The History of Otsego, NY 
Middlefield Pioneers

Among the early settlers were Reuben Beals, Mr. Rice, Bernard Temple, William Compton, Whitney Jurill, Stephen and Thomas Pratt, William Cook, Moses Rich, Daniel Moore, William Temple, and one Dunham.

Prominent among the pioneers who left New England and settled in this town was Gardner Blair, from Massachusetts, who located in 1787 on the Bowers patent, about four miles southeast of Middlefield Centre. His family consisted of twelve children,--seven sons and five daughters. Two sons, David and Robert Blair, aged respectively eighty-two and seventy-four years, reside in the town on farms south of the Centre.

Levi H. Pierce was born in this town in 1791. He subsequently purchased land on the Bowers patent, near Clarksville, and in the year 1831, erected a grist-mill and distillery near Bowerstown. The mill was afterwards changed to a tannery by his son, Orrin J., who resides on the same farm. George W. Peekham built a grist-mill, distillery, and tavern in about 1818.

John Parshall emigrated to Newburg, N. Y., and from there to Middlefield Centre, then known as Newtown-Martin, in 1796, and purchased land of the McCollum family, located between Springfield and Middlefield Centre. He reared a family of eleven children,--three sons and eight daughters. Two daughters - Mrs. Delia Parshall, aged seventy-nine and Mrs. D. Dutcher, aged seventy-seven - are living in the vicinity.

From Chathan, Conn., came Noahdiah White, in 1805, with a family of four daughters and two sons. He purchased a large farm of Alexander McCollum, on Red Creek, near the village of Middlefield Centre. There was a saw-mill on the place at the time of purchase. Mr. White died in 1835. Two daughters - Miss White and Mrs. Rice - are living in the vicinity.

A soldier of the Revolution, who sought the wilds of Newtown-martin at the close of the war, was Isaac Green, who was born in Greenwich, Mass., in 1757. He purchased land about three quarters of a mile north of Middlefield Centre. A number of apple-trees were standing on this farm at the time of purchase, and this was undoubtedly the first orchard in the town. His family consisted of twelve children,--ten daughters and two sons. A daughter - Mrs. David Blair, aged eighty-three - resides on a farm south of the Centre.

Solomon Jones was an early settler. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. Died in 1876.

Samuel, Andrew, Abner and Phinney Wilson, four brothers, came from Massachusetts in 1814, and settled near Middlefield Centre, on the Roseboom and McCollum tract. Mrs. Agnes church, a niece of Samuel Wilson, resides in the vicinity. (See portrait on page 191.)

Hiram Peake now occupies the farm upon which he was born in 1804. His father, Ephraim Peake, was a pioneer in this vicinity, locating in Bowerstown, on land known as the Bowers tract.

David Anderson was also an early settler, and the proprietor of a pioneer mill.

Prominent among those identified with the pioneer history of Middlefield stands the name of James Parshall, who came from Long Island to Cherry Valley in1795, and soon after to this town, locating at Middlefield Centre. He was an orderly sergeant in Clinton - s army in his memorable campaign against the Indians, and assisted in building the dam at the foot of the lake. A son of the above, Mr. Gilbert Parshall, now residing at Whigville, is one of the oldest residents in this town, having been born in Middlefield Centre in 1800. Mr. Parshall manifests much interest in the history of the town, and relates with zest many incidents of "ye olden time." He has in his possession an interesting Indian relic. It is a cup about six inches in diameter and one and one-half inches in depth, made of a black-ash know. This curious cup was found by his father hanging in an Indian wigwam.

Another prominent pioneer and surveyor was Benjamin Gilbert. He served as justice of the peace in the town, and was also sheriff of the county. Joseph White is also mentioned as a pioneer.

The first tavern in Middlefield Centre was built by Isaiah Newcomb. This was one of the first buildings in the village, and is still standing as a monument of days gone by.

The first store was kept by Dr. Asel Todd.

The pioneer physician was Dr. Alfred Ely.

The first post-office was established in about the year 1812, with Willard Griffen as postmaster, the mail at that time being brought by post-riders.

The first school-house was erected in about the year 1800, on the White farm. Master Aplin was the first teacher.

Luther Peck is remembered as the pioneer blacksmith, and Zerah Todd as the first carpenter.

Major Jotham Ames, of Bridgewater, Mass., was a pioneer in this town, where he died in 1812, aged seventy. He was a Revolutionary soldier, served gallantly through the entire war. He was in the battle of Saratoga, where his captain was killed, and he took command of the company.

Another soldier of the Revolution was Captain Stephen smith, who was born in 1747. He came from Litchfield, Conn., and settled in Pierstown in 1790, and ten years after located in this town on lands taken from the Bowers patent, now owned by the county, upon which the county poor-house is located. Captain Smith was at the battles of Bunker Hill and Trenton, and surrender of Cornwallis, at Yorktown. He died in 1817. A granddaughter - Amanda, wife of Barzilla Bradley - resides in the town.

Captain Thomas Ransom, a soldier of the Revolution, settled in the town at the close of the war, on lands near Phoenixville, on the Beaver Meadow road. Captain Smith was in the battle of Bunker Hill. He died in this town, in 1828.

James Bradley, of honored memory, entered the colonial army from Sandgate, Vt., and served three years. He was at Princeton and also at the crossing of the Delaware. He received his discharge at Greenbush, opposite Albany, and in 1799 came to this town and located near Phoenixville, on the Bowers patent. He died in 1831, at the advanced age of seventy years. A son - Mr. Barzilla Bradley - resides on a portion of the land owned by his father.

Still another veteran of the Revolution was Moses Thompson, who enlisted from Walpole, N. H. he emigrated to this town at the close of the warm and settled on the Beaver Meadow road. He died in 1834.

William Temple, a native of Walpole, N. H., was a soldier in the French and Indian war, and settled in this town in 1799, on the Beaver Meadow road. He died in 1826. Three granddaughters occupy the - old homestead. -

Another veteran of the Revolutionary struggle was Aaron Smith, who enlisted from the "land of steady habits." He settled in Middlefield in 1807, on the Beaver Meadow road. He died in 1825, aged eighty years. Two grandsons - William and Fenimore Smith - are residents of the town.

Captain Ziba Robinson, from Rhode Island, served during the Revolution. He came to the western wilderness and settled in Hartwick in 1790, and subsequently located in this town, on the Patten farm. He died in 1840, at the advanced age of about ninety years. Three children are residents of the county,--one son residing in Hartwick, one in Milford, and a daughter, Mrs. Compton, in this town.

Simeon C. Ames, William Polley, Milton Young, and Ichabod Stockwell, also residents of Middlefield, served in the War of 1812. The last named is still living in the town.

Of the early settlers of Middlefield none occupied a warmer place in the hearts of the people than Dr. Sumner Ely, of honored memory. He located in Clarksville in 1810, and commenced the practice of his profession, which he continued almost to the day of his death. He occupied many positions of trust within the gift of his fellow-citizens, always discharging his duties with credit to himself and the satisfaction of his constituency. He died Feb. 3, 1857. His children were as follows: Adriel G. Ely, physician, residing at Girard, Pa; Theo. D. Ely, deceased; Sumner Stow Ely, attorney, residing in New York; Benjamin C. Ely, physician, residing at Girard, Pa.; and William R. Ely, merchant, residing at East Worcester.

A prominent settler below Bowerstown, and one of the first in the county, was Dr. Obadiah Dunham, who came from Pownel, Vermont, in 1755. He died in 1813, aged eighty-two years. His son, Abner Dunham, was born in this town in 1773, and during his lifetime occupied the farm upon which he was born. He died in 1822, leaving a family of four sons and five daughters. Two daughters reside in the vicinity, viz., Mrs. Army Campbell, born in 1801, living at Middlefield Centre; and Mrs. Joanna Mackey, born in 1804, living near Bowerstown.

Among other old settlers were the following; Stephen Smith, Ethel Starr, Abijah Boughton, John H. Rice, William Rice, Abner Dunham, Robert Dickson, Jeremiah Irons, Amos Smith, William smith, Samuel Alger, Jesse Smith, Samuel Wilson, Samuel Griffen, Thos. Jones, Abraham Fling, Samuel Gary, Daniel Mason, James North, Daniel Edwards, David Fling, Abijah Barnum, Hinckley Walker, Ephraim Peake, John smith, Amasa Gary, James Murphy, Constant Havens, Jabez Johnson, M. Pierce, Jonathan Pierce, Noah Hubbell, William Armitage, John Ross, Luther Peake, Reuben Brown, Nathan Pierce, Thaddeus Brookins, Isaac Robert and William Campbell, Darias Moon, Lewis Edson, Jr., Othniel Luce, Richard Horth, Nathaniel Antisdel, Benajah Bunda, Samuel Hamlin, Daniel Rice, Thomas Tennant, Joshua Coon, Jane Eggletston, Arnold Burrill, Ziba Robinson, Benjamin North, George Boid, William Binn, Isaac Green, Oliver Buell, Ebenezer Bennett, Oliver Stetson, Nathan Harley, Nath. Gallop, Oliver Gibbs, John Sweet, Daniel Temple, Samuel Kilpatrick, James Ingalls, Timothy Walker, Cornelius Hendrix, and Jonathan Bennett.

A prominent settler in the town, and one of the largest land-holders in the county was John M. Bowers.

The Phoenix Cotton-mill, is located in this town, was built in about the year 1815, and was superseded by the present stone building in 1835. In about the year 1866 it was changed to a woolen-mill, and run as such about five years, when the hosiery manufacture was begun. It is now operated by Groat & Co.

There are four small villages in Middlefield, viz., Middlefield Centre, in the northern part; Westville, in the southern part; and Clarksville, in the eastern part. Bowerstown and Lentville are hamlets.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

Original website created by Debbie Axtman

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