The History of Otsego, NY
By Holice and Debbie
TOWN OF LAURENS
Organization — Geographical — Topographical — First Settlers andTheir Locations—Incidents—Initial Events—First Town-Meeting -- Officers Elected — Supervisors and Town Clerks from Organization of the Town to 1876 — Present Town Officers — Agricultural and General Statistics — Area — Equalized and Assessed Valuation — Population from 1814 to 1875.
Laurens was formed from Otsego on the 2d day of April, 1810. It is an interior town, lying southwest of the centre of the county, and is bounded as follows, viz.: on the north by new Lisbon and Hartwick; on the east by Milford and Oneonta; on the south by Oneonta and Otego; and on the west by Morris. Otego Creek flows nearly south through a fertile and productive valley. With the exception of this valley he surface is a rolling upland, the soil consisting chiefly of a sandy and gravelly loam, and is generally productive.
Interest always attaches to those courageous spirits who leave the comforts of civilization, and threading their way into an uninhabited region, first erect the standard of civilization in the wilderness. To Joseph Mayall is the honor inscribed of being the first white settler within the boundaries of the present town of Laurens. He located, in 1773, about one mile north of the village of Laurens, on one hundred acres of and which had been given him by the proprietors of the patent. He was a man of great courage, and during the Revolutionary struggle became somewhat celebrated as an Indian fighter. In consequence of his numerous contest with the Indians they learned to respect him and his family. Although by birth an Englishman, he early espoused the cause of the colonists, and at the close of the war was singled out as a victim by the Tories, who resolved to inflict condign punishment upon him for the course he has pursued. While hunting he was accosted by three men, with a request to pilot them to the fording place on the Susquehanna. He cheerfully acceded to their wishes, and upon reaching the ford his gun was taken from him, the lock removed, and the barrel returned to him, and at the same time, was notified that he was a prisoner, and must proceed with them to Canada. He remonstrated with his captors, telling them inasmuch as the war had closed they had no right to make him a prisoner. But all was in vain, and he finally concluded to accompany them and watch his chance to escape. Upon crossing a branch of the Susquehanna, in order to better secure their prisoner, one crossed to the opposite shore, one was stationed in the middle o the stream, and the other was to accompany the prisoner. Quick as thought, Mayall dealt his companion almost a death-blow on the head with his gun, which felled him to the ground, and at the same moment seized the gun of his prostrate foe and fired it at the one in the stream, whom he wounded. The one on the other side of the stream shot at Mayall, and missing his mark, fled into the forest. He wended his way to Cherry Valley, bringing with him the guns of his assailants, together with his own, and deposited them with Mr. Campbell. It is said that he barrel of Mayall’s gun was bent nearly to a semicircle with the violence of the blow. His family subsequently moved to Allegheny Co., Pa.
Transcribed by Holice B. Young
HTML by Debbie
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