Some People Buried
Town of Newport
Herkimer County, NY
Many of us have walked through an old or abandoned cemetery and wondered about the people whose faded names we read. Were they always undocumented? "History of the Town of Newport: 1806 to 1906" was published by L.B. Tuttle, Newport, New York, in 1906. This small book is reprinted in Newport Historical Society's book "A Glimpse in Passing". The following short essays tell us what was known of some of the early settlers buried in the Swezey-Bromley Cemetery.
THE SWEZEY FAMILY
Daniel Swezey (1753 - 1825) and Clarissa (Sperry) Swezey (1753 - 1819) came from Suffolk County and settled in Newport (then Norway) in 1796. Whether or not the original location was in Newport or across the town line road in Russia we will not determine, as the Swezeys owned land on both sides of the road. Their children were George (1780 - 1851), John (1782 - 1837), Daniel (1778 - 1847), Sarah (1787 - 1866), Mary (1789 -), Eunice (1792 - 1832), Matthew B. (1794 - 1812) and Samuel (1784 - 1860).
George was the father of W.W. Swezey, who was connected with the National Bank of Newport and other local enterprises, and who was the first Town Superintendent of schools. John was the father of Albert Swezey, three of whose daughters reside in the Town of Russia. ( Note: this was written in 1906. )
Achsah (1820 - 1899), daughter of John, married Hezekiah Newberry and their children were William W., George, Samuel H. and Nellie (Willoughby). Samuel has been school Commissioner of Herkimer County and City Attorney of Little Falls.
The Rev. Samuel Swezey went to the State of Ohio. Sarah Swezey married Isaac Curry and removed to South Trenton. Curry at one time owned part of the H.S. Bowen property now belonging to P.V. Kimball. Mary Swezey married Jenks Benchley, son of pioneer Joseph Benchley, and they resided in Poland where he owned all of the land on the west side of Main street between Cold Brook and the town line and perhaps more. Eunice Swezey married Samuel Case and went west. Daniel Swezey had 14 children, nearly all of whom settled in Chautauqua County.
NOTE: an 1890 biographical sketch, using information possibly provided by
Daniel's grandson Hiram Swezey of Batavia, NY, attributes a different wife to Daniel, and doesn't list his son John.
THE GRIFFIN FAMILY
In the north-east corner of the town, John Griffin (1758 - 1852), a mulatto, and his wife Mercy (1775 - 1859) were early settlers. They were parents of Mrs. Samuel Bromley. They acquired considerable property before the state road was laid out and their house was at or near the site of the old Bromley house - now also destroyed They sold part of their land to Ezra Stillman and part to Hezekiah Wilber, who kept one of the numerous taverns on the state road near the site of Charles Hinds' house. This Wilber was the strong man of the times and it is related of him that, while assisting in the construction of the Union Church at Norway, he, on a bet, moved, unaided, a heavy timber that an ox team had failed to draw. After this church was completed, Dan K. Ross, another Newport man, climbed the lightning rod and stood on the ball of the spire.
THE STILLMAN FAMILY
Ezra Stillman (1779 - 1862) was born in Rhode Island and came to Newport about 1800 and settled on the place now occupied by Frank Have. He married Polly Newberry (1786 - 1869) and they had 8 children: Nathaniel P., Samuel N., Mary A., Erastus B., George, Jane, Nancy and Jackson. Nearly all of the family eventually followed their brother Samuel to Allegany county where he settled, Erastus went to Verona and George to Brookfield, Nathaniel remained in town where he was a farmer by occupation. He was Assessor three terms. His father and son - both Ezras - have held the office of Highway Commissioner.
THE TRUMAN FAMILY
Daniel (1773 - 1857) and Joseph Truman, brothers, came on foot from Newport, R.I. in 1798, to the newer Newport and remained in the village over night. There were scarcely half a dozen houses then. In the morning they resumsed their journey, going toward Norway and when they reached the corner were David Stucky now lives, turned and followed the blazed trees northerly along the lot line through the woods (which route was the so swampy as to be almost impassible) until they reached the high ground near where Alexander Truman now lives. Each of the two brothers purchased 25 acres of land, put up a log cabin and planted a crop of potatoes. In the fall they buried their potatoes in a pit and returned to Rhode Island. Next spring they returned with three other brothers, John, Thomas and William. Daniel having married Nancy (1777 - 1835) sister of Ezra Stillman, started on horseback with his bride for their new home, carrying with them a few household goods. To Daniel and Nancy were born four children, Sally (1803 - 1885), Daniel Jr. (1798 - 1849), O.H. Perry and John. Daniel Truman's second wife was Desire Burdick of Brookfield.
Sally Truman married Palmer Root (1802 - 1860) and they had a large family.
O.H.P. married Lydia Knight. He served as Constable for five years.
Alexander Truman, son of O.H.P., now lives with his son, Charles I., in the frame house, part of which was built in 1802. The pine lumber used in the structure was cut from the Knight swamp, now in possession of V.H. Harris. From the Truman house there is a fine view of the distant Hasencleaver hills and the evergreens in the nearby forest present a charming picture.
Daniel Truman, Jr., was one of the prominent members of the Seventh Day Church which existed locally about 1830-45. This organization met sometimes at the Swezey school house but more frequently at the Truman house. Daniel, Jr. married Lydia Coon of Brookfield. In early days there was a road leading easterly from Truman's house over into the town of Norway and on this road were the homes of one or two of the other Truman pioneers. John Truman married Louisa Burdick of Brookfield. Of the five brothers one removed to Oswego county and three others to various localities, only Daniel remaining in town.
THE PAYNE FAMILY
Daniel (1770 -) and Jesse (1774 - 1849), sons of Dr. Daniel Payne (1748 - 1813) came from Connecticut in the spring of 1794 and took up what is now called the " Campbell" farm. There was no road from Little Falls and they followed a trail. They cleared the land the first year and planted apple seeds, which they brought in their pockets. From these seeds grew trees that bore fruit for 60 years, a luxury in this part of the country at that time. There is an unverified tradition that the brothers became discouraged and on the verge of abandoning their enterprise, determined the matter by setting a stick upright and noting the direction in which it fell. Evidently the fates were auspicious, for in the fall they returned to Connecticut where Daniel was married February 5, 1795, and in the spring the bridge and groom, with their brother, came back. Their touring car was an ordinary ox-cart -- a horseless vehicle undoubtedly. They built a log house and here their father lived until his death in 1813. A small stone marks Daniel's grave in the Swezey cemetery. He enlisted and served as a soldier in the war of the revolution. Daniel Payne, Jr. (1806 - 1877) had a family of twelve children, the next to the youngest being Daniel 3rd, who was the father of eight children, the oldest of whom is Daniel W. Payne of Cold Brook, to whom we are indebted for much information concerning the family.
The oldest daughter, ___ (1796 - 1857) of Daniel Payne married the late Adam Robens and was the mother of the late William Robens, whose son W.D. Roens, occupies the Robens homestead near Cold Brook and is one of the most successful and properous dairy farmers of Russia.
Daniel Payne was drafted and went to Sacketts Harbor in 1812 or 1813.
Jesse Payne (1773 - 1849) was Collector 12 years and Constable 18 years. His children were John M., Martin, Hoxie (1804 - 1863), Jesse Jr. (1797 - 1842).
George W. Payne and J.J. Payne were sons of John M. Adolphus, a son of Martin, (who) died in Colorado. He was State Senator and Supreme Court Judge in that state. Another of Martin's sons was the late Fred Payne of Cold Brok, father of R.E. Payne of Clinton, who was School Commissioner for several years in Oneida County and is now postmaster of Clinton, and an active politician at all times.
Source: "A Glimpse in Passing, Newport, NY, 1791 - 1991", pages 31, 32, 36, 38, 43
Copyright© 1991 by The Newport Historical Society, Newport, NY
All Rights Reserved.