claims and has the honor accorded to him of being the earliest pioneer who
found a home within the boundaries of White Oak township. He was originally
a resident of Montgomery Co., N.Y., from whence he removed to the western
portion of the State in 1825, and to White Oak in 1835. On section 35 he
chose a tract of 335 acres, upon which he built a log habitation, and
for some months lived alone with his family in the wilderness. In June of
the following year a band of pioneers, thirty-six in number, arrived and
enjoyed Mr. DUTCHER's hospitality while selecting their lands or erecting
houses upon them. They found the limited quarters of his shanty inadequate
for their wants, and were obliged to improve sleeping accommodations in their
wagons or under such shelter as the forest afforded. There were at this time
no roads, the Indian trail being the only guide. A daughter was born to Mr.
and Mrs. DUTCHER in December, 1835, whom they christened Abigail. She was
the first white child born in the township. Mr. DUTCHER still survives, and
resides upon the northwest quarter of section 35.
Henry and John CLEMENTS
were the next settlers, having arrived in 1836. The former, in May of that
year, entered land on sections 28 and 29, upon which he built the accustomed
log house and did some clearing. He later removed to Meadville, and became
the popular landlord of the place, remaining until his death.
John CLEMENTS owned a farm on section 21, and afterwards removed to Laingsburg,
where he died. His sons still occupy the farm. The father of the CLEMENTS
brothers died in the township during the year 1836, or possibly a year later.
This was the earliest death in the township.
located land in October, 1835, on section 35 and 36, and the following year
settled upon it. His farm embraced 160 acres, which he cleared, improved,
and made productive. He still resides upon the place, and is one of the
township's successful farmers.
removed from Cortland Co., N.Y., in 1836, and settled on eighty acres upon
section 24, on which he built a log dwelling and began the clearing of the
land. Deer and wolves were abundant, and the Indian roamed the forest
undisturbed. His intercourse with the whites was confined to visits for purposes
of barter, and his supplies of fresh game made him a welcome visitor. Mr.
SMITH still occupies the land he originally settled upon.
David and William A. DRYER
entered in July, 1836, eighty acres on section 21. They were former residents
of the Empire State, and on their arrival began the erection of a log house,
soon after effecting a considerable improvement. They both later removed
from the township, and Joseph DRYER is now the occupant of the farm.
came in 1837 and located upon land on section 30. He cleared and improved
a large portion of his purchase, but later removed to California. He returned
again to the township, where he died.
another of the pioneers of 1837, chose a farm on section 31, which was entirely
uncleared on his arrival. He converted it, however, into productive land,
upon which he for some years resided, but ultimately left the township.
Edward R. DAGGETT
the same year became a resident on section 32,which he had entered in November
of the previous year. This was destitute of improvement until Mr. DAGGETT's
industry cultivated and made it a profitable investment. His death occurred
upon he farm, which is now occupied by his widow and son.
entered land on section 4 in July, 1836, and settled upon it. His residence
was, however, brief. A few years later he sold and found a home elsewhere.
was a former resident of Onondaga Co., N.Y., from whence he removed
in 1837 to a farm of 100 acres on section 34, bought of John WELSH. Indians
were encamped in the neighborhood, and the scene of his arrival presented
a primitive and uninviting aspect. He sold a portion of this land, and
in 1847 removed to his present residence, embracing eighty acres on section
35. His son is the present efficient township clerk of White Oak.
The township at this time had no resident physician, and the presence of
Dr. MORGAN, of Unadilla, was solicited in cases of severe illness. Later
Dr. CRAFT ministered to the needs of the settlers. Elder SAYERS conducted
the earliest religious services, and George W. BRECKENRIDGE made his advent
soon after in the capacity of local preacher.
formerly of New York, settled in 1837 upon sixty acres on section 35, his
wife at the same time being owner of an additional sixty adjacent. The land
was entirely uncleared, and the house of Conrad DUBOIS, in Stockbridge, afforded
shelter while clearing a space on which to erect a log cabin. Mr. DUBOIS
remained upon this farm and continued its improvement until his death, in
emigrated from Ontario Co., N.Y., to Dexter, in 1834, and in 1838 settled
upon 120 acres on section 29 in White Oak, which he purchased of William
TURNER. This was uncleared, with the exception of three acres, which was
chopped and had built upon it a simple log structure. Mr. PHELPS moved with
oxen and horses from Dexter, following the Indian trail, which was at times
a very obscure guide. He began labor with a will, and the first year
had cleared and partially sown ten acres. Henry CLEMENTS was the nearest
settler. Mr. and Mrs. PHELPS are still, in their advanced years, residents
of their original purchase.
a native of Orange Co., N.Y., located in Washtenaw County in 1836, and in
October, 1842, settled on section 27, in White Oak. Inn 1849 he removed to
Stockbridge, where his death occurred at a recent date. Mr. REEVES was actively
identified with the interests of both townships, and did much to advance
their growth. He filled several important and influential offices during
his residence in White Oak.
another new Yorker, settled in 1839 upon section 33, where he converted the
forest into a highly improved farm. He remained upon this estate until his
death, in 1878, and his sons are the present owners.
was a pioneer of 1839, and settled upon section 14, where he entered land
in June, 1836. He found an ample field for his energies in the unimproved
territory of which he was possessor. This, however, soon yielded to the industry
of its owner, who continued to improve and increase the value of his purchase
until his death.
J.B. and Robert WILSON
came from St. Lawrence Co., N.Y., and located on section 32, their father,
John B. WILSON, having entered eighty acres on the above section in 1836.
The latter was killed by the falling of a tree in 1841, and the sons have
since removed to section 27.
settled in 1845, upon section 29, where he improved the land he secured and
rendered it highly productive.
came from Troy, N.Y., and chose land on section 34, embracing 190 acres,
which at the time was uncleared. He hewed timber, and with it erected a dwelling,
into which he removed when but partially completed. He devoted himself to
hard labor, and when, some years later, the primitive structure became
uninhabitable, erected a substantial frame residence in which he now dwells.
Mr. HAYNER is keenly alive to the interests of the township, and has filled
many important township offices.
removed from Genesee Co., N.Y., in 1850, and purchased land on sections 28
and 29, having built a residence on the latter section. Forty acres had been
already chopped, and a log house and barn were standing upon it. In 1856
he erected a more substantial abode, and has continued to increase the dimensions
of his farm until it now embraces 314 acres, all highly improved.
Among other pioneers who assisted in breaking the forests of White Oak were
David HOWELL, who owned land on section 28; Hezekiah RIGGS and Asahel
MONSON, who settled upon section 29; R. RAMSDELL and Thomas ANDERSON, on
section 15; Truman McARTHUR, on section 20; David NEWSOM, on section 33;
H.W. ACKLEY, on section 15; William D. STEVENSON and Alfred RAMSDELL, on
section 9; A.N. RIGGS and C.F. CHADWICK, on section 4; Thomas F. PATRICK,
on section 30; William BALLENTINE and James GRAHAM, on section 31; Philip
SALISBURY and James ALCHIN, on section 10; Samuel and Henry WOLCOTT, on section
18; Asel STOW and Benjamin BULLOCK, on section 35; George GILLIAM, on section
24; Ebenezer SHERMAN, on section 34; William S. HALL, on section 36; Stephen
HAVENS, on section 1; and Jonathan THOMAS.