Otsego Town, Otsego, NY
Early Settlers, Part II
By Holice and Debbie

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Early Settlers of Otsego Town, Part II

A prominent settler in Upper Fly Creek valley was Nehemiah Hinds, who located in 1816. Many of his descendents are numbered among the influential citizens of the town.

Among other old settlers in the valley are mentioned the names of Joseph Sprague, Platt St. John and father, Andrew Scribner, Levi Pierce, and John McCulloch.

An enterprising pioneer above Fly Creek village was John Badger, who in an early day had a trip-hammer and pail-factory, long since abandoned. He had two sons, Oresties and John R. Badger. A grandson is a merchant at Fly Creek village.

A useful man in this vicinity was John Rockwell, who came to the village in an early day, and combined the trade of a goldsmith with farming and clock-making. Eliphalet Williams, a pioneer below Fly Creek village, operated a cloth and carding-machine on Oaks Creek, at what is now known as the stone mill.

On the present site of the butt-factory a wire manufactory was established in 1812, which did a profitable business until the close of the war. The tariff act was then repealed, and the wire-factory closed. The building was subsequently changed to a paper-mill, and still later to a grist-mill. This was operated for a time and transformed to a twine-manufactory, and finally was destroyed by fire. The present building is of stone. Vine Welch was an early settler. He had two sons, Vine Jr., and Rensselaer.

Pioneers on the old "turnpike" were Isaac Russell, who located about one and one-half miles from Cooperstown, and Oliver Gardner, about two miles from Cooperstown. The former in addition to farming officiated as "gate-keeper" on the "turnpike," Isaac Loomis came in at an early date, and located near Oaksville. His original location was until recently in the possession of his descendents.

The cotton-mill on Oaksville called the Otsego printworks was erected by Russell Williams in 1830.

From Litchfield, Conn., came John Baldwin, in 1832, who located on a farm formerly owned by one Crafts. Mr. Baldwin died in 1861. A son, Leonard Baldwin, resides in the town.

John Wiley, Sr., an honored pioneer, came from Schoback, Albany county, in 1807, and settled near the Wiley school-house. A son, John Wiley, Jr., resides with his granddaughter near the original location.

Other settlers in this vicinity were Stephen Cronk, Jonathon Price, Asa Kenney, Edward Mervis, Sumner Hecox, Levi Brockway, and Samuel Benjamin.

Daniel Roberts, a son of Deacon James Roberts, a pioneer of Burlington, was born in Burlington, and subsequently moved into this town and settled on a farm near Oaksville. A son, Jonathon P. Roberts, now resides on lands located a short distance west of the old homestead.

As an illustration of early prices, it is related that where is now located some of the best farming lands in the town, 180 acres were leased by Jonathon Price, a pioneer from Rensselser county, for less then fourteen cents per acre per annum. On the premises now owned by G. E. Beadle, about four miles distant from Cooperstown, his father, Homer Beadle, was an early settler.

Prominent among those who left the conveniences and comforts of New England for a abode in the wilderness was Samuel Hartson, who emigrated from the "Granite State," and located in this town in 1798, then but seventeen years of age. Upon arriving at the age of twenty-one, he purchased a farm at "Snowton Hill." A daughter, the wife of William Kinney, now seventy-six years of age, resides on the old homestead. William Kinney, Jr., was born in Burlington, in 1799, and removed to this town in 1822, where he has since resided. A sturdy pioneer in the west part of town was William Kinney, Sr., who came from Connecticut in about the year 1791. He was a wheel-wright, and learned the trade of Stephen Morse.

Jedediah Peck, John Russell, Daniel, David, Abraham M., and Aaron Marvin were also early settlers.

Platt St. John was a pioneer, and his widow, with her grandchildren, reside on the old homestead. A New Englander named Richard Davidson, accompanied by his sons, Asel B. and Titus, was also a pioneer. Titus’ widow resides on the old homestead with her son Lewis.

A veteran of the Revolution who early selected a home in this picturesque region was Jerry Carter. He was somewhat distinguished among the pioneers as having been a waiter to General La Fayette. Some of the descendents of Charles Bailey, who came here from England and early settled here, now occupy the old home. Deacon Summer turner’s father was also a pioneer.

In the days of the stage-coaches the various taverns along the routes were institutions of great importance to the traveler. One of these primitive institutions, and the first on the old turnpike through this town, was kept by Levi Brockway. Here many a weary traveler was cheered alike by Levi’s fireplace, venison, and whiskey. The latter commodity in those days was a common beverage, and served to cheer but not inebriate.

The first tavern in Oaksville was kept by John and James Roberts. Thos. Lewis, an old settler from Rhode Island, is also remembered as the keeper of an inn on the turnpike between Burlington and Oaksville.

The first mill in the town was erected at Toddsville, by Samuel Tubbs, in 1790.

Toddsville derived its name from Jehiel Todd, who came from Connecticut in an early day and settled in that locality, and built the first paper-mill in this section of country. He had two sons,--Lemuel and Ira.

The first grist- and saw-mill at Oaksville was built in 1797 by Geo. Johnson. As old building is now standing on the turnpike above Oakesville, which was used as a store in about 1800 by one Drake. This building stands near the site of the Brockway tavern.

Many years after the building of the Great Western turnpike, it was frequented by the Oneida Indians, who passed much time in their wigwams, located between Fly Creek and Cooperstown.

Among the earliest and most prominent settlers at fly Creek were the Cheneys, consisting of Ebenezer Cheney, of honored memory, accompanied by his thee sons,--William, Joseph, and Ebenezer, Jr. They were natives of Connecticut. The father and one son, William, were soldiers in the Revolutionary war. Joseph Cheney built a log house and frame barn, and was subsequently a farm-house, which he kept as an inn soon after the opening of the turnpike. As an instance of the estimation in which he was held, it is related that during the surveying of the line for the turnpike some differences of opinion arose as to the proper location through this town, and Judge William Cooper, to whom the matter was referred, told them that they must make a road to accommodate Joseph Cheney, who had built a new house and was an enterprising man.

A son of Joseph Cheney, Colonel J. A. Cheney, resides on a portion of the old homestead at Fly Creek.

Stephen North, also a native of Connecticut, was a prominent settler in this vicinity. His sons, Albert, Linus, and Stephen, Jr., were leading citizens, and the founders of the Presbyterian church.

David Shipman, the "Leatherstocking" and "Deerslayer" of J. Fenimore Cooper’s novels, was a resident of this town, living in a log cabin on the east bank of Oaks creek, about equi-distant between Toddsville and Fly Creek village. Aden Adams, of Cooperstown, aged eighty-one, states that he knew David Shipman well. He dressed in tanned deerskin, and with his dogs roamed the forest, hunting deer, bears, and foxes. Cooper says that she went west, and there leaves him. Colonel Cheney, however, states that he returned to his old home and lived several years afterwards. His wife died, and was buried in wet ground, the water partially filling the grave. Elder Bostwick, a Baptist minister from the town of Hartwick, officiated at the funeral, and upon remarking to Leatherstocking that it was a poor place to bury the dead, the old hunted answered, "I know it, and if I live to die, I expect to be buried there myself." And was buried in the Adams cemetery, where he lies with no marble slab to mark his resting-place. "Leatherstocking" had one son, Samuel Shipman, who reared a large family of sons and daughters.*

On Dec. 31, 1874, died Mrs. Sarah Clinton, in the ninetieth year of her age. She and her husband, the late Simeon Clinton, were born at Fly Creek. Mrs. Clinton was a daughter of John Adams. Her sister, Dolly, married Samuel Wilson, who built the well-known white house near the west line of this town, which has ever since retained the name. They moved to Worthington, O., where they died. These families received their deeds from Judge William Cooper, and were the first to settle north of Tubb’s mills, on the Oaks Creek valley, and cut the first road through on the east side of the creek. This was in the days of Judge Wm. Cooper, when his patent was a wilderness. Then bears, deer, wolves, and other wild animals were a great terror to the inhabitants,--the wolves making night hideous with their demoniac howls.

Among other early settlers, remembered as leading citizens in the days gone by, were two brothers, Abraham and David Marvin, who came from Balston Spa, N. Y. They located on farms at Fly Creek village, and the former erected the first grist- and saw-mill above Tubb’s, on Oaks creek. Warren and Stephen Babbitts, from New England, were early settles, and sons of their descendents reside in the town. (The History of Otsego, Duane Hamilton Hurd, 1878)

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Transcribed by Holice B. Young

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Copyright Debbie Axtman and Holice B. Young

December 23, 1999

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