HILDRETHS OF THE TOWN OF HERKIMER
By Betsy Voorhees
The above picture is the main home of the Hildreth family who settled in the Town of Herkimer on the Hassenclevers Patent.
There are several of the Hildreth family members who are buried in the Middleville Rural Cemetery, which is a distance of approximately two miles from this residence, on Route 28 in the town of Herkimer. Two of these persons were Thaddeus Hildreth, who was born in Chesterield, NH in 1786 and died in 1869, and his wife Betsy Willard, born in 1793 and who passed away in 1851.
The Hildreth family owned considerable farm lands and property in the town of Herkimer. The underground springs, which are common for this area, were certainly a benefit to the apple orchards on the farm land. The lands flowed gracefully over hills, meadows covering many acres bordering the Steuben Forest on the west and the West Canada Creek on the east. After a climb to the top of what used to be a meadow on this land, one can have a scenic view for miles.
These farm lands were formerly owned by Simon, Hiram and Daniel Farmer. Further information on the Farmer family can be found by joining the free list at: Farmer-L@rootsweb.com which is for people researching this surname. The Farmers in this area migrated from Massachusetts in the late 1700's or early 1800's.
It can be noted that Thaddeus Hildreth purchased a piece of property which was recorded in 1826 in the Book of Deeds Number 22 at page 284. This record is located at the Herkimer County Office Building in the Records Section where the deeds are housed. Further records show that a Thaddeus Hildreth born in the 1700's came from New Hampshire.
In Book 74 of Deeds page 387 is found a transaction to Francis A. Osborn of a piece of Thaddeus Hildreth property in 1859 in the Hassenclevers Patent consisting of 79 acres bordered by the Plank road.
Almira Turtelot and Stephen Turtelot purchased lands in 1865 from the Hildreths, later selling these lands whose boundaries started at the center of the "plank road", now called Route 28 or Middleville Road in the town of Herkimer, which consisted of 208 acres. This same acreage had previously been conveyed to Simeon Osborn and Hannah Osborn his wife by the Hildreths.
In Book 111 deeds pg. 86 is recorded the transfer of a parcel of land from W. B. Fenner and Eliza A. Fenner, his wife to Hiram Farmer a parcel of land "lately owned and occupied by Stephen Turtolotte" in the year 1877. This parcel originally was part of the Hildreth property also.
A Warranty Deed dated April 21, 1880 shows Delos C. Dempster of Herkimer, as guardian of Rosa Hawkins an infant, transferring property to Howard M. Hildreth with boundaries on the southeast corner of Daniel Farmer's land. This parcel was 66 acres and was recorded in Book 113 of Deeds page 527.
In 1880 in Book 114 of Deeds page 455 of Hiram M. Hildreth it reads, "For and in consideration of the sum of $15.00 to me in hand paid, I hereby give and grant to the Consolidated Water Company of Utica, N. Y. the right and privilege to take and divert water from the West Canada Creek, or tributary streams at or above Hinckley, N. Y. upon the express condition however, that any taking or storing of water therefrom by said Consolidated Water Company from said West Canada Creek shall not diminish the flow of water in said creek, so as to interfere with the use of said Creek upon my lands for any or all farming and domestic purposes." Note: this editor learned many years ago from the brothers Charles, William and Steven Hladysz that the path for this water distribution was on the north side by Simeon Osborne's home and the connection to the West Canada Creek was never made by the Consolidated Water Company from the creek up over the hills to Utica.
In 1880 the Herkimer Newport & Poland Narrow Gauge Railway attained a deed from Howard M. Hildreth and Mary A. Hildreth giving permission for the the train track heading north to pass through his property bordering on the west side of West Canada Creek. Other names listed in connecting properties at the time were Hiram and Daniel Farmer and Frank G. Hildreth.
The Petition on the Estate of Howard M. Hildreth (d. 12/7/1907) dated 1908 reveals his widow Annie T. Hildreth and two daughters Margaret C. Hildreth and Madelein H. Mann, and two sons Hiram T. Hildreth and Cadwalder Hildreth, as his sole heirs to his Estate.
In Beer's "History of Herkimer County" (1879) page 261 it states "Hiram T. Hildreth, deceased was born in Herkimer in 1819 and on March 13, 1851 married Cynthia M. Myers."
A 1928 listing of concerned persons notified for the proposed extension of the Herkimer water supply system along Route 28 shows an offer for connections to the new water main to property owners at that time along the route to Hinckley, NY with these peoples names connected to the Hildreth properties in the Town of Herkimer: Margaret Laws, Madeline H. Grant and Hiram T. Hildreth, all of Germantown, Tennessee, J. Cadwalder Hildreth of Akron, Ohio, heirs at law of Howard Hildreth, deceased, and Edna Hildreth, wife of J. Cadwalder Hildreth of Akron, Ohio.
Reuben Hildreth who was a native of Vermont also located in the Herkimer area and became a cheesemaker. Reuben died April 1, 1846 at the age of 91.
Jonathan Hildreth and his wife Julia Van Tassel left the Herkimer area to reside in Wisconsin.
Another later owner of a portion of the Hildreth property had the surname of Shepard. When Charles A. Shepard and his wife Amelia R. Shepard purchased the Hildreth home, they decided the main home in the picture shown was too large for them and they chose to live in the hired man's house, purchasing a part of the Hildreth farm. This editor in the 1960's car-pooled with several others to work and became acquainted with Charles and Amelia Shepard's grandson, Larry, who bussed people down to the valley.
In 1929, Harry Coffin and his wife Nellie Coffin purchased the Shepard lands and ran a farm at this location with one boundary listed as bordering on the south by lands of William D. Hildreth. Harry Coffin and his wife Nellie operated this farm for many years until Nellie passed away in the late 1960's, at which time this parcel was sold to the Hladyzs family, allowing for an expansion of their dairy business. It was at that time that some portions of what used to be the Farmer/Hildreth lands were rejoined again as connecting properties by the Hladysz family.
There are presently no operating farms in this immediate area, although a few new homes have been constructed in this still rural suburb. Certain portions of unused land seem to be returning to a wilderness state, with overgrown thorn apple trees, thorny bushes and assorted trees. It's almost impossible to hack a pathway to the woods on the west side. It is no wonder that wildlife desire to inhabitant these areas at this time.
Years ago a variety of types of apples grew in the orchards. Also, many butternut and hazelnut trees were located on the properties. People familiar with butternuts know how tasty they are in fudge, cookies, etc. Although coy dogs, which can still be seen in this area, are diminishing, there are still racoons and sly foxes romping about at night, as well as occasional skunks. The area has been known as good hunting grounds, with many over-populated deer darting out onto the highway, damaging unsuspecting drivers' vehicles. Every fall and every spring the geese can be heard and seen following the West Canada Creek to their seasonal homes.
As this editor lives in one of the properties mentioned above and has a copy of abstracts and title in her possession, most of the information regarding owners was taken from what was on hand. Other portions were relayed by older inhabitants of the area.
Some Hildreth Wills at the Herkimer County Courthouse:
There is also an Isaac Hildreth listed among Loyalists to the Crown during the Revolution. He is mentioned here since he appeared to move around so much after 1770 and might be somebody's "brick wall". (A loan request of the records can be made to the Chief, Public Records, Loan Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20504. These microfilms may be borrowed by libraries outside the Washington D.C. area through the interlibrary loan system.)
Isaac, a house carpenter and merchant, settled in 1770 at Norfolk, Va. In August of 1776 he returned to England with his family. In 1781 he returned to America and settled in Charlestown until it was evacuated in September 1782 when he removed with his family to Jamaica. Later, he went to N.Y. and in June 1783 he is found at Shelburne, N.S. Isaac's Loyalist Claim number is (AO13/24/262-264, 31/50-52).
For those wishing to research more information on their Hildreth ancestors: Todd R. Hildreth's http://www.Hildreth.net/
Further information concerning local Hildreth descendants, and other families mentioned here, can also be found at the Herkimer County Historical Society
Copyright © 2000 Betsy Voorhees
Picture Copyright © 2000 Betsy Voorhees
All Rights Reserved.