Our County and It's People

Chapter 34

The Town of Floyd


The town of Floyd was erected from Steuben on March 4, 1796, when Western was also part of Steuben. Floyd received its name in honor of Gen. William Floyd, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and a large land owner in this town and in Western. General Floyd settled in Western in 1803, and remained there until his death. He was instrumental in the development of this region and gave material aid to the early settlers. (See History of Western.) The territory of Floyd was included largely in the southeast corner of Fonda's patent while the southern portion of the eastern portion were in the Oriskany and Holland patents respectively. The town lies just east of the center, its southern limit touching the Mohawk at the junction of Nine Mile Creek with the river; tributaries of both these streams find their sources within this town. The surface consists of the Mohawk intervale in the south, and a sandy plateau farther back, with the Floyd hills in the northern part. The soil is generally productive and many fine farms are seen in the town. A large number of the thrifty Welsh settled early in the northern part of Floyd and have aided materially in its development. In late years a considerable dairying interest has taken the place of earlier agricultural crops. The town has an area of 20, 650 acres.

Settlement in Floyd began several years prior to the formation of the town, with the advent of Capt. Benjamin Pike about 1790. He had a son, Jarvis Pike, who came in early, possibly with his father, and took a lease from General Floyd of a lot north of Floyd Corners under date of October 26, 1793. He was supervisor from 1801 to 1811.

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Contemporaneous with Benjamin Pike's settlement was that of Stephen Moulton, Jr., a musician in the Revolutionary army, who lived to the age of ninety one years and died February 1, 1851.

As early as February, 1795, the different members of the Moulton family, from Stafford, Conn., had settled in this town. As before mentioned, Stephen Moulton, the younger, was among the earliest settlers. Within five years after his arrival, his father, Stephen Moulton, and four other sons, Salmon, Joseph, Benjamin, and Ebenezer, had moved into the town. The Moulton family were among the staunchest Whigs of the Revolution in the land of "steady habits", and sacrificed much in the cause of their country. Salmon was taken prisoner on Long Island, and suffered all the horrors of a confinement in the "Sugar House", a place more noted for the suffering of its inmates than the "Black Hole" of Calcutta, because more protracted. Mr. Moulton was kept so short of provisions that he and his compatriots used to chew pieces of the oak staves of the sugar casks left in their prison, for the little nutriment they contained. His father, Col. Stephen Moulton, was afterward taken prisoner (as is understood) at Fort Washington, and there confined. After a tedious confinement in the " Sugar House", Salmon was paroled to leave for Fort Washington, and soon after, both father and son were paroled to go to their homes.¹

Stephen Moulton, sr., was elected the first supervisor of Floyd and the family has been prominent one in the town. William and Nathaniel Allen and James Chase came in at about the same time with the Moultons, and were soon followed by Elisha Lake, Hope Smith, and two brothers named Howard; Mr. Smith was father of Stephen R. Smith, who became a popular Universalist preacher. David Byram, James Bartlett, and a man named Putney settled very early in the north part of town.

The first town meeting was held in the spring of 1796, at the house of Samuel J. Curtiss, another early settler, and Stephen Moulton, sr., was chosen supervisor, and Moses Coffeen, town clerk. The town records for 1797 are missing. The supervisors of the town from 1798 to the present time excepting from 1851 to 1863, of which year the records are missing, have been as follows:

  1. Jones's Annals

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DATE         SUPERVISOR         DATE     SUPERVISOR
1798-99      Abel French           1875        Wm. A. Davis
1800-1811  Jarvis Pike             1876        T.D. Roberts
1812          Nathan Pike            1877        Matthew J. Barker
1813-1819  Ephraim Robbins    1878        Charles A. Ward
1825-1832  Salmon Pelton        1879-80    M.J. Barker
1833-37      David Moulton        1881        Orris B. Tripp
1838-39      Samuel C. Brooker 1882-83   J. Henry Powell
1840-42      David Moulton        1884-85   Philip J. Baker
1843-44      Hosea Clark           1886       Owen J. Evans
1845-1851  David Moulton         1887       J. Nicholas Jacobs
1863          Alonzo Denison      1888-90   J.W. Potter
1864-66      Philip A. Hale         1891        Griffith D. Thomas
1867          George W. Davis    1892        G.M. Soule
1868          David Moulton        1893-95    P.J. Baker
1869-71     William A. Davis      1896        Griffith W. Jones
1872-73     David Moulton        1874     Thomas D. Roberts

It is noteworthy that very early in this century Floyd was the residence for a time of Israel Denio, father of the distinguished Judge Hiram Denio, who is else-where noticed in this volume. Israel Denio was a son of Aaron Denio, who was a Revolutionary veteran, and was born in Deerfield, Mass. Learning the blacksmith trade, he married in 1791, Esther Robbins, daughter of John Robbins (another Floyd pioneer) and in 1795 settled in what is now the town of Floyd, about a mile south of the late farm of Alfred Robbins. There was born in 1796 his daughter who became the wife of Joseph Kirkland. About the year 1797 Mr. Denio removed to Wright Settlement, in the town of Rome, and there followed his trade many years. He later worked at other points and died in 1846. His son Hiram was born in the town of Rome in May, 1799.

John Robbins, mentioned above, came from Bennington, Vt., into Oneida county in 1790, locating at first in the town of Rome near Newville. Finding fever and ague prevalent there he removed into what is now Floyd and settled near the town line on the farm occupied in recent years by his grandson, Alfred Robbins. The father of the latter was Henry Robbins, who passed his life and died in Floyd.

Samuel Dyer was an early settler, who spent several years on a farm in this town and removed to Marcy. He was a man of excellent character, and is doubtless the one referred to in the following extract from the diary of Rev. John Taylor, a missionary who passed through this region from Massachusetts in 1802:

August 2. - Started for Floyd; rode 11 miles to a Captain Rice's. Preached in the evening. I know not what remarks to make upon the inhabitants of this town; a half dozen excepted, they seem to be fag-end of man in disorder and confusion of all kinds. The

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Baptists have some regularity, but the Methodists are producing the scenes which are transpiring in Kentucky. Women here, Methodists, pray in their families instead of ye men, and with such strength of lungs as to be distinctly heard by their neighbors. I had almost as many nations, sects, and religions present to hear me preach as Peter had on the day of Pentecost. In this town there is a excellent character, Esq. Dier; he tells me that Clinton has given commissions to five men for justices in this place, one of whom is a renegade Irishman, without character and without prayer, and another has no Bible in his house. In fact, this is a most miserable place as to inhabitants. The land is good, too good for such inhabitants.

It is more than profitable that some of the statements of this missionary were unjustifiable under the circumstances; they certainly do not indicate a Christian spirit. Coming westward from older settled localities to encounter the rude scenes of life in the wilderness, with many privations that may have touched his own person harshly, this missionary appears to have little understood or appreciated the situation. It is very certain that the pioneers of Floyd no more deserved the obloquy of this itinerant, than those of any other similar locality in the early years.

Captain Nathan Townsend settled in 1801 in the southeast part of the town, on a farm which had been purchased by Gov. George Clinton, and where a "squatter" named Turner Ellis had previously lived. Mr. Townsend was supervisor in 1821, and had a son of the same name. He was father of Ingham and William F. Townsend.

Thomas Bacon and Samuel Cummins were early settlers on Floyd Hill, the locality being known for a time as " Bacon's Hill". Asa Clark settled on the Hill about 1805. He served as a teamster in the war of 1812 and was father of A.S. Clark, one time postmaster at Floyd Corners.

Robert Nutt and his son David came into the town about the beginning of the century and both lived and died in the town. The father was a Revolutionary soldier. David's son, Austin A., was born in Floyd in 1800. Samuel Denison settled in town in 1800, and about the same time came James Chase, Lathan Denison and others. An epidemic of dysentery swept over the settlement in the summer of 1796, during which the wife of Col. Stephen Moulton and three children of his son died, all within a week. Nathan Thompson was the second person to die in the town, and was killed by a falling tree.

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Benjamin Gardner came from Rhode Island, and settled in Floyd about 1804, with his father, Amos Garner. Benjamin served in the war of 1812; his wife was a daughter of Eli Kent, who was five years old when her parents came into Oneida county in 1795 and settled in the edge of the town of Rome. In that neighborhood but within the Floyd town line settled early three families named Kilborn, and Israel Denio, before mentioned. It was probably one of these Kilborns who taught a very early school, about the winter of 1795-96, in the Kent neighborhood in the town of Rome. A school was taught as early as 1810 in the Nutt neighborhood. The town was later divided and subdivided into districts which numbered eleven in 1860. There are now nine districts, with good school buildings.

One of the earliest churches in this town was built as a Union church at the Corners, where for a number of years services were held as opportunity offered by Methodist, Baptist, or Presbyterian ministers or missionaries. Free Methodists and Episcopalians occasionally occupied the church in later years, until finally the services were confined mainly to the Methodists.

A Baptist society was organized on the Hill in 1807, and for many years was prosperous. It finally declined and went out of existence.

Camroden post office and the little hamlet of that name is situated about three miles northerly from Floyd Corners, where numbers of Welsh settlers located and gave it the peculiar name. The post office was established in 1872. Here is located a Methodist church society organized about 1840, who built their present church about 1866; services were held previous to that time in the building that was subsequently used for the post office and residence of R.M. Williams. The Welsh Congregational church at Camroden was originally under Presbyterian authority and was organized about 1834. A church was erected north of the present building, which was built in 1854.

Besides the post office and hamlet at Floyd Corners (the post office having the name of Floyd), there is a post office called East Floyd in the eastern part of the town. The saw mill here is operated by P.J. Baker, who is post master.

The little village of Floyd Corners is in the southern central part of the town, where a post office was established in early years, with Benjamin Pike the

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post master. There has always been a small mercantile business here, the store at present being conducted by M.J. Barker, who has been a merchant for twenty five years. He was preceded during many years by P.A. Hale. G.W. Martin has a second store. The hotel which has long been conducted is now in charge of S.A. Thorp. The first hotel here was kept by Capt. Benjamin Pike.

The first cheese factory in this town was built in 1862 by T.D. Roberts. There are now three, and one for the manufacture of limburger cheese. Some of the leading farmers of this town, past and present, are: Germaine Soule, Ingham Townsend, and his brother William F., Thomas D. Roberts, H.M. Hemenway, William Jones, O.B. Tripp, Frank Tripp, Thomas H. Vandenhoff, G.D. Thomas, Robert Evans, Charles H. Owen and John Evans.

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Jane Stevens-Hodge