Josiah Todd of North Haven CT

Josiah Todd6, (Dan5, Christopher4, Samuel3, Samuel2, Christopher1) born Dec. 18, 1794, in North Haven, Conn., died Oct. 22, 1869, married June 17, 1816, Elizabeth, daughter of Jesse and Patience (Todd) Clinton, who was born Sept. 20, 1796, died Nov. 18, 1886. For her mothers ancestry, see number 213. They lived first in North Haven, Conn., then Newark Valley, N. Y., and later they returned to North Haven.

Josiah Todd was a prominent man in town, school, society and military matters for about fifteen years. He was orderly sergeant for some ten years in the old militia company and was more than once offered a commission, but declined, partly on the ground that with his growing family his means would not allow. I think I can truthfully say from my own personal knowledge and what has been told me by those who were contemporary, and members of the company with him, that no one equaled him in all the varied tactics with company drill. He was very prompt in commanding orders, and trained members of the company in the manuel of arms to great exactness and promptitude. It was common in those days, for an orderly sergeant to form the company, which, under his direction was very quickly done, and after short drill in the manuel of arms, which usually took place on the ‘Green’, a little north and west of the old church, not quite in front of what was then the old Esq. Bishop place (now E. Lindsley), for the orderly to march the company on the double quick, with the fifes and drums playing ‘Yankee Doodle’ and the colors flying, up to the old tavern on the corner, to receive the commissioned officers, who were in waiting. My father owned a book of tacties, which contained all the necessary knowledge for company drill, up to Army Corps, which he well understood, at least, so far as it was practically necessary. I think he had qualities which would have ensured him success pretty well up in the military scale as an officer. He took pride in it, was prompt, enthusiastic, and patriotic.

However, he was more particularly noted as a singer and teacher of vocal music. He not only led the choir and gave instruction in music here in North Haven, for many years, but, also gave instruction in vocal music in the adjoining towns, and in New York State as well. He was conceded, by good judges, to have been the best tenor singer in the State. His ability to awaken enthusiasm in a choir of singers was remarkable, for he was exceedingly prompt and enthusiastic. His time and ear were perfectly correct, and he would detect at once, any inperfection in that respect in others. He was noted for his ability to read and sing the most difficult music at sight. He studied and understood the science of music, and composed some creditable pieces in that line. His concerts were remarkable for the selections and for their inspirating effect on an audience.

After his removal to the State of New York, he was called upon to engage in teaching music. At the close of the lessons, he gave concerts, as was usual in those days, that were greatly appreciated by the audiences present.

He was a great reader and a lover of poetry, and in his library were to be found copies of all the English poets, among which were Shakespeare, Milton, Cowper, Dryden, Henry K. White, Thompson, Young, Burns, Spectator and Washington Irving.

He was well versed in the history of our country from the earliest settlement to the close of his life, and especially its political history. He was a strong Whig, and a great admirer of Henry Clay, and took a very active part in the campaign in his behalf, for the presidency. He was a great admirer of the New York Weekly Tribune and especially the editorials written by Horace Greeley, the reading of which was looked forward to every week as a feast, but did not live to see the unfortunate close of the life of the celebrated founder of his favorite news paper.

Written by one of his sons.

In the spring of 1834, Josiah Todd with his family consisting of himself and wife, two sons, Samuel and Frederic Handel, and three daughters, Aurelia J., Henriette W., and Mary J., removed to New York State. The main reason for his going was this. The Heartley’s owned some seven hundred acres of pine and hemlock timber land. A man by the name of Belcher had built a house and a saw-mill on the premises and had done some lumbering of the pine in that vicinity, and some off the Heartley property.

The hemlock was quite valuable, or rather the bark was, being used for tanning purposes.

A contract was made between Josiah Todd, William Heartley and the above mentioned Belcher, to take charge of a large tannery near the saw-mill on the same stream.

Josiah Todd and family, together with Timothy Andrus and family with his son-in-law Gilbert, left North Haven, Conn., with their household goods, boarded a schooner at New Haven bound for Albany, N. Y. Here they changed to a packet canal boat of the Erie Canal and thence to Montezuma, N. Y. From there, they entered a short branch of the canal of about seven miles which brought them to Cayuga Lake. Here they boarded a steam-boat bound for Ithaca, N Y., at the upper end of the Lake, which was about forty miles distant. A steam tug hauled the canal boat with their goods. The passenger boat was old and leaky, and the lake was very rough. Most of the passengers were sea-sick. The tug, with the goods, did not arrive at Ithaca, until the next morning. Mr. Gilbert and Luther Andrus came on with the goods, as they were left in charge of them. Samuel Todd was left at the hotel, to await the coming of the goods, while the others of the company got aboard of a lumber wagon and rode about 25 miles over a rough road to Newark Valley, their destination.

It was a journey of fifteen days duration, from North Haven, Conn., to Newark Valley, which is a decided contrast with the time required in the 20th century, to make the same journey. There were no railroads at that time in New York State, and very few in other states.

The company arrived at their destination about the 15th of May. There was quite a snow storm the night after their arrival. The distance traveled was about five hundred miles. By the way of the Newburgh turnpike, the distance is about one-half, or about 250 miles.

It was understood that the tannery would be ready for business about the first of June, but it was some three months after their arrival, before work could be commenced.

The Andrus family had exchanged their farm in North Haven, Conn., for one in the neighborhood, a little north of the tannery, a portion of which had been under cultivation for some years. The Todd family did not go west for any purpose, but to engage in the business of Tanning. Consequently, they took up their abode right among the big hemlocks, between two high hills, a very tough place for farming, as the sequel will show.

Josiah Todd bought about forty acres, all heavily timbered, except about four acres, which had been cleared of the timber about a year. Consequently, the land was covered with large pine and hemlock stumps. He had little money left, and the fact that the tannery was not ready to run, the little money he did have was soon gone. Then came the tussle, which seemed to fall to Samuel’s lot.

And to add to his troubles, about a year after the tannery opened for business, the company failed, which was a sad disappointment to the Todd family, as well as a serious loss, and the cause of many hardships.

*716. Samuel, b. Aug. 22, 1817.
*717. Frederick Handel, b. Feb. 26, 1819.
718. Child, d. aged about 3 weeks.
719. Aurelia Juliet, b. June 7, 1823, d. March 15, 1912, m. March 26, 1847, Deacon William B. Bushnell, of Newark Valley, N. Y., who was b. April 12, 1823. Later they lived in Wellsboro, Penn.
720. Henrietta Wallace, b. April 22, 1827, d. Jan. 10, 1903, lived in Newark Valley, N. Y., unmarried.
721. Robert Burns, b. March 5, 1829, d. Sept. 28, 1831.
*722. Mary Josephine, b. Feb. 6, 1833.
723. Fidelia Angeline, b. May 4, 1835, d. May 16, 1843.
*724. Theresa Adelaide, b. Dec. 4, 1838.

Bushnell, Todd,


Todd, George Iru. Todd Family in America. Gazette Printing Company. 1920.

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