By G-G-Granddaughter, Esther Rancier

Richard Belden arrived in Wethersfield, CT in about 1641.  Richard’s son’s had many sons including Samuel whose 7th son Gideon was Ebenezer.  There is an excellent discussion of the early years by Henry R. Stiles in The History of Ancient Wethersfield, pp. 75-93.  Over the years the Beldens pioneered the settlement of many Connecticut towns including Canaan and Saybrook.  Some branches removed across the border to both Massachusetts and New York.  One large branch decided the proper spelling of the name was Belding.  Both forms of the name continue. 

For years it was believed that immigrant Richard Belden was the son of Sir Frances Baildon of Kippax of Yorkshire.  Many disputed the claim, but lacked proof.  Recent research published in 2001 and 2002 has finally demolished the royal claim.  Wetherfield’s Richard was shown to be the likely son of Lawrence Baildon of Heptonstall, Yorkshire.  His grandfather was Richard Baildon born ca. 1532 who died 7 January 1576/7. 

Job Belding was the son of the already mentioned Ebenezer Belding.  Ebenezer moved as an adult to Saybrook, CT with his wife, Mary.  They worshipped at the First Congregational Church.  Ebenezer and Mary had six children.  Ebenezer died between 1775 and 1778.

Their youngest son, Job was born 3 September 1762.  He married at Canaan, Litchfield Co., CT 24 February 1791 Martha Dean, daughter of John and Rachel (Beebe) Dean.  After they were married they went to Canaan, Columbia Co., NY along the Hudson River to join Job’s oldest brother, Ebenezer, Jr.  Their home was built on the Flat Brook Road nearly across from the Flat Brook Baptist Cemetery.  The house was still in existence in 1976.  Pictures of it were included in the book by Anna May Dunton mentioned in the bibliography. Job and Martha had 4 surviving children.  Job Kelsey Belding was born 24 November 1795 in Canaan, NY.

Job’s mother, Martha (Dean) Belding had great influence in the life of the family.  An active churchgoer, she also told stories of her family back in Canaan, CT.  During the Revolutionary War the able-bodied men joined the military and left to fight including her brother.  The town bustled with activity as there were several blast furnaces which made pig iron vital to making ammunition and cannon for Washington’s Army.  At the onset of the war the blast furnaces which were owned by Loyalists were shut down.  The owners fled to British held Boston.  They believed they had successfully denied the Americans the use of the furnaces, thus helping the British cause. 

The Connecticut Council of Safety (soon to be the state legislature)  immediately sent men to take control of the furnaces for the American cause. The iron ore found on the surface at Salisbury, CT needed to be carted to Canaan a few miles away.  At Canaan there were large supplies of limestone and charcoal could be made.  These ingredients in the flames of the furnaces made pig iron. Steel was not yet used.

Almost every citizen of Salisbury and Canaan not in the military began to gather the iron ore and limestone, make charcoal or drive the loaded carts to the furnaces.  Smoke from the charcoal kilns hung heavy in the air.  Getting enough cart drivers was discussed at the highest levels among those who were arranging supplies for the Army.  Martha’s father, John Dean, in 1777 drove a cart repeatedly between Salisbury and Canaan.  On behalf of the Connecticut new state government he was paid the princely sum of 5 pounds.  The very survival of the new country was at stake.  Martha bragged about her father’s role.  There are many records in the Connecticut State Archives describing the events at the blast furnaces. 
Growing up in the Hudson River Valley at Canaan in the early 19th century was quiet and peaceful.  Few of the Dutch settlers continued to speak their language.  Slowly the entire population became Americans, a new distinctive people.  The westward migration leaped ahead. 

Another movement was the shift from traditional religions to Baptist and Methodist.  The records show Job and Martha continued membership in the Congregational Church, but Job K. apparently joined the Baptist movement which made many converts in Canaan.  Whether he came first to the religion or to the pretty pastor’s daughter, Rebecca Ferris, is unclear.  Job K. married Rebecca Ferris at Greenwich, Fairfield Co., CT.  She was the daughter of Rev. Enoch and Rebecca (Reynolds) Ferris.  His bride, Rebecca, was born 20 June 1799 near Stephentown, Rensselaer Co., NY.  Later in 1828 the couple departed for Oswego Co., NY where they settled in Richland.  On 10 December 1829 at Canaan, Job made his will dividing his estate equally between his four children:  Job K., Chester, Henry Belding and Wealthy Bacon, wife of Harlow Bacon, Monroe Co., NY.  Job’s wife, Martha, was to be allowed to keep the property until her decease.  Four days after the will, Job added a codicil naming his executors including his son, Henry Belding of Lee, MA.  Later Henry chose not to serve.

Job’s land was fully described in a deed filed in Columbia Co. Deeds, v. UU, p. 573-575.  Both Job K. and Henry who had left Canaan sold their share of their inherited land to brother, Chester, who stayed in the area with his family.  He continued living on this land even after 1850.  Chester’s mother lived with his family until her death on 11 April 1850.  Job K. executed his deed at Richland, Oswego Co. on 15 December 1831, but it was not filed until Martha’s death.  Job K. received $400 from Chester for signing over the land.  Brother Henry made the same arrangement with Chester.  Sister Wealthy Bacon did the same.

Job died 18 February 1830, age 67.  He was buried in the Flat Brook Baptist Cemetery.  Later Martha joined her husband in the graveyard in 1850, age 87.  Two daughters who died young were also in the plot.

Job K. became an 1830 path master in Richland.  He joined more than 40 of his new neighbors in tending the local roads which were quite primitive.  Citizens were expected to fill in potholes, remove fallen trees and branches, pull out stranded wagons, animals and travelers.  Most people could not afford horses, so oxen were the beasts of burden normally used. 
Job K. and Rebecca had four children all born in Oswego Co.: Martha
A.; Ebenezer Ferris; Elvira Van Dressen; Samantha Catherine; and Henry A. who d.y.  Job K. was laid to rest in the Willis Cemetery.  He died in 1892.  Rebecca, buried in the same locale, died 3 April 1875.

Martha A. Belding was born 1 April 1830.  She corresponded with her grandmother, Martha (Dean) Belding for whom she was named.  Martha recorded the family’s history as given to her by her grandmother.  She kept her diary with its records for about forty years.  It is now owned by the Peay family, her descendants.  On 22 May 1850, Martha A. married Hiram F. Norton as his second wife.  They had seven children.  The very beloved Martha died 2 August 1916 and was buried in the Albion Centre Cemetery.

Hiram Norton, Martha’s husband, was the son of Polly Frisbee and Timothy Norton.  The Norton family came from Brentford, CT.  Polly, the daughter of Dr. Samuel Frisbee, was born in Granville, Washington Co., NY.  The Frisbee’s went to Vernon, NY in 1808, to Prattville in 1814; then to Albion in 1818.  Polly carried fire in a kettle on these moves.  She lived in a log cabin deep in the woods, dying in 1869, age 81.  Her son, Hiram died 7 October 1895, age 75.  He was buried at the Albion Centre Cemetery also. 

Elvira Van Dressen Belding was born 25 November 1835.  On 5 October 1857 she married Charles Herring Davis, son of William Augustus and Lucy (Sampson) Davis.  She was an active participant in the Presbyterian Church at Mexico.  She died 7 September 1886.  The Davises had three daughters, all born in Mexico: Lenora “Nora”; May; and Lucy Rebecca “Lula”Charles H. died in 1908.

Ebenezer Ferris Belding was born 1 April 1832, but died young 21 July 1836.  His sister, Samantha Catherine Belding, was born 16 December 1837.  On 6 January 1879 she married Lewis Sampson from Orwell, NY.  He was born between 1840/47, son of Ansel and Rebecca M. Sampson.  They were childless. He died 27 December 1898.

Job K.’s two daughters were markedly different.  While Martha Norton visited among relatives freely, writing not only in her diary, but letters with the news and good cheer. Elvira seemed by the end of her life to be ill, possibly both physically and mentally.  The doctor made numerous visits to the house.  When she left her bed, she freely scolded her daughters.  She appeared to withhold her approval for many things.  Her husband had a 57th birthday without mention of a party, although her own birthday resulted in a small party.  She kept her daughters from attending events.  Shown her daughter’s new engagement ring, she made no comment.  Before Christmas there apparently were no special preparations, although a meal of oysters was served.  A festive cake and ice cream desert were brought in by relatives. Elvira wrote no diary to record these matters, but her daughter, May, did.  Elvira’s behavior concerned the 19 year old,  May.

On 13 May 1882 daughter, May recorded, “I staid [sic] with Dear Mother.  I fear that I shall not have her to stay with long.  She spoke of dying today.  It seemed as if I could not stand it to have her talk so.”

Another sober moment was noted on 31 August 1882, “Mother is better today.  May she be sparred a long life to us in her right mind.”

Later on 22 November 1882 May said, “Ma is sick.  I hope she will not be crazy.  I would rather see her buried than see her get so she is no comfort for herself or no one else….”
 When Elvira died 4 years later, May either kept no diary, or it has been lost.  Whatever happened, May kept her thoughts very private as neither of her daughters could recall their mother saying much regarding Elvira, although there were plenty of photographs made of an unsmiling Elvira.

Martha A. (Belding) Norton began her diary in 1875 in Albion, NY.
She didn’t write in it every day.  Her son, Charles B. Norton of Altmar, NY must have taken the volume when she died in 1916.  His son, Martha’s grandson, Harold Jackson Norton, finally had the diary in his attic at Pulaski, NY.  In 1978 shortly before his death on 5 October 1978, his wife, Myrtle (Morrison) Norton took the diary from the attic and began to read it.  She wrote to relatives that Grandma Norton kept the diary “just when she was in the mood … or something special happened.  Many places the ink is faded and it’s difficult to read.  She was very adept using words.  If she had been in school today, she would have been an A student in English.” 
 Martha began her genealogy section, “I make this slight record the best I can do, knowing the links are so nearly severed that no further record will be made.”
Luckily Martha was proven wrong. She left enough of a trail to help researchers go back to the beginnings of the Beldings, the Deans, the Beebe’s and all the other forebears of Job Kelsey Belding.


 Albion Centre Cemetery.  Available [Online] [25 October 2002]
 Burgess, A. Parke.  The Old Pratham Church.  Syracuse: 1877.
 Cade, David J.  “The Search for Royal Descent II,” The Mayflower Quarterly. 68:3 (Sept. 2002) 239-242.
 Canaan, Connecticut First Ecclesiastical Society and Congregational Church Records, 1741-1852.  v. 1 (LDS Microfilm #0003948).
 Ct. Archives.  Revolutionary War Service. Ser. 1, v. 11, p. 245.
 Correspondence of Myrtle (Morrison) Norton, 14 July 1978, Pulaski, NY.
 Daughters of The American Revolution. New York State Cemetery, Church and Town Records, v. 31, p. 235-238.
 Dunton, Anna May.  Reflections: Canaan, New York Bicentennial 1976.  Kinderhook: Canaan Historical Society, 1976.
 Graham, Marie C. “Belden Street – Road Into Yesterday,” The Lure of the Litchfield Hills. 1971 (Spr.-Sum.) 40, 49.
 Greene, May Theresa (Davis).  Diary, 1882.  Mexico, NY.
 Harte, Charles Rufus.  “Historic Blast Furnaces of Canaan.”  Connecticut Circle.  7:13(1948).
 Hinman, Royal R. Connecticut Puritan Settlers.  Hartford: 1852.
 Johnson, Crisfield.  The History of Oswego County, New York.  Philadelphia: Everts, 1877.
 NY. Canaan.  Flat Brook Baptist Cemetery.  (LDS Microfilm # 0534191)
 NY.  Columbia Co.  Canaan Town Record Book, 1772-1810. Historical Records Commission, 1975.
 NY. Columbia Co. Deeds, v. UU, p. 573-575.
 NY. Columbia Co. Will Book, v. F, 1827-1838.
 NY.  Oswego Co.  Richland, NY Town Minutes. Historical Records Commission, 1975.
Norton, Martha A. (Belding)  Diary, Albion, NY.
 Notes of Charles Henry Davis, Mexico, NY.
 Rancier, Esther.  “Beldings of Westbrook, CT and Canaan, NY.”  The Connecticut Nutmegger. 34:1(June 2001) 2-9.
 Rancier, Esther. “More Notes on Descendants of John Ferris and His Wife Hannah Mead, Pioneer Family of Connecticut and New York.”  The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. 110:4(Oct. 1979) 205-210.
 Rumsey, Jean. First Congregational Church of Westbrook, Connecticut. Dixon, Il: 1979.
 Stiles, Henry R. The History of Ancient Wethersfield, v. 2.  1904.
 U.S. Census for Oswego Co., NY, 1850 & 1860.
 Vosburgh, Royden Wood.  Records of the Congregational Church and Society of New Canaan.  (LDS Microfilm #1293951).

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Esther Rancier  All Rights Reserved