The History of Otsego, NY

By Holice and Debbie

General Edmund B. Bigelow was elected a member of assembly in 1837. In 1838-39 he built a brick hotel, the first brick building in the village. It was kept by him until burned march 19, 1860, after which he moved to Albany and kept a hotel on Washington street, and then in another part of the city until his decease a few years ago.

During the erection of the hotel, a son of Abijah Barrett ran through a bed of lime that was being slacked, and burned his legs so badly that he died.

General E. B. Bigelow was a pioneer. He was a merchant at East Worcester, postmaster a long time, owned a large farm, a brigadier-general of a regiment of infantry, and was one of the leading spirits in that part of the county. His wife was Huldah Howe. His sons were Edmund B., Wallace, Jerome, Gouverneur, and Thaddeus. One daughter (Jane) became the wife of William L. Gott, a man of considerable notoriety in later years.

On the lower side of the street was a hotel kept by Samuel Witt (after the Champions quit the hotel business), commencing in 1838, and continuing some twelve years. He removed to Carylville, kept a hotel there several years, at which place he died. His wife was Susan Caryl, a sister of Leonard Caryl, and she is still living.

Derrick Livingston kept a hotel many years, just east of the old school house. The Livingstons were quite numerous, and in 1819 Chauncey kept a hotel near Richmondville.

Still farther east, Joseph Powers kept a hotel, not far from the present railroad crossing. After his death it was continued by Chester Powers. This was quite a large family, and one of them, Ingraham, became a Baptist preacher.

After the destruction of the Bigelow hotel, and about the time the railroad was opened, D. W. Thurber bought a portion of the Warnerville seminary, and moved it to East Worcester, and erected a large hotel near the depot, nearly opposite where the old Champion hotel was located. This was kept by W. W. Babcock until 1877, when it was bout by other parties. It is the only one now kept in the place.

The next hotel west of East Worcester was kept by Captain Bela Johnson. Mr. Johnson was captain of a company in the 7th Regiment of infantry, and company drills were held at his place, and in 1818 at a hotel kept by Nathaniel Todd, since by John P. Russ, and lately by E. F. Knapp.

In those days hotels were kept and managed differently from what they are now. Most travelers carried their own provisions; teamsters had large dinner-pails, and ate their meals on bar-room tables or sitting on their wagons. The hotels were depended on for places of lodging, and barn room for their horses. Prices were low; s shilling for a lodging and meals, three cents for whiskey and cigars, and three cents per horse for a baiting of hay. Often I have sat in the hotel, seeing them roast clams in the big fire-place, and listening to their stories of pioneer-life.

As long time ago as 1807 or 1808 the mail was brought from Albany, on horseback, by Joseph Webb. After a while, he drove a horse and wagon, and occasionally carried a passenger. For a great many years Mr. Elias Brooks, of Westford, was a post-rider, bringing and distributing the papers published at Cooperstown. I think he continued until about the time of the opening of the Albany and Susquehanna railroad. His route was by Middlefield, Decatur, Worcester, East Worcester, and then by the way of Calcutta street to his home.

An early settler was Isaac Caryl. Who was born in Hopkinton, Mass., April 19, 1771. His ancestors were from England, and when quite young his father, Jonathan Caryl, moved with his family to Chester, Windsor Co., Vt.

On May 29, 1792, Isaac Caryl was married by elder Aaron Leland to Susan Snell, of Chester; by her he had five sons and two daughters. John, the oldest, was born at Chester, Oct. 1, 1792, Isaac, Jr., Nov. 8, 1794; Susan, Dec. 28, 1796; Leonard, March 20, 1799; Emily, April 20, 1801; Moses, Aug. 17, 1803; Joel, April 9, 1806. Susan, the mother of three children, died at Chester, Feb. 26, 1807, and a monument was erected to her memory by her sons. Her ancestry it is believed also English.

Isaac Caryl, Sr., married his second wife, Mary Barnes, born March 14, 1774. Married by Rev. Aaron Leland, aforesaid, in 1808, and moved to Sharon, Schoharie Co., N. Y.; thence to Worcester about 1810, and bought the farm now occupied by William H. Ely, where he erected a distillery and carried on a large farm. His father was in the Revolutionary War with Washington until it closed; was then honorably discharged. Isaac Caryl, Sr., ws highly esteemed by all who knew him. A few years before his death he moved to West Richmondville, a small village taking his name, called Carylville, when he died Sept. 17, 1843, aged seventy-two years.

John Caryl, oldest son of Isaac and Susan, lived with his father at Worcester aforesaid. He was a member of Captain Giles Kellogg’s company of artillery, composed of 100 men. They all volunteered in the War of 1812 for two years, to be in active service for one year. They were called out and stationed on the Canada line, and were in the battle of Sacket’s Harbor. Before leaving home he married Hannah Lampman, by whom he had five children,--two sons and three daughters,--the eldest, John G. Caryl, born May 5, 1813. He received a good common-school education, became a merchant in Worcester, aforesaid, and traded for quite a number of years. He married Christina Ann smith, daughter of Samuel Smith, of Central Bridge, Schoharie Co., N. Y. , to which place he moved, and continued a successful mercantile business and worked a small farm. He has been a number of times elected supervisor of the town of Schoharie.

Joel Cary;, the second son, and his sister, Susan, are deceased. The other two daughters married and moved west.

Isaac Caryl, Jr., married and lived in Worcester and vicinity many years. He moved to the city of New York, and thence to live, where he died. His wife died before leaving New York city.

Susan, the oldest daughter of Isaac Sr., was married at Worcester, to William Gott, by whom she had three children, Isaac D., Mary D., and William S. After her first husband’s decease she married Samuel Witt, by whom she had two children, John and Frances, both of them married and living in Nunda, Livingston Co., N. Y.

Leonard, the third son of Isaac and Susan, obtained by his own industry a good academic education at Chester, Windsor Co., Vt., and at the age of seventeen entered the store of Caryl & Fullerton, at Stockbridge, in said Windsor Co., Vt. As clerk, and remained as such until he became of age, when he entered into a copartnership with Dr. timothy P. Fay, under the firm-name of Fay & Caryl, buying goods in Boston, Mass. Doing a lucrative business for three or four years, he bought his partner'’ interest, and soon after closed business and removed to Worcester, in 1825. The year previous, in October, 1824, he married Mary, youngest daughter of the Hon. Silas Crippen. She was born at Worcester, July 29, 1800.

Leonard Caryl after his removal from Vermont to Worcester built a new store and commenced mercantile business near the residence of his father-in-law in 1825. In 1826 he purchased a store, two dwelling-houses, and other buildings in the centre of town, where he did an extensive business, not confined to Worcester only, but included the adjoining towns.

In 1841` he built the large brick building at East Worcester for a store and dwelling, at present occupied by his son-in-law, William H. Ely, the most expensive and elegant building in Worcester. The same year he was elected to the legislature by a majority of more than 1400, and in the town of 140, when the political parties were nearly balanced in town.

The year following he was elected supervisor. In 1837 he erected the hotel opposite his store, the same now occupied by George Charles as a private residence. As early as 1835, he advocated the feasibility of a railroad through the Schenevus valley as a necessary outlet for the coal of Pennsylvania, as well as the accommodation of the traveling public. At a railroad meeting of three counties at the court-house in Schoharie county he made the principal address; again at Oneonta and at different points on the route year after year, besides spending much time in Albany during the sessions of the legislature, advocating and looking after the interest of his favorite projects. And it is but justice to claim for him the pioneership of this enterprise. The company took 18 and 8/100s acres of his land for the track; he subscribed for fifty shares.

It was originally designed by the friends of the road that it should be owned by citizens on the line of the route and controlled by them; unfortunately that plan failed.

Mr. Caryl had four daughters and one son. The eldest died when four years of age. The second, Mary Jane, married Lasell J. Hayden, of Middlefield, who was a partner of Mr. Caryl at East Worcester for a number of years, under the firm-name of Caryl & Hayden, when a dissolution took place, and Hayden removed to the city of New York and became a partner of the firm of Hurlburt, Vanvalkenburgh & Co., in the dry-goods jobbing business, until the war broke out, when the firm was dissolved. His wife died Oct. 12, 1862, leaving two sons, Lasell J. Hayden and Louis C. Hayden.

Their father died at Elizabeth, N. J., and Mr. Caryl, the grandfather of the two boys became their guardian. His third daughter married Dr. Benjamin C. Ely, son of Dr. Sumner Ely, of Middlefield aforesaid, and moved to Girard, Erie Co., Pa., is a druggist; has four daughters and four sons.

His fourth daughter, Ellen, married William H. Ely, younger brother of Dr. Benjamin C.; was for many years in mercantile business in Middlefield aforesaid; was elected supervisor of said town for five years, sometimes without opposition; moved to East Worcester in the fall of 1868, and was chosen supervisor of Worcester in 1874; was elected member of the assembly, and again in 1875.

Mr. Caryl’s son, Julius Henry, was born Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1837, received a good academic education, and at an early age engaged in mercantile business in Worcester. Went from there to New York City and entered extensively into business, and has continued to the present time. In June 21, 1876, was married to Ellen, daughter of nelson Chase, Esq. Their residence is the Jumel mansion, on Washington Heights.

Moses Caryl died at Seward, Schoharie Co. march 27, 1869, and Joel Caryl the same year, the 7th November, at Richmondville, Schoharie Co., universally esteemed.

In the years 1808 and 1810, crossing the county-line going west, the first family was that of Elder Thomas Tallman. He came from England in the time of the Revolution with Burgoyne, a drummer, when about eighteen years of age. After Burgoyne’s surrender he remained in the United States, became a Baptist minister, and married many of the sons and daughters of the early settlers; lived to an advanced age, and died in Le Roy.

The next resident was Mr. Jennings, the next Noah Adset, next William Barrett, James Lamoune, Elisha E. Freeman’s father. After striking Schenevus creek road, Joseph Powers, with a large family, grandfather of Rev. Ingram Powers, opened a hotel in 1813 or 1814, and kept it for quite a number of years. After his decease it was kept by his son, Captain Chester Powers. The estate was settled in the court of chancery, and the farm of 224 acres was purchased by Leonard Caryl.

The next inhabitant was Josiah Hill, and one Bonsteil, who kept a hotel not more than one hundred rods from Powers’ hotel. The next was Isaac Caryl, owning a one-sixth part of a 1000-acre tract; the north and south roads passing through it. The place was known for many years as East Worcester Four Corners. The next resident was Andrew Little, owning another one-sixth part of the McGee patent of 1000 acres.

About this time the father of Jonathan L. Pinney, a merchant in Middlefield, moved in and kept a small store. The next was David Babcock, in early life a seafaring man; owned another one-sixth part. Next was Joshua Bigelow, who owned another one-sixth of the tract, kept an inn, was a man of some note. General Edmund B. Bigelow was son of his. The next one-sixth of said tract was owned by Benjamin Delamatter, who kept and inn. The sixth and last of the tract was owned by Amos Starkweather.

The next on the road was John H. Hudson, on the farm now occupied by his son, Edward M. Hudson, or the smaller part of it. Them passing through a piece of woods we come to a place once occupied by Captain Seneca Bigelow, brother to General e. B. Bigelow. Was elected supervisor of the town one or more years, and his brother, General E. B. Bigelow, was elected member of the legislature.

The next in order, as we move down the Schenevus Creek valley, was Colonel Bela Johnson, who kept an inn and owned one of the best farms in the town; a man of some notoriety; married his second wife, sister of Seneca and General E. B. Bigelow.

The next residence was that of Seth Dickenson, where Bradley Ritton and Samuel Robbins now reside. Next, Francis Dickenson, brother of Seth; a blacksmith, had a large family of boys and worked a frm. Nearly opposite lived Jonathan Pickering, a hatter; elected justice of the peace. His wife’s name was Cass before she was married; a relative of Hon. Lewis Cass. Near Pickering’s residence lived Captain Samuel Houghton, a shoemaker by trade, a very shrewd man; was elected constable and appointed deputy sheriff. At one time he had an execution against some man on South Hill, and in those days executions, for the want thereof, took the body. The man was on the lookout, and when he saw the constable coming would slip into his house and fasten the door. The constable, unwilling to be outdone, noticed a corn-field close by the house; one night took a cow-bell, went into the corn-field, rattled the bell. The night was dark, the man came in haste to drive away the cow, stumbled over the constable, and was caught; paid the debt, and no doubt felt himself none the wiser for attempting to defraud his neighbor of his honest due.

In the same neighborhood, a little east, lived Dr. Uriah Gregory Bigelow, son of Uriah Bigelow, many years a practicing physician, highly esteemed. Was elected supervisor of the town quite a number of years. He died March 39, 1850.

The next resident was Adam Clark, a farmer and an early settler. Died in Worcester.

Nearly opposite lived Orange Wright, a wheelwright by trade, which he prosecuted, farming at the same time. Was a deacon in the Baptist church for many years; a good neighbor. Died Nov. 18, 1837, leaving a widow and a number of children.

The next resident was Calvin Clark’s, s shoemaker. He subsequently moved into Delaware county, where he died.

The next resident was Leonard Caryl, whose history has been given.

William Stimson was the next. His farm is now owned and occupied by Adoniram Thompson.

Nearly opposite said Stimpson’s residence lived Dr. Uriah Bigelow, born in western Massachusetts, March 9, 1765. He emigrated to Worcester, Feb. 20, 1794, and settled on the farm where he lived until his decease, Aug. 10, 1842. Dr. Bigelow was a man of energy and perseverance. Had a fine water-privilege on his farm, which he improved at an early day, built a grist-mill and a saw-mill; did much to sustain the congregational church, of which he was a member; one of the principal men, if not the first, that engaged in erecting the Congregational meetinghouse in 1822, which was repaired in 1860. Previous to the building of this house the people met in a large schoolhouse, standing on the corner of the street where Delos Van Hueson’s residence now is, for public worship.

Says Leonard Caryl, "I have known four generations of Bigelows, and one or more doctors in each." Dr. Uriah had a son, Dr. Uriah Gregory, mentioned above. He had a son, Uriah G., who settled in Albany, practiced medicine, and died there; his son, John succeeded to his practice, which is quite extensive.

The next residence was that of Seth Chase, a tanner by trade. He was colonel of a regiment, supervisor of the town at different times, member of the legislature in 1819 and 1820, and judge of the courts.

The Free and Accepted Masons had a lodge in his house. The meeting of its members was discontinued after the Morgan affair. The colonel was Master, followed by Dr. Joseph Carpenter, Leonard Caryl, and others.

The judge was a man of substance, strict integrity, and was highly esteemed. His son, Colonel Wm. H. Chase, occupies the old homestead. We next come to the residence of Robert Quail, who came from Ireland when young. He owned the farm where Mr. John Tricky now lives. His son, William C. quail, was a man of some note; held various town offices. His sons are Luke, William, James, and Atchenson.

Solomon Hartwell lived where John Cook’s house now stands. He came from Massachusetts with Uriah Bigelow and Nathaniel Todd, before spoken of. Passing the residences of Major Todd and Solomon Hartwell, we come to the pleasant village of Worcester. Beyond the dwelling of Mr. Briggs, who lived across this creek, was the residence of Daniel Crippen, the fourth son of Silas Crippen, born in Worcester, Feb. 26, 1786. The next resident was John Waterman, a farmer. The next Jacob Stener. Then we come to the town-line dividing Worcester and Maryland. It may not be uninteresting, before leaving the history of Worcester, to give the names of residents of this town who have served as members of assembly in their order of election. The first was Silas Crippen, in 1816; the next, Henry Albert, emigrated from New England at an early day, settled on South Hill, and raised a large family,--Frederick Albert, now seventy-eight years of age, still a resident of the town, is a son of his, born in Worcester, his father was a member in 1817; Seth Chase, before mentioned, in 1819; Schuyler Crippen, son of Silas, before mentioned, in 1831; General Edmund B. Bigelow, in 1837; Leonard Caryl, in 1842; Samuel H. Grant was a member in 1857; James Stewart, grandson of General James Stewart; before mentioned, in 1873; William H. Ely, in 1874 and 1875.

That portion of the charlotte Valley lying in Otsego County, called South Worcester, is a fruitful valley, lying between "South Hill" and the Delaware county hills, the Charlotte Creek dividing Worcester from Harpersfield. The country was settled about the time of the Revolution. One James Strain, whose descendants are now quite numerous, purchased land in the Charlotte Valley about the year 1773. Then and until the year 1800 the country was one unbroken wilderness, the residents cutting bridle-paths, or going by marked trees from Catskill to the Charlotte, with occasional settlements like Schoharie on the route.----Strain, Timothy Murphey, Lodowick Becker, and Josiah Darwin were some of the earliest pioneers to the Charlotte. Becker, the grandson of Lodowick, became the most prominent occupant of the valley, and from an untutored Dutch boy became one of the leading lawyers in the State. He accumulated a large fortune. He died leaving six children, who are all active businessmen. His son, George, the oldest, was the counsel for the murderer Ruloff. His other sons are lawyers, and are doing well. In losing Abram Becker, South Worcester lost much of its energy and life, and it is now quietly pursuing its course more as a farming community than as a business centre.

There is a large amount of wealth in the valley for a farming locality. The Michaels, Martins, Robertsons, Beckers, and Darwins are among the most thriving of its citizens.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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