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William Seymour, Jr.

Note: This information was supplied by Paul Carleton Seymour.

WILLIAM7 SEYMOUR (William6, Samuel5, Samuel4, Matthew3, Thomas2, Richard1), born 1785 in East Haven, CT, died 1827 in Cannonsville, Delaware, NY. Married Dorothy LORD, daughter of Eliphalet and Mary (Greene) LORD of Prattsville, Greene Co., NY.

Children (born in Cannonsville, Delaware, NY):
Willet b. 1805, died 1897 in Cannonsville, Delaware, NY. Ten Children
Samuel Sands I'm curious about why William named a son Samuel Sands. There is a Sands Creek, a tributary of the West Branch of the Delaware River near where he settled, which was named for Samuel Sands, the owner of the largest mill on the creek, and one of the largest lumber dealers in that whole territory, rafting his lumber at Hancock. I verified that Samuel was related to Esther Sands, William Sr.'s first wife, and I wonder if he helped set up William Jr. in business.
Charles Decatur

By Paul Seymour

American towns founded by our Line of the family, and The Early Delaware county, New York Seymours

This seems like a good time to summarize all of the towns that were founded by our direct ancestors, that I know of, most likely there were others by the Hayes, Lyon, Betts, Lord, Greene families for example. But here are those with evidence backing their founding:

Hartford, Connecticut Richard and Thomas Seymour, 1639
Norwalk, Connecticut Richard and Thomas Seymour, 1649
Stamford, Conn. founded 1641 Francis Dan (traced through Leone Dann, mother of Westley Francis Seymour) had children born in Stamford in 1686. His family is possibly Dutch (Dahn) and arrived in 1647 with Peter Stuyvesant, and therefore were founders of New York City, then moving 20 miles to Stamford after New Amsterdam was claimed by the British, but that's only a respectable tradition passed down through generations
New Haven, Connecticut John Chedsey arrived between 1644 and 1647 (traced through Rhoda Chidsey, mother of William Seymour, Jr.)
Ridgefield, Connecticut Matthew Seymour, 1708
New Canaan Parish, Conn. “In 1731, Connecticut's colonial legislature established Canaan Parish as a religious entity in northwestern Norwalk and northeastern Stamford. The right to form a Congregational church was granted to the few families scattered through the area.” New_Canaan,_Connecticut Samuel Seymour had a child in New Canaan in 1729
Newburgh, Orange, New York Precinct established in 1763, organized as Town in 1788. William Seymour, Sr. Arrived in 1790 and is recognized as one of the most influential early leaders.
Sidney, Delaware, New York Zenas Goodrich, 1772 (traced through mother of Gilbert Seymour
North Norwich, Chenango, NY Johnathan Dann 1794 (traced through Leone Dann, mother of Westley Francis Seymour)
Cannonsville, Delaware, NY William Seymour, Jr. 1800
Danville, Broome, New York Philip Dan founded it prior to 1850

Rhode Island was settled by a pair of cousins, both named John Greene in the late 1630's or early 1640's, but I've been unable so far to trace Sandra Greene's (mother of Paul Carleton Seymour) ancestry.

Now on to the history of one of those towns, where five generations in our line of Seymours lived. First let's start with a brief history of Delaware County written by Tim Duerden Keep in mind that William Seymour, Jr. Arrived in about 1800.

By the time of the American Revolution most of the region had been apportioned out in tracts to wealthy speculators from the cities along the eastern seaboard and even among some who lived in Europe. Patent holders sold some of this land to pioneering settlers, such as Gideon Frisbee, while large tracts, sometimes consisting of thousands of acres, continued to be owned by the likes of Dutchman Johannes Hardenburgh.

By the 1770's many Scotch-Irish settlers began to find their way down the West Branch of the Delaware River, establishing tiny communities of log homes in Kortright, Stamford and Harpersfield. Many of these settlers were drawn to the county with the offer of 150-acre farms free of rent for the first five years.

The Revolutionary War slowed the settlement of the future Delaware County; indeed, many settlers fled to the relative safety of more populated areas in present-day Otsego and Schoharie counties. As in other frontier areas of the time, it is likely that most pioneer families along both branches of the Delaware River wished merely to be left alone by the warring factions - and their respective Indian allies. The Revolution left the territory “virtually depopulated,” according to W.W. Munsell's History of Delaware County (1880).

After the war, survivors and new settlers returned to the region. Among these hardy newcomers were numerous groups from the “Old World,” including Scotch-Irish and Germans. In addition, a great many of these post- revolutionary pioneers made their way to the Catskills from lower New York State and New England, particularly Massachusetts and Connecticut. These new settlers tended to be second and third generation descendants of original pioneers in America who now found their path to economic success blocked at home by what was considered, for the time, an over abundance of people and an under abundance of land. Delaware County did not suffer from these afflictions.

As scattered communities grew in the clearings of the forests and along the rivers of present-day Delaware County, buildings of a more communal nature and function joined the individual log cabins. One-room schoolhouses, churches, water-powered grist and sawmills, and eventually a general store here and there were constructed to fulfill the needs of a growing settlement.

By the 1790's, with war becoming a distant memory for younger pioneers, the population of the region had increased to the extent that the New York State Legislature was petitioned to establish a new county. In 1797, when enough support in the legislature had been secured, the region officially became known as Delaware County, breaking away from Ulster in the south and Otsego County in north.

This new political entity was made up of a mere six towns, and representatives of each town met in March 1797 to begin the work of constructing the county's necessary political and legal infrastructure. By October 1797 the first jury of the Court of Common Pleas began to meet at the home and tavern of Gideon Frisbee, located at the spot north of the village of Delhi where Elk Creek joins the West Branch of the Delaware River (presently the Delaware County Historical Association). Court continued to be held at this site until construction of a new courthouse in the village of Delhi was completed in 1799.

Delaware County's geography and mountainous terrain made it difficult to transport goods to the expanding European-American population - a situation that was not to change much until the mid-nineteenth century. As a result of their “isolation,” settlers relied on a far-reaching subsistence economy in which most important commodities were produced locally, either within the household, or at the hands of local artisans and craftspeople.

Men and women, and sometimes, even children, shared equally in production for this subsistence economy. On local farms, men and boys tended to the larger livestock, while their female counterparts maintained the household and looked after the smaller animals. In addition to vegetables and grains, most households produced flax and wool, cut their own timber and in spring tapped the maple trees for their sap. Trees also provided the raw material for products such as potash and tannic acid. These isolated communities frequently had cabinetmakers, joiners, tinsmiths, blacksmiths, and basketmakers - craftspeople specializing in trades that farmers could not.

By the early decades of the nineteenth century acid factories were flourishing in the southern part of Delaware County and sawmills proliferated across the entire county. Soon resourceful residents were utilizing the region's waterways to transport their products. Enormous rafts of floating timber were lashed together for transport southward along both branches of the Delaware to Trenton and Philadelphia. Cargoes of bluestone, wheat, potash, wool and whiskey were often loaded onto the rafts for transport to the cities.

Delaware County continued to attract new migrants through the first quarter of the nineteenth century. However, the rugged topography of the region, combined with accessibility problems, hindered any large-scale migration. After 1800 and the construction of the Jericho Turnpike (connecting Rhinecliff in the Hudson Valley with Bainbridge on the Susquehanna) and the Catskill Turnpike (from Catskill in the east to Unadilla in the west) the county gained slightly easier connections to the outside world - for people and products alike.

Still, population growth in the new county was slow. In 1800 the population stood at 10,000; some 60 years later it had reached 40,000 - and it has continued to hover around this mark ever since. The opening of the Erie Canal, well to the north of the county in 1825, while providing an easier transportation route between the Hudson Valley and Buffalo, only served to divert trade and population growth away from the Catskills and Delaware County.

The rugged nature of the land also delayed the arrival of railroads into Delaware County. While other areas of the state were becoming increasingly accessible by train, most towns in Delaware County had to wait until the 1860s and 1870s for regular service.

The advent of rail service, however, when it came proved a boon to the region's dairy farmers. Now large quantities of butter, milk and other dairy products could be shipped in refrigerated cars rapidly and directly to urban markets hundreds of miles away. The creameries that received and shipped the milk from local farmers flourished in those communities along the rails. “Milk trains” departed early every morning bound for urban markets, and the dairy industry continued to be the mainstay of the local economy until well into the twentieth century.

Rail transportation, and later on, the automobile, provided the catalyst for a tourism industry in Delaware County. Local boarding houses and, later, large hotels provided summer accommodations for throngs of city-weary vacationers seeking the cool freshness of the mountains.

Newcomers, many paying their first visit to Delaware County as tourists, have continued to settle in the region. Today Delaware County may be described as having a mixed population of “locals,” many of whom are able to trace their lineage all the way back to the original pioneers, and the numerous “city folk,” denoting the segment of the community that has arrived more recently (many in this second category are part-time residents).

Today, as during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, these groups have often not seen eye to eye over questions of land use. Despite the different ideas about the county's future, however, one phenomenon remains indisputable: As the local dairy industry has declined during the last couple of decades, the forest has once more spread its sylvan blanket over the hills and fields of Delaware County, returning this small corner of the world to an appearance much closer to a time before the arrival of the first European pioneers.

Now let's move on to how the Seymours arrived in Delaware County, and see how they helped formed it over five generations.

The following are excerpts from the Delaware County Historical website written by Don Seymour, who, as I learned after reading his work, and then discovering my own family history, was also directly descended from Willet Seymour, my GGG Grandfather. What does that make us? I suppose some sort of distant cousins. I repeatedly came across stories written by Don, and questions asked by him, as we independently tried to find answers to some of the same questions. Early on in my research, I tried to track him down, but eventually learned that he had died in 2003 in Illinios. He was born in Endicott, NY in 1927 and was a retired insurance executive, a WWII navy veteran, and evidently a kindred spirit. I wish I'd had a chance to meet him.

Story submitted by Don

In about the year 1800 there lived in the village of Newburgh, NY a man by the name of William Seymour (Sr.). He was reported to be a wealthy man for those days. He had a son named William that tradition says was a rather reckless character, and the father, becoming rather disgusted with the son's actions, gave him $1,000 and told him to get out and do something for himself, as he was done helping him.

I don't know where Don got this info from, but I assume it's an old family story, as I couldn't corroborate it anywhere else. Genealogy, after all, is primarily a series of stories passed from generation to generation. Since William Jr. (1785-1827) was born in 1785, according to this story he was only 15 when he took off for the middle of nowhere, from either Newburgh or Greenwich, or East Haven to the unsettled wilderness of upstate New York, possibly with his mother, Rhoda Chidsey but as noted above in William Sr.'s story she “disappeared” from all records. As we learned in Sr.'s story, E. Haven was a puritan town, and possibly an unwed mother was to be shunned? We can only guess. William's older half brother Drake (1783-1824) was accidentally shot in a hunting accident when he was only 41. William Jr. died just three years later, at a similarly young 42, but I've been unable to find out how.

Drake's mother was Esther Sands, who was William Sr.'s first wife. We've already learned that William Sr. was a rather important guy in Newburgh, and being a civic leader and all, maybe Rhoda and Jr. were a bit of an embarrassment. We can only speculate, as there doesn't seem to exist any hard evidence of why William Jr. went off to carve out a new existence at such an early age. Maybe for William Jr. it was easier to tell folks that he was bit of a wild child, rather than Daddy's little dark secret.

There is some circumstantial evidence that Sr. was looking out for him, aside from the story above which indicates $1,000 in seed cash. I'm sure that back in the year 1800 a $1,000 went a long way when buying property in unsettled Indian territory. I've read of land in upstate NY during this period being sold at 50 cents an acre.

I have to stress again the word “circumstantial” but in my research the name Samuel Sands kept popping up. This name turns up three times. First, William Jr. settled on the banks of Sand's Creek, which is a tributary of the west branch of the Delaware River which was named after one of the most successful loggers in the area, Samuel Sands. William Sr. and Esther Sands named one of their sons Samuel Sands Seymour. Someone pointed out to me that this might be because William's father's name was Samuel, and his wife's maiden name is Sands. But that doesn't explain why Jr. and wife Dorothy Lord also named one of their sons Samuel Sands Seymour.

I've confirmed that Sam was some sort of relative of Esther's and possibly there was an arrangement made that he would help young Jr. get started in business. I did some research on the Sands', and found a lot of interesting information, including that Esther and Samuel were related, but not as brother and sister. However, it's quite a coincidence that both the Sands and the Seymour families decided to simultaneously pioneer in the lumbering business in unsettled Delaware County at the same time of the Seymour/Sands marriage over in Newburgh. Also remember that Dad was on the committee to build a turnpike from Newburgh over to the Delaware River at this time in 1801, and as a shipbuilder certainly had need for good lumber, at a good price.

I did run across this story which might have been about the same Samuel Sands, as the dates are reasonable, although would have made him an older man at time of death —-

My Great Grandfather, Daniel J Sands was probably born in the Hancock area (very near Tompkins and on Sand's Creek). His wife, Laura Powers from Pierrepont, NY. I am certain of their details. My problem is with Daniel's father, Samuel, and grandfather, Benjamin. I have much conflict data, nearly all of it written in shaky script 80 years later. Here is Samuel's Story: Samuel was engaged in lumbering and timber in the vicinity of Mansfield (not near Tompkins). In the winter of 1835-6 his body was discovered in a lonely cabin where it was assumed he took refuge while traveling from Elmira, NY and a lumber camp. As he was known to have been carrying a large sum of money. Robber/murder by persons unknown was concluded. To add to the tragedy his wife died on December 14, 1835. The children, Bertha Ann, then 8 years old, Daniel, 6 and Silas, 4 were taken in by Samuel's sister Hetty Knight (Knoght?) and her husband John. Information on my supposed great grandfather, Benjamin, is difficult to decipher. Has wife's name could be Hannah, Harriet or even Catherine. He would have been born around 1760 and dead by 1826. Here is a list of his children, all or most born in Delaware County, without an assurance of authenticity: Richard married Clara Kent; George died young; Samuel married Jane Wylie; William married Priscilla Thomas. Any help would be appreciated.

Hal Sands - posted 03-2003 Maybe William met a similar fate walking back from Philadelphia with a pocket full of cash? So far, I haven't found out.

For any of you who trace back to William Sr. and Esther, I did run across some interesting information on the Sands family, which I'll be glad to pass along here. First, Esther traces back to some more founders of America and prominent citizens of merry old England. Her GG Grandfather was Capt. James Sands born 1621 in Reading, Berkshire, England and after having been an original settler of, he later died on Block Island, Rhode Island in 1694 Evidently, although not proven beyond a doubt, there's a preponderance of evidence supporting the fact that Esther's GGGG Grandfather was Archbishop Edwin Sands. To me, an even more interesting story was found on the Wikipedia site for Block Island-

In 1699 the Scottish sailor William Kidd visited Block Island, shortly before he was accused of piracy and hanged. At Block Island he was supplied by Mrs. Mercy (Sands) Raymond, daughter of the mariner James Sands. The story has it that, for her hospitality, Mrs. Raymond was bid to hold out her apron, into which Kidd threw gold and jewels until it was full. After her husband Joshua Raymond died, Mercy moved with her family to northern New London, Connecticut (later Montville), where she bought much land. The Raymond family was thus said to have been “enriched by the apron”.

I wonder how many inter-family squabbles have erupted over the centuries between siblings trying to get their share, or someone else's, of the residuals from the apron?

Also interesting to note that in addition to Block Island, the Sands family also founded Sands Point, Long Island, near Oyster Bay where Esther comes from.

It was named not for its beaches, but for brothers James, John and Samuel Sands, early settlers of the area. They came in 1695 and purchased 500 acres at the tip of a peninsula called Cow Neck from the Cornwalls, who had been there for 20 years. Sands Point was originally owned by three families namely the Sands, Vanderbilts, and Cornwells. By the 1900s, Sands Point was divided among 50 of the nation's richest families. Many also believe that Sands Point was the inspiration for East Egg in “The Great Gatsby”, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In 1910, Daniel Guggenheim purchased his 216 acre Hempstead House, formerly Castle Gould. Later years, his son Harry Guggenheim, founder of Newsday set up his estate Falaise nearby. In recent time, the estate is part of the Sands Point Preserve, notable for a medieval fair run by Medieval Scenarios and Recreations Ltd., which is held every September. Sand Point became incorporated village in 1910.

Okay, now back to the Seymour-Chidsey line. As it turns out, but not as any surprise, Rhoda is the GG Granddaughter of one of the founders of New Haven, CT, Deacon John Chedsey. Today there remains a Chidsey Boulevard in E. Haven. Unfortunately, after a frustrating search, I can't find out what happened to Rhoda. Below you'll note a biographical sketch of Alonzo Seymour in which it's stated that Rhoda accompanied William to Delaware County at around 1800, but nothing further.

A little more Chidsey information

John Chedsey was a tanner of leather and shoemaker and was very active in the New Haven Church and community.

1644: Colony Constitution was enlarged and revised and 11 more names were added, John Chedsey's name was added to the Constitution March 7, 1647 in the hand of Francis Newman.

1681: Deacon John Chedsey, a tanner of leather and shoemaker (just like our Seymour ancestors in Sawbridgeworth), settled on the northside of the green on a 3 acre square lot between John Potter and John Austin. Afterwards 10 acres were granted him by the village on the west side of the fresh meadows which ever since have been known as Chedsey Field and Chedsey Hill. (East Haven Register)

1683: In March John Chedsey proposed to the village to have a 3rd division of land us equal to 10 heads and 100 estate which he doth apprend to be 60 acres, etc. A 3rd division of land, 20 acres for cash 100 lbs in the list and 4 acres to each child and 20 acres to each family, John Chedsey drew, but his estate is not listed so amount of land was not.

Deacon John and his sons Caleb and Ebenezer were active in town politics when they moved to East Haven (Stony River, the village), but Joseph was not mentioned in East Haven affairs, nor was the eldest son of Deacon John, John. Evendently Joseph and John did not remove to Stony River when their father did.

Deacon John's tombstone was removed from the original site to the wall of the cemetery. It is a slab of brownstone which could be read in 1967, but is fading as the stone is soft.

It looks like Rhoda's family were very religious, like many in those days, and maybe poor Rhoda was shunned after having a son out of wedlock. We can only guess. We also don't know why she was in Greenwich at the age of 20. I would think that it would have been unusual for a young woman to leave home and live alone in late 1700's America.

Now back to Don's story

William, Jr., came to Cannonsville and bought a large tract of timber land and proceeded to make himself a home and raise a family. On December 16th, 1803, he married Miss Dorothy Lord, daughter of Eliphalet and Mary (Green) (this is the 3rd time that the Seymours and Greenes have mixed that I know of. Thomas Seymour and Catherine Parr (daughter of Maud Greene, and my parents being the other two that I'm aware of) Lord of Prattsville, Greene Co., NY. He built a log cabin on the opposite bank of the West Branch of the Delaware River from where the village of Cannonsville was located, and there started to make a real home and raise a family. The lumber business in those days becoming quite important, and with the river adjacent to his land providing a cheap, although rather tiresome and hardy means of transportation to the cities nearer the sea, he turned his attention to lumbering and rafting his lumber mostly down to Philadelphia, a market that was used by two generations of Seymours following him. He also cleared the land from which a good portion of the living for the family was raised.

William, Jr. and Dorothy raised a family of ten children: Willet, William, Lewis, Samuel Sands, Elias Chidsey, Roswell, George, Ezekiel, Charles Decatur, and Sylvia. Willet, Charles and Ezekiel lived their lives in and near the homestead. After William Jr's death in 1827, their mother married Ethan Underwood and had one son, John, and when Underwood died, she married Ezra Hoag. She died in 1866.

In an article on Cannonsville, Dorothy is mentioned as being an original founder of the Cannonsville church.

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