Transcriber's Note

Formation and Geography of the town. --- History of the Clinton Purchase of Chenango Twenty Towns. --- Incident. --- The Carr farm of Edmeston. --- Operations of Joseph Brant in this section in the days of the Revolution. --- Stephen Hoxie and Daniel Brown, the Pioneers. --- Incidents. --- Company of Settlers in 1792. --- First mills. --- Purchase of Michael Myers, Jedediah Sanger and John I. Morgan. --- Anecdote of Encounter with a Bear. --- Button's Hill Creek. --- The Falls. --- Romantic Scenery. --- Old Family Burial Grounds. --- First Improvements. --- Early Hamlets in the hill districts. --- Home Farm of John I. Morgan. --- Babcock's mills. --- Unadilla Forks. --- Humorous anecdote. --- Obituaries. --- Sketches of Pioneers. --- Leonardsville; its enterprises --- Clarkville --- North Brookfield.

    This town was formed from Paris, Oneida County, March 5th, 1795. It originally embraced townships 17, 18 and 19, of Chenango Twenty Towns, and from the date of its formation till 1798 was a part of Herkimer County. From the latter date to 1806, it was a part of Chenango County. The 17th Township was taken off from Brookfield in 1805, to form Columbus, Chenango County.

    The town lies in the south-east corner of the county; is bounded north by Sangerfield and Bridgewater, Oneida County, east by the Unadilla river, south by the Unadilla river and Columbus, Chenango County, and west by the towns of Hamilton and Madison. Its surface is hilly and broken; it is traversed longitudinally by a succession of ridges almost mountainous in some sections. The high hills and deep valleys are crossed and re-crosse[d by] [???] the old Skaneateles turnpike passing directly t[hrough the] town from east to west. Aiming at mathemat[ical straight]ness, this broad highway may be seen from hill-t[op to hill-]top, evading none of the steep passes along its [???] [It] need be no matter of wonder to any one, that Broo[kfield's] hills should have gained a notoriety almost worldwide, after having traveled this turnpike. Near the western line of the town, on the north side of this road, towers one of the loftiest summits of the hills, appropriately named "Round Top," from which one of the most extensive views can be obtained, the hills of seven counties rising to the vision. On a clear autumn day, when the keen wind had chased away the obscuring haze, we could distinctly trace w[it]h the naked eye the outlines of woodland and meadow which draped the hills of nearly all Madison County, as it lay like a panorama spread out before us. Far to the westward r[ose] some of the lofty peaks of Onondaga, and blue hills of Co[rt]land; southward lay the long range of Chenango's high[???]; at the eastward the summits of Otsego and Herkimer, [wh]ich, bordering the Unadilla, seemed strangely near; while a[t t]he northward, some of the villages in Oneida County we[re,] as if unconsciously, contributing brilliant settings to [th]e gem-covered landscape.

    The Unadilla River is a beautiful str[eam], meandering through a rich and handsome valley. [Fr]om the Forks southward, this water was once navi[gab]le for canoes. Beaver creek passing nearly through [th]e center of the town, has a considerable fall, and is la[rge]ly occupied by mill-seats along its whole length. Thro[ug]h the northwest corner of the town passes the most ea[ste]rn branch of the Chenango. Several smaller streams, [trib]utaries to these, traverse various sections of the town. [T]he deep "Terrytown Swamp," so called, in which th[e] Chenango branch has its rise, covers a portion of t[he] northwest corner, which in the past has afforded an ab[und]ance of cedar tim[bers. The pr]evailing soil of the town is a gravelly loam, [???]and other rock formations, cropping out here [and there am]ong the hills, change its nature locally in some [???], alluvial deposits enrich the valleys.

    [The Una]dilla river from the earliest dates was a favorite [???]team for the Aborigines, and lay within the [Oneida Nation]. The "Oneida Path" which led to the river, came [i]nto Brookfield from the southeast corner of Sangerfield, passing the northeast corner of Terrytown Swamp, (cal[le]d by the Indians Ska-na-wis, or Great Swamp,) and led thro[u]gh this town to the Unadilla Forks.

    As we have seen, this township was Nos. 18 and 19, of the celebrate[d] "Twenty Towns," or "Clinton Purchase," being a large tract of land lying partly in Chenango County, partly in Madison County, and a township in Oneida County, which were purchased of the Oneidas by Governor George Clinto[n] in a treaty held at Fort Schuyler (Utica) in 1788. The [s]um paid for the tract was $5,500, in goods, money, and a grist mill, besides an annuity of $600. Although thes[e] things were wanted by the Indians, yet the wise heads [of] the Sachems foresaw the result of this wholesale cessi[on] of their lands. An incident is related which is said to [h]ave occurred when this treaty was made, aptly illustrating [t]he final result of these treaties as they were to effect [sic] the [In]dian race. It was given by a sagacious Oneida Chief in [th]e following practical manner: ---

    After the sale [ha]d been duly ratified, and Governor Clinton was sitting u[pon] a log, the Chief came and seated himself very close b[y] him. Out of courtesy the Governor moved along, whe[n t]he Indian moved also, crowding still closer. The Gov[ern]or then made another move; the Indian hitched alo[ng] again close to him; and thus the moves were several[ tim]es repeated, when at last Governor Clinton found himse[lf o]ff the log! Being considerably nonplussed he requeste[d th]e meaning of this curious operations. The Chief sagaci[ousl]y replied: --- "Just so white man crowd poor Indian; keep crowding; keep crowding; by and by crowd him clear off! where poor Indian the[n]?"

    Previous to this treaty, in the year 1785, a traveler passing through the locality where Leonardsville now is, found nothing by a well worn path, --- a branch of the Oneida trail, --- to guide his footsteps, while a miserable quagmire lay where the main street of that village now passes.

    We infer that the quiet of the Brookfield hills and dales was often, in that far off day, broken in upon by the wild habits of the natives as they traversed the forests, or propelled their canoes and light batteaux upon the river. Joseph Brant and his followers often sailed upon the Unadilla, even past the borders of Brookfield. Relics were found by the earliest settlers near the Forks, which go to show that locality had been a place of rendezvous for his notorious band. Among other things of minor importance, a five-pail kettle, half full of wrought iron nails, rusted into on mass, was found under a log near the ford at that place. All appearances indicated that they had been there many years, and were undoubtedly a part of the plunder taken by the Indians in their depradations against the whites.

    The first saw mill at the Forks, (on the Plainfield side,) built by Capt. Caleb Brown, stood on the spot where, it is said, an Indian once murdered a white man.

    Upon the eastern shore of the Unadilla, opposite a portion of Brookfield, lay the Edmeston Estate. This was a large tract of land ceded to Col. Edmeston, a British officer in the French war of 1763.1 About 1770, Col. Edmeston sent Percifer Carr, a faithful soldier who had served under him to settle upon the estate. Mr. Carr and his wife with their servants, were for a long series of years the only white inhabitants of the Unadilla valley. During the Revolution, Mr. Carr, it is believed, was friendly to the British Government. The following letter by Brant to Mr. Carr, in the Indian's [o]wn orthography, we extract from Campbell's Annals of Tryon County:

"Tunadilla, (Unadilla,) July 6, 1777.

M. Carr --- Sir: I understand that you are a friend to Government With sum of the settlers at the Butternuts is the Reason of my applying to you & those people for some provisions and shall be glad you would send me what you can spare no matter what sorte for which you shall be paid you helping an account of the whole.
from your friend
    & hum'le Servt,
        Joseph Brant."

To M. Persafer Carr.

    That Mr. Carr was in sympathy with the cause of his countrymen and against that of the Colonies, can hardly be doubted, though there is no account that he at any time actually engaged in the struggle pending. There is no doubt, however, about one thing; that the Unadilla bore from this estate supplies to the British and Indian armies. The subjoined seems to confirm the view taken: ---

"Tunadilla, July 9, 1778.

    Sir: I understand by the Indians that was at your house last week, that one Smith lives near with you, has little more corn to spare. I should be much obliged to you, if you would be so kind as to try to get as much corn as Smith can spared, he has sent me five skipples already of which I am much obliged to him and will see him paid, and would be very glad if you could spare me one or two your men, to join us especially Elias. I would be glad to see him, and I wish you could sent me as many guns as you have, as I know you have no use for them if you any; as I mean now to fight the cruel rebels as well as I can; whatever you will be able to sent'd me, you must sent'd me by the bearer. I am your sincere friend and humble serv't,
Joseph Brant."

To Mr. Carr.
    P. S. --- I heard that Cherry Valley people is very bold and intended to make nothing of us. They called us wild geese but I know the contrary.         Jos. B."

    Before the close of the Revolution, a party of hostile Indians invaded the domain, killed the hired me, burned the barn, destroyed the property, and carried Mr. and Mrs. Carr into captivity. At first they were treated with great severity and for a time were made to follow them in all their expeditions, submitting them to every degradation, of which the following is but one of the many: --- During their passage to Canada, whither they journeyed, sometimes in coming to rivulets or small sloughs, M. Carr was laid prone in the mud and water, to make a bridge for the savages to walk across upon! In the course of time, however, they became inured to the hardships of their slavery; their cheerfulness returned, and by teaching their masters many arts unknown to the Indians, they gained their favor, when equality in all things save liberty was accorded them.

    At the close of the war in 1782, they were restored to freedom, when they returned to the Unadilla to find their home in ruins, and the cleared fields they had left, covered with briars and underbrush. One relic of the life that had been, was left to them, which they scarcely expected to find --- their family horse --- which had been overlooked by their captors. He had managed to subsist by roaming the woods and cropping the wild herbage and buds of trees through all those winters; and though reduced to little more than a skeleton, it was yet a sad comfort to behold the faithful animal lingering around the old home. Mr. and Mrs. Carr immediately applied their energies to the restoration of their abode to something like its original comfort, and however mistaken might have been their zeal in the beginning of the war, subsequent events gave a new direction to their sympathies; for here, in their at last peaceful, comfortable and retired home, they dispensed many kindnesses to the travel-worn emigrants who passed this route. Mr. Carr lived to an old age, and died without property. When his employer, Col. Edmeston, died, Carr was abandoned to want by the remaining heirs, suffering from poverty in his advanced years, until by the spirited interference of his neighbors, a piece of land was secured to him in fee-simple, on which his industry supported him until death.

    As the agent of a wealthy family, resident in England, Mr. Carr was supposed to have in his possession, at times, large sums of money; to secure which, when the perils of the revolution surrounded him, he buried the treasure near his dwelling. His long captivity and absence from his farm, the growth of wood, briers and weeds, the general extinction of common marks and signs, rendered his search for the buried money toilsome and fruitless. Such was the rumor when Carr returned to his home; and like the silly tale of Kidd's money-chests, it has found believers, as appears by the fact that the earth has been upturned at the supposed places of deposit.

    Early in the spring of 1791, a company of families in Rhode Island, having decided on removal westward, sent out their agents to purchase land in the Government tract of the Twenty Townships. Stephen Hoxie was one of the two agents thus deputized, who, with others of that company, came on the same spring. On their way they stopped at Albany, and made purchase of thirteen lots at fifty cents per acre. We have before us the original patent of the lot Mr. Hoxie chose for himself. It is dated the 3d day of May, 1791. The tract was described as situated in the County of Montgomery, on the west side of the Unadilla, distinguished as Lot No. 96, of Township 19, of Twenty Townships. This lot contained 350 acres. As in other ancient patents, the State reserved all gold and silver mines; also, five acres in each hundred was reserved for highways. We have here also the signature of Geo. Clinton, near which is attached the ponderous "Great Seal of the State of New York," the one in use at that period, and which bears the insignia devised by the Provisional Government of 1777.

    In due season Mr. Hoxie and his companions reached the hospitable abode of Mr. Carr, on the eastern shore [of] the Unadilla. Resting but a short time they eage[rly] pushed forward into the unbroken township of No. [19,] cutting the first road, directing its course up the valley, northerly, to the location of lot No. 96. Here, between the base of the hill and the swampy valley, the stakes were struck for the first domicile in the wide wilderness of Brookfield.

    In the early summer, at about the time of Mr. Hoxie's arrival, Capt. Daniel Brown, of Connecticut, with his family and a few friends whom he had induced to join him in the expedition, took up their journey for the "far west." It had been their intention to settle in the Genesee country; but unforeseen events induced them to take a southerly route, and late in June, 1791, they reached the Carr farm. The kind invitation Mr. Carr extended to them to rest a few days at his place, and reconnoitre the surrounding country, was gladly accepted, for they had become weary and dispirited from the many obstacles unavoidably encountered in their long and toilsome journey, which had been performed with an ox team, and had occupied twenty-one days. The rich lands of the Unadilla attracted their attention, and a nearer examination of the opposite shore revealed beauties and advantages more promising than they had looked for, presenting temptations which overcame their attractions toward the Genesee. Upon inquiry they found a tract of land which had been ceded by the Indians directly to the State, of which a clear title could be obtained and at an exceeding low rate. Accordingly, a few miles above the Carr farm, on the west and opposite bank of the Unadilla, on lot eigty-two [sic], nineteenth township, Capt. Daniel Brown selected his abode, and with his wife, two sons, Isaac and Nathan, and one daughter, Desire, became the first settled family of the town of Brookfield.

    Captain Brown began the first operations for his settlement on the fourth day of July, 1791. He and the pio[nee]rs who had joined him, were men who had passed [thr]ough the soul-stirring scenes of the revolution --- who [???], in all its grandeur and significance, the full meaning of [the] word "Independence." They knew that at the old homes in Connecticut and Rhode Island, on the morning of that fifteenth anniversary of our nation's birthday, their veteran comrades of '76 and '77, would shout their joy over land and sea from their deep-voiced cannon, while here in the far off west, amid the hush of the solemn wilderness, what could they do to celebrate it? --- They determined to do something which should never be forgotten; this day should begin a new era in the wilderness west of the Unadilla!

    Our patriotic pioneers made preparation to usher in the day with a salute, --- not of the warlike notes of thundering artillery, but of the cheerily ringing echos of the woodman's ax, the harbinger of progress, prosperity and rural independence! Therefore when the morning sun of that independence day shone through the woodland, Colonel Brown's ax gleamed amid its first rays, and its ringing, echoing strokes proclaimed the beginning of a new era, marked upon the tallying line of the nation's rolling years. To the booming cannon of Bunker Hill, these echoes from the heard of the dim, old woods, was the clear, silvery answer of a nation springing into life under the influence of freedom, peace, conscious power and indomitable will. This may be reckoned as the first "Fourth of July celebration," which took place in Madison County.

    We may here add, before dismissing this subject, that Captain Brown was a clothier by trade in his earlier days, but at the age of sixty-six years his ardor was aroused to visit and settle with his family, on the far-famed lands of Central New York. High spirited and accustomed to overcoming obstacles, they made no hesitation in setting out for that distant country as we have seen, with an ox team, following an unfrequented route and finally settling in an entirely unpopulated region. It would seem that Captain Brown's family were equal to the tasks generally required of youth and of early man and womanhood; for he was the father of ten robust, spirited daughters, each six feet in hight, [sic] not one of whom feared to do a man's work if it were necessary.

    As weeks passed by, their isolated life grew wearisome. One autumn afternoon, the young lady, Desire, wandered out in the woods; sitting down upon a rock her thoughts soon annihilated space between herself and dear old Connecticut. Haunted with a yearning for other faces and voices, her oppressed feelings found relief in listening to her own voice as it floated out clear and strong over the valley, calling for nothing, but simply to hear the variations of the echo. Presently through the leafy arches of the woodland, mingling with the echo, came the faint sound of a voice. Again she called, and breathless with wonder, distinctly heard the answer. As her calls were repeated the answer drew nearer and nearer. Satisfied that the voice was human and was approaching the settlement, she wept for joy. It proved to be John I. Morgan, and his party of surveyors, who were rejoiced to find there was a human habitation near, where household comforts, not to be found in camping out, would be theirs to enjoy. They went home with the young lady and abode with Captain Brown during the term of their surveying. On his return to New York City, Morgan often told the story of his romantic introduction to Miss Desire Brown, the handsomest girl (because the only) of the Unadilla.

    Stephen Hoxie, who, as been seen, arrived before Capt. Brown, erected a small cabin and opened a clearing around it. In the autumn he returned to Rhode Island, and early in the spring of 1792, came back to Brookfield, while several of the thirteen lot holders, with their families, came with him and took possession of their lots. Among these lot holders were John and Elias Button, Thomas and James Rogers, and Peleg Langworthy, whose possessions, contiguous to each other, spread over the hills westward and northward of Leonardsville, in the 19th township; while Elder Simeon Brown, Phineas Babcock, Elder Henry Clark and others had their farms in the immediate vicinity. Most of the farms taken up by these pioneers are now owned by their descendants.

    This year (1792), considerable progress was made in the settlement. Capt. Brown built the first saw mill upon Mill Creek. John Button, who had located on lot eighty-two, adjoining Capt. Brown, purchased land some distance south on the same stream, on account of the water power, and here erected the first grist mill of the town. These facilities made this section famous far and near, and consequently emigration poured in and rapidly settled the immediate neighborhood. Samuel H. Burdick, Samuel Billings, David Maine, Stephen Collins, Paul and Perry Maxon, Nathaniel and Eleazer Brown, and Robert Randall, came in this year and settled in various localities. Asa Frink, Ethan and Oliver Babcock, Ira and Nathan Burdick, and Yeoman [sic -- should be Yeomans (RSH)] York, were soon added to the settlement, as were also Jabez Brown, John Clark, and Capt. Samuel Babcock.

    Stephen Hoxie again returned east in the fall of 1792. He had, on his last return here been accompanied by his son, John Hoxie, a youth of seventeen, whom he now left, with two comrades, on his farm for the winter, to look after the premises, take care of the one cow they had driven from Rhode Island, and to make the quarters comfortable for the arrival of the family. It is easily inferred that these young fellows busied themselves most industriously in studying the habits of those curious architects, the beavers, arranging and watching their traps, and dressing the furs of those they captured, and that their industry was rewarded with success; for with the money realized from the sale of his furs, John Hoxie afterwards purchased the first fifty acres of his own farm. In this and kindred employments, and in neighborly calls at the Brown's and Button's on the hill, they comforted themselves, and were tolerably successful in keeping off homesickness till the long and anxiously looked for emigrants should arrive, which event, the coming of Stephen Hoxie and his family, duly transpired early in the spring of 1793.

    Between this period and the year 1800, many other families located, some of whom only made a temporary residence. In the southeast part of the town were several families by the name of Coon; their settlement was known as Coontown. In the north part were the Terrys, and their settlement was called Terrytown; there were the Welchs who came from Stonington, Conn. This family consisted of the father and mother, and thirteen children who located around them. The eldest, Charles, was married in Stonington, and himself brought a family of wife and two children. His son, Hosea W. Welch, lives near the Welch family burial ground and owns the farm on which it is situated. Numerous descendants of the Welch family live in Brookfield; they are generally thrifty farmers and are worthy and useful citizens. The pioneer Welch and his wife, and other members of their family, died during the great epidemic of 1813, being some of its first victims. (Note b.)

    Auspiciously dawned the settlement of Brookfield, which now bid fair to become early populated by a religious, intelligent and industrious people. But the spirit of speculation came also. The same year that Stephen Hoxie and Capt. Brown came in, Michael Myers, Jedediah Sanger and John I. Morgan, purchased all the unsold lands of Brookfield, together with Sangerfield. The following is a copy of the record of this sale from Doc. Hist. of N.Y. Vol. III. page 1082:

    "The application of Michael Myers, Jedediah Sanger, and John I. Morgan, for the purchase of Townships No. 18 and 20, and the parts unsold by the Surveyor General of Township No. 19, being three of the Twenty Townships surveyed by the Surveyor General, pursuant to an act passed the 25th day of February, 1789. The two first Townships, to wit: Nos. 18 and 20, at the rate of three shillings and three pence per acre, and the parts of No. 19, unsold as above mentioned, at the rate of three shillings and one penny per acre, one-sixth part thereof the be paid on the 1st day of October next, and the residue in two equal payments, the one-half on the 1st of April, 1792, and the remaining half on the 1st of January, 1793, being read and duly considered. (Accepted.)

    Acres --- 67,130 = 10,908 15s."

    Some of these lands were sold at first to settlers, but subsequently much of it was settled under perpetual leases, or leases of one, two or three lives. This method had a tendency to retard, in some measure, the progress of improvement. Competition, "the life of business," had no foothold among a tenantry who toiled from year to year, without hope of becoming owners of the soil they had subdued and brought under cultivation; and is it surprising if some parts of this productive town should fall behind some of her sister settlements in progress? Do we wonder that the unyielding grasp by which the rental system held them, producing often great distress, should foster in the sufferers a spirit of retaliation and cupidity, and that in the course of generations that system should become the nursery of criminal offenses, such as have disturbed the quiet citizens within the precincts of these townships for the past few years?

    On the death of John I. Morgan, a few years ago, Morgan Dix, of New York City, became heir to these lands. They, however, passed into the hands of Gen. John A. Dix, executor of Morgan's will, by whom the farms were sold to actual settlers at reasonable rates, the improvements being deducted therefrom, which placed a large class of people, long of doubtful status, in a condition of independence, and of unlimited permanency as families, if they willed it; and from which, we may trust, will flow all the blessings of high civilization.

    Mr. Wait Clark of Clarkville, being agent for General Dix, much of the business pertaining to the final disposition of these lands has been transacted by him; although much has been sold, there still remains a considerable proportio[n] unsold under his supervision.

    The first saw mill built in the town was erected by Captain Brown, in the year 1792, and the same year John Button built a grist mill on the same stream, some distance south of the saw mill, which gave the stream the name of "Button's mill Creek." A short time after, Jabez Brown built the second saw mill on the same stream.

    There is an anecdote told of an encounter with a bear, which took place on the day the frame of the last named saw mill was put up, at a point on the creek a short distance above Button's Mill. Bears and panthers were plenty in Brookfield, and although no person dared venture out far at night without a flaming torch to frighten these animals from the path, yet a man felt safe in the day time, especially if his rifle accompanied him. However, this day John Button started for the raising, leaving his rifle hanging idly upon the rough ceiling of his kitchen. He followed up Mill Creek by a foot path that wound its way among the stumps and over fallen trees. A few rods from his dwelling at the head of his mill-pond a large log lay stretched directly across his path, one end of it lying in the stream. As Button mounted the log in his passage, a ferocious looking bear rose up from behind it and boldly confronted him. He was not yet much accustomed to these savage foresters, but having heard it remarked that a bear could be easily frightened in the day time by a shrill yell, he gave a most terrific one, swung his hat and dashed it into "Bruin's face! [sic (punctuation)] Undaunted, the black monster rose upon his haunches and made a move as though he would embrace his opponent, but was so worried by a little dog which had accompanied his master, as to give Button time to shout to his wife to "let out the big dog and bring the two guns." In quick time these arrived, and Button in his haste grasped one and shot the bear, only wounding him in the side. The next instant he caught the other gun which [his] wife was about to use, and not knowing she had raised the hammer, pulled it vehemently and broke the lock. With the breech of the gun he now fought the enraged beast, while his wife ran for the ax. Meanwhile the bear though worried by the small dog --- the large one having cowardly ran off --- made his best endeavors to injure his foe, pausing at intervals to staunch the flow of blood from the wound, which he effected by crowding into it tufts of hair drawn with his teeth from other parts of his body. When the ax arrived, a few well aimed blows quelled Bruin's fierce wrath, and being near the bank of the creek he plunged in and shortly thereafter breathed his last. His body was secured and found to weigh four hundred pounds.

    The site of the grist mill was a short distance above Button's Falls, a very pretty cataract some seventy feet in hight. [sic] In a few years Mr. Button moved on lot 82, where he owned two hundred acres, some of his sons continuing in possession of the mill farm. This mill farm is now the property of Hosea Welch.

    The high elevation of the land upon which John Button settled, gave it the name of "Button's Hill." When the forest was cleared away it afforded a fine prospect of the surrounding country; and there is truly much varied and beautiful scenery in this section of Brookfield. The pretty stream of Mill Creek, which at that day was much larger than now --- indeed, really a torrent in times of freshets --- came hurrying down the slope from Button's Hill, in some places wearing its path through the solid rock, seeming to be drawn on with increased impetus as it nears the narrow gorge at the falls. A few yards above the brink, the water, in descending from a rocky shelf, has worn cavities, some of them quite deep, more perfect and handsome we may imagine than if hewn out by the hand of the artisan. Through the narrow gateway worn by the stream, the water rushes over the rocks into a broad basin seventy feet below. Looking up from the bottom of this basin, we are charmed with the view of over-hanging rocks, bordered and flanked with birch, beech, maple and hemlock, their extreme edges overhung with woodland vines and evergreen shrubbery, and by the beautiful, ever-changing lights and shades of the waterfall, the dancing spray, the whirling eddies; and we realize the beauty and feel the enchantment, without being oppressed with the awe that a large body of water, with its terrible rush and roar, and ominous thunderings, could inspire. There was a time, however, when the volume of water here was of sufficient magnitude to produce terror, while its ravages appalled the stoutest heart. It was at the time of a heavy freshet about 1805, which swept away the dam of Capt. Brown's saw mill, and rushing onward demolished that belonging to Jabez Brown; then, gathering impetus, the torrent pressed its way forward, removing every obstacle till it reached Button's grist mill, when this too, with the ruins of the saw mills, was swept down stream and over the falls, a terrifying spectacle indeed, to the beholders. This was a public, as well as an individual calamity, and was severely felt as such for a time, in those yet primitive days.

    Easterly from the falls is one of those ancient family burial grounds, which were once to be found on very many homesteads in our country, now only seen occasionally as relics of the past, their silent occupants having been removed to modern cemeteries. Among the hills of Brookfield, however, these places of home sepulture are more frequently to be met with than in any other town of Madison County. This one, belonging to the Welch family who settled here previous to 1800, is neatly kept, as they most generally are here, by the descendants. In some places, where no descendants remain to cherish and care for the spot sacred to the dust of their forefathers, may be seen the broken tombstone, and the sweet wild rose struggling for existence; emblems of the love which would fain mark the spot after the generations that planted them had utterly passed away, or were scattered abroad on the earth.

    Near here commences the rocky base of the upland, like an extensive battlement, reaching nearly the two miles between this point and Leonardsville. This upland, or ridge, undoubtedly once formed the bold shore of a lake spread over the valley contiguous, beneath the soil of which have been found many curious shells, whose owners could have had their homes only in the depths of an inland sea. Spread out between eastern and western hill base, lies the sunny, peaceful valley, with fields waving in luxurious harvests, dotted with comfortable and beautiful farm houses, and a village busy with the hum of industry; while the Unadilla, which at the time the pioneer settlers found it, was locked in the embrace of a gigantic forest, now placidly trails its course along through it like a ribbon of silver in the sunshine.

    The first birth in the town of Brookfield was that of Lawton Palmer, son of Lawton Palmer, sen., on the homestead purchased by him on lot 77, 18th township, and which is now in possession of members of the family.

    Lawton Palmer, sen., brought a large farm under cultivation, and early built a large and substantial farm house, which is still standing, a memorial of ancient architecture. His son, Elias, was born, reared, and lived all his life upon this farm, and died here in March, 1866, aged sixty-five. Lawton Palmer, jr., raised from seed the orchard south of this house. It was never grafted, but has been an excellent bearer of pretty good fruit.

    The first frame building on lot 96, Stephen Hoxie erected in 1793; its size was sixteen by twenty-four feet. It is still a very good building, used by his descendants as a shop and store house for farming utensils. The first house in which Mr. Hoxie's family dwelt, built in 1791, was of logs, and stood a few rods from where he built his frame house in 1800. This frame house is the fine farm house now owned by the Hoxie brothers.

    The first school house in town was built on lot 96, on land now owned by John Hoxie, jr. Asa Carrier taught the first school here in the winter of 17967.

    The first town meeting was held at the house of Capt. Daniel Brown, April 7th, 1795, at which Stephen Hoxie was chosen Supervisor; Elisha Burdick, Town Clerk; Clark Maxon, Joshua Whitford and John Stanton, Assessors.

    The first store was kept by a Mr. Waterman, on the road laid out westward from the "Five Corners." The first Baptist church of the town also was built here, on a corner of Lawton Palmer's farm, he giving the ground for the site. Five Corners is a pleasant location, but conspicuous now only for its ancient school house, the cheese factory, and the handsome, well cultivated farms of the Browns, descendants of the pioneers of that name who took up these same farms.

    The first school kept in this district was taught by a Miss Berry, a forsaken log house being used for the purpose. The following is related by an aged friend who was one of Miss Berry's pupils: --- "The roof of this house was so well ventilated that, in several heavy rain storms, the teacher was obliged to protect herself and the little girls with a spread umbrella, while the large boys were content to take a summer shower-bath. The children all loved Miss Berry, she was so kind to the little ones; when they fell asleep in their seats she would make them a little bed upon the old cross-legged table, and lay them on it; but with all her kindness and tenderness some people would find fault with her, because she had imported some new extravagances in pronunciation, and in teaching the alphabet. She spoke the word 'girls' instead of 'gals;' she said 'chest' instead of 'chist,' 'chair' instead of 'cheer,' &c. Previously the alphabet had been taught to the little ones thus: --- 'A beside of a, B beside of b, C beside of c,' and so on; which they received into their minds as it sounded from the teacher's lips, abbreviated somewhat like this: --- 'A bis'fa, B bis o'b, C bis o'c,' &c., having not the remotest idea of what the mongrel mess signified. The letter 'Z' was called 'ezzard;' the character '&,' 'amphersand,' and the name of 'John' was spelled 'Iohn,' --- no letter 'J' being in the alphabet they used. Miss Berry corrected all this."

    There were no pictorial primers in those days for the advantage and amusement of the little ones; indeed, books with pictures in were not allowed in school, it being the prevalent notion that pictures took the pupil's attention from his lesson. Spelling-book, Geography and the Reader afforded ample studies, it was though, for the capacity of a majority of the children, while a few of the eldest were taught writing in addition. Daboll's Arithmetic was held a great work, in which the older boys might become proficient; but very rarely indeed did a young lady tamper with the half-forbidden lore of its pages. There was a process by which a grown-up girl could add together the number of skeins of linen she had spun in a week, but she might not have the remotest idea that it had any relation to the simplest rule of arithmetic that she saw her brother "figuring out" on the slate. So much for education and its facilities in the rural towns, in the beginning of the nineteenth century.

    Particularly in passing through this vicinity of the Five Corners, is one reminded of the changes that have taken place.

    Beaver creek, a fine stream of water, received its name from the noted Beaver Dam, which these ingenious little workers had thrown across the stream, and which was found in perfect order by the first settlers in this vicinity. The same dam was used for several years to retain the water-power of White's Mills.

    At the foot of the western hills, bordering Beaver creek, on an elevation about a quarter of a mile from the western bank, is situated the Camenga farm, formerly the property of John I. Morgan. It was laid out and improved into a comfortable home by him, at a time when his business transactions in this town were so extensive as to need his personal attention. Later, it became the summer resort of himself and family. The residence is a pretty farm cottage, located in a most romantic spot; the green and park in which it is situated give it a picturesque appearance. From John I. Morgan it passed, together with his immense estate, into the hands of John A. Dix,2 one of New York's ablest generals and statesmen, and one of her most honored men.

    Babcock's Mills, farther south, on Beaver creek, was very early built up. This hamlet now contains a saw mill, grist mill, a manufactory of horse-rakes, a cabinet shop and a meeting house.

    It will be seen that most of the earliest settlers located on the hills; they held the opinion that hill farms were more exempt from frosts than valley land. It is remarked that the farm of Dr. Hackley, a valley farm on the Plainfield side of the Unadilla, at the Forks, was once offered by the doctor in a trade, acre for acre, for a hill farm that is not at the present day considered of great value; while the Hackley farm is now worth $200 per acre.

    The population being greater at first in the hilly sections, embryo villages were earliest planted there. It is said that the old time Billings tavern, at Five Corners, was the first tavern opened in town.

    Unadilla Forks was a prominent business point before the building up of Leonardsville, and therefore had a bearing upon the interests of this section of the town. Caleb Brown was the chief mover in the first building movement at the Forks. In 1805, he built the first grist mill, which was in fact the first grist mill in the town of Plainfield. He afterwards put up an oil mill and clothing works within the forks, on the eastern Unadilla branch. He also erected a building for a woolen factory on what was called the "Island," perhaps three-fourths of a mile south of the Forks. He was preparing to set up machinery, --- had already employed workmen and commenced spinning on "Jenneys" set up in the chamber of his spacious dwelling, when his active career was cut short by sickness and death, leaving his business in an unfinished, unsettled state. Mr. Brown had also been largely engaged in farming, being the owner of considerable land in Plainfield, as well as Brookfield, on which, in each town, he employed workmen. Upon his death, this, with his manufacturing operations, ceased. The woolen factory was abandoned. At the present date (1870), there is only the grist mill and carding works in operation, the buildings of the other mechanical interests having disappeared.

    This location, however, was too convenient to be unimproved, hence, after the sad and seriously felt ending of Mr. Brown's enterprises, others were set afoot, and pressed forward during the subsequent years. At the present date the place has two churches, a hoe factory, a flouring-mill, a saw mill, a machine shop, and has a population of two hundred and fifty-three inhabitants.

    In the west part of the town a number of Quakers settled. Prominent among them were: Joseph Collins 1st, Solomon and Hezekiah Collins, a Mr. Sheffield, Gideon Kenyon, Thomas Kenyon and James Larkin. The three sons of Joseph Collins, --- Job, Peter and Joshua, --- and Albert button, built up a place called Moscow, now Delancy. The Collins brothers were saddle and harness makers. Peter Collins built a tavern, Albert Button built a store, and Job and Joshua Collins had a number of shops for the several trades of harness and saddle making, wagon making and blacksmithing. For about ten years a considerable business was done in Moscow; but near the year 1830, these proprietors, desiring a location where better facilities in the form of water-power, and easier access to large business centers were offered, sold out, moved away, and the abandoned village soon decayed. Some of the best of those deserted buildings have been converted into farm houses upon the very good farms in the neighborhood.

    The Quakers had a large society; they were connected with that of the town of Madison. For many years their meetings were held at the house of Thomas Kenyon. About 1820, their house of worship was built, which was well filled with devout worshipers at all their meetings, for about twenty-five years, when death began to decimate the aged and faithful, the children married "out of the meeting," or moved away, the leaders became so few that the meetings grew fewer and farther between, and finally the house was closed. To-day, the dilapidated building upon Quaker Hill, once the center of attraction to a large number of devoted, faithful hearts, where the sunlight of the bright Sabbath mornings once beamed through lattice and doorway upon an exquisitely neat and orderly interior, presents naught to the eye, exteriorly and interiorly, but broke windows, rotting casements, decaying walls, and gathering dust and cobwebs. The atmosphere of the whole location seems pregnant with loneliness. The hill is one of the highest in this hilly region; far around are to be seen broad grazing farms, dotted with herds of cattle, and now and then an isolated barn, but with very few farm houses in view; between the church ruin and highway is the grave yard, --- not all neglected but quiet and silent as, it seems, suited the undemonstrative habits, when in life, of those whose forms are reposing beneath the unostentatious marble headstones.

    The large farms in this vicinity are owned by Messrs Brand, Collins, Hoxie, and the Stanbros. Three of the original Quaker families, namely: Hoxie, Collins, Joseph Collins, jr., and Brier Collins, still reside in the town.

    From the limited means we have of ascertaining the names and origin of other and prominent families, especially of Clarkville and vicinity, and the more northern part of Brookfield, we can only add such as have been obtained from published sources, and from other reliable authority. From these we infer that the different families of Clarks were conspicuous.

    John Clark, and his wife Mary Wait Clark, moved from Exeter, Rhode Island, in the fall of 1810, and located on lot No. 16, of the 19th township. Mr. Clark had a family of eight children. Of the four sons, three resided in town many years. At the present writing (1870,) only one resides here --- Mr. Wait Clark, of Clarkville.

    Capt. Samuel Clark was from Westerly, Rhode Island. He came to Brookfield in 1810, and located on lot No. 35, of the 18th township. He had a family of six sons and three daughters, all of the sons but one locating in town. Judge Joseph Clark is one of these sons.

    Joshua Whitford, located on lot No. 76. He reared a large family of sons and daughters, who settled in this town and Plainfield, Otsego Co. They are mostly farmers, of the enterprising, progressive sort. Several of the descendants of Joshua Whitford are residents of Brookfield. This pioneer was one of the first assessors of the town --- chosen in 1795 --- and was afterwards for several years Town Clerk, as was also his son William. He was an active man in his day in all public affairs.

    Patten Fitch, from Massachusetts, came before 1810, and located two miles north of Clarkville. His father, Dr. Lemuel Fitch, came with him. Patten Fitch was one of the surveyors of the town. He also taught one of the e[a]rliest schools, in his own house. He was afterwards a teacher twenty-seven years in this and the adjoining towns. Members of his family still reside in town, among whom are three sons, namely: Patten Fitch, jr., of Clarkville, harness maker and farmer; Julius O. Fitch, of Leonardsville, wagon maker; and Elliot G. Fitch, of North Brookfield, carriage maker.

    The Livermores, from Vermont, settled in the north part of Brookfield at an early day. Their location was at the head of the swamp, near Gorton's Lake. They were an enterprising family.

    From a recent letter we have the following statement, which will be of especial interest to the descendants of the pioneers named: Asa Frink, jr., with his brother George, left Stonington, Conn., in 1796, --- month of March --- with their axes for pioneering, and journeyed to where Clarkville now nestles among the hills, George cleared the ground where the Cemetery is laid out. In the memory of the writer, the first death in the valley and vicinity of Clarkville, was a sister of Asa Frink. She rests in the burying ground on the flat, or meadow. From Mr. Frink's house could be seen four family burying grounds.

    Resolved Healey settled where North Brookfield is located. He died during the early days of the settlement, from the effects of the "Camp fever" generated at Valley Forge with Washington's army. Mrs. Asa Frink, the daughter of Mr. Healey, when eighteen years old, had the courage to take the fire brand torch and go from one to two miles, alone, by marked trees, to care for the sick, while "wolves, grey foxes and owls gave her a concert," as she expressed it.

    As a people the earliest settlers were patriotic and religious, yet many of them exhibited much of the humorous in their composition. There are few in our day who relish a good joke keener than did our ancestors. An apt pun, a witty repartee, or an amusing anecdote served to flavor the daily routine of their laborious life. In one way or another there must be a little "fun," and often in those times it came in the form of a practical joke; if there was a little well merited revenge inflicted, not too severe for the provocation, it was all the more relished. In illustration we give the following, which is related of those early settlers: Mr. C. was a man who cherished his own peculiar ways, and did not defer to other people's tastes and manners. He had, moreover, an unfortunate deformity of his mouth, which gave a nasal sound to his rather inarticulate speech. The wedding of his son, Joe C., was about to transpire, an event which had been kept "shady" from the old gentlemen in order to prevent his attendance, as his peculiarities would certainly be displayed, were he present, to the offense of the good taste of the company. A cousin of Joe's, a wicked wag, had also been overlooked in the distribution of invitations, and being chagrined by it determined to perpetrate a joke at the bridegroom's expense. Accordingly on the day of the wedding, which was to take place at the residence of one of Brookfield's pioneer ministers, this cousin rode to old Mr. C's in great haste, and in well-assumed excitement, called out, "Mr. C----, hurry! get on to your horse as quick as you can! --- Elder Cottrell's mule has kicked Joe's brains out! --- Be quick, for he's dead by this time!" The great, brawny old man leaped upon his horse, and thrusting his heels into the animal's flanks, pushed ahead with all possible speed. The astonished neighbors noticed, as he flew past, that at intervals of a few seconds he leaned forward and groaned, "Joe's dead! --- Joe's dead!" Arrived at the Elder's, he threw himself from his horse and rushed wildly into the house, just in time to witness the half-completed marriage ceremony. The old man stood aghast. "My G-d! Joe haint dead!" he exclaimed, in his moderate nasal articulation; "h-ll! I wouldn't been so disappointed fer twenty-five dollars!"


    It is stated that at the time of the great eclipse in 1806, the people in Brookfield, not having been supplied with almanacs, were unforewarned of its approach, and consequently, when it came on, many were frightened, fearing the consummation of all things was approaching.


    "Uncle Paine Wait," as he was familiarly called, was a Revolutionary soldier, who lived to the advanced age of one hundred and four years. He was a well-known resident of Brookfield from the "early days." His famous peculiarity was, that he would never go to mill with a horse, always carrying his grist on his back. He was the father of ten children. He was remarkably robust till within a few weeks of his death, when he undertook a long walk, exhausted his strength, and was taken ill in the house of Mrs. John Brown of Clarkville, and died in a few weeks.


    In 1813, a terrible epidemic prevailed, which considerably decimated the population, and removed hence many of the first settlers.


    "Died in Brookfield, March 31st, 1831, Rev. Henry Clark, aged 74 years. He was among the first settlers, and organized the first Seventh Day Baptist Church in that town, of which he had the pastoral care until within a few years of his death, when his age and infirmities obliged him to resign it. He left, of lineal descendants, nine children, fifty-one grand-children, and twenty great-grand children." [Madison Observer & Recorder.]

    "Died in Brookfield, on the morning of Feb. 13th, 1830. Capt. Samuel Clarke, aged 75 years. In an early part of the Revolution he entered the service of his country as an officer in the army, and served the term of his enlistment (one year), which for several of the last years of his life entitled him to a pension, which he received with gratitude. He was afterwards several times called into the service of his country in his native State (Rhode Island), and always discharged his duties with signal bravery and faithfulness. At different periods during the war, he accumulated a handsome property by industry, and invested nearly the whole of it in a valuable sloop and cargo, which, with himself and several other men, was unfortunately captured by a band of marauders known as "Refugees." The ill-treatment he then received, had the effect of causing him to look with a jealous eye upon the conduct of the armies of his country. He early embraced the religion of Jesus, and in his last severe sickness its effects upon him were most comforting and supporting, and to his friends a source of great consolation."

    "Died, in January, 1866, Lawton Palmer, jr., aged 73 years. He was the first one born in the town of Brookfield, and lived his whole life and died on his farm about four miles from his birthplace."

    "Died in Brookfield, February 18th, 1810, Abigail, wife of Capt. Daniel Brown, aged 76 years; also, in Brookfield, December 25th, 1814, Capt. Daniel Brown, in the 90th year of his age."

    Aged Pioneers. --- John Button and his wife, Anna, lived to advanced ages. Anna died in 1840, aged ninety-three years; John Button died in 1841, aged nine-two [sic] years. In the last years of his life, the chief desire of Mr. Button's heart was, to live to behold his descendant of the fifth generation; and his wish was gratified. In the year 1840, his great-grand-daughter, Amy Lodema Jaquay, to his great delight visited him, bringing with her a great-great-grand-daughter. This member of the fifth generation was Hannah Jaquay, now the wife of Garner Crandall of Brookfield.

    Elias Button died about the year 1828, at the age of one hundred and five years. For sixty years of his life he was a school teacher, laying down his duties only when the infirmities of eighty years compelled him to yield. His account books, which have been preserved by his relatives, exhibit beautiful specimens of penmanship, and bear unmistakable evidences of practical scholarship, order, brevity and good taste. The thick, coarse paper belongs to the period of the Colonial days, and bears the royal stamp of the English crown.


    STEPHEN HOXIE came from Charlestown, Washington County, R. I. His ancestor, Ludowick Hoxie, came from England. Four sons, named Joseph, John, Gideon and Presbury, and one daughter, Anna, were born to Ludowick Hoxie. From the line of John our pioneer descended, one of the latter's sons, named Stephen, being the one through whom the line is traced. Among the eleven children of this Stephen, was Stephen, jr., our Brookfield pioneer. He removed here with a wife and three sons, Luke, John and Solomon, and two daughters, Mary and Ruth. His oldest son, Ludowick, never lived here. Luke, John and Solomon, cleared large farms near their father's, and their descendants, or many of them, are now residing in the town. John Hoxie located at the foot of the hill, on the corners where the main street crosses the turnpike, north of Leonardsville. He built at an early day the fine old dwelling-house which stands here, and which as recently been thoroughly repaired and made over by his son, Nelson Hoxie,3 who owns this farm. Another son, John, lives near by on the Plainfield side of the river.

    Stephen Hoxie was one of the prominent men of his time and locality; first in reducing the wilderness and promoting agricultural advancement, and first in the councils of the new country. He was a man of superior qualities, morally, intellectually and physically. In religious belief he was strictly orthodox, and held to the creed of the Quakers, or Friends. His life was an example of strict integrity and broad philanthropy --- always living what he professed. Politically, he had the confidence of all parties; he was the first Supervisor of the town, and held that office for many years; he was appointed a Justice of the Peace when that office was filled by appointment, and continued to hold it by election till nearly the close of his life; he was elected to the State Legislature from the County of Chenango for two terms --- the years 1803 and 1804. He died in the year 1839, aged 101 years and 4 months.

    JUDGE JOSEPH CLARK, son of Capt. Samuel Clark, located in Clarkville about 1810, and has since resided there, very nearly on the same location, one door east of the postoffice. He was the first Postmaster of this village and continued in that position twenty years. He was also Town Clerk twenty years; Supervisor, fifteen years; Justice of the Peace over twenty years. He served in the Militia in the war of 1812, being a considerable time on duty at Sackett's Harbor; was commissioned Ensign, and passed from this position through the successive offices to Colonel of the regiment, before the war closed. He was elected Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and served for a term of ten years. In 1824, he was elected to the Assembly, again in 1828, and the third time in 1835. In 1839, he was elected to the State Senate for a term of four years. In all positions his integrity was conspicuous, while his sound sense, discretion, and abilities fully sustained the confidence the people reposed in him.4


    Before the close of the last century, Joseph Crumb and Stephen Clark built a grist mill on the Unadilla, about half way between Leonardsville and the Forks. On raising this dam, it was found that the water flowed back upon the mill at the Forks, damaging its operations; this necessitated a removal. It was next located on the present mill site in Leonardsville, and became the nucleus of the village.

    Reuben Leonard, a man of wealth and enterprise, came on here and started a store, the first one of the place, in 1801. It was located on land now enclosed within John Babcock's door-yard. The first postoffice of the town was kept here, and was named from Mr. Leonard; hence the name of Leonardsville. The Leonard store in later years was moved across the street on the southeast corner of the cross roads, and was occupied in its several divisions as a dwelling, grocery, shops, &c. Early in 1849, the building was pretty thoroughly repaired and refitted, and is now the store of Nathan V. Brand. A profitable trade has always been carried on here. Mr. Leonard did business on an extensive plan. He built, and for several years run, a large potashery, to which was attached a pearling oven, where the first pearl-ash of the country was made; he also built a tannery and distillery which were in operation many years.

    There were also other enterprises at an early day. Ethan Burdick had a potash works, and Harry Hinckley built a tannery; the latter was taken down in 1869.

    The first church organization of the town was effected here in 1797. In a few years after, the society built their house of worship on the site of the present one. There was a tavern, built by Leonard, which passed through various hands, --- occupied in turn by Dennison Brown, Isaac Brown, Alvin Clark, Isaac Miner and several others. It was repaired about 1868, and was afterwards burned; the site is not now (1870) occupied. Not many years after the Leonard store was built, Ethan Burdick erected another, which was sold to Charles Munson & Brother, then to Dennis Hardin, afterwards to N. Brand & Co., and by the latter to the "Leonardsville Manufacturing Company." Daniel Hardin then bought it, and for a number of years did a good business, selling everything usually found in a country store. He rented it some six or eight years to Charles R. Maxon, the latter occupying it till about 1868, when it was burned. "The old store on the corner," as this was familiarly called, was a way-mark for many years; from time to time it was repaired and added to, changed and modernized, so that at the time of its burning it had assumed the character and proportions of a block, in which was a dry goods store, a bank, a Good Templar's Hall, a shoe store, a tailor's shop, &c. The ground it occupied was purchased by Dennis Hardin and filled up for a door-yard. No one who now sees this inclosure in summer, gay with flowers, would imagine that on the same spot, for long, long years, men bought and sold, and sat out the long winter evenings, planning in concert and dreaming of the future. With the "old store" many of those old neighboring denizens have passed away, their places being filled with strangers. On the corner above, a clothing store was built about 1853 or '54, by James H. Brand and Edwin Clark; it passed into the hands of F. P. King, and in 1862, shared the fate of many other business institutions in Leonardsville; it was destroyed by fire. On the next corner Samuel Collins built a store; he sold to Wm. H. Brown; Mr. Brown to A. M. Griffin; the latter to H. W. North; and it is now (1870) occupied by Irving A. Crandall.

    Leonardsville was early distinguished for its manufactures; they steadily increased in prosperity, giving life, growth and progress to the village. Previous to 1830, Samuel Brand set up a manufactory for scythes and hoes; the business was prosperous and he increased it from time to time. Later, it was operated under the name of Brand & Son. All departments of business here prospered in their day; but the time came when potasheries run down, for the want of the raw material to supply them; and when hemlock bark became scarce, tanneries also found less to do; and so one ceased operations and then another; but in their stead grew up other enterprises. About 1843 or '44, the scythe and hoe factory became the property of N. Brand & Co., who added to the establishment the manufacture of forks. In 1852, it became the property of the combined firm, under the name of the "Leonardsville Manufacturing Company." All the mills upon the stream in this village, viz: --- the grist mill, saw mill, fork shop, horse rake factory, wagon shop, furnace and machine shop, belonged to this firm. A great amount of business was transacted, many workmen being employed; the wares and products of the company found market far and near, and Leonardsville was justly proud of her reputation as a manufacturing village. In 1857, the company dissolved, sold out to different persons, and in each place of business was again operated separately, or in its own interests alone. During the ownership of the company, however, the grist mill, saw mill and fork factory, were burned; but they were speedily rebuilt. These manufactories, except the fork factory, have continued in operation to the present time.

    Leonardsville Bank, an Associated Company, was incorporated Feb. 27, 1856, with a capital of $100,000. First Directors, Ezra K. Hoxie, Luke Hoxie, Dennis Hardin, Washington S. Green, Vinson R. Howard, John Rogers, Nathan Brainard, Christopher Langworthy, Wait Clark, Nathan T. Brown, Samuel L. Brown, Noyes Stillman. First officers, President, N. T. Brown; vice-President, Luke Hoxie; Cashier, Dennis Hardin; Jno. O. Wheeler Teller and Book-keeper. This was changed to the First National Bank of Leonardsville, and was subsequently merged in the Ilion National Bank, and a private bank established in its place under the old name of Leonardsville Bank, with Dennis Hardin, President, John O. Wheeler, Cashier.


    Or Brookfield, P. O., was originally called "Bailey's Corners," after Dr. Bailey, one of the earliest resident physicians. During the infancy of this village, its growth was materially forwarded by the building of a foundry by Joseph Clark. He also built a carding and clothier works. Jonathan Babcock built a tannery some fifty years ago, which did a heavy business for many years.

    Ethan Babcock kept the first tavern, which was built by Reuben Leonard. It was situated on the present location of the Clarkville Hotel, now kept by Henry Keith. Mr. Leonard also built the first store, which is now standing, and is owned by Joseph Elliot. It is conspicuous on the west side of Main street, nearly opposite the residence of Joseph Clark, and bears the name of "S. Collins," one of its long-ago storekeepers. Mr. Leonard erected these buildings about 1810 or '12.

    About 1830, Clarkville was one of the liveliest political centers of the country, several exciting issues then pending; --- "Anti-Masonry vs. Masonry," the "Chenango Canal," and "Sunday Mails," then prominent matters, in turn agitating the country. This village had its prominent men, who were men of influence in county and state; so it shared in these agitations, and acted no unimportant part in effecting final decisions.

    Something of a contest ensued on the changing of the name of the place from "Bailey's Corners" to "Clarkville;" but the high esteem in which Judge Clark was held prevailed, and in his honor the place was named and incorporated April 5th, 1834. In 1840, Clarkville had 450 inhabitants, eighty dwelling-houses, one church, two taverns, five stores, one iron foundry, one fulling mill, two tanneries, three carriage-shops and two cabinet shops. A manufactory for making hoes, horse rakes and other farming utensils, was one of the large business enterprises of later years. Since 1850, it failed; the premises were sold to Samuel Gordon, who converted them into a grist mill and tannery; and within a few years he has built a cheese factory contiguous. An extensive and prosperous business is the result.

    Brookfield Academy was first built by subscription as a free school house. In April, 1847, it was incorporated by Legislature, with the above name. First trustees: Wait Clark, Pres., Dr. Bailey, Benjamin Gorton, Ethan Stillman, William Greene, 2d, Hosea B. Clark, &c. With a few exceptions the board remains the same. First Principal, Ludowick York, A. M.; Assistant, Philander Wood. Rev. R. T. Taylor, now proprietor of the Pittsburg (Pa.) Female College, and Professor of Languages, was principal of this academy during the years 1850 and '51.

    NORTH BROOKFIELD. --- In the north part of the town, west of the center, on a tributary to the Chenango river, lies this village. For many years it was but a hamlet, having a store, a blacksmith shop, and a tavern, the latter for many years kept by Mr. Alby, a colored man. He and his excellent wife, Jenny Alby, are well remembered, and were respected people.

    This is a great hop-growing locality, and wealth gained by engaging in the culture of this product is evident on every hand. Among the prominent families are the Terrys, Morgans, Livermores, Faulkners, Fitchs, Gortons and others, many of whom, if not all, were of the old and early settled families in this part of the town. Within the last quarter century, the village has mostly grown up, and of late its growth and progress has been decidedly marked. No village in the county has a greater reputation for wagon manufactures. In every village, and on farms all over Madison County, and in Oneida, Otsego and Chenango counties, are seen the North Brookfield wagons and carriages, which have given the names of Gorton & Fitch a wide reputation. The King & Cheesebro firm adds to the manufactures of the place. North Brookfield has also other enterprizes, viz., a furnace, grist mill, saw mill, cheese factory, a hotel, two stores, a Baptist church, and has a population of about 300 inhabitants.

    SOUTH BROOKFIELD, or "Babcocks Mills," as sometimes called, is situated in the south part of the town on Beaver Creek. The Mills --- a grist mill and saw mill --- were built up by the Babcocks in the early settlement of the country. They were influential and respected people, and many of their descendants live in South Brookfield yet. Besides the grist mill and saw mill, the village has a horse-rake factory, a cheese box factory, a cabinet shop, and other mechanics' shops; it has also a neat Methodist Church, a store and post office. A Good Templar's Lodge was organized here in the year 1870, which is a flourishing institution. Madison County Lodge held its session with South Brookfield Lodge in May, 1872.

    The First Seventh Day Baptist Church of Brookfield, located at Leonardsville, was organized October 3, 1797. The house of worship was built in 1802. The first pastor was Rev. Henry Clark, who served twenty-four years. In 18[4]3, two churches were set off from this, viz: The 2nd Seventh Day Baptist Church of Brookfield, located two miles north of Clarkville, which eventually became known as the "Clarkville S. D. Baptist Church," and the 3d Seventh Day Baptist Church, located one mile north of Babcocks Mills.

    The Baptist Church at Clarkville was formed July 7, 1798. Elder Simeon Brown was first pastor. The first meeting house was built at Five Corners. The society subsequently removed to Clarkville, and with the 2d Seventh Day Baptist Church, built a meeting house at that village. After this removal the first pastor of the Baptist Church was Elder Holland Turner, and the first pastor of the S. D. Baptist Church was Rev. Elias Bailey.

    The Methodist Church of Clarkville was organized about 1800, the class being formed by Rev. Henry Giles. The first pastor was Rev. Barzilla Willey. The first meeting house was built about 1820, and was located on lot 43, 18th Township. The society removed to Clarkville, and at a late date built a house of worship there.

Transcriber's note: Some pages of the original are damaged, so that parts of the text are obscured or missing. Where I can confidently guess at the affected text I have put my guess in [brackets]; otherwise I use [???]. --- RSH
1 - The grant for this tract was obtained by Robert and William Edmeston, in 1770. See map of Susquehanna and Delaware, Doc. Hist. Vol. 1.
2 - Elected Governor of New York State, Nov. 5, 1872.
3 - Now (1872,) deceased.
4 - Recently deceased.
Ttranscribed by Richard S. Holmes
July, 2003
If you have resources for Madison County or would like to volunteer to help with look-ups, please e-mail me at Tim Stowell
Madison County History - 1872
Madison Co, NY Page
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Last updated: 10 Feb 2018