The History of Otsego, NY
Milford Biographies 

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES

RICHARD B. MORRIS

Richard B. Morris was born in the town of Milford, Otego County, April, 1811, being the youngest son of Charles and Catherine Morris. His early life was passed on his father - s farm being the same property on which his grand father settled about 1770, and which is still owned by members of family. He took for his companion in life, March 1, 1838, Zilpha, daughter of Reuben and Wealthy Westcott. The result of this marriage are three sons and three daughters. And, by God - s will, the sons alone are left to preserve their father - s name and honor for posterity. The eldest son, Albert, was born in Milford, Jan. 2, 1840, and married Mary J. Birdsell, Nov. 5, 1868; they have two children, viz., Burton H., born Nov. 28, 1869, and A. Stanley, born Oct. 1871. The second son, William H., was born in Milford, July 21, 1841, and married Ada Angell; they also have two children, Susan, born May 21, 1870, and Willard, born June 21, 1872. For twelve years these two sons have carried on a large and extensive flour and feed business in the village of Oneonta, and are among its most prominent citizens. Charles, the third son, was born in Milford, March 10, 1860.

Mr. Morris, originally belonged to the old Whig party, but on the formation of the Republican Party joined that organization. He held several minor town offices, and in his early life was connected with the New York State militia. He was an active member of the Baptist Church for over thirty-five years, having been the leading organizer of the first Baptist church in the town of Milford. All mankind have at some time to end their earthly career and render an account to the almighty. None was better prepared for this than the subject of this sketch, who passed away Dec. 26, 1877, mourned by his friends and neighbors.

ADOLPHUS G. MORRIS

Among the early settlers of the town of Milford was the Morris family. Their forefathers, about the time of the Revolutionary War, emigrated from Wales to the State of Rhode Island, and subsequently moved west to Rensselaer County, and some time between 1790 and 1800 settled in this town in Otsego County. David E., a descendant of this family, was born in the town of Milford, Otsego County, May 2, 1801, being the son of Charles and Catherine Morris. He was married to Susan, daughter of Reuben Westcott, she being a native of Cheshire, Berkshire Co., Mass., in 1802, and came to this county with her father in 1815. Their family consisted of eight children, the oldest of whom, Adolphus G., was born Aug. 20, 1826, in the town of Milford. He was married Feb. 14, 1855, to Mary J., daughter of Albert Howland, she being a native of the town of Laurens, and was born Oct. 19, 1838. Five children blessed their union: Wellington L., born Aug. 23, 1856; Clarence S., born De. 19, 1858; Hiram, Dec. 1862; Frank, Sept. 8, 1871; Belle, March 3, 1877. Mr. Morris mourns the loss of both father and mother, the latter having passed away November, 1868, and the former may 3, 1876. Politically he belongs to the Republican Party, and is one of the most useful , energetic, and public-spirited citizens of the town in which he resides.

SIMEON R. BARNES

Simeon R. Barnes was born in the town of Maryland, Otsego County, Aug. 18, 1831, being the son of Philip and Jane T. Barnes. His father was born June 22, 1798, at Grove, Conn., and emigrated with his father to this country in 1823. Simeon was brought up on his father - s farm, and received his early education at the district school, but at the age of nineteen was sent to the New York Conference seminary at Charlotteville, Schoharie County, where he graduated in 1852.the winter following he taught school in Delaware County, but in May, 1853, he commenced the manufacture of sash and blinds at Maryland on a small scale. In the fall of 1855 he took F. M. Fox in partnership with him; under the firm-name of Barnes & Fox, they continued business at Maryland till April, 1867, they removed their works to the village of Colliersville, in the own of Milford, erecting a large building, and having as many as fifty men at one time in their employ. They also, in connection with their manufactory, were engaged in the business of carpentering, building, and lumbering, and had a very extensive trade.

Mr. Barnes sold his interest in the business to his partner in December, 1874, and since that time has lived a retired life. He was married Oct. 11, 1853, to Margaret J., a daughter of Stephen and Nancy Platt, who were originally from the State of Connecticut, but who emigrated to the town of Maryland in a nearly day, and were among the first settlers; their daughter was born in that town Dec.14, 1833. But two children have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Barnes, only one of whom is living at the present time. The oldest, Charles P., was born in the town of Maryland, Dec. 4, 1854, and died Jan. 15, 1872; the youngest, Frank Leslie, was born in the same town, Aug. 6, 1858.

Mr. Barnes has been a life-long Republican, and has held a number of State and local offices, having been supervisor, from the town of Milford, in 1869; and was appointed by that board, in 1871, as one of a committee of five to superintend and erect the present jail and sheriff - s residence, and personally gave his attention towards drafting and completing the building. In 1872, he was appointed by Governor Dix as one of the town commissioners for this county, which office he holds at the present time. In the fall of 1876 he was elected a member of the assembly, in a district strongly Democratic, receiving a majority of one hundred and ten.

He and his wife are both members of the Universalist church, and he has given largely of his means for its support, having in the fall of 1876 built the only church of that denomination in the town, about two miles from Colliersville, on his own responsibility. The church bears the name of the First Universalist church of Colliersville and Maryland, and has a seating capacity of two hundred and fifty. Mr. Barnes erected his present home in the summer of 1868, a view of which, accompanied by the portraits of himself and wife, can be found in another part of this work.

OTIS WESTCOTT

Prominent among the citizens of the town of Milford is the subject of this sketch. A son of old Massachusetts, born at Cheshire, Berkshire Co., April 25, 1806, being the offspring of Reuben and Susan Westcott. At eight years of age his father emigrated to this town, bringing his family with him, which at that time consisted of nine children, which was afterwards increased to twelve,--six boys and six girls; and at the death of their father, in 1847, all were living, the youngest being over thirty years of age. They were all members of the Baptist church except the two oldest, who were Methodists. He remained on his father - s farm till the time of his marriage, Dec. 6, 1826, to Sally, daughter of Charles and Catherine Morris, she being born in Milford, Aug. 21, 1804. He then purchased a farm, being the one on which he now resides, and there laid the foundation of the comfortable fortune which he now possesses. There cam six children to bless his home and fireside, four of whom are now living; all of whom wre born in the town of Milford. Eliza Delia, born Feb. 6, 1828, Catherine, born Feb. 4, 1833, and was married to Rev. Ozias Ellerson, a Methodist minister, located at Keyport, N. J. Munro, born July 11, 1836. Emily S., born Sept. 1, 1843, was married Sept. 23, 1863, to Dr. Thomas Evans, of Milford. Mr. W. has been a Republican ever since the formation of the party. Himself and wife have been members of the Baptist church for over half a century. Dec. 6, 1876, there gather at his family mansion relatives and friends to extend their greetings and celebrate the anniversary to his golden wedding, and nothing can be more appropriate than the following lines:

"For fifty years we - ve journeyed on
Together on life - s way;
Our locks, once fair to look upon,
Are mingled now with gray.

"We - ve shared each other - s toil and cares,
a Father - s love hath blessed;
And e - er another fifty years
We hope with Him to rest."

WILLIAM R. HARDY

William R. hardy is a native of the town of Unadilla, Otsego County, born Jan. 13, 1809, being the son of William and Esther Hardy.

Soon after his birth his father removed to Broome County, \where William remained till 1821, when he came to the town of Milford, being then only twelve years of age. He spent his time summers in working as a farm laborer, and his winter is trying to obtain an education at the district school, till he became of age. He at that time hired for four years to John Low, of Milford, and served his time. He was married, Feb. 25, 1835, to Margaret, daughter of his employer, she being born in the town April 15, 1807. He then purchased a farm of sixty-three acres, and with this, in connection with one hundred and fifty acres which he hired, and with a debt of five hundred dollars on his shoulders m he began life for himself. He has always carried on that business, and stands to-day as one of the leading and successful farmers of his town, enjoying a comfortable and honorable fortune. Nine children came to bless his home, only four of whom are living at the present time: Albert, born Feb. 2, 1836; Oscar, Sept. 1, 1839; George W., March 14, 1845; Elbridge G., Jan. 2, 1850; all being natives of Milford. In politics Mr. Hardy belongs to the Democratic Party, having cast his first vote for president of the United States for Andrew Jackson, for his second term of office. He has held several county and town offices, having been elected, in 1854, superintendent of the county poor for a term of three years. He represented his town as supervisor in 1863, was justice of the peace for four years, and has held the offices of school commissioner, assessor, and commissioner of highways. Mr. Hardy is one of the most respectable and reliable citizen of the town of Milford, and stands to-day a living model of an American farmer.

ANDREW SPENCER

Andrew Spencer was born in the town of Warren, Herkimer County, N. Y., April 3, 1835, being the son of Andrew and Emeline Spencer,--the former a native of the State of Rhode Island, where he was born in1803. He removed with his father to Herkimer County in 1819. In 1830 he married a daughter of Andrew and Christila Dusler, they being old settlers of Herkimer County, where she was born Sept. 13, 1809. He subsequently came to the town of Richfield, Otsego County, in 1849, and in 1853 came to Hartwick, and the year following removed to Milford, where he died in November, 1859. Andrew, his son, received his early education at the district school, and soon after his father removed to this county entering Hartwick seminary as a student, where he graduated after a three years - course. He afterwards held the position of teacher in the same institution for a year and a half. He followed teaching for a livelihood for eight years, having charge of private and public school in the south and west. After his father - s death, he returned to Otsego County, and turned his attention to farming, in which business he is still engaged. He was married, Jan. 17, 1862, to Minerva, daughter of E. and S. Cronkite, a native of Milford, born Dec. 16, 1840. His family consisted of five children, viz., Andrew, born in Milford, Dec. 10, 1863; Cora, born in Laurens, June 28, 1865; Maude, In Laurens, July 13, 1867; Mattie in Milford, Feb. 7, 1874, and Forrest, in Milford, March 5, 1877. Politically, he has always been a member of the Democratic party, and an active worker in its ranks, and has received a goodly number of offices from the supporters of that party,--representing his town as supervisor in1872 and 1873, justice of the peace and sessions, and being the present county superintendent of the poor. He has given largely of his means for the support of religion in his town, and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Milford. And for a man of his years few are held in as high esteem by his fellow citizens.

HENRY WILCOX

Henry Wilcox was born in the town of Laurens, Otsego County, Sept. 15, 1805, being the son of William Wilcox. The latter was a native of Dartmouth, Mass., and removed from there with his father to Dutchess County, N.Y., but in about 1800 came to Otsego County, where he married Letitia, daughter of John Brees, an early resident of this county, but originally from the State of Virginia. On his mother - s side she was connected with the noted Cooper family.

Mr. Wilcox early turned his attention to farming, and followed that avocation during his life. He passed away April 1, 1857. During the last few years of his life he was deprived of the companionship of his wife, she having died Sept. 13, 1853.

Henry, the eldest child, was brought up on his father - s farm, and received his education at the district school. He married, Oct. 15, 1829, Lucina, the daughter of Robert M. and Sarah J. Tunney. She was born in Windham, Greene County, N. Y., Nov. 9, 1808. Their family consisted of three children, two of whom died in infancy. The youngest, William H., was born in Milford, Aug. 2, 1840, and was married Sept. 29, 1863, to Emogene Shute. He died May 13, 1873, leaving but on child, John Henry, born Nov. 24, 1866; he, therefore, being the only one left in the town where the family has lived for four generations, to hand the honored old name of Wilcox down to posterity.

Mr. Wilcox has always belonged to the Republican party, and has held several offices, including that of justice of the peace, in which capacity he officiated twelve years.

Both he and his wife have been members of the First Presbyterian Church of Milford about forty years. Mr. Wilcox is probably at the present time the oldest living citizen of the town of Milford born in the county; and has during his life maintained a reputation for honesty and integrity among his friends and neighbors.

JARED GOODYEAR

Jared Goodyear was lineal descendent of Stephen Goodyear, first lieut.-governor of the colony of New Have, Conn.

Of the early history of the Good year family very little is known, except that the father of the subject of this memoir, Jared Goodyear, with his family, together with the Fillmore family, emigrated from Connecticut, and settled in Cayaga County, N. Y., about the year 1800, coming the entire distance with ox-teams. Jared Goodyear and Millard Fillmore wre schoolmates together in a log school-house in that county. After five years Goodyears removed to Albany County, and there kept hotel on the western turnpike. Jared, at the age of fourteen, leaving the hotel where he had helped his father, opened a little store at the same place, the goods being furnished by a merchant of Albany. In this business his capacity for trade and business so began to develop itself, that from that time forward, during his minority, he maintained the duties of one much older in years, and then laid the foundation for early business tact and shrewdness. After a few years the family removed Cobleskill, where his father bought a farm and remained until his death, about the year 1850; having been born near New Haven, Conn., April 26, 1767. Jared was the eldest son, and we next find him buying, droving cattle, and in this business he is successful; but when passing through Colliersville, becomes acquainted with one who was to become a sharer of this happiness and fortune, or misfortune, through life.

Among the most enterprising and honored of he pioneer families which have added materially to he growth and prosperity of the town of Milford, as well as o the county of Otsego is that of the Goodyear family, represented by Jared Goodyear, who was born in Schoharie County, July 24, 1792, and became a resident of Otsego County, locating at Colliersville about the year 1822, at the time of his marriage.

The direct cause assigned for his settling at Colliersville was his marriage to Miss Ann Eliza , only daughter of Major Peter Collier, who was son of Isaac Collier, the first settler of that place, and who had come there during or about the close of the Revolutionary War. Soon after his marriage Mr. Goodyear formed a partnership with his father-in-law, and their business was thereafter conducted under the firm-name of Collier & Goodyear, till the partnership was dissolved by the death of Major Collier, in 1846.

This firm - and after its dissolution, Mr. Goodyear - were not only frugal and industrious in their manner of life, but they also had the sagacity to foresee that the rapid development of this, their new country, would necessarily increase the value of real estate, and they therefore invested their gradual accumulation in such property; and the event has justified their anticipations, as the increase in the value of their purchases, and their success, was such that Mr. Goodyear, at the time of his death, Oct. 24, 1874, left behind him in combined property the largest estate ever accumulated on the county of Otsego.

And while Mr. Goodyear was thus active and enterprising for himself, he was at the same time a useful and valued citizen, and maintained the respect and confidence of his fellow-citizens.

Those who had a disposition to help themselves, requiring assistance, could always rely upon him for aid; and many business men in the vicinity where he loved were often greatly indebted to him for favors tht released them from temporary embarrassment, which might otherwise have been to them utterly disastrous.

He was one of the most active and efficient supporters of the great work in connecting the Susquehanna River with the Hudson by railroad, and during the long, arduous, and doubtful struggle to raise means to build that, which is now regarded as one of the most important thoroughfares of the State, Mr. Goodyear gave to the enterprise such aid, pecuniary and otherwise, that but for him, his then fellow-directors say, "it would have failed and been abandoned."

In connection with his other business, Mr. Goodyear carried on banking at Schoharie, in company with his brother, Charles, for several years.

Although his whole mind seemed intent on business, he did not shrink from bearing public burdens when so required by his fellow-citizens, yet he was in no way solicitous of office. He was the first postmaster of Colliersville, and held the office from about 1825 to 1865. By those who knew Mr. Goodyear he is said to have been a self-reliant, resolute, and active man, possessed of great powers of endurance of body, a man of strict integrity, and for several years represented the town as supervisor. In politics Mr.Goodyear was a Democrat; although in this respect an unswerving member of his party, yet not in any sense of the term a professional politician.

Mr. and Mrs. Goodyear lived together for over fifty years, the latter surviving the former only some four years, and dying March 30, 1878; having been born at Colliersville, May 1, 1803.

Mrs. Goodyear was a woman of great prudence, industry, and economy, possessed of rate intellectual attainments, and well versed in the current reading of the day, in the national politics, and conversant with the best authors. She was sociable and kind to her many friends, a lady of remarkable decision of character, of courage and patience, and for the last thirty or more years preceding her death she was an invalid, but bore her bodily misfortune with singular and pleasing patience.

To Mr. d Mrs. Goodyear was born one daughter, Alvira Collier, wife of Sylvester Lyman, a native of Pittsfield, Mass, but now a resident of Cooperstown. They have one daughter, Ella, who desires to place in this history of Otsego County the portraits of her grandfather and grandmother, and short sketches of their lives, in honor to them for their many virtues, and as representative men and women of the pioneers spared to live to old age.

MAJOR PETER COLLIER

The father of the subject of this sketch, Isaac Collier, was the first settler of the village of Colliersville, and hence its name after the first pioneer. He came to the then wilderness country with his family during the days of the Revolutionary War, descending the Susquehanna from its source in Otsego Lake to that place, which since, on account of the enterprise of the Collier and Goodyear families, has ranked among the places of prominence in the county.

Isaac Collier was of German descent, and, with the many obstacles in the way of the pioneer settler, (which was no exception in his case), was enabled to make but little headway in clearings and property where his progeny in future became noted for wealth. He raised a large family of children, and lived to the advance age of eighty years; his wife surviving him several years, and living to be about one hundred years of age.

Major collier was third son in the family, and became inured to the privations and hardships of the wilderness home, and at the same time learned those lessons of economy and self-reliance which li the foundation of his future success. He leased a large quantity of land from George Clark, of Springfield, built a saw-mill and grist-mill, and engaged extensively in the lumber business. Manufacturing his lumber, by means of rafts constructed from the same, he skipped it to Baltimore, where it found ready sale.

Major Collier was known as one of the most enterprising men of the county; was held in such esteem by his fellow-men, and so characterized by honesty and integrity of purpose, as to receive their suffrage on many occasions, and represent them in offices of responsibility and trust.

He was chairman of the board of supervisors of the county for several years; was the first loan commission of the county or the United State loan. Although he was a man who, in early life, had received only a limited opportunity for obtaining an education from books, which in after-years was largely made up by extensive reading, he was twice chosen to represent his county in the legislature of the State, and during one of which terms, in 1831, he became a strong advocate, and aided largely in the passage of the bill abolishing imprisonment for debt. Subsequently Major Collier was a presidential elector, representing the Democratic Party. Although an unswerving member of his party, he was not ardent in the desire for official responsibility, but never shrank from bearing with fidelity the public burdens intrusted to his care.

Major collier was born in 1776. Married Miss Elizabeth Man, of Schoharie County, N. Y. a woman of good sound mind, a safe counselor in all her husband - s matters, respected and honored by all who knew her. She was born in the year 1782, and died March 20, 1863. Major Collier died June 23, 1846. They left only one daughter, Ann Eliza, wife of Jared Goodyear.

Unfortunately there is no likeness of Major Collier in existence, but a portrait of his wife may be seen above.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

Original website created by Debbie Axtman

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