The History of Otsego, NY 
Plainfield Early Settlement

By Holice and Debbie



Organization — Geographical — Natural Features — First Settles — Their Locations — Incidents — Initial Events — The First Town Meeting — Officer Elected — Supervisors and Town Clerks from the Organization of the Town to 1876 — Present town Officials — Agricultural and General Statistics — Area — Assessed and Equalized Valuation — Population.

This town, upon the organization of the county, was embraced in the old town of Otsego, and remained a part of that town until 1792, when Richfield was set off, and embraced in addition to its present territory the towns of Plainfield and Exeter. Plainfield was set off simultaneously with Exeter, on March 25, 1799. It is the northwest corner town in the county, and is bounded as follows: on the north by the counties of Oneida and Herkimer; on the east by Herkimer county; and the towns of Richfield and Exeter; on the south by Exeter, Burlington, and Edmeston; and on the west by the Unadilla river, which separates it from Madison county. The surface is a hilly upland, the bluffs along the river rising to the height of 400 feet. It is surely an agricultural town, and the soil consists chiefly of a clayey and sandy loam.

The first settlements in this town were made in the year 1793. Among the first who penetrated the forest, and located in this at that time isolated region, were John Kilbourne, Elias Wright, Ruggles Spooner, Samuel Williams, and Benjamin and Abel Clark.

Though occupying an isolated location, Plainfield was about as rapidly settled as any of the adjoining towns, and by a class of people whose character and integrity left a lasting influence for good among their posterity. Among those who rendered much valuable service to the pioneers, and exerted himself in no small degree the material interest of the town, was Caleb Brown. He was the pioneer in building at the "Forks," and in 1805 erected the first grist-mill in the town at that place. He soon built an oil-mill and cloth-factory on the east branch of the Unadilla. He also erected a building for a woolen-factory on what was called the "Island," a short distance south of the Forks. He was preparing to set up the machinery in this building, had engaged workmen, and commenced spinning temporarily in the chamber of his spacious dwelling, when suddenly his death occurred, and the various enterprises which he had founded were abandoned, and the prosperity of the place for a time considerably checked. He also owned a large tract of land in the town.

Samuel Williams, mentioned above, settled in the north part of the town, not far from the line of the county. He was an active man, and the first supervisor of Plainfield.

Benjamin, Abel, and Perry Clark were also early settlers. The two former located at the Forks, and the latter about two and one-half mile southeast, on a farm taken from the Lispenard patent, on premises now owned by nelson Clark, a grandson. His father, Isaac P. Clark, was born in the town, and resided here until his death, about three years ago. Several children reside in the vicinity. Reynolds, another son of Perry C., resides in Leonardsville.

A worthy pioneer who settled east of Plainfield Centre was parley Phillips, who came from Adams, Mass., prior to 1800. In 1813 he changed his location, settling one mile east of Lloysville, where he passed the remainder of his days. He was active in the affairs of the town, and served fifteen years as town clerk. His family consisted of twelve children. Parley, a son, born in1810, lives on the homestead. Jeremiah went as a missionary to Hindostan in 1835, and after a residence of twenty years returned to his native country, and after remaining here until 1865 returned to his field of labor, where he and his family now reside. Four children are missionaries.

Parley Philips, the father, caught the smallpox during his trip to see his son off for India, and both himself and his wife died from the loathsome disease in 1835.

Joshua Babcock emigrated from Connecticut to the town of Bridgewater, Oneida County, in about the year 1796, and in 1802 moved to his town and settled near the Forks. His family consisted of nine children, four of whom reside in the town: Joshua F., on the old homestead; Henry H. is a merchant in the village; and Mrs. Elizabeth Crumb and Mrs. Lucy T. Babcock also reside in the village.

Joshua Babcock was one of the enterprising men of the county, and served in many official positions. He was member of assembly in 1818 and ’21; supervisor in 1834, and presidential elector in1836. His son, henry H., has also officiated several times as supervisor of his town.

A worthy pioneer was Azariah Armstrong, who was born in Bennington, Vt., April 1, 1776. He emigrated from his native State in1812, and located on the premises now owned and occupied by D. M. and C. H. Armstrong. Mr. A. remained there until his death, which occurred in 1835. His wife died on the old homestead in 1848. Their family consisted of the following children, viz.: Ominda (deceased), Farrand S.(deceased), Hopestill, Morey W., Solomon, Gethro G.(deceased), David M., Dr. Azariah (deceased), and Charles H. the surviving children all reside in the town. Solomon is a prominent citizen, and has represented his town in the board of supervisors two terms; David M. was also supervisor in1871 and 1872. Solomon has one son, S. Eugene, and David M. has three children, Nellie, Inis, and Morey E. A son of Farrand S., George W., is deceased, and a daughter, Dette, is the wife of George Wing. Finett, the wife of Simon Hubbard, and Morey W., has one named Floyd E.

A prominent and active pioneer was Giles Kilbourne, who settled on lands now owned by a son, Francis S. Kilbourne. Mr. K. did much to advance the interest of the town, and was ranked among its leading citizens. Francis S. also manifests an interest in the public welfare, and has represented his town in the board of supervisors two terms, 1874 and 1875.

The Locality known as Spooner’s Corners derived its name from a worthy pioneer named Ruggles Spooner, familiarly known as Squire Spooner. A daughter, Mrs. Sophronia Crumb, resides near Leonardsville.

Luther smith, from Connecticut, was also an early settler in this vicinity. Here he remained until his death, which occurred a few years since. He was about ninety years of age. His son, Benjamin smith, who was born in Connecticut in 1815, occupies the old homestead, together with his son, who was born in this county in 1829.

The premises now occupied by Solomon Armstrong, Esq., were settled by Colonel Loomis, who had two sons, residents of the town, both of whom are deceased.

At Plainfield Centre, Joseph Sims was an early settler and a pioneer inn-keeper, in the building now occupied as a dwelling by Evan Evans. He has two sons, Ephraim F., residing in Exeter, and Jephtha, at Fort Plain, N. Y. The latter is known as the author of "Sims’ Border War," an interesting and meritorious work. Joseph Sims, a son of Ephraim, is a traveler, author and lecturer. He has made extensive tours in the East and South America, and at this writing is traveling in California.

Captain Vose Palmer was a prominent and influential actor in early scenes at Plainfield Centre. At his house was held the first town-meeting. He was chosen supervisor in 1800, and officiated in that capacity until 1810. His family consisted of two sons and two daughters. One daughter married Spencer Kellogg, who for many years was the business man in Plainfield Centre. He removed to Utica, and was subsequently mayor of the city. The other daughter married Jonathan McFarland, and his son, Levi P., who was supervisor in 1867 and 1868, now occupies the old homestead.

Festus Hyde, from Connecticut, was a prominent pioneer at Plainfield Centre. He was a justice of the peace, and member of assembly in 1842. After remaining here a number of years he removed to Connecticut.

Dr. Harry Clark was a prominent physician at Plainfield Centre, where he resided many years, and finally removed to Wisconsin.

South of the Centre, an early settler was Stephen Bevin, who came from Connecticut. Four sons, Samuel, Isaac, Julius, and William, reside in the town; the two former occupy the old homestead.

In the vicinity of the Sprague school-house in district No. 6, David Dewey wa a worthy pioneer. He had two sons, Jabez and Daniel, and a number of daughters. Jabez married and settled in this town, and his family consisted of three sons and two daughters. The sons were Samuel and Alexander. The former is a physician, and resides in Wisconsin. The latter married and also settled in this town; had four children,--two sons and two daughters. Dennis A., a son, enlisted in the War of the Rebellion, and lost a foot in the service. Both Dennis A. and his father now reside at Winfield. Alexander is a prominent man in the town, and officiated as supervisor as early as 1853.

A pioneer in the south part of town was General Billings Brown, and Sewell Spaulding. General Brown was supervisor from 1816 to 1820. In the southwest part of the town, Joshua Simon and Stephen Saunders, who came from Rhode Island, were early settlers. A son of Stephen S., named Clark, and a daughter, the wife of E. Bass, reside in the vicinity.

The premises now occupied by Morris Bassett were early settled by his grandsire, William Bassett. Mr. B. and his wife lived to the advanced age of ninety years, having lived together as husband and wife more than seventy years. Another early settler in this vicinity ws Asa Lamphere, from Rhode Island, who married a sister of Stephen Saunders.

In the northwest part of the town, where are located the best farming lands, in a thoroughfare known as "Hackley Street," which derived its name from Dr. Hackley, a prominent pioneer, who located on the lands now owned and occupied by a son, Sali--- H. Hackley.

The father of C. H. and E. P. Fitch was a worthy pioneer, who settled on the premises now occupied by them. Prentice Brown, of honored memory, was a pioneer on Hackley Street, on the farm now owned by Wm. L. Brown. The latter was two sons, Alonzo W. and William H.

Nathaniel Crumb was an early settler, at the Forks, on the premises now owned by a grandson, A. B. Crumb.

Squire Elijah Gates early located at the Forks, and still resides there at an advanced age. He has four sons and one daughter residing in the town. He has officiated as justice of the peace during many years, and has discharged the duties of that office with great acceptability. He is also a deacon in the Free-Will Baptist church. Four son and one daughter are living, viz., Nathaniel, H. Henry, James M., and Mrs. Tarbull,--all of whom, except Nathaniel H., are residents of the town.

William Utler was an early pioneer at the Forks. He was a leading citizen, and served as supervisor and member of assembly. Cyrus Brown was also an early settler. He was a pioneer justice of the peace, and member of assembly in 1849. A son, Samuel A., resides in the town. Marshall Baker, father of Dr. Ward Baker, who practiced medicine a number of years at Plainfield Centre, was also a pioneer.

Stephen Chapman, Jr., was an early settler, and is still living at the Forks at an advanced age. P. and S. A. Chapman, sons, reside in the town; the former on the old homestead, and the latter at Unadilla Forks. Captain Holdridge, the father of Captain William P. Holdridge, was also an early settler in this vicinity.

In the southwest part of town, Squire William Walker was a pioneer, on lands now owned by John Watkins. He reared a large family of children, two of whom, Charles and Almond, were merchants. Charles began business at Burlington Flats, and subsequently went to Chicago, and is now a merchant in that city. Almond, deceased, was also a merchant in Chicago. He married a daughter of Captain Vose Palmer. Charles was a prominent citizen. He was member of assembly from this county in 1840.

Henry Luke was an early settler in this vicinity. He reared a numerous family. Phipps was a Free-Will Baptist minister; Valoris removed to Chatauqua County, and has represented that county in the legislature; Jarvis was an attorney, first practicing in Little Falls, and afterwards in New York.

Other early settlers were Benjamin Allen, Jr., Charles Burt, Jesse Gardner, Martin Luce, Henry Ward, David Cutler, Samuel Fuller, Asa Lovejoy, Nathan Farrar, Benjamin Baker, Otis Lincoln, Eliphalet Stewart, Elijah Gyle, Benjamin Briggs, ------- Parsons, ------ Spicer, Seth Penny, Cyrus Fish, Samuel Crosby, A. Moffat, Asa Carrier, Nathan Farrar, Eliza Jones, Jotham Chapin, C. Burt, G. Doxy, James Stirling, Daniel Doane, Samuel Preston, Eliza Wright, Orson Fitch, and Samuel Clark.

The first merchant at the "Forks" was Henry Clark. Other old tradesmen are mentioned viz., Charles Walker, Perry Clark, and H. H. Babcock. The first physician was H. Clark. The first hotel at the Forks was kept by Lodowick Brown. The first hotel in the town was opened by William Lincoln, at Lloydville. James Robinson was the pioneer school-teacher, at Spooner’s Corners, in about 1788.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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