I was born in the year 1827 in the town of Newport, on White creek, on the road that leads to the West Canada creek at the Christopher Hawkins farm, what was then called Dan Post's corner (now occupied by Herman Fitch). The road is now abandoned. I was born in a house owned by Abner Post's widow. She was a sister of Edmund Stevens of Middleville. Mrs. Abner Post later on married Phillip Griswold, father of Dr. Aaron Griswold. The White creek has been running over the site of the house for 70 years.
About sixty years ago the old lady and I were going up the creek in company and she showed me the place where the house stood at the time of my birth. She had two daughters by Abner Post. One of them, Lydia, married Abel Sanford and lived in Newport village. She was the mother of seven children; four daughters and three sons. The sons were George, Robert and William. The daughters were Jane, Eliza, Marian and Agnes.
Mrs. Sanford's sister, Marietta, married a Mr. Brown and they had two children; a daughter, Louisa, who also lived in Newport sixty years go. The son was Stephen.
When a few years ago, Fred Smith of Norway was writing some of his early history of Norway, he made inquiry if I knew anything of the history of the early settlers of Fairfield.
Mr. Smith was called away by death and there were no more inquiries about it, but as there are few who knew about the history, I will try to call to memory what little I have known, and what has been handed down by my ancestors.
--- Jane Pratt Raynore
Anna Bowen, my grandmother on the maternal side, was born in Newport, Rhode Island. For her first husband she married a sailor by the name of Isaac Olney, who was lost at sea. Later she married Jeremiah Percy, a lineal descendant of Lord William Percy, the commander of the Mayflower.
The name of Percy has been spelled a number of ways. My people spelled it Perce, leaving the "y" off as a silent letter.My grandfather was born in Rhode Island. Lord William Percy was as near as I can calculate from being told, my grandfather's grandfather; consequently my humble self stands as the fifth generation. Grandmother and her first husband had one son, Isaac Olney, Jr.
My grandfather started for Fairfield in 1784, taking his family as far as a place called Cambridge, White Creek, Washington Co., and left them nearly a year. In the meantime he went to Fairfield, bought a farm and had one old fashioned shilling left after paying for it. He built a log barn and a shanty and made a small clearing.
In the spring of 1785 he moved his family up while the snow was yet deep. Grandmother told me that she and her little children had to stay in the sleigh while granddfather and one of the neighbors shovelled the snow off the shanty. Then they drew in a back log and fore stick on the hearth which extended half way across the room; then they carried in from the sleigh a pair of iron fire dogs, properly called andirons, and built a fire in the fireplace, which was made of stone with an iron crane or trammel in it.
When they had made a fire, grandmother and the children went into the shanty and grandfather went with the neighbors to take the team back.
Grandmother told me that when she and her children went into the shanty, she was almost in despair for she had no place to hang her things and but one room to her house. She thought she could never live there, and would have to write for her folks to come and get her. She finally roused herself and broke up some sticks and drove them between the logs and hung her wraps on them, swept the room, and went to the spring, and filling the tea kettle and what they called the dish kettle with water, took them in the shanty, and hanging them on the crane, she soon had boiling water.
She went to the old oaken chest that she brought from her eastern home and got provisions. She set the table for tea and when grandfather returned, they drank their tea and began to feel a little more at home.
At that time they had four children: Isaac Olney, Jr., a son by the first marriage, aged 12; a pair of twins, Betsy and Polly Perce, aged 5; Joseph Perce, aged 4. In the course of time, nine more children were born to them as follows: Ruby, Anna, Abby, Clarissa, George, a pair of twins, who died while infants, Samuel, and a daughter, who died in infancy.
Grandfather, by occupation, was a blacksmith and weaver. In the spring of the year 1785 he cleared a piece of land and the next fall he had quite a crop of grain and potatoes. That fall he put up a windmill and ground his grain; also that of his neighbors. In the summer he built a shop and did the blacksmith work for the settlement. His land was situated in the town of Fairfield, two miles south of the village on the Little Falls road and two miles north of Eaton's Bush.
The next year the settlers began to come in great numbers and many of them located in grandfather's neighborhood. It was then called the Perce settlement.
A family named Phillips came into the Perce district. They were Mr. and Mrs. Phillips, a married son and his wife, with two little sons, named Welcome and Washington. The married son went into the woods one morning to clear his land and did not return at night. They made a search the next day and found him crushed between a fallen tree and a stump.
At that time grandfather's family were mostly grown up and had done a geat deal of spinning and weaving. They had raised plenty of flax and wool, and made all of their bedding; also their every day wear.
The people had just built a new school house. Grandfather fixed the old one over for Mrs. Phillips, moved it on to his land, and found work for her. When Welcome and Washington were little boys, their mother went out one morning to one of the neighbors. She heard a great outcry and on returning, found that she had left the outside door open and grandfather's yearling colt that ran in the pasture, was reared up on the bed looking at the boys.
While the boys were yet young, their mother married ___ Hardendorf, and three more sons were born: Abram, William and Henry. As the children grew up some of them found their way up to Fairfield. Welcome Phillips went to White Creek and located in the town of Norway. He married Nancy, daughter of Nathaniel Post and remained on White Creek for the most of his life.
Welcome and Nancy had a daughter Augusta, who married Daniel Ross. Nine children were born to them, seven daughters, and two sons. The sons were Duane, and an infant who died. The daughters were: Maria, Edwina, Velma, Benita, Della, Alma Oletta. Welcome's brother Washington settled in Fairfield and died there.
Mr. and Mrs. G.W. Phillips had three children, a son Anson and two daughters, Mary Ann and Helen.
Abram Hardendorf came up to Fairfield when he was in his teens and went to school to my Aunt Abbie and helped grandfather on his farm. Sometimes he worked at other places but made his home there, and years after when grandfather was gone, he worked for my uncle, George Perce.
Abram married Lucinda Arnold of Eaton's Bush. Over sixty years ago he bought the mill and house in Shedd Brook in the town of Newport and later on bought a mill and house on White Creek, belonging to John Campbell. He died, living there but a few years.
Mr. and Mrs. Hardendorf had five children: three sons and two daughters. The daughters were Ophelia and an infant who died. The sons were Alonzo, Roselle, and Loren Tiron. The daughter married Mr. Robinson. They had a son and a daughter Cora. The son's name was Eugene. Their father was killed in the Civil War.
After so many settlers came, they of course wished to form a society. The majority of the people at that time, I think were Baptists. They held their meetings from one place to another. Most of the farmers, as soon as they were able, built frame barns, and then they often had preaching in them until the Bowen family settled in Newport and formed a Baptist society. My mother said that after she and her twin sister Polly grew up, they and their brother Joseph often went to Newport on horseback to attend the meeting. I think about the same time there was a church organized at Salisbury Corners and some of the Fairfield people joined there.
Meanwhile the settlers kept coming in. Some were Universalists and some were Baptists. Being neighbors they clubbed together and built a union meeting house. The Baptists used the school house when the Universalists occupied the church. The cemetery is near the old school house. The Perce family, some few of them and my grandfather and some of his old neighbors and my father are sleeping there.
After the church was organized at Eaton's Bush the Fairfield Baptists joined that. I think the first school teacher in the Perce district was a Mr. Graves. Later on in the year 1827-8 it was kept by Alexis L. Johnson, who later lived in Schuyler. When I read about him a few years ago he was in his 100th year and yet active. He has since passed away.
John Fenner was one of the first settlers in Fairfield. He settled on a farm about one mile south of the village on the Little Falls road. He came from Connecticut, being the cousin of Edward, Henry and Mary Ann of Newport. When he came to Fairfield he had quite a large family I have been told. All that I can recollect of them are: Lytha, who married Joseph Mason; Lucy, who died unmarried; and Malinda.
I was then a child. Mr. and Mrs. Mason had five children, three daughters and two sons. The sons were William and Warren. The daughters were: Lucy Ann, Asenath and Louisa. Lucy Ann married Smith Parent; Asenath married Mr. Moore of Middleville. Warren Mason married Mary Morey of Middleville. William married a Miss White. Lythea's second husband was Oney Tucker. Mr. and Mrs. Tucker had three daughters, and one son Henderson. The daughters were: Laura, Olive and Eveline.
John Fenner's second wife was Patty Salisbury and they had one son Calvin, who married Rhoda Harvey. They had five children; four sons and one daughter, Lodema, who died unmarried. The sons were: Herman, James, Walter, and Fred. Herman married a Miss Fenner, and Walter married a Miss Moore.
William Lamberson was one of the later settlers of Fairfield, his land joining John Fenner's on the South. He married a Mrs. Northrup, of the town of Salisbury. They had three sons; Wilber, Watson, and Howard. Wilber died in the Civil War. Watson and Howard were still living in Fairfield a few years ago.
Among the very first settlers in Fairfield was a Mr. Porter from Connecticut. He settled on what was later called Brayton street, so called from one or two families of that name who located there. Later some of them went to Newport. This road is the one that runs from the Little Falls road to the West Canada Creek and divides father's land from the Porters.
Mr. and Mrs. Porter had two sons, William and Henry and one daughter Emeline. William married Amanda Cole and lived in Fairfield village. They had one son, Eleazar, who died unmarried. Henry married --- and lived many years in Newport village. They had a son and daughter, James and Elizabeth. Emeline married George W. Perce, a distant cousin of my mother's.
Ora Harvey, one of the first settlers, bought a farm about a mile from grandfather's place, east of it in what is called the Alexander district. His family consisted of three daughters, and one son Benjamin, who married and went to Oneida county, in the town of Deerfield. The daughters were: Anna, Hannah, and Rhoda. Anna married Stephen Podge and they had two children, Stephen and Sarah. Hannah married a Mr. Colwell and Rhoda married Calvin Fenner.
A family named Cole from Connecticut settled in the Alexander district. They were Mr. and Mrs. Cole, three sons and three daughters. The sons were John Jr., Justin and Asa. The daughters were Hannah, Almira and another one who married Mr. Pearl and lived in Eaton's Bush. Mr. and Mrs. Pearl had two sons and one daughter Lovina. The sons were: Ebenezer and Isaac. Hannah, Almira and John died unmarried.
After grandfather had been in Fairfield a number of years, there came a family named Chase, who moved in with grandfather until they built a shanty. The family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Chase, a son William and a daughter Mary.
They bought a piece of land in the eastern part of the town. William married Elizabeth Wooster of Salisbury. She had a brother Lyman living in the town of Salisbury, who then lived at Salisbury Corners and who was subsequently killed by a pet bull. They claimed to be cousins of Sherman Wooster, who lived and died in Newport village. The Chase family came from Connecticut. William and Elizabeth had three sons and two daughters. The sons were: Orrin, George and Calvin. The daughters were: Jane and Sarah. Orrin was a Methodist minister and settled in Boonville. George married Polly Hamon and they had four children, two sons and two daughters. The daughters were: Sarah Jane and Eura. The sons were Orrin and Gary. Sarah married Stephen Hammon. They had two sons and two daughters, Betsy and Matilda. Joshua and an infant died.
Jane Chase married William Dickins of Salisbury and went to the Perce district to live. They had four daughters and five sons. The sons were: William, Malvin, George, Abram and Henry. The daughters were Elizabeth, Minerva, Martha, and Marian. After a few years they went to Middleville. George Chases' brother Orrin had born to him one son Alonzo who married a Miss Laura ___. Melvin Chase married Alvina Carpenter, daughter of Stephen Carpenter of Fairfield. They had two daughters and a son. The daughters were: Emily who married Homer Hines of Norway and now lives in Poland. Louise married Mr. Miller and lives in Middleville. Malvin bought the Calvin Salisbury place and his wife is now dead.
And on that sad note we leave you until our next installment of Jane Scott Raynore's reminiscences of old Fairfield, due August 15. In our transcription we have been true to the errors in spelling and punctuation of this small privately printed book. Many more early Fairfield area families will be included as we post the next three installments. As Jane Scott Raynore wrote on, her descriptions became lengthier and more anecdotal. The best is yet to come.
Our appreciation to Jane Dieffenbacher, Fairfield Town Historian, for sharing this gem from her personal collection.
Continue to Part 2 of Jane Scott Raynore's Memoirs
Back to Town of Fairfield Page
Back to Herkimer/Montgomery Counties GenWeb
Back to New York State GenWeb