1864 Map of Brownville New York

Brownville New York Biographies – Part 1

The following 10 biographical sketches were extracted from the Geographical gazetteer of Jefferson county, N.Y., 1685-1890.

Samuel Plumb

Samuel Plumb, born in 1722, was a native of Stonington, Connecticut, where he died. He married Grace Babcock, also of Stonington. Of their children, Nathaniel Plumb was born April 4, 1760, and in 1802 emigrated to Brownville, where he remained until his death, in 1841, aged 81 years. He married Annie, daughter of Sanford and Anna (Babcock) Langworthy, of Connecticut, and their children were 12, of whom George C. Plumb was born in Oneida County, whence he removed to this town in 1803, where he now resides, at the advanced age of 85 years. He married, first Betsey A. Moffitt, daughter of Melvin; and second, Mary, daughter of William and Persis (Moffitt) Robinson, with whom he is still living at Brownville village. Charles P. Plumb, son of Nathaniel, was born in Brownville, in 1811. He was married three times. His first wife was Lavina St., daughter of Fleury Keith, who was at one time a member of the state legislature; his second marriage was with Elmira, daughter of Joel G. Stacey; and his third wife was Sarah, daughter of Waters Allen, of Martinsburg, Lewis County, N. Y. He had two children, viz: Sanford, who served in Co. I, 110th N. Y. Vols., and died at New Orleans in February, 1863, aged 23 years; and Pamelia A. (Mrs. J. P. Trapett), of San Francisco, California.

John Cole

John Cole, a native of Montgomery County, came to Brownville in 1802, among the early settlers, and located upon a farm on road 15, near Perch River, now known as the Cole farm. In the early days the town meetings were held upon this farm. Mr. Cole died here at the age of 81 years. He married Polly Waters, and their children were Walter, Samuel, John, Betsey, Abigail, Margaret, Clarissa, and Polly. John married Elizabeth, daughter of Seth and Mary Cole, of Bennington, Vermont, and they had children as follows: Mary, Eliza, Caroline, George, Jane, Edward and Bryon. The latter, born in this town, where he now resides, married Annie, daughter of Clement and Betsey (Hamilton) Hawley, of Perch River, and they had four children, viz.: Earl B., Josie M., Grace D., and John. Francis Cole, brother of John, the early settlers here, served in the Revolutionary war and was taken to an island in the St. Lawrence River, and sold or given to a merchant in Lower Canada, where he remained many years. He finally removed to this town, and later to Watertown, where he died.

Jonathan Emerson

Jonathan Emerson, a native of Massachusetts, came to Brownville in 1804, among the first settlers. He married Tabitha Dunham, also a native of Massachusetts, and they had 12 children. One son, John, married, first, Mary Freeman, of Herkimer County, in 1839, and they had three children, viz: Angeline, Clark, and Eli. His second wife, Lizzie White, of Oswego bore him one son, Edgar J. He is a prosperous farmer on road 4 in this town.

Benjamin Prior

Benjamin Prior, a native of Rhode Island, came to Brownville in 1805, and here remained until his death. He married Mrs. Julia A. Allen, of Amsterdam, N. Y., and of their seven children, John Prior married, first Louisa Prior, and second, Mrs. Francis Martin, daughter of John and Hannah (Welbon) Newton, of this town. Mr. Prior died January 17, 1887, aged 77 years. He was a successful farmer. His widow survives him. Oscar F. Prior married Mariah Lee, of Verona, Oneida County, daughter of Noah and Lucy (Keith) Lee, and their children were Benjamin F. and Noah L. Mrs. Prior survives her husband at the age of 68 years. Noah L. married Martha J., daughter of Nathan and Emeline (Hamblin) Clark, of Lyme, and they had three children, viz.: John N., Jesse E. (deceased), and Charles O. Mrs. Prior survives her husband, who died in 1886, aged 41 years.

Jacob Kilborn

Jacob Kilborn, son of John, who was a native of Litchfield, Connecticut, and a Revolutionary soldier, came to Brownville in 1805, finally locating in Clayton, where he died, Mary 17, 1851, aged 81 years. He married Catharine Knapp of Adams, Massachusetts. in 1796, and she died in 1864, aged 93 years. Their children were Alfred and Alpheus (twins), Joel, Chauncey, Hannah, and Lydia. Alfred was born in Adams, Mass., September 23, 1798. He married Eliza C., daughter of Samuel and Esther (Hildreth) Cobb, of Orleans, in February, 1838, and they had one child. Frances E., who married Charles C. Steele of Brownville.

Josiah Bonney

Josiah Bonney was born near Cape Cod, Mass., and in 1808 settled on a farm in this town. He served at Sackets Harbor in the War of 1812, and died in Brownville in 1848, aged 61 years. He married Betsey Morse of Vermont. Of their five children, George married Betsey, daughter of William and Rhoda (Gould) Knox, of Brownville, and they had children, as follows: Brayton and Amelia G. (deceased), Emma L., and Madison. Mrs. Bonney survives her husband at the age of 71 years. Their daughter Emma L, married Oscar C. Wilson, and resides on the homestead farm. Madison Bonney, of this town, married Ella E., daughter of Benjamin S., and Annie E. (Irwin) Horr, of Stone Mills, and their children are Florence M., Mabel I., George S., Raymond H., and Grace G. William Knox, father of Mrs. Betsey Bonney, served in the War of 1812. He was born in Tunbridge, Vermont, and when 19 years of age removed to Sackets Harbor, and cut the first tree where that village now stands.

William Stow Ely

William Stow Ely was born March 17, 1789, in Lyme, Connecticut, whence he removed to the village of Brownville in 1811. He served as clerk in Sotel Lawrence’s store a year and a half. In 1813 he formed a partnership with John Paddock, in the mercantile business, which lasted till the death of the latter in 1816, after which he continued the business in his own name with great success. He held many offices of trust; was a stockholder of the Brownville Manufacturing Company, organized in 1814 for the purpose of manufacturing cotton and woolen goods, and treasurer of the same; major of the militia in 1817, and colonel in 1821; town clerk in 1826; and the same year vestryman of St. Paul’s Church, and associated with Orville Hungerford, of Watertown, and others as superintendent of the Jefferson County poor-house; president of the village of Brownville in 1829; village trustee in 1830 and 1834; notary public and pension agent for Revolutionary claims in 1832. Mr. Ely was highly esteemed in social and business circles for character, honor, integrity, capacity, and energy, and in his domestic relations was most exemplary. He died in Brownville, April 3, 1835, after a sudden painful illness of 11 days, at the age of 46 years, honored and lamented. He was a Jackson Republican. Papers of January 29 and February 4, 1835, contain a petition in his favor for the office of postmaster at Brownville, as the successor of George Brown, Esq. He is “recommended as a straightforward administration man, sound and strong, etc. — as a man of moral worth, well located, and well qualified for the office.” The Whig opponent was S. M. Green, a lawyer who was educated in the office of Isaac H. Bronson, and came to the village in 1832. Mr. Ely was part owner of the steamboat, Brownville, built by Turner & Dodd, at Brownville, in the summer of 1827, to navigate Black River.

Cyrus Allen

Cyrus Allen, a sailor, a native of Rhode Island, died in 1799. His wife was Julia A. Taylor, and his son Cyrus was born in Rhode Island, and in 1812 removed to this town, where he now resides, at the advanced age of 88 years. He married Louisa, daughter of Nathaniel and Abigail (Starr) Peck, of Brownville, by whom he had children as follows: Abbie P., James W., Addis E., and Julia A. His son, J. W., married Mrs. Clara Baker, daughter of Jacob March, and their children are Frank J., Ida May, and Irene. He resides on the home farm with his father.

Jacob Carpenter

Jacob Carpenter, a native of England, emigrated to Washington County during the French and Indian war. His children were Jacob, Philip, Peter, and Rhoda. Philip Carpenter came to this town in 1813, and located at Pillar Point, where he died, aged 72 years. He served in the Revolutionary war. He married Mary, daughter of Nathan Rhodes, of Rhode Island, and their children were Daniel, Asabel, Nehemiah, Rhoda, Polly, Levi, Rebecca, Daniel, Orson, Cynthia and Permelia. Levi was born in Plattsburgh, N. Y., December 10, 1799, where he lived several years, and in 1813 located in this town, at Pillar Point, where he now resides, at the age of 89 years. He married Eunice, daughter of Abijah and Sally (Wilder) Ayer, of Hounsfield, who bore him children as follows: Lovina, Lucy, Mary Wellington L., Rosetta, Absalom, Winfield, Orvilla, La Fayette, and Bruce. His wife is now living, aged 83 years. Their sons, Wellington, Winfield, Orville, and La Fayette served in the late war. Mr. Carpenter is the oldest one of the first settlers now living in the town and he draws a pension.

William Berry

William Berry, son of William, was born in Massachusetts, and during the War of 1812 removed to this town, where he remained three years, finally locating in Canada, where he died at the age of 60 years. He married Ellen J. Kane, of Canada, and they had nine children, viz: John, Susan, Betsey, Margaret, Gilena, Mary Ann, Alexander, William, and James H. The latter married Julia, daughter of Jane (Ferguson) Cristie, and their children are Ellen J., William H., Minnie A., Lucy M., Cleora S., Archie A., George W., Flora A., and Iona M. Mr. Berry served in the late war in Co. I, 10th N. Y. Artillery, for three years, was honorably discharged, and is now drawing a pension. He resides in the village of Dexter.

Source: Child, Hamilton. Geographical gazetteer of Jefferson county, N.Y., 1685-1890, part second, p. 282-293.  Syracuse, N.Y.: The Syracuse journal company, printers and binders. 1890.

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