The town of Kortright was formed from Harpersfield, March 12th, 1793. A part of Delhi was taken off in 1798, a part of Meredith in 1800, a part of Davenport in 1817, and a part of Stamford in 1834.
This town has no very thrilling Indian depredations to chronicle when compared with the Wyoming massacre, or even with the lesser depredations in neighboring towns; still, many of the early settlers before and during the Revolution were more or less disturbed by these ever unwelcome visitors. "The King of Indian Hunters", Timothy Murphy, strolled up the branches of Charlotte river into this town. He never had any very noted encounters here-not killing more than a single Indian at any one time. In the year 1780 Palmer Wood shot three Indians and buried them in the Keeler swamp, on Kortright brook. Three other Indians went to the house of Andrew Kiff, and finding Mrs. Kiff in the house with two small children, they asked for something to eat. Their request was quickly granted. When they sat down to eat, Mrs. Kiff seized her babes and ran into the wood. Hiding her children in the brush she ran to the nearest settlement. Returning with some friends, the Indians had left the house. They were in search of two celebrated hunters-Eli Reynolds and a Mr. Hadlock. They wished to go with the hunters to some noted hunting grounds near Andes. The hunters joined them, bu the Indians never returned. It was believed that the hunters killed them, for they brought back the Indians' guns.
St. Leger Cowley lived below Bloomville, on the Delaware river. He and his son Jonathan, a lad about twelve or thirteen years of age, had been to the house of Isaac Sawyer, near Hobart. On their return, the son on horseback, Mr. Cowley on foot, when near home they were surprised and captured by four Schoharie Indians. The savages placed a war plume on the boy's cap, which they had taken from the hat of some fallen soldier, and sent the boy on ahead, while they and their prisoner followed. On reaching the Cowley's house they offered no violence to the family, but amused themselves by shooting their fowls and in other gleeful sports. In a short time one of their number was left to guard their prisoners, while the other three went up the river to capture Sawyer. It was dark when they reached Mr. Sawyer's house. He not being apprehensive of any danger, and unprepared for defense, they took him without difficulty. The next morning the Indians returned to Cowley's with their captive. They left the women and small children, and took with them the three prisoners. The first night they encamped near where stands the village of Delhi. The prisoners were ordered to prepare fuel for night. While carrying fuel the boy observed a tall hemlock tree that grew close by the bank of the river and leaned across to the opposite bank. He watched his opportunity, and climbed the tree and hid among its branches. The Indians made diligent search for the fugitive, but not being able to find any trace of him they abandoned the search, thinking that the boy had jumped into the river and had been drowned. When the party had left the encampment, the lad crept down from his hiding place, and in a few hours reached his home in safety.
After constructing a rude raft the savages and their captives floated down the river to Deposit, then known as the "Cook-house", a distance of about forty miles. Here they struck the Oquago trail leading to the Susquehanna, and pursued their journey toward Fort Niagara. The prisoners were unable to converse with the Indians in either the Dutch or Indian language, but they were not ignorant of Indian character. They would indicate by signs as well as they could that they would rather proceed with their captors than to return to the settlements they had left. They avoided talking with each other as much as possible, lest it should excite the suspicious of the Indians, one or more of whom were watching their movements constantly.
They had already proceeded eleven days on their journey without seeing a favorable opportunity of making their escape. The last ray of hope seemed to have disappeared. They had followed blind Indian trails, had crossed hill and dale, passed over large streams, and were already far beyond any white settlement. All the horrors of a long captivity seemed to be their inevitable fate; the extremely dangerous feat of running the gauntlet was presented vividly to their imagination. Death seemed preferable to such torture, and they mentally resolved to make one bold effort to escape or die in the attempt. On the eventful night of the eleventh day of captivity the party encamped near Tioga Point. As usual, the captives were ordered to prepare fuel for the night and build a fire. As they had only one ax, which they had brought from Cowley's at the time of the capture, one would cut while the other carried it to the spot where it was to be used. While Cowley was cutting and Sawyer waiting for an armful, the latter took from his pocket a newspaper and pretended to be reading its contents to his friend, instead of which he was preparing a plan to effect their escape. A quarter of venison was rudely roasted, and eaten without salt or pepper; when they all lay down to sleep, a prisoner between two Indians. The savages were soon wrapped in deep slumber. After waiting until near midnight the mutual signal was given; the two friends arose, shook the primings from the guns of the savages and removed the other instruments of death beyond the observation of their captives; when Sawyer with a tomahawk, and Cowley with the ax, placed themselves beside the two most desperate savages. At a given signal the tomahawk sank deep into the brain of its owner, but unfortunately Sawyer drew the handle from the tomahawk in attempting to free it from the scull of his victim. The first one struck by Cowley was killed, bu the blows which sent two to their final reckoning woke the others, and they instantly sprang to their feet. On received a blow from the ax, which he partially warded off, but his shoulder was laid open and he fell back stunned; the fourth received a heavy blow on his back; he fled into a swamp, where he was pursued and found dead. The two men returned to the fire, and were resolving on what course to pursue, when Indian number three sprang to his feet, dashed through the fire, caught up his rifle and leveled it at his foes. The gun snapped, and he ran into the forest and disappeared.
The captives were now masters of the bloody field. Their firs precaution was to arm themselves with the weapons of their fallen foes. They took each a gun, a tomahawk, and a scalping knife, together with all the ammunition. At daybreak they were ready to commence their homeward march. Fearing that the escaped savage would communicate the tidings of the massacre of his comrades to the nearest Indians, and that they would be pursued, they did not dare to follow the same trail back they had been pursuing; but they struck out boldly in a southeasterly direction, knowing that soon or late that course would lead to the settlements of the whites. They had not proceeded many miles on their journey when the sound of the piercing war whoop saluted their ears. Once during the afternoon, from an elevation, they saw a party of Indians in a valley below. They encamped at night without food and without fire, lest its glaring light should reveal to their foes their whereabouts. They secreted themselves by crawling under a huge basswood tree that had been blown down, and covered themselves with leaves, which hid their persons from view. In a few minutes an Indian approached; seating himself on the log under which they had secreted, he gave the war whoop. The two friends now gave up all hope of effecting an escape. Soon other Indians, who had been scouting in every direction through the wood, came and seated themselves on the log; one of the party proposed building a fire and encamping for the night, but the savages gave up all hope of finding the fugitives in that direction, and soon they left, pursuing a homeward course.
The next morning the pioneers resumed their journey. In the afternoon Sawyer ventured to shoot a buck, a piece of which they soon roasted, and satisfied the urgent demands of hunger. After several days of fatiguing travel (Cowley being at times delirious) they reached the frontier settlements near Minisink, and found friends, who assisted them to reach Schoharie, where they were received with open arms and joyful exclamations of surprise.
Cowley went to Albany with a letter to Governor Clinton and obtained a company of forty men, who returned with him to Delaware to removed their families to a place of greater security. He and Sawyer lived to enjoy the blessings of freedom many years after the Revolution.
A man by the name of McIntyre was taken from the Andrews place on the Delaware and was never afterward heard from. Two boys by the name of Rose were captured near the mouth of Rose's brook. They were taken to Canada, where they lived and became wealthy after the war. On of the most noted Indian trails in this part of the country was along the Delaware river on the southern boundary of the town of Kortright. It ran from the head waters of the Delaware down that river to Platner's or Peake's brook, and across the town of Franklin to the Ouleout. There must have been an Indian headquarters on land owned by Mr. John Thomas, near the southwest corner of the town. There have been more Indian relics found there than in any other part of Kortright.
James Calder, a noted tory during the Revolution, was undoubtedly the first settler in the town of Kortright. He settled on the farm now owned by Daniel Frisbee, and built a grist-mill before the Revolutionary war. When Brant was returning from Harpersfield with Captain Harper and that unfortunate band of prisoners, he stopped at the house of Calder. The Indians were kindly received, but the most vile epithets were heaped on the prisoners. Calder observed to Captain Brant, "You might better have taken more scalps and few prisoners," while his daughter said, "Dead men tell no tales." She feared that the tide of war might turn in favor of the colonies, and that the tories might lose their lives. The Indians received three bushels of corn from this man, which served as food for the whole party during their long march to Niagara.
Several Scotchmen settled within the present limits of the town of Kortright before the Revolutionary war; some at the head of the Betty's brook, some at a point on the Delaware river below where Mr. James Sackrider now lives, known as the "hog's back", and others on Wright's brook. Of the latter the following story is told: Among them was one who for those times was considered wealthy, if, indeed, gold could have constituted wealth in so isolated a spot. After the war broke out the murders and lawless depredations committed upon the lives and property of the frontier settlers gave this man a timely warning. He saw safety only in flight. Although favorable inclined to the British government, a heavy bounty had been offered for scalps, and the Indians were as likely to sacrifice friend as foe. The family prepared to leave. The arrangements were completed, their goods boxed and buried or otherwise secreted in places recognized by themselves through the agency of marked trees, the owners intending to return and possess themselves of their property as soon as peace should be restored. The Scotchman, fearing to take much money with him in his flight, pondered long and earnestly in what manner most effectually to conceal his pile; at last he bethought himself to bury it. Selecting a spot favorable to his purpose he sank an excavation at the roots of a hollow tree, in which he deposited the wallet containing, as he asserted upon his dying bed, five hundred guineas, and carefully replaced the dirt, and designated the spot by a marked line of trees to the junction of Wright's brook with the Delaware river. He south refuge in Canada, and while there his family became the victims of a contagious disease. One by one they were consigned to the grave, until he alone remained. At last he was taken ill himself, and when upon his dying bed he called the physician who had attended him during his illness, and revealed to him the secret of his hidden treasurers and all the attending circumstances. Immediately after the declaration of peace the physician, not doubting from the minute statement of the dying man that he could easily discover the concealed treasure, made a journey into the county in search of it. He arrived at the place now known as Bloomville, concealing the object of his mission from every one, and accounting for his strange conduct by pretending to be searching for herbs of rare medicinal properties which a friendly Indian had told him abounded in that region. He readily discovered the line of marked trees; but alas! He had come too late. The improvements of the Scotchman were now occupied by an enterprising settler, and upon the identical spot where the treasurer was concealed years before was now a waving a heavy crop of wheat. The physician now made careful inquiries of the occupant, who stated that in plowing the field the plowshare had struck and smashed in the end of a wooden box, which upon examination he found to have once contained clothing, but of which only a few decayed remnants remained. He had also plowed up a set of harrow teeth and an iron wedge, and those were all that he had discovered. After a futile search of nearly a week the physician was compelled to abandon his quest and return to meet other engagements.
Alexander Leal, sen., was born in Scotland, in the city of Farris, in 1740. He was married to Anna Comyn in 1762. When a lad he witnessed the battle at Culloden Moor. He left Scotland for America in 1773. He had a long and dangerous voyage of seven months, during which time he was exposed to many dangers, and, to use his own language, "Met with many remarkable deliverance." He was reduced to the greatest extremities; many of his fellow passengers died at sea and at the island of Bermuda, among them tow of his sons. When he reached Kortright he settled on lot 53, Kortright patent. The farm has remained in possession of the family ever since, two great-grandsons, Alexander R. and John Leal, being the present owners. Mr. Leal, in the fall of 1779, with many other settlers, took refuge in Schoharie. He owned a number of cattle, which he could not take with him. His hay was stored in a log barn, and a large opening was cut in one end of the barn to give the cattle access to the fodder. When the snow passed off in the spring Mr. Leal came with a party from Schoharie, and found his cattle safely wintered. He returned with his family in 1786. He was a tailor by trade. He died in Delhi in April 1813.
Six of his sons lived to grow up in this town. James kept a hotel in Kortright Centre, in the house now owned by Mrs. Martin Keeler. He married Sarah, daughter of Richard McClaughry , and died in Delhi in 1841. Alexander married Lydia Rose, and had five sons, John, Hugh, Alexander, James H. and Clark. He died in Meredith in May, 1850, aged eighty-six years. Robert Leal, son of Alexanders, sen., was sheriff of Delaware county when Graham was hung, in 1814. Alexander Leal 3d was noted as a dealer in butter and stock in the counties of Otsego, Chenango and Delaware. He died in Kortright June 13th, 1847, aged fifty-two years. The descendants of this family have been very numerous in this and adjoining towns. Many of them have studied and become professional men, while they are all noted for sobriety and industry.
Daniel McGillivrae settled on lot 63, adjoining Mr. Leal, sen., having accompanied him from Scotland. They shared a similar fortune. Mr. McGillivrae has several descendants in Stamford, who have ever been noted for piety, sobriety and frugality.
The northern part of Kortright patent was settled by emigrants from Ireland and New England, with a few from Scotland and other places. All the settlements that were formed under the patronage of Mr. Kortright prior to the Revolution were broken up. Mr. Leal, sen., and Alexander Mills, with their families, were all that returned to the original settlement.
After peace was proclaimed the forest was made to resound by the busy pioneer. Hill and dale echoed forth the voice of improvement. Schools and churches were organized, thoroughfares laid out, trading points established, and comfortable homes fixed where the council fire of the Indian had just died out.
Prominent among the new settlers was Ezekiel Johnson, from Connecticut. He took up lots 111,112, 126 and 127; 600 acres in all. He build a saw-mill and did a large business in farming and lumbering. He built a large and substantial frame house, which was painted white and is still known as the "white house" although the paint has long since disappeared. In the early days of the town it was used as a hotel. At a town meeting held in this house it was so crowded that the floor over the large front room gave way and came down upon the crowd below. Fifteen or twenty persons were severely bruised and burned. The house is now owned by James Henderson. Mr. Johnson presented to the town a piece of ground for a burying place, and it is still used for that purpose. He was twice married, and had a large family of children, most of whom removed from the town. A portion of his farm is still occupied b his grandson, Mr. James H. Harkness. He died August 22nd, 1808, aged fifty-seven years.
Philip Burritt lived on lot 69, which was afterward owned by Andrew Gilchrist, Esq.; now owned by William Black. He died August 30th, 1804. One of his sons was the celebrated Reade Burritt, of Burdett, N.Y. He was noted for his skill in manufacturing grain cradles, and was also a practical farmer.
The Harper family, William, Henry, Samuel and John, came from Ireland in 1794 and 1795. They settled on lot 142 and an adjoining lot on Banyar's patent. John Harper still resides on the lot on Banyar's [patent, and Samuel on the Joseph Mead farm. The two last named are sons of Samuel, sen.
About the same time William and Michael Sixsmith came to Kortright. Michael settled on lot 65, and William on lot 80, adjoining. They were born at Maryborough, county of Queens, Ireland. The farm that belonged to William has passed into the hands of other owners, and none of his family remain in the town. Edward, son of Michel, was for many years a prominent citizen in the town. He has but lately died. He lived in the town of Harpersfield at the time of his death. His brother William, who recently died at North Kortright, was also a prominent member in the Presbyterian church. The Sixsmiths were the descendants of an ancient Saxon family that served under the Prince of Orange in a war with the French. William III, of England gave them lands at Maryborough, in Ireland, where they settled.
Thomas McClaughry came from Longford, in Irelan, Washington county, and in 1784, removed to Kortright and settled on lot 68, half a miles east of Kortright Centre, which previous to the war had been occupied by Mr. McGillivrae. The farm is still in possession of the family. Mr. E. T. McClaughry, a grandson of Thomas, is the present owner. Thomas McClaughry was noted for energy and executive ability. He acted as agent for the landlords on the Kortright patent, and held many prominent positions in his town. His brother, Richard, settled on the farm now owned by Lyman Lawson, and Andrew settled on lot 96, three-fourths of a mile north of Kortright Centre. They all reared large families and their descendants have always been numerous in the town. Thomas, James and John Harkness came from Ireland and settled sometime previous to the year 1800. Thomas settled on lots 50 and 35, James on lot 49, and John on lot 64. These brothers all raised large families. Many of their descendants have left the town, but some remain. John Murdock settled in 1784 on the farm now owned by William Black, coming from Cambridge, N.Y. Several of his descendants now reside in this vicinity.
David McIlwain, a Revolutionary soldier, was the first resident of North Kortright. He lived on the farm now owned by Joseph Rowland. The first night he stayed in the town he slept on a rock, and listened during intervals of wakefulness to the fierce cries of panthers and other wild beasts. He settled some time previous to the year 1789. At present one of his grandson, Clinton McIlwain, keeps the hotel at North Kortright.
Jabez Keeler, another Revolutionary soldier, came to Kortright Centre first, and built the house on the Martin Keeler farm. Afterward he removed to Kortright brook, where he build a saw-mill and occupied the farm known as the old Keeler homestead. He came into the country on horseback, in company with his son David. Some of his descendants had rare business capacity. They have fixed the name of Keeler indelibly on the history of the town and county.
John Blakely came to Kortright about 1798, from Schenectady. He had five sons, William, James, John, George and David. William married Nancy McDonald, and with capital stock amounting in all to an ax and an auger, and two indomitable spirits, the youthful couple went into the woods on the farm now owned by their son, G. Banyar. Mr. Blakely built a cabin with his ax, and with his ax and auger made furniture for it. He took from a huge tree timber sufficient to make a table, and left the tree still growing. He hewed the material and finished the table; it had "fall leaves". This table was used by the family until they were able to have a better one. Mr. Blakely soon became noted as a business man. "The turnpike", running from Catskill, on the Hudson, to the Susquehanna, afforded good facilities for keeping a hotel. He erected suitable buildings, and for forty years was the jolly host of the home-seeking traveler. He was one of the most prosperous business men of his day. He died in 1855, aged 78 years, leaving an inheritance which will be enjoyed for generations by his descendants. Two of his sons, James G. and G. Banyar, live on parts of the old homestead. His other son, John D., moved to Tully, N.Y., and is still living. The other brothers and their descendants are unknown to the writer.
Ebenezer Rowland, with his father, William Rowland, a native of Ireland, settled on the road leading from the turnpike to Bloomville about 1800. He was one of the most successful farmers of his day. Samuel, a brother, lived in the northern part of the town. They left a large circle of relatives.
James Kenyon, settled on the opposite side of the road from Mr. Rowland. He was also a thrifty farmer. He has one son living in the town. His farm has passed into the hands of Lewis Frisbee. Amos Roberts, with his sons, Amos, jr., Eli and John, settled a large tract of land lying south of Mr. William Blakey's place, on the road leading from thence to Bloomville. They were all thorough business men, as are their descendants to the present day. Eli C. and Charles, grandsons, live on part of the land originally taken by the great-grandfather. Merritt S., another grandson of Eli, sen. and son of Joseph, lives on his father's homestead, and is reputed to be one of the wealthiest men in the town. The elder Roberts sold his valuable lands on the Hudson at the close of the Revolution for Continental money. When he reached Kortright he found his scrip would not pay for a home even in the wilderness.
Jacob Forman located south of the Roberts settlement. He has numerous descendants in Kortright, among whom is Dr. Stephen Forman, a grandson.
Colonel Cornelius Griffin was the first settler on the farm now owned by Griffin Every, a grandson. He has numerous descendants in this town and Hamden.
The writer has not been able to find out when the last three families came into the town. It must have been before the year 1800. Mr. Forman came from Westchester county and Mr. Griffin from Columbia county.
Miller Coan was also an early resident of the same neighborhood. His son, Orrin, owns the homestead.
John and Samuel Every were the first to locate on Every brook after the war. The premises are now owned by a great-grandson, Mr. Harry Every. Their descendants have been very numerous throughout a large section of country. The following biography of one of these pioneers, from the paper published at Bloomville, will convey an idea of their character:
"Died in Bloomville, on the 12th inst., Mr. Jacob Every, aged 84. At the time of his death Mr. Every was the oldest resident of this place. He came here some sixty-three years ago, and built a log-house on nearly the same spot now occupied by our printing office. There was but one other building (Mr. N. Gregory's) in the place. He was a stirring, enterprising business man, and his presence soon made the wilderness echo with the notes of improvement. He built dams, grist-mills, clothing establishments and dwellings, and everything prospered before him. But the tide was changed as the sun of life began to recede. His grist-mill was destroyed by fire, and other reverses took from him the motive power of business. He has always resided in the village since he first moved here from Connecticut on horseback, and was respected and esteemed for his many good qualities. Peace to the ashes of this one faithful and enterprising pioneer of our village."
Elisha Osborn settled on the farm now owned by Clark McWilliams. He and his son Samuel were both prominent citizens. Peter Fisher settled the homestead where his son Peter now resides. Thomas Shiland came from Washington county and cleared the farm now in possession of his family. These men were both noted for their strict adherence to the principles of the Presbyterian church.
Alexander Cumming came from Nova Scotia in 1805. He settled on the farm where he now resides. He was a soldier in the war of 1812. In his youth he was an expert swimmer. He rescued several while drowning, and, after all other search had proved futile, found the body of the unfortunate McArthur boy, who was drowned July 4th, 1835. He and his wife are still living, the oldest couple in the town. His father was in this town before the Revolution and left when the war broke out. He subsequently came back with is son, and lived in the town until he died.
Judge Sluman Wattles lived two years on the farm now owned by William G. Stoutenburg. He then removed to Franklin, and was the first white settler in that town.
Gabriel Bishop lived near Bloomville before the Revolution. He served in that war with his father and six brothers. He has numerous descendants, but none of the name are in Kortright now.
"Died in Kortright on the 29th of January, 1853, Simeon McIntosh, in the ninety-second year of his age." He was one of the first settlers. He came by marked trees, and settled near where Jehiel Gregory now lives. His descendants are numerous in this county, and at Canton, Pennsylvania. Abner Newman was the first settler on the Kiff farm.
Andrew Kiff stood on picket and helped to guard Washington's camp during the Revolutionary war. His courage and fidelity were tested by the general himself, who, in disguise, attempted to pass the lines where young Kiff was stationed. Failing to scare or bribe the young man, the general returned to camp. In the morning Kiff was sent for to appear at the general's headquarters. He was frightened. He feared something dreadful was about to befall him; but, to his surprise and satisfaction, the general received him kindly, and gave him a nice present in money for his conduct the previous night. He entered the army when he was but seventeen years of age. He came from Newfoundland, and was of Irish descent. After the war closed he married. He and his young wife journeyed into the then unbroken wilderness to settle and clear up a home that they might enjoy in after years. They loaded all their household goods on one horse, and Mrs. Kiff mounted on these, while Mr. Kiff went on foot with his ax, to clear the way. They pursued their journey by long lines of marked trees, until they reached the upper farm now owned by Joseph Clark, where they built a cabin and commenced the business of life. Mrs. Betsey Kiff, widow of James Kiff, son of Andrew, is now living on a part of the old Kiff homestead, at the advanced age of ninety-seven years. She was the daughter of John Monger, who settled on a farm now owned by Harvey B. Gerowe. She walked from Catskill and helped to drive the cows; she was then sixteen years of age. She says the roads were so rough that it was almost impossible to ride. She was born in Dutchess county. The writer is indebted to this remarkable lady for much of the information given in this town's history. Although she is blind, her mind is clear and her recollection good.
The Sackrider homestead was settled by John Bramley. Solomon Sackrider came from Fishkill at an early date; he moved with oxen, and was seven days coming n from Catskill. The place is now owned by James Sackrider, a grandson, and son of Henry.
John McDonald, a Scotchman, took up the place owned by James A. Sackrider. He and his wife came to Kortright on foot, carrying in a few parcels all they had to commence housekeeping. Mr. McDonald built a cabin but this was not always to be his dwelling; by untiring industry and perseverance he earned a competence. He reared a family, some of whom held the first offices in the town and county. The whole generation have been noted for those rare qualities for which the sire was noted.
James Wetmore settled on lands now owned by James S. Kerr. He was the father of James Wetmore, Esq., who was for many years a prominent citizen in the town of Stamford. Solomon S. D. Wetmore, a grandson, is living in the town.
James Cavin lived on the farm adjoining that now owned by John O. Thompson. He sold to James Hume and removed to Delhi. He has a son, Mr. Abel Cavin, living in the town on the farm settled by Alanson Banks and sold to Mr. Cavin by John Banks, son of Alanson. Henry D. and Benjamin are sons of John Banks. Henry D. lives on land settled by William McArthur and Abraham Butts. Benjamin occupies the farm that for many years was occupied by Peter T. Stoutenburg. This farm was settled by George Mitchell.
David Humphrey settled lands, owned by Robert McArthur, known as the Dales farm. Alexander Dales, father of George Dales, Esq. of Bloomville, lived on this farm for many years. After his death his son Orrin sold it and removed to Pennsylvania.
Joseph Beilby, who recently died at Harpersfield, for many years lived on the farm now owned by Andrew J. Stoutenburg. The Beilbys were an English family. Mr. Beilby's grandfather was one of the first teachers in the town. The middle aged people of this vicinity will always remember Mr. Beilby's "turn key", with which he used to remove the aching teeth of both great and small. Isaac Brownell settled on the farm now owned by Michael Dunn. His descendants have reached the fourth generation in this town. William Brownell, of West Kortright, is a grandson. His record, like that of all the family, is clear and untarnished.
John McWilliams and his son David were early settlers. Mr. McWilliams had a large family, but they have all died farm. Henry Dibble, sen., was the first permanent settler in this part of the town. He died in 1804, aged seventy-eight years. He took up lands now owned by William Shaw. Henry, jr. who came with is father, died February 10th, 1810, aged sixty years. His widow lived many years after the death of her husband. She was familiarly known by the name of "granny", and was supposed to have a magical power over disease and suffering. She rode on horseback over a long circuit, and gave her services gratis. She died at an advanced age, loved and respected by all who knew her. Her maiden name was Lucy Cleveland. The family came from Connecticut. Patrick, a brother of Henry, jr., settled on a portion of the farm owned by H. L. Keator, on Betty's brook. He was a first settler in that vicinity. Henry Dibble 3d lived on the farm owned by Campbell Tate at a very early date. He sold it and removed to Sidney, where he died at an advanced age. Their descendants out number any family that has ever settled in the town. George L. Scott removed to the place where his widow resides when a boy four years old, about the year 1787. His father, Elijah Scott, died when his son was quite young. They removed from Columbia county. They were noted for truthfulness and honesty Major Jeremiah Butts settled the farm known as the Colonel Butts farm. He raised five sons, Wilson, Henry, Sheldon, Agrippa and Luther. These men's names all appear frequently in the records of the town. With a strong will powers, they and their descendants have held a good position in society. Jeremiah, jr., is living with his son on the Wilson butts homestead, and John, son of Henry, is living on his father's homestead. The old farm has passed to other owners. Joseph McCracken in 1803 settled lot 53, where William Rice now resides; he was of Irish descent. He entered the Revolutionary army when only seventeen years old. He had three sons, John, William and Joseph, of whom John and Joseph are living in the town. His descendants are noted for energy in every pursuit in life.
Jedediah Seward settled on the hill near the Methodist Hollow. He moved from Orange county wit oxen. William Sage came at the same time and settled near by. Samuel Andrews, Josiah Clark and David Denison were settlers in the same neighborhood. They were ardent supporters of Methodism; hence the name of the place. David Orr died March ,1874, aged eighty-five years. He resided on Betty's brook for many years. He left four sons, three of whom resided in the town. His father, John Orr, came from Ireland in1809, and lived in the town until he died. Caleb Dean Ferris settled what is now known as "Ferris Mountain" or "McMurdy Hill", having sold his farm at Peekskill, on the Hudson, now owned by Henry Ward Beecher and used a s a summer residence. Mr. Beecher has in good preservation the same house Mr. Ferris left one hundred years ago. Mr. Ferris was appointed to carry a petition to the Legislature of this State, setting forth the grievances of his town, in 1792. He was supervisor of the town in 1794, when he died, and the vacancy was filled September 15th by a special election. Benajah Beardsley was elected to serve the remainder of the term. After Mr. Ferris's death John Jacobs and Peter Ferris bought the farm of his widow. John Jacobs of the father of Dr. Ferris Jacobs, of Delhi, and grandfather of General Ferris Jacobs, Jr.
George Brownell was a native of Connecticut. He settled in Kortright in 1806. He was a noted plow maker when plows were of wood, with a share made by a blacksmith. Walter S., his youngest son, died April 5th, 1871. He held many honorable positions among his townsmen. His widow resides on his father's homestead.
Stephen Cease settled on the lower farm owned by Myron Hill. His son, David, for many years a dealer in butter, is living in the town. Alden Burdick at that time lived on te farm at the foot of "Burdick Hill". He was the father of Mrs. Joseph Clark. His descendants are quite numerous. Jared Goodrich and his son Jared were both prominent citizens. Silas, another son, lived on the farm now owned by James Cleaveland. Curtis Cleaveland, father of James, was an early settler on the John Kinmouth homestead. Levi Bartlett lived where Mrs. Hugh Kinmouth resides. Mr. Cleaveland and Mr. Bartlett both removed to Sidney.
After this thorough sketch of the settlement of the town down to a date comparatively so recent that individual arrivals have less interest, it will only be necessary to give a series of census returns, showing the marked and almost constant decline in population for forty-five years back, as the foregoing reminisces have sketched the period of growth. The figures are as follows: 1835, 2,531; 1840, 2,441; 1845, 2,211; 1850, 2,181; 1855, 2,013; 1860, 2,023; 1865, 1,897; 1870, 1,812; 1875, 1,679.
"At a meeting (the first) of the inhabitants of the township of Kortright, in the county of Montgomery and State of New York, legally assembled, on the first Tuesday in April, 1787, held on the center lot of said township, the following persons were chosen for the following officers, viz.:
"Joseph Lawrence, town clerk; Pellatiah Whitemore, Joseph Hadly, assessors; Joshua Ferris, masters of highways; Alexander Leal, Jared Goodrich, overseers of the poor; John French, collector; Joshua Ferris, Solomon Stuart, Reuben Branard, Caleb D. Ferris, constables; John French, Walter Branch, commissioners for the roads."
The supervisors and clerks of the town have been as follows:
Supervisors-1788, Daniel Harris; 1789,1796, Thomas McClaughry; 1790, Jared Goodrich; 1791, Josiah Clark; 1792, Alexander Leal, sen.; 1793, William McFarland; 1794, Caleb D. Ferris; 1795, 1797, 1798, 1800-3, 1805, Benajah Beardsley; 1799, Henry Marshall; 1804, 1806, 1810, Chauncey Lawrence; 1807, 1819, Nehemiah Gregory; 1808, 1809, 1811, 1812, James Harris; 1813-18, 1824, Martin Keeler; 1820, 1821, George Liddle; 1822, 1823, Jared Goodrich, jr.;; 1825, 1826, Gaius Halsey; 1827,1828, John McDonald, jr.; 1829-32, 1839, 1840, Martin Keeler, jr.; 1833, 1834, Nehemiah Hanford; 1835, 1836, Luther Butts; 1837,1838, Andrew Gilchrist; 1852, 1853, George Bunnell; 1854, James McKee; 1855, 1856, John Peters; 1857, 1858, Andrew Gilchrist; 1859, Samuel McCune; 1860-63, 1869-72, Harvey Davis, jr.; 184, E. A. Gallup; 1865, 1866, James S. Kerr; 1867, 1868, 1874, 1875, Samuel McCune; 1873, Joseph Clark; 1878, 1879, James S. Kerr.
Town Clerks-Joshua Ferris, 1788, 1789; Caleb D. Ferris 1790-92; John Denison, 1793; Jared Blakely, 1794-97; Chauncey Lawrence, 1798, 1803; Jared Goodrich, 1804-12; Jared Goodrich, jr., 1813-21; Zaccheus Smith, 1822, 1823, 1825; William Makee, 1824; Martin Keeler, jr., 1826-28, 1843, 1856; Thomas Smith, 1829-32; Jared Goodrich, 1833-35; William McClaughry, 1836-42; William Y. McClaughry, 1844-52, 1854; 1857-79; Andrew T. McClaughry, 1853; William B. Hunt, 1855.
At a special town meeting held on the 13th of November, 1820, it was resolved that a tax of $200 be levied for the support of the poor of the town at the next meeting of the board of supervisors; also "that the poor of this town be sold at vendue to the lowest bidder," and "that the town clerk give notice that they will be vendued at the house of Ames Leal, on the 24th day of November inst., at ten o'clock, A.M."
At a town meeting, April 3d, 1792, it was 'resolved that Alexander Leal, sen., Caleb D. Ferris, Thomas McClaughry and James Stewart be appointed a committee to draw a petition to the Assembly praying to have the grievances of this town redressed, and that Caleb D. Ferris be chosen bearer of said petition to the legislative body at its next session. And we also vote that there be four pounds in cash raised in the public tax towards defraying the expense of said bearer in bearing said petition to the Assembly, and what is deficient to be made up in the next tax." In the year 1790 there was a law enacted and a resolution passed that each farmer in Kortright should establish an ear mark for his live stock, and record it in the town clerk's book. It was recorded of the animals of Aaron Seward that "they may be known from others by their ear mark, which is a small cut off the near ear, and a half-penny (or semicircle) cut out from under the same ear."
The Kortright patent, the first land grant, was set off from Harper's patent February 24th, 1770, to Lawrence Kortright and others. This land was purchased by John Harper and others from the Indians in 1768. They obtained letters patent from King George III of England. The Harper patent contained one hundred thousand acres. Its proprietors deeded to Kortright twenty-two thousand acres. This patent was surveyed by William Cockburn, in 1770, and divided up into lots or farms of one hundred and fifty acres each. The proprietor offered his farms free of rent for five years, and for sixpence sterling per acre rent each year forever thereafter. Most of the farms were taken on these terms.
The first log huts were built by Scotch families, who settled along the Delaware river and on the site of the village of Bloomville. Their names were Stoutenburgh, Fredenburg and Lawson. The first frame house was undoubtedly built by Caleb D. Ferris, on the farm now owned by Mrs. Joseph Kerr. The first stone house was built by Thomas Harkness, in the year 1808It is still standing. Its builder was Archibald Mitchell, who was assisted by Alexander Humphrey. Mr. Humphrey built several of these houses in the north part of the town, one for William Smith and another for Samuel Rowland. They were very substantial buildings.
The first orchard set out was in the southeast corner of the town , on the Alexander Cumming farm. The trees were taken from an Indian nursery. The first ground was doubtless cleared by Calder. It seems very probable that there had been an Indian clearing where he sowed the first grain that was ever sowed by a white man in Kortright.
The first road was laid out April 11th, 1788. It commenced on the division line between Harpersfield and Kortright, on the west corner of Almen Mack's farm, and ran thence to Kortright Centre, and so on to the Susquehanna river. The commissioners were John Harper, Alexander Leal and Loie Gaylor, jr.
The first marriage in the town was that of Michael Sixsmith to Mary Ann Riggs; they were married by a justice of the peace in the year 1793, at the house of John Murdock. Mrs. Leal, widow of the late Hugh Leal, is a daughter of this pioneer couple. She is living near Kortright Centre, with two sons and one daughter. The writer is much indebted to this family for valuable information.
Daniel McGillivrae was supposed to be the first white child born within the limits of the town. He was born before the Revolution. The first death was that of a son Isaac Randall.
The settlers before the Revolution buried their dead on a knoll east of Kortright Centre, by the bank of the brook, and on a knoll near Joseph Clark's barn. There are a few graves of the early settles near where the churches stood in the Methodist Hollow; also near the dwellings of John E. Powell and Mrs. S. H. Keeler, in Bloomville, and on lands of M. S. Odell, where the elder Sewards were buried. There are several burying grounds in the town that have been in use many years; three on the lands of William Adee, Benjamin Mahaffa and George E. Scott, one at the North Kortright church, one on the line between the farms of Thomas McCully and Mrs. David Kerr, one at Kortright Centre church, one at the Reformed church, one at the West Kortright church, and one in Bloomville, besides tow family burying grounds-those of the Sackrider families.
The first school-house built in the south part of the town was a log structure, situated a few rods east of the village of Bloomville, near the "pine trees." There was a frame school-house built near Thomas McClaughry's at a very early date. Jane Blakely taught the first school, in1795. Thomas McAuley taught a school in 1799; Judge Keeler taught soon after. John Beilby taught the first school in Bloomville. In 1797 the fist school officers were elected. Henry Marshall, Joseph Mitchell, Hugh Orr and Joseph Smith were chosen commissioners of common schools for the town.
A Mr. Alexander built a mill before the war. He buried the irons and they have never been found. Calder built a mill below Bloomville about the same time. Soon after the war one Potter build a mill on Betty's brook. He had some difficulty with Mills, an agent of Kortright. He moved his mill in the night, as is supposed, to lands now owned by James Sackrider, above the "Hog's Back," on the west side of the Delaware. Subsequently Henry Turk built a mill on the Betty's brook site. This mill has stood in different shapes and had many owners, among whom were Benjamin Gerowe, Finkle and Tyson. The present owner is J. S. Dow. The first mill in Bloomville was built by Jacob Every. It burned down, and he built the present grist-mill. This mill has been repaired several times, and has had several different owners, among whom were Aaron Champion, William Hallenbeck and the present owner, Nicholas Moak. Andrew Kipp, jr., built a flouring-mill on the old Kipp homestead. It has long since gone to decay. There has been a great lull in the milling business for some years past. As the land grew older wheat became an uncertain crop, and the people turned their attention to making butter, and depended on the west for their bread.
Pine timber was quite abundant in some parts of the town when it was first settled. Saw-mills were built in connection with most of the grist-mills, and in many other places. The elder McIlwain built a saw-mill at North Kortright; his son Robert built one on the farm now owned by Ebenezer Rowland, 2nd. Joseph Roberts operated one very successfully on his farm on the west side of the town. Lyman Lawson and his son James carried on quite an extensive lumber business on the Richard McClaughry place. John Every built a saw-mill on Kortright brook; Samuel Shelly one on lands now owned by Charles H. Wetmore; Benjamin Gerowe one on the lands of Orson J. Butts; Keeler & Johnson one on Kortright brook. The timber land has given place to cultivated fields; the mills have rotted down, the machinery has been removed, and the ponds have dried up. There are only two saw-mills in operation in the town at present, one in Bloomville and one at North Kortright.
A Mr. Bush operated a tannery on lands now owned by Maransa Sanford, in the easterly corner of the town; Shadrack White had one at Bloomville; Andrew Reynolds, jr., one at Kortright Centre, and Hosea Reynolds one at North Kortright. He sold out to James Dougherty, who operated it, in connection with a shoemaking business, for several years, until his death in 1852.
The early settlers were obliged to live on small incomes, making it necessary to manufacture their own clothing. Their linen cloth was made from flax of their raising, and manufactured into cloth in their own houses. Each maid and matron was an adept at the spinning-wheel. The lathe of the hand-loom could be heard thwacking at every throw of the shuttle whenever there was an urgent demand for clothing. The woolen fabrics were made from wool off of the sheep, and manufactured in the same way until it was dressed into cloth for outside wear. The cloth was taken to a clothing mill for this purpose. Jacob Every had such a mill in Bloomville. Peter and Andrew Kipp had one in connection with their mill, and a man by the name of Young built one on Kortright brook. Besides dressing cloth these establishments had a carding-machine attached, to card the wool into rolls ready for spinning. The last-named was run by David Winslow long after the others had suspended, but it succumbed to the factory and the improved modes of making cloth.
Silas Knapp kept the first store in Bloomville. A man by the name of Folger built a store at South Kortright. He sold it to Judge Keeler. The judge kept a store at Kortright Centre when he first commenced business. His son Edmund kept a store at North Kortright at the time of his death, and his son Charles was keeping one at South Kortright when he died. Kortright has a long list of merchants. John Hitchcolk kept a store for a long time at Kortright Centre. He is now living retired at Davenport. Among the names of the Bloomville merchants we give the following: Rufus Bunnell, Jehiel Gregory, Ebenezer Keeler, Stephen H. Keeler, George Bunnell, John Peters, Harvey Davis, Clark Butts, Samuel McCune, Andrew J. Corbin, Daniel K. Cease, E. Jason Kelly and Moses F. Allison; Dewitt C. Bouton is the present merchant at North Kortright. These merchants have always bought goods in New York city, and until the Midland and Ulster & Delaware railroads were built freighted them by boat to Catskill, whence they were drawn sixty miles on wagon.
A man by the name of Stoutenburgh kept the first hotel in Bloomville. There was a log tavern kept by one Longyear near Daniel Whipple's on the Delaware river and another near the "Cold Spring", a half a miles west of Kortright Centre. There have been public houses kept in the town by the following persons: James Leal and Joseph Lawrence, ver early, at Kortright Centre; Ambrose Hunt, George Edgerton and William Y. Burns, more recently, at Bloomville; and along the river Thomas Clark, Joseph Mitchell, Alanson Webb, Harvey Davis, sen, Nehemiah Every, Colonel Adams Jacques, George Dales, James McWilliams, George Thompson, John O. Thompson, John Butts, Jacob More, J. P. Shaw, Willard Mulford and Isaac M. Odell
Gabriel Bishop worked at blacksmithing on Wright's brook soon after the Revolution. His shop stood near where Tobias Stoutenburg lives. John McArthur had a shop near where William Shaw and his sons David C. and William, jr. reside. Nehemiah Gregory and his descendants did a large blacksmithing business in Bloomville for many years. Henry Kerr worked at blacksmithing on Betty's brook, where his family now reside. John Banks (the celebrated preacher) was noted as an ax and edge tool maker. He had a shop where Thomas Williamson resides.
Among the names of the early settlers who were carpenters are the following: V. Maxon, William Irving, Mulford Kenyon, Richard Every, Henry McIntosh, Alexander Dales, Abram Scouten, Joseph Gaddis and Milo Heath.
Ebenezer Keeler ran a distillery in Bloomville, and a man by the name of Sanburn carried on one on the place where William Black resides. These fountains are all dried up. At present there is not even a license in the town for selling a fiery beverage.
Dr. A. E. Paine was the first physician who practiced in the town of Kortright. He first lived near Bush's tannery, then removed to Bloomville, and afterward to Delhi, where he held many responsible positions within the gift of the people. He was the father of Colonel Anthony M. Paine.
Dr. Brown received his medical education in the army of the Revolution, as hospital attendant and regimental assistant surgeon. Soon after the war closed he commenced practice at Kortright Centre; he subsequently moved to Harpersfield, where he died.
Dr. Dewey practiced at Kortright Centre about the year 1816. Dr. Keeler also practice at Kortright Centre.
Dr. Gaius Halsey came to Kortright in the year 1817. He was born on Long Island. He was a student in the office of the elder Dr. White, a distinguished surgeon of Cherry Valley, Otsego county. When he first came into the town he took rooms and boarded with Edward R. McClaughry. After several months waiting in vain for business, he concluded that he must seek another location. As he was about to leave he was called to see a Mrs. Rowland, who was in a very critical condition from strangulated hernia, which the attending physician had failed to remedy. He succeeded, and saved the patient's life. The following Sabbath the Rev. William McAuley saw fit to mention the young doctor who had so skillfully treated one of his parishioners. From that date Dr. Halsey became very popular as a physician and surgeon. He joined the Delaware County Medical Society in 1818; was president of that society in 1823 and 1824 and was a delegate to the State society for a term of four years. The following is from the pen of Dr. Ferris Jacobs, of Delhi, N.Y., who resided in Kortright during his boyhood.: "I knew him well for many years. His size was full, plump, imposing; his position as physician and gentleman honorable and influential; in mind quick and positive; his acts energetic and well sustained." Dr. Halsey was twice married, and had five children. One son is living at Unadilla, Otsego county, and is an eminent physician and surgeon. The elder Dr. Halsey died December 18th, 1835, aged forty-four years. His widow is still living at Hobart, N.Y.
Dr. Ezra T. Gibbs, who read medicine with Dr. Halsey, succeeded him as physician at Kortright Centre. The house and office built by Dr. Halsey has remained in possession of Dr. Gibbs ever since his predecessor's death.
Again we have from the pen of Dr. Jacobs: "Dr. Henry Marshall was born in Scotland in 1769. He was in college with his friend Rev. William McAuley. He was a man of much classical learning and great ability. He was reticent, yet an instructive, logical thinker and talker. He took pride and comfort in instructing the youth in matters of useful bearing. I often listened to hm for hours at night time, till sleep closed my weary eyes. The doctor was rather short and stout, a good specimen of the Scottish race. He had a large practice; was admired for his great ability; was unlike every one; had few equals and consequently few intimate associates. As he was not of the people, he was not like them. He died at Hobart, N.Y., aged eighty-four." He lived on the farm owned by John McNaught, on Betty's brook. Dr. Waldo practiced in Bloomville about the year 1808. Dr. Wadby, an English physician of considerable note, practiced in Bloomville about 1825, and died there.
Dr. H.K. Willard was a fluent speaker and writer. As a physician he was noted for his successful treatment of fevers. He married a daughter of Colonel Asher Marvin. He removed to Albany county in 1843.
Dr. Seward Smith, an eminent physician at Hartwick, N.Y., was in Bloomville for a short time, about 1844.
Dr. Abram McClaughry, now a resident of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., lived on his father's homestead on Betty's brook and practiced medicine, about the year 1850. He studied his profession with his brother, Dr. James McClaughry, of New York city.
Dr. Ovid L. Butts was born in Kortright June 13th, 1840, and died October 22nd, 1876. He was a son of Jeremiah Butts. In his boyhood he attended the district school during the winter, and worked on the farm in summer. When he reached majority he commenced the study of medicine, alternating between his study and teaching and farming, as necessity demanded, to defray his expenses. He graduated at the Albany Medical College in 1866, and commenced to practice at Bloomville soon after. His ride soon grew too large. He died from over-work, at the noontime of life.
Dr. Stephen Forman has been a practicing physician in Bloomville more than forty-five years. He has enjoyed a very large patronage.
Drs. H. M. Smith and J. R. Matthews are young, vigorous men, and seem likely to be able to take care of the health of the community for many years.
Rev. William McAuley was born in Ireland. He was educated in Scotland, removed to America in 1794, and was installed pastor of the Presbyterian church at Kortirght in June, 1795. He settled on the farm now occupied by Mrs. Moses Strauaghan. He labored at clearing the farm during the week, and preached on the Sabbath. An old acquaintance recollects hearing him say: "I would not give a cent for a minister that could not shake a good sermon out of the straw." He was very successful in his ministry. AT one time his congregation numbered over five hundred members. At that time it was said to be the most numerous church society in the State west of the Hudson river. He reared a large family. One of his daughters, Mrs. James G. Blakely, is living in the town. He died in March. 1951, full of years and good works.
John Banks, the noted Methodist preacher, moved to Kortright in 1804, and lived on the farm now owned by Thomas Williamson. He was born in Connecticut, removed to Delaware county when a boy, and learned the blacksmith's trade of David Wilcox in Harpersfield. He first worked at his trade during the week, preaching on Sundays and on funeral occasions. He afterward rode on a very extensive circuit, reaching over two hundred miles in either direction. He preached in groves, school-houses and dwelling houses. He was not afraid to grapple with what he thought to be sin wherever he found it.
McAuley and Bangs did not enjoy each other's sympathy during their arduous labors. Each had a particular doctrine to establish and maintain. Each was a power in himself. It may be truly said that neither has had an equal in the profession since they left the stage of action.
Rev. Clark Irving succeeded Mr. McAuley and remained pastor until 1870, when he was released by the presbytery. He is a gentleman of scholarly attainments, and with his conservative nature and gentlemanly bearing won many friends, both in and out of his church.
The first post-office established in the town was at Kortright Centre. At the early organization of the town Mr. Kortright and other landholders saw the necessity for establishing a business thoroughfare through their lands. They built a turnpike on an air line through the center of their patents, connecting Catskill, on the Hudson, with Wattles Ferry, on the Susquehanna, near Unadilla. All the products of this section of the Sate passed over this road on their way to New York. The inhabitants living along the line of this turnpike soon became very prosperous, villages sprung up and many of the inhabitants opened hotels for the accommodation of the multitude of travelers that went to and from market. A stage line was established, which ran regularly in connection with the mails. At this time Kortright Centre was the business forum of the town. About the year 1834 a turnpike was built from North Kortright to Oneonta, through the valley of the Charlotte river, with an easy grade. This sealed the destiny of the towns along the old road; the stages and mails were withdrawn, the merchants and tradesmen sought more favorable locations, and the result has been that this section of country has retrograded as much for forty years past as it had 9improved for forty years prior to the change of the road.
North Kortright has a post-office. There is one at West Kortright and another at South Kortright. In the year 1813 there was a stage route established from Delhi to Stamford. A post-office was fixed at Bloomville; Colonel Asher Merwin was the first postmaster; he served for many years.
Bloomville, first called the "Four Corners", then the "Corners", was given its present name by Judge Keeler and Lewis Bussy. The latter at the time was a school teacher in the place, and was an early settler of the town. He has a son Solomon Bussy, living in the lower part of the town of Andes. Bloomville has always been a trading point of considerable importance. A man named Stoutenburgh kept the first tavern and Silas Knapp the first store.
The Bloomville Mirror, a weekly newspaper, was established May 28th, 1851, by S. B. Champion, and published for nearly twenty years, when he removed to Stamford and took his press with him. The paper is still edited by the founder, and is called the Stamford Mirror.
At present there are two dry goods stores, two groceries, two harness shops, a jewelry store, a tin shop, two cabinet shops, a grist-mill and a tavern.
WILLIAM MC CLAUGHRY was born in Kortright April 28th, 1803. His father, Joseph McClaughry, was of Scotch-Irish parentage. His mother, Agnes Adams, was of English descent. She was a woman of strong character, and always devotedly beloved by her son. He was an earnest student at an early age, and soon excelled, especially in mathematics. An incident of his early life was his shedding tears because his father thought it unnecessary to buy an arithmetic for him as well as his older brother. His mother comforted him by going on horseback to the nearest town, taking something she could spare to barter, and coming home with the coveted book. At seventeen he commenced teaching school in winter, working on his father's farm in summer, and by his force of character won the respect of scholars older than himself. He married in 1824 Jiles McArthur, one of his brightest scholars-a lovely girl of eighteen. They had little besides stout hearts and willing hands to begin with. He was attracted by mercantile pursuits, but was unfortunate in a partner, who disappeared with the funds of the concern, leaving the young man with a heavy load of debts. After many years of hard labor these were paid, and he could say he "owned no man anything." In 1846 he was elected county clerk of Delaware county, and re-elected in 1849. The duties of the office were faithfully and economically performed. He made many warm friends by his obliging manner and genuine kindness of the heart.
Mrs. McClaughry died in 1853. Two children survived her, a son, Henry, who died in1861, and a daughter, who married H.K. Thurber, a prominent merchant of New York city. Mr. McClaughry removed form Delhi in 1853 to the town of Sidney, but soon after entered into a manufacturing business in Unadilla, Otsego county. He married again and remained in Unadilla until his death, which occurred March 9,th, 1868. His memory is fragrant of good deeds. He was a kind adviser and trusted friend of many-frequently called upon to arbitrate in disputes. In politics he was a Democrat until the anti-slavery movement, when he became a Republican from the principle, and was an earnest patriot during the civil war. He as a man of strong common sense, with a love of justice and truth. He early united with Presbyterian church, and was ever a consistent Christian, earnest in every good work.
DUNCAN MCDONALD was elected sheriff of Delaware county in 1852. He was a son of John McDonald, one of the early settlers of the town. Mr. McDonald was a man of great firmness and determination, which made him very popular as an officer. John McDonald, another son of the pioneer, represented the second Assembly district of Delaware county in the Assembly. He held many public positions beside. He was one of the most popular officers of his day.
LUTHER BUTTS represented the second Assembly district in 1848. Lewis Mills was also a representative soon after. Stephen H. Keeler represented the same district at an earlier date. He was a son of Judge Keeler, and son-in-law to Colonel Asher Merwin.
SAMUEL ANDREWS, one of the Broadway (New York) stage proprietors is a son of John Andrews, and is a native of Kortright. He went to New York and commenced life poor, and has risen to his present position by his own efforts. Grant McDonald, a former partner in the stage line, was a son of John McDonald, second. He was born in Kortright, and at the time of his death was a striking example of a self-made man.
THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF KORTRIGHT was founded by a party of emigrants from Scotland, in May, 1774. It was for many years without either legal or ecclesiastical organization. The members first met at a private house on the church lot. The meeting was opened by an elderly man name John Blair. The society applied to the Associate Presbytery of New York and Pennsylvania for supplies, and the Rev. R. Annan was sent, who preached two Sabbaths in Harpersfield, and lectured on a week day in Kortright and baptized some children. The society was afterward supplied by Rev. Messrs. Lagan, Pattan and Murray and Rev. Dr. Thomas Clark until the Revolutionary war broke up the settlement in 1778.
After the war only two families of the original society returned to Kortright, those of Alexander Leal and Alexander Mills. These men, with Thomas McClaughry, Hugh Sloan, James Douglass, Robert Wool, Hugh Rose, Joseph Hodswell, Alexander Grant, William McKenzie and others applied to the same presbytery for ministerial service, and Revs. Thomas Smith, Alexander Proudfit, John Dunlap and George and James Mairs ministered here until October, 1794, when Rev. William McAuley came, who was installed soon after.
The congregation became a corporate body April 7th, 1789, under the name of "The Corporation of the Presbyterian Church in the Township of Kortright." The certificate was witnessed by Thomas McClaughry and Thomas Riggs, and was acknowledged before William Harper, one of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the county of Montgomery, by Alexander Leal for himself, and John French for himself., September 7th, 1789. The first trustees were William Stewart, Alexander Leal, sen., Thomas McClaughry, Jared Goodrich, Nathan Dean and Caleb Dean Ferris.
The society was afterward ecclesiastically organized with twenty members, and Alexander Leal, jr., Thomas McClaughry and Hugh Sloan were ordained ruling elders. Alexander Leal, jr., held the office fifty-eight years, until his death in 1850. His brother, James Leal, was an elder in the same congregation. The society at one time used a log barn that stood on the church lot as a place of worship. Shortly before the settlement of Mr. McAuley, in 1934, a large new church was built. This church was burned in December, 1849, when the present one was built on the old site. The congregation divided into three bodies; one remained on the old ground, one built a church at West Kortright and one at North Kortright. In 1866 the congregation left the Associated Reformed Presbyterian church, with which it had been connected, and joined the United Presbyterian church, presbytery of Delaware.
After Mr. McAuley's death, in March, 1851, Rev. Clark Irving was sole pastor until 1870, when he was released by the presbytery. In 1872, Rev. A. M. Smeallie was ordained and installed pastor, and he is acting at present.
Rev. J. B. McNulty was the first pastor of the West Kortright church. Rev. John Rippey succeeded Mr. McNulty, and Rev. R. T. Doig, the present pastor, succeeded Mr. Rippery. The leading officers were John McKee, David Mtichell, Samuel Stewart and Thomas Leal.
The first pastor of the North Kortright church was Rev. John Erskine; then followed James Smeallie, R. B. Tagart and R. C. Monteith.
The Reformed Presbyterian congregation of Kortright had its beginning in 1798, James Douglass and John McKeever, with their wives, being the first members. Rev. James McKinney, of Duanesburg, N.Y., preached a few sermons in the locality that year.
In 1810 the society, numbering about thirty members, was organized into a congregation, Alexander McCrea, and Henry Harper being ordained ruling elders. The subsequent elder have been, John McKeever, James Miller, Peter Doig, Samuel Dales, Robert Loudon, Robert Spence, George Spence, William McCracken, Samuel Mahaffy and Joseph Spence. Andrew McNeely, Robert S. Orr and Andrew S. Gilchrist are at present ruling elders in the congregation.
The deacons (financial officers) of the same have been Joseph Gaddis, James Murdock, David Orr, Thomas C. Loudon, George McClaughry, William Orr and Richard C. Sanderson.
The last four are the present deacons.
The congregation has had three pastors: Rev. M. B. Williams, from 1819 to 1931; Rev. S. M. Willson, from 1845 to 1863; and the present pastor, Rev. J. O. Bayles, who was ordained and installed in January, 1866.
During the many years the society and congregation were without public preaching, they met in prayer-meeting on the Lord's day, and once a month on week days.
The first church building was erected early in the history of the congregation, at Kortright Centre. The present house of worship, one mile below Kortright Centre, was erected in 1851.
The membership of the congregation, from 1875 to 1879 has averaged seventy-seven. The Sabbath-school numbers eighty-five.
The contribution annually amount to $1,030, with the addition of a comfortable parsonage.
A Methodist church was built in Bloomville about the year 1808. The leading members were John Every, Moses Lyon, Isaac Conklin, Alanson Banks and John Rull. Mr. Lyon gave so liberally to the church that he was obliged to succumb to financial embarrassment.
The first Methodist preacher in Bloomville was a gentleman named Willis.
The church was thoroughly repaired in 1857, and finished up in modern style.
A Methodist church was built of logs, by "bees" in the Methodist Hollow in 1789. It stood on lands now owned by E. A. Gallup. A new framed church was built in 1810 near the old site. It flourished for a while, but the members died or moved away, until no services were held for a long time. In 1860 the church was sold and used for other purposes. The founders of this church were Aaron and Sylvanus Seward, David Denison, Samuel Andrews, Josiah Clark and William Page.
A "Christian" church was built near the other in 1844. The members of the society were Smith Hanford, Captain Nehemiah Hanford, Abijah Sheldon, John Forman and many others. The ministers were S. Wright Butler, James E. Hays, Daniel Grant and Calvin Southwick. Services were suspended in this church for a long time, and it was sold for other use.
There was a society of "Christians" formed at South Kortright about the year 1800. The first preachers were Martin Millard and one Peevil. They held meetings for a time in a barn owned by William Johnson. Afterward they built a church on land then owned by William Mitchell, on the river road, half a mile wet of the river bridge. The congregation grew weak in the course of time, and the church was sold to John McDonald, and is now used by his son, James, for a wagon house. Prominent among the members were William Johnson, Henry Turk and Daniel McPherson.
The Grand Lodge of Free Masons of the State of New York granted a charter to a lodge at Kortright Centre June 29th, 1802. The lodge was known as St. Lawrence Lodge, No. 92. The lodge room was in the house now owned by Michel Sixsmith. There were ninety charter members. Joshua H. Bret was the first master; Chauncey Lawrence, S.W. The following prominent citizens were among its members: Martin Keeler, Gaius Halsey, Jared Goodrich, Silas Goodrich, Jeremiah Butts, Abram Butts, Solomon
Sackrider, Jehiel Gregory, Elijah C. Smith, Isaac Nash and John Every.
There is a farmers' society known as the Grange in Bloomville. It was organized in February, 1874. The first master was John W. McArthur, and the first secretary was James S. Kerr. There are in Bloomville flourishing lodges of Good Templars and Sons of Temperance, with a good membership.
Of 1812-Hugh Leal, James Kenyon, William McArthur, James Kiff, Levi Maby, William Kiff, Lyman Kiff, Abram Coan, Alexander Cumming, John Briggs, John Downer, Henry Gregory, Abram Butts, Henry Butts, Orlando Mack, Samuel Murdock, John McIlwain, Sylvanus Seward, Jesse Stewart, Thomas Graves. Died in the war for the Union-Samuel Tate, Andrew Tate, J. Newton McClaughry, Hugh Black, William Davis, Joseph R. McCracken, Levi Decker, John S. Burdick, J. Rowland, James T. McClaughry, Walter T. Mead, John M. McCulley, James Murphy, George Cease, Richard, Young, Horace S. Hanford, Chauncey D. Hanford, John B. McWilliams, Charles H. Barker, Frederick Ames, George Baker.
Other soldiers of 1861-'65-J. Harvey McKee, William Tate, Isaac H. Every, Lewis B. Sackrider, Samuel U. Every, Philip Larch, Thomas Cease, Marshal C. Maxon, William Becker, William Gerowe, Stephen Every, Oscar Every, Daniel Bowker, Walter D. Brownell, Andrew J. Blackman, James S. Dow, John Balls, Selah H. Odell.
G. B. BLAKLEY is a life-long resident of Kortright. He was born in 1825, and was married to Miss Elizabeth Mitchell of Meredith; they have five children. His father settled in Kortright very early, upon the Sackrider farm; he died in 1855, and his wife, who was Nancy McDonald, died the same year.
D. C. BOUTON, dealer in stock, North Kortright, was born in Roxbury, September 25th, 1840. His wife was Martha E. Scott, of Kortright. Mr. Bouton has been twice elected justice of the peace.
WALTER D. BROWNELL, farmer, was born in Kortright in 1844. He enlisted in 1864 in the 69th (Irish Brigade) and was honorably discharged at the end of the war. His wife died December 16th, 1878.
ORSON BUTTS was born in Kortright in1848, and is the direct descendant of early settlers who cleared up the farm now occupied by Cornelius Every. He married Anna Ells, of Unadilla, N.Y.
WILLIAM CALDWELL, was born in Ireland in1825, and emigrated in 1849. He married Lizzie Williamson, also a native of Ireland. He is a farmer and a mechanic, and owns what is known as the "Fish place."
THOMAS H. CLARK was born in 1858 in this county, and married Maggie Stranaghan.. He is the son of Thomas Clark, also a life-long resident of the county.
JAMES CLEVELAND, farmer, was born in Kortright in 1805. He married Catherine Goodrich, and they have one son, Orrin C. The father of James Cleveland was a pioneer and settled the farm now occupied by the Kinmouth family.
THOMAS DONLEY was born in Ireland in1818 and came to America in 1840. He married Catharine More, also of Ireland. Of their five children some are teachers, and one son (James) is a physician in Davenport.
PETER FISHER, farmer, is a life-long resident of Kortright, born in 1842. He resides upon the farm settled by his father in 1800. He married Miss Griffin, of the same town. He is the descendant of very early settlers, who suffered from captivity and hardships.
DR. STEPHEN FORMAN, BORN IN Bloomville in1848, began the study of medicine in 1828 and commenced practice in 1835, on year after his graduation from Castleton College. He has practiced in Bloomville and vicinity since that time. He married Miss Prudence Roberts, the daughter of an early settler of Kortright; she died in 1857. Two children survive her.
ADAM GIBSON, farmer, was born in Ireland in 1842, and emigrated in 1834 to America. He married Dora Whigham, of the same country, who came over the same year. His father died January 1st, 1851, and his mother in 1863.
CHARLES GIBSON was born in Ireland in 1845 and came to America with his father's family in 1834. He lives on the farm purchased by his father of one Ferguson, a Scotchman, who settled it, and the farm on which is parents died.
ESTHER B. HENDERSON, oldest daughter of George Henderson, was born in Kortright in1818. She married to Mr. T. Gilchrist, who was born in Delaware county in1819. He was a farmer, and died in 1876.
WILLIAM HENDERSON was born in Kortright in 1820, and has always lived in the town. He married Miss A. Granberry, born in England. He is of Irish descent, and is a farmer of experience.
JAMES HENDERSON is a farmer, and a son of George Henderson, who came to America in 1811. He was born in 1822 in Kortright, and married Miss N. M. Harkness, of the same town; she died in 1853, and he married Nancy McNealy, of Harpersfield. Mr. Henderson has been a prominent teacher of the county.
HARRIET KEELER was born in Delhi in1803, and married Martin Keeler, son of Judge Keeler, of Kortright. She occupies the farm upon which Judge Keeler built his first house. Her husband filled high offices in his town and in the county, and died in 1865.
DELIA KEELER is the daughter of Hon. Martin Keeler, who was born in Ridgefield, Conn. June 3d, 1871, and who settled the farm at Kortright Centre now occupied by his grandchildren. He filled the office of judge at an early day; was member of Assembly, and filled many honorable positions.
EMERY J. KELLY, formerly a teacher, and now a merchant at Bloomville, was born in Middletown August 11th, 1848. His first wife was Eleanor L. Knapp, of Franklin, and his second Nancy Smith, of Windsor, N.Y. Mr. Kelly jointed the Methodist Episcopal church, when about twenty-three years old, and is also a member of the order of Good Templars.
HELEN KERR was born in Ohio in1826, and was formerly a teacher; she married Joseph Kerr, who was born in 1824, on the farm where she resides and where he died in 1869. Mr. Kerr's father, William, was an early settler of Kortright and cleared the farm.
JAMES F. KERR is a son of Henry Kerr, and was born in Kortright in 1834, on the farm he now owns and occupies. He married Effie Scott, of Scotch birth, and has tow children. He has been supervisor of Kortright, and is now a justice of the peace.
MARY KINMOUTH is a daughter of John and Isabel Kinmouth, and was born in Kortright, in 1849. Her parents were born in Scotland, emigrated to America in 1830, and followed farming; the father died in 1876, and the mother in 1879.
T. W. LESTER was born in Ulster county, and came to Delhi, a few years ago, where he established himself in the cabinet business. In the spring of the present year he removed to Bloomville, and is at present actively engaged in that business there.
MOSES F. LYON was born in Kortright in 1845. He married Miss Smith, of the same town, who died in 1864, leaving four children. Hugh Evans built the first log cabin on the farm now owned by Mr. Lyon, and Henry Lyon, father of Moses F., purchased the place and built the second, which is still on the farm. Mr. Lyon taught school in his younger days.
SUSAN MC CLINTOCK is a native of Delaware county, born December 16th, 1839, and is the second daughter of James Gibson. She married W. F. McClintock in 1860. He was born in 1833, and follows farming.
JEHOLADA MC COLLUM a farmer, was born at Bloomville in 1828 and was married to Elisabeth Roe, a native of Kortright, born in 1832. Three daughters make their family.
JOHN N. MC CRACKEN, a life-long farmer of the town, was married to Mary Cowen, of Stamford. His father, Joseph Mc Cracken, was an early settler, and thoroughly identified with the growth of the town.
WILLIAM MC KEE was born in Kortright in 1835, and married Miss M. Clark, of the same town. He is a farmer, and the parent of six children.
DAVID C. MC WILLIAMS is a native of Kortright, born in1848. He married Jane Campbell, a native of the same town, who was born in 1851. He is a farmer. His father was born in the town in 181-, and married Miss Bacon, a descendant of early settlers.
A. C. MILL, a farmer, was born in Harpersfield in1829. He married Caroline Phillips, who was born in Dutchess county, N.Y. In 1864 he enlisted in the 1st New York Engineers, and was discharged at Hilton Head in 1865.
JOHN M. ORR, farmer, and son of David Orr, was born in this town in 1823. His father emigrated from Ireland in 1789, and settled the farm now owned by John M. Orr, where he died in 1874. Mr. Orr is a prominent man of the town, and father of four children.
JAMES SACKRIDER is the son of Henry W. Sackrider, an early settler of Kortright. He was born in 1813, and married Jane A. Thomas; they have two children.
M. SANFORD was born in Middletown, and settled the farm which he now carries on in 1859. He married Mary H. Laughlin, of Stamford.. He has been supervisor of Middletown, and has often filled prominent positions among his townsmen.
JOHN SHILAND, a life long citizen of Kortright, was born in 1848, and married Sophia Murdock. The farm he owns was first settled by his father, Thomas Shiland, in 1812, and it was there he died, in 1865. His wife, Elizabeth, survived him two years.
REV. AM. M. SMEALLIE, of Kortright, is a native of Princetown, Schenectady county, N.Y. and was born January 31st, 1843. He married Miss Belle McFadden, of Delhi. He graduated at Union College in 1867, and at the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1871. He was for a time principal of McGrawville union school.
CHARLES H. WETMORE was born December 8th, 1837, and married Miss Harriet Thompson, of Kortright. He is engaged in farming.
S.S.D. WHITMORE, farmer, was born in1810. He married Miss Rebecca A. Jacobs, of Kortright.
THOMAS WILLIAMSON was born in Ireland in 1825, and emigrated to America in 1851. He settled on his present farm in 1861. He married Miss. E. Greden, and they have three children.
ARCHIBALD FALCONER MAYNARD was born at Bovina November 14th, 1829. He was the second son of Isaac Maynard, Esq. A life-long and honored citizen of that town, who died June 12th, 1876, at the age of eighty-one years. His father's ancestors, who were of English birth, came to this country as early as the year 1700, and settled in the town of Rye, Westchester county, N.Y. His grandfather, Elisha B. Maynard, a Revolutionary soldier and a native of Rye, removed to Delaware County in 17900, and was the first settler within the present limits of the town of Bovina; and his uncle, Elisha Horton Maynard, was the first male child born in that town. His maternal ancestors were of Scottish origin; his mother, Jane Falconer, being the eldest daughter of Archibald Falconer, a native of Scotland, who emigrated from the vicinity of Inverness to America in the year 1795; first settled in the city of New York, and some fifteen years later removed to Stamford township, where he died in 1842. Mr. Maynard lives on the paternal homestead, and in the same house where three generations of the family have been born. He was married June 2nd, 1875, to Miss Jane Cowen, of Stamford, daughter of Hector Cowen, deceased and Esther Cowen. He has devoted himself exclusively to farming and a sketch of his farmhouse and grounds appears below. He has always taken a deep interest in public affairs, and an active part in all enterprises having in view the growth and prosperity of his native town. He held the office of justice of the peace from 1860 to 1864, but has never sought or been willing to accept any other positions of public trust.