Saddlemire Family

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The following is a transcript of the original manuscript, which is owned by Frieda Saddlemire of Knox, NY. This version is transcribed exactly as it was written in 1895, with punctuation added for clarity.

Gerry Saddlemire 26 July, 2001

1755 SADDLEMIRE HISTORY 1895


The following brief history of the family of Saddlemire was written for the reunion of Newark Valley, N.Y. by Etta Saddlemire , Phoenix, NY


Very many years ago there lived in Germany a family by the to us familiar name of Saddlemire. The family was large the country so densely populated that it was by the greatest exertion and the strictest economy that a living could be obtained for all, but it was said far over the seas was a country where there was land enough for all. But it required more than common courage to face the danger of that unknown world, and what to the warm hearted Germans was worse than all else was the breaking of home ties. A long farewell to the old Father & Mother whom they could hope to see no more in this world, for a return was not thought possible and letters was rare and costly; to go was to give up all for Aye. How often was the subject discussed and with what prayers and tears was the decision at reached that two of the boys George and John were to try their fortunes in the New World.

The preparations made, they bid a final farewell to friends, home and fatherland and sailed for the colonies in far off America. After long months upon the sea at last they reached Philadelphia, weary and homesick but no time can be given to regret, their life work lies before them; this was about the year 1755.

Naturally they look for friends among the people from their own country and among them is the quaint Dutch Maiden Ursula Basslin. John in her society soon learns the lesson so old and yet so new that it is not good for man to live alone, and so he decides to make a home with pretty Ursula, to share it with him, and a wise decision it is. They are married and live for years near Philadelphia. Meanwhile some of the wives kindreds have immigrated to the Colony of New York and they urge John to come to them.

So, one spring morning in the year 1762 the brothers say goodbye, for George is to remain in Pennsylvania where his numerous descendants now reside. And John with his wife and two little ones, one a babe the other a lad of three years old, started on foot through the wilderness a journey of nearly three hundred miles.

All their earthly goods are placed in a small cart drawn by the father while Ursula carries the baby, little John trudging bravely beside them, when tired being given a ride in the cart. When evening came they camped by the side of some stream, ate their simple meal and then slept soundly till the light of another morning bade them move on. At length they reached what is now the Town of Knox in Albany County and settled upon land that had been granted by King George III to the Duke of Albany and by him to Killian Van Rensselaer called the Patroon. This land being still owned and occupied by members of our family and to these two intrepid pioneers do we owe our existence to-day.

Their descendants are not only to be found in their state but throughout the United States and Canada. They lived to see the colonies become a great and prosperous nation, to see the wilderness develop into a thriving communities, to see towns and cities grow up along the lonely road they patiently trod when searching for a place wherein to make there home.

But years of labor and sorrow interweave together, they toiled to clean away the forest.

Trees were all around them whispering cheering words. Loud was the squirrel chatter and sweet the song of the birds and home grows sweeter and brighter. Their courage began to mount and things looked hearty and happy then, and work appeared to count. But one day in early autumn they were engaged in clearing a fallen burning bush and stumps and logs when a tree which had been burning in the roots for some time suddenly fell, striking the husband and father pinning him to the earth, breaking both legs and crushing his ribs; a terrible calamity. Thus he must lie helplessly for many months at the best and there are six boys and two girls now in the cabin home, and winter near at hand. What is to be done with all their helpless ones? A neighbour advises the mother, as the only course open for her to pursue, to bind out her older children. This is her answer, “if you want slaves, buy them, I shall take care of them, you shall not have my children”, and she began the task doing whatsoever her hands found to do that she might provide for her suffering husband and keep her little ones under her protecting care. For poor Ursula knew too well what hardships befell the bound child as she had been compelled to serve seven long years in payment of her father’s family from Germany to America. In vain may we seek to picture her days and years of toil and anxiety. She worked for others through the day and planted and harvested her own crops after her days work was done, but she kept her children with her and reared them to be honest men and women, her husband living, maimed and helpless till the age of 82 years Then Ursula gave up her home and went to spend her remaining days with her son Jacob in Newark, Tioga County where after a life of unexampled trial and self sacrifice she passed away at the advanced age of 98 years; and when we meet to decorate the graves of her faithfulness and heroism, cover her resting place the most beautiful flowers sweet and fragrant as the memory of our noble Mother Ursula.

It would be interesting to follow the fortunes of the many descendants of this worthy couple but my time and your patience will not admit; therefore we will only touch upon those branches of which we are offshoots and those with names we are to a greater or less degree familiar. Those of the second generation were John, George, Christine, Frederic, Adam. Jacob, Margaret and Betsy. Margaret married George Zimmer and was the mother of seven children. John, Peter, David, Jacob, Eli, Betsy, Katie. Adam married Betsy Lipe having four children John, George, Eva, and Christine. Frederic married Nancy Lipe and had eight children John, Peter, Adam and David, Paul, Betsy, Katie, Louisa. They removed to Clay, Onondaga County and lived to the ages of 83 and 87 years

Jacob married Hannah Brott. They had eight children, Fred, Elias, Katie, Lydia, Mary, Sophia, Betsy and Eliza. He died aged 84 and his wife 68 years.

  • John married Mary Haverly, and had nine children were the fruit of their union. John , Jacob, Peter, David, Charles, Joseph, Mary, Betsy and Katie. The second John, our grandfather was a man of remarkable ability having had few advantages; eighteen or twenty days comprising his school days. Yet by perseverance he became quite a scholar and was a great lover of books many of which are still treasured by his children of the third generation. He was not only his own blacksmith carpenter and wagon maker but he also made his shoes and harness and indeed nearly everything needed about the farm. The house and barns, which he built more than a century ago are still in repair, the nails used he also manufactured, the many buildings form a picturesque group. The house barn and sheds, blacksmith shop, cider mills, granaries and weaving house all the result of his own handiwork. And even now not withstanding the lapse of time it is a very desirable homestead, a large spring well stocked with trout close at hand was a source of both pleasure and profit. The house has a cellar, kitchen with immense fire-place and brick-oven, its doors are wide and in two parts so that the lower part may be closed while the upper remains open to admit light and air. No lock is to be found upon any door even to the present time, The floor has been replaced a third time, having been literally worn out by the tramp of many feet combined with the sand used to polish it to an almost snowy whiteness, The house is of three stories, large and commodious. It contains many a valuable relic of the olden days, among which may be seen the musket, knap sack and when serving in the war of the Revolution at the age of sixteen in the emergency of the struggling colonies he was pressed into the service and sent through the wilderness to aid in the defense of Fort Ontario at Oswego. The road leaving Fort Stanwix now Rome, being only an Indian trail, the march was beset with dangers. Hostile Indians and murderous Tories filled the forest. Constant vigilance was necessary and the smoking ruins of many a settlers cabin was seen. After a service of nearly two years and war ended, and he returned home.

New York was a slave-state in the early days and among his other property were three Negroes, Big Tom, Sam and Hannah Tom was a man of giant proportions and many stories are told of his great strength, but he grew ugly, and to avoid trouble was sold. A slave -child was born and grew up with the younger children and when Mary the elder daughter was married and left home, this child was part of her dowry and remained with her until slavery was abolished in this state. He(John) lived many years to enjoy the home his industry had provided and to count his descendants by the hundred; to see his children to the third and fourth generations; to note the wondrous progress of the nation whose independence he had helped to gain; and to 90 years, died as did the fathers of ancient days, beloved and honored by a numerous progeny. His body was laid to rest upon the farm that had been his pride, where around it to-day are the graves of his kindred. His good wife survived him some years and passed away at the age of 91. Of the third generation, we will glance first at the family of John and Mary. Jacob married Marillus Schwart having four children. Peter married Didama Young and reared twelve children. David married Jane Partridge and had twelve children, all arriving at maturity and are scattered from Albany to San Francisco. He died aged 84 years, his wife at 79 years. Charles took for his wife Christina, daughter of Adam Saddlemire having twelve children. He died at the age of 68 years. His aged wife the only living member of her father’s family still resides on the old homestead in Knox. Joseph married Ellen Hollenbeck and had eight children . They removed to Newark where he died at the age of 73 this wife at 50 years. Mary married Henry Bassler and was the mother of seven children who now live in the counties of Albany and Schoharie. She died at the age of 97 years. Betsy married Solomon Groat and was the mother of five children, some of whom, among them Charles who is a very prosperous fruit – grower, reside at southwest Oswego. Next in succession comes the family of Frederic and Nancy; John married his cousin Katie, daughter of the second John and had five children. They removed to Clay, Onondaga County in 1839 where he died at the age of 56 years. His wife Katie has lived to see the children of the fifth generation in the persons of her grand daughter’s grand children. She is the only surviving member of her father’s household, and at the age of 88, blind and feeble she stands alone down near the bank of the river, only waiting the welcome summons to go home to meet the many loved ones gathered there. Peter married Eliza Beckstead in Knox and in 1837 they emigrated to Ontario where he bought a tract of land in Dundas County, of the Mormons who about that time left the province. The house was what is known as a block house built of logs that were squared and placed closely together. It must have possessed at least one virtue, that of warmth. Its former occupants had left what little furniture they had, among which was a cradle which had been the bed of the Mormons little ones and which served not only for the family of Peter and Eliza, but for their grandchildren as well., and which is still kept in the family as a memento of other days. They reared a family of eight children. His wife died in 1878 aged of 87 years surrounded by a numerous and prosperous family, like the patriarch of old; he has possession of flocks and herds and land and much substance. He calls his children and their families together and when the roll is called sixty souls will answer, Here.

  • Katie married Harry Van Allen in Knox and settled in Dundas in 1833. She was the mother of four children, she died at the age of eighty six years. Betsy married Jacob Beckstead in Knox in 1820. They had six children. They moved to Dundas 1828. Three years after, they bought the land now owned by their son Peter. They cleared a spot and built a shanty house. They had no money with which to buy stock or seed but they went to one Macintosh and bought a cow and to Jochen Barkley and bought some seed grain on credit.

Small beginnings these three families had, but today their descendants go far toward peopling and possessing three townships in the county of Dundas and are reconed as the substantial men and women of the Dominion.

  • In 1830 Adam went to Tioga County N.Y. and there married Betsy, the daughter of his uncle Jacob and settled on what is now the farm of John Shear.

A log cabin was built and then began the work of cleaning up the land. One day while engaging in the work, a tree fell directly on the cabin crushing in the roof, but fortunately resting upon the floor of the loft. And as Aunt Betsy was in the house, their consternation can be better imagined than described. And right here comes one illustration of brotherly love that existed among those early settlers, for at once they came, removed the tree, raised the roof and shingled it before night fall. And many a joke was cracked over the incident and many a laugh at the expense of Uncle Adam. He died at the age of 71 years and his wife 80 years.

  • Hannah married Lyman Zimmer and (had) one son Willie(sp?). She died in 1893 at the age of 56 years.
  • Two of his sons, Jacob and David responded to their countrys call in time of danger. David was wounded at the battle of Gettysburg, became seriously ill and his father went to his aid. He himself was there for a time sick, but finally succeeded in bringing the dying soldier as far as Oswego (Owego?) the then nearest point of railroad communications. No other way presented itself and so the brave old man came on foot through the rain to his home, told his sad story and harnessing his team he and the Mother taking a bed and other things with which to make the trip as comfortable as possible for the invalid. They go after him, reaching Oswego(Owego?) in less than four hours from the time they left home. Then back over the rough roads carefully they brought their soldier boy whose only wish was to get home to see friends once more. At last the gate is passed. The house is soon in sight, there are loved ones waiting to welcome him. It is a sad homecoming, but with a smile of satisfaction he says I shall at least die at home. Only three days he lingered then went to the better land.
  • David married his cousin Eliza Zimmer in Newark and two children were born to them. Emily who died in her youth and Christina who married Albert Pitcher and has three children. David died in 1876, aged 57 years, his wife still survives him. Paul married Sarah Van Hoosen in Clay and one son was born to them, George. When the mother died, he (Paul) then married Pamelia Whittaker in Dundas, Ontario by whom they had five children, Frank, Mary Ann, Ellen, Ida, Emma. In the spring of 1869 the entire family was attacked with a malignant disease and with the exception of Mary Ann and Ellen they all died within a very short time. After a few years Mary Ann married but only lived a few weeks. Ellen then went to Ontario to live with her Mother’s people and there married William Merkley and has three children, Carrie, Frank and Lennie. Carrie married Joseph Bailey and has three children Elva, Gladys and Garnet . Frank married a distant cousin Evah Saddlemire and has three, Joyce, Norma and Virgie.
  • Lennie married Dellah Stacey in Ottawa and is a high school teacher. Carrie resides a Smith Falls, Ontario and her eldest daughter Elva, is recently married to Edward Coleman and resides in Smith Falls and has two children Fay and Patsy. Frank is on the old home and his mother Ella lives with he and his family. His father died in 1923. Louisa married Charlie Haverly of Knox and was the mother of twelve Children, Charles, David, Madison, Peter, Seldon, Emma, and Etta, the names of the other four could not be ascertained. The family immigrated to the far West many years ago, Louisa still lives in Marengo Iowa.

The next of the third generation which we will endeavor to trace are the children of Jacob who died in N York at the age of 84 years and Hannah at the age of 68, and in whom we are especially interested, but of whom we know little.

They immigrated to Tioga County in 1829, the eldest having gone there the previous year. This at that time was an almost unbroken forest with only an occasional clearing and it was to this home in after years that our mother Ursula came, and it is here that her ashes rest.

These Children are:

  • Fred who married Betsy Zimmer
  • Katie “ “ Jacob Lipe
  • Lydia “ “ Hiram Zimmer
  • Mary “ “ Jacob Fogle
  • Sophia “ “ Peter Settle
  • Betsy “ “ Adam Saddlemire
  • Eliza “ “ Peter Ten Eyck
  • Elias “ “ Hannah Zimmer and now occupies the homestead at Newark. His family consists of four children
Frank who died in 1891,
Cora who married Frank Schnapp,
Mary who married Eugene Livingston,
Flora who married Harry Cameron.

In March of the year 1835 Peter moved his family from Knox and settled on this homestead. The snow was about two feet deep; it was shoveled away and the brush burned to clear a place for the new house; which was immediately put up, a flat roof shanty about twelve feet square; to accommodate a family of seven, they having five children at that time. Peter junior being a boy of thirteen. A few potatoes among the stumps was all that could be raised the first year, the time all occupied in clearing land and building a house. Father John, who so many years before as a tiny lad of three traversed the wilderness from Philadelphia to Albany, coming from Knox to assist in the building. The brick for the chimney had to be drawn from Berkshire, as there was no direct road, it was a trip of eleven miles. The first clearing was a piece of four acres, where the house now stands. The pasture for the horses was fully three miles away, on the Pitcher farm. Peter was obliged to take that walk before breakfast to get them. They were worked until sun-down, then he must take them back through the woods. Twas a lonely tramp, there being but two houses on the road. Often he would get sight of deer, but the dismal hoots of the Owl filled his boyish heart with dread, and the return trip would be made in quick time. The cows roamed the woods and sometimes it required a tedious tramp to find them and bring them home. The hogs were fattened on acorns and wintered in the sugar-bush, burrowing under the snow and living upon beechnuts and roots. A piece of grass, about ten acres was bought of Mr. Settle and the hay brought through the woods upon which the stock was fed through the winter.

That was a long hard winter and sometimes in the new house in the forest there arose a sad dilemma. It was when the fire went out; what is to be done. Peter must take she shovel and run to the nearest neighbor to borrow a few coals and by strange misfortune that neighbor was in a like predicament. There was nothing to do but to go to one who had been more successful in keeping some. Bye the bye the children hear with dismay, there is no butter. What will they do now. But Mother spreads a little fat from the meat upon their bread and it is just as good. Oh the many ways Mother must contrive to make enough for all. How she must have planned, and pieced and prayed. How little we who are surrounded by plenty can realize her labour and thought, her many cares and trials, in order that all might be clothed and fed.

Let us picture for a moment this father toiling amid cold and heat, amidst all the disadvantages of a new country, that his children might enjoy the benefit of a comfortable home. To clothe 3 boys and nine girls in those days, meant long weary hours of spinning and weaving linen towels and woolen cloths of various kinds. The Mother must prepare. Then they must all have garments for each and every one. Nothing is purchased from the stores, all must be made at home. The boots and shoes for many years were all made at home. The leather being tanned by the Settle brothers, and paid for with bark, cut and drawn for nine shillings a cord. Peter’s last boots while at home were made by Jake Schoolcraft who did the work in a day, receiving a dollar a day for the work, and he furnishing the pegs.

The first wedding was that of the eldest daughter Didana who married John Settle in 1846. Her family consists of four children. Lyman, a prominent Lawyer and Eugene who resides in New York City. Oscar and Nilla (sp?) who lives with the mother in Newark.

Peter married Mary Esther, daughter of John Saddlemire in 1846. Five children are born to them. Their eldewst Amelia, wife of John Gaylord being the Mother of five children and her daughter Ida Hodge is the Mother of two boys who are the first of the coming generation, the seventh in descent from John and Ursula. The remaining children are Mary, who married Charles Broadburg and was the mother of two daughters. Rosina who married Bert Strong, and had two daughters. Emma who married Adelbert Legg (Legge) and who has one son John.

Mary Ann was married in 1847 to Howard Plaisted and having three children. George, Fannie who married Edward Zimmer and has one daughter, and Ellen who married Ed Clinton having four children.

Plaisted (Howard) died in 1855. Mary Ann then married Seneca, son of Adam Saddlemire and three children were born to them. Lottie (Charlotte) , who married Sherman Schoolcraft and had one son. She died in 1864.

Eve, who married Sherman Settle and has three children. Bert who married Ida Smith and has two children. Harried (Harriet) married David Sheer (Shear) and with her little ones await us in the after life.

Elizabeth married Charles Councilmam in 1855 being the mother of one daughter, Bertha who married W. H. Wheat and has four children.

Amanda married Jewett King in 1856 and has two children.

Daniel married Almina Schoolcraft in 1862 having six children, his wife died in 1875. Fidelia married John Hotaling in 1862 and was the mother of three children. She (Fidelia) died in 1875.

Noyes in 1862 took for his wife his cousin Henrietta Settle and is the father of two boys, Fenton, who married May Schoolcraft and has one son and in 1864 the mother with care and toil, her life work well done with folded hands joyfully she went forth into the great beyond. There to enjoy her well earned rest. Lodema now is all that is left with the father at home. They live alone until the growing infirmities of age call for rest, so Noyes is instructed to come and make the old place his future home. For many years they dwell together. At last, like Abraham of long ago old and full of days he is gathered to his fathers.

He had lived to count eighty six descendants, extending to the fifth generation. His life had been full of toil and trial, of good words and works, and at the age of eighty four he quietly passed on to join the wife of his youth in the beautiful house which by their good and noble lives here they had builded in that land where we never grow old.

We will now again take up the fourth generation, beginning with the children of John and Katie. Alexander married Emily Merwin and had eight children. Lovilla, Harley, Frederic, John, Willis, Alice and Clarence. They reside in Baldwinsville, New York ( the eighth child may be James)

Susan married Thomas Heseldon and has two Children, Charles and Mary. Their home is at Brewerton, N.Y. Katie Ann married Stephen Avery and has five children, John, Will. Stephen, Charles and Edith. They live in Pennelville, N.Y. Eli married Etta Case and has one child, Katie. They reside at Phenoix, (Phoenix) in N.Y.

We will now follow for a few moments the fortunes of the families of Peter and Eliza.

Amos, who soon after the family had settled in their new house in Ontario was left alone for a few minutes lying in his cradle.A kettle hung in the fireplace and was filled with boiling soap. When the cord by which it hung burned off and it fell, its contents pouring over the helpless child. Alone, far from neighbors, the parents were in despair. The father went twelve miles into the state for the nearest physician and strange to say, the child was saved, and still lives, which demonstrates very plainly the sturdy strength of this remarkable race. Amos married Lucy Deeks and has six children.

  • Ezra married Mary Castelman 5
  • Nancy “ Wellington Tinkus 3
  • Esther “ Ralph Beckstead 7
  • Mellisa “ Alzon Dillabaugh 4
  • Alice “ Donald Haynes 5
  • Ellen “ Thomas Stewart and has six children
  • John (married) Amanda Swerdfager (and has) six children the youngest of which of all the multitude, bears the time honored name of Ursula. Nearly all of these reside near Morrisburg, Ontario.

Next in order are the children of Katie and Henry Van Allen. Lyman Lewis married Eliza Ingerson and has three children.

Lizzie married Peter Beckstead and has five children.

  • John married Almira Markley (Merkley) and has two children.
  • Ira married Martha Kaliff (Kellough?) and has two children.

Next in our review we will note the children of Joseph and Ellen.

  • Ephriam married Mary Hearn
  • Marietta “ Peter Zimmer
  • Alexander “ Martha Saddlemire
  • Martha “ Ransom Zimmer
  • Jacob (Henry) “ (Euphimia) Clara Blair
  • Alvah (Alva) “ Ida Blair
  • Jerome “ (Helen) Rockwell

All reside at or near Newark Valley, N.Y.

Lastly we will notice the children of Betsy and Jacob Beckstead.

  • Peter married Elizabeth and has five children.
  • Eliza married Marcus Reddick and has four children.
  • Ellen married Jacob (Jerry?) Beckstead and has four children.
  • Mary married William Reddick and has six children.
  • Isabel married Allen Deeks and has one child.
  • Susan married Simon Haverl;y, her wedded life only lasted two weeks when her body was brought back to her father’s house. These all reside in the County of Dundas, Ontario.

Now we will lay aside the study of history and take up for a few moments that of arithmetic. For we are curious to know what the result might be should we like the tribes of Israelites stand up to be counted.

Take for example the family of the second John. He had nine children whose family averaged eight in each, making seventy two grandchildren. Allowing them to have 6 children each we have four hundred and thirty two great grandchildren. Assuming that three hundred of these marry and have each one child, each which is a very low estimate, we then have three hundred of the fourth generation which number added to the four hundred and thirty two; to which we must add the husbands and wives of the foregoing; for are not husbands and wives one flesh, and we have in round numbers one thousand one hundred which now must be multiplied by the number of children of John and Ursula and when we consider that we have made no accounting of the sixth and seventh generation, we can safely assert that the product of our calculation eight thousand eight hundred is no exaggeration.. And least we become lost in the maze of multitude we will only add that verily this family over whose history we have been taking a backward glance to-day have obeyed the scriptural injunction be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.

And as the majority are within the boundaries of two (States?) what a difference in the census of 1890 there might have been if our worthy ancestors had immigrated to some other than the Colony of New York.

Again has come of glad reunion day Let us from trials and cares now turn away We must at this time be joyous and free Thus proving we’re happy each other to see What if tomorrow we must struggle and toil Today we’ll allow nothing our pleasure to spoil To the homestead we’ve come from near and from far And we’re bound to let nothing our happiness to mar Tho some must be absent Lets be of good cheer We’ll have a good time with those that are here This surely is no time for sorrow and tears Let’s make it a day of remembrance in future years And for this day pleasure not one must forget To return sincere thanks to Noyce and to Ett We will always remember Tho far far away The kind welcome they gave us this reunion day To host and to hostess I make my best bow And turn my attention for friends may Here’s Emma and George so glib in the tongue He’ll make amusement for both old and young Here’s Amanda and Jewitt from over in Broome For them of course there is plenty of room Here is Peter and Hester and Melia and John With Emma and Dell and their little son There’s Uncle Elias and also Aunt Steen The jolliest body that ever was seen Here is Lyman and Hannah and with them Jake They have come here today The good things to partake There’s Sherman and Lottie And Laurie and Ed By the spirit of kindness they always are red And now to make perfect our reunion plan Uncle Seneca must come and bring Aunt Mary Ann There’s Alvah and Ephriam, Alex, Jake and Jerome Five brothers today they have come But oh I must stop trying to mention each name I would take so much time You would be sorry I Came But truly and sincerely All I will say We’re glad to see each one Who has come here today And as time’s wheel rolls And another year shall come May we again meet together In the old family home


Kathryn L. Saddlemire, Phoenix, N.Y.