Archive:The Descendants of John Whitney, page 385

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The Descendants of John Whitney, Who Came from London, England, to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1635, by Frederick Clifton Pierce (Chicago: 1895)

Transcribed by the Whitney Research Group, 1999.


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WHITNEY GENEALOGY. 385

pushed by six hands, and they were thus carried 255 miles to Owego, most of the distance against a strong current. Often young WHITNEY was obliged to be midway in the water, amid cakes of floating ice for hours together. He reached Owego a little before Christmas. [Annals of Binghamton, VI.] Previous to the erection of this county, Binghamton (then Chenango Point) was a half shire town of Tioga Co. and courts were held at the house of J. WHITNEY until 1802, in which year a court house was erected (page 65). In speaking of Bingham- ton, originally known as Chenango Point, its present name was given in honor of Wm. BINGHAM, who purchased a large tract of land lying on both sides of the Sus- quehanna, including the site of the city and to whose beneficence in donating land for the erection of county buildings and a public school, and to the liberal and en- lightened exertions of his agent, Gen. Whitney, its early prosperity is largely due (p. 82). During the same year (1787) came Joshua and William WHITNEY and Henry GREEN from Hillsdale, Columbia Co., and settled on the west side of the Chenango on what was afterward called WHITNEY flat (p. 93). Thomas CHAMBERS erected and lived in a log house on the site of the city. Other settlements were made here and a postoffice established June 23, 1798, with Joshua WHITNEY as postmaster. Up to the beginning of the present century, however, little disposition to occupy the site of the city was manifested, the early settlers being diverted to the Chenango village, a prosperous settlement on the west side of the Chenango about one mile above Binghamton, etc. In 1800 Joshua WHITNEY became the agent of Mr. BINGHAM for the disposal of the latter's lands in this vincinity, and as the whole of the side of the village just alluded to was not embraced in Mr. BINGHAM's patent, and it had neither the advantage of as eligible a location nor possessed a sufficiently extensive area for the growth of a village such as might be built up at the junction of the two rivers, Mr. WHITNEY conceived the idea of diverting attention to the latter place and removing the village there. As a means to this end he took advantage of reports, which were circulated to the effect that Lucas ELMENDORF, of Kingston, Ulster Co., was about to build a bridge across the Chenango on the line of the great western highway which passed through the site of Binghamton and represented that it must determine the prosperity of settlers in its locality and cause a corresponding decline in the growth of the upper village. He accordingly, in company with several others who came by appointment, commenced a clearing on both sides of the river at the point where he represented the bridge was to be located. The ground was surveyed and laid out into streets and lots in village form the same year. To render the suc- cess of his plan more certain, Gen WHITNEY purchased a number of buildings in the old village and removed them to the new one. By this means the nucleus of a village was formed and its prosperity assured. New accessions were rapidly made, but the bridge was not built till 1808. The bridge was rebuilt in 1825 by Col. H. LEWIS as master builder under the direction of Joshua WHITNEY at a cost of over $3,000. On each side of the river, at the ends of this bridge, stood a fine elm tree, and the two were long known as the twin elms (page 95.) He d. Apr. 13, 1845; res. Binghamton, N.Y. 5807. i. PAMELA, b. Apr. 12, 1794; m. Aug. 22, 1813, Hon. Thomas G. WATERMAN; res. B. She d. Oct. 1, 1864. Mr. WATERMAN was born in the city of New York on the 22d day of January, 1788, and while yet a child removed with his parents to Saisbury, in the state of Connecticut, where his father, David WATERMAN, established valuable and extensive iron works. At the age of 14 he entered Yale college, in the same class with James Feni- more COOPER and other men of note, whose friendship he retained through after years. He graduated with much dis- tinction, and studied law at the celebrated law school in Litch- field, Conn., and subsequently with the Hon. Samuel SHERWOOD, then of Delhi, N.Y., and in 1809 was admitted to practice in the supreme court of New York, and in the spring of 1813 removed to Binghamton, where, being introduced to the family of Gen. Joshua WHITNEY, he was, in the ensuing August, united in marriage with the General's eldest daughter, Miss Pamela WHITNEY, and made his permanent home in that beautiful place, just then reclaimed from the wilderness and hardly yet a village. Mr. WATERMAN's practice grew to be both lucrative and exten- sive, and he became one of the most leading and influential men in that section of the state. In 1826 he was elected mem- of assembly for the county of Broome, and in the four suc-

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