land in 1828. It was a farm of 100 acres, which he sold in 1830, and purchased a farm of 200 acres in 1831, lying partly in Edmeston and partly in Pittsfield, the buildings being in Pittsfield. Here he continued till 1846, when he built new buildings and removed his home to the opposite side of the road, and that brought him in the town of Edmeston. Mr. St. John added about 100 acres to the farm, making a large farm of 300 acres, on which he made nearly all the improvements. In the spring of 1860 he removed to Edmeston village, where he still continues to reside. In politics, Mr. St. John was a Jackson Democrat, casting his first vote for General Jackson in 1828, and continued with that party until 1856, when he joined the Republican party, and has ever since been one of its staunchest advocates. He is emphatically one of the representative men of his town, having filled nearly all the offices not only in Edmeston, but in Pittsfield.

In 1832 he was elected assessor of Pittsfield, and continued to hold that office for three years. In 1835 he was elected supervisor of Pittsfield, and held that office for ten consecutive years. In 1838 he was elected justice of the peace of Pittsfield, and continued to hold the same until 1846, when he changed his residence to Edmeston. In 1848 he was elected town superintendent of schools, and held the position two years. In the fall of 1848 he was elected to the State legislature, and served one year. In the spring of 1855 he was elected a justice of the peace to fill a vacancy, and continued in the same position till Jan. 1, 1878, when he retired on account of his age.

During 1859 and 1860 he represented his county in the State legislature, being elected by the Republicans. During his long official life Mr. St. John has enjoyed he confidence of his constituents o an unusual degree, as is proved by the fact that he has been kept continually in official positions. While a young man he taught school in Edmeston for three years, summers and winters in the same place, at eight dollars per month. In May, 1877, he was appointed notary public, and now holds the same. Mr. St. John has been a surveyor of land for a great many years.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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