Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site
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By John D. Monroe
When Delaware County was formed March 10, 1797, there was no town and no village of Delhi. The area that was to become the village in 1821 was then mostly in the Town of Franklin. Walton, embracing the area, was erected as a town April 3, 1797 and Delhi became a town on March 23, 1798. It was obvious, upon the formation of the county that a village would arise about the court house. and the statute creating the county provided that the court house and jail were to be erected at no greater distance than two miles from the mouth of the Little Delaware. The mouth of the Little Delaware was approximately the center of the county and whatever other matters may have influenced the selection, this fact was doubtless the controlling one. Two miles northeast of the mouth of the Little Delaware would extend about three-tenths of a mile above the Whitesborough Patent line and into the Franklin patent. Within this distance and within the Whitesborough Patent in 1797 were the four farms of Levi Baxter. George Fisher. William Reside (Adam Emrich in 1797) and Joseph Denio. with an area of wild land owned by Stephen Hogeboom of Claverack between the farms of Reside (Emrich) and Denio. On November 16, 1797, Levi Baxter and George Fisher conveyed to the Supervisors of the County about two and five-sixteenths acres, in part from each of their farms, "For the purpose of building a court house and coal (tic) thereon and for a public square and parade'' and by chapter 86, laws of 1798, the Supervisors Were directed to erect the court house and jail upon the land conveyed. Thus, the site of the court house and by the same token the site of the village of Delhi, was fixed in 1798. For a time and in some quarters the village was known as the Village of the Court House."
Delhi village. as incorporated in 1821 northwesterly of the southeasterly bank of Delaware River, was included within lot Co. 10 of the Whitesborough Patent, granted March 10, 1770. and front of River lot No. 6 of the Franklin Patent, granted February 26. 1770. The division line between these patents, extending northwesterly from the river, was one house lot southwesterly of Orchard and Main Streets, and all other lands southwesterly thereof were in the Franklin Patent.
On a division of the Whitesborough Patent, lot No. 10 was convened to Henry White on December 30, 1772. and on a like division of the Franklin Patent Front lot No. 6 was conveyed to William Franklin. Governor of New Jersey on October 9. 1771. Thus, the whole title to what became the village of Delhi in 1821 was vested in Henry White and William Franklin before the Revolution. Henry White was a merchant in New York, a consignee of tea and a member of the Council which directed the granting of the patents in 1770. William Franklin was an illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin, minister in France. Henry White adhered to the British in the Revolution and all of his lands were confiscated by the State of New York in 1779. William Franklin also adhered to the British, but his lands were not confiscated an example, if one were needed, that the confiscation act of 1779 was as much a matter of disfavor as the granting of patents has been a matter of favor. Henry White had title to many other lots in the Whitesborough Patent, including lot No 40, adjacent to the river below Frasers.
Henry White went to England with the British Forces, and there in 1784 filed a claim with Commissioners of Parliament for compensation for his confiscated lands. In that connection he testified that, when granted, the lands were "in one of those places that he calls "The Moon", but in future times they might have become beneficial to his children. Asked if it were in the power of a member of Council to get grants to himself of what lands he pleased, he said, "Not immediately to himself, but to his friends who immediately afterwards conveyed to him." Henry Outhoudt and Jeremiah VanRensselaer, commissioners of Forfeiture, certified that they had sold 11,075 acres of the 12,829 acres taken from White for L8,145, New York currency (about $1.84 per acre). Henry White died in England in January, 1786, and left a widow., Eve VanCortlandt White, who died in New York in 1836, aged 99 years. A daughter was the wife of the lawyer, Peter Jay .Munro. In 1796 the State paid to Eve White L1,00 for her dower rights, in the lands confiscated from her husband.
The above named Commissioners of Forfeiture, appointed and empowered by the State, conveyed lots 10 and 40 to Henry Platner of Claverack, Columbia County, N. Y., by deed or deeds dated June 1, 1785. Henry Platner (sometimes Blatner) was a captain in the American forces in the Revolution, and in 1790 was living at Claverack with five males, seven females and five slaves in his family. He was a member of the so called Lessees Company, in great disfavor with the State, and was engaged in extensive speculation in lands in western New York. In June, 1799, he was convicted of forgery in Columbia County and was sentenced to States Prison for life. He was pardoned by Gov. Morgan Lewis June 10, 1806.
Because the recording of deeds in Delaware County was voluntary prior to 1821 (ch. 136) (a recorded deed was no better than an unrecorded deed), very few early deeds for land in the Delhi area were recorded, with the result that it is difficult to ascertain when and to whom such deeds were made. The indications are that the first deeds out of Henry Platner were for parts of lot No. 40. A survey of that lot. made October 10, 1785, shows the lot divided into three parts of 564 acres each, numbered 1, 2, and 3, number 1 containing 428 acres of upland and 136 acres of lowland, marked P. Wiesmer, number 2 the same areas, marked T. Kells (error for Johannis Kells), and number 3 the same areas, marked H. Platner. It would thus appear that at the date of that survey one third of the lot had been conveyed to Peter W. Wiesmer, one third to Johannin Kells, and one third remained in Henry Platner. This latter third came into James Fraser in 1858. By deed dated February 2, 1786, Peter Wiesmer of Claverack, in consideration of "natural love, affection, consanguinity and 5 shillings," conveyed to John Bartholomew Yendes and George Yendes (father and son), yeomen of Whitesborough, Montgomery County, 130 acres in said lot 40 adjacent to land of Jacob Platner, who had succeeded to the title of Johannis Kells, and after whom Platner Brook is named. Jacob Platner's relationship to Henry Platner is unknown, but he was obviously of the same family, which was numerous in Claverack. It is assumed from the foregoing that John Bartholomew and George Yendes settled on lot 40 in 1785, at about the time of the above mentioned survey. John Bartholomew Yendes was naturalized by legislative act passed April 22,1785.
When George Yendes died at the are of 92 years in 1862, the Bloomville Mirror reported that when he settled near Frasers there was "no inhabitant from his house five miles below Delhi village to Henry More's (Adair farm) four miles above it "
The first deed from Henry Platner for any part of lot 10 was a warranty deed, dated February 10, 1791, for L84, current money, to George Fisher of Claverack, witnessed by Benjamin Allen and Adam Emrich, conveying 207 acres. 22.50 chains wide, the northeasterly line of which runs through what became the Court House Square, the southeasterly line being the river and the southwesterly line at or about Franklin Street. This deed was never recorded, but in 1948 the original was in possession of Rev. Stuart Robinson. On February 12, 1791, George Fisher (signed Fischer) gave a mortgage on said 207 acres to Henry Platner to secure payment of L160 on or before February 1, 1806. This mortgage was paid in full on December 27, 1805. Fisher thus paid L244, or $610, or about $2.94 per acre, an apparent profit of $1.10 per acre to Platner. The descriptions in this deed and mortgage are from a survey and show that when the survey was made the adjacent land on the southwest was also surveyed for Adam Emerich. There is no deed of record to Adam Emrich, but a deed by Clark Lawrence, sheriff, to William Reside, dated April 25, 1803, for the 215 acres next southwesterly of the Fisher farm recites that said 215 acres were conveyed by "Henry Blatner to Adam Emrich" and are now (1803) possessed and occupied by William Reside. By mortgage, dated March 20, 1802, William Reside of Claverack mortgaged the same land for $1,001.97 to William H. Ludlow of Claverack, and probably Emrich conveyed to Reside on or about that date. Johan Adam Emerick was baptised in the Dutch Reformed Church at Claverack on November 26, 1749. Thus, apparently George Fischer and Adam Emrich got title to adjacent farms at the same time and doubtless by deeds of the same date, i.e., February 10, 1791.
Nothing further is known of Adam Emrich. He does not appear in the 1800 Census for Delhi. In the 1790 Census appears Adam Embrigh, with six males and four females in his family in Claverack. On April 26, 1803, George Fischer and wife conveyed to Hendrick G. Emrick of Delhi, a parcel of land 4-1/2 rods wide extending from Main Street to the river, adjoining the lands of Martin Ray on Ray's northeast side, Ray then owning the lands southwesterly of what is now Kingston Street.
George Fischer was a Hessian mercenary hired by George III to fight against the Americans in the Revolution. Along with Henry Asdore (Astor), brother of John Jacob Astor, also a German mercenary, he was naturalized by legislative act passed April 25, 1786. The 1790 Census shows him living at Cambridge, Albany County, with no family but himself and wife. His will, dated September 2, 1816, was probated at Delhi March 2, 1825, and mentions his wife Christina, a daughter, Hannah, and sons George, Matthias, and John. The daughter, Hannah, married Gurdon H Edgerton.
Levi Baxter owned 152 1/2 acres of lot 10 next northwesterly of Fisher and the Franklin Patent. There is no deed of record to him, but he is said to have come to Delhi in 1972 (1792?). He erected a log tavern at the southwesterly corner of Meredith and Main Streets in 1796, and sold out here in 1805 and went to Sidney, where he died in 1851, aged 87 years. A mortgage of this 152 1/2 acres by Baxter to George Monell of Claverack, dated July 10, 1798, recites that this land was conveyed to Baxter by Henry Platner, but no date is mentioned. A purchase money mortgage made by Elijah Smith to Baxter, dated June 17, 1805, contains the same recital, and excerpts from the mortgage lots conveyed by Baxter, among others. three fourths of an acre opposite the Court House, between the road and the river, conveyed to William Denio. Levi Baxter was living in the town of East Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut., in 1790, with three males and one female in his family. He was a son of Francis Baxter, who was in the British Navy, was with Wolf at Quebec, and was in the Continental Army in the Revolution, where he was said to have been the greatest pugilist in that army.
The only deed of record out of Hers Platner for any part of lot 10 is a deed dated September 7, 1795, to "Joe" Denio for the southwesterly 100 acres of said lot 10 (not in the village of Delhi), which recites that said 100 acres were excepted, saved and reserved out of a deed of the same date to Stephen Hogeboom. Thus, by September 7, 1795, Henry Platner had conveyed his entire title to lot 10, viz:
To George Fisher, 207 acres on February 10, 1791; To Adam Emrich, 215 acres on February 10, 1791; To Levi Baxter, 152 1/2 acres in 1792; To Joseph Denio, 100 acres, on September 7, 1795; To Stephen Hogeboom, about 225 1/2 acres on September 7, 1795.
At a considerably later date, Samuel Sherwood made an affidavit that the actual settlers on lot 10 in October or November, 1802, were Levi Baxter, George Fisher, William Reside and Joseph Denio, and that Stephen Hogeboom's lands were "wild lands," that is, were unsettled and unoccupied. Sherwood said that the lands of the four settlers, Baxter, Fisher, Reside and Denio, amounted to 684 acres, an overestimate, according to the deeds of 10 acres, and that Hogeboom's wild lands amounted to 856 acres. As Hogeboom then had 564 acres in lot 40, Sherwood estimated his wild lands in lot 10 as 292 acres.
By chapter 86, laws of 1798, the Supervisors of Delaware County were authorized to raise not to exceed $1200 for building a court house and jail, "at or near the mouth of the Little Delaware and upon the lot of land conveyed to the Supervisors of said county by Levi Baxter and George Fiss (sic.):" Chapter 47, laws of 1799, passed March 23, 1799, refers to "the court house now erecting in the town of Delhi," and chapter 8, laws of 1800, authorized the Supervisors to raise $500 to complete the court house and jail. The courts met and the Supervisors convened at the house or tavern of Gideon Frisbee at the mouth of Elk Creek from 1797 to October 1799. On November 16, 1797, Levi Baxter and George Fisher, "of the town of Walton," by separate warranty deeds conveyed to the Supervisors of the County of Delaware, and their successors in office, two adjacent parcels for the purpose of building a court house and goal (sic.) thereon and contained three fourths of an acre and eleven square rods, and that conveyed by Fisher one acre and 79 square rods. The deeds were not recorded until November 9, 1810.
The same day that he conveyed to the Supervisors, i.e., November 16, 1797, George Fisher made a warranty deed to Erastus Root of Franklin for a recited consideration of $600 of "all the fourth part or undivided quarter" of his 207 acres in lot 10, to hold as "tenant in common" with Fisher. This deed was presumably subsequent to the deed to the deed to the Supervisors, as Root, though a witness, does not join in the Supervisors' deed. A map of a later period, when the Fisher farm was in Gurdon H. Edgerton, shows Root's one fourth set off to him in severalty along the northwesterly side of the Fisher farm, above, below and to the southwest of the Court House. The Root house in Delhi village is located opposite the southwesterly corner of the Court House Square. The deed shows that Root was a resident of Franklin in November, 1797.
Erastus Root Was born at Hebron, Connecticut, March 16. 1773, graduated from Dartmouth in 1793, published an Arithmetic in 1795, was admitted to the bar in Connecticut in 1796, and came the same year into what was then Franklin, Otsego County. He died in 1846. For forty years he held more public offices than any other man in the county; but it must be gravely doubted that he was ever worthy of the confidence reposed in him.: If ethically he wore a face of brass, his constituents seem to have thought none the worse of him, and a Delaware County jury could be depended upon to absolve him, as it did when he was charred with drunkenness while presiding in the Senate as Lieutenant Governor.
A judgement by confession was docketed in the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court of Judicature of New York in New York City on April 16, 1787, against Henry Platner in favor of Abraham Bachman of Claverack, a relative by marriage of Planter, for L773, plus L6,18 shillings costs, to secure a debt of L386 payable by Platner to Bachman. This debt was fully paid and satisfied by Platner in August, 1798, but the judgement was not cancelled of record-just as in many instances recorded mortgages are not cancelled of record when the debt is paid. Platner was sent to prison in June, 1799, "overwhelmed with misery and ruin." Bachman died on October 22, 1799, leaving a will of which Jacob F. Miller was an executor, and who knew of the payment of the debt and judgment. Bachman or Miller revived the judgement of 1787 by scire facias served on Platner in prison and returned nihil, and in December, 1802, the judgement was assigned by Miller to Jacob R. VanRensselaer, a lawyer of Claverack, for L206, Van Rensselaer also knowing or having reason to believe it had been paid by Platner.
VanRensselaer added to the amount paid him for the judgement alleged unliquidated claims of his own against Platner of L69. and hired Samuel Sherwood of Delhi to issue execution on the judgement to the sheriff of Delaware County to collect L275,15 shillings, 10 pence ($689.48), out of the lands of Henry Blatner (Platner) whereof he was seized on April 16, 1787, or at any time afterwards in whose hands so ever the same might be. The execution was put in the sheriffs hands some time after the October term of 1802, probably in December, 1802, and the sheriff was directed by Sherwood to sell lots 10, 20 and 40, Whitesborough Patent (It no where appears that Platner ever had title to lot 20). The sale was advertised and held on April 16, 1803, sixteen years to a day after the judgment was docketed, in the Court House at Delhi. Stephen Hogeboom attended the sale and suggested to those present that the judgement had been paid and satisfied, but the suggestion was ignored. Lot 10 and Hogeboom's one third of lot 40 were sold, according to Sherwood, the four settlers, Denio, Reside, Fisher and Baxter, agreeing with Hogeboom that they and he were to pay their proportion of the execution according to the number of acres each held. While the sheriff delayed the sale, Sherwood agreed with the four settlers "that instead of paying up the execution and discharging the judgement they might become purchasers of it (judgement and execution) and take an assignment so that if any property of Platner could afterwards be discovered they might be reimbursed." The settlers chose to have their lands sold and they were sold and each settler became the purchase of his own land. There were junior judgments against Platner docketed in the same clerk's office in New York, and Sherwood said the settlers desired to cut off these later judgements.
On the day of the sale the amount due on the execution was $695.51 ($6.03 having been added for interest). Hogeboom and the settlers paid this amount to Sherwood, and there was credited to the lands sold, in reduction of the judgement and execution, $402.81, and to the purchase of the balance of the judgement $292.70. The sheriff executed deeds to Hogeboom and the settlers for the land sold, and Sherwood said he probably drew them. The judgement of April 16, 1787, was assigned by VanRennselaer to Levi Baxter on June 3, 1803, Sherwood then acquiring an interest in it.
Then this sale was reviewed by Chancellor Kent in 1820, he held that the debt and judgement of April 16, 1787, was in fact paid and satisfied in August, 1798; that each and all of the subsequent transactions were fraudulent and void; that Sherwood's agreement with the settlers of April 16, 1803, was fraudulent in design, and that later sales on the judgement of Platner's western New York land were "a mere mockery of justice,:" and void. The whole business was characterized by Kent as "the pursuit of the property of a helpless and imprisoned convict who had left his family in shame and misery." "The plunder of the shipwrecked property of such a victim," it was said, "was a hardened and unconscientious act, which can never receive countenence from this court." Kent found that the Delhi lands, sold for $402.81, were at the time (1803) worth upwards of $16,000, and by 1818, upwards of $43,000.
The sheriff's sale of April 16, 1803, was of the title of Henry Platner on or at any time subsequent to April 16, 1787, and if based on a valid and subsisting judgement and execution, would have cut off the title of the Supervisors to the Court House site conveyed to them by Fisher and Baxter in 1797. However, as the deeds of Fisher and Baxter, though gratuitous, were warranty deeds probably the title reacquired by them through the sheriff's deeds at the 1803 sale would have accrued to the benefit of the Supervisors. But whatever may be said on this score, the sale of 1803 was void, as in execution of a satisfied judgement, and hence the title of the supervisors was not adversely affected. But it must be admitted that all of this is the result of accident rather than of any foresight on the part of the Supervisors when they accepted the deeds of 1797 and built the court house and jail in 1798 and 1799. If the judgement had been unpaid and the sale had been to third persons, the buyer would have acquired a court house and jail, later for a time a tavern, and the Supervisors would have learned something about Delaware County titles in 1797.
Samuel Sherwood, born near Hudson Falls. N.Y., .April 24, 1779, studied law first in Aurora, Cayuga County. and later at Kingston. and came to Delaware County in 1799, when he was appointed Deputy County Clerk by Ebenezer Foote on November 26, 1799. He was admitted to the bar February 12. 1800, and practiced law in Delhi until 1830, when he went to New York city where he died in 1862. He built "Woodland House" at Sherwood's Bridge in 1804, upon land conveyed to him in 1801 by Philip Gebhard, disbarred lawyer reinstated at the instance of Erastus Root, and who succeeded Foote as County Clerk in August, 1801. Sherwood's principal employment from 1802 to 1807 was in the plunder of Platner's western New York lands, through the medium of successive executions upon the satisfied but uncancelled judgement of 1787. In that process he sold Platner lands worth at the time $134,000 to himself and associates for less than $800. Thus, in March, 1804, he sold at a secluded tavern in Scipio 25 lots worth $28,950 to himself and Levi Baxter for $10.01, in October, 1806, 22 lots in eleven towns, worth $19,800 to himself and associates for $18.52, in May, 1807, 11 lots on five towns, worth $14,750 for $28. When called to account for this rapine, Sherwood's excuse was that he did not know that the deed and judgement of 1787 had been paid, and he tried to defend on the ground that Platner was civilly dead as a result of his conviction and life sentence, and his pardon did not revive and revest him with title to the denuded lands. This defense the court held was not good, and the excuse the court did not believe, as it found Sherwood was already intent upon the speculation at the date of the Delhi sale, when he ignored Hogeboom's suggestion that the judgement had been satisfied. Sherwood admitted that he heard what Hogeboom said but did not believe it.
The painstaking care with which Sherwood pillaged the Platner property repudiates any notion that he did not know that the debt and judgement of 1787 had been paid. When one observes the assiduity with which he fed and nourished the judgement with every penny of interest and costs his ingenuity could contrive, and the adroitness with which he manipulated these facts alone prove guilty knowledge on his part of the vice inherent in his judgment. Suppose that he was not required to stop the Delhi sale and the debt and judgement had been paid. If Sherwood had looked in Claverack after the Delhi sale, if not before, with any purpose to learn the truth, he must have found that Hogeboom spoke truly. Could he shut his eyes and go forward from one manipulated sale to another, not trying to satisfy the remnant, if any, of the judgment but trying with all his fertility of device to make the judgement last until he had seized and sold the last of the Platner lots? The excuse is preposterous, and one must see that Samuel Sherwood was engaged in the years 1803 1807 in the deliberate and determined spollation of the estate of a convict, and one may wonder if the residents in Delhi in that period knew and approved of his enterprise. If one dared to speak against Sherwood, did Sherwood reply that his detractor must be in league with Platner and approve of forgery? If so, the pattern has not changed greatly since 1800. And one may wonder also how it comes that Root., two-sisted defender of Gebhard and strong lunged proponent of public virtue was silent as to Sherwood's prostitution of his profession. The observation may not be amiss that while the low estate of lawyers in some quarters finds justification in Sherwood's conduct, it would be as well to confine the condemnation to the ones whose conduct deserves it.
While neither of these lawyers were first settlers in Delhi, they were the first to practice law there, and it seemed appropriate to indicate thus briefly their predominate characteristics .
As for that part of the village of Delhi in the Franklin Patent (northeasterly of about Orchard Street), Gov. William Franklin, then in Great Britain, conveyed said Front Lot No. 6, with other lands, to his son, William Temple Franklin, "Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States to the Court of France," by deed dated May 19, 1785. It is said in VanDoren's, Benjamin Franklin, that Benjamin met his son William at the Star Tavern in Southampton, Eng.. on July 24, 25, 1785, where he read over this deed and the same was signed, and that Benjamin paid William the sum of 48.000 livres (about $5,333.) therefor.
William Franklin went to England at or near the close of the Revolution and remained there. William Temple Franklin was secretary for his grandfather while the latter was Minister at Paris, and lived near Paris or in England until his death in 1825. By his will William Temple Franklin directed that all his lands in the United States be sold to pay his debts among which he listed 29,000 francs advanced to him in trust by Mr. J. Miller of Philadelphia for the education and support of "Unadilla Miller, the natural son of the aforesaid J. Miller," who it seems died while still an infant. He also directs that part of the proceeds of such sale "shall go to my natural daughter, Ellen Franklin," subject to payment of L100 annually to her mother, Ellen Johnson Eveline, if living, he also gave to his dear friend and companion, Hannah Collyer of Berkshire, England, "who has resided with me for several years and zone by name," a farm in New Jersey, and all his property in France, she to pay 10,000 francs to "Amelia Delbunne of Valenciennes now residing in Paris and going by the name of Carvelle." By a codicil, dated May 6, 1823, he recites that on that day, "at the House of the British Ambassador in Paris," he intermarried with Hannah Collier, "but sees no reason to alter his will."
Aaron Vanderpoel, the Kinderhook Roarer," was appointed administrator c.t.a., of the will and codicil of William Temple Franklin and conveyed said Front Lot No. 6 to Herman D . Gould for $4,034, by deed dated August 4, 1826, by order and with the approval of the Surrogate of Delaware County, where the will and codicil are recorded. The deed conveys free and clear of exceptions, indicating that no deeds had been made by the Franklins, other than that of May 19, 1785. Since William Franklin and his son William Temple Franklin were out of the United States continuously from the close of the Revolution to the death of William T. Temple Franklin, and made no deeds to others, it is not apparent how settlers on that land acquired rights, if any, therein, unless perhaps through Benjamin Franklin, who prior to his death in 1790 could have consented to some sort of occupation. It seems more than probable that occupants on that land if any, were mere squatters, though it may be that William Temple Franklin had an American agent to pay taxes and collect rents.
In the absence of substantial evidence to the contrary, it must be assumed that all heads of families living in the several towns when the 1790 Census was taken were therein enumerated. If one does not appear in that Census in a given area, it is a fair assumption that he did not live there when that Census was taken. What became Delhi village in 1821 was in the town of Harpersfield, Montgomery County, in 1790. The West River Road from Stamford to below Walton was laid out in 1788, and ran through what later became Delhi village. Col Thomas Farrington lived on that road at or near Falls Mills. John B. Yendes lived on the same road below what is now Frasers. The enumerator passed down this road and returned by way of Sidney, Franklin and Davenport. He recorded heads of families in his order of visitation. After Gideon Frisbee and Edmund Rathbon, his record reads:
Farrington. Thomas, 4 males of 16 and upwards, 0 males under 16, 4 females; Denic(o), Joseph, 1 male of 16 and upwards, 2 males under 16; 2 females; Denic(o), William, 1 male of 16 and upwards, 0 males under 16, 1 female; Shearman, Solomon, 1 male of 16 and upwards, 2 males under 16, 1 female; Yantus (Yendes), Bartholomew. 3 males of 16 and upwards, 1 male under 16, 4 females; Platner, Jacob, 2 males of 16 and upwards, 0 males under 16, 0 females, 1 slave.
The only families thus shown, possibly in what is now the village of Delhi, were the two Denios and Solomon Shearman. Shearman is unknown by tradition or otherwise. He is not in the 1800 Census for Delhi, and his place in the 1790 Census does not necessarily put him in what is now the village; but wherever he was, he was but a bird of passage with no abiding place in Delhi, and consequently cannot count as a settler. This leaves Joseph and William Denio as settlers here in 1790, and eliminates George Fisher as of any date prior to that of his deed of February 10, 1791. As we have seen, he was living in Cambridge, Albany County, in 1790.
The 1790 Census suggests that, if not living in the same house, Joseph Denio then lived nearer Falls Mills than did William Denio. There is a strong tradition, recorded in the 1880 History of Delaware County, that William Denio in 1787 built a log house on a knoll on the Fair Grounds, and in 1800 erected a frame dwelling there, which he turned into a hotel, kept until 1815, when it burned. It is said in the same connection that he "purchased a lot of land similar in size to and adjoining Levi Baxter's." There is no evidence of any such purchase, though it may be that both William and Joseph Denio settled in 1787 as squatters on lands of William Temple Franklin on what was later the Fair Ground. On the so called "Particular List" of lands in the town of Delhi on the southeast side of the river of October 1, 1798, William Denio appears with a log house on 50 acres of land of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, and in 1799 he paid 14 cents, 5 mills taxes thereon. Chancellor Livingston then owned 4,429 acres of land on the southeast side of the river between Fitch's Bridge and a point about opposite the Fair Ground. Sometime between 1792 and 1805 William Denio purchased three fourths of an acre opposite the Court House from Levi Baxter, and in 1795 Joseph Denio acquired title to 100 acres below Delhi village from Henry Platner.
Abigail Stebbins, daughter of Dorothy and John Stebbins of Deerfield. Mass., born January 4, 1684, married there on February 3, l704, Jacques de Noyon, born at Three Rivers, Quebec, February 12, 1668, and both were taken to Canada by Sieur. de Rouville and his French and Indian marauders on the destruction of Deerfield, Mass, February 29, 1704. At her marriage Abigail was twenty and Jacques was thirty six. He was or had been a coureur de bois, called a sort of banditti in Canada, who neglected their wives and children, farms and cattle, to live and trade with the Indians. Frontenac said "they create a thousand disorders in the more distant places where the women are glad to have several husbands. when the men cannot get even one wife." They led a loafing and vagabond existence, wasting their small earnings on drunkenness and fine clothes. Because of restrictive acts against them in Canada in and after 1700, they tried to gain a foothold in New York and Massachusetts on the claim that they could divert the fur trade with the Ottawas to the English. There were three of these French coureur de bois in Deerfield the winter of 1703 04 (whether as spies or as traders may be a question), and the Puritan girl, Abigail Stebbins, married one of them, and less than a month later was carried a captive to Canada along with her renegade French husband and his two companions.
On December 26, 1704, Abigail's son, baptised Rene de Noyon in the church of Sainte Famille at Boucherville near Montreal, was born. In July, 1708, Abigail, under the name of Marguerite Stebe, wife of Jacques de Noyon, which name had been given upon her own baptism in the same church on May 28, 1708, signed a petition to the effect that she was married with the consent of her father and mother upon de Noyon's assurance that he possessed much property and would give her a considerable establishment in Canada, but when she came there she found nothing, not even a home ("pas meme aucun asile pour se retire"), and that she had been obliged to support her family by the work of her hands and live in part at the expense of charitable persons, receiving nothing from her husband, who it appears was then a sergeant in M. de Tonti's military company. Despite these handicaps, Abigail became the mother of thirteen children, the last of whom was born on a visit by her to her parents in Deerfield on February 27, 1726.
Rene de Noyon, born at Boucherville, Quebec, on December 26, 1704 came with a party of Indians in 1714 to visit his grandparents. John and Dorothy Stebbins, when he was about ten years old, and they persuaded him to stay with them in Deerfield. The grandfather changed the boy's name to Aaron Denio. There, and under that name, he married Anna Combs on July 8, 1730, and became a noted tavernkeeper and man of affairs. He died at Greenfield, Mass, April 29, 1780.
Rene de Noyon, alias Aaron Denio, was the father of thirteen children, one of whom was Joseph Denio, born at Greenfield March 8, 1734, who married Anna Severance at Greenfield, and by this marriage was the father of at least four children, viz,
Joseph Denio, born at Greenfield, March 25, 1761; William Denio, born at Greenfield, August 14, 1762; Anna Denio, born at Greenfield, August 24, 1765; David Denio, born at Greenfield, September 20, 1767.
These brothers, Joseph and William Denio, were settlers, and I believe the first settlers, in what became the village of Delhi.
Joseph Denio, 2nd, married Charity Brown, was the father of six children, and died in Delhi in 1804. His children were:
1. John Emerson Denio, born at Greenfield, April 16, 1784; 2. Sally Denio, born at Blenheim, Schoharie County, N.Y., February 22, 1786, married, April 3 1809, Reuben Billings, a school teacher, and died at Pompey, N.Y, January 6, 1875; 3. David Severance Denio, born at Delhi, April 8, 1788, became a physician; 4. Polly Denio, born at Delhi, October 17, 1796, married Green Moore, later Anti Rent sheriff of Delaware County, and died June 4, 1834, aged 38 years; 5. Amanda Denio, born at Delhi, December 8, 1801, died young; 6. Joseph Denio, born at Delhi, May 18, 1803, married Phebe Lewis, had nine children, and died at Walton, N.Y., in October, 1850.
It will be seen that the family of Joseph Denio, the Delhi settler, was in Blenheim on February 22, 1786, and in Delhi on April 8, 1788, indicating that he settled in Delhi between these dates, and very likely in 1787.
William Denio, brother of Joseph, married Antha (Diantha) Larkin at Greenfield in April or May, 1788 (Intention published April 27, 1788), and died at Delhi in March, 1808. His children, so far as known, were:
1. Battis (Baptist) Denio. born in 1790 or later, knocked off a sloop near Perth Tomboy, New Jersey, and drowned. 2. Joseph Denio, born in 1791, or later; 3. Achash Denio; 4. Antha Denio; 5. William Denio, born November 18, 1800; 6. Ephraim Denio; 7. Hirarn Battis Denio, born February 23, 1808, ran a hotel in Rochester, N.Y., and died there March 29, 1879.
Hiram Denio, judge of the Court of Appeals of New York (1853 1866), "whose opinions rank with the foremost," born at Rome, N. Y., in 1799, was a son of Israel Denio, son of Aaron Denio a brother of Joseph Denio, sons of Rene de Noyon, alias Aaron Denio. Thus, Joseph and William Denio of Delhi were first cousins once removed of Judge Hiram Denio.
It would seem to be a fair deduction from the foregoing that Joseph and William Denio, great grandsons of Jacques de Noyon, the coureur de bois, settled in what is now Delhi village in 1787; George Fisher and probably Adam Emrich settled there in 1791; Levi Baxter in 1792, and that William Reside succeeded Adam Emrich in 1802. John Dennend was probably located on that part of Stephen Hogeboom's wild land next to Joseph Denio, just southwest of the village, in 1799, though Samuel Sherwood does not mention him.
The information here given respecting Joseph and William Denio is from "A Genealogy of Aaron Denio of Deerfield, Mass., 1704 1925," by Francis Brigham Denio and Herbert William Denio, published by the Vermont Historical Society in 1926, which appears to be the result of extensive and critical research. It results for us in bringing the first Delhi family the Denios out of the mist of hearsay and obscurity, and presenting them with the background from which they emerged in 1787, when they came to Delhi village as its first settlers.
*None of the William Denio family appear in the 1810 Census for Delhi.
A "Martha" Denio, age of 45 and upwards, appears in the 1820 Census for Delhi. Apparently in Holmes hollow, living alone probably "Antha." The 1800 Census for Delaware County was taken be Samuel Sherwood. One cannot be very certain at this distance from the scene as to just what families were then located in what is now the village of Delhi. The best indications are that of the 146 families then in the town of Delhi, but eight were in what became the village. The following is an abstract of this Census, beginning next after John McClelland, who then lived near or at Falls Mills and ending with Erastus Root, who was then living as a single man, apparently in the house of Peter Wiesmer, Jr. The last four names were not in the village.
1800 Census Delhi Village
The numbered columns represent ages: ( 1 ) under ten years of age; (2) of ten years and under 16 years; (3) of 16 and under 26 years; (4) of 26 and under 45 years; (5) of 45 years and upwards.
If the foregoing is a correct division, there were eight families in the village of Delhi in 1800, containing 29 males and 23 females, a total population of 52 persons. There were but four persons, two men and two women, upwards of 45 years of age, James Tift and wife and George Fisher and wife, and there were 14 boys and 9 girls under ten. Six men were between 26 and 45, and four women. Adam Emrich does not appear in the Census, but probably John Dennend was an occupant of his land
James Tift had a hut on lands of Levi Baxter near Bridge Street and made brick as an employee of Baxter in 1800; in 1804 he bought 150 acres of land in Wilson (Terry) Clove, adjacent to Gilbert Townsend.
Levi Baxter, tavern proprietor, was a justice of the peace in 1800 and with William Denio, and several others, went bail for David Clark, charged but never indicted for infanticide in the Mary Simpson affair, near Hoag's Bridge, in 1799. John J. TenBroeck and John Dennend were on Theophilus Fenn's coroner's jury of "good and lawful men," in the Mary Simpson inquisition in 1799. The 1799 tax list for the town of Delhi has "John J. TenBroeck for Finch," and when Samuel Sherwood moved Sherwood v. ex dem. Philip Gebhard for trial at the bar of the Supreme Court at Albany by special jury, Jesse Finch and John J. TenBroeck were mentioned.
James I. White was sheriff of Delaware County in 1800, and probably lived in the jail, an appropriate place to keep a slave. In 1805 he had the contract for building the Ulster and Delaware, or "Sopus" Turnpike between the East and West Branches of Delaware River. He lost $4068 by the failure of the Turnpike Company and became insolvent as a result. Edward Flint is said to have come to Delhi in 1800 and built a harness shop in the site of the Edgerton Hotel, which he later turned into a tavern and sold to Gurdon H. Edgerton.
Joseph Denio was overseer of the poor of the town of Delhi in 1800 and as such brought a proceeding before Alexander Leal, justice of the peace, in January, 1800, to compel Philip Gebhard, attorney at law, to give bond to support the child about to be born of Lucy Yendes, single woman. The bond was given, January 17,1800, with Erastus Root as surety. When Gideon Frisbee died on August 14, 1828, aged 71 years, after 40 years residence near the mouth of Elk Creek, Erastus Root, a pall bearer, owed Frisbee $137.42 on two notes, both outlawed, and Root refused to pay. Apparently one trusted Root beyond the statute of limitations at his peril.
It may perhaps be suspected by one looking back 150 years that Delhi, as "the Village of the Court House," was too much dominated by lawyers of no very high principles of integrity. Certainly Samuel Sherwood's example from 1803 to 1807 with whom Levi Baxter was associated, could not have added much to the moral tone of the place. And Erastus Root, carrying Judge Gideon Frisbee to his grave, and refusing to pay his estate a debt because the statute of limitations had run, implies honor of a rather low order. But, as the saying goes; 'The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones." And so it may have been with these lawyers and the society they helped to create in Delhi. One at least of that society, Dr. David Deverence Denio, left the memorial: "He was too kind, and self sacrificing; always caring for his friends and forgetting himself," perhaps a strain from his Puritan great great grandmother; or, who knows, some wayward inheritance from the roamer of the woods and haunter of Indian camps in Canada's forest primeval, when Frontenac had the helm of State in New France.
submitted by Delaware County Clerk's Office, February 1, 1998
electronic text by J.G.Mackey
a service of the Delaware County Historical Association located at 46549 State Highway 10, Delhi, NY 13753
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