The territory of Hamden was, like that of Delhi, in the counties of Otsego and Ulster prior to 1797. The portion southeast of the river is in great lots 37 and 38 of the Hardenberg patent. The town contains about 54 square miles.
The name was given because of the close resemblance of the country to Hampden, a county of Massachusetts bordering upon Connecticut, to which many of the early settlers were very partial; but when a post-office was asked the p was dropped that the name might not coincide with that of another office in the State. The territory of Hamden was included in Walton during the year 1797, and was mostly included in Delhi from 1798 to 1825, when the rapid increase in the population of Delhi and Walton induced the formation of Hamden. The substance of the act creating the new town, passed by the legislature April 4th, 1825, is that from and after the 1st of the following March parts of Delhi and Walton should be comprehended in a town to be called Hamden, and with the following boundary: "Beginning on a division line between Delhi and Andes, where the line between great lots 38 and 39 of the Hardenberg tract intersects the same; thence northwesterly on said lot line to the east branch of the Delaware river; thence down said river to where the westerly line of the Whitesborough patent strikes the same; thence northwesterly along the Whitesborough line to the town of Franklin; thence along the line of Franklin to the Walton line; thence southeasterly along the Walton line to the northeasterly corner of lot 2 in the Babbington patent; thence southwesterly to the northwesterly corner of lot 96 in the Livingston patent; thence on the westerly line of said lot to the river; thence down said river to the lower line of the land of Herman H. Bear; thence southeasterly on that lower line to the line between Walton and Colchester; thence along the lines of Colchester and Andes to the place of the beginning."
The same act directed that the first town meeting be held on the first Tuesday of March next, at the house of Edward B. Chace, innkeeper.
On the 7th of March, 1826, the voters assembled and elected the first board of town officers, as follows: Jabez Bostwick, supervisor; Daniel Coleman, jr., town clerk; Sheldon Patterson, Samuel W. Andrews, and Benajah Hawley, assessors; Harry P. Chase, collector; Walter Chace and John S. Andrews, overseers of the poor; Heth P. Kinch, Archibald Church and Abram Covert, highway commissioners; Marcus L. Bostwick, Joseph S. Combes and Donald Shaw, commissioners of common schools; Elias Ensign, Daniel Coleman, jr. and Jabez Bostwick, inspectors of common schools; Heth P. Kinch, Harry P. Chase and Stephen Hanford, constables; Matthew R. Tiff, Samuel Terry, John Wood, Zelotus Barker, Abram Covert and Edmond W. Mead, fence viewers.
In March, 1826, the highway commissioners elect apportioned the town into road districts, and appointed overseers as follows: No. 1, John S. Andrus; No. 2, Benajah Hawley; No. 3, John Combs, jr.; No. 5, Eli Bagley; No. 6, William Babcolk; No. 7, Samuel W. Andrus; No. 8, Miles Curtis; No. 9, William Baker; No. 10, Edmund W. Mead; No. 11, Peter Merritt; No. 12, Sheldon Patterson; No. 13, Daniel Reeves; No. 14, Isaac Roberts.
On the 14th of April the proper officers of Walton, Delhi and Hamden convened to "divide the poor," and upon the basis of valuation of Walton it was found that one-eleventh part of the expense of the support of the only three paupers of Walton would fall to Hamden for the proportion of territory taken from the old town of Walton. It was found that Hamden should pay two-sevenths of the expense of Delhi's paupers, and as there were only three - William Bromley, Dorcas Paine, and Polly Paine - Hamden was adjudged to care for the youngest, Polly Payne.
On the 18th of the same month the first road was laid out, beginning on the Ulster and Delaware turnpike, at a point easterly of Samuel Tiffany's, "where the road from Howland Clove intersects the same; thence by due courses to the top of the mountain; thence to the old road near Jedediah Johnson's, leading from Terry Cove to Isaac Goodrich's."
On the 26th of July of the same year the town was apportioned into school districts by the school commissioners. The lower part of the town, both sides of the river, was called No. 1; a large portion of the territory above that, on both sides of the river, was denominated No. 2; that portion between No. 2 and the Delhi line, on both sides of the river, was designated No. 3; north of the first three districts, and adjoining, was district No. 4, with it's north line extending from the Walton to the Delhi line, and as far north as the line between lots 47 and 48; the remainder of the town north of the last mentioned district, between it and Franklin, was No. 5; from the east corner of No. 3, in the line between Delhi and Hamden, thence to the height of land on said line, thence along westerly on the watershed and around to the lower corner of No. 3, was called district No. 6; from the said high land on the town line between Delhi and Hamden, following around the line of Hamden with Delhi and Andes to the high land between Terry and Basin Cloves, thence north to No. 3, constituted District No. 7; and the remainder of the town, including Basin Clove and Gregory Hollow, was called No. 8.
The above statements conclusively show the sparse settlement of the town in 1826, and will impress upon the minds of the younger readers the disadvantages of school privileges of those days, when at least nine square miles of wilderness formed a district. The same territory now embraces more than a score of well settled districts, all with houses and conveniences unknown to the children of that time.
The school monies in 1832 were just $121, to be apportioned among the districts of the town - then twelve.
We find that at the general election of 1826 Hamden cast for governor 142 votes - for W.B. Rochester 96, and for DeWitt Clinton 46. At the last general election 431 votes were cast.
The statute time of town meeting was changed to the third Tuesday of February in the year 1837. This was on account of the lumber interest drawing voters down the river. These town meetings were held as the previous Assembly should vote - alternately between the tavern at DeLancey and Hamden village.
The bounties upon the larger of the predatory wild animals were kept up by the Delhi authorities to quite a late date, but no bounty upon larger animals than wildcats was paid by Hamden itself. As late as 1852 resolutions were passed to increase the wildcat bounty from $2 to $5. In 1849 a bounty of one shilling was paid for each crow killed.
In the civil war this town's loyalty was not exceeded in the country. Some of the best of her sons were early enlisted, and filled prominent positions. August 30th, 1862, by a vote of 173 to 13, it was resolved to pay $50 bounty; and in December 1863, by a vote of 164 to 14, $300 was made the prevailing bounty. This was increased as occasion demanded, until, in a special town meeting, September 1st, 1864, the bounty was made $850 for each man, and was very liberally bestowed upon all who entered the service. Bonds were not used until the last bounty; for, as the money was needed, the town officers and prominent responsible men cordially entered into a proper note or notes, which brought sufficient funds; all indebtedness was carefully refunded by taxation, and the bonds were entirely paid in 1874.
We close this section on the civil history of the town with lists of the principal town officers from the first, and the years of their incumbency:
Supervisors. - Jabez Bostwick, 1826- 28; White Griswold, 1829- 31, 1843, 1844; Hiram B. Goodrich, 1832 - 34; Harry P. Chace, 1835, 1836; Donald Shaw, 1837 - 39, 1842; Benajah Hawley, 1840, 1841; Ira Peake, 1845, 1846; Fred W. Launt, 1847, 1848; Alex Salton, 1849, 1850; Walter Wood, 1851, 1852, 1854; Smith M. Titus, 1853; Horace B. Hawley, 1855, 1856; Alexander Shaw, 1857-59, 1862-65; John McFarland, 1860, 1861; David Salton, 1866-68; Robert Murray, 1869, 1870; Henry Holmes, 1871, 1872; Daniel Crawford, 1873, 1874; William Lewis, 1875-79.
Town Clerks. - Daniel Coleman, jr. 1826-28; Richard M. Goodrich, 1829, 1830, 1834-36; Daniel B. Coleman, 1831; White Griswold, 1832, 1839-42; Chauncey St. John, 1833; Cyrenus Noble, 1837, 1838; Peter Brock, 1843-49; Thomas Williams, 1850, 1851; Marshall Shaw, 1855, 1856; John Russell, 1857, 1858, 1861; Hiram J. Combes, 1859, 1860; Donald Crawford, 1862, 1863; H. B. McCabe, 1864, 1865; Marcus B. Williams, 1866, 1867; Alexander Lewis, jr., 1868-73; W. J. Renwick, 1874, 1875; Marshall E. Combs, 1876-79.
Justices of the Peace. - Jabez Bostwick and Walter Chace, elected 1828; Heth P. Kinch and James S. Combs, 1829; Mat. R. Tiff, 1830; R. M. Goodrich, 1831; Walter Chace, 1832, 1833; M. R. Tiff, 1834; R. M. Goodrich, 1835; William Mason (vacancy), 1835; Ira Mallory, 1836; Walter Chace, 1837; William Mason, 1838; William R. Chace, 1839; Ira Mallory and Richard M. Goodrich, 1840; Walter Chace and Augustus J. Peake, 1841; Joshua Close, 1843; White Griswold and Alexander Lewis, 1844; Walter Wood, 1845, 1846; R. M. Goodrich, 1847; Alexander Lewis, 1848; Allen Stoodley, 1849; Cyrus Peake, 1850; Peleg Kent, 1851; Alexander Lewis, 1852; Thomas Williams, 1853; Marshall Shaw, 1854; Ira Mallory, 1855; William Lewis, jr., 1856; Thomas Williams, 1857, 1858; James Chambers, 1859; William Lewis, jr., 1860; James S. Stoddard, 1861; Warren L. Peake, 1862; James Chambers, 1863; Donald Crawford and William Mallory, 1864 (one for vacancy); Thomas Williams, 1865; Donald Crawford, 1866; James Chambers, 1867; William Mallory, 1868; Thomas Williams, Thomas Jamison (vacancy), 1869; Hiram T. Benton and Thomas Williams (vacancy), 1870; Thomas Williams, 1871; William Mallory, 1872; Walter E. Scott, 1873; William Bryce, 1874; A. C. Howland, Alexander Lewis (vacancy), 1875; William Mallory, 1876; Alexander Lewis, jr., 1877; William Bryce, 1878; Alexander C. Howland, 1879.
The present town officers are: Supervisor, William Lewis; justices, William Mallory, W. J. Renwick, William Bryce, A. C. Howland; town clerk, Marshall E. Combs; assessors, William Neish, Thomas Rewick and George S. Andrews; commissioner of highways, Peter McLauren; overseer of poor, W. H. Knowles; collector, Launcelot Scott; inspectors of election, Nicholas Feake, Seth W. Conklin, Charles Foote; commissioner of excise, Alexander McFarlen, John E. Salton, William Blair; constables, Jos. Howland, Robert Jamison, Launcelot Scott, George E. Williams; and forty-six pathmasters.
SETTLERS AND SETTLEMENT.
The daring act of penetrating the wilderness during the Revolutionary is attributed to David Harrower and his family-wife and two sons. They came up from the east to the head of the river, staying a few days with settlers where Mr. Sackrider lives. A canoe was built, by which their scanty goods were floated down the river, the cow being driven along the Indian trail; and on the river near the present old Harrower house a cabin was built for use until a better house should be prepared. It is safe to say this was during the latter part of the summer of 1779, and this is even later than good authority places it. David, the eldest son, was a young man, and Dugal was 14 years old. As soon as possible a substantial log house was rolled up on the knoll near the present old mansion, which in turn was erected about 1800. Here these "first settlers" braved storms and privations almost innumerable, and for six years had no neighbors nearer than Cannonsville, down the river, and Stamford and the head of the river above. Fish, game and pounded corn or grain boiled whole constituted the living. A singular but authentic incident is told of the manner in which the first neighbor above was discovered. In the year 1785, while Mr. Harrower was catching fish at the river, he saw a chip floating down with the current, and it was too large and fresh not to have been made for some good purpose not far away. He at once started up the river, and within an hour's walk discovered Mr. Bartholomew Yendes making his clearing near the river side. The joyful meeting of neighbors - such neighbors - can be better imagined than expressed after the lapse of years that has intervened.
Another hearty pioneer greeting was enjoyed by this family when, prior to 1785, one Abraham Bush with his family made them a prolonged call as he was coming in to settle at Cannonsville - Mr. Harrower having the only settlement between Sackrider's and Cannonsville. Soon others came, nearer, down the river. Benajah McCall in 1786 settled just above the Ox Bow, and still lower down the Townsends, Norths and Pines had located in 1785. The neighbors were plentiful and near by before 1800.
David Harrower, jr. was made pastor of the first church at Walton. Dugal lived in the town until his decease, in 1842. The father died soon after the war of 1812. The descendents of Donald Shaw now own the lands. Mr. Harrower, like many of the first settlers, was a "squatter," and did not obtain title to his land until 1792, when he took it by a lease from John Leake, which covered 950 acres west of the river and contained between the lot line that crosses Hamden village near the Methodist church and the lower line of the Donald Shaw farm.
The lessees with Mr. Harrower were the early settlers William Cornell, James and John Howard, and Silas and John Grimes. They had become neighbors of the Harrowers before the lease was obtained. William Cornell, who came in 1787, took for his portion the farm now owned by Daniel Crawford. His house was built of logs, and was on the bank back of the present residence, on the old road; in 1814 he sold to Shadrack Hayward, who in turn sold to Donald Crawford in 1820 - both really old settlers. The Howards occupied a portion of the tract, which portion is now owned by Messrs. Henderson and Ballentine. James, the oldest, occupied that portion near the river, and as early as 1796 opened the first inn of the town, which he kept for many years on the lot next below the residence of Hon. William Lewis. Of the persons called Grimes but little can be learned. It is the opinion of Ira Peake, one of the oldest men of the town, that his father, Roswell, built for them the old saw-mill on Crawford brook, and that they soon after removed to the West.
As soon as peace was declared between this and the mother country, in 1783, Joseph Fisk came to Harpersfield; in 1784 to Bloomville, and in 1787 he came here and settled on the farm now owned by George Kelly.
As soon as 1790 several more arrived, and before 1795 the river valley became quite a neighborhood. Henry and Joseph Edwards came soon after 1790, settling on the W. H. Knowle's farm, at DeLancey. Years after this, within the remembrance of some present residents, the son of Henry fell from a scaffold in the barn and survived but a few days. The Edwardses had a saw-mill near the mouth of Bagley brook very early, and in this Samuel Olmstead was employed. Mr. Olmstead was also an early comer, about 1793, and was a very faithful sawyer. In 1822, while in the vigor of life, he was engaged in cutting away the ice from the "flutter wheel" of the mill, and was killed by its starting and drawing him under it.
Perhaps Benajah McCall should be mentioned among those who were the first settlers of the present territory of Hamden. His descendents claim his arrival to have been as early as 1787, and it seems safe to place the date there. He first settled the William Lupton farm, then moved down to the Ox Bow and made a second and permanent clearing. His farm passed into other hands. About 1808 it was purchased by William Lupton, and became a conspicuous place in the town, owing to the fact that Lupton was wealthy, and at once erected the most luxurious residence in the Delaware valley. He carried on a large farm very expensively, and after a few years was compelled to leave it. A portion of the residence is yet in use by James Chambers, who owns the property at this writing. Walter Chase or Chace was an early pioneer of this town. He came down the east branch, over Colchester mountain, in 1791, and at once hired to Benajah McCall to make shingles on the Lupton place. He worked faithfully and had good wages - $4 per month and board. After a few years, by industry and such high wages, he was enabled to settle upon the Chace farm, now occupied by his grandson Charles Chace. Philip Chace was also an early settler of Hamden, locating in 1795 where Hector Shaw now resides; and George, Philip's brother, followed very soon after the territory was organized into the town of Delhi, settling on the farm now owned by Samuel Terry.
Gershom Howland came from Rhode Island in 1796 with his four sons, Joseph, Job, Phineas, and Gershom, and settled in the valley of the Delaware above Hamden village. These young men, of whom Gershom was the youngest, arrived and settled, and a numerous progeny reside in this and other towns of the county. Phineas bought and settled the present Henry Hawley farm; Job, the Theodore Signor farm; Gershom was the first upon the present Charles Chace farm; and Joseph was more of a mechanic than his brothers and was not the possessor of a farm.
Urbana Terry came from Connecticut in 1792, and opened his first clearing in Terry Clove, near where J. Salton now lives. He and his sons, Nathan, Samuel, and Darius, were the first white people there. The sons married in due time and settled in the Clove, and from this numerous family the name was derived. The first settler following them was Gilbert Townsend, who settled above. The descendents of the original Terrys are quite numerous and generally reside in the town.
James Mason and his son George made a clearing on the widow More place in 1795. George was a man grown and soon commenced for himself on land now owned by Charles Russell. Mr. Mason came from Schoharie county and had three sons younger than George; also one daughter, Jane, who married Roswell Peake. Henry Wagoner came to this territory in 1796, and settled on the present Edward Bagley farm. Of Rueben Ward, an early pioneer, reports are contradictory. It is stated that he was a mechanic, and for a time did not buy or locate any land, but lived with Walter Chace. He came about 1792 and was an active man in the settlement. He afterwards made a beginning on the lot comprising the farms of E. J. Combs and Andrew Buckham. Isaac Goodrich was an important man in that day, for very soon after his arrival, in 1803, he opened "entertainment for man and beast" at DeLancey, on the Edward Bagley farm. He was met at Walton with his brother Michael in 1796. His son, Richard, studied and about 1820 commenced practice. The doctor settled at Hamden village. He had a slave whose unexpired time was worth a certain sum, according to the law of that day, and he bargained the black man for the unfinished frame building, now the Methodist parsonage, nearly opposite the hotel of Renwick brothers. Among the very early settlers were two brothers, George and Samuel Tiffany, young men and sons of one Nathaniel C. Tiffany, who came about 1796. We lose sight of the father after he settled the farm below the Shaw farm, but George married the daughter of James Mason, and assisted very much in the increase of the population; and Samuel, a mechanic and cooper, made a useful man in the settlement. Later, about 1800, Maj. Benajah McIntyre came from Connecticut and settled upon a certain "hundred acres" of the farm of George Wight, above DeLancy.
John Combs came from New Durham, N.Y., to this town in 1805, settling on the farm now owned by Marcus Breesack; he was a Revolutionary soldier and a prisoner to the enemy. His son, John, came with him, returned to his former home, married and settled on the farm now owned by Joseph Raitt. The progeny of the original John Combs is very numerous in and about Hamden.
Abraham Barber came from the east, and made his clearing on the old turnpike on the farm now owned by Ebenezer Frazer. He, with his stalwart sons, came in 1797. The sons, Abraham, Orbin, and Minius, were young men, and really could be called "old settlers". They took land on the turnpike also.
Donald Shaw came from Scotland in 1806, first erecting his cabin on "Scotch mountain;" in 1818 he purchased the old Harrower farm, below Hamden village, and his brother William, also an early settler, occupied it until 1820, when Mr. Donald Shaw assumed control, and here he died. Arthur Shaw now owns the farm.
Benajah Hawley came to Hamden and settled in the river valley in 1818, on the farm now owned by Calvin Terry. In 1823 he settled on the William E. Combs farm.
Eli Bagley came from Hillsdale in 1809, and settled on the Henry Wagoner farm- now owned by Edward Bagley- at DeLancey. The Stephen Titus farm, above DeLancey, was settled by Jesse Wilcox in 1799. William Babcock came in 1815 and cleared up a portion of the same farm.
Nathaniel Stevens came from Connecticut and settled in Terry Clove in 1801, where Morris Stevens now resides, and we learn that Matthew Tiff also came there very early.
William Lewis came from Scotland and settled in Terry Clove, on the farms of John and James Salton, in 1834. In 1850 he came to Hamden village, and for twenty years was actively engaged in a mercantile business with his son, who survives him.
Abraham Bush went back to Schodick, Rensselaer county, after his settlement in Cannonsville, then returned to Hobart, and in 1810 settled in Hamden, where William Gerowe lives, opposite DeLancey. His son, Casper Bush, in 1818 settled the farm now owned by the Rev. George Brown, which is still called the "Bush lot."
Sheldon Patterson came to the south part of the town in 1812, settling on the farm now owned by S. Clark Signor, at the foot of Terry Clove, where Basin Clove joins it. He was a very prominent man of that day, and operated an extensive saw-mill and cider-mill.
Donald Crawford came from Scotland, settling in Bovina for one year; then, in 1820, purchased and occupied the William Cornell farm - now Daniel Crawford's, near Hamden village.
Malcom McFarland came from Scotland, and settled in Hamden in 1820. He lived with his brother-in-law, Donald Crawford, for three years, then settled the farm now owned by Gilbert and Alexander McFarland, in Chambers Hollow.
Archibald Church came here soon after 1800, and was largely engaged in the cloth-fulling business - living up the river. In 1816 he bought the Brown Farm of Bostwick, and lived there two years.
Judge Jabez Bostwick, who was mentioned in the Delhi history as an efficient early inhabitant, also belongs to the Hamden history. In the fall of 1809 he removed with his family to the little settlement now DeLancey, and in a rented room opened the first store of that part of the town. The son, M. L. Bostwick, was then a lad of eight years, and is now a hale, hearty old gentleman. In the spring of 1810 he purchased of Roswell Peake the farm now owned by Rev. George Brown, and opened a store there. In 1816 Mr. Bostwick purchased the farm now owned by Marcus L., on which he died.
Besides the old settlers mentioned in the foregoing list there are many who perhaps deserve more special mention, but it has been impossible to obtain sufficient data for their correct history. The territory of the present Hamden, as has been said, being a portion of Delhi until 1825, the business centered there, and its development was not so rapid. Speaking of Hamden as a town, and in the same general way, the settlers who arrived soon after its organization could properly be called early settlers; but they were not, in the sense of the term used throughout our history. Along the river its early business interests were developed by non-residents - Thomas W. Griswold and his son, White Griswold, of Walton, and others, who erected mills of all kinds, which naturally formed a nucleus for the present village and aided in the growth that soon after caused the formation of the town.
The census returns for the last forty-five years show an uninterrupted increase in the population of Hamden up to 1850, and a steady decline since that time. The figures are as follows: 1835, 1,349; 1840, 1,469; 1845, 1,767; 1850, 1,919; 1855, 1,881; 1860, 1,851; 1865, 1,836; 1870, 1,762; 1875, 1,648.
INCIDENTS GRAVE AND GAY.
Pioneer life had its laughable as well as its more serious incidents in Hamden.
About the year 1800 Walter Chase kept an inn on what is now the James P. Shaw farm, on the old road of that day, and there the settlers congregated for fun and rum on certain days. Gershom Joy was an early settler below there, coming in prior to 1798, and had "swapped: his last cow for an old horse! This was very distasteful to his neighbors, for their ricks must supply the beast with food, and his family needed the cow. On one of these days they were boring "Capt" Joy about his horse, and they made a wager that the horse could not draw him in a sap trough up the knoll by the inn. He accepted the bet. Rowland Robinson, with rifle in hand, was posted behind a clump of bushes in range, and if the horse was likely to succeed when a certain point was reached they were to give a great shout, and Robinson was to drop the horse. Quite luckily for the faithful horse and Joy's family the horse reached the spot, and dropped dead with a ball behind his shoulder. Joy, at that time, did not know why. After allowing a reasonable amount of sorrow and tears from the owner, the crowd made up $15 - full value of the horse - and sent Joy home to his family, who with himself and the entire settlement, was benefited by the joke.
Job Howland was a practical joker, but once in his kindness he was near doing an injury. Mr. Joy had begged some hay for his horse, and, by permission, had loaded himself from Mr. Howland's stack. When Joy was passing with his load Mr. Howland slyly slipped up behind him and touched a match to the hay; but in the midst of his mirth at the astonishment of Joy it was evident that he must assist him or he would perish, for instead of a reasonable "back load" he had the hay tightly bound around his body; he was relieved without serious injury.
In 1796, when Gershom Howland came down the river accompanied by his four sons, he found a number of natural apple trees on or near the Roswell Peake farm, now J. B. Foote's. They, no doubt, had grown from seeds carelessly thrown down with the core of apples eaten by Indians or early white men. These were carefully dug up and transplanted, and when sufficiently grown, were arranged into orchards. Phineas Howland planted some on the Hawley place; the Edwardses some on the farm of Mr. Knowles, and Joseph Fisk some on the Kelly farm. The trees on the last two farms survive at this writing.
One particular sport of those days was frequently indulged in at "Jim" Howard's tavern, which stood on the next lot below the residence of William Lewis, Esq.; it was to see an old colored woman run! She weighed two hundred and fifty pounds avoirdupois, and was so fond of plug tobacco that she would give wonderful exhibitions of her speed up and down the road in consideration of a plug of her favorite weed. While she was willing to contribute to their sport, they were willing to hire her in that way.
It is authentically reported that the river valley in the early settler's days was often inundated and consequently unsafe. Dugal Harrower often described the terrible flood that his father's family encountered while here alone, before the arrival of any other family; they loaded their household goods in canoes and carried them, with the family, to the hill nearby. Mr. Harrower then built a log house on the knoll near the present old house, and escaped future high water. The clearing out of the river course from the natural obstructions by fallen timber, and the diminution of the river and tributaries by clearing the lands, have greatly decreased the danger of such inundations.
The most singular event in the history of the town occurred in the summer of 1857. Mrs. Gowe, a worthy widow lady, placed a stone in the toe of her stocking and with it killed her son, William, as she said, to save him from starvation. She did this when he was asleep at night, and was lurking around the home of a married daughter, up the river, the next day, and, by her own confession, was to have used the same weapon upon the daughter. She was in the frame of mind that made confinement necessary.
Rafting down the river was the business of half a century ago, and we cite a remarkable fact: In May, 1829, Anson Combs, Horace B. Hawley, Henry C. Hawley, and another young man, named Cornell, went down upon a raft together, they being the only hands aboard, and all are in good health yet!
One of most tragical incidents was of later years, and it deserves recording in the annals of the town: January 16th, 1873, there was a donation visit at the M.E. parsonage in Hamden village, to which O.B. Maynard, Mrs. Maynard and Mrs. Carrington, of DeLancey, came in the evening. They started for home in a cutter, late in the evening, going over the village bridge and across the flat. It is not known definitely what caused the accident, but evidence made it a safe conclusion that an ice jam of the river broke, and swept them down the stream, before or as soon as they had reached the second bridge. No alarm was felt at the absence of the doctor and the ladies until he was wanted in a professional line late the next morning, when search was instituted. Their not being in either village, and the broad sweep of the ice-gorge down the binnacle during the night, led to a search there, and the body of Mrs. Carrington was found next day, one hundred rods below the highway, near the river. On the 20th the body of Mr. Maynard was found in the river, opposite Arthur Shaw's farm, and Mrs. Maynard was not found until late in the following April on the Lupton farm. The horse was found on the day after the accident, and yet alive; he stood with his forefeet on dry land and a portion of his body in the water, with the cutter still fast to him.
There are other tragical events of historical note. In 1840, at the "old Pettis stand," Mrs. Margaret Lewis in the course of her duties just at dusk walked into the open cellarway, and so injured her skull by the fall that she only lived a few days. In Terry Clove, about the same year, James Lewis, while obtaining water from a well in the morning, slipped and fell in head foremost, killing him instantly.
A very old grave yard, and probably the first, is on the Harrower, now the Shaw, farm. Here the original David Harrower, a portion of his family, and other old settlers are buried. The ground is neglected, and the uneven mounds and flat stones at their heads alone mark the graves of those worthy pioneers. Our history of their early settlement and pioneer life is the only monument that will transmit their memoirs to future generations.
In the cemetery on the Crawford farm, at the left of the Crawford brook road, Stephen Ward was buried in 1809, and Peleg Benjamin in 1818. It was made a burial place soon after William Cornell purchased the farm in 1792.
The burial place on the farm occupied by M. and C. Breesack, down the river, dates back fifty years or more. It was started upon the John Combs farm, and like others of the town passed to successors, who in turn give deeds of lots as desired and purchased.
A very old burial place, now the Hamden village cemetery, was commenced upon the Joseph Fisk farm, now George Kelly's, across the river from Hamden village. There are a score or more of very old graves in the old part, but sufficient land has been recently added, and costly monuments and more sightly mounds mark the superiority of the present.
ROADS AND BRIDGES.
About 1800 the Kingston turnpike was put through, and it passed down by Henry Holmes's present residence, along where Edward Bagley's red barn, is straight by Isaac Goodrich's inn; bore to the west, across the flat, and crossed the river by a flat bridge of "stringers," supported by bents and timbers; this was about fifty or sixty rods above the present covered bridge at Hamden village. The three good covered bridges across the river were erected by the town in 1859, at a cost of $1,000 each. There were in their stead three common flat bridges, with stone piers, prior to that date.
SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND SCHOOL-HOUSES.
District No. 1 was organized September 16th, 1826. The first school-house was a frame one, built in 1830, on the John Combs farm, now owned by the Breesacks. The second house, now in use, was erected in 1859, across the road, opposite the old site. The settlers of the district were John Combs, George Chase and others.
District No. 2 - Hamden village is included in this, and it retains the original number. A few years ago a portion across the river was accommodated with a separate teacher, but they are now together, with one school-house. The first house was built where M. L. Bagley lives, and the present on about 1840.
District No. 3 is also a portion of the first apportionment, in 1826, and embraces DeLancey village. The school-house erected then was on the spot where Bagley's tavern now stands, and in 1839 was moved to the present site, where it was set on fire by Stephen Seamans, who retired to the side hill to see it burn! The same year, 1848, the present one was erected.
District No. 4 is a portion of the original No. 4 organized in the formation of the town. The present school-house was erected in 1847.
Joint district 6, with Delhi, was organized in 1826, and is the original district. The first school-house was built on the Barber farm, now Frazer's, and the present house, built in 1864, is on the old site. The settlers of the district were G. F. Howland, Abraham Barber, and sons, Joshua Pettis, James Olmstead and Mr. Roberts.
District No. 7. - This is a part of the original district No. 7. A school had been kept there while it was in Delhi, and it is an early settled district. Its school-house was burned before 1834. In 1792 Urbana Terry and his four sons, Nathan, Samuel, Darius, and Urbana settled here. A little later Gilbert Townsend moved in, and in 1801 Nathaniel Stevens. Others soon followed a school was soon started.
District No. 8, Basin Clove, was organized in 1826. In 1834 its school-house was burned. In 1835 a second log school was built, on the Jessup farm. Early settlers: Benjamin Clark, Sheldon Patterson, Peter Merritt, James Morrison, and the Renwicks.
District No. 9 was organized in 1828. The old house then built was moved to its present site in 1867, and made as good as new. The settlers here were McIntyre, Yendes, Bostwick, Blackman, Chace, etc.
District No. 10 was organized from No. 1 in 1829, and the old school-house of the parent district was repaired and used until 1849, when a new one was erected on the old Loomis farm, now W. Terry's. The first settlers of the district were the Harrowers, Daniel Loomis, Benajah McCall and Benajah Hawley.
Joint District No. 11. - This is a portion of old 5, and is joint with Delhi. It was organized in 1829, and the old house of No. 5 was used until about 1850, when another was built near by. The settlers here were Allen Bisbee, E. Butler Howland, Ellis Ripley, George Gates, Schwarts, etc.
District No. 12 was made from old Nos. 1 and 4, as soon as the settlement of Chambers brook needed it. The original school-house is yet in use. The Ballentines and McFarlands were the early settlers. Mr. J. Chambers is the present trustee.
District No. 13. - In 1875 a very nice school-house was erected, which is in use also for religious purposes. The district was organized in 1838 from old No. 5, and a house built near the present one. The settlers were O. Pomeroy, Allen Stoodley, Ira P. Wood, Houch, C. W. Parmely, Mitchell, etc.
District No. 14 was organized in October, 1845, from parts of the old districts 2 and 4. A school-house was built the same year in the center of the district. The first settlers were W. Andrews, A. Howard, Launts, Renwicks, Bradley, etc.
District No. 15 was organized in 1848 from a joint district with Walton - part of 4 - and a frame house erected on the farm of Wakeman Andrews. In 1859 a new house was built near the old one, and it is still in use. Settlers of the district were W. Andrews, William B. Miller, Nelson Soper, Curtis, Knapp, Bradley, Jamison, Beers, Cable, Borden, William Baker, Nathan Comstock, George Howard, etc.
District No. 16 was formed from No. 8 in 1845. A frame house was built that year, which is still in use. Samuel Law went upon the Menzie place in 1842, and a year or two afterward was followed by James Nichol (who, it is said, went in with a sap kettle on his back), George Holly, Warren L. Peake and George Smith; later, David Nichol and others. This was a favorite runway for bears and other animals; and as late as 1860 bears would carry off sheep.
BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL HISTORY.
The first blacksmith shop we find in the town was in 1809 or 1810, and this was kept by two brothers, Isaac and Peter Darrow, who came up from Walton to open the shop. The spot was in Hamden village, on the corner of the street now the croquet ground of H. A. Combs, opposite Hulbert's store. This shop was probably established as soon as the mills of Mr. Griswold, near by, would warrant the undertaking. It was run for several years, until Isaac Darrow went "down the river" on a raft and enlisted in the U S. navy. John Graham started a shop for horseshoeing at the mouth of Bagley brook in 1819, and afterward, when the opening was good, established himself in the hamlet of Hamden, near where Renwick brothers' barn now stands. He afterward removed to the Ox Bow. John Wilson came into "Old Delhi" about 1820, and settled near Yendes's; but in 1828, having previously married the daughter of Jerry Launt, he "came to town" and started a blacksmith shop on the old road about opposite the present post-office. In 1835 Alfred Honeywell had such a shop near the store kept by Hulbert at DeLancey; it was burned. Since then various shops have amply supplied the demand for work, and have been located at both of the villages.
An old record (State Gazetteer) says that Matthias Sweeney built a grist-mill in Hamden in 1797. This may be correct, but we found no direct evidence of such fact. There was an old dam above the present grist-mill dam, which by its antiquity has puzzled many old people, and its great age would allow the Sweeny mill to have existed. But from authentic sources we find that Thomas W. Griswold erected and worked a grist-mill on the site of the present one in 1808, and it was continued by White Griswold, his son, from 1820 until its purchase by Brock Titus and Shaw. It is said that John Lewis tended this mill for White Griswold and others for 18 consecutive years, beginning in 1828. In 1846 it was burned; Donald Shaw rebuilt it in 1848; after his death Alexander and Marshall Shaw owned it; then, in 1862, Bailey & Howland operated it; in 1863, Bailey; and about 1865 Alexander Shaw sold to Theodore Terry, who assigned the property in July of the present year. It is the only grist-mill of the town. H. M. Seaman, at DeLancey, has a feed run, and intends to add bolts and other machinery for a "full -fledged" mill.
Samuel Tiffany, the son of Samuel, the cooper, started a shoe shop as early as 18100 at DeLancey; he was a renter, and had his shop wherever; his family could find a place. George, brother of Samuel Tiffany, had a son, Jeff. Tiffany, who worked at the trade, and like others at that time,"whipped the cat." Isaac Roberts at this date, 1810, and prior, worked at the trade on the present J. B.. Foote place. Mr. Roberts was an early settler and a man of family. Zimri Ballou and others followed these pioneer shoemakers, and it is said that Ballou was engaged in this trade as late as 1835; and he had the qualifications, as the following trait of character will show: about that time he had removed from his first shop, the tannery on the Combs lot near Renwick's barn, to a two-story house where Mrs. Johnson resides, opposite the M.E. church. His shop was the second story, and there was a stovepipe hole through the floor, which had no other use than to pass a black bottle through by a rope to the grocery beneath. It never went up empty, and had too small a neck to be used for molasses! This industry, like all minor ones, has increased according to the popular wants.
Casper Bush, who then owned the Brown farm, in 1818 had a tannery on the spot now marked by the residence of George Williams, which he operated until about 1835. While this was in operation Zimri Ballou converted the old ashery on the Combs lot into a small tannery. About 1835, when the demand required it, Elihu Coe built quite a large one on the place where Charles W. Coe resides; and Donald Shaw and White Griswold put up a still larger one in 1834, on the present Sheldon McDonald farm. This was burned in 1851, but rebuilt by Mr. Shaw and successfully operated until 1865; it had water power, and manufactured sole leather. In 1844 Russell and Erkson built a large tannery at DeLancey, on Bagley brook. Thomas Williams purchased Mr. Erkson's interest in 1853; in 1856 H. M. Seaman purchased the property, and he is still engaged in the management of the only tannery in the town.
It is said that General Elias Buster started a branch store from his at Weed's bridge soon after 1800, and that one Weed had the control of the business. This was in a log building on the W. E. Combs farm. If this was so, the branch was of short duration. Jabez Bostwick opened a store at his residence on the present Brown farm in 1811, ad continued "in trade" until 1816. Daniel Coleman, in 1816, opened one in Hamden village, on the corner now occupied by Mr. Hulbert as a store, and was burned out in 1838. White Griswold had kept a few staple goods for his "help" prior to this, and he rebuilt the store, which was afterward rented to Chauncey St. John and others, finally passing into D. S. Combs's hands, and a store is still kept there by A. W. Hulbert. Cyrenus Nobles had a store on the opposite corner from the present Hulbert store for several years after 1835. At DeLancey a store was opened in 1810 by Jabez Bostwick, and after he moved down the river Harry Fitch opened one; then Vedeken took it; then Beardsley in the same place carried on the business, and in 1829 moved it to another building. Roswell Brant started a grocery about 1829, in the old place vacated by Beardsley, and it was managed into quite a store, in which Eli Bagley, Hiram Goodrich and Roswell Brant became connected. After a few years their business and credit failed. In 1841 Anson Combs opened a store at Hamden, on the corner where he lives, opposite Bagley's hotel, But Pettis and Russell each tried a hand at it before him; Russell started on the other corner; Williams did an extensive business and Charles Hulbert is the present occupant. In 1838 Brock & Shaw built the store now occupied by Combs brothers, and engaged in trade; in 1844 Titus joined the firm, in 1840 Alexander and Marshall Shaw, with Mr. Brock, purchased the goods under the firm name of Shaw Brothers & Co.; then a change was made to A. & M. Shaw; in 1860 to Shaw & Crawford; in 1863 to Shaw & Golden, which was the style to April 1st, 1866; then Shaw Bros. to April 1870; then Lewises & Shaw to June 1871; then Shaw & Lewises to August, 1874, when A. W. Hulbert began trade. In 1858 D. S. Combs in 1875. H. A. combs carried on the business there until 1878; then changed locations with Mr. Hulbert. M. E. Combs became a partner (firm name Combs Bros.) , and they are now in business at the old Shaw stand. In 1849 William Lewis & Co. started a store where Mrs. Johnson resides, opposite the M. E. church; in 1857 it was moved to where Mr. Shaver now resides, up the street; in 1870 the Lewises and Shaws combined in a general trade at the old stand.
Roswell Peake was about the first and the best of the carpenters. He worked by the "square rule" as early as any in the county, and was the "boss." Stephen Ward and Peter White were very early representatives of the trade, and these men were the principal mechanics until a late period, when younger men filled their places.
Samuel Tiffany,sen., was a cooper as early as 1810 at DeLancey, and had a turning shop on the brook there. George his brother worked with him.
Harry Chase built a distillery on the Deacon Coverts place, opposite DeLancey, about 1820, while he was in his hotel, and for ten or twelve years the cauldron bubbled.
James Edwards built an ashery on the "old farm"--on the part owned by Harry Holmes and S. P. Howland--about 1805. It was conducted very successfully for many years, making pearlash and potash. Thomas W. Griswold had an ashery on the Combs lot, near Renwick's barn, about 1810; afterwards a tannery.
Peleg Benjamin, in 1810-12, lived on the old road back of Ed. Shaw's, and made hats for the people at his house. There was also a hat shop on the H. A. Combs corner after Benjamin stopped work in 1818, which lasted a few years.
This territory was in the ride of the early physicians of Delhi and Walton until its formation into a town. In 1827 Dr. Richard M Goodrich settled here as the first resident physician. about 1838 we find Dr. Hine and Dr. Taft, and Dr.. Elias Jenkins in 1851. Dr. Goodrich was having a successful practice all these years; and in 1839 Joshua Close, who, February 1st of that year, graduated from the Fairfield Medical College and came to Hamden. William M. Bryce came in 1858; Henry B. Johnson came in 1862; O. B. Maynard came in 1868, and, with two ladies, was drowned in an ice-jam in 1873. In 1854 Dr. Mann "opened shop" at DeLancey; he remained only two years. In 1877 William D. Heimer commenced practice here, and in 1878 E. W. Close, and they are the present practitioners of the town.
This being a stopping place on the turnpike, and equi-distant between the growing settlements of Delhi and Walton, the inn was a very necessary institution, and they were plenty in the early days. The first was kept by James Howard, who is said to have established one as early as 1796 on the lot below and adjoining the residence of Hon. William Lewis, and it was kept up many years. In 1803 Isaac Goodrich opened one in he first framed house of DeLancey. It was where the old well is in the orchard on the Bagley farm. A hotel was kept there for many years by him and his family. Walter Chace, followed by others, kept one very early, about 1800, but it was discontinued in a few years. Sheldon Patterson had an inn at the foot of Terry Clove in 1812 or 1813. Soon after the war of 1812 E. B. Chace opened a house where W. H. Vail lives, and he was the Main hotel keeper in the center of the town in 1825. The first town meeting for Hamden was held there. We will give the proprietors of the houses where town meetings were held in the years mentioned, and this will give the hotel list more perfectly than it could be done in any other way; In 1826, Isaac Goodrich's, DeLancey; 1827,1828, Peter Launt's, Hamden (Vail's place); 1829-31, Goodrich's; 1832, E. B. Hunting's; 1833, Harry B. Chace's where Pettis lives, and it was held there in 1849, when it was kept by W. B. Chace; the M. E. church was used a portion of the time for a polling place; in 1842 and 1843 at A. G. Brainard's, where Youmans now lives; 1844, Bogart's, opposite DeLancey; 1846, Brainard's'; 1847, 1850, 1851, Thomas Williams's, DeLancey; 1854, 1855, Smith M. Titus's, where Renwick's house is; 1852, 1853, James Adams's, where Shaver lives; 1856, Theodore Terry's, Hamden. In 1858 Clark Andrews had the hotel, and kept it until the election of 1866, which was appointed for the house of James Launt. The town meetings are now held at Hamden village. In 1868 the Renwick brothers purchased the hotel, sold it to Launt again in 1870, purchased it again in 1873 and it was burned soon after. The Renwicks at once built a substantial hotel on the same site, and they still cater to all who come. Edward Bagley has a hotel at DeLancey also.
Very early, and not long after those of Walton, the interests of the people demanded mills for carding the wool and preparing the cloth of the settlers. One of the first enterprises with the grist mill was that of Thomas W. Griswold. He erected sufficient works in 1808 on the grounds where the present mill is, doing the fulling in the basement. In 1810 Eli Bagley and Archibald Church erected a fulling mill where the Seaman tannery is, on Bagley brook. It was burned in a few years and Mr. Church dressed cloth in the Griswold mill, which was continued many years.
So common and numerous were saw-mills that the earlier ones only will need a mention. Mr. Peake and Mr. ward built one on Bagley brook in 1799, and Mr. Seaman has one on the same site now. The old mill on Crawford brook was built by the same party for two settlers by the name of Grimes--this was in 1801 or 1802, and the old site is still visible; other mills were erected on the Crawford brook. Sheldon Patterson had one on the brook in Terry Clove in 1813, and in fact all the brooks of any considerable size had mills in operation until the surrounding pine and hemlock were cut. Thomas W. Griswold put a saw-mill in connection with his other mills.
Hamden village is geographically the center of the town and county, and is fast improving in business and its general growth. The territory was in part included in the lease of 1792, as mentioned elsewhere in this history, and soon after that the land above was taken up by Thomas W. Griswold and Jabez Bostwick. Here the first inn of the town was opened, but not until the building of important woolen mills, grist-mills etc., did its importance exceed that of DeLancey. It has four stores, one hotel, two churches, grist and woolen-mills, and the required mechanical industries. The early postal facilities were equal with those of Delhi and Walton, and the place has passed through nearly the same vicissitudes of fire and flood in its growth from primeval forest to a beautiful county village. Some of its more important interests are treated of under other heads.
DeLancey was formerly Lansingville, and was given its present name in 1872, because the State had another post office Lansingville; the name is taken from that of James DeLancey Verplanck, who owned the land in that vicinity, and there is no doubt that the derivation of "Lansingville" was the same; both names were suggested by Charles Hathaway, Esq., agent for the lands. The first name was used, in public and private, as early as 1843, and soon became general.
The village is on the east side of the river, beautifully situated on the river flats. It contains two churches, three stores, one hotel, and requisite number of shops of all kinds. The extensive tannery of Mr. Seaman, the only one of the town, is here.
The land in and about the village was settled in 1790 by Henry and Joseph Edwards, and the site of the house is yet to be seen, near Mr. Knowles's residence. South of the old turnpike, which includes the Bagley farm, the settlement was made by Henry Wagoner in 1796.
North Hamden was formerly called "Stoodley Hollow." It is about six miles from the river, and has a store and shops for the accommodation of the community. In 1821 Allen Stoodley and his family came to the farm now known as the Stoodley farm, and there made the first clearing. Bolton, Fish, Mead and Chase soon settled around him. In 1822, before districts could be organized, Mrs., Stoodley(now living) taught the first school, at her own house; she had six pupils, and received 62 1/2 cents per week for her services, payable in produce. In 1848 a mail line via Croton left mail at Allen Stoodley's, and when the route was discontinued another, weekly; was established, between Walton and North Hamden. A store was started in 1826 by Hugh and John Luckey, who were succeeded by Simpson & Holmes, and a blacksmith shop was established in 1855. There is preaching once in two weeks at the school-house.
There was in early days a post office kept by Sheldon Patterson at the junction of Terry and Basin Cloves, which was abandoned in 1840. Mr. Patterson had a cider mill, a sawmill and a large, well-cultivated farm, and that locality was at that time of more than ordinary note from its fertility, early settlement and enterprise. Now it is but a good farming community, receiving its mail from Hamden and other offices as most convenient.
CHURCHES OF THE TOWN
FIRST "CHRISTIAN" CHURCHES OF DELANCEY
This church was originally a portion of the Delhi society, and the parent church supplied the members here with occasional preaching. About 1840 the members here called themselves the "First Christian Society of Lansingville," which last word was changed to DeLancey when the village name was changed a few years ago. Rev. James Wescott was the minister prior to 1839, and Rev. William Cummings from 1842 to 1847. On January 1st, 1847, the people dedicated a church at DeLancey, costing about $1500. In 1848 D. Grant of Delhi, supplied the pulpit; W. O. Cushing, 1856 and 1857; S. B. Hayward, 1858, 1859; D. Grant, 1860, 1861; W. O. Cushing, 1862, 1863'; Charles Peake, 1864; A. Hayward came in 1866 and D. Grant supplied the pulpit in the interim. In 1867 Rev. Joel Gallup became the minister, and closed his labors in 1870; R. B. Eldridge, jr., came in 1873, and remained to 1874; and the last stationed pastor was Rev. Z. A. Post who preached from April, 1876, to about the same time in 1877, since which time the desk has been filled occasionally by ministers from abroad. The society has a membership of 32, many having removed and died. It has a weekly Sabbath-school of 50 members.
UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CONGREGATION, DELANCEY
The United Presbyterian Congregation of Lansingville was organized in DeLancey village, February 16th, 1849, under the name of the "Associate Congregation Of Lansingville;" and Rev. William J. Cleland was the pastor, whose untiring efforts were so instrumental in its formation. It was a union of the Associate Congregation of Hamden, organized in the old church at Hamden village, October 21st, 1848, with about twenty, and the Associate Congregation of Delhi with eleven members, which was organized at the old turnpike church, July 1st, 1848.
The above two societies agreed to unite as one, with the understanding that their house of worship should be built in the village of DeLancey. The new congregation at the time of the union had about 40 members, and the ruling elders were: John Bryce, sen., John McFadden, George Wight, sen., and Thomas Lawrence--sterling Scotchmen, who were great lovers of their church.
In 1856, when the Associate and Associate Reformed churches united, the society changed its name to the "United Presbyterian Church of Lansingville." Since their organization they have kept up their regular stated ordinances of worship, and at present number 107 members. Many of the original members have moved to the far West, and are active in the church in their new homes.
For two years they had no church edifice, but by the kindness of the 'Christian" society worshiped in theirs a portion of the time, and the remainder in the school-house.
The church edifice now in use was completed in 1851, at a cost of over £1000; it is a substantial building, capable of accommodating about 300; the society also owns a pleasant parsonage worth £1600.
Rev. W. J. Cleland was stated supply from 1849-1851, and as pastor of the West Delhi church occupied the desk about one-third of the time. From 1851 to 1859 they had no regular minister and depended upon occasional supplies; but feeling the need of a settled pastor they called Rev. R. D. Williams, who was installed May 5th, 1859. He preached until 1861, and they were again without a minister. They relied upon supples until 1867, when the Rev. D. S. McHenry was called. His health failed, and after nine years, in 1876, he was compelled to resign, which left them again without a pastor. In the latter part of 1877 a call was extended to Rev. Thomas Park, who accepted, and is now the settled minister, filling the position with pleasure and profit to the people. The society has a Sunday-school of 135 members, which is kept open the year round.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF HAMDEN
It was September 20th, 1855, that members of the Congregational church of Hamden, together with a number of the members of the "Flat Church"--First Presbyterian of Delhi--united and organized into a society to be named "The first Presbyterian Church of Hamden;" it is under the care of the Second Presbytery of New York. The names of the original members are: from the congregational church--Mrs. Catharine McLaren, Miss Mary Adams, Mrs. Ursula Russell, James Russell and wife, Christina; from the "Flat Church"--Archibald McAuslin and wife, Mrs. Bush, James Morrison and wife, Jane Salton, Agnes McDougal, Mrs. Dougal, Ellen Christie, Robert Scott and wife, Joseph Davidson and wife, Sarah A. Moore, Isabella Lamont, Ellen Nichol, and James Mason.
Rev. Joseph Sanderson, of New York city, and Rev. Charles B. Smyth, of the Delhi First Presbyterian Church, as a committee of the Presbytery, presided at the organization.
October 5th, 1855, at a meeting of the congregation, James Morrison, Archibald McAuslin and James Russell were made ruling elders, and on the same day a call was made on the Rev. George Brown to become the pastor. At a meeting November 1st, 1855, Andrew Armstrong, James S. Stoddard, John Russell, Robert Scott and Archibald McDougal were chosen trustees, and on the 17th off June, 1856, a certificate of civil organization was recorded in the county clerk's office.
The old church, called Union Church, in Hamden village, was occupied for several years as a place of worship, and May 7th, 1864, initiatory steps were taken toward the erection of an edifice of their own, which was completed the same year, so as to be dedicated on the first Sunday of the new year, 1865, with appropriate exercises, conducted by the pastor, Rev. George Brown. The cost of the new church was about £5000, and it is very pleasantly situated upon Main street, Hamden village. The present number of members is 106, and the number in Sabbath-school 70.
This church is very prosperous, and as an instance it is said that at nearly every communion service additions are made to its membership. Rev. George Brown is still its pastor.
FIRST M.E. CHURCH, HAMDEN.
On the 28th of September, 1803, the society bearing this title met and organized, electing the following trustees: Abizer Field, William Stewart, D. S. Combs, Alexander Shaw, Francis Robinson and Charles W. Coe. The certificate of incorporation was duly recorded in the county clerk's office December 18th, 1863. At this time the Rev. M. S. Terry was pastor and he was the acting chairman. Mr. Terry officiated through the years 1863 and 1864; Rev. Silas E. Fitch, 1865; Rev. J. Dean, 1866; Rev. W. H. Mickle, 1867 and 1868; Rev. J. T. Shew, 1869-71, Rev. W. J. Smith. 1872; Rev. W. E. Smith, 1873,1874; Rev. J. W. Smith, 1875, 1876; Rev. W. H. Shepherd, 1877, 1878; and in the absence of a regular pastor Rev. E. White, of Walton, and Rev. Mr. Parks, of DeLancey, fill the desk for 1879.
The society in 1864, leased the "Union" church for four years, and in 1867 continued the lease for 20 years; the lease was taken of the Presbyterians, with certain minor reservations. In 1868 the society purchased of Barbara Wood the residence next east of the church for a parsonage, agreeing to pay therefor £2350. This parsonage building was being built by Rev. S. T. Babbitt in 1828, while he was preaching to the people and erecting the church, but passed into other hands.
The church was erected in 1827-8 by all parties, irrespective of religious views, and denominated the Union Church, to be occupied by all. In after years the Presbyterians built a pretty church of their own, and leased their right to the other, as stated above, This was the first church in Hamden. A 'natural miracle" was performed while the dome was being shingled; Roswell Brant and A. Andrews, with the scaffolding, were precipitated to the ground. Andrews arrested his fall by seizing one of the front windows and Brant, seizing a board, which formed a parachute, was landed safely on terra firma.
The present trustees of the Methodist Episcopal society are M. Shafer, William Vail, A. W. Hulburt, J. Wanneken, R. Murray and Wesley Coe.
The estimated membership at present is 50.
Daniel B. Andrews was born in 1839, and is a son of Andrew Andrews, an old settler in the North part of the town, with whom he resides; he carries on a large farm with his father. He enlisted in Company C of the 144th N.Y. volunteers in August, 1861, and served to the close of the civil war, and was honorably discharged.
Marcus L. Bagley was born in Hamden in 1826, and was married to Mary .E. Brant. Josephine, their only child is a teacher of music, Mr. Bagley was formerly a wagon maker, and at present lives retired in Hamden village. He has filled places of trust in military and civil affairs.
Roswell Belcher, farmer, was born in 1818, came to Hamden when one year old, with his father, to the farm where he resides; was married to Miss Maria Collins, who was born in 1820, and who died in 1860; He married for his second wife Eliza Wood. His father was the first colored man in Hamden, and the present Mr. Belcher was the first colored man in the county who sat on a jury.
William Blair, born in 1826, is of Scotch descent, his father, Peter, having been born in Scotland and early settled in Bovina, where William was born. Mr. Blair was an active man in the old militia, and held high offices. He married Elizabeth Holmes, of Delhi, and is a farmer in the valley near Hamden village.
N. Porter Brant is the son of Roswell Brant, of Montgomery county, and was born in 1822 in Hamden, where his father was a pioneer. He married Ursula Signor, of Hamden. He is a prominent farmer of the town , in the Delaware valley above the village, and active in promoting its growth and prosperity.
Rev. George Brown was born in the north of Ireland in 1823, of Scotch parentage; emigrated to America in 1851, came to Hamden in 1854 and settled in the ministry. He graduated in Belfast and studied theology at Edinburgh. The present pastorate of the Presbyterian church of Hamden is his first ministerial charge.
Andrew Buckham is a farmer, and but recently became a resident of Hamden. He owns the farm settled by Reuben Ward, one of the early settlers. He is a native of Scotland, and for many years has been an efficient civil engineer. Post-office, DeLancey.
Charles L. Bush is a grandson of Abraham Bush and son of Casper Bush, an early settler of Hamden. He was born November 21st, 1826, at Hamden, on the present farm of Rev. George Brown, where a portion of his life was spent. In 1867 he built and opened a store on Main street in Hamden, and after a few years sold and moved to the farm above the village. He married Salenda Cook, of Franklin, a descendant of David Ogden, of Revolutionary fame. He is a farmer and dealer in fresh and salt meats.
James A. Chambers was born in 1855 in Hamden, and is a son of James Chambers, Esq., who was born in Scotland. The father, James, first settled in Walton and married Elizabeth Lamont. He has two daughters and three sons, besides the one mentioned here.
Elbridge W. Close was born in Hamden in 1844, and is a son of Joshua Close, an eminent physician of the town. He marred Sarah K. Launt in 1870. In 1863 he commenced the study of medicine at Peekskill, and graduated at the University of Medicine in New York city in 1867. He practiced in Bellevue Hospital for eleven years, and came to Hamden in 1878, where he is now settled in a lucrative practice.
H. A. and M. E. Combs, constituting the firm Combs Bros., are at present engaged in a general mercantile business in Hamden village at the old Shaw store. H. A. Coombs married Mary F. Robinson, and M. E. Combs Elizabeth Brown. these enterprising merchants are the descendants of John Combs, an early settler.
Adelia Combs, born in 1816 at Colchester, is the widow of Daniel S. Combs, who was born in 1800 in this county and died in 1875; one daughter and the mother comprise the family. Mrs. Combs resides on the home farm.
Louisa Crawford was born in 1805 in Scotland; married, in 1836, Donald Crawford, who was also a native of Scotland and emigrated to America in 1820 and settled in Hamden. Mr. Crawford died in 1868 on the homestead, leaving a wife, two sons and two daughters. Daniel Crawford, one of the sons, own and occupies the home farm; the others are in the West.
Mrs. Maria Flowers, formerly Maria Haskins, was born in Walton, in 1804. In 1828 she married C. Flowers, who died in 1878. Her father, Augustus, was an early settler of Walton, and died in 1848. Mr. Flowers left eight children, of whom Orman N. and Emily have been teachers, and Edwin passed through the war with the144th N.Y. volunteers.
Harry Griffin was born in this county in 1839, and is a farmer in the north part of the town near the Delhi line. He married Lydia A. Stewart, of this county,. She was formerly a teacher of common schools.
William D. Heimer was born in Andes in 1855. He commenced the study of medicine October 1st, 1874; graduated at the University of the City of New York in 1877, and commenced practice at Hamden September 1st, 1877. In 1878 he married Lillie Mann, who was born in Mount Morris, Livingston county, in 1857.
Henry Holmes, of DeLancey, was born in Paisley, Scotland, November 24th, 1819, and came to America in 1820, settling in Delhi. In 1839 he first came to Hamden. His father was an early settler on "Scotch Mountain." He removed to Delhi in 1842, but returned in 1858, and to his present farm in 1868. He married Lucinda Peake, grandchild of Roswell Peake, February 21, 1850. Mr. Holmes has three children, and his son, Henry W., is connected with him on the farm, residing with his parents, and teaching during the winter months.
Sheldon P. Howland was born October 12th, 1827, at Hamden, and is a son of G. F. Howland, who is son of Gershom Howland, mentioned in this history. His first wife was a descendant of the Brush family, of Brush. His present wife was Mrs. Elizabeth Kilpatrick, formerly Odell. Mr. Howland is a farmer at present, having been formerly a miller, and lives on part of the old Edwards farm. He enlisted September 1st, 1862, in Company C, 144th N. Y. volunteers, and served through the war of the Rebellion.
Philip Launt is a farmer of Hamden, and was born in Rennesselaer county, N. Y., in 1806. He came to his present farm early, and had made it what it is. He married Almira Reves, born in 1814. Mr. Launt's family has been given the best of opportunities, and a portion have been teachers.
Samuel Law was born in Greene county in 1808, and removed to Delaware county in 1835; he married Sall??a Holmes. Their family consists of six children, of whom Eliza is a successful teacher. James Law, a son, married Adaline Tompkins, who was born in this county in 18??, and died in March, 1879, leaving three small children.
Hon. William Lewis was born in Scotland, October 31st, 1827, and in 1831 came to Hamden with his father, William Lewis, a farmer, who settled where John and James Salton live, in Terry Clove. The first sixteen years of the life of the present Mr. Lewis in this county was passed in farming, and in 1859, with his father, he engaged in mercantile pursuits. In 1851 he married Jennette Nelsh. His loyalty and energy during the war of the Rebellion soon made him a representative man for his district. He has served three terms in the Assembly; has filled the position of assistant revenue assessor, and has for many years held the highest offices of his town, enjoying the deserved confidence of his people.
John McDonald, a farmer of Hamden, was born in New York city in 1810. James McDonald, his father, was born in Scotland,. John McDonald came to Hamden in 1825; he married Elizabeth Smith, who was born in 1815, and who died in 1877, leaving seven children.
Ransom Miller was born in Colchester in 1817, and followed farming until 1863, when he embarked in the mercantile business at Hamden, and by his strict integrity and industry amassed a fortune. He married Margaret M. Combs, a descendant of an early settler of Hamden. He died in 1871, leaving his business to his son, Ellridge C. Miller, who had received a good classical education, fitting him for any position in life. The son follows farming, and the livery and mercantile business in Hamden village.
Mrs. Sarah More, formerly Sarah Nichol, was born in Scotland in 1826, and emigrated with her people in 1842. She married James M. More, a farmer, born in 1820, who died in 1864, leaving two sons and two daughters. Mr. More was an active public man in all places, holding offices of trust. Mrs. More resides on the home farm.
David Nichol, a native of Scotland, was born in 1816, and in 1841 landed in America In 1844 he married Johanna Salton, who was born in Scotland in 1823 and came over with her parents in 1830; she died in 1846. In 1855 Mr. Nichol married Nellie White for his second wife. He settled where he now resides in 1849, when the place was a wilderness. He is the oldest settler of Gregory Hollow now living.
Rev.Thomas Park came to DeLancey, as pastor of the U.P. church, December 22nd, 1877. He was born in Scotland, April 18th, 1845, and was married to Christina Cleghorn of Florence, Ia.
John Rockwell, a farmer, was born in Steuben county, N. Y., in 1830, and came to the town of Hamden, where he now resides, in the beginning of the present year. In 1857 he married Susan Strait, who was born in Broome county in 1826. He has a good family, and is well settled on his new farm.
John E. Salton is a life long resident of Hamden, born in 1840. He is the son of Daniel Salton, of Scotland, an early settler here. In 1863 he opened a blacksmith shop in Hamden village, and has successfully followed the business since. He married Ellen Bush.
John Salton, living in Terry Clove, was born in Scotland in 1822; emigrated to America in 1830, and settled on his present farm in 1851. He married Elspeth Davison, who was born in this county in 1822. His former occupation was that of a mason. Helen, Johanna and Agnes, his daughters, are accomplished teachers.
H. M. Seaman was born in Delhi, February 13th, 1829, and is a son of Joshua Seaman, who was born in Bovina in 1801. The father married a daughter of Amasa Millard, of Delhi, and became a partner with William Millard in the Sherwood tannery. The subject of this sketch married Isabel Goodrich, grandchild of Isaac Goodrich. He came to Hamden in 1856, purchased the Russell tannery at DeLancey, and has been engaged in that business since. Last spring a feed mill was added to the property by Mr. Seaman.
Reuben C. Seeley, born in 1821 in this county, married Margaret Kelley, who was born in Ireland and came here in 1845. He settled in 1872 on his present farm; they have four children.
Alexander R. Shaw was born in this county in 1822. He was married to Carlina Wood, also of this county, who was born in 1827. William D. Shaw, his father, was a native of Scotland, and emigrated here with his father, who was an early settler of Delhi. Mr. A. R. Shaw is a farmer of Hamden.
James H. Shaw was born in this county in 1827, and was married in 1856 to Delia Conklin, of Colchester, who was born in1837. His grandffather, William Shaw, was one of the early settlers of the county. Mrs. J. H. Shaw is a daughter of Ambrose Conklin, also an early pioneer. Their family consists of six children.
Marshall Shaw was born in Hamden in 1826 and married Frances Bostwick. He fills the office of postmaster of Hamden, and has for the past eighteen years. He has been justice of the peace for his town and held other offices of trust. In 1862 he enlisted in the 144th N. Y. volunteers as adjutant, and was honorably discharged in 1863. He is a son of Donald Shaw.
Wesley Terry is a farmer in District No. 10. He was born in Hamden in 1835; was married to Eunice White, who was born here in 1837. His grandfather, Urbana Terry, was the first settler of Terry Clove.
James White was born in the county in 1832, and married Esther A. Washburn, who was born in 1837. He is a grandson of John White, and son of Robert White, natives of Scotland and early settlers of "Scotch Mountain." He resides in Gregory Hollow, and has four sons.
W. J. Woodward is one of the five highest judges of Pennsylvania. He has been in active judicial life since 1856, and is now in quest of that rest so much needed from his arduous labors.