The History of Otsego, NY 
Morris Biographies

By Holice and Debbie



Ansel C. Moore was born in the town of Butternuts (now Morris), Otsego Co., N. Y., Aug. 9, 1798, and was the second son of a family of four brothers of Alanson Moore, native of Salisbury, Conn., and Asenath Skinner, of New Canaan, Conn., the latter born Jan. 19, 1765, and her husband, Sept. 22, 1766. They were united in marriage at Butternuts, Nov. 2, 1795, having emigrated some five or six years prior to this time. Ansel Moore’s educational advantages were quite limited during his early days, generally attending school but three months during the winter season in an old log school-house, and occasionally was permitted to attend in the summer, though, most of the time employed with his father on the farm until the age of eighteen, when he engaged with Robert L. Bowne & son, who owned a woolen- and cotton-mill and store at Elm grove, one mile north of the present village of Morris, where he was employed as clerk in thje store. Here he remained two years, and in the winter following taught school three months in the town of Westford. The spring following he was appointed deputy clerk in the county clerk’s office at Cooperstown, where he remained about two years, doing all the business of the office, and when he entered it not yet twenty-one years of age. After leaving there he went into the butternuts woolen and cotton factory store, located near the site of the present factory, where he remained until March 26, 1825, at which time he commenced the mercantile business in the village of Morris, which he followed many years. While at Cooperstown, Mr. Moore gained some knowledge of the banking business, and subsequently, at its organization, was made director of the Bank of Cooperstown; was also second or third subscriber to stock was eventually made vice-president, but, being so far distant resigned his position, and in the year 1856, feeling the need of a bank at Morris, and failing to get others interested sufficiently to take the step with him, resolved to establish one on his own account, and did so, running it in connection with his store, which proved to be a very successful undertaking. Mr. Moore started in life without a farthing, his father’s property, comprising some 100 acres of land, being deeded, by the consent o all parties, to his brother, Orrin H. Moore. The banking business gradually increasing, he gave up the mercantile trade (his patience becoming somewhat tried) to his son, Albert G., and son-in-law, James W. Cooke, and devoted his entire time to the interests of the bank, and a few years since, feeling that sixty years of active business life required a settlement, and desirous of being indebted to none, set about to close up matters, and today- can say that he owes no man a dollar. The banking business passed into the faithful hands of his son and son-in-law heretofore mentioned, and is still progressing under the firm name of James E. Cooke & Co. Mr. Moore was married, July 26, 1826, to Esther Matilda Freeman, daughter of Elisha Freeman, of Columbia, Chenango County. To them were born five children, four daughters, and one son, viz., Mary Augusta, Josephine, Albert Gallatin, Martha Amelia, and Victorine, all of whom are living, except Albert Gallatin, who died Feb. 10, 1876.

Mr. Moore has been called to every position of trust in the gift of his townsmen: served also as postmaster eight years, and has been called upon several times to accept the nomination as member of assembly, which he refused on account of his business at home demanding his attention. He had been connected with the Episcopal Church of Morris some forty years; was born a Democrat, and has never failed to cast his vote at a single election.


The subject of this sketch was born at Sapperton, near Burton-on-Trent, England, in 1767. At seventeen years of age he commenced the study of medicine, and soon after became a private pupil of Sir James Earle, of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, in London. For two years he was his dresser, and afterwards was house surgeon in that hospital. He attended the first course of lecture ever delivered by Abernethy. At twenty-three he left London and returned to his home. Inheriting an ample fortune and caring absolutely nothing for money, he never entered upon the practice of medicine as a profession.

To more than ordinary talents wre added great benevolence, which he never ceased to exercise during the whole of his long life, but always as secretly as possible. He rather avoided the praise of men, and was never ostentatious. The first marked display of his benevolent inclinations was in a scheme for the treatment and cure of lunatics upon the humane plan, which was subsequently adopted by Esquirol and Pinel, of France. For that purpose he built in Burton-on-Trent a house which he conducted for several years at his own expense, and treated with great success a large number of pauper lunatics. This benevolent effort cost him upwards of 700 pounds sterling, besides occupying his whole attention. An unfortunate circumstance occurred which altered his plans entirely., One of his patient, in a paroxysm of frenzy, took the life of another patient under shocking circumstance, and then committed suicide. He was so horrified by the act that he determined to close the asylum, and, after providing for proper treatment among their friends and otherwise of the remainder, he sailed for Philadelphia, where he arrived in June, 1799.

Previous to this incident he had become greatly interested in the subject of reincarnation, which was then just becoming known to he medical profession in England. And it was the desire to extend its blessings, along with the shock to a sensitive mind of the accident mentioned, that determined his visit to America. Before sailing he made the personal acquaintance of Dr. Jenner, obtained from his hand a large supply of the virus, and from his mouth all additional particulars.

Immediately on his arrival in Philadelphia he engaged himself with all the zeal of an ardent and philanthropic mind to disseminate the knowledge of the then new discovery. And it is certain that he was the first to introduce into America this great boon to humanity, although the credit of its first introduction has been generally accorded to another. He knew this, but had a morbid dislike to publicity, and never publicly contradicted it, being satisfied to extend its usefulness to the utmost. While preaching incessantly its preventive powers, he inoculated thousands with the vaccine virus. The doctrine and practice were received by the American public with greater avidity even than with the English.

The following year his affairs demanded his return to England, but in a few days she sailed again for Philadelphia.. He made the acquaintance of Judge Cooper, the father of Fenimore Cooper, the novelist, of General Morris, Judge Franchot, and others, and their intimate friendship he enjoyed until they dropped one after another into the arms of death. With Judge Cooper he ascended the Susquehanna to Otsego County, and being charmed with the passing beauty of he scenery, and also captivated by the daughter of a leading settler in the valley of Butternuts, he married the young lady, and resolved to pitch his tent there, he returned with his bride to England, where he disposed of Sapperton, which, as the oldest son, he had inherited, to his brother.

After spending a year in England, and making a tour of the continent, he sailed for the last time for America, and purchased a large estate in Butternuts (now the town of Morris), where he resided until the day of his death, and where his wife was an uninterrupted scene of contentment and happiness. His reputation as a medical man was very great, though he never practiced medicine as a profession, and rarely accepted a fee. His benevolence was always of the most active and quiet kind, and to it at last he became a sacrifice, for it was in one of the severest days of an inclement winter now past, while on the mission of mercy, about four miles from home, his foot became so much chilled that the disease called gangrena senilis was induced, of which he died. To his last moments he retained perfectly the faculties o his mind and his physical senses. They were never impaired by his great age. To his last days he was conversant with the politics of the world, and the progress of science and literature.

He lived and died a consistent and practical Christian. He was an Episcopalian, though no sectarian, and contributed to the funds of many Christian denominations. He was always very partial to the society of Friends, whose hospitality he had largely enjoyed on his first arrival in Philadelphia, and who most assisted him in disseminating the knowledge of vaccination. The Quakers thus found a warm place in his affections during the remainder of his life.

He was very simple in his mode of living. He often stated that during the present century he had not tasted o wine, and till his last illness had not since childhood been confined to his bed for a single day, except for a fracture of the leg, received in a fox hunt when a young man. Neither had he taken a dose of medicine, but if he felt ill he fasted on bread and water till well again. Till he was seventy-five he habitually rode much in the saddle.

He was first cousin, once removed, of John Howard, the philanthropist, and, curious enough, he bore the same relationship in blood to Sir Robert Peel, the statesman, whose mother was his cousin. His widow, his constant companion for more than half a century, has since followed him in her long resting-place. Four of seven sons, and a large number of grandchildren, survive him.


Amos Palmer was born in Litchfield, Conn., June 13, 1779. He was the sacred son of Ichabod B. and Mary Palmer, and grandson of the Rev. Solomon Palmer, who received orders as deacon and priest of the church of England at the hands of he bishop of Bangor, and served as a faithful missionary under the venerable society for the propagation of the gospel in Litchfield and its vicinity, where he entered into his rest A.D. 1771

Amos came with his father to the town of Butternuts (Now Morris), Otsego Co., N. Y., at an early age, and helped to clear the forest from the farm on which he continued to reside until his death,--a period of nearly sixty years. This, in the outset, indicates the steadfastness and regularity for which his life in all its features was noted.

He married at the age of twenty-seven, and became the father of eleven children, ten of whom grew to maturity,--two daughters and eight sons.—who honored and reverenced their parents, and witnessed to the world the blessed fruits under God of faithful training in the way they should go. He was a man who never wasted words; he used but few of them and without jesting, always to the point, sound, decisive, and out of a conscientious endeavoring to keep itself void of offense towards God and towards men. He had a time and place for all things, so that the affairs of his daily life were minutely arranged in regular order.

He continued firm and steadfast in the faith of his father, knowing what he believed and why. To his efforts, that is, his services as warden and lay reader, his liberal contributions of his means, his wise counsel, his constant attendance at services with his family, and, more than all, his unspotted Christian character and example, adorning his faith and profession, Zion Church, in Morris, owed its establishment and continued prosperity more than to those of any other layman in his day. He departed this life in the peace of god through Christ, Nov. I, 1861.

Clarissa, the wife of Amos Palmer, was the daughter of Joseph and Martha Lull, and one of a family of sixteen children, all but one of whom lived to be married, and have families of their own. She was married Dec. 21, 1806, and, with great self-denial, patience, and cheerfulness, did faithfully all the duties devolving upon her as wife and mother, until, in the providence of God, such duties were required of her no more.

She survived her husbands about twelve and a half years, during the most of which time she had a home with her eldest daughter, Mrs. Jonah Davis, of the village of Morris.

Such a home, under affectionate care, with every provision for comfort, joined with faculties remarkably good for her age, attended the closing years of a life of duties well done. Though reared a Baptist, she joined her husband in faith and church soon after her marriage, and living as faithfully and consistently that in the end closed her eyes in the comfort of a reasonable religion and holy hope, and in her ninetieth year. May their good examples be blessed toward bringing all who knew them to have their perfect consummation and bliss together with them in eternal and everlasting glory.


Judge Pascal Franchot was born March 30, 1877, in the Department de la Haute Marne, Canton de Sainte Dexier, Commune de Chamouilly, and married for his first wife Miss Catherine Hansen, of Greenbush, N. Y., and for his second wife Miss Deborah Hansen, both of whom were daughters of Derrick Hansen. His family consisted of ten children,--three sons and seven daughters, viz.: Miss Julia A. Franchot, resides in the village of Morris. Helen, married Volkert De Peyster Douw, of Albany. Joanna married henry R. Van Rensselaer, of Morris. Francis G., married a. c. Powell, of Syracuse. Meta married Robert Wells, of Riverton, N. J.. Miss Antoinette and Charles F., reside in Syracuse. Louis Franchot, deceased; his widow resides in the village of Morris. Marie Augustus, in Canandaigua. Richard Franchot deceased; his widow resides in Schenectady, N. Y.

Richard, son of Pascal Franchot, was born in Morris, in 1816; was a leading citizen of the century. He held the office of supervisor of the town, and was for several years president of the Albany and Susquehanna railroad.

In 1860 he was elected to congress, and in 1862, he was made colonel of the 121st Regiment, N. Y. S. V. He afterwards resigned his commission to colonel Upton, of the regular army, and, after serving out his term of office, removed his residence to Schenectady.

He was chiefly instrumental in establishing the cotton and woolen factories at Morris, and did much to advance the general interest of the town. He died in Schenectady, Nov. 23, 1875.

Further particulars of the life of Judge Franchot will be found in reminiscences written by himself, and published elsewhere in this volume.


Edson Wheeler was born in butternuts,--now Morris, July 5, 1822. He has always lived on the farm where he was born. July 12, 1849, he was married to Sophrona E. Newton, who was born in butternuts, Nov. 8, 1827. Her parents were Daniel Newton and Polly Bishop, who were born and always lived in butternuts. Nichols H., the father of Edson wheeler, was born in Connecticut, Sept. 15, 1783, emigrated to this town in 1808, and was married to Martha P. Burns, of Hartwick, on Dec. 30, 1813. The mother of Martha P., was taken prisoner by the Indians at cherry Valley. The grandmother, being unable to travel, was killed before her daughter’s eyes.

Nichols H. Wheeler, soon after his marriage, seeing the necessity of defending his country’s rights, enlisted as first sergeant in the War of 1812-14, served to its close, and was honorably discharged; after which he lived on the farm now occupied by e. Wheeler until Aug. 16, 1848, when h e died, in the sixty-fifth year of his age.

Stephen Wheeler, the father of Nichols H., and grandfather of Edson, came, with his family, from Danbury, Conn., to this town about 1808. He served his country all through the Revolutionary War, and in 1815 died, aged fifty-nine. His wife was Jerasha Hawley, daughter of one Captain Hawley, of Connecticut.

Thus, Edson Wheeler, being descended from a line of his country’s defenders, feels firm in the faith that union is strength, and that our rights should be preserved, out union strengthened, our rulers given due reverence, and our laws enforced, education encouraged, and our country’s best good looked after in every respect.

In 1862 he became connected with the Baptist church in south New Berlin. The church esteeming him worthy, appointed him one of it deacons in 18684, which position he has since held, earnestly desirous of the prosperity of all things pertaining to the interest of the Kingdom of our Lord and his Christ.

In the family of Edson Wheeler there have been four children. The oldest, Nichols H., at the time of this writing, is twenty-eight years of age, is an architect and builder, and settled at Moberly, Mo. He was married, in the fall of 1877, to Miss Leona Ward.

The second, Linn E., is twenty-one years old, and a student in Madison university, with the ministry in view. The third, an only daughter, was born Jan. 8, 1858. She was married, Oct. 5, 1876, to Rev. I. J. Bailey, then of Mount Upton, Chenango County, and died Aug. 22, 1877. A rare and noble Christian woman, loved by all who knew her, and adorned with all the radiant virtues of true womanly and Christian character.

The fourth and last child, john f., is ten years of age, and the only one at home.


Deacon Joseph Lull came to the town of Butternuts (now town of Morris), Otsego County, with his father and family previous to the Revolutionary War, in 1773, at the age of seventeen, when the town embraced but two or three families. Three years after he married, Martha, daughter of Ebenezer Knapp. They were the first couple married here, the ceremony being performed by a justice appointed by the few inhabitants to mange their affairs in the little colony. They built the first house to entitle a settler to his land. In 1778 they were obliged, in consequence of the war, to leave their home. Mrs. Lull carried two children in her lap, on horseback, to Dutchess County, a distance of one hundred and sixty miles, where they resided five years and a half, during which time Deacon Lull experienced religion. After his return the family maintained the worship of God on the Sabbath and generally at the house of the deacon, until June 1, 1793, when the few professors met at his house to propose articles to form the (now) first church of Butternuts. On the 28th of august following, when the church was constituted, he was baptized by Elder Joseph Craw, of Greenfield, of Saratoga County. Nov. 12, 1798, he was chosen deacon, which place he honorably and satisfactorily filled forty-two years. During the two last years of his life he ws deprived from attending meeting by reason of his infirmity, but ever exhorted his brethren to persevere, as the reward was sure at the end of the race.

He was the father of sixteen children, fifteen of whom lived to adult age and married. The oldest was sixty-three the day the father died. Twelve of them, in answer to fervent prayer, and the example of pious parents, have made a profession of Christian religion; nine united with the church. It may be truly aid of this family, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Four of his children were called home by death previous to their father’s decease.

Deacon Lull left a pious godly widow, whose society he had enjoyed in the sanctuary and family circle for sixty-four years, and eleven children and ninety-nine grandchildren to mourn his loss. In him the church lost one of its most exemplary members, and society one of its most benevolent citizens.


Mrs. Martha Lull, daughter of Ebenezer and Mary Knapp, was born at Nine Partners in 1762. Her earliest years were passed with few advantages save those afforded under the parental roof. The facilities for education in those days were few; hence her attention under her eleventh year was chiefly confined to the ways and art of domestic life, which necessity as well as the customs of the age made of an intricate and arduous nature.

In 1773, removing with parents from the place of her birth into a dreary wilderness, uninhabited except by savages and wild beasts, she was not infrequently called from the performance of household duties to participate in the severe toils of the fields and forest. She on several occasions had has nerve tested in an exceedingly trying manner by being attacked by wild beasts and savages, a brief mention of which we give. Early in the spring of 1775 she employed herself in the sugar-bush, where on one occasion she was obliged to remain until midnight, and while engaged in keeping up the fire under four kettles she heard a fierce howl, which betokened the near approach of hungry wolves. She immediately returned it, at the same times swinging firebrands in defiance of their attack. This ingenious device was attended with success.

The following year the first marriage that little settlement had witnessed took place between her and Joseph, son of Benjamin Lull. They soon after settled upon a farm about a mile distant from their father’s, to enjoy, however, but a brief repose. The Revolutionary War, which began the year previous at Lexington, had now penetrated the wilderness, and broken in upon the peace and quiet of those valley homes. Her husband, father, and brother were arrested on the charge of being Tories, and conveyed to Albany for trial. Thus left a lonely occupant of her new home, she was in a few days called upon to defend herself and property against the frequent attacks of the enemy. She finally, with her children, set put for her father’s house, where they arrived in safety, and found the people there entirely ignorant of what had occurred. Restless and discontented while separated from her husband, and fearing a repetition of the same alarming scenes through which she had just passed, she desired to go to Cherry Valley, from which place a communication with Albany was more direct, and where friends and a more thickly-settled region offered greater protection to herself and little ones. Resolved to proceed thither, she returned to her own house in search of a horse which she had left pasturing in a field; but the search was vain. The Indians had been there, killed a hog, and taken the horse to carry off the pork. Almost despairing of being able to accomplish her object, she was now cheered by the return of her brother from Albany, with three horses, one of which she obtained; and, with her sister, she set out for Cherry Valley, thirty miles distant, the path leading through an unbroken wilderness, marked trees being their only guide. They rose alternately, carrying three children. After enduring many hardships, they reached their destination; but here another difficulty presented itself,--they were without provisions. On application of the colonel commanding, however, they received an order of the commissary for half-rations for three weeks, when Joseph, Martha’s husband, returned. He had been found innocent of the charges alleged against him and released. Hearing that the Indians designed an attack on the place, he immediately obtained a horse, and with his family, started for Dutchess County, which then seemed to be a place of refuge. They had advanced four miles, when the loud report of firearms told them the attack had commenced. Congratulating each other upon their timely escape from this scene of devastation and bloodshed, they hastened onward, and reached in safety the place of destination,--a distance of one hundred and sixty miles. There they remained until the close of the war. After peace was declared they started for their long-deserted home, which they reached with great difficulty, after five years’ exile.

So far, Mrs. Lull’s life has been one of continued hardship and adversity. It had, however, served to cherish and develop those principles which parental fondness had instilled into her young mind. Her husband died in the eighty-fifth year of his age—sixty-four of which has been passed with her on the farm where they first settled. Soon after this event she removed with her son, Jacob, to Louisville (now village of Morris), where she remained until her death, which occurred Jan. 6, 1851, at the advanced age of eighty-nine years, retaining her faculties until the last, and relying upon those sacred promises which had been the comfort of her declining years. She died surrounded by her kindred, honored by all who bore her mane, and pronounced blessed by all who knew the extent and unvarying character of her example.


Hon. Jacob K. Lull, son of Joseph and Martha Lull, was born Sept. 12, 1704, he being the tenth child of a family of sixteen children. When he was seventeen years old he engaged with John P. Bowers of Hudson, Columbia County, N. Y., to learn the tanner’s and currier’s trade. He remained with him two years, when in consequence of Mr. Bowers making a change in his business he left, and about a year after resumed his trade with Willard Caughey, of Butternuts. He remained with him something over three years, when he rented a small tannery and commenced business for himself. One year later, he built a tannery, where he carried on the business near twenty-one years, making an all twenty-seven years experience in the manufacture of leather.

He then suspended that branch of his business, and gave his whole attention to the manufacture of boots and shoes, which business he had established some time previous. Mr. Lull, at different periods of his life had been called to fill positions of trust. In the fall of 1837, he was elected to the State legislature. After the expiration of his term as assemblyman he returned to his home and again turned his attention to his former business. For the last twenty years he has lived a retired life.


James P. Kenyon was born in Cooperstown, Feb. 26, 1822. His parents were of Welsh descent. He came to Butternuts (now Morris) when only five years old, and lived with Samuel Somers, a tailor, until the spring of 1837, working the last two years at the tailor’s trade. He then apprenticed himself to Wing & Waite, working at wagon-making.

In the fall of 1841, when only nineteen years old, he commenced business for himself. In 1847 he married Miss Permelia S., only daughter of Sutton Pearsall, by whom he had three children. The oldest, Charles L. volunteered in the defense of his country in the United States navy, where he contracted brain-0fever, and died in1863, aged seventeen years. Mr. Kenyon by industry and economy acquired a competency, but his temperament would not permit to be idle; and in 1870, he purchased the drug and grocery-store formerly occupied by R. B. Wing, and at the present time is still engaged in that business. He was an indefatigable worker; whatever he undertook he generally accomplished. He has the reputation of being one of the best business men in the place. He is of a social nature and liberal in his ideas,

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

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