Benjamin Jones joined the Revolutionary army at the age of eighteen years, and served till the close of the war. During his residence here, in 1806, he represented this county in the Assembly, and during his legislative term he was instrumental in securing the formation of the town, of which he was one of the first officers, and in giving it the name of his native place in Connecticut. He was the first member of the legislature from this town,* and was one of the first assessors of the town of Bainbridge in 1791. The first post-office of the town was kept in his house and was removed to Coventryville on the establishment of the tavern there.
* Five members of the State Legislature from this town are still living, four of them in the town, Rufus CHANDLER and William KALES, who were in the Assembly in 1858, and Romeo WARREN and Charles PEARSALL, who were in the same body, the former in 1866 and the latter in 1869. William CHURCH, now living in South Orange, N. J., was in the Assembly in 1840.
* William, son of Moses ALLIS, born in 1794, is credited with being the first child born in the town.-French's Gazetteer of New York.
Deacon William STORK was also from Cheshire, Conn. He took up 100 acres, in the east part of the town, where he and his wife died, the former Dec. 3, 1822, aged 52, and the latter, Rebecca PARKER, March 17, 1832, aged 59. He was a carpenter and joiner, and carried on that business in connection with farming. He had eight children, only four of whom lived to attain majority. Two were born in Connecticut, but died in infancy, as also did the other two, who died young. The four who lived to maturity were Julia, who was born in Coventry Sept. 16, 1799, married Don C. PARKER, of Cazenovia, where they settled (and where she now lives,) afterwards removed to Greene, where he died Nov. 2, 1862; Anna, who died a maiden lady on the homestead in Coventry; Lauriston, who married Rheuby, daughter of William CLARK, of Cazenovia, where they settled and he died; and William L., a lawyer, now living in Cazenovia.
Deacon RICHARDS settled on the old Chenango road; also Hardin BENNETT, about 1792-5.
PARKER came from Cheshire, Conn., and settled on the site of the Congregational parsonage in Coventry village. He afterwards removed to the west part of the town to the place where his son Levi now lives, died and there April 9, 1846, aged 79. Phebe, his wife, died Oct. 4, 1859, aged 89. His children were Eldad, who settled in Coventryville, where he died June 4, 1820, aged 26: Levi, married and settled where his daughter, Mrs. Daniel BEECHER, now lives, and died there Oct. 3, 1864, aged 68, and Polly G., his wife, Oct, 5, 1854, aged 59; Aaron, who was a Baptist minister, and is now living at an advanced age; Luman, who settled at Coventryville; Laura, who married Merit STODDARD, and after his death Oct. 12, 1820, Ahira BARDEN, with whom she is now living in Tioga county, aged about 90; Phebe, who married A. B. DODGE, and is living in Triangle, Broome county, aged about 70; and Lucinda, who died young and unmarried. James S. Parker, a merchant in Coventry, Mrs. Daniel BEECHER, of Coventry, Merrit S. Parker, a merchant in Greene, and Mary, wife of Dr. M. B. SPENCER, of Guilford, are grandchildren of his.
The grist-mill built by Captain Parker was located on a small brook, one-fourth mile south of Coventryville, near the residence of Charles PEARSALL. A portion of the stone foundation may yet be seen. It was operated as a grist-mill till about 1854, when William WARNER converted it into a carpenter shop, which was burned about four years ago.
The Stoddards have been a prominent, influential and highly respected family. Curtis married Hepsey, daughter of Samuel MARTIN, from Watertown, Conn., who came in with Mr. Stoddard in 1800 and prospected the lands they took up and accompanied him in his settlement the following year. Mr. MARTIN died here Jan. 17, 1840, aged 76, and Phebe, his wife, March 22, 1841, aged 76. Curtis Stoddard settled on 50 acres of his father's farm, where he raised a family of eight children. After the death of his wife he removed to Little St. Joseph, Ohio, where he died in 1834. Merit Stoddard, married, Laura, daughter of Levi PARKER, and settled in the west part of the town, where he died Oct. 12, 1820, aged 32 years. Polly Stoddard married Sylvester STEPHENS, of Camden, Oneida county, and removed with him to that county, where he died. After his death she returned to Coventry, and subsequently married Daniel BENEDICT. She died here in 1876. John Stoddard, who also became a deacon, married Merab, daughter of Oliver PARKER, an early settler in the town, where he died March 29, 1856, aged 85, and Abigail, his wife, Jan. 10, 1861, aged 89. John settled on the homestead of his father and died there Jan. 20, 185 5, aged 60. His wife died March 20, 1857, aged 60. He was a Justice of the Peace for twenty years. Sarah Stoddard married Deacon William Albert MARTIN, a resident of Coventry, where both lived and died. He died March 22, 1846, aged 53. Elijah Woodward Stoddard, who was born in 1799 and died in 1837, was graduated at Hamilton College in 1823, studied theology in Philadelphia and was licensed to preach in June, 1826. He married Althea COYE, of Cooperstown, and in 1826 was settled as pastor at Lisle. He subsequently preached in Windsor, in each place six years, and removed to Little St. Joseph, Ohio, where he died. Abigail married Miles DOOLITTLE, a resident of Coventry, who built in 1815 the first and only carding-mill and cloth-dressing establishment in the town. It stood on a small stream which was early known as Great Brook, about a mile south of Coventryville.* Abigail died Aug. 7, 1830. Wells Stoddard married Eunice, daughter of Eliakim BENEDICT, and settled in Coventry. They removed in 1833 to Marion, Iowa, where he died in 1853, and where his widow still resides. Abiram married Lavnia SMITH, of Derby, Conn., where he practiced medicine and died in 1839. Four of John Jr.'s children, Henry, John, Albert and Lewis and one of Curtis', Hepsey, wife of Joseph JOHNSON, are living in Coventry.
* It is erroneously stated in French's Gazetteer of New York that the first carding and cloth-dressing mill in the town was built by A. & William H. ROGERS about 1795.
At one time Mrs. Philo Minor left her home to go to a place near the Brocket Pond to arrange some weaving. She went on horseback. There were then no roads except "log roads." Taking the wrong one she got lost and remained in the woods all night. It was dark and rainy, and when she could no longer see she perched herself upon a leaning tree as high as she could and still hold the horse. She placed the saddle over her head as a protection against the falling rain and so passed the night, with the wolves howling all around her, but she kept them at bay by beating the stirrups together, thus making music which they apparently did not like.*
*From Hon. Charles PEARSALL's notes of Coventryville.
WARREN settled in the east part of the town, one and one-half miles south-east of Coventryville, on the place now occupied by Clark L. HORTON, where he died Jan. 13, 1806, aged 41. Lois, his wife, survived him many years. She died March 20, 1848, aged 80. He had three sons and one daughter, Woodward, who was born in Watertown, Conn., Jan. 17, 1791, was an architect and carpenter, and died Sept. 7, 1855, aged 64, Elisha, Lydia, who married Hial BENEDICT, and Romeo, the latter of whom represented this county in the Assembly in 1856, and now resides in Coventryville, is the only living one.
Jabez MANWARRING came from New London, Conn., and settled first three miles south-west of Coventry, on the farm owned by John BEALS and occupied by Franklin SEYMOUR. In 1812 he removed to the farm lying next north, and resided there till his death, April 23, 1861, aged 80. In 1808, he married Sally HOPKINS, from Waterbury, Conn., who died Oct. 21, 1863, aged 79. They had ten children, seven of whom are living, viz.: Charles B., in Nanticoke, Broome county, Henry and Edward S., in Windsor, Broome county, Lucius in Coventry, William in Grandville, Mich., and Samuel and Albert in State Center, Iowa. George, who died in Clinton county, Iowa, about 1864, and Sally Maria, who married Albert PRATT, of Afton, and subsequently David BLAKLEY, of Wisconsin, where she died, were children of theirs.
Deacon Henry CHANDLER came from Brattleboro, Vt. He stopped about six months in Bainbridge, and removed thence to this town. He settled at Coventryville and had charge of the grist-mill which was then in operation a little south of that village. He built a log-house into which he moved his family, and after about a year he bought a farm of nearly fifty acres about one and one-half miles south of Coventryville, now known as the old SANFORD place. He afterward removed to the farm now occupied by Benedict FOOTE, in the north part of the town. He went to live with his children in Bainbridge during the latter years of his life, and died there July 21, 1826, aged 72. Penelope, his wife, died March 25, 1841, aged 72. His children were Nelly, who married Hardin BURNETT, Sophia, who married Phineas BENNETT, Nabby, who married Calvin NILES, Michael, Henry, Selah, Rufus, David, Lockwood, and Lois, who married William WILSON. Rufus, who resides in Coventry is the only one living.
Parson BEECHER removed from the parish of Salem, Conn., now Nangatuck, and, like many others of the early settlers, fearing the miasmatic diseases and reputed sickness of the low lands and river courses, sought out an elevated location between the Chenango and Susquehanna rivers. He took up 100 acres of wilderness land a mile below Coventry and there raised up a family to usefulness, honesty and sobriety. He continued his residence there till his death, Aug. 10, 1843, aged 60. His house is said to have been the first frame house on that part of the Livingston tract lying in Coventry, and the first on the Catskill and Ithaca turnpike between Bainbridge and Greene, a distance of sixteen miles. There town meetings and elections were "regularly held," as well as stated preaching every fourth Sabbath. In January, 1808, he married a lady of his native town, (who died in 1875, at the advanced age of 91 years, with mind unimpaired,) and removed her to a log cabin in his forest home. The farm was retained in the hands of the family till within some 25 years, when Julius Beecher, who succeeded his father in its occupancy, sold it and removed to Wellsville, Alleghany county, where he now lives. Parson Beecher's other children were Sarah, who married a son of Curtis STODDARD, and after his death, Amos YALE, and is now living a widow on the Amos Yale place in Guilford, where her husband died Feb. 17, 1857, aged 49; Daniel, who was twice married, and is now living with his second wife, Betsey PARKER, in Coventry; Annette, who married Russell M. SMITH, and died in Coventry in the spring of 1877; Harris H. and Harry, twins, the latter of whom married the widow Phebe Ann RICE and is now living in Norwich; Hector, who married a lady named LEONARD, with whom he is now living in the south edge of Oxford; Elbridge, who married and removed to Ohio and died there; and Jane, who married John B. HOYT, both of whom are living in Pittston, Pa. Julius married Elizabeth PAYNE, and after her death, Sarah Ann STEWART, who is living with him in Wellsville.
Lewis WARREN, son of Nathaniel Warren, came in from Watertown, Conn., about 1808 or '9, and settled about three miles south-west of Coventry, where Ira FAIRCHILD now lives. He returned to Connecticut about 1811, and remained there till 1822. He died in the west part of the town, where his widow and two daughters now reside.
[Note: book used Waters and Walters]
Merchants:- The first merchant at Coventry, it is believed, was Henry ALLEN, who came in from Coventry, Connecticut shortly previous to 1810, and kept a store in a part of his tavern. He left the town at an early day. Dr. Diodate CUSHMAN opened a store about 181 or '19 and continued as late as 1827, about which time he left the town. George RYDER was associated with him about a year.
William CHURCH, whose father Josiah Church, from Vermont, was an early settler at Church Hollow, which derived its name from him, commenced business about 1830, in company with David EVERETT, who sold soon after to Rufus CHANDLER and Zerah SPENCER, the latter of whom died Feb. 5, 1832, aged 33. About which time the business was discontinued. Church returned to Church Hollow and opened a store there. Chandler resumed business about 1834, with Gilbert D. PHILLIPS, to whom after after about a year he sold his interest.
Mr. PHILLIPS came in from Greenville, Greene county, and settled three miles south-west of Coventry, where he engaged in farming, wagon-making and running a foundry, which he continued till he engaged in mercantile business, when he removed to the village, where he died Dec. 18, 1872, aged 82. His widow is still living in Coventry in her 83d year. From 1840 to 1858, he was associated in mercantile business with his sons Edgar A. and James M. Phillips under the name of G. D. Phillips & Sons. Amasa J. HOYT became a partner in 1851 and Frederick LeRoy MARTIN in 1858, in which year the name was changed to Phillips, Hoyt & Martin. James M. Phillips withdrew in 1852 and F. L. Martin in 1860, since which time the business has been conducted by the remaining partners, Edgar A. Phillips and Amasa J. Hoyt, under the name of Phillips & Hoyt who keep a general stock of merchandise.
Romoeo WAREN, William CHURCH and Edwin BIRGE bought out Dr. CUSHMAN. After about a year Rufus CHANDLER bought Birge's interest. The business was continued some two yeras, when Chandler and Warren sold to Church, who continued trading some four years.
J. S. PARKER & Son, grocers, commenced business in February, 1877.
The present physicians are James D. GUY and Jesse E. BARTOO.
James D. GUY was born in Oxford, N.Y., Dec. 23, 1840, and studied medicine at Harpersville, Broome county, with his uncle, Dr. Ezekiel Guy, and at Nineveh, in the same county, with another uncle, Dr. Timothy Guy. He entered Geneva Medical College in the fall of 1866, and was graduated Jan. 23, 1868, in which year he commenced thence to Coventry Nov. 28, 1869, and has since practiced here.
Jesse E. BARTOO was born in Jasper, Steuben county, Feb. 28, 1847. He studied medicine in Dansville, N.Y., with Dr. Preston, and in Greene with Dr. R. P. CRANDALL. He entered the Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati in the fall of 1875, and was graduated there May 9, 1876. He commenced practice in Greene in that year, and continued till the spring of 1879, when he removed to Coventry.
Merchants: The first merchant at Coventryville is supposed to have Otis LOVELAND, who traded some three or four years from about 1809. He was succeeded by Russell WATERS, who traded till 1816, when he removed to the farm now occupied by Charles PEARSALL.
About 1818 or '19 Levi PARKER built a store on the site of the residence of George MINOR, which is believed to have been the first occupied by Thomas W. WATKINS, whose father-in-law, Burrage MILES, leased the land on which it stood, the condition of the lease being that it should be occupied as a store and nothing else "so long as grass grows and water runs." A part of Minor's residence is still fitted as a store, to comply with the requirement of the lease, though it is not occupied as such. Watkins traded but a few years. John REED and Charles G. OSBORN traded in the same place, under the name of Reed & Osborn till about 1833. George MINOR kept a small store on the same ground about two years, when Benjamin SLATER, from Norwich, rented it and kept it some two years. In the meantime he built the store now occupied by William H. IRELAND, which he occupied till 1851, when he sold to Calvin Franklin and Peleg PENDLETON, who traded about three years and removed to Greene. Harris BRIGGS and Rufus L. CORNWELL bought out Franklin & Pendleton and traded some two years, when Cornwell bought Briggs' interest. In the spring of 1867, Cornwell sold to William H. Ireland, who has since carried on the business, having been associated about one and one-half years, in 1867-8, with his cousin, Oliver Ireland, and afterwards with his brother-in-law, Thomas GREEN.
Postmasters:- The postoffce at Coventryville is believed to have been established in 1797 and kept first by Jotham PARKER, about a half mile south of the village, where he also kept a tavern and a small store. Just when the office was removed to the village, and who first kept it there, whether Thomas W. WATKINS or Russell WATERS, who are believed to have followed in succession, is uncertain. Waters it is presumed, held it till 1816, when he was succeeded by Dr. Edward CORNELL, who held it till his death, July 19, 1849. He was succeeded by Leonard R. FOOTE, who held it about four years and was followed by E. G. WATERS, who held it till about 1857, when Peleg PENDLETON was appointed, and was succeeded about 1861 by Rufus CORNWELL, who held it till the spring of 1867, when William H. IRELAND, the present incumbent, was appointed.
Physicians:- The first of whom we have any authentic information was Asahel WILMOTT, who removed to Coventry in the spring of 1835. Edward CORNELL, whose father, Lemuel Cornell, was one of he first settlers in Guilford, was practicing here in 1827, and continued till his death, July 19, 1849, at the age of 56. Tracy S. CONE came in about 1850 and practiced twelve years, and removed to Oxford. Charles G. ROBERTS came in a few years after Cone left and practiced till the death of his father, George W. Roberts, in Greene, Feb. 10, 1870, when he went there and took his place. Dwight E. CONE, a nephew of Tracy S. Cone, came in about 1875 and practiced two years. There has been no physician here since.
End of Coventry