From Norway, NY to Montour Falls, NY

Contributed by Lisa Slaski
Transcribed by Elaine Scantlebury


Hiram S. Vedder is the owner of the Willowdale Farm and creamery and is a successful business man, well known in Schuyler County, his home being in Montour Falls. He was born in the town of Norway, Herkimer county New York, March 29, 1845, and is a son of Sears Rolin Vedder, a native of the same county, where he was born in 1815. The latter received a very limited education in the schools of that early day, and as his people lived on the frontier, he was reared amid primitive surroundings, his home being of logs with a puncheon floor, and old fashioned fire-place and mud and stick chimney. During his boyhood he often rode to mill on horseback with a bag of wheat thrown across the horse and as the distance was great it required three days to make the trip. He assisted his father in clearing away the heavy timber which covered the farm and also aided in the arduous task of breaking the land for cultivation. He was thus employed until he reached manhood, when he was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Smith, who was born in Salisbury, Herkimer county, New York, about 1818, and was left an orphan when quite young. They became the parents of six children, namely: James, the eldest died at the age of seven years. Hiram Smith, of this review, is the next in order of birth. Abram W. is still living on the old homestead in Herkimer county. Henry died in August, 1902, at the age of fifty-three years. Mary Elizabeth married N. Ernest Wilmot, a native of Wales, who was formerly a resident of Norway, New York, but is now living in Newport, this state. Myron, the youngest of the family, died at the age of six months. Throughout his active business life the father followed farming. He was a man of iron will and positive character, never swerving from what he believed to be right. In settling up his estate it was found that he owed but three dollars, a fact which showed that he never contracted debts, and by all he was considered one of the most honorable and reliable citizens of his community. He supported the Republican party up to within the last two years of his life, when he voted the Democratic ticket. Religiously both he and his wife were earnest and consistent members of the Freewill Baptist church. She died when about fifty-five years of age, but he had reached the ripe old age of eighty-five years at the time of his death.

The subject of his sketch obtained a common school education completing his studies at the age of fifteen years, after which he gave his services to his father, with whom he remained until he attained his majority. He then began work for Chester Kent, of Remsen, Oneida County, New York, receiving thirty dollars per month for his services, and with Mr. Kent he remained for nine months, after which he returned to his father's employ. Three months passed and he then entered into business relations with the firm of Watkins & Welden, who were engaged in merchandising at Prospect, Oneida county. Mr. Vedder there remained for eight months, and, after again working for his father for four months, he once more entered the employ of Chester Kent, with whom he continued for nine months.

It was about this time that Mr. Vedder was married on the 14th of January 1869, to Miss Electa Young, who was born in the town of Rathbone, Steuben county, New York, August 9, 1844. Her father, Nathan T. Young, was born in Voluntown, Rhode Island, February 12, 1815, and was a son of Northrup and Olive (Bly) Young, who removed from that state to Farmington, Pennsylvania, where they spent their last days. The father was a farmer by occupation and a soldier of the war of 1812, enlisting from Rhode Island. He was born in that state in 1790 and died October 7, 1883. She was an expert spinner and cloth weaver, doing all her work in the primitive manner of the times, such as baking the Johnnie cake on a board in from of the open fire-place. Occasionally she made trips "down country" and would always ride horseback. She was the mother of nine children, namely: Mary, who fell in a well and was drowned; Nathan T., the father of Mrs. Vedder; Hannah, who married Abel Everts; Nancy, who married Justus Leonard; Robert; Northrup, who was killed by bushwhackers in Kansas; Hazzard, who lives in Farmington, Pennsylvania; Deborah, wife of James Preston; and Ester, who married Alanson Bucklee. Of this family only Hazzard and Deborah are now living. At the age of fourteen years Nathan T. Young was bound out to learn the blacksmith's trade and served a seven years' apprenticeship, after which he continued to follow that occupation throughout life. For thirty-six years he made his home in Rathbone, Steuben county, New York, where he died May 13, 1878. He became a leading and influential citizen of that community and for ten years acceptably filled the office of justice of the peace. He was married in Pennsylvania to Miss Lucy, [ words left out!] Mianda Crandall, who was born in Lindley, Steuben county, New York, April 12, 1818, a daughter of Parker and Lucy (Butler) Crandall. Mrs. Crandall was the second in order of birth in a family of eight children, the others being Marie, wife of Samuel Pheanix, now deceased; Eleda, wife of Joaiah Loveland; Oren; Maryett, wife of Northrup Young; Charlotte, wife of Hiram Stevens; Matilda, wife of a Mr. Brace; and Albert Cook. To Mr. and Mrs. Young were born eight children, as follows; Northrup, who was a member of the Twenty-third New York Regiment during the Civil war and is now a merchant and postmaster of Rathbone; Charlotte, wife of Heman Clark; Electa L., wife of our subject; Sidney, a resident of Osceola, Tioga county, Pennsylvania; Florence, who died November 17, 1869; Lucy Maria, who died April 6, 1875; Morris, a resident of Wellsburg, New York; and George, of Alderson, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Vedder has been blessed with one son, Ralph C., who was born December 10, 1870. He married Nellie Hamm and they have two children: Earl Merton, born September 25, 1896; and Lynn Lawrence, born September 7, 1899. Mrs. Nellie Vedder was born October 19, 1874, and is a daughter of Lewis J. and Mary (Wilt) Hamm. Her paternal grandfather, Paul Hamm, was born in Limbach, Rhenish, Bavaria, Germany, April 8, 1817, and there married Margaret Bronstater, who is still living, but he died in April, 1890. About 1850 they came to America and settled in the town of Ohio, Herkimer county, New York, where Mr. Hamm followed farming. Their children were Catharine, wife of John Dagenkolb; Lewis J., father of Mrs. Nellie Veeder; Mary, wife of Robert McVoy; Anna, wife of Rudolph Haas; Amelia, wife of George Rank; and three who died in Germany. Lewis J. Hamm was born in Limbach, Rhenish, Bavaria, Germany, and was about two years old when he accompanied his parents on their emigration to the new world. He learned the stonemason's trade, which he has made his life work, and has held the office of justice of the peace in Herkimer county for many years. He married Mary Wilt, who was born in Manheim, kingdom of Baden, Germany, July 9, 1850, and was also two years old when she came to America with her parents, William and Barbara (Koehler) Wilt, being the first of the Wilt family to cross the Atlantic. They settled in the town of Russia, Herkimer county, New York, and were farming people. William Wilt was born in 1820 and died in 1898, while his wife was born in 1825 and died in July 1890. They had twelve children namely: Anthony; Phillip; William; Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Spring; Jerome; Mary, wife of Lewis J. Hamm; Carrie, wife of Anthony Crossway; Delvin; Amelia, wife of John Schemerhorn; Rose, wife of Charles Saxton; Frederick; and Charles. Unto Lewis J. and Mary (Wilt) Hamm were born three children; Irena, wife of Charles Snyder; Nellie, wife of Ralph C. Vedder; and Benjamin Franklin.

After this marriage Hiram C. Vedder located in the town of Russia, Herkimer county, where he engaged in the operation of a rented farm from March, 1869, until the 5th of January, 1870, when he purchased a farm in the town of Norway, the same county, making his home thereon for twenty-six years. During one year of that time he served as foreman for Chester Kent, receiving five hundred dollars in compensation for his services. He also launched out in other business ventures, becoming one of the representative agents of the Deering Harvesting Machine Company, with which he was identified for about five years, selling machines in the vicinity of his home. Besides this he handled and sold many tons of improved phosphate fertilizers and in this way materially added to his income. Being energetic, honest and always giving his customers the benefit of the best goods, he gained a reputation in the business world that was far reaching.

On selling his property in Herkimer county, Mr. Vedder purchased the farm near Montour Falls, where he now lives, comprising one hundred and six acres of rich and arable land, on which he is now extensively engaged in the dairy business. He owns a good creamery and the Willowdale farm and creamery are now well known, enjoying a well merited reputation. He keeps fourteen cows and the butter from his creamery commands the highest market price because of its excellence. Everything about his place is a model of neatness, cleanliness and system and in his business affairs he has been energetic reliable and determined, qualities which always insure success. His farm is pleasantly located on the southern border of Montour Falls, where he has a very pretty modern residence and good farm buildings. Politically Mr. Vedder endorses the principles of the Republican party, and his religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Baptist church. He never uses tobacco or liquor in any form and in all respects his life is an exemplary one.

Source: A Biographical Record of Schuyler County, New York. New York and Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1903.

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Created: 12/10/03
Copyright © 2003 Lisa Slaski/ Elaine Scantlebury
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