The History of Otsego, NY 
Hartwick Early Settlers

By Holice and Debbie

Prominent among those sturdy pioneers who, at the close of the Revolution, left the comforts of an eastern home and sought an abode in the wilds of "Tryon county" was Nathan Davidson, who came from Massachusetts, and located in this town in about the year 1780. He was accompanied to his prospective home by his wife, and they came down the lake from Springfield on the ice. It was late in the spring, and the ice was covered with water, which rendered the journey, to one unaccustomed to the lakes, not at all pleasing. As he approached the shore, and at last found himself safely on terra firma, casting a backward glance, he exclaimed, "You’ll never catch me on that ice again." At this time there was but one small house on the site of Cooperstown.

AS an incident o those early days, illustrating the inconveniences and hardships encountered by the pioneers, it is related that at one time he journeyed to Schenectady to procure a bushel of potatoes, and brought them home on horseback. The potatoes were used for food, and they eyes were planted for seed. For many years he nearest grist-mill was at Cherry Valley. He was a blacksmith by trade, and during the Revolution assisted the colonial cause by shoeing the horses of the soldiery, making swords, etc. He was a useful man in the new settlement, working at his trade for the pioneers, who in turn assisted in clearing his land. The first clearing in this vicinity was made by John Davidson, and he built the first frame barn in the town. He was an early justice of the peace, and one of the trustees of Hartwick seminary. He died in 1821, leaving a son and daughter. His son, Mr. Clark Davidson, was born here March 14, 1795. He was a prominent and useful citizen, and many years held the position of justice of the peace amd postmaster. He died March 11, 1873, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. A son, William C., and a daughter, Catherine L., reside on the old homestead.

John Davidson, a brother of Nathan, came to the town in the following year, and located on an adjoining farm.

One of the earliest settlers in the town was Lot Crosby, a sea-captain, who came from Rhode Island and purchased six hundred acres of land east of Hartwick village. Some of his descendants are residents of the county.

A pioneer in the north of the town was N. Lyon, who located prior to the year 1800.

Joseph Winsor, an honored pioneer, came into Hartwick from Rhode Island in about the year 1790, and settled on the N. Lyon farm. The incident of purchase is related as follows: Mr. Winsor was passing the clearing made by Lyon, and in answer to the question if he would sell out, the latter replied, "Yes; I want to move away." The bargain was made, and for an axe and twelve shillings in money the land was transferred to Mr. Winsor. He returned to Rhode Island, and two years after came to the town and located on his purchase. He died at the age of eighty-four years. Three children are residing in the town, viz.: Harris, at Hyde Park; Isaac, at Portlandville; and Mrs. Ada Field, in the vicinity of Toddsville.

The N. Lyon mentioned above, after disposing of his "betterments" to Mr. Winsor, concluded to remove to the southern part of the county, and accordingly employed a man to move his household goods, and wife, baby, and a pig as far as he could go in one day and return. Near night, having, as he thought, gone far enough, he unloaded the goods at the foot of a hemlock tree, and returned to the settlement. Mr. Lyon made a rude shelter for the wife and baby, and after tying the pig to a tree started off through the wood in search of another team to take him to his destination. It is a well-known fact that Bruin ever had a great propensity for making a meal on the "porkers;" and, when hearing the noise of the pig in the woods, he hastened to the spot and at once made an effort to capture it. Mrs. Lyon, upon seeing his majesty approach, seized a fire-brand and, by waving it in front of him, succeeded in keeping him from his prey. The bear remained during the night, and as daylight appeared retired into the forest.

Two worthy pioneers of Hartwick were William and Nathan Field, who emigrated from Rhode Island in 1787 and settled on lands about one mile northeast of Hartwick village. After selecting their land they returned to Rhode Island and married, and immediately thereafter started for their abode in the forest. Here they erected rude cabins, and christened them with the endearing title of HOME.

"Our forest life was rough and rude,
and dangers closed us round;
But here, amid the green old trees,
A home we bought and found.
Oft through our dwelling wintry blasts
Would rush with shriek and moan;
We cared not—though they were but frail,
We felt they were our own!"

William Field’s family consisted of seven children,--three sons and four daughters. Elisha, aged seventy-eight, and William, aged sixty-seven, are living in the vicinity, and a daughter, Mrs. Murdock, in Cooperstown. Mr. Field died aged seventy-seven years. Of Nathan’s family none are living. Mr. Elisha Field, mentioned above, has in his possession a dog-collar which was plowed up on his father’s farm in 1856, which bears the following inscription:


It is supposed that the dog was stolen by the Indians, or that he was lost while hunting with his master through this locality.

Jerry Potter, a soldier of the Revolution, emigrated to Hartwick at the close of the Revolution, and soon after removed to this town, locating hear Hartwick village. Seven children reside in the county, viz.: Irving Potter, in Hartwick village; a daughter, Mrs. A. E. Beaman, In Oneonta; another daughter, Mrs. Dorinda Boland, adjoining the old farm; and the following sons on the homestead; Alfred T., William H. H., Isaac L., and Asel W.

Jedediah Ashcraft was an early settler. He came from Connecticut with his wife and children, in 1796, and located on lands near the central part of the town. His sons settled on farms in the vicinity. Jedediah, a grandson, survives.

Joseph Marsh, of honored memory, came with his wife from Connecticut, in 1807, and located in New Lisbon, and in 1821 moved to Hartwick village. He died on the farm north of the village now owned and occupied by Mr. H. K. Marsh, who was born in 1809.

Another pioneer was Nicholas Steere, who, with a wife and one son, emigrated from Rhode Island and settled in Hartwick in about 1794. He purchased land on the cooper patent about three miles northeast from Hartwick village. His son, Ira Steere, grew to manhood here, married, and had a family of six children,--three sons and three daughters,--all of whom are living, viz.: Mrs. Martha Perry, resides in the village of Morris; Mrs. Hosea Winsor, in the town of Hartwick; Mrs. Minerva Jarvis, at Hartwick seminary; Delos, on his father’s farm; Elizur, on the farm occupied by his grandfather; and Schuyler, in New Orleans.

A sturdy pioneer from Rhode Island was Elijah Hawkins, who, accompanied by his brother, Rufus, settled in 1790 on a farm bout three miles northeast of Hartwick village. In 1793 he sold this farm to Amos Winsor, who had just arrived from Rhode Island, with his wife and children. The old homestead is now owned and occupied by Hosea Winsor, son of John and grandson of Amos Winsor. Nathan Winsor, son of Russell and grandson of Amos Winsor, reside in Toddville.

Noah Eddy, a soldier of the Revolution, settled in this town at the close of the war, on a farm about three miles west of Toddville. Some of his descendants are residents of the county.

Benjamin and Nicholas Camp wre soldiers in the Revolutionary war, and soon after located in Hartwick. Benjamin died in 1863, aged nearly one hundred years.

A prominent pioneer, and Hartwick’s first supervisor, was Philip Wells, who came from Foster, Rhode Island. He was accompanied by two brothers, Joshua and John, and by a man named Rhodes Fry. They settled on lands about one mile east of the village. He died in 1812. A grandson, William Burlingham, now owns a portion of the old homestead. John and James, sons of Philip Wells, were in the war of 1812, and both participated in the battle of Queenstown, where the former was wounded.

Hopkins Burlingham, wife, and eldest daughter were pioneers from Connecticut, and settled southeast from the village. Orman and William Burlingham, sons of William, and grandsons of Hopkins Burlingham, reside in the village.

Calvin Goodrich, a prominent pioneer from Sharon, Connecticut, came into the county in an early day and located in this town. His family consisted of four sons and five daughters. A son, Chauncey Goodrich, born in 1806, is a prominent resident of Milford village, where he has lived thirty years, during which time he has held the office of postmaster seventeen years, and justice of the peace two terms.

Isaac Bissell, a commissary in the war of the Revolution, settled in this town in 1793, in the Bow Hill district. He died in 1824, aged seventy-seven years.

A prominent pioneer was Ziba Newland, who came from Norton, Massachusetts, and settled in what is South Hartwick, in about the year 1792, then twenty-four years of age. Deacon Newland was a nail-maker by trade, and soon after locating set up a shop and forge, which business he followed in connection with farming. He married Lucy Henry, and had a family of nine children. A grandson, Henry Newland, resides in Otego village.

A Prominent pioneer was Amen Peters, from Connecticut, who settled on the present site of the village in 1796. He had a family of two sons and six daughters. One daughter, Mrs. Torrey H. Luce, resides in the village, on a portion of the old farm.

Among the earliest settlers in the county was Uriah Luce, who came from Rhode Island, and located near the lake in Otsego. A son, Uriah Luce Jr., was sheriff in 1798. Torrey J. Luce, a son of John Luce and grandson of Uriah, was born in Cooperstown in 1798, and became a resident of this town in 1837; was a merchant and justice of the peace. Rufus P., a merchant, and the present supervisor of the town, and henry J., sons of John Luce, are residents of the village. Stephen Ingalls was a pioneer in this town. He came from Cheshire, Mass., in about the year 1780. A son, Samuel M., was member of assembly in 1823

Among other early settlers were David Mathewson, Abner Alger, John Davison, Joseph Skiff, Micah Robinson, Josiah Maples, Abner Adams, John Webb, Eliphalet Dewey, Perez Bradford, Thomas Johnson, Joel Holbrook, Edward Dowd, Reuben Bernard, Jeremiah Hopkins, Isaac Carr, Josiah Bargam, Joseph Clark, Squire Luther, Isaac Hedges, Ichabod Perkins, Joshua Hinman, Thomas Green, Jacob Allen, Nehemiah Burch, Daniel Murdock, Thomas Hall, Jr., David Cole, Benjamin Kissell, Joseph Ashcraft, Isaac Barnes, Jeremiah Rumsey, James Gray, A. Crosby, Joseph Porter, Lewis Adams, Moses Barnes, William Hughes, Stephen Reynolds, Hibbard Fuller, Asahel Whipple, Daniel Green, Samuel Carr, Rhodes fry, Edward Skiff, Peter Kendal, John Webb, Moses Bowing, Hibbard Pride, Thomas Cully, Joseph Monroe, Aman Mudge, Ezekiel Jacobs, avid Fisk, Jonathan Runyon, Aaron rice, Alfred Haslip, Edward Bean, Jr., Dudley Loomis, Alford Hopkins, Isaac Barnes, William Compton, John Comstock.

In about the year 1866, while workmen were engaged in clearing a piece of land south of the village, they removed a stump five feet in diameter, under which, and intertwined by its roots, were found a stone hearth or fireplace, upon which the brands of coals wre still lying. They also found a number of stone arrow-heads. In counting the grains of the stump it was estimated to be eight hundred and fifty years.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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