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Town Of Lee, Oneida County, New York Village of Delta

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Early Settlers of Delta
Rome Sentinel Article by Clarence D. Smith


Lake Delta, Jan. 22 - I noticed in the Sentinel several weeks ago a paragraph saying that the Denison farm at Delta was once owned by Roswell Fellows. Mistakes creep into history too often and therefore I beg leave to correct this one before it goes any farther.

The Denison farm was a portion of Fondas Patent that eventually fell into the Lansing family of Albany, and September 22, 1802, Abraham Lansing and Susannah his wife gave a deed to Daniel Spinning, who had emigrated here several years before with his father, John, and his brother, John; his brother-in-law, Luther Washburn, with his sons, Martin, Rufus, Freeman, Luther Jr., and Calvin, and another relative, Benjamin Crittenden. They all came from Vermont.

The Washburns settled near what is now Lee Center. Crittenden was the first settler on the land afterwards the home of James Baker (father of Miles and Lorenzo D.), where Daniel Twitchell subsequently resided.

The Spinning family soon decided to move nearer their relatives and consequently sold the farm to Israel Stark, another Vermont Emigrant, who had seen hard and active service in the Revolutionary War, and was a relative of General John Stark of Bennington battle fame. he was the son of Obadiah and Susan (Walsworth) Stark. His brother, Rev. Obadiah (Dyer) Stark was the first pastor of the First Baptist Church in Rome.

Israel Stark built the frame dwelling house on the Denison farm, known to the present generation as the residence of the farmer who tilled the farm. This was built near to and with eaves facing the street. At the time of the demolishing of the Delta buildings, this was the oldest building standing in the village, but not the oldest on the flow ground.

Israel Stark married Sarah Ashby, whose parents resided just below where the Delta Dam is now built. One of their sons married a granddaughter of Rozel (not Roswell) Fellows and lived and died in western New York. A descendant, Mrs. Emma Stark Hampton, is a high official in the National Womens Relief Corps of America, and was for several years its president.

Hetta, daughter of Israel Stark, married Benjamin Rudd, father of Eliza Rudd, who married Dr. Phillips of Hoosick, New York, and Annie Rudd, who married Hon. George Williams of Whitesboro.

Dyer Stark, son of Israel, was in the first three-masted schooner that passed through the Straits of Mactnac into Lake Michigan. In 1814, at the urgent demand of the government for all able-bodied men to flock to Sacket Harbor, Dyer was not old enough to be drafted, but served as a substitute for Oliver Wentworth, who had been drafted but was well along building the brick residence for Henry Wager, near Westernville. Wager paid Dyer $300 to go in place of Wentworth so that his house might be finished without his contractor having to stop to whip the British before the work could go on. Dyer served under Gen. Winfield Scott at Lundys Lane, and was with Commodore Perry on Lake Erie.

In 1820, Israel Stark died, and was buried in Delta Cemetery, where were buried his wife and parents, now removed to the new site furnished by the state on Daniels mountain, over looking the lake from the north.

About 1832 commenced the building boom in the "Holler", afterwards known as Delta. Anson Dart and his brother-in-law, Richard Catlin and Asa Hartshorn, came and commenced work in true metropolitan style. Richard Catlin secured the Stark farm, built the brick residence and the three-story brick store opposite, also a wooden frame store farther up the street, opposite the hotel, where the first post office in Delta was kept by Franklin Peck.

The climate of Delta not being conducive to the health of Mr. Catlins family, he was compelled to leave and therefore sold out the farm to his brother-in-law, Asa Hartshorn, and the store to his brother-in-law, Anson Dart, who lived on Elmer Hill, on the Hutchinson place, now where J. W. Hughes resides.

The hard times of 1837 brought financial disaster to Anson Dart, and all of his holdings had to be sold Asa Hartshorn sold the farm to Mansir G. Phillips, who was postmaster under Millard Fillmore, and he kept the office in the north wing of the brick house.

The brick for this house, as well as the store, were made and burned on the flats not far from the Potash Brook, the Byam brothers of Lee doing the mason work.

Mansir G. Phillips sold the place to John E. Dunham, who in turn sold it to George T. Denison, father of William G. Denison of Rome.

In another article I will tell something about Rozel Fellows, the first settler north of Fort Stanwix after the Revolutionary War.



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