Memories of John Padget
by Hannah Barstow
Norton, Kansas June 9, 1894
As I have written of my father's ancestry, I will now write of my mother's what little I have heard from my mother and others who were relations and acquaintances of the family and knew the places where they lived.
My mother's father's name was John Padgett. His place of residence was South Cave, [Yorkshire] England. It must have been quite a place. I saw in a magazine a picture of a castle in South Cave. As near as I know my grandfather was a shepherd. He married Hannah Wilson. I never heard her father's name. Her mother's name I believe was Martha. They had only two children, my grandmother and her brother John. There was a young man of wealth who wished to marry my grandmother when she was young, but she preferred my grandfather who was not very wealthy, and married him.
They had three children, one little girl named Hannah after her mother. She died and was buried in England. Then they had two sons before coming to America; John and James. Then grandfather, hearing, as I suppose such wonderful stories of America, made up his mind to come hither. Grandmother did not wish to leave father and mother and brother who were wealthy. She had before marriage everything heart could wish and did not have to labor at anything only such light and fancy work as she chose to do. But grandfather was bent on coming and told her he should come anyway. So rather than to have him come and leave her and her two little boys there, she finally consented to come.
Her brother was not married at that time. He afterwards married and lived in Hull and became very rich. He wrote to his sister that he had married as fine a women [sic] as eyes ever beheld, but alas, before many years she died and he wanted grandmother to name my mother after her, which she did. Her name was Jane Furness. He sent her wedding dress (a very nice figured silk, with a guinea sewed in the back) and a gold ring to mother, all of which were stolen or burned when our folks had their house burned when my oldest sister was a babe.
When grandfather and grandmother came to this county, it was sometime, I do not know how many years, before the Revolutionary War, and the power of steam was unknown. They came in a sail vessel and were a long time crossing the ocean. At one time they came in sight of land and the captain told her she could get her children ready for they would soon be to land, but there came a storm and the wind blew them far away from their course and they never saw land again for weeks. What suffering the poor woman must have endured after being brought up in afflluence, to either bid her parents and only brother farewell forever and come to this wilderness of wild man and wild animals, or be left worse off than a widow with the care of two little sons devolving on her. Far better would it have been for her in that extremity to have chosen the latter. Her posterity would probably have had much more of this world's goods, if not living in a land of freedom.
Her brother never married again and used to send chests of very rich goods to his sister as long as he lived. He sent her sets of china so clear you could almost see through them, and silver dishes, Brussels carpet, damask bed curtians, etc., high post bedsteads with curtains drawn on rings which were fashionable. He sent a straw colored silk velvet vest I suppose for some of her boys, at least uncle James had it, and some of his descendants must have it now. They also have a silver tankard which they were keeping as an heirloom. My sister had an ivory trunk all carved, or tea chest rather, for it had three cans and a place to put money and things where they could not easily be found.
I do not know how long they had been in America when the war commenced, but her brother sent her things at that time that she never received and all letters were stopped so she was unable to hold any communication wth her friends over the sea.
My mother's cousin, who lived to be a little over a hundred years old, and remembered my grandmother well, said she was a very pleasant old lady. She also told me that John Wilson, grandmother's brother who lived in Hull (Eng.) used to insure ships. Grandfather had relatives in England since my remembrance, for when her husband went back there (after John Wilson died) he visited them and once told me about it. My oldest brother's children have a bible that grandmother's brother sent to her with his name and Hull, his place of residence, in it, dated 1800.
At the time of the war they lived in Troy, this old lady said, and I have heard my mother say that while grandfather was away to the war (for although he was an Englishman he was true to the country of his adoption and served her interests and fought for her freedom all through the war with the mother country) the Tories, as they were called, would come and kill the sheep in the night and lay the heads and pluck on the doorstep. They had a man of color living with them and he was anxious to sleep out of doors in the cart. She tried to persuade him not to, for fear they would kill him, but he insisted and she finally gave consent; so he slept in the cart, and in the night they came to him and asked him if he did not wish to be free, and in order to find out their purpose he said he did. Then they told him when his master came home they were going to kill him and then he could be free. As soon as they were gone he went and told grandmother and when grandfather returned they took what necessary things they could carry on a horse and grandmtoher and the children rode and a company of Light Horse came along and they accompanied them and they arrived safely in Albany.
They must have lived there sometime as my mother, who was the youngest child, was born there [in 1790]. When Grandfather came home from the war he was accompanied by a man by the name of Robinson who stopped at his daughter's to stay over night, and as they were both tired, he urged grandfather to stop and stay with him, but he refused saying it had been a long time since he saw his family and he must go on. The next morning Mr. Robinson was found with his throat cut from ear to ear, as was supposed by the Tories. His son-in-law was also suspected of being privy to the deed.
Grandmother was an M. D. (doctor) and after the war was ended and she went back to the neighborhood of her old home, in her practice she saw a scarlet broadcloth cloak of her own that had been taken and made into clothes for children. Her practice, after she came to Chenango County, N.Y., extended a good ways, some 30 or 40 miles from home, and as the country was new and roads bad, she always went on horseback.
They came to Oxford, Chenango Couty when my mother was some 2 or 3 years old [in 1792/93]. There was but one house where Oxford Village now stands. They located four miles from Oxford on what is now known as the Padgett Brook. The place they made their home was close by the brook and composed of rocks on two or three sides with the other side of logs and covered with some such material filled in with brush. There was a rock in one corner about the height of a bedstead, where they made their bed, and a fireplace on one side where they built their fire and a corner for the ashes. I have been there with my mother and have seen the blackened rock that served as a fireplace, also the rock that served the purpose of bedstead. She pointed out the place where the wolves killed a steer and ate it, only a little way from the house, on a point of land across the brook. She said the wolves would come and scratch on top of the house and howl in the night. The place goes by the name of Stone Robbie.
That, with several acres of adjoining land, fell to my mother's share when her father died [in 1817]. He was blind twelve years before his death. They owned the land and a frame house about a quarter of a mile from the Robbie and were living there when grandmother died [in 1822].
They had nine children, one buried in England. John and James were born in England, and William, Hannah, Martha, and Robert and Jane were born in America. John's first wife was Annie Winchels. She left no children. His last wife was Abigal (Abigail) Preston by whom he had thirteen children. The daughters were Elizabeth, Hannah, Annie, Abigail, Mariah, and one, I believe, was scaled to death. The sons were John, Lorenzo, William, Henry, Lewis, Mark and Harvey. Uncle James married Elenor Bartle, who had one child and she and the child both died. Then he married Abgail Havens by whom he had six children, Eleanor, Beulah, Hannah, Nelson, James and Peter. The youngest is the only one living at the present time (1894). Beulah married Aaron Wooster, Hannah married Stephen Avery, Nelson a Clark, and James a Russell and Peter an Anderson.
Uncle William was only twenty one when he was killed by a bear trap. Before that time grandfather took him to England with him. They said he was a very handsome man and of agreeable manners, and the relatives in England were almost determined to keep him there; but grandfather would not leave him. After he was killed grandfather would sometimes ask grandmother if she did not blame him because he did not leave him in England; that he would not have been killed. She would say no, she did not blame him. Of course he did not think of anything of that kind happening to him.
The Sabbath before he was killed he was over at his mother's, and "Jinny" as my mother was called, was eight years old, and he walked out in the garden with her and they had some peas that were looking very nice, and he told her he should know where to come to get green peas. His brother James and he bought a farm about a mile from there and both being young men they hired a man by the name of Joel Root to work for them, and his wife kept the house. Uncle James had gone to Oxford and they had traps set for bears, and William thought he would go look at them, and he was gone so long that Mrs. Root began to feel worried about him. As soon as her husband came she told him about it and he went in search of him and found him nearly a mile from home with a large log across his back. Mr. Root was so frightened that he caught hold of the log and was trying to lift it and William said to him, "you cannot lift it; get a handspike and put under it. ---------
At this point my mother seems to have come to a sudden stop without finishing the sentence. Why this is so, I do not know. There may have been other sheets that became detached long ago and lost--- which I am inclined to believe is the fact. Mother was getting pretty old, and it is possible that she laid the paper aside and forgot it. But the understanding has always been that she made copies of this story for each of her children, myself (being oldest), my brother Evander and sister Ida May. I have never heard my brother mention his copy, and if he had not forgotten it entirely, it is probable that it has met the same fate as my copy. I had a copy and treasured it very highly, and thought I had it safely bound up with papers that I would never part with. But following the delectable occupation of "professional" court reporter, and moving from pillar to post as the exigencies of jobs in that high calling have dictated, I find many things missing, as time goes along, that I know I had many years ago, and God knows what became of them. They have slipped from the fingers or from the crock of the elbow and drifted away on the wind -- somewhere -- somehow, the eon of eternity may sometime tell.
I am sure that I had this sketch of mothers twenty years ago when we lived at Shoshone, Idaho; but when I came away from there to assume the duties of this exalted position at Coeur d' Alene, I left my papers packed in boxes. Six months later when my wife and children moved to Coeur d' Alene my boxes were left at Shoshane in the care(?) of my daughter Eva and her husband Ed Miles. When they were shipped up here some years later --- some of them were not shipped; or if the boxes came, the contents --- part of it --- escaped in some way. Among these things, evidently, wsa a good part of the story that mother told of her people in those remote times when the country was new. I have mourned this loss profoundly; and have learned --- too late, however, that the best way to preserve a precious thing, is to always keep it with you. The fragments that I have of the story are a part of what is already written from my sister's copy and I can add nothing except from memory.
As I remember it, -- and whether mother told me, or whether I heard it from grandmother herself, I cannot now remember; but as I remember it, this young man, William Padgett, when released from the bear-trap as the sun was just going down, said to his father --- who had arrived at the place, "Lift me up, father, so I can see the sun once more before I go." This was done and he fell back dead.
Another part of the story that I remember is that that morning or the day before --- I think that morning --- a great dog --- I do no [sic] remember the breed --- that great-grandfather's folks kept, met William in the yard or garden, and reared up and put his paws on his shoulders and howled in his face; and that those who were with him begged him not to go to the bear trap that day. I think this part of the story was told me by grandmother, if I am not deceived by memory.
Another part of the story that I remember --- if I did not dream it --- was that grandfather Padgett at that time was building a big stone dam on Padgett Creek for the purpose of running a gristmill; and that after William's death nothing more was ever done to the dam. I know that the old stone dam --- what part of it was built, was still in existence in the meadow down west of Joe Rounds' place or house, and I think on Joe's land. I have seen it there when I was a child and up to the time I came away from there when I was about 24. It may be there yet for all I know. If I remember correctly, grandmother, at one time in coming down from uncle William's place --- I don't know who else was with us then --- showed me the place in Padget Creek where their stone Robbie was and the rock on which they made their bed. It was then, and likely is now, in the bottom to the old Bill Gilbert mill-pond just above Basswood Church. If I ever go back there I am going to see if I can find it. They may have blasted it out in stone-quarry operations, for uncle Willis and his boys quarried stone all over that country where they found a likely prospect. If it has been blasted out it is an everlasting shame.
I am sadlly afraid that the two families, Walker and Padgett, have degenerated like Sam Hill since the old days of the Revolution and Massachusetts Colony. I am not particularly proud of the part I have played, and I would play it differently if I could live my life over again.
Well, the story is told as well as it can be told at this remote time, and it is doubtful if we ever recover anything else of the past. I am getting too old and am crippled by lack of means to pursue my investigations. I might as well drop it. It may be that some future scion of (fused?) families may take back in mind and temper, and revive interest in this family histroy and pursue it with better facilities and greater success than I have been able to. I am not only short on funds but short of time. I have very little of either that I can recon on.
Maitland Deforest Barstow
Box 684 Coeur d' Alene, Idaho
of the age of Seventy One Years. [1925/26]
Steen Raby was the original Dutch name of the town of Lansingburgh, immediately north of Troy, NY. Anglicized as Stone Raby or even Stone Arabia, the name was still in use when John Padget lived in that area. The meaning of "Raby" has never been determined, and it is possible that the Padgets applied the name to their stony homestead as a joke.
All other records show John Padget, Jr. as married to Anna Preston. However, Anna did have an older sister named Abigail. Since Hannah calls Abigail "John's first wife," it is possible that she meant to say, "and his second was Anna Preston, by whom he had thirteen children." The 1800 census shows John with a wife, and since Anna was only fifteen then, it is possible that he was married to Abigail at the time.
According to the Annals of Oxford, "Near where
the Padgetts settled is a brook which bears their name. Beartrap Falls
came by its name in connection with the death of William Padgett.
A dead fall or primitive bear trap had been constructed in the form of
a figure 4, with a heavy piece of timber made sharp on one side to fall
upon and hold a bear or other large animal when caught under it.
Early one morning Wiliam went alone to examine the trap, was caught &
held by the sharp log for several hours before anyone came to his aid.
When released he called for water, which was brought to him in a hat, drank
it & immediately expired."
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