History of Edmeston, New York/1860s

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The history of Edmeston, New York: 1860 through 1869

1860[edit | edit source]

One of the most prosperous stores in 1860 was that of Ephraim Chamberlain, located "under the hill" on the northeast side of the four corners. He dealt in general merchandise, groceries, etc. In those days the merchants bought their goods in New York City or Utica or Albany, but principally in the last named city. They would go twice a year to the city and buy enough stock to last six months. Much teaming was done during these years between Edmeston and Albany, over the Great Western Turnpike a state built¹ road from Albany to Ithaca and Bath via Cherry Valley Cooperstown, Edmeston and Sherburne. This journey required over a week. — Hazel L. Jones

  1. [The Great Western Turnpike was not actually a state-built road. The state approved private companies to build the Turnpike.]

The following excerpt is from the Gazetteer of the State of New York by J. H. French. Published by R. Pearsall Smith Syracuse, N.Y. 1860.

EDMESTON -- was formed from Burlington, April 1, 1808. It lies upon the W. border of the co., N. of the center. The surface is elevated upland, broken by numerous irregular valleys. The highest elevations are 400 to 500 ft. above Unadilla River, which forms the W. boundary. Wharton Creek flows across the S. E. corner. Mill Creek and several other small streams take their rise in the town. Smiths Pond is a small sheet of water in the N. E. corner. The soil is a sandy and clayey loam. Edmeston Center (Edmeston p.o.) contains 3 churches, a grist and saw mill, and tannery. Pop. 275. West Edmeston, (p.v.,) on Unadilla River, and partly in Brookfield, (Madison co.,) contains a church and 35 houses. South Edmeston, (p.v.,) on the Unadilla, contains 30 houses. Of the first settlement in town, authentic data of the precise date are wanting. It was made, however, on Unadilla River, during the interval between the close of the French War, in 1763, and the commencement of that of the Revolution, in 1775, by Col. Edmeston, an officer of the French War, and Percifer Carr, a faithful soldier who had served under him.¹ The first church (Bap.) was formed at Taylor Hill, March 8, 1794; Rev. Stephen Taylor was the first preacher.²
  1. At the close of the war, Col. Edmeston, for his military services, received the grant of a tract of land covering a large portion of the town on which he made the first settlement. At his death the lands fell to heirs and minor children residing in England, from whom no safe title could be obtained for many years, — which greatly retarded the settlement of the town. During the American Revolution, the hired men of Mr. Carr were killed while at work, his barn burned, his property destroyed, and himself and family were taken prisoners by the British and Indians and detained to the close of the war. Abel De Forest and Gideon De Forest were among the early settlers on the Unadilla; Aden Deming and James Kenada, at Edmeston; and Stephen Taylor, on Taylor Hill, where the first school was taught. Rufus Graves kept the first inn; and James Kenada erected the first gristmill, both at Edmeston Center.
  2. The census reports 5 churches; 2 Bap., 7th da. Bapt., M. E., and Univ.

Patent Claims Issued from the United States Patent Office for the week ending January 10, 1860:

26,743. — Levi A. Beardsley, of South Edmeston, N. Y., for an Improvement in Hop Frames:
I claim the employment of a frame holder composed of a sliding box, K, with a windlass or seller to tighten the wire, and a vertical bed or strip, G, to guide or support the box. K. substantially as and or the purpose shown and described.


This invention relates to a device for lowering the vines and bringing them within reach, for the facility of gathering the hops, and then for elevating them again to their original position, keeping the horizontal cords or wires, upon which the vines are entwined, under tension all the time. This invention consists in attaching to the posts a vertical strip with a small grooved pulley in its top over which passes a cord, which is attached to a sliding box for elevating and depressing this box, and to this sliding box is connected a yoke provided with a hook which hooks into an eye or loop on the end of the wires forming the frame upon which wires the vines are twined; the object being to tighten up these wires, and to keep them under tension while raising and lowering them. L. A. Beardsley, of Edmeston, N. Y., is the patentee. — Scientific American/New Series, Volume 2, Issue 4, Pub. Jan 21, 1860


MESSRS. EDITORS: — When I notice the experiments that have been tried to make the driving wheels of a locomotive adhere to the rails by the application of magnetism to the wheels, I wonder why I did not put forth a suggestion noted down in my private journal, under date of March 21, 1848. But I have now to regret, like many other inventors, the folly of procrastination. The entry in my journal reads thus: — "Would a magnetized wheel rolling on a soft iron bar not slip, yet roll with ease; the driving wheels of a locomotive, for instance, being so covered with coils of wire that a portion or the whole of the circumference of it will be magnetized?" I send you this to show that this invention was thought of some time prior to the claims of the present inventor, and for the forcible warning it gives to every inventor to secure, by Letters Patent, every good improvement as soon as it is made. L. A. B. South Edmeston, N. Y., Jan. 31, 1860. — Scientific American/New Series, Volume 2, Issue 8, Pub. Feb 18, 1860

1861[edit | edit source]

The following men joined the Union Army in September 1861:

  • Lyman Geddis entered the 121st Regiment. He was wounded in the hand at the Battle of the Wilderness, in Virginia, May 5-May 7, 1864. He received his discharge August 23, 1865.

1862[edit | edit source]

When J.Tracy Morton was killed at the battle of Fredericksburg, (1862) in the Civil War, there was no flag for his burial so the people of the village decided to do something about it. Lines Smith, a tinsmith, cut the pattern for the stars; Eli Chamberlain traveled to Utica to get the cloth and ten Edmeston women sewed the flag. — Janet Dockstader

The following men joined the 121st Regiment (Herkimer) Infantry in July and August of 1862:

  • Aaron Stevens was killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg May 3, 1863. He was buried at the battlefield.
  • Thomas Adams, a tailor, was in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) September 17, 1862. He was wounded in the right arm and then later lost his left arm in the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5-May 7, 1864). He was promoted to Captain right after that battle. Almost half of the Union Soldiers in the Wilderness battle were casualties.
  • Edwin Arnold. Twenty-two of the men from Edmeston were in this unit. He was a Principal Musician in the Army, serving until July 1865.
  • Charles Cushman received a hip wound at the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 14, 1864. He stayed in service until his discharge in June 1865.
  • John Morton was promoted to Sergeant on September 4, 1863, to Sergeant Major on January 4, 1865, and to Lieutenant on February 22, 1865. He died in battle April 6, 1865. This was one of the last battles — Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9, 1865.

Two Edmeston Men enlisted in August 1862 in Company B (Albany) Berdan’s Sharpshooter regiment.

  • Albert Stevens

Eugene Utley joined the 114th Infantry in September 1862. He died from wounds received in Battle October 19, 1864 (possibly Cedar Creek)

Eleven Edmeston boys joined a special unit, 2nd Regiment Hawkins Zouave, of the U.S. Army in November 1862. (Zouave is the name of an Algerian tribe and a French Infantry unit that wore colorful uniforms with oriental influence; copied by various Northern Army units). Receiving a bounty of $200 each from the Town of Edmeston, they signed up for a period of nine months.

  • William Alger, a farmer, served 9 months
  • Horace Burlingham, served 9 months
  • Charles Burdick, reenlisted. Died in Battle of Clinton, Mississippi, July 5, 1864
  • Michael Briggs, reenlisted, died while still in service of chronic diarrhea
  • Henry Casprus, served 9 months
  • Marvin Coman, discharged June 13, 1863
  • Charles Chamberlain, discharged June 13, 1863
  • James Grant, served 9 months
  • Henry Herrick, served 9 months
  • Joseph Squires, died in the Battle of Vicksburg before the 9 months was up
  • Nathan West, discharged June 5, 1863

1863[edit | edit source]

The following men joined the 121st Infantry Regiment in August of 1863:

  • John Coman was captured in the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864. He was taken to prison and kept for about three months. After being starved nearly to death he was exchanged and died shortly afterwards at Annapolis, Maryland from the ill treatment.

The following men joined the 2nd Artillery in December 1863:

  • Henry Ackerman, a carpenter, as wounded at Ream Station, 1864. Inexperienced Union Troops had lost the battle. Rebels took over the Station. Under General Hancock the Union troops had to retreat to below Petersburg, Virginia. Ackerman was discharged shortly after the battle.
  • Joseph Reed was taken prisoner June 10, 1864. Was kept in prison about three months and then exchanged. But he died soon after from the effects of ill treatment, and was buried in Maryland.

1864[edit | edit source]

The following men joined the 2nd Artillery in January and June of 1864:

  • Arvine Hawkins (January) died at Chester Hospital, PA, June 18, 1864, from wounds received in the battle of Coal Harbor, VA (east of Richmond)
  • David Talbot (January) was wounded in the hand at the Battle of Cold Harbor on June 1-3, 1864. Having lost three fingers, he was discharged June 16, 1864
  • Alvin Peck (June) was wounded at the Battle of Deep Bottom, Virginia (east of Richmond) August 4, 1864, and was discharged from duty June 14, 1865.

1865[edit | edit source]

By 1865 Edmeston had 19,664 acres of improved land, and the cash value of farms was $868,800;

  • in plowed land, 2104 acres;
  • in pasture, 13,381;
  • bushels of spring wheat harvested, 206;
  • bushels of winter wheat, 927;
  • bushels of oats 21,840;
  • bushels of barley, 156;
  • bushels of buckwheat, 716;
  • bushels of corn, 13,825;
  • bushels of potatoes, 19,739;
  • bushels of peas 196;
  • bushels of beans, 302;
  • bushels of turnips, 1120;
  • pounds of hops, 116,250;
  • bushels of apples, 21,544;
  • barrels of cider, 454;
  • pounds of maple sugar, 32,468;
  • pounds of butter, 84,275.

Edmeston had an area of 27,075 acres,