The history of this Valley would be incomplete without sketches of the
lives of some of our prominent men, who for more than 40 years have lived
among us, growing up with the rise and progress of this section of country,
and witnessed the transformation of a dense forest into our present advancement
and prosperity. We have been to some trouble in procuring these biographies,
and would have been pleased to present others, but we were unable to get
them, consequently our list is not quite as complete as we would have wished.
They are as follows:
Colonel JOHN HENDY was born in Wyoming, Pennsylvania, September 3d, 1757. He was an only child. He joined the Revolutionary Army at the age of 17; he served at Bunker Hill, at Princeton, Trenton, Monmouth, and other important places, being the whole time under Gen. WASHINGTON; he left the army as a commissioned Captain. He returned to Wilkesbarre, on the Shaunee Flats, settled down on a farm, and married a Miss BAKER, daughter of HENRY BAKER, residing on the Flats. The BAKERS afterward moved to this Valley, and lived at Hendytown, and built the second frame house in this locality. Col. HENDY’s father died of cancer, at 85 years of age. He then moved up to Tioga Point, a few years before he came to Elmira. Not wholly suited, he prospected still further, and the result was he came to this Valley in the Spring of 1788. He purchased a tract of land of Indian Agents, removing his family here in the Fall of the same year. He continued the cultivation of the soil until his death, a period of over 50 years. He took an active part in the building of the Chemung Canal, encouraging the undertaking, with the other enterprising spirits in the Valley. He threw up the first shovel of dirt at the commencement of the excavation of this Canal, at a point just back of the Depot, standing in a skiff, the nearest imitation of a Canal boat then at hand. He was active in raising several companies for the war in Canada, in 1812. He was expecting to command these, in the capacity of Colonel, but word came that their services were not needed, and the companies were disbanded. While raising these companies, one day, he took a gun in his hand, from a recruit, to examine. As he had occasion to put the butt on the ground, resting one hand over the muzzle, the gun suddenly went off and destroyed the fore finger and thumb of the left hand.
He had been appointed Captain of a Militia Company by Gov. GEO. CLINTON, Feb. 22, 1789, in the town of Chemung, Montgomery County, and commissioned Second Major of a Regiment of Militia in the County of Tioga, of which THOMAS BALDWIN was Lieutenant Colonel Commandant, on the 22d of March, 1797, by Gov. JAY, and commissioned as Lieutenant Colonel, in 1803, by Gov. GEORGE CLINTON.
He was buried in the old Cemetery, next the First Baptist Church, amid military honors, by the Elmira Guards, commanded by Col. JUDSON. The time of the funeral was in March, amid a snow and sleet storm. The procession was of immense length. He was allowed to rest there, until about 10 years ago, at the opening of Woodlawn Cemetery, when citizens of Elmira caused the removal of his remains to their present resting place, and erected over them a suitable marble monument. The interesting details of the event are given at length, in Rev. Dr. MURDOCH’s Address, delivered on that occasion. At the re-interment of Col. HENDY, his skeleton was found perfectly preserved, likewise his long flowing hair. The final burial in Woodlawn Cemetery, took place with Masonic and military honors, and attracted an immense throng of people.
Col. HENDY was a noble specimen of the pioneers of the early times. He was a man of sterling honesty and integrity; highly esteemed for his kindness of heart, unacquainted with the meaner traits of those of baser mould. He was revered in his day and generation--in truth, one of nature’s noblemen. Such as he, gave that honored character and worth to the freedom of American institutions--that have made them pre-eminent, and established the perpetuity of a Republican form of Government.
Col. S. G. Hathaway, Jr.
SAMUEL GILBERT HATHAWAY, Jr., was born in the township of Freetown, Cortland County, NY, on the 18th day of January, 1810. He was the oldest of six sons in a family of 11 children. But one brother, Mr. CALVIN L. HATHAWAY, survives him.
His father, Gen. SAMUEL G. HATHAWAY, in the earlier years of his life, was actively prominent in the politics of this State, and became, at the hands of the Democracy to which he ever belonged, the honored representative of his District in the State Senate, and subsequently upon the floor of Congress. He was the oldest living Major-General of Militia in the State.
It was as a member of his father’s staff, at the early age of 18 years, that Col. HATHAWAY acquired the military soubriquet by which he has since been familiarly called. His right to wear the title, won in the opening of his career, has been asserted and sealed by his blood at its close.
Col. HATHAWAY having completed his preparatory studies, entered Union College, from which he graduated with honor soon after the attainment of majority. Devoted to letters, he subsequently became a student at law in the office of Hon. JONATHAN L. WOODS, in Cortland village, where he remained in the study of his profession one year. He then came to what was the little provincial town of Elmira, in August, 1833, and entered the law office of Hon. HIRAM GRAY, under whose generous auspices he continued his studies, in connection with a clerkship, for a period of two years, when he was admitted to practice at Albany. He returned to Elmira, and in 1836 commenced the practice of the law as a partner of Hon. JAMES DUNN, with whom he continued in this relation for a year. At its termination he formed a co-partnership with his former patron, Judge GRAY, which was only dissolved by the appointment of the latter as Circuit Judge in 1846. The well known firm of DIVEN, HATHAWAY & WOODS was then created and was continued until it became the oldest and most celebrated law firm in the Southern Tier; after 15 years of great prosperity it was finally reduced to two members, by the withdrawal of the senior partner, Hon. A. S. DIVEN, in July, 1861. The association between Mr. HATHAWAY and Mr. WOODS continued until, alas! death severed the connection by the removal of him whom we write to the courts of another than an earthly kingdom.
As a lawyer, Col. HATHAWAY was deservedly eminent in the profession he graced. That he became so is not surprising. His mental abilities were of a class which would have elevated him above the mass of mankind in any walk of life; especially in that of the law, for which they were so remarkably fitted. He had that ready comprehension, that breadth of grasp and profound insight into its intricacies, which never failed to bring to the surface of every case, each point which could in any degree fortify his own position or in the least weaken that of his adversary. His mind was possessed of a powerful intuitive perception which, dispensing with research, reason and authority, would in a moment reach a given conclusion with equal, if not a greater accuracy than most men could attain by a long and tedious process of rigid reasoning. This faculty made him, if not the closest student, at least the readiest practitioner, and aided by a most tenacious memory, greatly lessened the labors of professional preparation. The deepest or dryest law point never suffered by argument at his hands. He, however, shone with less brilliancy at a law term of the court than before a common law jury of 12. With them he was always at home; almost always irresistible. As an advocate, he not infrequently got by eloquence what in strictness his client was not entitled to by law; never, however, by the adoption of any other than the most scrupulously honorable and conscientious means. His nature scorned resort to any art or artifice bordering on unfairness; success at such a cost he could not purchase; duty to his client did not demand it; his chivalric sense of honor would neither brook it in others nor permit it in himself. Defeat with him was preferable to dishonor. He won, if at all, either by his superior weight of eloquence and argument, or by the intrinsic worth of his cause.
His eloquence was not chiseled from the cold granite of studied rhetoric; neither was it hewn, in labored columns, from the stratified domain of bleak and lifeless logic. It was an exhaustless spontaneity, and, fountain-like, flowed with an exuberance only equaled by the masterly facility with which its possessor employed the ethereal fire, for the accomplishment of the subject which called it into action. It was pungent with attic wit, pointed with sarcasm, bitter with invective, burning with indignation, plaintive with pathos, or polished with gems of fact or fancy, with apothegm or excerpt, one or all, as the occasion or his cause required. His form was manly and majestic; his diction elegant and concise; his gesticulation easy and graceful; his manner dignified and commanding. As a forensic advocate long will it be ere his like we look upon again.
Col. HATHAWAY’s prominence was not alone confined to his profession. In politics, as in other respects, he was the scion of a noble stock. Inheriting the political faith of his father, he early in life became a conspicuous member of the Democratic party. In recognition of his ability and services in the cause, he was elected to represent this County in the State Legislature in the Autumn of 1841. There, as elsewhere, the Colonel made his mark, and although but little more than 30 years of age, he soon came to be regarded as one of the most promising and prominent junior members of the party. In the Fall of 1856 he was the candidate of the Democracy of this District for Member of Congress; but, owing to the heavy Republican majority existing in the District he was defeated by Hon. JOHN M. PARKER, of Owego.
The Colonel was deservedly termed the "Democratic War Horse of the Chemung Valley;" for, was a forlorn hope to be led in the matter of partisan strife, he was invariably the chosen leader of the Democratic phalanx. The desperate character of a canvass never disheartened him; and defeat after a manly fight for the supremacy only wedded him more warmly to the principles with which he so often shared disaster. On the stump he was without a peer, and scarce a rival. His fund of wit, humor and anecdote had their full play.
Col. HATHAWAY was Democratic, not only in politics, but in everything, and autocratic in nothing. He had the port and presence of a prince without a prince’s hauteur. Inferiority was never needlessly humbled by any act or word of his. No man had higher regard for the feelings of his fellows. Himself as sensitive as a woman, he invariably extended to others the same high-toned treatment which he demanded for himself. In intercourse, habit, association, feeling and instinct, none were more broadly democratic and catholic than he.
His charity and kindness of heart did not stop here. His generosity was only bounded by the wants of those in need of his assistance. Much as we know he gave, there is much more of which none knew save himself and the object of his beneficence; for he gave with a modesty only surpassed by his munificence. Many a one we know not of, will henceforth wait his helping hand in vain.
In the summer of 1862, he was over persuaded to enter the military service of the country as Colonel of the 141st N. Y. V. It was urged upon him that in the then depleted condition of this and adjacent Counties, the Regiment could not be filled without the imprimatur of his own great name. He gave it, and having received his commission and publicly announced his intention to go, 18 companies sprang into being as if by magic, each striving to be one of the 10 which should march to battle beneath the colors of Col. HATHAWAY. Raised at once to the maximum standard, the Regiment moved from the rendezvous to the front on the 15th of September, 1862. It was first stationed at Laurel Factory, Maryland, to guard the Railroad, erect fortifications, &c., where it remained until Nov. 24th. It was thence ordered to Miner’s Hill, Va., on picket duty; in February, 1863, it moved from that locality to Arlington Heights, and there remained perfecting the drill and discipline of the Regiment for two months. Meantime, Col. HATHAWAY was twice placed in command of the Second Brigade, ABERCROMBIE’s Division, (to which his Regiment had been assigned), as acting Brigadier General. It was during the fatigue, exposure and hardship incident to this service, that the seeds of the heart disease of which he died, were laid. His illness had progressed to such a dangerous degree, that in March, 1863, he was compelled to quit his Regiment and return to Elmira. He immediately placed himself under the most skillful medical treatment, but the hand of man was impotent to stay the ravages of the fatal malady. His disease gradually growing more unmanageable, by the advice of Dr. W. C. WEY--his attending physician here--he was removed to the residence of his father, in the country, about the 1st of March. The journey of 113 miles taxed his remaining strength to the uttermost. He never left the house afterward, but slowly continued, to fail until 6 o’clock on the morning of Saturday, April 16th, 1864, when he died.
During this protracted and painful illness, no murmur of complaint escaped the sufferer’s lips. The beautiful traits of his character shone, with even more than wonted loveliness during the last hours of his life. That benignant and expressive smile, so peculiarly his, played about his features even in death, lingering to relieve the pallor of final dissolution. An ardent admirer of nature, he would often request of a morning to be placed near an overlooking window of his room, so that after a night of restless wakefulness and wearisome pain, his suffering spirit might be soothed by the early music of birds and solaced by the genial sunshine. Only a day or two before he died, some flowers--Oleanders, we believe--were brought into his chamber, and as his eye beheld them he touchingly remarked: "Here," said he, alluding to the flowers, "here are some friends from the Jordan." So they were, being natives, as we learn, of that sacred River of the East. The affecting circumstances under which the remark was let fall--his death near at hand, Jordan the figurative River of Death, the flowers its natives, and he just upon its banks--combined to render it most impressive and poetic.
The night preceding the final consummation, as evening approached, he requested the chair in which he reclined to be wheeled into position so that he might witness the setting of the sun from his chamber window. With the most intense interest and apparent delight, he viewed the gorgeous prospect, until the last ray had faded behind the distant hills; then with a vision divinely prophetic he breathed as one inspired, this exquisite sentiment: "So the sun of my life goes down, but it will rise again to-morrow."
Often during his illness he expressed the wish that he might die in the morning. God in His Providence, granted him that wish. His spirit lingered upon the confines of earth throughout Friday night until 6 o’clock Saturday morning, when, amid the resplendent glories of opening day, it winged its way to immortality. Consciousness attended him to the last. He died, faintly smiling a farewell to the dear ones around him.
O HATHAWAY! the man, the brother!
And art thou gone, and gone forever?
And hast thou cross’d that unknown river--
Life’s dreary bound?
Like thee, where shall we find another,
The world around?
Go to yor sculptur’d tombs, ye Great,
In all the tinsel trash of State!
But by the honest turf I’ll wait,
Thou man of worth!
And ween the one best follows fate,
E’er lay in earth.
In the solemn stillness of a golden April day, he was laid to rest amid the scenes of his birth and boyhood.
"The self-same earth
Now gives him burial’, which first gave him birth."
There let him sleep, surrounded by the pastoral sights and sounds he loved so well, his lofty spirit the while in serene companionship with celestial Knighthood.
Hon. Thomas Maxwell.
Mr. MAXWELL was born February 16th, 1792, at Athens, Pennsylvania, and came to Elmira, (then Newtown Point), in 1796, his father removing in that year to enter into the mercantile business and sell his village lots, he having bought 100 acres of land, which constitutes more than ½ of the business part of our City. His father being a man of considerable property, and holding positions of trust and honor, he no doubt had fair advantages for education, although it did not extend beyond the English branches. He married young, and his first wife was a Miss SAYRE, sister of HECTOR and JONAS SAYRE, of Horseheads. She died young, leaving a daughter, who also died, about 14 years of age, in 1832. His second wife was Miss MARIA PURDY, daughter of ANDREW PURDY, of Spencer, whom he married, probably, in 1819; she died in 1846. At the time of his death he was living with a third wife, formerly a Miss RICHARDSON.
Mr. MAXWELL was the third Clerk of Tioga County, Spencer then being the shire town, and served from March, 1819, to January 1, 1829. His first three years of service was by appointment, under the old Constitution of the State. In 1822 he was elected, under the new Constitution, and again re-elected in 1825. He was elected, in 1828, to the House of Representatives, and served during the term of the 21st Congress. In 1834 he was appointed Postmaster at Elmira, which office he filled for several years. In 1836, when the County was divided, he received the appointment of Deputy Clerk, to transcribe all the records pertaining to the new County of Chemung. He was at one time, probably about 1841, Vice President of the New York & Erie Railroad Company. When Judge MONELL became Clerk of the Supreme Court, (1844 or ‘ 45), Mr. M. received the appointment of Deputy, and removed to Geneva, where he remained while incumbent of the office. While here, he was admitted as an Attorney and Counsellor in the Supreme Court. He was cotemporary with some of the greatest men in the nation; was on intimate terms with many of them, and enjoyed their friendship and esteem as long as they lived.
With all of his ability, he was one of the most retiring and modest of men, and it was torture to him to be called upon to speak in public. He once related an anecdote of his first and only experience at addressing the House while he was a Member of Congress. He had a petition or resolution to offer, and when he arose to his feet, caught the eye of the Speaker, and was announced as having the floor, he said he imagined the eyes of every member was fixed upon him, and the number seemed multiplied till he was surrounded by a multitude of eager and anxious listeners. How he got through he had no conception, but so great was his fright, that when he had finished his remarks, added-- "All in favor will say Aye!" and sat down mentally and physically exhausted. "That," said he, "was the most effective thing I said, for it created a great deal of amusement, and I was repeatedly congratulated for the witty hit I had made. I received the credit for my coolness and smartness meekly, for it was entirely involuntary, and I never was so frightened in my life."
Had his assurance been equal to his ability, Mr. M. would have won a position second to no man in the State. His memory was remarkable, and anything he read was stored away to be used when wanted. He was a tireless worker, and never relaxed in his labors only to spend his leisure in his well selected and valuable library. We refer to a period up to 1840. Not long after that time, misfortunes thickened around him--the modest accumulation of his labors was swept away, and his library went with his other property, and that to him was his most grievous loss. His plans for the future disposal of it were frustrated, and great was his disappointment. He repeatedly said that he designed to collect a library which should be complete as his means would permit, and in records of local history should be unsurpassed, and that the entire collection of printed volumes and manuscripts should be given to the village. He said when it passed out of his hands he wanted it to be of public benefit, and it should be his legacy to the town where his whole life had been spent. His misfortunes were a municipal calamity, and it is feared an irreparable one. His manuscripts are scattered, and all that was most valuable, and could not be replaced, is probably gone beyond recovery. The printed volumes, however carefully preserved from injury in gilt and morocco covers, while resting in private neglect, silently and eloquently protest against banishment from the sphere of their projected usefulness.
A large part of his business was the procuring of pensions for the soldiers and widows of the Revolution and the war of 1812. In this manner he acquired an immense amount of knowledge of great historic value, and the number of personal incidents he could relate of prominent actors in those wars, was almost endless, and they were undoubtedly historically true, for they were personal reminiscences of those who came to solicit his aid to procure pensions. He never attempted a case without an almost certainty that the claim was a just one, and he could not well be deceived, for there was not a brigade, or regiment, or hardly company, that he did not remember who the officers were, and how long they served. His acceptance of a claim was almost a warrant that it would be recognized by the Government. It did not seem to occur to him that he ought to receive pay for the knowledge he had gained, and it was with diffidence that he named most modest fees for his services. Had he been as devoted to accumulating money as he was to the interests of his clients, he might have built a Temple to Mammon.
He was a most unselfish and amiable man, and in the family circle was loved with unwavering affection. It was the good fortune of the writer to be a member of the family many years, while he was in the height of his activity and usefulness, and during that long period his temper was never known to be ruffled, nor an angry or unkind word to pass his lips. His habits were simple and unostentatious, and his demeanor was ever the same, whether entertaining peer or commoner. No one was so humble as not to gain access to him at any moment, and the same courtesy governed him in all his intercourse with his fellow men. His benevolence was only limited by his means, and it was of so unobtrusive a character that he seemed quite unconscious of it himself. The noble nature he possessed never degenerated, either in prosperity of adversity, and the steady poise of his mind was never disturbed either by the flattery of success or by pecuniary ruin. A monarch in the world of intellect, he was too modest to assume his proper place in the front ranks of the great men of his generation. A devoted lover of his country, his patriotism was not limited by party policy or prejudice, and the advance of our Republic to greatness was dearer to him than personal aggrandizement. His religion was confined to no sect nor creed--he indulged in no narrow prejudices, and placed simple faith in the universal goodness of the Creator. He sleeps in the midst of the scenes where he passed a long and useful life. The monumental marble may adorn his grave, but it is a poor and perishable record of the virtues that embellished the life of him who sleeps beneath.
Seymour F. Denton.
SEYMOUR F. DENTON was the son of the late S. B. DENTON, for several years past a resident of this City. He was born in the town of Montgomery, Orange County, NY, on the 13th of September, 1825, and was consequently, at his death, 41 years, 8 months and 25 days old. His residence was continued in Orange County until 1835, when his parents removed to Elmira, where they tarried for about a year. They subsequently resided at Lawrenceville, Pa., and then at Corning, NY, where he was clerk in the Post Office, his father holding the office of Postmaster for nearly four years. Subsequently he became a clerk in the old Corning Bank, an institution then under the control of HIRAM W. BOSTWICK, President, and P. J. MALLORY, Cashier. He acquitted himself in the different positions with credit, and came out, when the institution failed, without a stain upon his reputation. Upon the organization of the J. N. HUNGERFORD Bank, Mr. DENTON became Cashier, which post he held until 1860 or thereabouts, when a long period of ill health compelled him to relinquish business for a while, that his wasted energies might be restored.
Having so far regained his health as again to prosecute business, he entered into partnership with WM. WALKER, of Corning, as Insurance Agent, of which firm, notwithstanding his other duties, he continued a member until a few weeks previous to his death, when he disposed of his interest to his partner.
In 1862, upon the passage of the Internal Revenue law, he became a candidate for the office of Collector. There were several competitors for the prize, and the contest was quite spirited, but Mr. DENTON was victorious, and in the untried position bore himself with such urbanity, moderation and forbearance, as to command the admiration, confidence and respect of political opponents, as well as political friends.
In the early period of his official existence, so ignorant were all, in this country, of the Internal Revenue system, that the utmost carefulness was necessary to secure uniformity in the operation of the law. Mr. D. brought to the discharge of his duties a thorough business habit, an urbanity of deportment and an equanimity of mind as perfect as it was rare, and no more fitting tribute need to paid to these endowments, than to say that amid the perils of officials he remained undisturbed, while others, his associates and friends, have lost their places.
In the year 1849, Mr. DENTON became the husband of Miss LUCRETIA MORSE, and his domestic relations have been the most pleasant and agreeable. Four children--three boys and one girl--have been the fruits of this union, three of them, all boys, survive. As a husband he was always loving and kind, and as a father the most indulgent and faithful. In these respects, nothing more was to be desired, and standing amid his young and rising family, inscrutable indeed seems the Providence that called him. His widowed wife, with the charge of the family upon her hands, has the cheerful, pleasant and correct example of the partner of her bosom to point to; and if the boys copy the noble bearing of the father, will become useful citizens in their turn.
During a varied business life of over 20 years, he gave marked evidence of business capacity and integrity. He was ever faithful in the discharge of the trusts reposed in him, and was uniformly courteous in all his dealings, gentlemanly in his bearing, and exhibited a sincerity that created and maintained enduring friendship. It is but the truth to state that no man ever more fully possessed the confidence and esteem of our citizens, none was more respected for genuine moral worth, none more earnestly devoted to the religious interests of the community than Mr. Denton. Of unassuming manner, and quiet deportment, avoiding rather than seeking notoriety, earnest in his convictions, zealous in the discharge of his duties, faithful to every trust, a warm friend, a genial companion, a public spirited citizen, a sincere Christian, he exemplified by his daily life and conversation the truth that intelligence and virtue form the highest style of man, that the noblest work of God is he who faithfully discharges, in his sight, the obligations of life. He was a staunch friend of Temperance, a zealous laborer in the Sabbath School, a devoted member of the Episcopal Church. During his residence in Corning, he was uniformly called upon to lead service in the absence of the clergyman, and there was eminent fitness in the selection. He exhibited great interest in the cultivation of Church Music, and in all that affected the temporal or spiritual prosperity of the people he was active and unwearied.
As a public man and a citizen, Mr. DENTON possessed many traits of character which should more generally characterize the men of the times. In religious view and opinions, Mr. DENTON was a zealous and active Churchman. For many years he was a Vestryman of Christ Church, at Corning, and Superintendent of the Sabbath School, and at the time of his death was a Vestryman of Grace Church, of Elmira. His views of personal religion were clear and deeply evangelical, and during his long illness he has borne cheerful and uniform testimony, in word and deed, to the power of Divine grace upon the heart. Death had few terrors for him, and finally, when the last sad hour came, he remarked upon the approach of daylight and the matin song of the birds, which had just then commenced, when his head fell gently back, and his spirit passed from its earthly tenement without a sigh.
"Brother, thou wast mild and lovely,
Gentle as the summer breeze,
Pleasant as the air of evening,
When it floats among the trees."
--At the time of his death, a series of appropriate resolutions were passed by the Vestry of Grace Church, prefaced by some remarks from the Rector, from which we quote a paragraph, as follows:
"He was one of the few who signed the Articles of Association which gave it an existence and a name. I need not tell you how, wise in council, prompt and vigorous in action, and liberal in gifts, to the full extent of the ability which God had bestowed upon him, he contributed by the force of his example and previous life, even when health had failed him, to the firm establishment of our Parish. His heart, his voice, his hand, were ever ready on principle, to speak and do for the cause of the Church he loved, and whose upbuilding he labored to promote. But he has gone. Gone in the midst of his years and of his usefulness. Gone when it would seem to us he could least be spared. But gone at the call of Him whose the Church is, who can accomplish His work by other hands, and who I trust and pray will raise up others like minded with our departed friend, to supply his lack of service to the Church."
His death occurred June 8th, 1867. His funeral services were held at Grace Church, Rev. C. T. KELLOGG presiding, assisted by Rev. Mr. BARROWS, of Mansfield, Pa. His remains were taken to Woodlawn Cemetery.
Dr. Jotham Purdy.
Dr. PURDY was born in Westchester County, NY, May 4th, 1799, and died suddenly, of apoplexy, August 11th, 1868, and was consequently 59 years of age at the time of his death. He came to Elmira to reside, in the year 1822. Early in his practice he earned the reputation of a most skillful surgeon, which he justly deserved, and which he retained up to the time of his death. His practice was not confined to this particular locality, by any means, but he was called upon to treat patients hundreds of miles away, and especially after the completion of the Erie Railway, he did pretty much all the surgical business on the Susquehanna Division for many years; he was a bold and independent operator, never inflicting unnecessary pain upon one of his patients. He was a member of the New York State Medical Society, whose annual meetings at Albany he was very fond of attending; was also a member of the Chemung County Medical Society, and Elmira Academy of Medicine.
He was extravagantly fond of hunting. During the early part of his life, when game was plenty, he would go out as often as two or three times a month, and almost invariably return with a deer; but as the country became more thickly settled, and the surrounding hills cleared up, he was obliged to seek other localities to indulge in his favorite sport, and would often go to Potter County, Pa., and spend two weeks each time; in fact, at the time of his death he was making preparations to go the next day upon one of these excursions. His associates upon these occasions were usually E. JONES, Sr., Dr. URIAH SMITH, Hon. JOHN W. WISNER, and Capt. SAM. MILLER, of Millertown, Pa.
His funeral was one of the largest and most imposing Masonic ceremonials that has ever taken place in this City, the number of people in attendance being estimated at about 4,000, and by some at even a larger number. Dr. PURDY’s position as a Mason of many years standing--being one of the Charter members of Union Lodge No. 95, and Elmira Chapter No. 42, and his membership of the Order of Knights Templar, added to the fact of his being, at the time of his death, invested with the office and dignities of High Priest of Elmira Chapter, brought forth a demonstration from the members of the fraternity, befitting the occasion and the distinguished brother in whose honor it was called out. Members of the fraternity from neighboring Lodges were present in large numbers; and the Most Excellent High Priest of the Grand Chapter of the State, Dr. PETER P. MURPHY, of Niagara County, having been notified at the earliest period, left his business at a moment’s notice, and hastened to conduct the ceremonies in honor of one who was bound to him, not only as a brother, companion and Sir Knight, but as a personal friend and respected member of the profession to which each belonged.
He was a most indulgent husband and father; his heart was generous, and his charity as kindly as his intellect was masterly. In all the walks of life he stood forth a man, ready to bear the burdens of others, and never stooping to a dishonorable deed.
Andrew K. Gregg, Sr.
Mr. GREGG, whose death occurred at Chippewa Falls, Wis., April 5th, 1868, was born in Elmira, Oct. 15th, 1799. His father, JOHN GREGG, for many years a resident of Elmira, was a native of Enniskellen, in Ireland, born there in the year 1768. He came to this country with his father, at an early age, first to Northumberland County, Pa., in 1775, and to this place, then known as Newtown Point, in 1795. ANDREW GREGG, the grandfather of the subject of this notice, was, at the time of his removal here, 63 years old. He died here at an advanced age, and the remains of ANDREW the elder, and his son JOHN, repose in the old grave-yard in this City.
In early life, ANDREW K. GREGG was a merchant in this then small village, but not meeting, in that vocation, with the success which warranted his continuing in it, he entered the law office of MATTHEWS & EDWARDS, and prosecuted his legal studies with them till the breaking up of that firm by the removal of Judge EDWARDS to Bath, and of VINCENT MATTHEWS to Rochester. Afterwards, Mr. GREGG completed his legal course in the office of Judge GRAY, and was admitted as an Attorney to the Supreme Court in 1830; as a Counesllor of the same, and as a Solicitor and Counsellor of the Court of Chancery in 1835; as an Attorney, Proctor, Solicitor, Counsellor and Advocate, of the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of New York, in 1842; as an Attorney and Counsellor of the United States Court for the District of Wisconsin, in 1862. He also filled the office of District Attorney of Tioga County for two terms, from 1835 to 1841. For more than 46 years of his long life, Mr. GREGG had been in constant practice of the law, giving it up within only a few days of his death.
He removed to Chippewa Falls in the summer of 1857, and commenced at once a large practice, which he continued to the end of his life. A devoted student, a man of indefatigable industry, of strict fidelity to business, and of undoubted sincerity of purpose, his loss will be deeply felt by members of the bar throughout Northern Wisconsin, while in the social walks of life he will be mourned as one possessing most excellent qualities of head and heart. To the family thus suddenly bereft, no earthly loss could have been greater, for no earthly friend could have been kinder, more affectionate, or more solicitous for their well being than he who has been taken from them. Sons and daughters long since gone from the family circle, will feel that this loss of a father comes as keenly home to them as to those under the paternal roof, for he was alike dear to all.
For the last few years of his life his health has been precarious, and upon the occasion of his recent visit, in 1867, he expressed himself as apprehensive that he would never again rest his eyes upon the sparkling waters of his native River, or the green hills which enrich the now busy City of his birth.
Hon. John G. McDowell.
There are many individuals whose names should appear in a full history of the first settlement of our country, and there are but few whose names are more intimately associated with the pioneer settlement of the Valley of Chemung, than that of the late JOHN G. McDOWELL.
Judge McDOWELL was born in Chemung, Feb. 27th, 1794, and at the time of his decease, Jan. 1st, 1866, was nearly 72 years of age. In early life he pursued the mercantile occupation, but his agricultural tastes led him to the farm which he continued to cultivate during the greater portion of his days. During the latter years of his life he lived in comparative seclusion and retirement, but formerly he was a man of influence and distinction in this section of the State, and was considered as among the principal citizens of the old Western Jury District. Under the old Constitution, he was the cotemporary in political life with MARTIN VAN BUREN, SILAS WRIGHT, Gov. MARCY and Gen. JOHN A. DIX, with all whom he held intimate personal and political relations.
He was much in public life, and represented his District in the Assembly during the years 1830-31. In the fall of 1831 he was elected one of the four Senators from the old Sixth Senatorial District, then composed of the Counties of Delaware, Otsego, Chenango, Broome, Tioga, Cortland and Tompkins. The territory now in Chemung then formed part of Tioga. About this period he was appointed the President (first President) of the Chemung Canal Bank, an institution which procured its charter through his instrumentality. He served as Senator through the years 1832-33-34-35.
Under the Act for loaning the surplus revenues of the United States, Judge McDOWELL afterwards received from his personal and political friend, Gov. MARCY, the appointment of Commissioner of Loans. His last appearance in public life was as Presidential Elector, in 1852.
In every relation of life, Judge McDOWELL possessed the faculty of creating strong personal friendships, and his greatest pride and pleasure to the day of his death, was to meet and give generous hospitality to the old pioneers. Those to whom he was best known, were always his most warmly attached friends. He had a good intellect, good business capacity, a genial and jovial heart; was a man of strong convictions, fervent impulses--high-minded, generous and truthful. Those who might hesitate to adopt his views and opinions, could but admire his honest devotion to his principles, and the earnestness and inflexibility with which he maintained them.
Of the blessings of this world’s goods, Judge McDOWELL had an abundance, and was surrounded with all the comforts which human prosperity can bestow, and he enjoyed them rationally, being just to himself, generous to his family and friends, and kind and liberal to the poor. His memory will ever be cherished and revered, as a true gentleman of the olden school. Surely the end of the good man is peace.
"Night dews fall not more gently,
Nor weary, worn-out winds retire so soft."
In writing the biography of the deceased, a link in the chain would be wanting, were we to neglect to mention of the father of the subject of this memoir, Captain DANIEL McDOWELL, who settled upon the farm subsequently known as "McDowell’s Flats," and which was occupied by John G. McDOWELL for more than a quarter of a century.
Captain DANIEL McDOWELL, (a Cameronian Scotchman) with highland zeal espoused the cause of American independence; was captured at Shawnee, Sept. 12th, 1782, by the Indians and taken prisoner to Niagara, where he was compelled to run the gauntlet. His muscular frame, superhuman bravery and extreme agility, enabled him to pass through that terrible savage ordeal, and was only one among a number who escaped. He was subsequently banished to Quebec, where, after undergoing many acts of cruelty at the hands of his captors, and languishing in prison a year, he was allowed his liberty.
The writer remembers hearing the relict of Capt. McDOWELL, then an old lady nearly 90 years of age, recount many interesting incidents connected with the life and adventures of her husband among the savages. One was, that while on his way to Niagara as a prisoner, the route led them by an Indian trail near the present location of the Chemung Depot, where the party halted to slake their thirst at a spring. At that time the Tyrian dyes a mid-autumn lent a charm to the forests and groves; here and anon over the broad flats were patches of Indian corn, surrounded by thickets of plums, cherries and hawthorn, while the wild grapes clustered in profusion, festooning the overhanging branches of the elm and sycamore. Impressed with the beauty of the location and fertility of the soil, the prisoner determined, if he escaped, to return and occupy those desirable and inviting fields, which he afterwards did. This magnificent estate, in following years, was owned and occupied by the Hon. JOHN C. CLARK and brother; around it clings many hallowed associations of friends and days long passed away.
Capt. McDOWELL was known by the Indians as Keto, (meaning the Iron Man). He was liberally educated, possessed a vigorous intellect, and was a man of great nerve and energy. Participating in many of the wars against the British and their powerful auxiliaries, (the savages), his life was eventful, and fraught with the exciting scenes of border strife.
Unfortunately for the history of our country, his manuscripts were destroyed in a conflagration in the year 1790, and like the history of many of our forefathers in the great struggle for liberty, their heroic deeds are buried with the actors.
Dr. Hovey Everitt.
Dr. EVERITT was born Dec. 25th, 1800, in Sharon Township, Connecticut, and at his demise was about 61 years of age. Early evincing a taste for the medical profession, he entered Yale College, and graduated with the highest honors, in 1821, and as a remarkable fact, was one among four brothers who attained distinction in the successful practice of surgery and medicine. Possessing a spirit of adventure and enterprise, which has ever characterized the indomitable sons of New England, Dr. EVERITT felt that the "Land of Steady Habits" was too pent up to give scope to his then youthful, active and ambitions nature; therefore, toward the setting son he turned his course. Mounted on horseback, with lance and port manteau, our young M. D. bid good bye to the scenes of his boyhood--passing from the pleasant shades of his Alma Mater to a land of strangers. In due time the Valley of the Chemung was reached, and it was here he determined to adopt his home-
"Here shall young genius wing his eagle flight,
Rich dew drops shaking from this plumes of light."
The reader must imagine that the Chemung Valley was then almost an unbroken wilderness, only here and there on the river bottoms the smoke from the pioneer’s cabin denoted the incipient steps of civilization. How great the change at present! The steady and advancing assaults of the woodman’s axe have caused primeval forests to shrink back; the gloomy, trackless woods that once covered our mountains and valleys are no more, and the former abodes of the savages and wild beasts are now blooming with the fruits of industry, wrought by the hands of our fathers, and we, their sons, are reaping the blessings of the labor, privations and hardships endured by them. May we ever revere their sacred memory.
Dr. EVERITT practiced in Chemung about 40 years; his visits extended, at an early period of his life, over a great scope of territory--a radius of 50 miles would not exceed the limit. Elmira, (then Newtown), was often frequented by him in his practice. At all times of night and day he performed his errands of mercy over impassable roads, by flood and field, to the couch of the afflicted, always affording relief. The rich and poor were alike to him; he would ride as far to serve the one as the other; his charity and kindness of heart did not stop here; his generosity was only limited by the necessities of those in need of his assistance professionally or otherwise. It was often a wonder how Dr. EVERITT became wealthy, as he never attempted to force collections from any body, and his kind, benevolent nature forbid him from ever taking and exacting what rightly and justly belonged to him. A Doctor’s bill is generally the last bill to be paid for the reason that a man is apt to show ingratitude after he has recovered or has no further use for the Doctor. But Providence did deal generously with Dr. EVERITT; farm after farm was annexed to his possessions until he became an extensive land owner, and at his granary and well-stored larder the poor ever found solace.
Dr. EVERITT was an inveterate smoker. After administering to his patient, he was wont to light his pipe and crack jokes. His rollicking, jolly Yankee wit, was ever brought into practice, and being a shrewd observer of human nature, operated upon his patients with his sallies of wit, sarcasm, puns, prophecies, poetry and politics; the effect had, probably, as much to do with his great success as a scientific practitioner, as the compounds he dispensed. This was in the days of bleeding and calomel, the only restoratives for all the ills that flesh was heir to. Dr. EVERITT overturned this practice, and was one among the first who instituted a new order of treatment.
The home of Dr. EVERITT was a rendezvous for all the old pioneers. The few old settlers who may chance to read this memoir will not fail to recall to memory the open-handed, cordial receptions they used to receive at his house. His name is held in grateful remembrance by all with whom he was known. He had a large active brain, a good judgment and quick perception. He was strictly temperate, warm hearted, noble, generous, benevolent and truthful, and possessed a genial and social disposition. Although not a member of any Church, his life was ornamented with all the Christian graces, and charity was a marked feature; as he lived so he died--a strong, pure and devoted man. Dr. EVERITT was esteemed as a great and good man, and at his death a heart-stricken community felt almost an irreparable loss.
Jesse Carpenter was born in Goshen, Orange County, NY, June 10th, 1787. He first came to this Valley in company with his brother, JOSEPH, in the Spring of the year 1804. The latter died many years ago. They both settled upon the farm owned and occupied by the late B. S. CARPENTER. It was bought by their father. The first year, the subject of this notice worked the land, and kept bachelor’s hall. At this period all this part of the State was essentially an unbroken wilderness. Be sure, the woods from the seaboard were filled with sturdy pioneers, slowly working their way to these lovely Valleys, along the Susquehanna, Chemung and its tributaries, and the Genesee and its tributaries, whose sylvan beauties were undoubtedly adequately pictured by the enthusiastic explorers who had been to see them. Many settlers, it is true, had already built their primitive homes along the banks of the Chemung, and were valiantly contending against the forces of nature in behalf of civilization. Yet, in the main, the deep forests predominated in the Valley, and the hill slopes were rejoicing in their primeval vestments. The woods were filled with game, and the rivers made homes for myriads of water-fowl, and swarms of animals, valuable for their furs. So it was a paradise for the hunter, as well as a garden for the industrious and persevering husbandman. And a large percentage of the hardy settlers were as diligent with their guns and traps as their axes. Yet, the forests melted away, and the wild animals with them. And it seems to us now, almost incredible, that this vast country, comprising within its territory a population reaching tens of thousands, whose cleared farms are as limitless as are its utmost boundaries, and rich and fruitful as the most poetic imaginations of the early pioneers pictured them, whose wide spaces of meadow land and field are dotted with thousands of spacious, happy and prosperous homes, whose centers are built up into large and wealthy cities, and bright, prosperous villages, was only the brief space of a life-time back--such a wilderness as we have been describing.
July 10th, 1810, Mr. CARPENTER married Miss EMMA, daughter of JOHN SAYRE, of Romulus, Seneca County, NY. She was also a native of Orange County, NY. Her parents moved into Seneca County, when she was a child. The favorite, and only expeditious method of proceeding in those days was on horseback. A long journey was not performed over fine and well defined roads. The riding was mainly done through passage-ways cut in the forest, wide enough for a pioneer’s wagon, alternating with Indian trails. Miss EMMA, when a young lady, wished to go and see her friends in Orange County. That was a laudable desire, but to make his journey of 200 miles on horseback, required some more endurance and nerve than, we fear, the ladies of the present generation would be able to summon to sustain them in the performance of such a trip, even for such a purpose. The trip from Horseheads to Goshen was accomplished in five days. And we have no doubt Miss EMMA enjoyed both the journey and the visit quite as well as do her descendants now, who make the first by mounting, at Elmira (which has somehow outgrown Horseheads), that incarnated idea of the present generation, called a railway coach. A rush and a rattle, a shriek and a rumble, and they are let out at Goshen. We suppose the visiting is done now-a-days in the same masterly manner. Subsequent to his marriage, Mr. CARPENTER bought a farm in what is now known as the town of Big Flats, and in the Spring of 1814 moved on to it. It is now known as the "DAVID REYNOLDS farm." He lived here only two years. The title to his purchase proved defective, and he lost all his advances upon it. He then bought the farm adjoining the one originally purchased by his father, moved on it, and remained there all the rest of his days. In the war of 1812, Mr. CARPENTER illustrated the quality of his patriotism by recruiting a company and leading them to the field. We believe he did not participate in any of the historic struggles of that second war for independence, with Great Britain. This was his fortune, and not a matter of choice. Yet he was not a man to go to the battle field for the glory of the thing. He was eminently a man of peace, and when he shouldered his gun for the serious business of fighting, it may be decided that it was primarily to contend for the right, and to defend the life of the nation.
All men of large mental forces and extensive temperaments, pursue some special object with more or less success, which makes them known among their neighbors, or the people among whom they dwell. Mr. CARPENTER’s specialty in a business way, was stock rearing and dairying. He was the pioneer butter maker of this County, and we may say of this section of the State. Butter making is now the chief element in the agricultural prosperity of this part of the State, and especially of this County. To no other one man is the character which this County now enjoys in the great butter mart of the country for its superior product of butter, so much indebted as to him. He commenced manufacturing butter for the New York market in 1829, and for some years after had to cart his product to Havana, and send it from thence to New York, by Canal. Years before Chemung County butter was known in the New York market, Mr. CARPENTER used to send his product there and sell it at Orange County prices. That was the prize butter County for years, and it was thought that a first class article of butter could not be made outside of it. He possessed habits of close and accurate observation, and had a much more than ordinary development of the analytical and logical faculties. He brought all these into use in his earlier essays at butter making. The first question to be decided was that of the quality of the grasses and of the water. If the first could be grown here as good as in Orange County, and the last found here as pure, then just as good butter could be made here as there. He settled this question in his own mind affirmatively. Then he gave the art and science of butter making his closest study. He knew all the chemical changes the milk undergoes after being drawn; what they should be and what they should not be. All about temperatures while the milk is standing, and when churned; how to handle the cows during the milking season, and in the winter. In fine, he had made himself such a perfect master of the whole minutiae of the business, that his product was the most perfect article sent to market. He sometimes held his season’s product over, and then went into market and sold, under the closest tests, reaching the highest Orange County figures. He was a clear headed and free talking man. He did not keep his light under a bushel. Just how much the dairymen of this County, who began earliest to make butter, and those who are sending down to market now, yearly, car loads of a first class article, are indebted to Mr. C. for their general success, they would scarcely be willing to acknowledge. Failure to reach his high standard in the market, was the result here for years. That was the true test. Then the example decided the question for the Orange County makers, and they came here to pursue their business. They now count, perhaps, a majority of the dairymen in our County. Such are the results to the industrial interests of this section, and the meed of credit due Mr. C. should now be rendered.
Mr. and Mrs. CARPENTER both lived to a ripe old age. The former died at his old home, the one he had built with his own hands, July 11th, 1829, widely known and universally esteemed. The latter followed him a few years later. They raised a large family--five boys and three girls--all of whom are still living. GEORGE, EDWARD, JAMES, JONATHAN and WILLIAM, are the names of the boys, now middle-aged men. The names of the girls are MARTHA, CLARA and SUSAN. JAMES occupies the homestead, and still pursues the business so successfully carried on by his father. Mr. C. was a man of unusual strength of character, and of wide intelligence, which his contemporaries acknowledged by conceding him central standing ground among them.