The History of Otsego, NY 
Milford Pioneers

A prominent settler below Portlandville was Colonel John Moore, who was born in Cherry Valley in 1767, and located in this town, then known as "Suffrage," in 1784. He afterwards moved to the village of Milford, and settled on a frm near the east side of the river, upon which a portion of the present village is situated. A daughter of Colonel Moore, Mrs. Mary M. Sweet, was born on the farm, and lives in the vicinity. Colonel Moore was a member of the assembly in 1818. He was postmaster for a period of nearly forty years, supervisor three years, a colonel in the militia. He died in 1855, aged eighty-eight years.

Conspicuous among he many prominent men who have at various times resided in Milford is mentioned the name of William H. Bissell. He was born in the town of Hartwick, and came to this town when an infant. Here, in the picturesque vale of the Susquehanna, he grew to manhood, in the mean time, preparing himself for the medical profession. This he finally abandoned, and, removing to Illinois, commenced the study of the law, and was subsequently admitted to the bar of the State. At the breaking out of he Mexican War, he entered the United States service as a colonel of a regiment, and served with distinction. Among the many contests in which he participated was the battle of Buena Vista. At the close of the war, he returned to his adopted state, and was twice elected to congress. His faithful attention to the interest of his State in that body won the confidence of the people, and he was elected to the gubernatorial chair. He was re-elected, and died during his second term.

A prominent pioneer was Norman Bissell, who purchased land near the village. Three children reside in the town, viz., Amos Bissell, a farmer, real estate, and produce dealer, in Milford village; Mrs. Margaret Luther, in Hartwick; and Mrs. King, in Milford village.

A soldier of the Revolution was Artemus Ward, who enlisted from Worcester, Mass. He was stationed at West Point during the gloomy days of Arnold - s treachery to the colonial cause. Mr. Ward located near Milford village prior to 1800. He died in 1827. Amos Bissell, Esq., mentioned above, is a grandson.

Jonathan Sweet was a prominent man in the early days, and did much to advance the interests of the pioneers. He came from the town of East Greenwich, R. I., and located in this town, one-half mile north of Milford village, on the Outhout patent. He had two sons, Amos and Abel. The former died here, leaving a large family. Abel, after residing here several years, moved to Oneida County. A daughter married Asa Eddy, who emigrated from Hoosick, Rensselaer County, N. Y., in 1805, and settled on lands a short distance north of the village on the Outhout patent. Mr. Eddy was an enterprising citizen, and built the first tannery in the town. This primitive establishment was in operation in 1806, and during a period of sixty-five years was conducted by the father and son. He had a family of four daughters and four sons. Two of the daughters, Mrs. Mary Russell, and Mrs. L. E. Bowe, reside in the village of Otego. A son, John eddy, Esq., a prominent citizen, was born and resides in the town. He was a member of the constitutional convention of 1867.

A pioneer on Clark - s patent, below the village, was Daniel French, who came from Massachusetts at a very early day. He was accompanied by his brother, Mr. David French. A daughter of Daniel French, Mrs. Chauncey Brown, aged seventy-seven years, is living in the village. As an instance of the privations and hardships encountered by the settlers in a new county, it is related by Mr. French that during a year of great scarcity they subsisted on leeks and milk during six weeks, and before the ripening of their wheat it was gathered and boiled for food. So reduced did they become that he gave a yoke of cattle in exchange for seven bushels of corn.

The "Emerald Isle" sent few worthier representatives to the new county than Henry Scott. Mr. Scott, accompanied by his wife and daughter, emigrated from Ireland prior to 1796, and settled on lands north of the village. He was a successful farmer, and paid the purchase-money of his farm with the first crop of wheat. He was a prominent pioneer, the first clerk of the town, and was also a justice of the peace. A son, Henry Scott, was many years cashier of the Otsego County Bank, located in Cooperstown.

A well-remembered pioneer was David L. Sayre, who came from Greene County, N. Y., in 1868. He settled in the village, and opened a general store. He died in 1835. A son, George W., was born in the village in 1811, and died there in 1871. His widow occupies the old homestead.

Moses Ford was a pioneer, and a portion of Milford village is located upon lands formerly owned by him.

The first tavern in the village was located on the site now occupied by Gilbert Kniskerns. Levi Stewart, who afterwards became county judge, opened, and during many years conducted, a manufactory of "beaver hats - at this place.

A cabinet-shop was established here by William P. Wait as early as 1808. A comb-factory, somewhat celebrated in its day, was once in operation in this village, where the old-fashioned tortoise-shell and back-comb was manufactured. Prosper Stewart, proprietor.

Edward and Thomas Baker came from Vermont, and settled in this town at an early day. The former located at Milford Centre, and the latter in the vicinity of Epson - s Corners. A grandson of Thomas owns and occupies the old homestead.

Prominent among the early settlers who chose Milford for a home was Isaac Collier, who located at what now is known as Colliersville. A son, Peter Collier, of honored memory, was a prominent man in the vicinity, being supervisor from 1818 to 1825, and from 1827 to 1830. He was also presidential elector in 1832. A daughter married Jared Goodyear, who was supervisor of the town for a period of six years.

James Westcott was an early settler, and was supervisor in 1807-08. Ezra Adams was also a prominent pioneer, and officiated as supervisor during the year 1809-13.

Among other pioneers in Milford was mentioned the names of Edsons, Westcotts, Aylesworths. Numerous descendants are now living in the town.

Other pioneers who settled prior to 1796 are as follows: Joel Stoddard, Aaron Brink, John Bivins, Joseph Culver, Samuel Whitmarsh, Samuel Doolittle, James Westcott, David Hamlin, John Felton, Samuel Bidwell, Lemuel Sergeants, Reuben Jennings, Philip Ellsworth, Edmund Pattee, and Noah Ford.

The following located prior to 1797, viz., Stanley Whitford, Abel Lyon, Harvey Bacon, Belazed Moffat, Micah Hoskins, Jacob Murrel, Ezra Tryon, Levi Adams, Sperry Peck, Cyrenus Stoddard, Pennel Jewels. Others who settled at about the same time were Samuel Sisson, James Adams, Frederick Hess, Seth Miller, Noah Dodge, Frederick Brown, Benjamin Westcott, William Marinnis, Jacob Weaver, Philip Aylesworth, Joseph hatch, Elias Jennings, William Collier, Samuel Hinman, Eleazer Cross, Otis Prentice, Levi Hungerford, Leonard Morey, Peter Millington, James Ray, William Chichester, John Aylesworth, Griswold Walworth, Thos. Eldred, and Mr. McCollum.

Daniel Averill, David French, Jr., Jacob Houghtailing, Josiah Peets, Joseph McDonald, and John Wickham.

Abraham and Jacob Beals settled near Milford village in 1784.

The first child born was David Beals, in 1786, and the first death was of Mrs. Beals in 1788.

The first marriage was that of James Brown and Rhoda Marvin, in 1788.

The first grist-mill in the town was erected in 1788, by David Cully, and the first saw-mill by Mathew Cully, in 1792-93.

Increase Niles taught the first school in 1790.

Stanley Whitford was undoubtedly the first surveyor in the town, as his name appears on the records as being a resident in 1796.

Surveyors in 1801 were Elijah Mason and Samuel Sleeper.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

Original website created by Debbie Axtman

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