History of Campbell, NY
From: Landmarks of Steuben County, New York
Edited by: Hon. Harlo Hakes
Assisted By: L. C. Aldrich and Others
D. Mason & Company, Publishers,
Syracuse, New York, 1896

CAMPBELL. - Adjoining the town of Bath on the southeast is a district of land containing 25,500 acres, known by the name of Campbell, though previous to white settlement and civil organization the same district was called township 3, range 2, Phelps and Gorham purchase. The proprietary just mentioned sold this township to Prince Bryant, a Pennsylvanian, and conveyed it by deed dated September 3, 1789, in consideration of £1,000, New York currency. On October 2d, following, Bryant sold the township to Elijah Babcock, and the latter in turn sold in parcels, and at divers times, to Roger Clark (7,680 acres), Samuel Tooker, David Holmes and William Babcock. However, by some process of law the title to a large portion the township reverted to Oliver Phelps, who afterward sold Joshua Hathaway, Zalmon Tousey, Robert Campbell and Gideon Granger. Campbell purchased half the entire tract, his deed bearing date November 21, 180r. Tousey had 1,132 acres, under deed dated December 2, 1801. Hathaway became possessed of 2,037 acres, paying therefor $5,092.52, his deed bearing date October 2, 1801. Under these land operators the first settlements were made.

The pioneers of this town were Joseph Wolcott, Elias Williams, Samuel Calkins and David McNutt, who came in 1801 or '82. Previous to this, however, Abram and Isaac Thomas had built a cabin in the town, but they were hunters and trappers rather than pioneer settlers. James Pearsall and one Sailor are also said to have been among the earliest settlers. In addition to these, many of the purchasers mentioned in the preceding paragraph also became settlers in the town, and were among its most inflential and useful men.

Conspicuous among the pioneers were the Campbell family, of whom Rev. Robert Campbell was the recognized head, and while the town was named after the family in general, he was regarded as the leader of them all and was in the minds of the organizers of the town when that event todk place. Robert Campbell and his nephew, Samuel Campbell, the latter having served with credit during the Revolution, came to the Conhocton valley from Saratoga county in 1803. Robert brought with him four sons, Robert, Br., Miner, Bradford and Philo. Bradford died in 1804, and was the first person buried in the Campbell cemetery. Joseph Stevens settled in the town in 1805, and his sons, Joseph and John, were also early settlers.

The Mead Creek colony, as it has been called, was brought to the town in 1816, through the influence of David and William Holmes, who traded lands here for Vermont farms, thus inducing settlement by several sturdy sons of the Green Mountain State. They were Jonas and Jacob Woodward, Hinsdale Hammond and Stephen Corbin, all from Windham county. They were followed by Sampson and Amasa Bixby, and still later by others now forgotten. These Vermonters were chiefly Baptists, and as early as 1823 organized the "First Baptist Church of Painted Post," Rev. Jonathan Stone, pastor. Later on they were also instrumental in organizing the Baptist church at Cooper's Plains.

Recalling briefly the names of some others of the early settlers in Campbell, we may mention Selah Hammond, who built an early saw mill on Mead's Creek; also Samuel Besly, Reuben W. Millard, Capt. John P. Knox, an extensive lumberman; John D. Hamilton, who with others built a tannery in 1854, and the Campbell tannery in 1857, and was also an early storekeeper; Daniel B. Curtis, also a tanner; and Joel Orlando Comstock, Clark Bassett and others. The first birth in the town was that of Bradford Campbell; the first marriage that of Asa Milliken and Rachel Campbell, and the first death that of Frederick Stewart, in 18o6. Campbell & Stephens built the first saw mill, and Campbell & Knox the first grist mill. Robert Campbell kept the first tavern, and Frederick Stewart the first store.

In local history in the county Campbell has always been regarded as one of the rough, mountainous towns, but notwithstanding this it was as early settled, and by a class of inhabitants as thrifty and determined as found in any town in the entire region. The first settlers here found the timber as good and as abundant as they could desire, hence gave their first attention to lumbering. The more important tributaries of the Conhocton, such as Wolf and McNutt Runs, Mead's Creek, Dry Run, and Stephens's and Michigan Creeks, together with the main stream, furnished abundant water power and rafting facilities, and during the first quarter of a century of the town's history the business interests were equal to those even of the present day, As the forests were cleared away fine farms were developed, for the bottom lands are a rich alluvium, while the elevations have a strong clay and gravelly soil.

In 1830 this township, then and previously a part of Hornby, contained about 500 inhabitants, and measures were soon taken for the erection of a new town. The desired act was passed April 15, 183o, and Campbell was brought into existence. At the first town meeting held in the spring of 1832, these officers were elected: Daniel Clark, supervisor; Milo Hurd, town clerk; William Stewart, Samuel Cook, Daniel Horton, assessors; Adin J. Pratt, collector. The first justices were Parley Seamans and Alvin Corbin.

The supervisors of Campbell have been as follows: Daniel Clark, 1832; William D. Knox, 1833-34; Benjamin Farwell, 1835-37; William Stewart, 1838-39; S. A. Campbell, 1840-42; William Stewart, 1843-44; Willis McNeil, 1845-46; J. P. Knox, 1847-48; S A. Campbell, 1849; W. P. Knox, 1850; Willis McNeil, 1851-52; Joseph Hammond, 1853; S. J. Teeple, 1854; Alson Pierce, 1855; Daniel Curtis, t856; Samuel Balcom, 1857-60; George W. Campbell, 1861-65; Charles Cass, 1866-69; Charles H. Bemis, 1870-72; E. J. Armstrong, 1873-74; G. R. Sutherland, 1875-77; Elias A. Overhiser, 1878; John D. Hamilton, 1879-84; George R. Sutherland, 1885-87; N. H. Platt, 1888; E. B. Ross, 1889-91; H. B. Willard, 1892-93; John S. Curtis, 1894-95.

The town officers for 1895 are John S. Curtis, supervisor; Ira M. Platt, town clerk; Daniel A. Stark, Harmon Stevens, John Wilcox and and Obed Nute, justices of the peace; Myron A. Beard, Miles J. Woodward and Benjamin Malcom, assessors; W. Bradley McNeil, collector; James Greek, overseer of the poor; John King, highway commissioner; Thomas A. Sawyer, Josiah T. Burrows, Floyd Fuller, excise commissioners.

The population of Campbell, by decades, has been as follows: 1840, 852; 1850, 1,175; 186o, 1,622; 1870, 1,989; 188o, 1,881, and in 1890, 1,533. The population in 1892 was 1,539.

In 1852 the Buffalo, Corning and New York Railroad was built through the Conhocton valley, and a station was established in this town, but it is doubtful if even this great thoroughfare of travel and transportation brought to the vicinity a more prosperous period than existed during the days of stage travel and river traffic. During the war of 1861-65, the town of Campbell sent into the service a total of 175 men, twenty three of whom were enlisted in other towns.

Well verified tradition informs us that the first school in this town was opened by Rhoda Simmons in 1831, in what was known as the "hunter's cabin," also that the second school was kept in a barn, and that Betsey Woodward and Mrs. Davis were the earliest teachers there. The first school house was a log building. After being set off from Hornby, in 1831, the territory of Campbell was divided into school districts and provision made for the support of a school house in each. As now constituted, the town contains nine districts, each provided with a school house. During the current year, 1893-4, twelve teachers were employed. The number of children of school age was 309. The amount of public moneys received was $1,374.43, and the town raised by tax, $2,355.82.


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