Annals of Oxford.

I love everything that's old. Old friends, old times,
old manners, old books, old wine. --- GOLDSMITH.

Indian Antiquities.


    Oxford boasts of Indian antiquities and of these the most interesting was the earthwork fort in the village, the remains of which were quite noticeable in the early settlement of the town, and were found on a mound which has since been called Fort Hill. The fort was one of the most eastern of the many fortifications in this and the western states, which at one time attracted considerable attention. Notwithstanding the scientific remarks of Dr. MITCHELL, DeWitt CLINTON, and others, as to their origin, there is still an uncertainty with nothing but conjecture to guide one. The Oneida Indians had a tradition running seven generations back, but they could not tell who built the fort. From this and other circumstances, it is supposed to have been made before the discovery of this country by the Europeans. The fort was on a piece of land containing two and a half acres and was about thirty feet in height. This rise of land lies along the river bank about fifty rods, and at the southeasterly end the fort was situated, which enclosed about three-fourths of an acre of land which was heavily timbered with beech and maple trees in 1788. Outlines of breastworks from seven to ten feet in thickness were plainly to be seen at an early date. The fort was semi-circular in form like the old diagram above. Its base was toward the river, its curved sides encircled by a well defined ditch about four feet in depth, save at the ends, where gaps ten feet wide, were left for entrances.

    The antiquity of this fortification is more particularly evident from the fact that on the stump of a large pine tree, whose roots extended under and conforming to the ditch, one hundred and ninety-five circles could be counted proving an origin later than the fort, which was estimated from three hundred to four hundred years. It must have been a formidable place against the bow and arrow, and war club. The situation was pleasant and eligible in every point of view, commanding a beautiful prospect up and down the river, and there was no high land in easy distance to annoy the garrison. Human bones, ancient earthern cooking utensils and other relics were found when excavations were made. In October, 1897, while workmen were engaged in trenching the village for the system of water works they uncovered parts of two skeletons. The bones were found at a depth of five feet and were in the highway near the crosswalk west of the Congregational church.

    The Oneida Indians had a tradition connecting this fort with a giant chief called Thick Neck, a deadly foe to the Oneidas, who is said to have occupied it. The tradition is that the Antones, supposed to have belonged to the Tuscarora Nation, were the seventh generation from the inhabitants of the fort, among whom was the chief Thick Neck. When the Oneidas came into this vicinity he destroyed them, notwithstanding their many attempts to decoy him out of his stronghold. At last they succeeded in getting between him and the fort, when Thick Neck quickly turned, ran down to the river to Warn's pond1 and secreted himself in the marsh; but was soon discovered and being unable to combat with the enemy, was killed. That no vestige should remain of the terrible chief, who in life was feared and hated, the Oneidas buried the body on the bank, the earth was leveled and leaved places over the grave, and to this day no sign of his burial place has been found. The remnant of Thick Neck's tribe were adopted by the Oneidas.

    Nearly three miles above the village on the west bank of the river is a mound of earth, which in earlier days was one hundred feet in circumference at the base, and ten feet high, and evidently the work of man. At the beginning of the settlement deep excavations were made and large quantities of a substance, supposed to be human bones, and several curious and fancy shaped stones were found, evidently formed by an artistic hand. This discovery led to a careful examination in the vicinity, which failed to find any signs of a fortification. It is supposed the place was the scene of a terrible battle and the mound a receptacle for the slain. As a corroborating circumstance, the mound is situated nearly midway between the old fort in this village and the one below Norwich. Its origin and the event it was intended to commemorate will never be known, but it evidently belongs to the same class of antiquities with Thick Neck's stronghold on Fort Hill. The builders and those whose memory it was evidently designed to perpetuate, like many proud memorials of human ambition, have been obliterated by the hand of time.

    On Padgett's brook, four miles below the village, there were in 1850 a succession of twenty-five disunited embankments having the appearance of a fortified place. They varied from one to three feet in elevation above the level of the surrounding lands, and supported a growth of aged trees.


Great of heart, magnanimous, courtly,
courageous. --- LONGFELLOW.

TRACY Family.


    Uri Tracy eldest son of Daniel and Mary (JOHNSON) Tracy, was born at Norwich, Conn., February 8, 1764. He graduated at Yale college in 1789 and became a Presbyterian clergyman, and a missionary to the Indians; came to Oxford in 1791 where, on August 28, 1793, he married, Ruth, daughter of General Benjamin HOVEY.

    Mr. Tracy was the first principal of Oxford Academy, in the establishment of which he was a prime mover; and at his death was president of the Board of Trustees of that institution. He was first sheriff of the county, his term of office extending from 1798 to 1801.

    Under the appointment of March 31, 1802, the county had four representatives in the Assembly, and in 1803 Mr. Tracy, together with James GREEN, Joel THOMPSON and Stephen HOXIE were the members from Chenango. He was member of Congress from 1805-7, and again 1809-13; county clerk from 1801 to 1815; also the town's first postmaster, and the office was kept, together with the county clerk's office, in the basement of his residence on what is now Albany street on the lot now occupied by the residence of William DUNN.

    He was appointed first judge of Chenango county July 8, 1819, and continued in that office until he was sixty years of age which was the constitutional age limit for holding the same.

    Mrs. Tracy was born in Oxford, Worcester, Mass., December 8, 1775. She was for thirty years a communicant of St. Paul's church, and with her husband was confirmed by Bishop HOBART in 1816.

    Mr. Tracy died at his home in Oxford, July 21, 1838, aged 75 years. The following is an extract from his obituary notice published in the Oxford Republican, July 25, 1838:

    All that is estimable in the husband, father, and friend, was possessed by him in an eminent degree. There are few men whose equanimity was so constantly maintained, or whose whole course of conduct seemed to be regulated by such fixedness of principle. He did not aim to excel in any particular line of life, but rather strove to be useful in all, and to that end he directed the best energies of a highly cultivated and well balanced mind.

    He was a patron of literature and science, and was identified with the improvements of the age, and every charitable and public project which promised usefulness, shared equally in his counsel, and in his munificence.

    He lived above reproach, and a large circle of friends and acquaintances will long cherish the recollection of his many virtues.

    For a short period he was engaged in the Revolutionary struggle, and his love of liberty, and the institutions of his country, manifested through life, show how deeply his mind was imbued with the spirit that animated the patriots of that eventful period.

    As a private citizen no man was more universally esteemed, and very few have filled so many important public offices and trusts with equal fidelity; and it may be truly said of him, that he lived and died a philanthropist and a Christian.

    Mrs. Tracy died at Oxford, January 31, 1846. Their children, in whose veins the blood of Lieutenant Thomas Tracy2 of Connecticut was mingled with that of the WINSLOWs of Massachusetts, were:

    SAMUEL MILES TRACY (eldest son of Hon. Uri) was born in Oxford June 26, 1795; graduated at Hamilton college in 1815, studied law three years with Henry VAN DER LYN, Esq., was admitted in 1818, and in November of that year, he left Oxford for the "far west," traveling on horseback, and reaching Portsmouth, Ohio, he decided to locate there. He grew with the growth of the place until he stood at the head of the bar. He held the office of Prosecuting Attorney for Scioto county for twenty-nine consecutive years. Judge EVANS, in his history of Scioto county, says: "He was perhaps the best lawyer who ever practiced in Portsmouth." He aided in building the first Episcopal church in Portsmouth. He was twice married; had one son and three daughters by his first wife. He died in Portsmouth, December 25, 1856, aged 61.

    OTIS J. TRACY, was born in Oxford September 17, 1797 and always resided in the county. Unassuming in his manners, and retiring in his habits he instinctively shrunk from the strife and turmoil of political life. He was, however, for several successive years Supervisor of Oxford, and discharged the duties of that office with ability and fidelity. While his talents and integrity commanded the respect and esteem of all, the kindly sympathies of his manly heart endeared him to a large circle of friends. Col. Tracy died at Oxford, August 21, 1850, aged 53. He was thrice married. His first wife, Jane D. HYDE, died November 13, 1820, at the age of 19, leaving a son, Joseph O., born May 2, 1820, and who died at Northumberland, Pa. His second wife, Eliza CUSHMAN, died August 19, 1828, leaving two daughters, Jane E., who married Luman B. FISH, and Mary D., who married Dr. William W. PACKER. Mr. Tracy then married for his third wife, Margaret STORMS. Their children, besides three who died in infancy, were:

    ROSWELL S., born 1830, enlisted in 1862 in Co. K, 10th N. Y. Cav., served three years, and died at Big Flats, N. Y., April 2, 1874. Married Elizabeth BROOKS of Oxford, died May 5, 1899. JOHN S., born in 1831; died in Michigan. SARAH SOPHIA, born in 1836; married Charles EVERSON, and died in Michigan. WILLIAM E., born in 1838; died in Oxford April 4, 1901; married Helen DEVOLL. Children: John, married Lucretia VanTASSELL; Jennie, married John BECKWITH; William, unmarried. CHARLES, born in 1840; enlisted in 12th Mass. Regt. And was killed at Antietam, September 17, 1862; unmarried. HENRY H., born 1843; enlisted in 44th N. Y. Regt. was wounded near Richmond, and died January 12, 1897 in Oxford from the result of a runaway accident. Married Mary Delia BROOKS. Children: Charles, Frederick F., married Arlette CURTIS; Maude, married Joseph COLLINGWOOD; Ross.

    URI TRACY, JR., was born in Oxford January 24, 1800, and on January 15, 1826, married Persis PACKER, daughter of William Packer, Esq., of Preston, N. Y. He spent the whole of his life in the village, and on the estate where he was born. Was engaged some years in merchandizing. He was elected Justice of the Peace six consecutive terms of four years each. He was often the nominee of both political parties, and at such times elected without opposition. His decisions were rarely reversed in the higher courts and he acquired the name, "the upright magistrate." He had served nearly the last term, making twenty-four years in office, when he died April 6, 1856, aged 56. His widow survived him but one year and died May 3, 1857, aged 54. Their children were:

    SUSAN HOSMER, born in Oxford May 4, 1827. Married John H. MORRIS of Syracuse September 19, 1849, and died in Lock Haven, Pa., August 8, 1861, aged 34. He died in Syracuse August, 1862. They left one daughter, Clara Mae, born at Oxford, November 26, 1850, who married William M. PURSELL, of Portsmouth, Ohio, and they had eight children, born in Portsmouth. CHARLES PACKER, born in Oxford December 5, 1829, removed to Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1851, where he became prominent in business and founded the business house of C. P. Tracy & Co., now in its fifty-second year. He married Isabella, daughter of Captain William McCLAIN, and died in Portsmouth, January 16, 1874, aged 45. HENRY READ, born in Oxford, December 9, 1833; removed to Portsmouth, Ohio, in September, 1857, and entered the business house of C. P. Tracy & Co. with which he is still connected after forty-eight years. In May, 1864, enlisted in Co. E., 140th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in which he served as Second Lieutenant. Was Director and Vice-President of the Portsmouth National Bank from 1875. Removed to Boston, Mass., in 1866, where he has since resided, unmarried. JOHN BAILEY, born in Oxford, April 12, 1838; removed to Ohio in 1853. Enlisted in May, 1864, in Co. F, 140th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, serving therein as Sergeant. Served several terms as Treasurer of the City of Portsmouth and County of Scioto. Married Eliza BRADY, and is now living near Portsmouth, having six children (living) and numerous grandchildren.

    MARY TRACY, only daughter of Hon. Uri, was born in Oxford, August 17, 1802; married Peter DICKINSON who was extensively engaged in the lumber business in Pennsylvania, with yards in Baltimore. Their home in Oxford was on the corner, the present residence of Dr. J. W. THORP. They removed to Baltimore, and some years later to Lock Haven, Pa., where she died February 26, 1868. Mr. Dickinson died in Wellsboro, Pa. Their children were: Charles Oscar, born in Oxford, May 4, 1827; was married , and died in Wellsboro, Pa. Peter Tracy, who was born in Oxford, was twice married, had two sons by his first wife and was living in San Francisco, Cal., in 1890.

    CHARLES OSCAR TRACY, youngest son of Hon. Uri, was born in Oxford, August 20, 1804. He was educated in Oxford Academy, and studied law with Henry VAN DER LYN, Esq. Removed to Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1826, where he located as a lawyer. He married December 20, 1827, Maria KINNEY, daughter of Aaron Kinney, Esq., of Portsmouth. They had nine children, all born in Portsmouth, where he died October 19, 1855, aged 51. Mr. Tracy left to his native place the example of his virtuous life, and the memory of his honored and unblemished name.

    HIAL TRACY, second son of Daniel and Mary (JOHNSON) Tracy, was born July 5, 1776, in Norwich, Ct. He married Susanna GIFFORD of that place and they removed to Oxford about 1803, locating with his brother Daniel on the Lobdell farm, where his children were born. After the death of his brother, he bought what is now known as the John M. GREEN farm, where he died January 17, 1842, and his wife May 22, 1857. His nephew Daniel remained on the Lobdell farm. Mr. Tracy was a younger brother of the Hon. Uri Tracy, then settled in Oxford, which no doubt was the reason of his coming to the same town. Mrs. Tracy was sister of Joseph Gifford of Norwich, Ct., who also removed to Oxford. Children:

    MELISSA, born in Connecticut; married Ebenezer HAVENS, lived at Dix, Schuyler county, and had four children.

    ELIZA, born in Connecticut; married John GREEN of Oxford. Children: Susan Eliza; married Abner R. HOLCOMB. John M., married Marie E. TOWNSEND. Mary M., died young. Mai V., died young. Lucy Ann, married Wilson G. MOWRY, lived and died in Steuben county.

    SUSAN, born in Connecticut; married Ira R. MAIN; lived and died Schuyler county.

    SOPHIA, born in Oxford; died August 14, 1869; married Dyar McCALL of Oxford. Child: Olive E., married Benjamin F. EDWARDS.

    DANIEL TRACY 2d, youngest son of Daniel and Mary (JOHNSON) Tracy, and brother of Uri Tracy, with his wife and son, Daniel 3d, came from Norwich, Conn., about the year 1803, with his brother Hial and family. They settled a mile and a half south of the village on what was then known as the GORDON farm, now the LOBDELL farm. The house was a large one and the two brothers with their families occupied it together, and it was here that most of their children were born. After the death of Daniel and wife on the farm, it was occupied by Daniel 3d who in April, 1833 sold it to Henry BALCOM and moved to Townsend, N. Y., where he died March 16, 1858, aged 74 years. He married in Oxford, Mary HAVENS, who died September 22, 1854, in Townsend. Children all born in Oxford:

    LUCY, born in 1803, died July, 1865, in Havana, N. Y.; married in Oxford Cyrus B. MAIN. Children: Louisa, married in Townsend, George CORWIN; died in Havana, 1872. Philura, married William CUSHING; died in Dix, N. Y., 1862. Alonzo, married M. Eliza COLLINS; died in Dix. Tracy C., married Ellen HAUMER, both reside in Ithaca.

    ISAAC J., born October 15, 1805; died April 11, 1891; married November 16, 1828, Lydia BEVERLY. Children: James M.; married (1) Ann CHAPMAN; married (2) in Pennsylvania. Eunice A., born August 9, 1831; died August 11, 1843. Sarah j., married George H. CHAPMAN. Elmon L., married Roxana L. RANSOM. Had three children, one living.

    EUNICE, born 1807; died July 6, 1840; married Caspar EVANS. Had two children.

    IRA, born August 9, 1809; died May 25, 1881; married Cornelia CHASE. Had seven children.

    ALBERT, born September, 1812; died January 24, 1884; unmarried.

    EBENEZER, born April, 1815; died January 20, 1894; married Catherine M. CHAPMAN.

    DANIEL 4th, born January 24, 1817; died October 12, 1877; married (1) Sarah A. LEWIS; married (2) Louisa WATKINS in Havana, N. Y. Four children by first wife, two by the second.

    SYLVANUS H., born February 3, 1820; died May 11, 1887; married (1) Maria HAMILTON in Townsend; married (2) Maria A. CHAPMAN. One daughter by first wife.

    JOHN G., born January 3, 1822; married April 1, 1855, Mrs. Sarah A. EVANS both residing in Townsend.

    MARY TRACY, sister of Uri, Hial and Daniel, was born September 22, 1722, in Norwich, Ct. She came to Oxford and married Daniel BALDWIN of East McDonough, N. Y. Her death occurred January 7, 1829, at the age of 56. Children: Mary, died July 23, 1860, aged 56; married Pardon SMITH, of Oxford. Jemima, died May 14, 1886, aged 79; married Horace CORBIN of McDonough. Electra, died young.


    JONATHAN BALDWIN owned a piece of flat land above the river bridge. One summer after he had cut a fine quality of grass and cocked it up the river rose rapidly from a heavy storm and carried the cocks down the river. On discovering his loss he hastened to the bridge and as a particularly large cock was about to pass under, threw his pitchfork into it exclaiming: "If God Almighty wants that hay, he wants a fork to pitch it with."


    The first physician to settle in Oxford was Dr. Timothy ELIOT, who was born at Killingworth, Ct., in 1773. But little is on record of him except that he died November 2, 1796.


    The Fort Hill Mill was built in 1793 or '4 by Theodore BURR and Jonathan BALDWIN, the former of whom owned it. It is still "grinding away."

And him, who with the steady sledge,
Smites the shrill anvil all day long. --- BRYANT.

McNEIL Family.

    John McNeil, born December 4, 1767, and Mary (WISE) McNeil, born December 8, 1770, with their two sons, Ira and Luman, came to Oxford from Hillsdale, Columbia county in February, 1791. They first settled in the vicinity of Lake Warn, a few years thereafter removed to the place next below the Lobdell farm, where he died July 26, 1832, aged 64. His wife died March 15, 1843, aged 73.

    At the time of their arrival there were but one frame and some two or three log houses where the village now stands; consequently they became familiar with the privations and hardships inseparably connected with a new and unsettled country, when but a lodging place had been made in our village, and all around it was dense forests, in which roamed wild beasts, from which at night their roar and angry cries could be heard.

    Mr. McNeil took up a hundred acres of land, but was chiefly occupied with his trade, that of blacksmith. Mrs. McNeil was one of the few who constituted the Baptist church in this village. Children:

    IRA, born October 30, 1789; married Clarinda HOUCK of Lee, Mass. Worked several years with his father at blacksmithing, which he afterwards pursued in the village till his death, October 30 ,1841, aged 52. His wife died March 27, 1841, aged 53. Children:

    JOHN, died February 9, 1893; married Helen, daughter of General Chas. M. REED of Erie, Pa. They lived the latter part of their lives in Elmira, N. Y., where they died. Children: Charles, Rufus, Clara, Agnes, Nelly, Frankie, John and Mary. CHARLES, married Mary Jane DENISON of Oxford. Moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1853, where he died January 27, 1900, aged 84. Mrs. McNeil still resides in that city. Children: Frank, born in 1841; married (1) Lois LeVAKE; married (2) Johannah FITZGERALD. (Three children by first marriage, Nelly, William and Mary). William Denison, born in 1844, went into the Civil war, contracted army fever and died at home August 25, 1864. Abby Jane, married Julius M. CARRINGTON of Michigan and lives in Cleveland, Ohio. (Three children, Anna Denison, Mary Belle, and Charles McNeil). HENRY, married and died in California. PETER S. S., married Abby BILLINGS of Elmira, where they both lived and died. His death occurring February 21, 1881, aged 55. FREDERICK B., died November 3, 1893, aged 67; married (1) Eliza A. BRADLEY who died in 1870, leaving one child, Kate; married (2) Mrs. Susan WHITE, who died January 9, 1906. Kate, daughter of Frederick B. and Eliza (BRADLEY) McNeil; married Sidney DENNIS, died in Iowa in 1888, leaving two sons and one daughter. LEVERETE, married, lived and died in Elmira. KATE, married (1) Benjamin NICHOLS of Lee, Mass.; married (2) Andrew CRAIG of Jasper, N. Y. Children: Edward, Andrew and Albert, twins, and Charles.

    LUMAN, born January 31, 1792; married in 1810, Fitche CHURCH of Oxford, with whom he lived for a period of more than sixty-five years. In 1813 he moved to Coventryville and there worked at his trade as a blacksmith until 1815, when he returned to Oxford and took up his residence in this village. He remained for nearly thirty years, when he retired to the farm where his long life was peacefully and quietly closed December 23, 1879, at the age of 88. From 1849 to 1853, Mr. McNeil was postmaster, and from time to time held many town offices. He was the last survivor of the earliest settlers and residents of the town and village. Mrs. McNeil died May 20, 1876, aged 87. Children: George, born May 18, 1816; died February 10, 1883. Fitche, (adopted) died December 15, 1845, aged 19.

    SOPHIA, born February 7, 1794; died January 1, 1866; married Erastus SMITH.

    LEWIS, born August 27, 1796, died in Delaware county; married Clara WARN. Children: Andrew, James, Dwight, John, Thomas, Ann Eliza, married Leveret RATHBONE of Greene; Elizabeth, Susan, married George N. PALMER of Chenango Forks, N. Y., died January 2, 1905, in Elmira; Julia, married Andrew J. ROCKWELL; died February 3, 1905, in Elmira.

    CHARLOTTE, born December 6, 1798; died December 29, 1891, in South Oxford; married David WILLOUGHBY.

    JOHN G., born March 17, 1800; died January 31, 1866. Unmarried.

    ANDREW M., born September 17, 1805; died January 23, 1868, in Oxford. Married Eliza Maria SMITH, died July 3, 1887, aged 71. Children:

    GEORGE L., born February 13, 1837; married Lucia MILLER of South Oxford, born September 17, 1838. Children: Merrit A., born February 23, 1866; died March 18, 1893, E. WARD, born April 5, 1869. CLARK, born April 27, 1839; married Marion WEBB of Oxford. Children: Nellie, married Norris CARNEGIE; Mary, married Eli WILLCOX. MARY SOPHIA, born June 28, 1841; died January 7, 1852. MILLARD D., (See article following). FITCHE, born December 25, 1847; died July 8, 1848.

    CHARLES A., born November 17, 1807; died May 30 1884, in Lanesboro, Pa.; married Philura MAIN, who died November 25, 1879, in Oxford, aged 73. Children: Ray, died November 22, 1847, aged 17; Theodore F., married Mary Annette WESTOVER; Harriet, married Frank A. LYON of Lanesboro, Pa.; Achsa, married Edward F. PHELPS of Binghamton.

    MILLARD D. McNEIL was born September 12, 1844, on the farm now owned by Mrs. Alice E. McCALL one mile below the village. He spent his early years in labor upon the farm and in attending the common schools, finishing his education at Oxford Academy. His first work away from home was teaching district school; but one term satisfied him that that profession was not to his liking and he secured a clerkship at a small salary in the store of William BALCOM, then a leading groceryman of Oxford. After a few years he entered the dry goods business, associated with his brother George and Cyrus A. BACON. After a short time the partnership was dissolved and Mr. McNeil accepted a clerkship in the mercantile firm of Clarke Brothers, where he developed a shrewd business insight which eventually led to his entrance into the firm as junior partner. Here he became identified with the leading commercial and business interests of the town. Retiring from the firm in 1885, he embarked in the grocery trade with W. A. CARL, whose interest he subsequently purchased and conducted the business until he disposed of it to Whitney & Pughe. Mr. McNeil was appointed postmaster by President McKinley in 1899, and reappointed by President Roosevelt in 1903. He married January 8, 1868, Mary A. FLAGG, of Smithville, N. Y. Children: Clarence H., married January 18, 1899, Elise HAMPTON of Poughkeepie; entered West Point Military Academy in 1892; graduated in June, 1896, with rank of Second Lieutenant. Now holds the rank of Captain and is stationed at Fort Totten, New York harbor. Frederick A., teller First National Bank, Oxford.


    BRADFORD CHURCH, born December 7, 1795, in Oxford, died December 26, 1884, at Rock Falls, Iowa. At an early age he married Miss Anna W. BARNES of Oxford, who died in October, 1884, at Como, Ill., aged 87 years.


    DACRE WARNE was the original settler of the land on which is located the pleasure resort now known as Lake Warn.

Thou bringest * * * *
Letters unto trembling hands. --- TENNYSON.

Mail Service in Early Days.


    In the early days of the town before the official appointment of any regular post-rider, letters were carried by chance travelers. The tavern and family rooms in private houses were used as gathering places for the mail. Letters were thrown carelessly on an open table or tavern bar, for all comers to pull over till the owners claimed them.

    Uri TRACY was Oxford's first postmaster, and John TRACY succeeded him soon after his arrival in 1805, holding the office till 1838, when Peleg GLOVER was appointed. Following is the succession of postmasters: James W. CLARKE, 1841; Cyrus A. BACON, 1843; Luman McNEIL, 1849; Cyrus A. BACON, 1853; James W. GLOVER, 1861; Benjamin M. PEARNE, 1878; Frederick P. NEWKIRK, 1886; Bradford G. GREENE, 1890; Herbert EMERSON, 1895; Millard D. McNEIL, the present incumbent, 1899.

    In 1802 the only post-town in Chenango county bore the name of "Oxford Academy."

    In 1817, the postmaster at Oxford received a salary of $127.93; at Norwich $103.20, and Bainbridge a yearly sum of $6.00.

    In 1826 it took a calfskin to pay the postage on a letter. It is told of a woman of that day, who received notice from the postmaster that she had a letter upon which twenty-five cents were due, and not having that amount of money, she without help killed and skinned a calf, selling the hide to a tanner, for which she received twenty-five cents and was thus enabled to get her letter.

    The first mail carrier was Charles THORP, of whom nothing is now known.

    When the postoffice was established at McDonough, about 1825, the mail was carried on horseback in saddlebags to that place from Oxford every Saturday.


    FOURTH OF JULY BATTLES. --- During the early '20s and even many years later, the boys of the east and west sides of the village used to gather every Fourth of July and fire any old missle at each other. Those on the east side were stationed at the base of Fort Hill, and those on the west side on Navy Island. The engagement was usually watched by many spectators, who loudly applauded when an especially effective "shot" was made. After the sport became monotonous a flag of truce was raised and hostilities ceased. As both parties were satisfied a retreat was ordered, those on the east side retiring to a point near the Fort Hill block and then to the common, now Washington park, in front of Perkins Hotel. The west side boys retired to the common, now La Fayette park, where the usual fun and frolic of Independence Day was indulged in by each party to their heart's content. In those days Independence Day was not forgotten, and the erection of a Liberty pole on the common on the west side of the town was an episode of yearly occurrence. It was guarded all night lest the east side boys might capture it.

"I despise them all. If," said Mr. Stiggins,
"If there is any of them less odious than
another, it is the liquor and called rum-warm,
my dear young friend, with three lumps of
sugar to the tumbler." --- DICKENS.

BARTLE Family.


    John W. Bartle came from Germany previous to the Revolution and settled in Columbia county, and in or about the year 1791 removing to Oxford with his six sons and one daughter, and failing by some wrong doing of others to secure land which has been promised him, settled on the west side of Chenango river at the mouth of Bowman's creek, four miles below the village, on the place owned and occupied for many years by his great-grandson, Erwin D. Bartle. There Mr. Bartle kept the first inn in the town, and there he, his son David, his grandson West, and his great-grandson Erwin D. Bartle, lived and died. His children were:

    JOHN, a harness maker by trade, who lived and plied his vocation in various parts of the town in which he also died. He married (1) Miss DUFFEY, by whom he had ten children; married, (2) Lydia TUTTLE, who bore him ten more. Nineteen children attended his funeral.

    PETER, born September 24, 1769; died in Ohio, March 22, 1831. He located on what was afterwards known as the Jacob BUCKLEY farm, and was a surveyor, running all the township's lines in this vicinity. He married twice; his first wife was Tabitha LOOMIS, daughter of Benaiah Loomis. This marriage, which took place in May, 1795, was the first one contacted in the town. Four children were born to them: Annis, Uri, Caroline, and Lot. Soon after the close of the war of 1812, Mr. Bartle went west, where he contracted his second marriage and had seven children.

    HENDRICK, took up his residence where Cyrus CRANDALL now lives; married Tabitha WHITE, by whom he had eight children. Both he and his wife continued to reside on the homestead where they settled until their deaths.

    PHILIP, born in 1772, settled where Lewis KETCHUM now lives; married Betsey LOOMIS, born in 1770, a daughter of Benaiah Loomis, and with whom he lived in unbroken harmony nearly seventy years. They had no children. "Mr. Bartle built the first school house and his wife was the first teacher," says the State Gazetteer; but it appears that the Academy was the first school house and Uri TRACY the first teacher. "Uncle Philip" and "Aunt Betty," as they were familiarly known, were universally kind to all, and their home on Panther Hill was known far and wide as a haven of rest for the poor and needy, and of unbounded hospitality. Mr. Bartle later in life bought the farm where Harvey J. STRATTON now lives, where he died October 1, 1861, in his 90th year. Mrs. Bartle died July 28, 1864, aged 94 years.

    ANDREW, married and settled in South Oxford; he afterwards moved with his family to Junius, N. Y., where he and his wife died.

    DAVID, succeeded to the ownership of the homestead, where he and his wife, Rhoda WEST, died. Eight children were born to them.

    ELIZABETH, married Henry GORDON.

Joy to the Toiler! --- let that that tills
The fields with Plenty crowned;
Him with the woodsman's axe that thrills
The wilderness profound. --- HATHAWAY

Solomon Dodge.


    Solomon Dodge was born in in 1767 in Vermont and came to Oxford in 1791 from Sidney in company with Daniel TUCKER. There were but two houses in the village at that time. He was in the employment of General HOVEY and worked under him in cutting the road from the Unadilla river to the Chenango at Oxford. His second coming to Oxford was in the fall of 1795 in company with Mrs. Jonathan BALDWIN, who came through from Egremont, Mass. At this time he settled on what is known as the Morse farm, owned by Alpha and Edward MORSE. Mr. Dodge made a small clearing, using the logs to build his first house, which had neither chimney or windows, excepting a hole in the roof and a blanket for a door. After he had cut the trees far enough away so that they would not fall on the building, he put up a second log house, which was considered quite luxurious, for it had doors, windows and chimney. He married Dorcas BURLINGAME not far from 1796, who was born March 12, 1766, in Vermont. She had one sister, Azubah, and one brother, Ritchison, who was the first surveyor of the town. Mr. Dodge sold out in 1802, to Daniel DENISON, and returned to Willet where he purchased a large farm, but meeting with many reverses, returned to Oxford after five or six years and settled west of the village in what is known as "Dodge Hollow," where he died of numb palsy in April, 1830. The only descendants of Mr. Dodge now living in Oxford, are Herbert EMERSON, B. M. EMERSON, and John E. JONES. Mr. Dodge was a lover of a good horse and in his day owned many fine ones. While living in "Dodge Hollow" he built a race track on his farm, which on many occasions called together the sportsmen of that day to witness the strife between the owners of fast stepers. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Dodge lived with her daughter, Mrs. Gideon LAWTON in McDonough, where she died in 1845. Children, all born in Oxford:

    MARSHALL, married Abigail LAWTON, and was a clothier. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and when dying expressed a wish to be buried in Oxford, his birthplace. He was buried in the cemetery a mile and a half west of Oxford on the old State road. His grave like many other soldiers of that war, is uncared for. The greater part of his life was spent in McDonough.

    HARRY, married Mary BLACKMAN, daughter of Elijah Blackman of Oxford; lived in McDonough for several years and then moved away, and all trace of him and his family has been lost.

    POLLY, twin to Harry, married Gideon LAWTON, and lived for several years in Oxford, and then moved to McDonough where they both died. Children: Thomas, Eliza, Harry, Lucinda, and Russell, born in Oxford; Almira, William, and Charles, who died in boyhood, born in McDonough. All went to Pennsylvania, excepting Eliza, who married Moses EMERSON of McDonough, and Lucinda, who lived with her grandfather DODGE until she was fifteen. She married A. J. MOORE of McDonough.

    RUSSELL, married Sally HAMILTON, conducted a tannery for several years in McDonough, and went to Steuben county and died in Addison.

    MARTIN, married Betsey BARNES and lived and died in McDonough.

    ALMIRA, married Charles BURLINGAME, a cousin, and moved to Willet, where they both lived and died.

    IRA, married Almira BETTS and lived in Oxford a few years, then went to Pennsylvania where his wife died. He went to Iowa and died there.

    ALFRED, married Almira BEMAS, whose father, Almon Bemas, kept a hotel below Oxford. They moved to Steuben county and died there.

    ISRAEL, went to Steuben county, and there married Sally WHITE. He died at Westfield, Pa.


    CAPTAIN SOLOMON FENTON, born in Connecticut June 23, 1749, was a soldier during the war of the Revolution. He was wounded at the battle of Saratoga, where he had captured a British officer in person. He died in Oxford, December 25, 1831, aged 82 years. His wife was Sybil SNOW, born September 19, 1749, and died September 29, 1824. They came to Oxford about the year 1816 to reside with their daughter, the wife of Ira B. McFARLAND.


    JOHN TEN BROECK lived at an early day on the farm at South Oxford on which is now the TEN-BROECK-WARN cemetery. His children were: Jeremiah, John, Derrick, Mrs. Dan LOOMIS, Mrs. Amos GRAY, and Maria and Ann, first and second wives of Jabez ROBINSON of South Oxford.

The mill-wheel has fallen to pieces, Ben Bolt,
The rafters have tumbled in,
And a quiet which crawls round the walls as you gaze
Has followed the olden din. --- ENGLISH.



    Peter Burghardt (BURGOT) came to Oxford with his wife and eight children from Great Barrington, Mass., in 1792, and settled on the farm now owned by F. P. NEWKIRK. He removed at an early part of the nineteenth centaury to Allegany county and died in Kentucky while engaged in building bridges. He erected the first grist mill in this town on HOVEY's creek, one and one half miles west of the village. His wife died at Warren, Penn. Two daughters died in Oxford, Mary, who married John DODGE, and left many descendants, and Sally, wife of Abijah LOBDELL, Jr., who has only two descendants now living: Miss Helen M. LOBDELL and Miss Augusta C. GODFREY of this village. Lucretia married (1) Selah BURLINGAME and moved to Illinois; married (2) ---- PARSONS.

    The first death in this town was an infant daughter, Happy Leona, of Mr. Burghardt.

    There were four sons, Moses, Gerritt, Peter and Abraham, and they all went to the western part of New York state, where their descendants are still living.

    Mr. Burghardt was one of the first trustees of Oxford Academy, also one of the first vestry men of St. Paul's church. His son-in-law, Abijah LOBDELL, Jr., was also one of the first vestrymen, and it was at his home the first Episcopal services were held. The prayer book then used is now in the vestry of St. Paul's church.

    Mr. Burghardt was very strong in his belief in the Episcopal faith and having contributed to build a Presbyterian church in Great Barrington, he with other Dutch settlers, many of them wealthy, and nearly all Episcopalians, asked to have preaching in their own language on week days at their own expense. The Rev. Mr. HOPKINS refused with the reply: "What, Dutch preaching in the meeting house? No, that shall never be." The Dutch resented the rebuff and stayed at home from church, which angered the minister into threatening the tithing men from the pulpit, and they entered a complaint with the magistrate. Peter Burghardt and his brother were among the offenders. The magistrate was obliged to fine them or commit them to the stocks, though this was against his will; and they were advised to go to the stocks as a quicker and surer means of victory, which they did, with Judge WOODBRIDGE present as their friend and legal protector from further insults.

    The name Burghardt was originally BORGHGHARDT, then BURGHARDT, and BURGOT. The descent of Misses LOBDELL and GODFREY is:

    I. Heindrick Borghghardt married Maria von HOESEN. Lived in Albany, N. Y. II. Conraed Borghghardt, married Gesie von WIR at Kinderhook, N. Y. III. Peter Burghardt, married Mary CHURCH at Great Barrington, Mass. IV. Sally Burghardt married Abijah LOBDELL, Jr., at Oxford, N. Y. V. Helen M. LOBDELL. V. Sarah LOBDELL married George W. GODFREY. VI. Augusta C. GODFREY.

As the laws are above magistrates, so are the magistrates
above the people; and it may truly be said that the magistrate
is a speaking law. -- CICERO.

Town Meetings.


    The first legal town meeting was held on the first Tuesday in April, 1794, at the house of General Benjamin HOVEY, and from that time till the division of the town, meetings were held alternately in the eastern part one year and the next in Oxford village, so called, many years before it was incorporated as a village. The offices voted for received their nominations on the day of election; a caucus for electioneering purposed was then unknown. At this meeting Ephraim FITCH was elected supervisor and Elihu MURRAY town clerk. Peter BURGHARDT and John BLANDON were elected fence viewers. In was "Voted the town to give three pounds bounty on each wolf kill'd in the Town in addition to what the County gives."

    At the town meeting in 1795 it was "Voted the Town chuse (sic) their officers (Supervisor and Town Clerk) by the Clerk's taking each man's name and who he votes for in writing."

    In 1800, Anson CARY was elected supervisor, and Capt. Samuel FARNHAM, clerk. The following records are copies from the town book:

    Voted, that James PHELPS, Uri TRACY and John HOLMES, be a committee for settling the lot commonly call'd the ministerial lot, and that said committee be allow'd for their services one dollar per day,

OATHS of Commissioners of EXCISE.

    We, Ephraim FITCH, James PHELPS and Anson CARY, commissioners of excise for the Town of Oxford in the County of Chenango, do Solemnly Swear in the presence of Almighty God that we will not on any account or pretense whatsoever, grant any Licenses to any person within the said town of Oxford, for the purpose of keeping an Inn or tavern, but only in such case as appears to us absolutely necessary for the benefit of travelers; and that we will in all things while acting as commissioners of excise do our duty according to the best of our Judgement and abilities, without fear, favor or partiality according to LAW.

Signed, Ephraim Fitch,
James Phelps,
Anson Cary.

    Resolved at a board of commissioners of excise for the Town of Oxford, held on the 6th day of May, 1800, that Capt. Samuel SMITH, Samuel JOHNSON, Benjamin WILSON, John DIBBLE, Solomon KELLOGG, Jonathan BUSH, and St. George Tolbud PERRY, are suitable persons to be licensed to keep Inns or Taverns in the Town of Oxford, and that it was necessary to have taverns at the above places.

Signed, Ephraim FITCH,
Anson CARY.

The above is a true copy of the original.


    At the town meeting in 1801, it was ---

    Voted, to accept a report of the committee appointed at the last Town meeting to settle the public lot with the following alterations, Viz., that the Settlers now on the lot should have their Leases and pay five pr. cent. pr. annum; having the same rent free five years from the 1st day of January Last; and that those hereafter going on should have their lots at the same rate and that their interest should begin Jan'y 1st, 1802, and that Uri TRACY, James PHELPS, and John HOLMES be a committee for that purpose to give leases.

    At the town meeting in 1802, it was ---

    Voted, that Hogs do not run at large, and that the annual Town meeting be held at the house of Elihu MURRAY next year.

    Voted, that the widow DIBBLE be releas'd from paying the excise for tavern license for the last year.

    Proceedings of election, 1807:

    At the annual Election began and held in the Town of Oxford, in the County of Chenango, on Tuesday the twenty-eight day of April, 1807, and continued by adjournment from day to day for three days successively, including the 28th day of April.

    We certify the following persons had the number of Votes for the offices set opposite their respective names as hereafter particularized:

  						 Morgan LEWIS for Governor..........169 
 						 Thomas STORMS for Lieutenant.......169
  						 Daniel D. THOMPSON, Governor.......140
  						 John BROOME, Lieutenant............140
  						 Caleb HYDE, Senator................170
 						 Caleb SAMPSON, Senator.............138
  						 WILLIAM FLOYD, Senator.............123
						 Alexander RICE, Senator............119
  						 Moss KENT, Senator................. 25 
  						 Daniel TOMPKINS, Governor..........  1 

    Solomon PIER, Reuben BRISTOL, Gurdon HEWITT, William McCALPIN, Benjamin YALE, Inspectors of Election.


    JOHN ADAMS, a worthy citizen of Oxford for many years, and who served with honor in the war of 1812, died August 29, 1862. He was a shoemaker by trade and also made shoe lasts in a little old shop that stood on the site of RAFFERTY's saloon on Fort Hill. His children were John T., who enlisted in Co. K, 10th N. Y. Cavalry, and was killed in an engagement near Stony Creek, Va., October 27, 1864; Drayton, who died in the West; Dwight, who enlisted in the 17th Regiment, N. Y. Volunteers serving through the war of the Rebellion; and a daughter, Mary.


    From November 7 to 15, 1845, inclusive, 9,965 firkins of butter were cleared at the office of the canal collector in Oxford. At this date it would be impossible to secure a third of that number of firkins in the entire county. The shipment of milk has revolutionized the once great butter industry of Chenango county.

And see the rivers how they run
Through the woods and meads, in shade and sun,
Sometimes swift, sometimes slow, ---
A various journey to the deep, Like human life to endless sleep! --- DYER.

LYON Family.


    David, Samuel and Thomas Lyon, brothers, came from Great Bend, Pa., in canoes in 1792 and settled upon Lyon brook, then called Can-na-wa-gon, which has since become familiar by reason of the high bridge built over it by the Ontario & Western Railway. The brothers purchased three miles square of land at one shilling per acre, and after meeting with various vicissitudes finally cleared the land, developed several fine farms, and erected grist and saw mills. During the winter of 1792-3 snow fell several feet deep and the men could not hunt, though game was plenty, and their provisions gave out. Samuel, on snow shoes, sought the cabin of the BENNETTs and found a barrel of peas, which the latter had left on departing for their winter quarters at Great Bend. The peas sustained life until game could be procured. Many of the early settlers almost perished from want of food at times during the first few years.

    Elizabeth LYON, a sister, married Cornelius JACOBS in 1784, who was one of the body guards of General George WASHINGTON, and of whom mention is made in another article.

    Thomas Lyon became a major, and led a regiment of State troops from this county in 1812. When they were recruiting in this village and sending soldiers to defend the frontier, the old red house on Greene street, known as the THURBER homestead, razed to the ground in August, 1904, served for a short time as a barrack for the enlisted men. Young lads gratified their curiosity by going on the sly to look upon the raw recruits, and to see them arranged on the floor for sleeping. Those same young lads were present at the military funeral of Major Lyon held not long after, who was killed at Toronto.

    Toward the close of April, 1813, General DEARBORN, under whom Major Lyon served, crossed Lake Erie with seventeen hundred men with the intention of attacking York, now Toronto, and the chief depot of the British posts in the west. A landing was made before York on the 27th of the month under hot fire, but the Americans pushed on and the enemy were driven from their works. The Americans were still pressing towards the main works when a magazine of the fort containing a hundred barrels of powder, exploded, a plot of the British. Two hundred Americans were killed or wounded, among the mortally hurt being Major Lyon, who was carried on a board the commodore's vessel and there died the death of a hero.

    David Lyon was for many years in partnership with James A. GLOVER in the old stone blacksmith shop which stood east of the Congregational church on the site of the residence of Melvin WALKER.

    George R. Lyon, son of Samuel, learned the blacksmith trade of Mr. GLOVER, and in 1822 moved to Greene, where he began the iron business, which has since developed into the Lyon Iron Works, an important industry of that village.

A wild land broken landscape, spiked with fire,
Roughening the bleak horizon's northern edge. --- WHITTIER.



    Moses Bennett and sons came from Great Bend, Pa., in April, 1792, ascending the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers by canoe, there being no road or other means of conveyance. They saw but one house between Binghamton and Oxford, and that at Chenango Forks. They erected cabins and raised a crop that year on two miles square of land which they bought at one shilling per acre. After passing the winter in Great Bend they returned with their families the following spring. As there had been no mill erected they were obliged to break up their grain in a mortar, until Mr. Bennett had contrived a small hand mill, which supplied not only their wants, but was frequently resorted to by the pioneers near and far. There were no settlers between the Bennetts' and what was called the Castle, occupied by the Oneida Indians, two miles south of Norwich. The Indians were numerous throughout the valley at this time and had a favorite resort near the Halfway House. Mr. Bennett used to relate that one summer's day the chief returning to the Castle after a short absence found the camp in an uproar, caused on one of the tribe bringing in a keg of rum, which he had bartered for with a trader in Binghamton. Unable to control the drunken lot he hastened for assistance, soon returning with Mr. Bennett and his nine sons, and a few Indians who had been following a hunt. A fight ensued in which fifty were killed or wounded, those who were sober enough fled to the forest. The rum was poured out on the ground and peace was soon established again in the camp.

    James Bennett, the eldest son of Moses, enjoyed telling of those days when pathways through the forest could only be traced by means of marked trees. He visited Norwich when it was without a house, to find the trees swaying with pigeon nests, the remnant of a feathered encampment of the previous year, upon the present site of that village. On the 25th of November, 1858, he fell from a ladder and received injuries which proved fatal. Mr. Bennett was 85 years of age, and had resided nearly sixty years upon the same farm. Catherine, his wife, died April 2, 1847, aged 73.

    James C. Bennett, son of James, born November 4, 1807, resided upon the old homestead till his decease, which occurred suddenly April 6, 1878, at the age of 70. He was twice married, his first wife, Catherine, died February 3, 1836, aged 21; Sarah A. SHERWOOD, his second wife, born in 1819 in Guilford, died September 15, 1901. in Norwich. Children:

    ANN AUGUSTA, married J. J. VanALLEN.

    DEALETTE, married Daniel E. COMSTOCK; died suddenly June 7, 1905, in Norwich. Mr. Comstock died April 20, 1901, in Norwich.

    ALICE, married Charles L. TURNER.

    J. HOWARD BENNETT, lived on the place for many years, then moved to Bainbridge, where he still resides.

Trumbull has painted him, --- a face
Filled with a fine, old-fashioned grace,
Fresh-colored, frank, with ne'er a trace.
Of troubled shaded. --- DOBSON.



    Samuel Miles Hopkins was a son of Samuel Hopkins, a soldier in the war of the Revolution, who marched to the defense of New York in 1776. He was descended from Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower, whose great grandson wrote "Stephen Hopkins," with a weak hand but a stout heart, beneath the Declaration of Independence, while the signer's brother was Ezekiel Hopkins, the first Admiral of the American Navy, and the equal in rank with Washington himself.

    Samuel Miles Hopkins was born May 9, 1772, at Salem, in Waterbury, Ct.; died October 8, 1837, at Geneva, N. Y.; married October 5, 1800, Sarah Elizabeth ROGERS of New York city, born February 1, 1778; died December 17, 1866.

    In 1784 Samuel Miles Hopkins went to live in the family of his uncle, Dr. Lemuel Hopkins of Hartford, where he laid the foundation of a classical knowledge. On commencement day, 1787, he entered the Sophomore class of Yale college. For a year his classical books had been neglected, and he compassed in six weeks, without an instructor, the usual reading of a year in the classics of the schools. He passed three years at New Haven. He was not in good favor with the faculty, and took no pains to conciliate their good will. They gave him one of the three English orations for commencement, which were then reputed the highest appointments. He refused to attend, and they refused him his degree until thirty years later, when they conferred on him the degree of Doctors of Laws.

    In 1791 having resolved on the profession of law, he entered the office of Judge REEVE in Litchfield, Ct., whose law school contained more than twenty pupils. In March, 1793, when he had only studied about eighteen months, he was proffered an examination for admission by the gentleman of the bar. This was in violation of a general rule. Immediately after his admission to the bar he had the smallpox. Early in April accompanied by his father, Mr. Hopkins went on a ride across the Housatonic valley of Connecticut and Dutchess county to Poughkeepsie, where he put himself under the tuition of Chancellor KENT and Jacob RADCLIFFE. His object was to acquire a knowledge of the practice of the New York courts, which then was thought no small art and mystery. It was the sole business of a three years' clerkship, and he acquired it in eighteen days, by studying sixteen hours out of the twenty-four and reciting two in the evening. He kept the life in him by now and then running a mile or two up a hill. Embarking on a sloop he with four New England young men went to New York city, where he had letters of introduction to Judge HOBART, James WATSON and Colonel Aaron BURR. The latter made the motion, and when the Court sought to exclude them by an expost facto rule, Burr succeeded in exempting them from its operations. Hopkins passed a most splendid examination and his license was dated on May 9, 1793, the day he was 21 years old. In a sketch of the life of Mr. Hopkins written by himself in 1832, he states:

    I was received with infinite kindness by the gentlemen to whom I had letters. I told them I could no longer be a burden to my father, and that I desired them to recommend me to a new country, where I could most certainly earn $52 in the first year, since I could live for $1 per week. They recommended Tioga, and gave me letters, and I hastened home. My father was at Hartford, as a member of the Legislature. My mother searched the till of his chest and found, I think, $10, or perhaps $10.25. With that and with a valise which contained half a dozen shirts, a set of Blackstone, a skin of parchment bought at New York, and some black seals, and on the horse Phoenix, which my father had raised for me, and which Phoenix was the first in official order of all my line of Phoenixes, I bade adieu to my mother and dear brothers and sisters and took the road to an unexplored and unknown wilderness. What a moment for my mother-what a moment for me! One hundred and ten miles west of Catskill, through a country almost all new, brought me to the village of Oxford, and to the house of Benjamin HOVEY, the founder of it, and who about eighteen months before had cut the first tree to clear the ground where this village stood. Here, too, I found Uri TRACY (of the class in college two years older than myself), and whom after nearly forty years I still count among the most valued of my friends.

    I settled at Oxford as a lawyer. My first law-draft I made by writing on the head of a barrel, under a roof, made of poles only, and in the rain, which I partially kept from spattering my paper by a broad brimmed hat. In such a village as this, the first framed building was an academy of two stories, and Mr. TRACY was the teacher. No Yankee without the means of education! Judge HOBART, my friend and patron, was to hold the circuit in June at Owego; and his kind notice of me was an excellent introduction to the county. The first case I ever tried was in defending a man indicted for forgery, which was death, and on which the attorney general of the State in person supported the prosecution. Judge Hobart sustained the objection I took, and the prisoner was acquitted. And in this country I rode 80 miles to Newton (Elmira) to attend a Court of Common Pleas in my own county and was too happy to win a jury cause and get a fee of $8, perhaps the most gratifying I ever received. Sometimes I rode all day in the rain, forded the swift flowing Chenango in water up to my horse's back, found my whole library and stationary wet by the operation and lost my way in returning up the river, the path-not road-being too blind to follow. In attempting to follow the Nanticoke in a feshet I was obliged to go in a canoe and forcing Phoenix into the river, to lead him swimming while the ferryman directed the canoe. But how wonderful is instinct! The horse had never swam before, yet when he felt the force of the torrent, he breasted the stream, and dreading to be swept downwards he carried the whole of us up stream so far above the landing place, that the horse became entangled in floating tree tops and that I came near to losing him. At another time I rode west to Cincinnatus, where at 18 miles was a house, north 18 miles farther off was another house, but in utter darkness at night I lost my way and passed the night in one of the most incessant, stead, pouring rains I ever knew. I visited Onondaga when but two white families were in the "hollow," and attempted a rude estimate of the weight of the water of the salt spring, when not as many as a dozen of the kettles were in operation or ever had been. My name is first on the roll of attorneys in Cayuga.

    I became convinced that I could grow up in the country and become as rich as I wished. Col. BURR had, almost by force, made me receive a library of choice law books, which he selected saying that "I might settle it in my will," if I pleased. But Mr. WATSON suggested the idea of a removal to New York for the sake of the society of able man, of mental improvement, and of professional advancement. He afterwards invited me to his house, imported for me about $1500 of law books, the foundation of my present law library. He loaned me whatever money I had occasion for, and left me to pay it (as I did) years after, from the avails of my professional business.

    I went to New York in the fall or winter of 1794 and took up my lodgings in the princely and hospitable house of Mr. WATSON, quitting with a good deal of regret my Oxford friends, my village half acre and charming new office, and taking Phoenix back to my father. The winter I employed in very intense study for counsel's examination. But in the course of that time Mr. Watson began to propose to me the project, which occupied my time afterwards for two years in Virginia and two in Europe engaged in selling Virginia lands, which ended in a complete failure.

    Mr. Hopkins married in 1800 and rented a house in New York city at $1000 a year. At that time he had an office full of clerks, and lived in a style sufficiently though not exceedingly elegant, and his connections in the best rank of society brought him public influence and popularity. Later a rapidly increasing family made his expenses enormous and a check in business cramped his finances He saw he must reduce his living and leave the city, which he did though it was with difficulty that he met all his engagements. In 1810 he purchased jointly with his brother-in-law, B. W. ROGERS, a share in two tracks of land which had been reserved by the Indians, or their agents, at Mt. Morris, and the Leicester tract on the Genesee river in western New York. He bought merino sheep and went to farming. In 1811 he removed to Geneseo and in 1813-14 was a member of the XIIIth Congress. In August, 1814, he laid out the village of Moscow on a plain which far and wide was covered with a young growth of oak and hickory. Here he spent ten years, but the adventure failed and involved him in debt, and he had no other resource but to sell everything at an immense sacrifice and trace his course to Albany to resume the practice of law in the spring of 1822. Here he made every previous arrangement, having been a member of the Senate during the winter. He never made money by his profession, for he always took the cases of the poor and helpless. His home was an asylum for dependent relatives-young people who were brought there to be educated or older ones who were given positions in the household, and also of distressed strangers, and foreigners, such as exiled Greeks and Poles.

    The great chief Red Jacket, the eloquent orator, was a frequent visitor at his "Western home." On a winter evening at Albany a silent figure would glide in, and after a few moments would as silently steal away; this was Aaron BURR, despised by every one but tolerated and kindly treated by Mr. Hopkins, because of the benefits received from him when he was a struggling young lawyer. Daniel WEBSTER, and the Chancellors and Chief Justices; LaFAYETTE, on his second visit to America, and the great Sir John FRANKLIN, were friends and callers at the Hopkins home.

    In 1832 Mr. Hopkins and family removed to Geneva where after five years he sank peacefully at rest "in the sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection."

    Mr. Hopkins was a fine figure of a man, six feet high, and perfectly formed for strength and activity. He had soft brown hair with light blue eyes. He ante-dated the era of beards, and always shaved his face carefully. When in Paris he was called "le Phoebus American."

    The children of Samuel Miles and Sarah Elizabeth (ROGERS) Hopkins were:

    MARY ELIZABETH, born April 13, 1802; died February 28, 1857; married William Gordon VER PLANCK.

    WILLIAM ROGERS, born January 2, 1805; died November 12, 1876.

    JULIA ANNE, born February 22, 1807; died March 5, 1849; married William E. SILL.

    HESTER ROGERS, born November 5, 1808; died October 8, 1845; married Charles A. ROSE.

    SAMUEL MILES, D. D., born August 8, 1813, for many years Professor in the Auburn Theological Seminary.

    WOOLSEY ROGERS, born July 14, 1815; now resides at Stamford, Ct.

    SARAH ELIZABETH, born August 20, 1818; married John M. BRADFORD.


    BALLOON ASCENSION.-Saturday, June 28, 1862, Prof. H. SQUIRES made the first balloon ascension in this village. A large number of people witnessed the then novel exhibition, while the Norwich and Oxford Bands contributed much to the pleasure of the day. At 4. p. m., Prof. Squires took leave of his terrestial audience in front of the Exchange block, rising rapidly and gradually moving up the river for a mile or more, when the balloon took a south-easterly course, having been visible more than an hour, and sank out of sight in Guilford, about six miles distant. Previous to the ascension a company of fantastics made an amusing appearance on the street.


    The whole number of inhabitants of the town of Oxford in September, 1830, according to the census taken by Anson MEAD, was 2, 041.

The hungry Judges soon the sentence sign,
And wretches hang that Jurymen may dine. --- POPE.



    Anson Cary came from Windham, Ct., to Union, Broome county, where he resided for a short time, and then departed for Oxford in 1792. He came up the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers in a canoe paddled by an Indian named Seth, and took up the lands now owned by the Charles A. BENNETT estate and John CARY. Mr. Cary was a Revolutionary pensioner, having entered the army at the age of 16 and served in three campaigns of the war. He was a very large and obese man, and was the first blacksmith to locate in Oxford. He worked at this trade and carried on his farm a great many years, and was also famous as a pettifogger before Justice's courts. He held the office of justice of peace, was appointed sheriff of the county March 1, 1805, and for a considerable time one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas. He died May 3, 1842, aged 80. He married March 4, 1784, Miss Hannah CAREW, who died July 9, 1842, aged 78. Children:

    HORATIO, born March 27, 1775; died February 10, 1855, in Lockport, N. Y. Married Betsey RHODES.

    MINERVA, born October 15, 1778; died May 23, 1859, in Wisconsin. Married Amos A. FRANKLIN.

    HARRIET, born July 29, 1789; died on the old homestead, August 9, 1863. Married Adolphus B. BENNETT 2d.

    GEORGE A., born May 8, 1793; died suddenly April 21, 1869; married (1) Sarah WATTLES of Oxford, died June 18, 1821; married (2) Adaline CRANDALL, died suddenly October 26, 1882. Child by first wife: Sarah, married William H. MASON of Norwich.

    PALMER C., born March 31, 1798; died May 13, 1875; married Rowena OSGOOD. Children: Anson, died January 28, 1877, aged 50; married Hannah FRANKLIN. Lucy, died unmarried. Rowena, married Theodore WATERS of North Norwich. Jane, married Charles CLARK. Frances, married January 8, 1856, Francis L. CAGWIN of Joliet, Wis.

    ZALMON S., born August 31, 1800; died August 23, 1854; married Pamelia RANDALL of Connecticut. Mr. Cary when but three years old set fire to his father's unfinished residence, which was destroyed. He lived and died on a portion of the old homestead, now occupied by his son John R. Children: Harriet, married Elijah A. BRADLEY of Macon, Ga. Sarah Elizabeth, married February 22, 1857, Rev. Stephen L. RORIPAUGH. Helen, married James WISWELL. Mary, died unmarried. John R., married Mrs. Josephine (CONVERSE) WILLIAMS and has one son, Robert.

    HANNAH, born June 17, 1802; died October 8, 1855, the day set for her marriage.

    ALBERT G., born July 20, 1807; died suddenly July 26, 1881; married Melissa MATHEWSON. Studied medicine with Drs. Perez PACKER and William G. SANDS. Practiced in several localities, but a deformity of his lower limbs prevented him from getting around with ease. Child: George, died in early manhood.


    On the 12th of October, 1836, snow fell to the depth of over two feet in this vicinity.

None but himself can be his parallel. --- THEOBALD.



    Prominent among the first settlers was Jonathan Baldwin, born in Egremont, Mass., February 11, 1765, who came on foot, accompanied by Theodore BURR, with his axe upon his shoulder by the Catskill turnpike in the spring of 1793. These young men were architects, millwrights and bridge builders in search of a location and employment. Mr. Baldwin took up several acres on the site of the village, extending from State street as far as the residence of Mrs. Richard YOUNGS on Clinton street and in the rear enclosing the old cemetery, a gift from him to the village. He paid for the land from such wages as five dollars per month.

    Having made a small clearing and put in some wheat, they returned to Massachusetts in the fall, by way of Utica. Their route was a narrow path through the boundless forest indicated only by marked trees. At intervals there were attached to trees small covered boxes for mail. Travelers examined these for letters to go their way and delivered them.

    On the 3d of March, 1794, Mr. Baldwin married Miss Parthenia STANFORD of Duxbury, Mass., and soon after returned to Oxford and built the house now owned and occupied by Francis G. CLARKE, leaving his wife until the road could be made so that a horse could make the passage. While thus engaged he boarded with Peter BURGHARDT. The next fall his wife came in company with Solomon DODGE. In July, 1796, Mr. Baldwin moved his wife and infant daughter, Miriamne, into the house he had erected. It was minus windows and doors, there his son Harvey was born the next day.

    Mrs. Baldwin brought from Massachusetts a mitten full of apple, current and rose seeds, which she planted, aided by a nephew, David Baldwin, who cleared away the under brush. She said she never should eat the fruit from trees of her own planting; but lived to see those same apple trees bear thirty bushels each of wholesome fruit.

    Mr. Baldwin laid the foundation of the large building, now the St. James hotel, and prepared window frames, sash and doors for building a large hotel; but when the interests of Oxford were sacrificed and the county seat located at Norwich, he left the work unfinished. Although at times profane, which gave him the name of "Deacon," he was an honest man.

    He donated half the land for LaFayette square, now LaFayette park, and as one of the first trustees of Oxford Academy, gave freely of time and money to advance the interests of that institution. He was the builder of many of the first houses, together with the first school house on the west side of the river, and the second river bridge.

    No early name is more prominent than Jonathan Baldwin's; the benefactor of the poor, a sterling character, retaining his intellectual faculties unimpaired until his death at the age of 82, which occurred July 2, 1845. The community at large mourned his loss. Mrs. Baldwin died April 21, 1848, aged 77. Their children were:

    MIRIAMNE, born January 15, 1793; married October 26, 1817, Peleg B. FOLGER, a shoemaker, from Hudson, who came here soon after the war of 1812, and died February 5, 1857, aged 65. Mrs. Folger died January 25, 1881, aged 84. Children: Parthenia A., died April 4, 1890, at Binghamton; unmarried. William, married Melissa GRAY of Scranton. Eben, married Lucy HALL. John, married Elizabeth HALL. Hannah, married Dr. S. F. McFARLAND. Mary, married William BENEDICT.

    JAMES HARVEY, born July 2, 1796; married Elizabeth SHAFFER of Lewisburg, Pa., and died in Pennsylvania, August 11, 1832, while engaged in bridge building. Children: Jonathan, Harvey, Maria, Jane and Cordelia.

    SOPHIA, born June 22, 1800; married Frederick GREENE.

    NANCY, born January 13, 1801, died in infancy.

    HAPPYLONE, born July 26, 1802, died unmarried January 12, 1833.

    LOUISA, born March 24, 1804, died unmarried November 10, 1883, aged 79.

    THOMAS, born July 4, 1805, died September 25, 1875; married Rebecca BUCKLY, who died suddenly January 11, 1875. He lived and died on the farm now owned by his daughters, Mary L., wife of Charles A. BENNETT, and F. Adalaide BALDWIN.

    CHARLES, born July 23, 1807, died unmarried December 8, 1849.

    BETSEY M., born March 25, 1809, died unmarried November 2, 1899, aged 90.

    SAMUEL, born in March, 1811, married Jane HAGAMAN of Greene; died at Corning, in 1852. Children: Ann, James, died in army; Jane, Kate.

    JOHN, born November 6, 1813, died unmarried May, 1895.


    Eleazer SMITH, a patriot of the Revolution, and also engaged in the French war, was among the early settlers of Oxford. He died in Greene December 8, 1822, aged 75.

One who journeying
Along a way he knows not, having crossed
A place of drear extent. --- BRYANT.


    Joseph Dickinson born in 1774 in Connecticut; died April 19, 1862, in Oxford; married November 2, 1797, Mary ROWLAND of Connecticut; born about 1776; died January 15, 1863, in Oxford.

    Mr. Dickinson, at the age of 19, John GOTT and another man, whose name cannot be recalled, came from Connecticut in 1793. The three had a horse and one would ride a distance and hitch, then another would take his turn and so on to their journey's end. They crossed the Hudson at Albany and passed through the Mohawk valley to Utica, where there were but two log houses and a log barn. Continuing their journey to Richfield Springs by Indian trail they cleared the leaves from a large sulphur spring and drank the strong water. The deer had a hard beaten path where they had come to drink from the same spring. From Richfield Springs through New Berlin to Thomas ROOT's in Oxford they were guided only by marked trees, as there were no roads, only paths and "blazed" trees. The houses, or log cabins, were long distances apart and often they found it very difficult to find anything to eat. The only articles you could get one cent of money for were potash and salts. The nearest grist mills were at Sidney and Chenango Forks, and Mr. Dickinson often would tie a bag of corn or wheat on the back of a horse, and going ahead in the path lead the animal to mill, often being absent three days. On one occasion he returned late at night and found his children had gone to be crying with hunger. Mrs. Dickinson hastily prepared a meal form the grist and all were soon enjoying a feast that was remembered to the end of their days. Sometimes butter was made in a wooden box rocked back and forth by hand, and when fine starch was required it was prepared from grated potatoes. There were no doctors within a long distance and Mr. Dickinson helped set a number of broken bones for his neighbors, using splints by cutting a small basswood tree, which was very soft. Mr. Dickinson, one of the TRACYs and Frederick HOPKINS were all churchmen before they came to Oxford, and would meet once in two or three weeks and read the service of the Episcopal church. After a time others joined with them and in the course of a few years regular services were held in the village. Children:

    JOSEPH, JR., born October 4, 1798; died September 1, 1845; married September 17, 1739, Roxy DODGE. Child: Roxy.

    MARY, born June 25, 1800; died February 3, 1884; married January 25, 1820, Alison HOPKINS.

    LYDIA ANN, born September 1, 1802; died July 18, 1870; married January 6, 1830, Andrew MEAD.

    HARRIET, born January 20, 1806; married December 21, 1823, Zelotes BLINN. Had eleven children.

    ELISHA, born May 14, 1808; died April 26, 1809.

    HANNAH, born March 4, 1810; died March 23, 1884. Unmarried.

    ELISHA, 2d, born April 6, 1812; died November 3, 1889; married November 26, 1835, Phila MOWRY. Children: Lydia E., married Thomas WHEELER. Almira, died in infancy. -----, daughter, died in infancy.

    DAVID, born June 27, 1815; died September, 1881; married June 26, 1840, Mary M. KINNEY. Children: Harriet, born (sic?) in infancy; Charles and Julia.

He was not of an age, but for all time. --- BEN JONSON



    John Bulkley, now spelled BUCKLEY, was born in Connecticut and and came to Oxford in 1795, settling in the western part of the town upon a farm which he purchased and lived upon till his death. In the winter months he worked at his trade, a wheelwright, and during the summer months engaged in farming. He married Hannah DECKER of German descent, by whom he had seven children: Cynthia, married Angus BARTLE; Jacob, Hannah, married Uri BARTLE; Peter, married Ruth Ann BARTLE; Polly, married David H. BIXBY; Rebecca, married Thomas BALDWIN; Sally Ann, married Eliakim BIXBY.

    Jacob Buckley, born in 1804, married Clarinda, daughter of Stephen HASTINGS of Smithville, and died October 15, 1884, on the old homestead. He learned the trade of millright and owned and operated sawmills in Oxford and Smithville. Mrs. Buckley died January 8, 1895, aged 88 years. Children: Sarah Jane, died in infancy; Marion, married Charles STRATTON; died November 9,1901; William P.; Almeda, married John P. DAVIS; A. Anvernett, married Henry D. WILLCOX, died January 14, 1904; Mary A., married James WARN.

    William P. Buckley, born October 2, 1838, died August 22, 1905. He was educated at Oxford Academy. He taught school for several terms and then took up the work of a carpenter and joiner, which he learned thoroughly, becoming one of the best of mechanics. In later years his reputation as a contractor and builder extended throughout the surrounding country, as is shown by the many fine residences and public buildings he had put up in Oxford and adjoining towns. For seven years he was a captain in the State militia. Mr. Buckley married in 1865, Ruth A., daughter of Uri and Hannah (BUCKLEY) BARTLE, who died August 29, 1892. One son, J. Burr, was born to them. Mr. Buckley's second wife was Mrs. Helen (LEWIS) BROWN, widow of Smith Brown of Preston, whom he married December 26, 1894.


    Death of President TAYLOR. --- President Zachary Taylor died at Washington, July 9, 1850. On the receipt of the news in Oxford the several church bells were tolled for an hour. On the day of the funeral a cannon was fired half-hourly during the day, and the bells again tolled for an hour and places of business closed.


    In 1822 the business of the county increased and substantial signs of prosperity and wealth appeared on every hand. The farming interest became important and the Gazette in July announced that "ten thousand dollars has been expended by three merchants of this village for black salts within two months preceeding."


    An Earthquake.-Shortly after 11 o'clock a. m., October 20, 1870, two distinct shocks of an earthquake were felt in this village. The shock lasted nearly a minute, and people hurriedly vacated their buildings, fearing they were about to fall.

From yon blue heaven above us bent,
The grand old gardener and his wife
Smile at the claims of long descent.



    Eber Williams was born November 6, 1776, and married Martha BENNETT November 7, 1799, at Foster, R. I., which town they left October 16, 1808, moving to Warren, now Columbia, N. Y. After remaining there three years they came to Oxford and settled in the dense woods on the farm now owned by Mason WHIPPLE, and better known as the Stephen WEEKS farm. In 1814 Mr. Williams sold to Philo PIER, and removed to a farm in Columbus, this county; remaining there three years he returned to Oxford and went on the farm he originally owned, occupying it till his death.

    Mr. Williams was fifth in descent from Roger Williams, who settled Rhode Island in 1636. The line of succession being: Roger, Daniel, Joseph, Benoni, John, and Eber. His father was born December 27, 1742, and died in August, 1843. His mother was a sister of Stephen HOPKINS, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and his wife was a descendant from the Royal house of Tudor, England.

    Mr. and Mrs. Williams died on the same day, October 3, 1867, aged 91 and 87 respectively, and were buried in the same grave.

    Their children were:

    DANIEL B., born September 3, 1800; lived for many years at Cincinnatus, where he died, May 28,1889.

    POLLY, born April 7, 1803, married Vinson LOOMIS, and died in Smithville.

    SALLY, born June 6, 1809, married Isaac WRIGHT, and died in Wisconsin.

    JOHN A., born May 28, 1813, lived at Beloit, Wis.

    MARTHA C., born July 10, 1815, married Wilson J. CASE; moved to Spring Valley, Wis.

    JULIA A., born October 25, 1817, married Stephen WEEKS, and died on the homestead farm July 4, 1876.

    In the fall of 1828 a number of Mr. Williams' neighbors had a quantity of butter on hand, but found no buyers in Oxford. They urged Mr. Williams to take it at ten cents a pound, or they would pay him four dollars per hundred for selling it for them. Mr. Williams consented, and sent his son Daniel to Rhode Island with the butter. He started November 28, with a yoke of oxen and a pair of horses for a team, with a long-reached, high-boxed wagon, and thirty hundred pounds of butter, exclusive of thirty heavy firkins for packages and some other loading, making it all about thirty-five hundred pounds. Daniel walked beside the team and was fourteen days on the road, making about 260 miles. He had a common-sized log chain to fasten a wheel in going down the steep hills. When descending the eastern declivity of the Catskills, he chained one wheel as usual, but, it occurring to him that it might not hold, fastened another wheel with a long rope, and had gone but a short distance when the chain broke, but luckily, the rope held and he descended in safety. With the assistance of relatives in Rhode Island Daniel sold the butter and the oxen. During the month of January he started for home, the weather remaining warm till he crossed the Connecticut river, when it became intensely cold, and, on reaching the Hudson river, found he could not cross on account of the floating ice. Learning that the river was open at Troy, he drove to that city, reaching the landing just after the last boat for the day had crossed. He then went to Lansingburg, crossed on the bridge, passed through Schenectady, striking the Albany turnpike at Post's Tavern, and stopped for a few days with relatives in Herkimer. From there he came home, having made a trip in mid-winter of about 600 miles, a hazardous undertaking for those days.


    WHAT THEY ADVERTISED. --- In April, 1819, Samuel FRANHAM advertised "An assortment of choice Liquors and Groceries, suitable for the sick as well as those in health." John TRACY, P. M., advertised a list of letters in the post office. Ep. MILLER, president of the board of village trustees, called a meeting of that board, to "Meet on the 1st Tuesday of May at 10 A. M." L. SHERWOOD & Co., had "Just received from New York a great variety of goods suitable for the season." Ransom RATHBONE had "For sale, a large quantity of Men's and Boys' Knapt, Merino and Wool hats, which he will sell as low as can be purchased at any hat factory in the county." The notice by one of the citizens offering "A smart, active, healthy negro" for sale, evinced that the sable cloud of slavery yet hung over the State.


    The population of Oxford in 1855 was town, 1,900; village, 1,128 --- total 3,119.

1 - Now called Lake Warn since the advent of summer cottages.
2 - Lieutenant Tracy rendered conspicuous civil and military service in the early days of the Colony of Connecticut, and was one of the founders of the town of Norwich. He was a direct descendant of the Emperor Charlemagne, the early Dukes and Kings of France and Jerusalem, William the Conqueror and the Dukes of Normandy, the Counts of Flanders, the west Saxon and Saxon Kings of England, and many other royal and noble houses. His paternal ancestor, the Sire de Tracy, was a Norman nobleman, and an officer in the army which invaded England under William of Normandy, A. D. 1066. Lieutenant Tracy, of Norwich, Conn., is the ancestor of the Tracy family of America, and of all who have descended from them. The descent of the Hon. Uri Tracy of Oxford from Lieut. Thomas Tracy; is as follows: Lieut. Thomas, Capt. John, John 2d, John 3d, Daniel, Hon. Uri.
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