GERMAN was formed from DeRuyter March 21, 1806, and derives its name from General Obadiah German, an early and prominent settler in the town of North Norwich, who is variously stated by different authors to have been "the original owner of the township," and "a former inhabitant." The records show that the tract of land embraced in the town of German was patented to John W. Watkins June 14, 1793. It is the southern portion of the Gore, and was originally named Brakel Township. Otselic was taken off March 28, 1817; Lincklaen, April 12, 1823; and the southern part of Pitcher, Feb. 13, 1827. It is the central town on the west border of the county. Its surface is hilly and abundantly watered by numerous small brooks, affluents of the Genegantslet, those in the north and east uniting to form Five-Stream Creek, all of the them flowing in a southerly direction.
It is underlaid by the rocks of the Catskill, and Portage and Ithaca groups, those of the former covering the eastern, and those of the latter the western and major portion of the town. A quarry has been opened in the former, a little east of Five Corners, in the north-east part of the town, on the farm of Leander Tice, from which excellent stone for underpinnings has been taken in considerable quantities; and in the latter, about three fourths of a mile south-east of German, on the farm of Calvin Hathaway, from which considerable quantities of flagging and building stone have been obtained, though it has not been worked for several years. The soil in the village is a rich alluvion, while that on the hills is a sandy and gravelly loam, most, and well adapted to grass culture. Dairying is the chief industry. There are two creameries in the town, one at Five Corners, owned by Mr. Hefty, by whom it was built in 1877; and one about four miles east of German, which was built in 1878, and is now owned and operated by the Messrs. Wightman Brothers. In the former butter alone is made; but in the latter, both butter and cheese.
In 1875 the population of the town was 665; of whom 645 were native, 20 foreign, 664 white and 1 colored. Its area was 17,086 acres; of which 11,633 were improved; 4,873 woodland, and 580 otherwise unimproved. The cash value of farms was $497,900; of farm buildings, other than dwellings, $68,650; of stock, $88,133; of tools and implements, $13,870.
There are eight common school districts in the town, each of which has a school house within the town. The number of children of school age residing in the districts Sept. 30, 1877, was 229. During the year ending Sept. 30, 1878, there were five male and eleven female teachers employed, eight of whom were licensed; the number of children residing in the districts who attended school was 201, of whom five were under five or over twenty-one years of age; the average daily attendance during the year was 102.431; the number of volumes in district libraries was 525, valued at $75; the number of school houses was eight, all frame, which, with the sites, embracing 2 acres and 28 rods, valued at $270, were valued at $2,920; the assessed value of taxable property in the districts was $365,874. The number of children between eight and fourteen years of age residing in the districts Sept. 30, 1877, was 93, of whom 90 attended district school during fourteen weeks of that year.
Receipts and Disbursements for School Purposes:
|Amount on hand Oct. 1, 1876,||$ .90|
|" apportioned to districts||794.13|
|Raised by tax,||108.64|
|From teachers' board,||455.50|
|" other sources,||1.98|
|Paid for teachers' wages,||$1,229.21|
|" " libraries,||1.37|
| " " school houses, sites, fences, out-|
houses, repairs, furniture, &c.,
|Paid for other incidental expenses,||50.03|
|Amount remaining on hand, Oct. 1, 1877,||44.19|
SETTLEMENTS.---There is a conflict of authority with reference to the first settlement in this town. French's Gazetteer states that the first settlement was made in 1795 by Benjamin Cleveland; while Elias Livermore is positive that Cleveland did not come to this county until after his grandfather, Abraham Livermore, came, in 1796. We have no means of determining which statement is correct. 1
Abraham Livermore was a native of Pelham, Mass., and a Revolutionary soldier, who lost his property by the depreciation of the Continental currency. In 1795 he left his native place and emigrated to the western wilderness, with his family consisting of his wife, Hepsey and nine children, viz.: Abraham, Jr., Rebecca, Daniel, Polly, Abel, Cyrus, Hepsey, Sally and Martin. He halted for a few months at Paris, in Oneida county, where he left his family, while, in the spring of 1796, with an ax upon his shoulder, he made his way through the forest by means of marked trees to the locality of German village, on the site of which he took up 156 acres, embracing both the north-east and south-east corners, extending east about thirty rods and about half a mile south. He made a small clearing and rolled up a log cabin, which stood a little west of the residence of H. L. Bentley, while thus engaged lodged under the friendly shelter of a large wild cherry tree, against which he put up some brush to protect him from the weather. This was his only shelter until his log cabin was erected. In the fall he returned to Paris and brought in his family with an ox sled, hiring someone to bring them. In that rude habitation he opened a tavern, the first in the town, which he also kept for several years in the more commodious house erected a few years after on the site of H. L. Bentley's residence, which was also the first frame house in the town. He also built, previous to 1807, the first frame barn in the town. It still stands opposite the residence of Mr. Bentley. The locality of his settlement is still known as Livermore's Corners, though the name of the post-office is German. He died there March 11, 1826, aged 77. After his death his wife went to live with a daughter in Paris, where she died, aged over ninety years.
Of his children, Abraham returned to Pelham about 1812, and married Hepsey Comstock, of that place. He did not come back here till some 15 or 20 years after. He then settled on fifty acres joining his father's on the south and died there Dec. 2, 1846, aged 70. His wife, after his death, went to live with her daughter in Dubuque, Iowa, where she died. He had six children, three of whom are living, Abigail, wife of Abner Benton, and Betsey Maria, wife of Alanson Benton, brother of Abner, in Iowa, and Benjamin, who married Mary Root, of Cincinnatus, where they now live.
Rebecca married and removed to Indiana, where she died. Daniel married Desire, daughter of Michael Mead (who settled in German about 1800,) and settled on fifty acres joining his father's farm on the east, which now forms a part of Henry Smith's farm. He afterwards removed with his family to Ohio and subsequently to Iowa, where he died. He was a carpenter and joiner and mill-wright, and built a good many mills in this locality, including the original one on the site of Walter O. Banks' mill, which he operated for several years. It was a saw-mill, was built about 1825, and was the first mill in the town. There has never been a grist-mill in the town. He had six children, all of whom went west.
Polly married Hezekiah Cressy, and settled in Aurelius, Cayuga county, where she died. Abel married Deborah Salisbury and settled on fifty acres where William Burnap now lives, where he died Sept. 15, 1849, aged 65. After his death, his wife went to live in Earlville, where she died March 24, 1858, aged 67. They had thirteen children, six of whom are living: Elias, who married Eunice Leach, and lived in German till 1878, when he removed to Willet, where he now resides; Cyrus, who removed to Ohio and married there; Polly, who married Nelson Crandall and is living in Ohio; Maryette, who married Waldo Pickett, and is living in Ohio; Farmer, who married Sarah Pickett, sister of Waldo, and is living in Wisconsin; and Samuel, who married in Massachusetts, and is now living there.
Cyrus married Arabella Rockwell, and settled on fifty acres north of his brother Daniel, which now forms a part of Henry Smith's farm. He removed to Ohio with his family and died there, he and his wife. Hepsey married Jonathan Head, of Paris, Oneida county, where she lived and died. This marriage was the first one contracted in the town. Sally married a man named Rowe, of Madison county, and died soon after. Martin never married. He removed some twenty years ago to Iowa, where he now lives, aged about 86 or 87.
Benjamin Cleveland came in from Oneida county in 1797 and squatted on a piece of land next north of Abel Livermore's. He staid only a few years, and removed from the county. His daughter Polly was the first child born in the town, but not as early as 1796, as is stated in French's Gazetteer, and Child's Gazetteer of Chenango County. We quote from the latter the following incident connected with Cleveland's settlement here:--
"These two families, so remote from any other settlement, suffered great privations and hardships during the first few years of their settlement here. In June, 1796, Mr. Cleveland's family were entirely destitute of Provisions, and to procure a supply for their pressing necessities, he started for Fort Stanwix, (now Rome,) intending to return in three or four days. He was detained longer than he expected, and on the fourth day of his absence, Mrs. Cleveland and the children, who had eaten nothing for three days except a few roots found in the woods, started for their nearest neighbors in Cincinnatus, on the Otselic, four and a half miles distant. When about a mile from home they were frightened by the appearance of a bear in their path and thought it prudent to return. The next morning the mother was too weak to walk and the two older children again set out for Mr. Raymond's on the Otselic. Mrs. Raymond was almost as destitute as those who sought her aid, but made a pudding of bran, the only article of food in the house, and bestowed this and a bottle of milk upon her starving neighbors, which sustained them until relief came. At another time, when the family was reduced to the greatest extremity, two unmilked cows came to their house at night and went away in the morning, furnishing the family with a supply of milk for several days. It was never known where the cows came from or whiter they went. Other families suffered in a similar manner, but by patient endurance they lived to enjoy the comforts and many of the luxuries of life."
Very few settlements were made in the present town of German for several years after these two families came in, although all around it the settlements were quite numerous previous to 1800. Why its settlement was thus tardy can only be conjectured as being due in some measure at least to its remoteness from the center of interest (Cazenovia) which largely induced the settlements in the Gore.
Michael Mead is believed to have been the next to settle in the town. He came in about 1800 and located on fifty acres next east of Abraham Livermore's. He did not live here many years, but removed to the locality of Cayuga Lake. John Baldwin settled early in the north part of the town and died there. Capt. Lawrence came in about 1812 and settled a mile and a half south of German, on the place now owned by Mr. Torrey. He removed from the town after some ten years.
TOWN OFFICERS.---The first town meeting was held at the house of Benjamin Fairchild, in the present town of Pitcher, March 3, 1807, and the officers then elected were: Ebenezer Wakeley, Supervisor; Samuel Finch, Clerk; Daniel Root, Nathan Perry and John Sloan, Assessors; Stephen Baldwin, Edward Southworth and John I. Dorn, Commissioners of Highways; Benjamin Fairchild and Walter Blunt, Overseers of the Poor; Joseph Sterling, Collector; Abel Fairchild and Joseph Sterling, Constables; Nathaniel Gray, Jr., Abel Pryer, Thomas S. Vining, Jonathan Chandler, Samuel Eldredge, Levi Preston, Samuel Croft, Silas Wheeler, Joseph Usher, Simeon Finch, Ebenezer Hill, Joshua Butts, Joseph Bennett, George Aylsworth, Abel Livermore, William Crandall, John Baldwin, Asa Kinyon and Dewey Main, Overseers of Highways; Curtis Beech, Nathaniel Gray and Ebenezer Wakeley, Pound Masters and Fence Viewers; and Elijah Fenton, Sealer of Weights and Measures.
The following list of the officers of the town of German for the year 1880-81, was kindly furnished by H. L. Bentley:---
Supervisor---Luke C. Jones.
Town Clerk---H. L. Bentley.
Justices---H. L. Bentley, Oliver Griswold, Charles Lewis.
Assessors---D. E. Birdlebough, George Thomas, Benjamin Bolt.
Commissioner of Highways---John Germer.
Overseer of the Poor---Adam Tice.
Constables---R. C. Tice, James Keough, M. W. Totman, S. A. Warren.
Collector---R. C. Tice.
Inspectors of Election---J. M. Vosbergh, James West, H. D. Kenyon.
Town Auditors---William Burnap, Uriah Loomis, R. R. Kenyon.
Excise Commissioners---William Mullen, Adelbert Dwight, H. C. Lewis.
Following is a list of the Supervisors from the organization of the town, as far as they can be ascertained from the records: Ebenezer Wakeley, 1807-16, 1818, 1822-6; Samuel Finch, 1817, 1820-1; Daniel Root, 1819; Jarvis Brown, 182708; Adam Storing, 1829-37, 1839-40, 1843, 1857-8; Samuel Drew, 1838; Francis M. Skillman, 1841-2; Truman Ford, 1844-5, Collins G. Briggs, 1846-7; Clark Lewis, 2d, 1848-9; Edwin C. Nash, 1850-1; Jonathan Carr, 1852; Henry Sexton, 1853-4; Harmon O. Banks, 1855-6; George H. Livermore, 1859-60; Jacob Birdlebough, 1861-2; Ira Lewis, 1863-4; David L. Philly, 1865-6; Harvey Goetcheus, 1867; A. E. Perry, 1869, 1871; and Alexander Lewis, 1872-3. There is no record of an election in 1868 or '70, and none subsequent to 1873. The present Supervisor is Luke C. Jones, 1879-80.
German is situated near the center of the west border of the town, and contains one church (Free Will Baptist), a district school, one hotel (built in 1868 by Robert Rogers, who kept it six years, and was succeeded by the present proprietor, Martin V. Totman, in 1874), one blacksmith shop, owned by H. S. Nichols and kept by James Livermore, a wagon shop, kept by Delos Kenyon, a marble shop, of which H. L. Bentley is proprietor, one store, and a population of fifty.
MERCHANTS.---The first merchants at German were Platt Smith and Charles Livermore, the former of whom afterwards married his partner's sister Caroline. They opened a store about 1834, on the site of the present one, in a building they had previously occupied for three or four years as a grocery. They traded but a few years. Smith removed to Dubuque, Iowa, where he married his partner's sister, and became an eminent lawyer, and is now living. They were succeeded by Nelson Drew, who came from Otsego county, and traded several years in the same building. He removed to Cincinnatus and thence to California. He has since died. Frank Barnes, a native of the county, who had previously clerked for J. P. Hill of McDonough, opened a store in the same building about 1847 or '8, and traded till about 1851, when he removed to Cincinnatus.
Ezra Fuller, who came from Fort Edward, Washington county, in 1850, and Alexander Ferris, who came from Broome county, opened a store in 1866, in a building erected for the purpose in 1864, by Mr. Fuller, on the site of the old one, which was removed and is now occupied as a residence by James Livermore. They traded a few years under the name of Fuller & Ferris, when Fuller bought the interest of his partner, who soon after removed to Fenton, where he now resides. Fuller after about three years sold to William Bailey, a resident of Cincinnatus, who traded two years, when the business reverted back to Fuller, who, after trading two years, sold to Chas. D. Bowen, from Cortland county, who continued two years and sold to L. D. Turner, by whom the business was continued some eighteen months till Jan. 1, 1877, when Ezra Fuller and Harvey S. Nichols bought him out and traded together till the store was burned March 1, 1879. The present store was built the same spring by Mr. Nichols, who opened it for business July 1, 1879, and still continues. Mr. Nichols came here from Cincinnatus, his native place. Mr. Fuller continues to reside in German.
POSTMASTERS.---The first postmaster in German was Abel Livermore, who was appointed about 1821, and kept the office in his tavern, which occupied the site of William Burnap's place, till 1839, when his son Elias was appointed. He was superseded in 1840, by Nelson Drew, who held the office till about 1845 or '6, when he was succeeded by Mr. Burnap, who has since held the office with the exception of about six months, when Abraham Livermore held it.
PHYSICIANS.---The first physician in German was probably William W. Page, who was licensed in Oneida county, and located in the Stanley settlement, about two and a half miles north east of German. He practiced a few years from about 1823, Oct. 14th of which year he joined the County Medical Society. He had left previous to 1827. Russel W. Morley, who had previously practiced in McDonough, practiced in the east part of the town a few years from about 1835. He returned to McDonough and resumed practice there. He died April 29, 1859, aged 74.
The marble works at German were established in 1861, by Enos Fuller, who became associated with his brother Ezra after about two years. They carried on the business together, with the exception of one year, when L. D. Turner was associated with Enos, till 1874, when Ezra bought his brother's interest and carried on the business, in company with H. L. Bentley from 1874 till July, 1877, when he sold to Mr. Bentley, the present proprietor. A marble shop in a village of this size is most unusual.
On Five Stream creek in the east part of the town is a saw-mill which was built about 1825, by Daniel Livermore, who operated it five or six years. It then passed into the hands of Harmon O. Banks, a brother of the present proprietor, who succeeded him in the ownership about 1849. The pond, which covers four or five acres, receives the five streams which are the headwaters of the creek of that name. The fall is nine feet. The mill contains two circular saws.
About a mile south-east of German is a small saw-mill, owned by George Eggleston, by whom it was built about twelve years ago, on the site of one built a great many years ago. It contains one upright sash saw.
CHURCHES.---The Free-Will Baptist Church of German, (the only church in the town,) was organized about 1855, by Elders Ethan R. Clark and N. D. Wilkins, the latter of whom became the first pastor, and continued his labors with the Church eight years. He was succeeded in the pastorate by Elder John W. Barr, who remained four years, when L. D. Turner assumed the pastoral care. He served the Church for three years, and was succeeded in turn by Asa Abbott and W. R. Stone, each of whom served two years. Elder Schoonover next served them a year and was followed by Elder Loomis, who served them a like period. Oliver L. Cooper next succeeded to the pastorate and still continues his labors with them. It was organized as the German Hill Church, with about thirty members. The present membership is about forty and the attendance at Sabbath School 25 to 30.
The building of the church was begun in 1857, and was finished the next year, at a cost of about $1,200. It is in good repair. Previous to its erection, services were held in the village school-house.
A church of the same denomination was organized at German Hollow, as the German Church, about 1844, by Elder Cyrus Steere, who was the pastor for a number of years from its organization. Ethan R. Clark and N. D. Wilkins preached alternately one or two years. L. D. Howe and Cyrus Steere were afterwards pastors for short periods. After the organization of the church at German, this was denominated the German Hollow Church, to distinguish it from the other. The church was disbanded about 1863. They never had a church edifice, but worshiped in the school-house.
A Methodist class was formed at German village shortly before the organization of the present church, and disbanded about 1850. They never perfected a church organization, but held meetings in the village school-house.
WAR OF THE REBELLION.---The record of the legislative action taken by this town with reference to its participation in this memorable event is evidently incomplete. The residents of the town do not seem to have entered with very hearty unanimity into the adoption of measures for prosecuting the war. At a special meeting held Sept. 15, 1862, at the house of J. R. Coats, 48 votes were cast for and 39 against a proposition to pay a bounty to volunteers mustered after August 15, 1862, to the number required to fill the quota of the town. The next recorded action was taken at a special meeting held Jan. 4, 1864, when 32 votes were for and only 1 against paying to volunteers a town bounty of $310. At a special meeting held Jan. 16, 1864, it was decided by a vote of 42 to 6 to pay to volunteers a town bounty of $323. At a special meeting held August 8, 1864, certain resolutions, which are neither given nor their nature intimated, were adopted by a vote of 47 to 8.
The town of German furnished in aid of the suppression of the Rebellion 53 soldiers and 1 seaman, of whom only 7 appear to have been enlisted in the town; 27 were enlisted in other towns in the county; 51 enlisted for three years, 1 each for one and four years, and in one instance the term of service is not indicated. They were distributed, as nearly as can be ascertained, among the following branches of the service: infantry regiments, 10 in the 114th, 7 in the 106th, 2 in the 89th, and 1 each in the 40th, 161st, 17th, 43d, and 35th; cavalry regiments, 8 in the 10th, 5 each in the 8th, and 22d, and 1 each in the 3d and 24th; artillery organizations, 3 in the 1st, and 1 in the 4th H. A., 1 in the 11th Mich. Battery, and 1 in the 2d Battery V. B. C.; and 2 in the 50th Engineers. Of the number 39 were farmers, 5 laborers, 2 mechanics, and 1 each a musician, miller, carpenter, blacksmith, peddler and boatman.
|9||received a town bounty of||$ 9 00|
|1||" " "||11 00|
|8||" " "||50 00|
|5||" " "||323 00|
|5||" " "||400 00|
|9||" " "||709 33|
|2||" " "||725 00|
|1||" " "||925 00|
|4||" " "||1,000 00|
|19||" a county "||50 00|
|5||" " "||300 00|
|Two received no bounty, either town or county.|
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