QEHMEALCGY C C t-.L.ECTIO[\^
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EVELINA FOSTER ELY
Gertrude Sumner Ely Knowlton
Theodore Newel Ely
Harriette Foster Ely Richardson 9
Frances Sterling Massey 19
Cornelia S. Hungerford 21
Sumner Stow Ely 27
Augustus Goodale 31
Pamela B. Wright 35
James DeLong 37
Foster Ely 41
Jeannette Huntington Riley 49
Frederick Gustavus Ely 57
Milton H. Merwin 61
Theodore Newel Ely 63
Mary S. Treadwell 75
Gertrude Sumner Ely Knowlton 79
Genealogical Chart 105
Evelina Foster Ely .
Harriette Foster Ely Richardson 9
Residence of Adriel Ely 19
Residence of Jabez Foster 21
Jabez Foster 31
Hannah Hungerford Foster 35
Evelina Ely 37
Foster Ely 41
Frederick Gustavus Ely 57
Theodore Newel Ely 63
Store and Office of Adriel Ely 75
Evelina Foster Ely
Theodore Newel Ely ....}• 79
Gertrude Sumner Ely Knowlton
IN the following pages no attempt has been made
to write a consecutive history, nor even a sketch,
of those whose names are mentioned herein. A
collection has been made of various letters with
the idea of preserving for the younger generation a
knowledge of some of the traits of their ancestors,
and of recording a few happenings in their lives and
in the lives of those closely associated with them.
Incidentally, also, there is a hint of the times in which
they lived — the first half of the nineteenth century.
In the years which elapsed between the births of
the first and last child many changes occurred in the
home life and in prevailing customs. Realizing this,
the eldest was asked to write down some of the
things she remembered which had not come within
the ken of the younger children. In her last days,
therefore, she wrote the opening paper, leaving it as
"her legacy to the family" — her "Recollections" she
called it ; and it is this name which has been adopted
for the title-page.
To supplement her narrative, others were asked
to write, in an informal way, of things which might
occur to them. The material came to me mainly
in the shape in which it is here presented, although,
to avoid too much repetition, some cutting out and
rearranging were necessary.
The local data I have endeavored to verify by
comparison with all the histories of Jefferson County
The illustrations are copies of old paintings and
daguerreotypes, and it is hoped that they will add
interest to this story of the two who "crossed the
bar" well-nigh fifty years ago.
Watertown, New York, 1912.
HARRIETTS FOSTER ELY RICHARDSON
Harriette Foster Ely Richardson
My father, Adriel Ely, was born in Lyme,
Connecticut, February 9, 1791. His parents were
Adriel Ely and Sarah Stow. He was the youngest
of five children and was only five years old when
his mother died. His father made an unhappy
second marriage, so that his home life was unpleas-
ant. When quite young he taught school, and I do
not know how old he was when he left home to seek
his fortune in the West (as New York State was
then considered), nor what led him to Watertown;
but when there he entered the store of Jabez Fos-
ter as clerk, where he remained until he went into
partnership with Orville Hungerford. How long
that partnership lasted I do not know, but from
my earliest remembrance he had a store of his own.
Though a merchant, he did many other things — he
was always a manufacturer of potash and, for
many years, was occupied with the business of pen-
sions. His great cleverness in tracing records
enabled him to get pensions for the widows of Revo-
lutionary soldiers and others which, otherwise, they
never would have had. How well I remember the
fourth of March and the fourth of September when
the old people would gather in the store! Grand-
father used to entertain them, and glasses of wine
were given to them.
Father was a bank director and, in one instance
that I know of, he saved the bank from great loss.
He was a friend of the widow and helped settle
many estates. He had a fine legal mind, far-seeing
and of quick perceptions, and was often called on
to act as referee. He was so often successful in
lawsuits that a man who had been beaten said:
"Give Adriel Ely Dry Hill for his army and he
would conquer Napoleon and all his soldiers."
He certainly had a fine head and a large heart.
As, with my maturer eyes, I look back I think he
was a remarkable man. I do not remember his ever
exhibiting a selfish trait. If every one around him
was happy, so was he, no matter how sick he felt.
He would often say: "Never mind me, go on with
your fun," and pleasant noises never seemed to
He was married December 28, 1826, to Evelina
Foster, fifteen years his junior — a little girl when he
entered her father's store. They had seven children,
— Harriette Foster, Evelina, Elvira, Foster, Fred-
erick Gustavus, Gertrude Sumner, and Theodore
A great sufferer for many years, he bore the sup-
port of his expensive family uncomplainingly and,
with many provocations, he always kept his temper.
Many a man would have been on his sick-bed when
he kept up and went to business.
Father was reserved and quiet in manner, and
whatever of calmness, even temper, or good judg-
ment any of us have, we inherit from him.
A member and supporter of the Presbyterian
Church, he lived his religion instead of talking it.
After weeks of the most dreadful suffering, borne
with heroic patience, he died April 20, 1859, aged
sixty-eight years. He was buried on Friday, April
22, in Brookside Cemetery, Watertown, New York.
Evelina Foster, second daughter of Jabez Foster
and Hannah Hungerford, was born July 1, 1806, in
Burrville, a little village about five miles from
Watertown. When she was two years old her
father moved into a house in Watertown, which he
had built on Washington Street near the Public
Square. In after-years it was owned by Mr.
Loveland Paddock. There she lived until she was
married, and in all her life she knew only the two
homes. She must have been a very interesting girl
for, though so young when she married, she had
She was one of the pupils of Mrs. Emma Willard
at the Troy Female Seminary in 1824 and 1825,
when that famous school was in its infancy, and in
later years she entertained Mrs. Willard in her home.
She was so bright and full of fun that she made
every place pleasant where she went, and old and
young welcomed her to their circles. No company
was too heavy for her to dissipate the dulness. She
once said to me, "You don't know the meaning of
the word fun." Her ambition and energy were
wonderful, and the amount of work she accomplished
was amazing. She was always a ready helper to all
about her. At births, marriages, and deaths she was
a most efficient assistant. She was an excellent nurse,
and, although neither she nor father had any ear for
music, her voice was particularly sweet in a sick-
room. This was natural to her, for in childhood she
went out among the sick — when only twelve she and
another girl sat up with a poor woman who died
during the night. I have been told tales of her
going with old Diane, grandfather's slavewoman, to
draw wood on her sled to poor people. It did not
matter to either of them that grandfather's woodpile
grew smaller — very likely not to him, either. She
was always guided by her impulse and feeling rather
than by reasoning, and an appeal to her heart always
met with an instant response.
I am not sure whether Diane was a slave when
grandfather had her, but she was spoken of as such,
and I think slavery had not been abolished at that
time in the state and that a few were held there then.
The four years that mother lived after father's
death had much of suffering in them, and towards the
last it was too great to bear recording. She had such
a fine constitution that death did not get an easy
prey. The release came August 14, 1863, at the age
of fifty-seven years.
The old stone house on Washington Street,
Watertown, was built by our father in 1826.* He
went into it immediately after his marriage and there
lived all the rest of his life.
The house was first built three rooms deep,
besides a hall and a bedroom at the end. Soon after,
a kitchen was added, which was afterwards replaced
by a better one with various outhouses attached. In
the kitchen was a brick oven, where the baking was
done, and also a large open fireplace with andirons
and a crane for hanging kettles. I do not remember
much about this mode of cooking, because we had a
stove at an early date.
In that kitchen the amount of work done was
amazing and never could have been accomplished
but for mother's great energy and good management.
There the great pieces of beef were corned, ready to
be packed in barrels, and when the pigs, which we
raised, were killed, the hams were cured and made
ready for the smoke-house, where also hung the
dried beef. Sausages, souse, and head-cheese were
*Sold to E. Q. Sewall in 1866.
made, and the pork was cut for salting. There
the great tubs of mince-meat were made, apples
pared and cut for drying, and the best fruit that
could be had made into the choicest preserves.
There the tallow, after being tried out, was run into
moulds for candles, and there the lard was carefully
tried, ready for the great pans of doughnuts so
much used in winter.
All the white sugar in those days came in pyram-
idal loaves, wrapped in heavy blue paper, and it
was no trifle to cut, pound, and prepare it for use.
Spices had to be pounded or ground, and the mortar
was in frequent demand. All coffee came green and
had to be carefully browned before being made into
the delicious beverage.
Father was a liberal provider, and quantities of
fresh meat and poultry were packed away in snow,
for winter consumption. Then if a January thaw
came great anxiety was felt. In summer father
prided himself on his large vegetable gardens, where
he raised the choicest kinds. In those days canned
goods were unknown.
In 1843 a wing was added to the house, and in
1853 the dining-room was enlarged and upper rooms
built and gas introduced.
Hospitality might have been inscribed on the
walls of this dear old home. If they could talk they
would tell many a tale of welcome as well as of joy
The house seemed to be a rendezvous for relatives
and friends the country round, when business or
pleasure called them to town. A basket of rich fruit-
cake, baked twice a year in the brick oven, supple-
mented by old-fashioned pound-cake and sponge-
cake, with a fine cut-glass decanter of choice wine,
used to be kept ready to refresh the visitors. Guests
in the house were numerous and I remember at one
time there were twenty-four in the family. Of all
the guests I cannot recall many who became distin-
guished; but the society of Watertown has always
Any notice of the old house would be incomplete
without mention of Theodore and Newel Ely, who
were for so many years active members of our house-
hold. Theodore was the son of father's brother, Dr.
Sumner Ely, and Newel, the son of William, another
brother. Theodore came first and was for many
years a clerk in father's store. Afterwards he went
into the bank. He always lived in our house until
it was closed and was devoted to the interests of the
store. Newel came later into the store and for a long
time was father's right-hand man. Both were atten-
tive nurses at his dying bed, as well as at mother's.
After father's death they managed the settlement of
the estate. Both have since died as they lived, bache-
Evelina, second daughter of Adriel and Evelina
F. Ely, was born November 25, 1829, and died April
27, 1846, not quite seventeen years old. She was a
very interesting girl, full of fun, and a born musician
— so fond of music that only a short time before her
death, when her voice was gone, she was drawn to the
piano to play. She had a beautiful alto voice and
sang in church as long as she could. She was tall,
erect, with rather light hair and a beautiful complex-
ion. She was very reserved and uncomplaining, not
very fond of books, and was in every respect a con-
trast to me. In the fall of 1845 she went to Michi-
gan, to spend the winter with our aunt, Elvira Smith.
She came home in the spring with chills and gradu-
ally faded away.
Elvira, the lovely little two-year-old daughter, had
light curly hair. She was so bright that grandfather
used to teach her to sing. She died, after a short
illness, from small-pox. Her last word was "Halle-
lujah." Her burial was a sad one. Fear of the dis-
ease was so great that she was carried to the grave at
4 A.M. and, besides father, only one friend followed
her, faithful Deacon Horace Hunt. Mother had
varioloid at the time, contracted from nursing her.
Jabez Foster, our grandfather, was born in Leb-
anon, Connecticut, August 1, 1777, and went to Jef-
ferson County, New York, as one of its earliest set-
tlers. At what age he went there or what his earliest
experiences there were I do not know, but I suppose
he did any pioneer work till he was able to open a
store of general merchandise. In that he became very
successful and at one time became what, in those
days, was considered rich. I have heard him tell of
his trips to New York to buy goods, when he would
be a week getting from Albany to New York in a
sloop, and with only mud wagons and sleighs for the
rest of the trip. He was afterwards financially
unfortunate, but saved enough to support him for the
rest of his life.
He married Hannah Hungerford (born in
Farmington, Connecticut, September 13, 1777) and
had twelve children, only five of whom reached
maturity. She died suddenly, the year our mother
was married (1826). He then broke up his home
and went with a little daughter, Harriet, seven years
old, to our father's house. She did not live very long.
He then built the Lansing house, next to father's,
and lived in it a short time with his daughter Elvira.
He also built the Dr. Binsse house across the river —
when, I do not know. It seems to me that from my
earliest recollection he was a member of our family.
His must have been a hospitable house, for it was
spoken of as "the minister's home," and I heard the
eccentric preacher, Rev. Jedediah Burchard, say in
one of his characteristic sermons, in which he de-
lighted in personalities, that "the latch-string of
Judge Foster's house always hung on the outside."
He was very fond of music, and sang in the church
which he had the main credit of building. I thought
it very funny when he described to me how, when he
was a young man, he wore his hair braided down his
back, tied with blue ribbons. He was a very genial,
social man, and methodical in all his ways. His two
sons, Gustavus and Morris, living in Cleveland,
Ohio, he went out to visit them and there met and
married a rich widow, Mrs. Jane Merwin. It was
a very unwise and unhappy thing for him to do;
but she did not live long. She had a child, who
died from small-pox. I remember seeing her once
in our house.
After her death he resumed his seat at our fire-
side, and there remained until after the death of his
son-in-law, Major Henry Smith, who, having gone
to Mexico to fight for his country, fell a victim to
yellow fever soon after his arrival.
Grandfather then thought he ought to go to Mon-
roe, Michigan, where his daughter resided, to comfort
her in her sorrow. This was a heroic thing for him to
do because, not long before, he had had something of
the nature of a heart attack, and he felt the shadow
of death hanging about him. He bade good-bye
sadly to the places he loved so well, and, a very short
time after, another attack suddenly ended his life.
He died December 10, 1847.
Renovo, Pennsylvania, July, 1896.
BUILT AND OCCUPIED
Frances Sterling Massey
Your father was a perfect gentleman of the old
school, a man who was looked up to for advice in all
circumstances, and his judgment was correct. In
his dealings with men he was strictly honorable. He
was the widows' friend and the orphans' adviser,
good to the poor, giving them work or money. His
fondness for his nieces and nephews was noticeable,
befriending them in all circumstances. Was very
fond of having your mother admired and, although
there was so much difference in their ages, there was
not one particle of jealousy in his disposition. He
was fond of entertaining his friends and always liked
a house full of company. I never knew a man who
would endure so much pain without complaining.
One day, as he came in from his business, he came up
to me and took hold of his little finger and said: "If
this finger were cut off it would not hurt me any
more." He suffered from neuralgia, as you know.
I can say that as much as I was in your father's
family I never saw him the least out of humor. As a
father and ruler of his family, in my opinion, he had
Your mother in many respects was a wonderful
woman. She never spent an idle moment, and was
greatly beloved by those who served her — was fond
of entertaining her friends and thought nothing too
much that she could do to promote their comfort and
She was stern with her sons but very gentle with
her daughters. Her love for your father was not of
that violent, romantic kind which hardly lasts until
the honeymoon is over, but as she lived on her love
increased, and the day of his death she honored and
loved him more than the day of her marriage. As
children of such parents you may well honor their
memory and imitate their example.
I know little of your grandfather Foster, but
remember him as a most cheerful man and perfectly
devoted to all of you as children. I was ten years
old when I parted with our grandfather Ely (in
1824). The parting between him and my mother I
can never forget. She was the only daughter he had,
and she was leaving him to live in far-away northern
New York. The first day's journey he came from
Lyme with us in his own carriage, for in those days
there was no railroad. I do not remember our own
grandmother. After grandfather Ely married the
second time his life was not very happy. His wife
was a maiden lady, and if your father were living he
could tell you of her peculiar traits. She was from a
good family but never liked children.
Brooklyn, New York, January, 1897.
BUILT AND OCCUPIED
Cornelia S. Hungerford
Jabez Foster was married July 24, 1800, in
Paris, New York, to Hannah Hungerford. For a
short time they resided in Westmoreland, New
York; also in Turin, New York. About 1804 he
removed to Burrville, New York, and opened a store
in company with Mr. Converse. In 1808 he removed
to Watertown village where, in company with his
brother-in-law, Orville Hungerford, he transacted
a large business during the War of 1812-15 — the
firm of Foster & Hungerford supplying provisions
to the United States Army at Sackets Harbor.
About 1811 Sabbath service was held in the
school-house on the hill, the site of the present Hotel
LeRay, on the south side of Public Square. Judge
Foster was chorister. The school-house was built in
1804, the first one in the village. The old stone
church on Washington Street was built in 1820 and
was the first one here. It was built under the super-
vision of Judge Foster at a cost of $9000 and was
dedicated June 1, 1821.
Judge Foster was President of the Jefferson
County Bank from 1817 to 1819, and again from
1825 to 1826, and for years was County Judge,
Supervisor, etc. His first appointment as Judge of
General Sessions was in 1813, and (to quote from
Hough's History) , "In every station he acquired the
esteem of all associated with him by his kindness and
probity of character." When he removed to Water-
town, he bought a lot on Washington Street* and
built the house in which he lived until he sold it to
Mr. Levi Beebee.
The first well dug in the village was on this lot.
It was thirty feet deep and was the best water in the
While Mrs. Foster was busy near the well one
day, her little daughter, Evelina, then only two years
old, tried to climb up to get hold of the bucket. Her
four-year-old sister, Elvira, was holding the other
bucket, and when she released her hold Evelina lost
her balance and fell head foremost into the well.
Her mother saw her just as she went down, and,
giving a scream, with true motherly instinct she went
into the well to rescue her child, not thinking of the
danger to herself. Some men working on the roof
of a house (corner of Clinton Street) heard the
scream and saw Mrs. Foster disappear. Thinking
she was trying to drown herself, they wished to save
her. They found her with the child on her shoulder
and, by hand-over-hand use of the well-chain and by
bracing her feet on the side of the well, she had got so
near the top that they could reach down and help her
out. The child was neither hurt nor frightened, but
the shock to the mother's nerves was so great that it
was months before she recovered. An impression
left on the little girl's brain was that there was an old
man and his wife at the bottom of the well, and that
there was a table set for supper.
Mrs. Foster was a rare woman, with great execu-
tive ability. She died, much lamented, at the age of
In those old times visiting was universal among
relatives, often to the third generation — also among
friends and acquaintances.
The Ely home, which was most hospitable, was
the nucleus of aristocratic visitors from Oswego,
Lowville, Brownville, and Sackets Harbor, from the
"Post." Mrs. Ely was an elegant cook, so her friends
fared luxuriously, even those who dropped in to din-
ner or to pass the night quite unexpectedly. Judge
Foster was very abstemious in eating and drinking —
always left the table when he could relish more.
Apple pie and milk was his Sunday-night lunch,
Adriel Ely was strict in his attendance at church,
and required the same of his family.
You have heard, of course, of the Church Sewing
Society functions, semi-monthly, with a feast of good
things for supper, — raised biscuit, bread-cake, crul-
lers, with rich preserves and pickles, and other good
things. Marietta Hungerford was seldom absent.
She was a famous quilter; she would leave the quilt
and pass into another room to thread her needle, as
a long thread saves time. She was a quaint and
thrifty soul. Mrs. Wardwell, Mrs. Mary Ely, Mrs.
Fiske, Mrs. Brainard, and Mrs. William Wood are
those I recall as constant attendants, with many
I must not omit to mention the horse owned for
a great many years in the Ely family, Dick by
name, — "Old Dick." He was often driven to Utica
(eighty miles) one day and back the next, without
signs of fatigue. He died at the advanced age of
thirty-three years — that is, advanced for a horse.
Watertown, New York, December, 1907.
*I find a statement as to this Washington Street
property in "The Gazetteer," published in 1890,
to the effect that he bought the land from Hart
Massey, but the sale did not include the frame house
(believed to have been the first of its kind built in
Watertown) which stood on the lot. It was built
and occupied by Mr. Massey and was removed by
him to another location. "Mr. Benedict, who
bought the adjoining plot, and Judge Foster set
about building the most spacious and elegant resi-
dences by far yet undertaken in the village, if not in
the county. The one built by Judge Foster was
occupied by him until after the death of his wife,
when it was sold to Levi Beebee. Later it became
the property of Loveland Paddock. The well, dug
on the place during the occupancy of Mr. Massey,
is still in use."
Sumner Stow Ely
The "Record of Connecticut Men in the War of
the Revolution" (a book published by authority of
the State) gives the following concerning our grand-
father, Adriel Ely. He was Sergeant in the com-
pany which went from Lyme, Connecticut, at the
time of the Lexington Alarm in 1775, and served
twenty-nine days. He was also Second Lieutenant
in Captain Martin Kirtland's company of Colonel
Erastus Wolcott's regiment, which was stationed by
Washington before Boston in January, 1776. He
was a man of commanding stature, forceful char-
acter, and of high standing as a citizen. His children
were all by his first wife, Sarah Stow. The name of
his second wife was Hepzibah Turner.
My father, Sumner, graduated at an early age
from Yale College and located at Clarksville,
Otsego County, New York, in 1810. As an evidence
of his popularity with his immediate neighbors is the
the fact that he was elected supervisor at thirteen
annual town meetings, eleven of which were in suc-
cessive years. In 1836 he was elected Member of
Assembly and in 1840, State Senator for a term of
four years. At that time the State Senators and the
Justices of the Supreme Court constituted "The
Court for the Correction of Errors," which then was
the highest in the state ; and his duties as a member of
the Senate and of that Court occupied a large part
of his time each of the four years served. In 1840
he was elected President of the New York State
Medical Society. In 1852 he was sent by that soci-
ety, as its representative, to the American Medical
Association. He died February 3, 1857.
My brother, Theodore D wight, was his mother's
favorite child, which speaks very loudly for him. To
make those with whom he associated feel humorous
and happy was a prominent trait in his nature, and
that disposition manifested itself in his letters.
Your father, Adriel, went to Watertown in 1814
and was then twenty-three years old. On one of
his visits in Clarksville he taught me to play chess,
and I shall never forget the patience, kindness, and
earnestness which he manifested in so doing.
Your sister, Harriette, and I were cousins not
only in name, but also in the love which that relation-
ship justifies. She, in company with Theodore, made
several summer visits at my father's house, and
I made several at your father's, so thus in our
younger days we were much together, and I flatter
myself when I say that our tastes and dispositions
were much alike. These visits are the red-letter days
of my life. Simplicity, frankness, and a total absence
of affectation characterized all her acts, and her devo-
tion to her friends was equaled only by her devotion
to her Maker.
Girard, Pennsylvania, December, 1907.
As Uncle Sumner was nearer to us than were
most of our relatives, it is a pleasure to include the
above sketch of him. In addition, it should be said
that he was one of the old-time country doctors with
a large practice, scattered over a district of high
hills and poor roads, involving long and fatiguing
horseback rides and great exposure ; but his vigorous
constitution and frugal, temperate habits enabled
him to withstand the strain and to retain until the last
his strong mental and physical powers. He died in
the seventieth year of his age, his death being caused
by a fall received a few weeks previous. He was
of large stature, six feet and one inch in height. His
wife, Hannah Gilbert, on the contrary, was small;
she was a gentle soul, and the pet of her six men
(she had five sons). While appreciating, she was
inclined to deprecate their frequent jokes, and when
Uncle Sumner would remark to some visitor that her
biscuits were so light they had to keep the windows
shut to prevent their flying outdoors, she would say
in her mild way, "Why, Doctor!"
One incident in the domestic life of the old
Clarksville home is worth recording, because it has
become a proverb with some of us. One day, when
the buttermaking was finished and the churning im-
plements were to be put away, as they were about to
descend into the cellar the big, hearty maid-of-all-
work, officious in appearing to help, said to dear little
Aunt Hannah in the most matter-of-course tone,
"Mis' Ely, you carry the churn and I'll carry the
candle." And I dare say Aunt Hannah did it.
There are so many candle bearers in this world!
My earliest remembrance of your father, Adriel
Ely, goes back to the time when I was a Sunday
School scholar and he was my teacher in the old Ses-
sion house which stood, as near as I can recollect, at
the northwest corner of what is now Stone and
Arcade Streets. The Session house was an annex of
the First Presbyterian Church, though rather remote
from the old stone structure it then was. That was
about the year 1834, when Rev. George Boardman
My idea is that Mr. Ely was rather a stern man
with the boys. I know we had to behave in Sunday
School, and I suppose our lessons were as well
learned as is the case with the average Sunday School
boy nowadays. My recollection is that he was my
teacher until I graduated. When I left Sunday
School, at the age of twelve or fourteen years, my
time must have passed pretty much as that of the
other boys. I knew all the old settlers — Hunger-
ford, Paddock, Ely, Woodruff, Foster, Sterling,
Ten Eyck, etc.; but they took very little notice of
us until we got along to the twenties.
Mr. Ely appeared to me for a number of years
as a rather stern, unapproachable man — not more so,
perhaps, than his contemporaries — until I had
arrived at more mature years and was, fortunately
for myself, invited informally to drop in any evening
and to become intimately acquainted with your fam-
ily, which consisted of your father and mother,
Hattie, yourself, Foster, Fred, and Theodore, and
also of your cousin Theodore. The collateral mem-
bers were Van Vleck, Story, George Goodale, and
myself. There might have been one or two others,
whose names I do not recall.
Upon that invitation and my acceptance, I found
your father to be one of the most genial and hospi-
table hosts and friends it was ever my fortune to
meet, and the same cordiality was extended to us
young fellows by your mother. Mr. Ely and his
wife were in harmony in that respect. Perhaps it
would not be becoming in me to tell you now, staid
matron as you are, that after you were sent to bed,
and the boys (Fred, Foster, and Theodore) safely
disposed of for the night, and the deacons and min-
ister of the church — evening callers — had vanished,
about nine o'clock this stern, unapproachable father
of yours would draw out the little mahogany table
and say: "Come, boys, what's trumps?" and that old-
fashioned whist would occupy the time for two hours
or longer, and that our repast would be hot mince pie
and a little "Otard, Dupuy & Co." I sometimes
think I owe my long and healthy existence to the
hot mince and its qualifying company, the beverage.
Your mother would always make up a hand at the
whist table, and if I owe any one for my early train-
ing and teaching, which made me a pretty good card-
player, it is to them.
There were winters when young ladies appeared
as guests at your house, — the Misses Smith and, once
in a while, a Miss Foster. Hattie Smith afterwards
became Mrs. Fred Story, and Elvira, Mrs. George
Thus two or three years of my early life were
passed in an intimacy with one of the best and most
genial families in Watertown, and as I look over the
long past to those times, so full of pleasure to my
early days, and know there is a direct representative
here living to whom I can give a slight summary of
them, it almost seems as if the intervening years
were blotted out and I might still, of a pleasant win-
ter night, wander up to the old stone house on Wash-
ington Street and renew the intimacy of those pleas-
Watertown, New York, 1903.
HANNAH HUNGERFORD FOSTER
Pamela B. Wright
When we look back upon the past, as I am per-
mitted to (a long way), we often recall events of
deep interest to ourselves and others, as in this
instance. I was thinking of your dear mother to-day
and of the very high esteem in which she was held
by the community, noted as she was for her genuine
kindness in countless ways, and of her spending a
night in lovely care and watchfulness over me during
a very critical illness, which occurred when we lived
"over the river" and now dates back in the past over
At that time every effort was made to procure a
reliable nurse, which proved unavailing, and your
dear mother offered her valuable services, with other
kind friends, who watched over me until permanent
relief was secured, — a condition which bears quite a
strong contrast to the present time, as the neces-
sity for "trained nurses" had not then impressed
itself upon the public.
We often referred to the event afterwards with
much satisfaction, as I ever remembered her tender,
gentle watchfulness as that of a guardian angel.
Watertown, New York, November, 1907.
My first work in Watertown was with my brother
on a masonry "arch" for your father's ashery on Fac-
tory Street, where the Harmon Shop now stands.
At that time my brother lived across the road. I, as a
lad, was learning masonry. I had some dealings later
with your father and became acquainted also with
your cousin Theodore. Once, when talking with the
latter, your father, overhearing the conversation,
called me in and said my plan was commendable and
offered to help. He said he would assist and furnish
whatever money I needed and, when I got ready, I
could give him a mortgage and he would wait four
or five years for the payment.
But he never called for either note or mortgage,
and it was about four years before I paid up. When
I came to settle, he said: "You got along as well as
you expected?" I said: "Yes, and better too, and
you never called on me for note or mortgage." Then
he asked if I should like to know the reason why, and
I told him I should. He said: "You never have been
to the store to order a full suit of clothes. If you had
come in and ordered two suits I should have called
for a mortgage." It was pretty gratifying to me
to have him think me economical and judicious.
My recollection of his dealings is that he was
always benevolent and kind to any one who would be
reasonable. He used to help many men, and I don't
know what Luther Scott and others would have done
without him. He was a prominent merchant and of
superior judgment, morally and legally. He always
kept his friends, and I never heard any one speak
disparagingly of him.
As a chess-player your father was accounted one
of the first and best, and I have said many times that
he was also good at law. They did not have so many
lawsuits in those days, but in talking them over his
opinion always proved to be right in the end and in
accord with the decision rendered. He was like old
school books; no flights, even in temper, not good-
natured to-day and cross to-morrow. Your cousin
Theodore was clerk for your father and afterwards
teller in the Jefferson County Bank. You wouldn't
have known he ever had any trouble — always had
pleasant things to say. He never seemed to have
thought of marrying.
Your father's horse, "Old Dick," was known as a
superior one. Hardly a horse in town could outstep
him. He was a bay horse, weighing about twelve
Your house had high ceilings and painted walls.
I did repairs there and kalsomining. One day your
mother wanted the walls washed. She had staging
built, and the girls wouldn't go on it — said it wasn't
a suitable place for a woman. She said: "Perhaps it
is not." The next thing I knew I saw her up there,
with clothes changed, doing it herself. Then the
girls felt badly, and your mother stepped down and
they stepped up. I remember her father, Judge
Foster, but never had any chats with him. He was
a fair-sized man, with light complexion but dark hair
— made a good impression.
Watertown, New York, January, 1908.
To the fund of "Recollections" I might add a few
which mainly concern father, and which perhaps have
not been mentioned elsewhere. They largely concern
my personal relation to him. He accompanied me
when I went to Hamilton College, and while I was
there he was always generous with me. I remember a
letter written when I had sent to him for quite a large
sum of money, in which he said: "I gladly comply
with your request, but hope you will be economical
for your own sake." Before concluding his letter he
adds, in reference to this advice: "Do not be mean in
your expenditures and, while consulting economy, do
your part as a gentleman should."
When a mere boy I told him an untruth as to
where I had been, substituting a debating society for
a theatre. A few days after he called me into his
office and said: "In talking with Luther Scott I
referred to the debate in which you said you took
part, and, to my astonishment, he said the debate was
postponed ; so you could not have been present. That
is all. You wish a new hat — here is the money."
I keenly felt my punishment. No scolding, simply
a grieved look. I never again intentionally deceived
this noble father, who understood so well my peculiar
disposition. Once, when a little boy, I was evidently
smoking a cigar in front of the old stone store. A
neighbor called father to come to the sidewalk and,
approaching me, said, "See, your son is smoking."
Thereupon I broke the maple-sugar cigar in pieces
and gave one to him and one to father. The latter
then said: "Judge, don't you think it better to look
after your own son than mine?"
On one occasion father said to me: "Theatres in
this place (Watertown) are not those which you
should attend — when older, I will take you to a first-
class one in New York." Later (when I was a
student at the Law School in Poughkeepsie) he did
take me to New York, to the famous old St. Nicholas
Hotel on Broadway (not far from Bleecker Street)
and did what he could to afford me pleasure.
I have a long letter from him about the pension
laws. It would do credit to one of our finest lawyers
and is penned in the purest English and is both
graceful and condensed. Though very reticent and
not having enough self-confidence to enjoy speaking
in public, he was fluent, logical, lucid, and interest-
ing, when the subject was one with which he was
familiar. I was present at the meeting of citizens in
what, I think, was the old Apollo Hall on Court
Street (since demolished), when the advisability of
introducing gas into the village was discussed and
the gas company formed, and I remember that on
this occasion he clearly and ably stated his views.
He took a deep personal interest in all public
affairs, being instrumental in the erection of a new
county house and, if memory plays me no trick, of
the county jail also. He was one of the original
stockholders of the Watertown & Rome Railroad
and, I think, was a member of the party that made
the trial trip over the road.
Strictly speaking, father was not a disciplinarian
— certainly not as regards punishing his sons. He
often said that he left that to his wife. Despite his
reticence, which never suggested taciturnity, he
possessed habitually a cheerful temperament. No
matter whether racked with keen neuralgia or
troubled about business affairs, whenever mother
spoke to him he responded with a smile and a pleas-
ant word. At times he was quite the humorist. This
I infer from his remarks when in the counting-room
he played chess, especially when he checkmated his
adversary. I vividly recall the fact that, when at
home enjoying the collegiate vacation in 1854 or '55,
he suggested that I be his partner in a game of
euchre. He did this because of needing another to
make a second table. As I took the hand dealt to me
father said he would teach me the game. Unwilling
that he should know that I had learned to play cards
at college I played poorly, to his annoyance, until,
once forgetting to say "Pass," I brought my hand
down on the table instead ; whereupon, with a twinkle
of the eye, he said: "Make no more mistakes; you do
not need a teacher."
At the beginning of my Junior year at Hamilton
College father thought best to send me to Michigan
University in Ann Arbor. Later, I wrote from there
asking him to allow me to go to Mississippi and to
send check for my expenses. On his acquiescence,
in company with a young Mississippian (a nephew
of Jefferson Davis, who was a fellow student), I
went to Jackson and Canton. Recalling a remark
I had heard father make to mother that his "chief
concern was about Foster's future, as he doubted his
ever earning money enough to take care of himself"
and other words which impressed me with the fact
that, if I earned money, he thought I could not keep
it — I, mindful of this overheard remark, determined
to convince him that he was mistaken and so, instead
of returning to Michigan University, I took a school
in the country not far from Canton (where, on my
second visit to Mississippi, I was admitted to the
bar), receiving one hundred dollars per month and
free board with a planter, one of the school patrons.
During the school year I received about nine hundred
dollars. Despite my unnecessary expenses in going
to New Orleans and other places, when I reached
home I poured into father's lap about four hundred
dollars in twenty-dollar gold pieces. He said to me
in effect: "I care not so much for this money because
it is money, but I do care for what it represents on
your part— the ability to earn and save. Hereafter
I shall not in these respects be anxious about you.
This money I shall keep for you and add more to it,
as you intend to enter the Law School and must meet
expenses of tuition and board."
Father was a Knight Templar — "Eminent Com-
mander" from 1829 to 1831. He owned the regalia
of his office, but what became of it I do not know.
He finally withdrew from the Masons, assigning as
a reason for his action the fact that many men in
Watertown, being satisfied with its solemn services,
depended upon Masonry (which, while teaching
sound morals, ignores religion) for doing the work of
the churches. He felt that he could serve the church
better if not a Mason and, therefore, could no longer
conscientiously support it as an institution. While
not accepting father's view, I mention the fact as
showing that he was willing to sever pleasant rela-
tions because of what he honestly deemed his duty.
Some of his fine qualities he must have inherited
from his father, Adriel Ely. Judge George Ely
of Lyme, Connecticut, who recently died at an
advanced age, told me that, as a boy, he often saw
grandfather Ely, and that he was tall, had a fine
presence and withal much dignity, and that he was
one of the first citizens of the county, inclusive of
New London, and held by all in the highest respect.
His military service consisted in being a Lieutenant,
and his descendants are entitled to become members
of the Sons of the Revolution, if they so desire. I
have a deed of land in Lyme to which are affixed the
signatures of Adriel Ely and Adriel Ely, Jr. (our
father). Grandfather was buried in the quaint old
Ely Burying Ground in that town.
He was one of those who had a claim against the
United States Government in the matter of the
French Spoliation Claims, by reason of the loss of
the schooner "William" and cargo — Sylvester
Pratt, master. The petition of George Ely to the
"Honorable Judges of the Court of Claims" shows
that this schooner was a duly registered vessel of the
United States, Adriel Ely and Amos White being
joint owners of ship and cargo. It sailed from
Middletown, Connecticut, October 1, 1798, for Dem-
erara, British Guiana, laden with live stock and mer-
chandise products of the United States. On said
voyage she was captured by a French armed vessel,
acting under the authority of the French Republic,
and was condemned, confiscated, and sold for the
benefit of her captors. This capture was in violation
of the law of nations and treaties between the
United States and France. That the owners had a
valid and admitted claim upon the French Republic
is clearly shown by the ratification, etc., between
these two countries exchanged July 1, 1801. The
amount of the indemnity petitioned for by the heirs
of Adriel Ely was $6575, being one-half of the total
claim. George Ely, as administrator of Adriel Ely,
made an affidavit in the county of New London
(probably in Lyme) , before James Griswold, Notary
Public, January 17, 1887. George G. Sill of Hart-
ford signed as attorney. The latter said that he
represented more than $200,000 of similar Spoliation
Claims. Both men are now dead. Up to this time
the money claimed has not been recovered.
Stamford, Connecticut, November, 1907.
Jeannette Huntington Riley
You ask me to go back sixty years and write what
I can remember of your father and mother and of
your early life. So many things have happened in
the interval that I can scarcely think of a thing that
will be interesting to you or to your children. I
remember you as a child very much loved and petted
by all, but more especially by your mother. You
were, as I remember, rather quiet and painfully par-
ticular, neat, orderly, and fond of books. *"Bub,"
as we all called him, was a frolicsome boy, hale and
hearty and loved by every one. When your mother
called Katy, about five o'clock, to look him up in
order to wash and dress him for tea, she would tell
her to wash up all the boys in the street, and when she
found Bub to bring him in and dress him! It was
quite unnecessary to wash up all the boys to find
Bub, for his dancing, laughing eyes would betray
him. He was one of the good-natured kind, who
always had an army of friends who depended on him
as a leader, and, as a rule, he was quite equal to it. I
can never forget the look on your father's face when
your mother would tell him of Bub's pranks. He
was the proudest father, and the cousins, Theodore
and Newel, were equally proud, and your mother was
*T. N. E.
proud also, but she pretended she did not know what
to do with him. I don't remember either one of you
ever being punished. Bub made friends with every-
body — he liked every one and every one liked him —
he was hail-fellow well met. You were, I think, sort
of distant, especially to strangers.
I remember Fred as a great overgrown, good-
natured, good-hearted boy, in roundabouts — would
do anything you asked him to do. Foster was more
distant and used to amuse us very much by going to
the barn to practise elocution. In summer we could
hear him in the house. We used to make lots of fun
of him and, as I think of it now, I don't think it was
very much to our credit, for he worked so hard to
accomplish his end and make an orator of himself
that he should have been encouraged.
I remember Hattie as being also painfully par-
ticular and orderly and very exquisite about every-
thing she did — it must be just so. She married soon
after I knew you all. I was very fond of her; she
was a conscientious, good friend. I knew her better
after her marriage when we both lived in Auburn. I
was a stranger there and used often to see her and
became much attached to her and was fond of her
children, especially the boy, Joe. Your mother, as
you must know, was one of the most hospitable
ladies in Watertown — knew every one and was
justly proud of her ancestors. She never allowed
the larder to get low and was called about the best
cook in Watertown in those days — rather rich than
otherwise — never scrimped anything. She was very
generous to her friends and gave with a lavish hand
to those she loved. She was especially fond of
her niece, Nelly Foster (a daughter of your uncle
Gustavus), who was there a year or two when I
was there so much. She was a very lovely girl,
amiable and so pretty and ladylike, but rather quiet,
I thought. You may remember her, as I do. She
died of consumption, and I recall how bitterly your
mother felt at the time because, after she went back
to her home in Milwaukee, she employed a home-
opathist. In those days it was almost a crime to
employ a homeopathist, and one took his life in his
hands who did so.
Nelly's sister, Hannah Maria (Kneeland), I
thought was the prettiest woman I ever saw, with a
wonderful complexion and such refined manners that
to see her was to love her. With her beauty and
grace, one would almost wonder that she had not been
Your mother was a warm-hearted woman, and
when she loved, she loved with her whole heart. She
was so fond of her sister (your Auntie Vie, as we all
called her), and your early life was so interwoven
with hers, this would hardly be complete without
bringing her in — she was one whom every one loved.
Your mother's house was always full. I don't call
to mind a time when there was not some one there.
When young men were coming in, even after ten at
night, there was a friendly light and the latch-string
was sure to pull and they were always sure of a wel-
come. There was no regular time for closing the
house — eleven o'clock was early bedtime.
I often think how times have changed, and I don't
believe they begin to have the good times we had in
those days. There were no old folks — fathers and
mothers were brothers and sisters to their children —
and all had a good time. I wish I could pen down
those things I half remember that flit through my
mind; but perhaps it is better that I do not recall.
Those were days when we had resources within our-
selves ; we were not dependent upon theatres, excur-
sions, etc., though there were many large parties
given during the winter. There were no cottages
in the country for summer — people had homes in
those days and staid at home, occasionally going a
trip somewhere; but nowadays they have four or
five homes and travel most of the time. I only wish
they knew of the good old times for their own sakes.
I feel I ought to say something about that faith-
ful hunchback Katy, who took as much interest in
every one connected with that household as your
mother did, and when you or Bub needed correcting
she took you in hand and, as a rule, I think you both
obeyed. She loved you as her own, but I think Bub
was her favorite. She took care of him when he was
a baby and he learned to love her, for she was always
on hand when he needed her and she was the first
one to hear his troubles. I wonder if he remembers
his dear old nurse of sixty years ago!
I have said nothing of your father. Well, he was
one of the grandest men. I was very fond of him.
Unlike most men with cares, worries, and sickness,
he never seemed annoyed if I went to his office — I
was always welcome and could ask him any question,
no matter how important or foolish, and he would
always give me a polite and civil answer and care-
fully explain things so as to make them clear. Al-
though his health was poor for so many years he
enjoyed a good joke or a little fun, even if too feeble
to take part in it. He was so fond of your uncle
Jabez Foster and spent more time at home when he
was there; and often, sitting in the wing, I used to
hear them visit, and also with your aunt Kate (uncle
Oh my! how that takes me back! I can see it as
clear as though it happened yesterday. I love to
dwell upon those times and cannot realize it is sixty
years ago, it all comes so fresh to my mind. And
Auntie Vie and your mother — how they did enjoy
those annual reunions when your uncle Jabez came
home from Jacksonville, Florida, where he went
every winter for his health. Dear me! when we all
meet in the mansions prepared for us, I wonder if
we shall renew and review those old times! Your
dear father was such a good man. I had great rever-
ence for him. He would come in just gasping for
breath, and your mother would help him take off
whatever he needed to remove and give him a little
wine or whiskey — he would look so white but would
soon recover so that he could do the carving, which he
was an expert at. Theodore (D.) used to sit beside
him and help him, for it meant work to carve for a
table of ten to eighteen or twenty, as it often was. I
wish you could remember him as well as I do, for it
would give you great pleasure, I am sure.
Dear old aunt Marietta would come with her
thimble to help us out; she was a very practical
woman and very blunt and sometimes said things
that hurt, but she did not mean to and on the whole
was a dear, kind woman who did a great deal of good.
I believe everybody's favorite was cousin Melina
Lee. Not one of the cousins do I remember with
such reverence — a Christian in every sense of the
word ; she lived it day by day. If any one spoke ill
of another to her, she would have an excuse ready in
her sweet, lovely way.
There was another, aunt Betsey, the sweetest —
no other word would express her character. Her
husband, your mother's uncle, Orville Hunger ford,
was a dignified and some might have said a cold, stern
man; but to me, only a young girl, he was always
exceedingly kind. I am always proud to say I had
an uncle who went to Congress when it meant some-
thing! My dear old grandfather, Anson Hunger-
ford, was his brother ; he was a Colonel in the War of
1812; a farmer, very quiet, never showing us any
particular affection; but we loved him and enjoyed
having him come to our house to visit.
I am so glad, as I have reviewed the past, that I
have lived to see and know so many of these people,
for they were all so good. It seems to me that you
must remember much that I have referred to, but
possibly not. There was not much of the "good old
times" after I left there, and I guess it is sickness,
death, and sorrow that you can remember best.
Dexter, New York, July, 1908.
FREDERICK GUSTAVUS ELY
Frederick Gustavus Ely
I remember grandfather Foster, but he died
when I was quite young. He was one of the early
settlers and a merchant. Besides having built several
houses in Watertown he was said to have owned
much of the land from Washington Street back to
Massey Street. He also, with others, gave the land
on which the First Presbyterian Church now stands.
Father was a merchant all his life and was, as
well, an attorney for the soldiers who served in the
Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Mexi-
can War, prosecuting their claims for pensions from
the Government. Through his knowledge and ability
he was enabled to procure many pensions with back
pay for the widows of soldiers who served during the
Revolution, and for a number of soldiers them-
selves whose claims had been rejected by the Govern-
ment. I remember very well some of these old
people who came to the store, twice a year, to get
their money and a little sangaree, which was made
and kept in a pail in anticipation of their coming.
He was very successful in obtaining pensions, land
warrants, etc., for those in the later wars.
Father had also a very good knowledge of the
law, drawing many contracts, deeds, mortgages, and
other legal documents for many of the town and
country people who had dealings with him. He was
appointed by different Judges and served in many
cases as Referee, and I never heard of his findings
being overruled. I have heard Judge Allen, Judge
Mullin, and others urge him to obtain a certificate as
a lawyer, saying he was fully qualified and the ex-
amination would be a mere form. I do not think he
ever sought an office, but served as County Treasurer
and, for several years, as Supervisor from Water-
town, and it was through his efforts that the present
County House was built in 1855. I remember writ-
ing the notices to the other supervisors, calling a
meeting for that purpose. The old poorhouse, to-
gether with the manner in which the insane were
housed and treated, was a disgrace. Father was a
trustee of the Jefferson County Institute and other
schools, church trustee also, and Sunday School
superintendent. He selected the ground and started
the movement for the new cemetery (Brookside)
and, in fact, did all the work in the organization and
completion of the project. It was dedicated in 1854,
and father wrote to E. H. Chapin, a noted lecturer
of that time, for an address on the occasion. Mr.
Chapin replied that a written one would cost one
hundred dollars and an unwritten one, fifty dollars.
They took the unwritten ! Father was President of
the Cemetery Association from 1855 until the time
of his death, in 1859.
He was a stockholder and director in the Jeffer-
son County Bank and was consulted daily as to the
affairs of the bank. Before I was old enough to take
much interest in his affairs father was along in years
and was in poor health. He was very reserved as to
himself, and I do not remember ever to have heard
him tell of his early life or of any of his exploits. I
have had others tell me that he was very powerful
physically and that they had witnessed him in feats
of strength, such as throwing barrels of salt, weigh-
ing 330 pounds, into a wagon without taking out the
end board. General Sumner told me that, when he
lived in Watertown, he and father sailed a wagon
down Washington Street, he looking after the sail
and father doing the steering, a very difficult thing
to do, as the General said. This was done on a
wager, I have understood, and the course was from
the First Church to the Public Square.
After father had been in Watertown awhile he
visited Lyme, Connecticut, going and returning on
New York City, November, 1907.
Milton H. Merwin
I remember that, in my early days, I was sur-
prised at the readiness with which lawyers were will-
ing to refer cases in the Supreme Court to the deci-
sion of your father, Adriel Ely. The reason for this
I soon discovered. He was an upright, honorable
man. His business as a merchant made him familiar
with accounts and business dealings. He was
possessed of an intelligent and comprehensive judg-
ment. He had practical common sense to an unusual
degree, and his standard of right and wrong was
He had an unusual ability to determine fairly
what lawyers call questions of fact. Litigants had
confidence in the man and his judgment, and there-
fore his conclusions were apt to be satisfactory.
Though a layman, his view of the law, founded as it
is on common sense, was apt to be at least as nearly
right as the average view of the professional man.
In the language of the present day, he was a square
Utica, New York, April, 1908.
Judge Merwin lived in Watertown for some
years but removed to Utica after he was elected
Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New
York. He said once to some one that "Watertown
had had one man who ought to have been on the
Bench, for he possessed the qualities which fitted him
to be a Judge, and that man was Adriel Ely." His
more recent letter is only an elaboration of the same
» -*r ~ ''■
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THEODORE NEWEL ELY
Theodore Newel Ely
The idea of a book of family reminiscences
appeals to me strongly, and it is very good of you
to undertake the not easy task of preparing one.
I am glad to contribute my mite to these recollections
although with the consciousness that, inasmuch as
you were a part of our Watertown home while I
lived there, and as the difference in our ages is not
great, I am writing of things you already know.
It is difficult, too, when one has reached my age
after an active life in a field calling for constant ser-
vice, to remember with accuracy the events of one's
childhood days; this is the more so because I have
been deprived of close association with you or others
of the family to keep alive my early recollections. It
is also hard to differentiate between one's recollection
In thinking this matter over I had planned to
write chronologically, but I soon found that I was
getting much mixed in my dates and therefore de-
cided not to attempt an orderly sequence.
There was, however, one important item of which
I distinctly remember the date; it was the marriage
of our sister Harriette to Charles Richardson. I
was six years old and Harriette was twenty-five.
Elaborate preparations were made for the wedding
feast. A long table was set in the dining-room
and another in the wing, beneath which were good
hiding-places for one of my size. The luxurious set-
tings of these tables seemed to have furnished good
opportunity for an appetite of six.
I remember that among other things there were
high pyramids of macaroons festooned with spun
sugar, fruits, and candies. All of these were fash-
ioned by Ragg, the confectioner. This man locked
himself up in the kitchen pantry so that no one could
learn his methods of working. My recollection is
that the great round wedding cake was moulded in
four parts so that it could be baked in the brick oven,
which was at the right of the cook stove, which latter,
by the way, had replaced the large fireplace in front
of which it stood. These four parts were put
together and frosted, and over the whole was built
what seemed to be a wonderful temple in white con-
fection. I think that this temple was preserved for
several years. This much do I remember in regard
to the wedding.
I remember father's nephews, Theodore and
Newel, whom father had taken to live in our family.
They came long before my time and were grown
men when my knowledge of them began. Theodore
was my particular friend and counselor. He seemed
to understand what a boy needed and gave me freely
of his time and sympathy. I learned to copy that
vertical handwriting of his which, with all my
attempts, I could not equal in beauty and grace. He
taught me also free-hand printing from pure Roman
letters. He showed me how to whittle and, at one
time, how to sit still for five minutes for a reward!
The remembrance of this latter episode clings to my
memory very persistently. He was a fine man and
we loved him through all his life, and I am glad to
bear his name. The other nephew, Newel, was a
strict business man and did not care so much for us
children. We bothered him, I guess.
Do you remember that there was a large lot back
of our stable with a little stream running through it,
on which I built a miniature flouring mill run by
an overshot water-wheel, and that you made the
small sacks for the flour? I think that a grass-
hopper team did the hauling and that the wagon
had white button wheels. Then there was a wooden
rocking-horse whose head and neck "somehow" be-
came detached from the rest of the body, which made
it easier to give him a drink than it would have been
to carry the whole body to the water hydrant!
My recollections of father and mother are not
very mature. Father died when I was thirteen and
mother died four years later.
For father I have retained an impression of great
admiration. He was always very attentive to me and
often took me driving with him about town and far
into the country. One of the trips — to Perch River
Farm — was a specially favorite one. John Sharp,
a burly Englishman, and his wife, Betsey, presided
over the farm — both were very good to me and never
forgot to bring out the sugar and cakes.
Father, himself a fine horseman and admirer of
good horses, could not resist buying a promising colt
if he saw one and would bring it home for us to
train. Father gave me riding lessons when I was
about six. The inverted V of my little legs did not
fit the fat ponies very well. The thing that he im-
pressed most constantly upon me was that I should
never be afraid. As I grew older he instructed me in
making out business papers which might be useful
in after-life. The filling out of pension papers for
the fourth of March and the fourth of September
of each year was a great occasion, for the old pen-
sioners used to gather in father's office to sign them.
Everything of course had to be written out in long-
hand, and sand was used for blotting the ink.
My recollection of father's personal appearance
is that he was tall and broad-shouldered, rather spare,
with a strong but kindly face that never showed
anger no matter how sorely he might be tried. His
great physical strength was not in evidence in my
time, but I learned from the conversation of his old
friends and contemporaries accounts of what it had
been. When he was in his prime he was said to have
been the strongest man in that part of the country.
But when I knew him his health had been shattered
by over-exertion at a large fire where he had worked
I also recall father's holding me up in his arms
to see the first train over the R. W. & O. come into
Watertown. The building of this railroad necessi-
tated a warning sign over the crossing of the main
road to Sackets Harbor. It was while going to and
from the Sand Banks Farm and Ashery that we
passed under this sign, and from it I learned my first
long sentence: "Railroad Crossing! Look Out for
By the way, that farm holds many pleasant recol-
lections for me. It was a most interesting place.
The vegetable garden was large and fruitful, and
supplied our home bountifully. There was an
ashery where potash was made, the "boiler" being
a witty Irishman named Pat. He was short and
stout and his favorite pastime was guying a farmer
named Luther Scott who spent too much of his time
talking politics. Once I heard Pat say to Scott:
"Misther Scott, I hear that England is going to
war with Great Britain," which so excited Scott
that he ranted for several minutes and argued that
there was no danger of that taking place. He never
saw the joke.
Along the side road leading into the farm was an
interesting Irish settlement. Everything Irish was
there, — wakes and ructions of every description.
The most important weapons of the women were
rocks put in long stockings and used as clubs. There
was a woods of fine maple and ash trees back of the
farmhouse. I remember how several real but tame
Indians and their squaws used to come that way with
bows and arrows and baskets for sale, and how some
of the smaller baskets were filled with fine granular
maple sugar. The Indians showed me how to make
bows and arrows. It was on this farm, when I was
older, that I learned during my vacation how to mow,
reap, bind, and plough.
Father had men of diversified trades working
for him. I remember Mr. Buck, a bookbinder by
trade, whose duty it was to look after the gathering
of vegetables, and I have a very clear recollection of
his trudging to and from the garden with a market
basket over his arm. He gave me useful informa-
tion in regard to bookbinding.
This recollection of Buck recalls two or three
other men who worked for father. One of them was
named Phillips. He was a ship carpenter by trade
but had taken up house-building. I received very
careful instruction from him in the use of carpenter
tools. At that time the carpenter trade was less
restricted than at present, and a carpenter was sup-
posed to be a general mechanic. One particular
trick that Phillips taught me was how to strike a
curve with a chalk line. Then there was Phillips'
son who had been a sailor before the mast, who
showed me all sorts of knots and splices. There was
also a surveyor for whom I acted as rodman and
chainman, and from whom I learned much in regard
to surveying and the parting off of land. The house-
hold servant I remember best was Katy Reynolds,
the nurse. She was very efficient and particularly
careful of my interests as against the rest of the
family — bless her memory!
I think it was Squire Sabin whom I used to see
playing chess with father in his office. General E. V.
Sumner, who was then Colonel of Cavalry stationed
on the outpost of Fort Leavenworth, always visited
father during his furloughs, and his coming was
looked forward to with excitement because he had so
many graphic stories to tell of the Indians.
I have mentioned General Sumner, but I should
also have mentioned Mrs. Sumner, who was mother's
dear friend — and, too, the boys Win and Sam Sum-
ner (afterwards Generals in the United States Army)
who used to come to see us. Our cousins, Marcellus
Massey and Frank, his wife, and their sons, Piob,
Fred, and Morris, used to come to our house in the
summer from Brooklyn. George Whitney and May
(afterwards Mrs. Outerbridge) also came from
Philadelphia. I think that I got more out of Fred
Massey than any of the others, as he taught me box-
ing, the use of Indian clubs, baseball and other
athletic sports. He was at that time the first base
of the Atlantic Club of Brooklyn. Rob was a good
musician, and very witty.
I need not say much about the weather except
to use the slang expression, "the winters were fierce."
I remember going out one morning on the side porch
of the dining-room to look at the thermometer, to
find that the bulb was broken and the mercury
frozen, which indicated thirty-nine degrees or more
below zero. There were other records, however, that
showed forty-five degrees below. At the same time,
I remember freezing my ears going two or three
blocks, and that I came near losing them.
Father taught us all how to play cards and was
particularly insistent that we should learn to play
whist with accuracy and judgment.
My recollections of mother are very tender.
She was a good mother and a remarkable woman.
In her last illness, which occurred when I was six-
teen, she displayed such patience and fortitude dur-
ing intense suffering that it has left a deep impres-
sion on my mind. But there were happy times
before that. I was the "baby" of the family, for
even you beat me by almost two years. It would
take a long letter to tell you all that mother did for
me and to me. With all her social and charitable
activities she always seemed to have time to show her
sympathy or give an encouraging word. But that
was not all ; she did not hesitate to punish, as well as
to pet. The punishments, although they were not
infrequent, have long been forgotten and the com-
forting words have remained as fresh in my recolleC'
tion as if it were yesterday rather than almost fifty
years ago that she left us.
I have been told that mother was a fearless rider,
but within my memory she had given up such vigor-
ous exercise as horseback riding. She was devoted
to her flower garden, and I remember that I was
pressed into service to help keep it in order. I
found it quite a job to make enough long wire pins
to fasten down the runners of the verbenas that
roamed over a large round centre bed, and it was hot
work using them! Mother was always full of fun
and fond of a good joke.
Then there was that wonderful silver-plated
Wheeler & Wilson sewing machine — a great novelty
that was to do up the family work in no time. Alas !
it was never idle, and meant more things, not more
time. I can remember how full of seamstresses that
room in the south wing used to be. Mother was
very skilful in embroidery, and, owing to some taste
that I had for drawing, I was requisitioned for copy-
ing and making patterns.
Before closing, I think as a matter of record
that reference should be made to the schools in
Watertown at the time of which I am writing. The
excellent private schools that we attended used mem-
ory exercises and restricted the use of text-books.
These schools prepared scholars for the Jefferson
County Institute, where a corps of remarkable
teachers drilled us thoroughly. You remember how
Mr. Cavert, the Principal, kept us at Latin for six
solid years. One of the teachers was that mathe-
matical wonder, Mr. Otis, who made mathematics a
most interesting study, and long before we had any
instruction in calculus he showed us how expedi-
tious we would find it for practical use as compared
with algebra. He was known far and wide as
an authority on his subject. Then there was Fitz-
hugh Ludlow, who had us in French and rhetoric.
He was a noted man and author, having written
among other books "The Hasheesh Eater." He was
very odd in his personal appearance but very bright.
The course in free-hand drawing was very carefully
attended to. I recall this course, for during the
preparation of a study of a plaster bust of Sir
Walter Scott I knocked it over and smashed it, which
caused considerable consternation, because such
models were not easily obtained at that time.
I am glad to pay this tribute to the methods of
the Institute, because there seems to have been a
departure from these strict standards in the require-
ments of our present schools. When I was seven-
teen I took and passed the examinations for the
second year at the R. P. I. without any preparation
other than that referred to. In fact the work in the
Jefferson County Institute covered some of that
done in the third year at the R. P. I. It was these
splendid and careful teachers that made this possible.
This letter is already long, but I am conscious
of having covered only in the most meagre way the
many interesting events of our home life. There
were constant happenings which to a boy were big
things but in the light of after-life seem unim-
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, June, 1912.
STORE AND OFFICE
JEFFERSON COUNTY BANK
Mary S. Tread well
Eveline Ely is always associated with all that is
merry and mirth-provoking. Our home being right
across the street and a tie of blood, as well as of
friendship, connecting the two families, of course
there was frequent communication, and many a
funny tale was told of incidents in early life as well
as in later years among that rare circle of friends who
enjoyed so many pleasures of life together.
The late John Safford Fiske, in speaking of that
circle (to which his father and mother belonged,
together with Judge and Mrs. Mullin, who contrib-
uted so richly to its attractions, Mrs. Wardwell, with
her beautiful character, Mrs. Mary Ely, Mrs. Wood,
and my father and mother), said: "Now that it is
no more, it seems as if this world held nothing else
so good." There were the old-time hospitality, the
reading societies, the oyster suppers, and those re-
unions where all took tea together at least as often
as once a week ; the missionary boxes, filled by loving
hands for those less fortunate in circumstances; the
long drives together ; the trips to New York in spring
and fall and to Alexandria Bay in summer, meeting
at both places the same dear friends from Oswego.
We often think that life was simpler in those days
than now, and yet to be such famous housewives and
mothers was not such a simple matter, after all ; but
they all set the example of work themselves, and their
households were willing to follow in their ways.
My mind goes back to one occasion when the
Reverend Doctor Brayton and his wife were present,
among other guests, at our house. The few of us left
who remember Dr. Brayton think of him as the
impersonation of all that was dignified, formal, and
reserved, though not forgetting his many sterling
virtues, but for this time, at least, he forgot his
dignity. Mrs. Ely and Mrs. Wood were doing what
they could to entertain the guests — perhaps to enter-
tain themselves as well — when some one asked Mrs.
Wood to sing. Neither she nor Mrs. Ely had any
powers of musical expression but that did not deter
them. Mrs. Ely at once went to the piano and
offered to accompany Mrs. Wood, and she sat and
executed with all the manner of a very near-sighted
musician (a neighbor of ours, who played with many
flourishes), while Mrs. Wood sang, or rather
attempted, sixty-seven verses of Wordsworth's
"Simple Child" with high crescendos and tragic low
tones. The effect upon the audience was remark-
able. Dr. Brayton walked the floor in what was
almost an agony of mirth, with tears streaming from
his eyes, while the other members of the company
were almost in hysterics.
Mrs. Ely's powers of story-telling none who knew
her can ever forget; and a very excellent tale she
could make of almost any material and, as my father
used to say, always improved it with each repetition.
One, which she told with great gusto, was of a sleigh-
ride taken soon after my father's return from his
wedding trip. I have an idea they might have been
going to Canada and were crossing the St. Lawrence
on the ice but, wherever it was, somehow the sleigh
upset and all were scattered promiscuously in the
snow. Mrs. Ely used to tell how she was buried deep
down in a drift and almost gave herself up for lost,
when finally a rescuer appeared, who turned out to
be my father, and began to dig her out. He dusted
off the snow and began to kiss her, but when he found
she was not my mother he threw her down in the
snow again and then went off and left her !
I wish I could recall more of the happenings of
those fair days, but the years are many that have
passed since these dear ones left us, and time brings
forgetfulness, and only a few of the sunny memories
Watertown, New York, April, 1908.
EVELINA FOSTER ELY
THEODORE NEWEL ELY
GERTRUDE SUMNER ELY KNOWLTON
Gertrude Sumner Ely Knowlton
Harriette, in writing of our mother, has spoken
of her energy, her industry, and her fondness for fun
and frolic. With these she combined great reserve
as to the things which concerned herself — a reserve
hardly to be expected in one so full of life and spirit,
and which few of her acquaintances suspected. Her
illnesses and her cares were many, but she was always
uncomplaining, and her energy and dislike of idle-
ness often kept her moving, when others would have
succumbed to the pain she was enduring.
It was not a light thing to have two of her hus-
band's nephews brought into her home when she had
young children of her own, and to have them remain
there permanently — seven children and two nephews
to be mothered ! But she was a good aunt and friend
to them and won their undying devotion. Their
names combined were handed down to her youngest
boy, because his little two-year-old sister called him
"Fid Lewie" — her baby names for Theodore and
Mother had a quick, bright mind and many
anecdotes were told of her ready repartee — one or
two of which may be recorded. She was fifteen
years father's junior and perhaps also looked young
for her years, so that an acquaintance once expressed
surprise at her being the mother of one of the older
children. "Oh," was the instant reply, "that is Mr.
Ely's daughter by his first wife!"
In spite of the fact that the journey had to be
made by carriage, stage, and the slow-going packet
boats, she sometimes went to Michigan to visit her
sister, Elvira Smith, and it was during one of these
visits that she went with a party of friends (one of
whom was an Episcopal clergyman) to Jackson.
While there they visited the State Penitentiary,
happening there at the hour of daily service. After
leaving, the reverend gentleman remarked that he
had been greatly impressed by the admirable manner
in which the prisoners took part in the service, their
responses, etc. Quick as thought, mother (ardent
Presbyterian that she was!) said: "Oh! then the con-
victs are all Episcopalians!" It weighed heavily
upon his mind all day but towards night a happy
inspiration came to him, and he said to her in a
solemn tone: "Mrs. Ely, the Presbyterians were all
hanged" — a good retort, though a little late! Refer-
ring to this trait of hers in later years, Mrs. Judge
Merwin of Utica said: "I used to think Mrs. Ely the
wittiest woman I knew, and she was also a most
efficient one, but so jolly withal that she never made
us younger and less competent ones feel uncomfort-
able, as happens sometimes."
An extract from one of mother's letters shows the
kind and the amount of work done by the old-time
housekeeper. December 14, 1862, she writes: "We
have been very busy the past week; Tuesday, we
made about five gallons of mince-meat, and it is deli-
cious too; Friday, made sausages, tried lard, made a
jar of soused pork and Saturday, Mary Ann made
Sewing machines were a new toy at that time and
she had one of the first instalment brought to Water-
town — a Wheeler & Wilson. A day's work of sew-
ing, etc., is mentioned in a letter of February 16,
1859. "After some clearing up of the house and two
calls," she says, "I made the skirt of my dress. At
three o'clock Jeannette Huntington came and the
dress was finished that night — it fits very nicely.
( Fancy making a modern dress in one day ! ) We had
ten calls in the evening, so that I did not work any."
She speaks of "passing most of an afternoon showing
Mrs. Mullin how to work the sewing machine," and
enumerates articles of underclothing she had made
for different friends who had no machines and adds :
"I have not finished a garment for myself, nor do I
much care to." Mrs. Jenkins mentions their work-
ing on Mary Sumner's wedding outfit in 1860.
Mrs. Jenkins was General Sumner's oldest daughter,
and she and her son George once spent nearly a year
with us and she says: "During all the time I lived in
your parents' home nothing unpleasant ever
occurred — all was peace, harmony, and kindness,
never to be forgotten." She was often with us after
that, and during father's long last illness she took her
turn every third night in sitting up with him (the
trained nurse was not in vogue then) . She was also
with us when mother died.
Mother had an intense love for little children — the
younger and more helpless, the better — and although
not so demonstrative with them when they grew
older, the following extract from a letter of Mrs.
Jenkins of May 14, 1862 shows how one boy, who
had spent much time under her roof, felt towards
her. She writes: "A letter from George says he
would like to stop over one train to see your mother,
as he does think Mrs. Ely one of the best women he
ever knew. That same mother of yours has a way
of her own in winning the hearts of boys, although
she pretends to despise them so much."
Mother was a fluent and easy letter-writer — her
chirography and spelling were also of the very best.
Of money matters she knew nothing, and of mathe-
matics, little. I was amazed one day to hear her say,
in response to a question, that she "liked cube root
very much." When the visitor had departed I said:
"Mother, I thought you did not know anything about
cube root." She said: "I don't; I thought she asked
me if I liked cubebs!" She was a good card-player,
and some one says of her: "Mrs. Ely was a rare
whist-player, keeping track of every card played
and, at the same time, talking all the time."
Elsewhere, Cornelia Hungerford has spoken of
the quilting parties and of the First Church sewing
societies, held in the few houses large enough to
accommodate them. I remember the interest I took
in the opening of the huge covered baskets, rilled with
the work to be done. After a long, industrious after-
noon of sewing (and no doubt of gossip) , a bountiful
supper was served and the baskets were passed on to
the house of the next entertainer. On the occasion of
quilting parties I was puzzled to know why my ser-
vices were so frequently in requisition for threading
needles (and perhaps none too well pleased, either),
but I have a more sympathetic understanding now!
Aunt Marietta (Hungerford) was always a con-
spicuous figure at quiltings, as well as at other times,
and equally well known was her son-in-law, Colonel
He was the bane of us children and, I suspect, of
our mothers too, sometimes ; yet I dare say we should
have missed him, for he was friendly and attached,
though always complaining and hungry ! The temp-
tation to play tricks on him was ever present with the
Mother's closest friend, perhaps, was Mrs. E. V.
Sumner ; they were friends before marriage and until
death, having been schoolgirls together in Lowville,
before mother went to Mrs. Willard's school in Troy.
Mrs. Suniner's children once said to her that they
believed she cared more for Mrs. Ely than she did
for them, and Mrs. Sumner replied that she had
"known her longer!"
The same affection existed between father and
General Sumner, and however great might be the
separation in point of time or space the friendship
was not marred. I remember, on one occasion, when
General Sumner returned after long service in the
West among the Indians, that he and father (both
six-footers) fell on each other's necks and embraced
like women. He was a Boston man coming from
Montreal to Watertown, where he went into busi-
ness. He got his commission while there and went
on General Jacob Brown's staff in 1819.
To the many early residents in Watertown, whom
it was "good to know," were added at that time other
delightful people, living in Brownville. They were
constant visitors at our house — the Browns, Kirbys,
Bradleys, Howes, and others. Major General
Jacob Brown was Commander-in-Chief of the United
States Army, and his spacious old stone house still
stands as a reminder of the charming social life of
the village in those days. There was a large army
element there then, as well as at Sackets Harbor,
and our house was a favorite resort. To illustrate
the free use of it, Harriette used to tell the following
story. "As a girl," she said, "it was my duty to see
that there was a fire kept in the front parlor (it was
an era of wood stoves and open fires ) , but one cold,
stormy day, when there was no apparent prospect of
out-of-town visitors, I lazily neglected my task and
was no less dismayed than provoked when a sleigh
appeared just before the noon dinner, containing
Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant and wife from the
Harbor, and I was obliged to start up a fire for them.
He afterwards became the famous General, but his
name always recalled to me the young man who put
me to so much trouble!"
Our principal garden was on the "flats" or "sand-
banks," where father owned considerable land in
connection with his Ashery. The garden portion was
very large and was surrounded by a high picket
fence, with a padlock on the gate. We children
enjoyed the unlocking of that gate, after the daily
morning drive to get vegetables for dinner. Cer-
tainly no better ones were ever produced than those
grown in that fertile, sandy soil. A little further
on were the ducks in the pond near the Ashery, and
the woods close by where grew the wintergreen ber-
ries amid their "glossy, aromatic leaves."
In those days the quotations for "pearl-ash" were
watched as eagerly as other quotations are watched
nowadays, for the market price of that commodity
regulated that of the potash from which it was made.
Father had several teams in use at the Ashery, and
they were kept going night and day. Long before
his time, during the early settlement of the town, "the
manufacture of potash was an important industry,
as was the case in all heavily wooded sections of the
country, and was about the only production of the
settlements that would pay the expense of trans-
portation to market and leave a fair margin in favor
of the producer."
One of our pleasurable jaunts as children was a
drive out to father's farm at Perch River where an
Englishman named John Sharp held sway. But
better than that was a visit to Uncle Anson Hunger-
ford's farm near Burrville, especially in the spring
when they were "sugaring off." The last boiling of
the sap was done at the house, and Aunt Sally always
gave us liberally of the maple syrup and sugar.
Uncle Anson was the father of Cornelia Hunger-
ford, the writer of one of these letters.
Aunt Marietta, already mentioned, married his
brother. She was the daughter of Captain Burr who
gave his name to Burrville, or Burr's Mills. It was
the first settlement in that locality, as the falls there
could be utilized for saw and grist mills — the first
necessities of the pioneer. Later, when the falls and
great water power of Black River could be handled,
Watertown became the centre, and Jabez Foster,
with others, went there about 1807.
The First Presbyterian Church was organized
in Burr's Mills and was removed to Watertown
when the exodus of the settlers from that point took
place. Mention having been made of the stone
church, built in 1820, it is fitting to insert here an
account of the final service held in it. In a letter of
May 15, 1850, Harriette writes: "Last Sunday, Mr.
Brayton preached his last sermon in the old church.
It was a most beautiful discourse from the text,
'Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain
that build it.' (Psalms 127:1.) He gave a very
interesting history of the church, containing a beauti-
ful and deserved tribute to my grandfather. It was
sad, very sad, to say good-bye to the old church with
so many sacred associations connected with it, and
there were many tears shed and many hearts ached
that day. I never realized before how trying it is to
be deprived of a place of worship. We shall meet
for the present in the Second Presbyterian Church,
but the house is not nearly large enough to accommo-
date both congregations. The work of demolition
has been going on very rapidly at our church since
Sunday. The bell was tolled previous to being taken
down ; we shall miss it very much, though I shall not
so much as many others because I have a beautiful
This last paragraph brings vividly to mind an
almost forgotten fact, that is, the original and logi-
cal reason for church bells, and shows that even as
late as 1850 they were more or less a public utility.
It was the custom to ring a bell at nine o'clock in
the morning and again at nine o'clock at night.
Thanksgiving Day was then a state and not a
national affair and with us, as in New England, it
was a day not only of family reunion and feasting but
of religious observance, and it was an invariable cus-
tom to begin the day with going to church. It was
one of the big days of the year — perhaps the big day
— certainly as far as the dinner was concerned. The
variety of edibles was bewildering, as I recall them.
Of course the traditional turkeys, one roasted, the
other stuffed with oysters and boiled, a goose and
several ducks, a chicken pie, all the proper vegetables
and pickles and chicken salad. Then came mince
pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, rice pudding, Indian
pudding, cake, preserves, apples, nuts, raisins, etc.
Dinners were not served in so many courses, nor with
so much china as at present, but if tables ever
"groaned," they did it then. At the period of which
I write our best china was gilt and white — a plain
band of gold. The old blue china, which collectors
now prize, had had its day and been relegated to the
shelves of our kitchen pantry. Cornelia Hungerf ord
has told me that she remembers dinners at our house
numbering forty guests, and I find a still larger
tale in an old letter of mother's, written in the thirties
to her sister. She says : "We had the largest Thanks-
giving dinner ever given among our relatives — we
had sixty in all — the connections on both sides of the
house, and only wanted yours and Gustavus' family
to have made it complete. I had not a little anxiety,
but it went off very well and I was fortunate in my
cooking. It all came upon me and I was never so
completely worn out before. It is, I rather think, the
last one I shall have." But other years brought her
fresh courage and she extended the same hospitality
many, many times again.
One year the dinner was at our house, and the
alternate year at "Cousin Melina Lee's." When
there we children went to Park Street directly after
church, and happy were we if we could find even a
trace of the snow which we felt was due on that day.
We wore little red mittens with white specks, with
which this same dear cousin Melina kept us supplied.
She was one of mother's dearest cousins — more sister
Memory suggests another occasion which to me,
as a child, was more memorable because of the
attending festivities than because of its real import.
It was the first wedding in the family, and took place
February 10, 1853. On that day Harriette was
married to Charles Richardson of Auburn, New
York. Her bridesmaids were her cousin Harriette
Smith (Story) and Kate Lansing (Boyd), and the
ceremony was performed by the Reverend Isaac
Brayton, who, for twenty-seven years, was pastor of
the First Church.
The following account of the event is an extract
from a letter written by Mrs. Robert Lansing. "The
wedding," she says, "passed off very pleasantly,
quite to the satisfaction of all. Bride and bridesmaids
looked well — Harriette, never so well before. It
was a perfect jam! Mr. Brayton performed the
ceremony beautifully. The tables were loaded, —
ten turkeys, ducks, chickens, oysters enough for
another party; the oysters the finest, and the pickled
ones brought already prepared from New York.
"Two tables, one in the wing and one in the din-
ing-room — a centre pyramid on each of macaroons
with spun sugar over them — it looked like spun glass.
Hattie had many handsome gifts, — a splendid pearl
bracelet from the groom, entirely of pearls strung on
hair, several rosettes of them, with a light clasp of
gold. She had a magnificent fan, costing eighteen
dollars, &c, &c. The wedding party was very ex-
pensive, at least two hundred dollars."
I see that Mrs. Lansing was deceived as to those
pyramids as well as I — we children thought we had
sampled everything, but discovered next day that one
was made of cocoanut and we had missed it !
The wedding cake was a wonderful creation —
about thirty inches in diameter. It was baked in four
sections, in specially constructed tins, as it was too
large to be baked whole in any existing oven.
Mother mixed the cake, but it was sent to a confec-
tioner to be baked. He then joined these four parts
and covered it all with frosting. In the centre was a
marvelous structure that resembled a temple, and
something like a fence around the whole cake, and
various ornaments everywhere. It was this same
confectioner, Mr. Ragg, who, upon the day of the
wedding, shut himself up in our kitchen pantry and
spun the sugar over the pyramids mentioned. We
did so want to see how he did it, but our thirst for
knowledge was not gratified, and to this day the pro-
cess is unknown to me.
Mrs. Lansing lived next door in a stone house
built by grandfather Foster after he parted with his
former home. Her daughter, Cornelia, was my play-
mate from babyhood. Together we exploited not
only our own places, but the fascinating pond back
of Mr. Paddock's house (grandfather's old place).
It adjoined her grounds, and we would creep
through a gap in the fence, with fish-hooks made of
bent pins, to try our luck. Needless to say we never
caught anything, and our fear of Mr. Paddock was
wholly an unnecessary one, but our guilty little "con-
sciences made cowards" of us, just the same!
All grounds (or front yards as they were then
called) were enclosed, and it was while I was trying
to walk her front fence with her and T. N. E. that
I received the fall which nearly cost me my life. My
head struck the stone flags which then formed the
sidewalk on Washington Street, and I can see those
two children now as, too young to appreciate the seri-
ousness of the situation, they stood on the fence
above laughing at me, while I staggered towards
home before becoming unconscious — the beginning
of a long and critical illness. (August 1, 1850.)
It seems to me that mother's life must have been
made miserable by the large number of accidents in
which her children indulged. It was a tragic time
when Fred walked in, holding his hand over his fore-
head, and said: "Mother, I am shot." It was the
proverbial "not loaded" gun which did the mischief.
He looked into the barrel and the result followed
naturally. The bullet entered just over the eyebrow
but, providentially glancing upwards, it missed the
In this connection it may not be out of place to
give an account of another accident which befell me
and left a lasting mark. Harriette, in a letter dated
December 22, 1849, writes: "We had a terrible
fright last Tuesday evening (18th) . Mother, Gettie,
Bub, and I were sitting at the tea table; father had
just gone to the store and the boys had not yet come
up. Gettie, thinking the water in her tumbler was
not perfectly clean, got up to empty it on one of the
plants in the window seat and in some way missed her
footing and fell, breaking the tumbler and with the
broken pieces cutting her pretty little chin to the
bone. It was cut from the right corner of the mouth
obliquely to the centre of the chin and just under the
chin was cut both ways. The upper part of the
wound took almost the form of an S and barely
escaped cutting the lip in two. The first impression
was that the whole chin was gone. It did not take
long to get Dr. William (Trowbridge) here. He
did it up very nicely (no stitches) , but was obliged to
lay it entirely open to be sure there was no glass in it.
"The poor little patient thing sat during the whole
of it with her hands folded, perfectly still, willing
that the doctor should do whatever he chose. I think
I never saw mother more frightened, and there were
other pale faces here that night. Gettie has been
prohibited from speaking, smiling, crying, or chew-
ing, and she is able to eat only such food as she can
swallow without masticating. She has found it
rather difficult to keep her little tongue still, but the
wound is healing nicely.
"It will probably scar her for life, but, bad as it
is, we feel that we cannot complain, because it might
have been so much worse. The doctor says, if it had
cut a quarter of an inch farther it would have severed
the facial artery, which might have been difficult to
Faithful Katy Reynolds deserves more than a
passing notice. She came to live with us when Theo-
dore was a baby and remained for eleven years. I
think she received in wages, as did the other house
servants, one dollar per week. Thereafter, Katy was
with us as often as our necessities demanded and her
health permitted. She was a character in her way,
capable in many directions, and could supply a lack
anywhere in the house. She was a natural cook — I
once tried to get a receipt from her and after giving
me her rule she added: "And if I have an egg in the
house, I put it in." Eggs or no eggs, the result was
always good. We were fortunate in having her with
us during mother's last illness. She assisted in the
nursing and prepared her meals, coaxing her failing
appetite as she alone could do; nor was mother un-
mindful of her long service in the making of her
Katy was deformed and not strong and was also
subject to severe headaches, which sometimes made
her very irritable. She always felt it her privilege
to scold us whenever she pleased. Mother was
patient with her, for she appreciated her worth and
devotion to the interests of the family ; she also knew
that if Katy fretted at us, she would allow no one else
to do so. Katy was even inclined to interfere when
mother thought a little discipline advisable, and many
a dainty did she smuggle up to the little boy, who had
been her baby, when he was confined by mother's
edict in an upper room on short rations. When the
punishment took a severer form, that same boy's
little sister's heart was torn, as she stood weeping
outside the door while chastisement was being admin-
istered within — her tears were usually more copious
than his. He would come out and ask: "Do I look
as though I had been crying?" What Katy was
doing at such times I do not remember, but she was
probably raging somewhere !
While mother believed in the application of the
rod and slipper on occasion, no one else, teacher nor
other, was ever permitted to apply them to her chil-
dren. She used to harrow my very soul by tales of
the severe whippings the children of her time received
from their teachers. Upon reaching home, the par-
ents often repeated the punishment which some harsh
teacher had seen fit to inflict. Discipline was not lax
in those days! Mother said she decided then and
there that if children were ever given to her no one
but herself should ever punish them. She begat
in me a lasting hatred of corporal punishment, and
I could not see even her administer it to the little boy
without rebellion and anger, though I dare say he
deserved all she ga^e him! The bare possibility of
its ever being applied to myself roused all the evil in
me, and an unlucky speech of mine, to the effect that
"I should like to see my father strike me one blow;
I'd start my boots to the poorhouse if he did,"
brought upon me no end of teasing questions as to
when I was going, etc.
We used to speculate sometimes upon the number
of offers of marriage mother had had. She would
admit nothing herself but, gleaning from the tales
of others and from circumstantial evidence, we
brought our count up to nineteen ! One man offered
himself to Aunt Elvira first and when refused
begged her "not to tell Eveline," as he was going to
ask her next!
Mother's was a generous nature. She was loyal
and true in her friendships, and the following extract
from a letter from Sumner Stow Ely, dated August
15, 1863, shows that she inspired the same feeling in
others. He writes: "My attachment to your mother
deepened and strengthened from year to year, as
time and opportunity showed me more and more her
disinterested, self-sacrificing spirit, her genuine kind-
heartedness, and her deep and abiding affection. As
long as my memory lasts I shall not forget her
presence in my father's last sickness. To us sister-
less men it was an angel's visit indeed."
I never remember father as a well man, but I
have been told that he was a man of vigorous health
until the fire on Beebee's Island, when the cotton
mills were burned (July 7, 1833). It was a fire of
sufficient magnitude to require the services of all the
men available, and father worked hard and long.
Whether it was due to fatigue, exposure, or the in-
halation of smoke I do not know, but he was never
well from that day and developed a cough which
troubled him always. In a letter of February 24,
1859, mother foreshadows the nature of his last ill-
ness and the end — she writes of his trouble in breath-
ing and of his inability to lie down and of the want
of action in the lungs. He had intervals of apparent
improvement after that, riding out and going to busi-
ness a few times ; then came the long confinement to
the house. Before this, when in his usual health, he
was not in the habit of coming to breakfast; but
about nine o'clock he would go into the pantry, pour
a little wine into a glass, break an egg in it and
swallow it whole. Thus fortified, he would go to his
business, and one of his friends used to say that
"Adriel Ely was the only man he knew who could
lie in bed late in the morning and earn a good living."
He was tall and spare (six feet and one inch), and
had soft, fine, silky hair — the sort one likes to stroke
— and as long as I can remember he wore wide linen
cambric shirt ruffles, with hems rolled and whipped.
Although he came to Watertown when twenty-
three years old, the memory of old Lyme was ever
dear to him, and it was probably the thought of the
Connecticut River shad of his earlier days which
made him like to handle and clean any particularly
fine fish which found its way into our house.
His store was a general gathering-place as well
as headquarters for the various things in which he
was interested — it was an adjunct also of the Ashery.
The weigh-room was an important place, but the
counting-room was where he transacted his business
and where also, in intervals of leisure, many a game
of chess was played.
When father made his trips to New York to pur-
chase goods, he was accustomed to carry the neces-
sary gold in a belt, which he wore under his clothing.
Mother went with him usually in the spring and fall,
and it was more or less of an event to her neighbors,
as well as to herself, for she executed many commis-
sions, and the opening of her big trunk was of inter-
est to them as also to us. She would sometimes bring
back a packing trunk filled with oranges, as they
were not plentiful with us at that time. Bananas
also were a great rarity. Although a purveyor of
good things for others she was a simple eater herself,
and it used to disappoint me to hear that, when at the
St. Nicholas in New York, she would perhaps eat
a bowl of bread and milk or a plain beefsteak (which
she could have any day at home!) and thus neglect
the opportunities which that famous hotel afforded.
Besides the sand-banks garden we had a good-
sized one behind our house for flowers, vegetables,
and small fruits, such as currants, raspberries, and
back-breaking ( !) strawberries. There was an aspara-
gus bed, in the midst of which stood a peach tree
which bore "nothing but leaves," and there were
apple and pear trees and every variety of plum that
I know anything about. Over the large ice-house in
the rear was a trellis where we raised delicious blue
and white grapes. They were troublesome to cover
when frosts threatened but well repaid the care, for
they lasted into the winter, when, with red sealing
wax on the tips of the stems, they were carefully
packed away in cotton in the deep drawers of the
many storerooms and closets in which the house
abounded; the stone partition walls of the house
being thick enough to form small closets or cup-
boards. The large, roomy cellars afforded abundant
space for the winter stock of provisions. Apropos
of cellars is a story told of the youngest boy of the
family who, when a very small child, was missing
one morning. Mother was out of town, but the
search was thorough and prolonged both in and
out of the house. Katy Reynolds upon going into
the cellar, which seemed a most unlikely and unat-
tractive hiding-place, heard a happy little voice call-
ing: "Katy, Katy, come here and see!" Nobody was
in sight but, following the voice, she found the lost
child inside a partially emptied barrel of sugar, into
which he had managed to climb and where he was
quietly enjoying his fill of sugar while the town
was being turned upside down for his recovery.
Mention having been made elsewhere of the ser-
vice of our grandfather, Adriel Ely, in the War of
the Revolution, I may insert a similar notice of our
great-grandfather, Jabez W. Foster, as found in a
list of the Connecticut Fosters :
"Corporal Jabez Foster of Lebanon, Connecti-
cut, was in Captain Tilden's Company at Lexington
Alarm — at Bunker Hill, in Captain Clark's Com-
pany, in Colonel Israel Putnam's Regiment. Cor-
poral of Captain Tilden's Company in 1778."
In the local history of Lebanon it says: "This
company, to get to Bunker Hill, marched ninety-
three miles in three days; arrived in time to fortify
all night before the battle and see the thing through
the next day. To have had an ancestor in the battle
of Bunker Hill is equivalent to a patent of nobility
in this county." Jabez Foster was in the Conti-
nental Army three years after the battle of Bunker
In politics father was an "Old Line, Henry
Clay" Whig. He died two years before the Civil
War, so that he was spared the anguish of that time.
Mother undoubtedly voiced his sentiments in ex-
pressing her own when she wrote the letters from
which the following extracts are taken. November
18, 1860, she writes: "I feel strongly about preserv-
ing the Union and am willing to wait to see if
Lincoln will not make a good President." Again she
says: "I am firmly set against the dissolution of the
Union. Peace, peace should be the desire of all good
citizens." "Should there be a separation of the
states the South would regret it, as the North. It
seems very hard that so much trouble and ruin should
be caused by a few wicked, hot-headed men. God
grant that our Union may be preserved! He can
save it from its enemies." "This subject lies near my
heart and I must speak." "What would my sainted
husband feel, were he living ! He was for preserving
the loved Union."
Again on February 17, 1861, she writes:
"Colonel Sumner is with Lincoln, by invitation, on
his way to Washington and will remain there until
after the fourth of March. I can but hope and pray
that our Union may be preserved. It looks a little
brighter the past few days, still it is dark enough. I
do not know that Lincoln is to blame for being
elected, and he may do better than is expected — we
cannot tell at present. I despise Abolitionists and
like the South, still I think they have acted rashly;
they might at least have waited to see what would
be done. They have had their President for the last
twenty-five years, and they ought to be willing the
North should have one. All I care for is to have our
Union saved and to live in peace."
The war followed quickly after this and separated
her from one she loved.* She died during the war
and knew neither the fate of her son nor of the
Union for whose preservation she had so fervently
I can think of no more fitting close to these
"Recollections of Adriel Ely and Evelina Foster his
Wife" than the wife's tribute to her husband, as I
find it in a letter to one of her sons, written six
months after his death (October 22, 1859). "My
prayer is," she writes, "that you may be successful in
all of your undertakings and that you may, in all
things, be worthy of the name of your blessed father.
All I would ask for my children is that they follow in
his footsteps. He was as nearly perfect as it is pos-
sible for one to be on this earth."
"When I allow myself to think of the dreadful
loss I have sustained I am almost crushed, but I
strive to divert my thoughts by keeping busy, and,
as I am quite well now, I am able to do it."
And so, for the four years that remained before
her "course was finished," this brave woman "fought
a good fight and truly kept the faith."
Watertown, New York, 1910.
Chest and Drawers Brought by Richard Ely
from England to Lyme, Conn., 1660
He came from England prior
He came from England 1638
He came from
B M ss
He came from
He came from England 1634
He came from England 1660
He came from England
prior to 1640
Judge William Ely
Captain Richard Ely
Jabez W. Foster
A Uriel Ely
HaBBIETTE hi' 1 I R
t I'KNifM k Gustavus
1 ,i R1 1" 1,1 'J .r.y „
'I HEO0OBE Newel
Genealogical Chart beginning with the ancestors who came to America.
In the Appendix will be found a few notes relating to some of these
ancestors prior to that time
Much of interest concerning the Ely family,
prior to the coming to America of the Richard Ely
mentioned in this genealogy, may be found in a
book entitled "The Ely Ancestry," published in New
York in the year 1902. The origin of the name, the
traditions, as well as the facts relating to those who
bore it, the coat-of-arms, etc., are treated at con-
siderable length therein.
Richard Ely left his home in Plymouth, Devon-
shire County, England, and came to America in
1660. He resided first in Boston and later settled in
Lyme, Connecticut, which at that time was a part of
Saybrook. Mr. Ely was a widower when he came to
America, his first wife, Joane Phipps, having died
in Plymouth, January 7, 1660. She is supposed to
have been a sister of Constantine John Phipps
(Baron Mulgrave), the great navigator and Com-
missioner of the Admiralty. A younger brother,
Viscount Normandy, was an officer of the British
Army. She had four children, the eldest of whom,
William (afterwards Judge Ely), was in the line
Richard Ely's second wife, Elizabeth Cullick, was
the widow of Captain Cullick, one of the most noted
men in the colony of Connecticut. She was the sister
of Colonel Fenwick, a member of Parliament.
Richard Ely had three thousand acres of land,
including what is now called Ely's Ferry. Later the
town of Lyme set off to his sons, William and
Richard, thirteen hundred acres adjoining their
father's land for three hundred pounds, making an
estate of over four thousand acres in the posses-
sion of the Elys of Lyme. This was spoken of as the
"Great Meadows" or "Ely Meadows."
There are two family relics of peculiar interest
which belonged to Richard Ely — a tankard and a
ring, both bearing the shield exhibiting the fleur-de-
lis. There is also a "chest and drawers of oak, carved
by hand, with ornaments of ebony — of baronial type
and of massive strength." This was a piece of his
household furniture, brought from England in 1660.
The Ely Reunion, held in Lyme, Connecticut, in
July, 1878, brought together about six hundred of
the descendants of the original Elys — among them
some who now bear other names and live, perhaps,
far removed from the New England homes of their
ancestors but are still Ely at heart.
Thomas Olcott of Hartford, Connecticut, an
original proprietor, whose lot in 1640 is exhibited on
the ground plan, with his name written Alcock (often
it appears Alcot), was a merchant who died late in
1654 or early in 1655 — the inventory of his estate
(large for that day) being of date of February 13,
1655. His widow, Abigail, died May 26, 1693, aged
Thomas (son of Thomas and Abigail Olcott) of
Hartford, Connecticut: born perhaps in England:
freeman in 1658. Died in advanced years. His
widow, Mary, died May 3, 1721.
Thomas (son of Thomas and Mary Olcott) of
Hartford, Connecticut: married Sarah Foote of
Hatfield, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of
Nathaniel Foote, the third of this name (born Jan-
uary 10, 1647: died January 12, 1703). Sarah
Foote's mother was Margaret Bliss (born Novem-
ber 12, 1649: died April 3, 1745).
Margaret (daughter of Thomas Olcott and
Sarah Foote) was born April 12, 1705. Married
Captain Richard Ely in 1730.
John Stow of Roxbury, Massachusetts, came in
1634, arriving, says the church record, May 17, in one
of those six ships that came in, as Governor Win-
throp tells, in the week of the General Court's meet-
ing. He brought his wife Elizabeth and six children.
Was a freeman, September 3, 1634. Was repre-
sented at two Courts in 1639. Was described as "an
old Kentish man." His wife died in August, 1638,
and he died October 26, 1643.
Samuel (son of John the first and Elizabeth
) was born in England in 1622. He was
freeman in 1645, while an undergraduate, but had
his degree a few weeks after from Harvard College.
Went to preach at Middletown, Connecticut, about
1653, where no church was gathered for many years.
He seems never to have been ordained but was the
only minister there before 1668 and is referred to
as the "first preacher of the Word" in that place.
He married Hope, daughter of William Fletcher
(spoken of as "one of the Fletchers of Middle-
town"). He died May 8, 1704.
John (son of Samuel Stow and Hope Fletcher)
was born June 16, 1650. He married Mary Wet-
more, November 13, 1668.
Nathaniel (son of John Stow and Mary Wet-
more) was born February 22, 1675. He married
Sarah Sumner, February 11, 1702 or 1703.
Jabez (son of Nathaniel Stow and Sarah Sum-
ner) was born April 13, 1716. He married Annah
Lord. A sea captain of Saybrook, Connecticut.
Sarah (daughter of Jabez Stow and Annah
Lord) was born in Saybrook, Connecticut, in 1754.
Married Adriel Ely. Died in Lyme, Connecticut,
February 17, 1796.
Adriel Ely (son of Adriel Ely and Sarah Stow)
was born in Lyme, Connecticut, February 9, 1791.
Died in Watertown, New York, April 20, 1859.
Reginald Foster was the patriarch of the family
in America. He was descended from an ancient
and respectable family in England and was born
there about 1595. He was of Little Badow, County
Essex, and belonged to the Foster (or Forster) fam-
ily of Bamborough Castle, County Northumberland,
fifteen miles from Alnwick. They were distin-
guished for their exploits against the Scots, men-
tioned in "The Lay of the Last Minstrel." Reginald
married in England and came from that country at
the time so many emigrated to Massachusetts in
1638, and, with his family, was on board one of the
vessels embargoed by King Charles I. He settled at
Ipswich, Massachusetts, with his wife, five sons, and
two daughters. He died there in 1681. The names
of his sons (born in England) were Abraham, Regi-
nald, William, Isaac, and Jacob, ancestors of a
numerous progeny settled in various parts of the
United States. One of his daughters, Mary, (or it
may have been a daughter of his son Isaac) , married
first a Wood and after his death, Francis Peabody.
His other daughter, Sarah, married a Story, ancestor
of Dr. Story and of Judge Story. It is remarked
of this family that they all lived to extreme old age
— all married and all had large families.
Isaac (son of Reginald Foster) was born in
England, 1630. Married May 5, 1658, Mary Jack-
son, daughter of William of Rowley. She died
November 27, 1677, having had twelve children. He
married twice again and had three children by his
last wife. He died in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Feb-
ruary 8, 1692. Isaac Foster was a graduate of
Harvard College in 1671. When a committee of the
town of Charlestown, Massachusetts, was about
selecting a successor to Rev. Thomas Shepard in
1678, the opinions of Rev. John Sherman, Rev.
Increase Mather and Rev. Pres. Oakes were re-
quested as to the "fittest person" for their minister,
and these gentlemen recommended Mr. Foster as
the "fittest and suitablest person" for the place.
While at Charlestown he was admitted freeman in
1679. Soon after he went to Connecticut and
preached in Hartford.
Benjamin (son of Isaac Foster and Mary Jack-
son) was born in Ipswich, Massachusetts, June,
1665, and died there in 1700.
Benjamin (son of Benjamin Foster) was born in
Ipswich, Massachusetts, about 1699, and died in
Scarboro in 1763.
Wooden (son of Benjamin Foster) married
Moses (son of Wooden Foster and Frances
Scott) married Drusilla West. Lived in Ipswich,
Jabez W. (son of Moses Foster and Drusilla
West) of Ipswich, Massachusetts, was born at
Machias, Maine. Married Esther Bliss in 1776.
Jabez (son of Jabez W. Foster and Esther
Bliss) was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, August 1,
1777. He came from Connecticut to New York
State, where he married Hannah Hungerford in
Paris, New York, July 24, 1800. His first son was
born in Westmoreland, New York, in 1801. In 1804
his first daughter was born in Turin, New York, and
about that time he moved to Burrville, New York,
and opened a store. Orville Hungerford (his
brother-in-law) was his clerk. He is said to have
moved to Watertown about June, 1805. His second
daughter was born in Burrville in 1806, so it is
probable that, although he had opened a store in
Watertown, he retained his home in Burrville (five
miles away) until he had completed the house in
Watertown into which he moved about 1808. There
eight more children were born to him. He died in
Monroe, Michigan, December 10, 1847.
Evelina (daughter of Jabez Foster and Hannah
Hungerford) was born in Burrville, New York,
July 1, 1806. She died in Watertown, New York,
August 14, 1863.
Thomas Bliss of Belstone, England, was born
about 1550 and died about 1640. He was a wealthy
land-owner: was a Puritan, persecuted by civil and
religious authorities under Archbishop Laud: im-
poverished, imprisoned, and ruined.
Thomas (son of Thomas Bliss) of Belstone Par-
ish, Devonshire, England — later of Braintree,
Massachusetts, and of Hartford, Connecticut — was
born about 1580. He married Margaret , in
England, about 1612. Owing to religious persecu-
tion he was compelled to leave England and in the
autumn of 1635 left Plymouth, England, for Bos-
John (son of Thomas Bliss and Margaret )
of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, was born in Hart-
ford, Connecticut, about 1640. He married Patience
Burt, in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Nathaniel (son of John Bliss and Patience Burt)
of Springfield, Massachusetts, and of Enfield and
Lebanon, Connecticut, was born in Longmeadow,
Massachusetts, January 26, 1671. He married
Mary Wright in Springfield in 1697 and died in
Henry (son of Nathaniel Bliss and Mary
Wright) was born in Enfield, Connecticut, October
25, 1701. He married Bethiah Spafford of Leb-
anon about 1724 and died in 1761.
Pelatiah (son of Henry Bliss and Bethiah
Spafford) of Lebanon, Connecticut, was born May
6, 1725. He married Hepzibah Goodwin of Leb-
anon June 19, 1744, and died August 31, 1808.
Esther (daughter of Pelatiah Bliss and Hep-
zibah Goodwin) was born December 28, 1755. She
married Jabez W. Foster in 1776.
Jabez (son of Jabez W. Foster and Esther Bliss)
was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, August 1, 1777.
He married Hannah Hungerford in Paris, New
York, July 24, 1800. He died in Monroe, Michigan,
December 10, 1847.
Henry Burt and wife came from England to
Roxbury, Massachusetts. In 1640 he removed to
Springfield, Massachusetts, and was there clerk of
the writs (though record of the birth of his own chil-
dren is not found). He moved to Northampton,
Massachusetts, in 1672: was there through the
famous trial of his sister for witchcraft. Later he
moved to Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and died
April 30, 1702. His wife, Eulalia, died August
29, 1690. A tradition is preserved that she was laid
out for dead in England and put into the coffin. At
her funeral, signs of life appeared and she recovered,
came to New England, settled in Springfield, and
had nineteen children! What degree of credit may
be yielded to this account may well be asked. We
have the names of eleven of her children — three sons
and eight daughters. The daughters all married
(and some of them several times) and had large
families — one of them, Mary, having eight sons and
Patience (fifth daughter of Henry and Eulalia
Burt) married John Bliss of Longmeadow, Massa-
chusetts, in Springfield, October 7, 1677.
The Hungerford name is one of the oldest in
Great Britain. It was taken from the town of Hun-
gerford, Wiltshire, England. The family came over
from Normandy with William the First and fought
with him at the battle of Hastings in October, 1066.
After the Conquest they received large grants of
land from the king.
The Hungerfords are descendants of noble an-
cestors. Sir Thomas Hungerford was Speaker of
the English Commons in 1398. His son and heir,
Sir Walter, was summoned to Parliament as Lord
Hungerford. He fought under Henry V. at Agin-
court, where he took the Duke of Orleans prisoner.
He was Lord High Treasurer under Henry VI.
The family settled in the county of Cork about 1640,
and had various grants of land. He died August 9,
1449, leaving two sons, one of whom, Sir Robert,
succeeded as Lord Hungerford. He was attainted
of treason for his activity in the Lancastrian cause,
March 4, 1466, and beheaded. His son and heir,
the fourth Lord Hungerford, suffered death in the
The above is taken from Collins' Peerage of
England and might be brought down further as
regards the family in England. In this country a
map of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1640 shows a par-
cel of land owned by Thomas Hungerford. Later,
the records of East Haddam show that in 1692 a
grant of land was made to Thomas Hungerford
(supposed to be a son of the above Thomas) in
Machamoodus (now East Haddam) and that in
1704 deeds were executed to him. This is all the
information to be obtained from these records, but
the descendants of the Hungerford family have the
Thomas Hungerford was the first settler of that
name who came from the town of Thetford, England
(eighty miles northeast of London). He was the
father of John, Green, Thomas, and Benjamin.
Benjamin Hungerford was born December 20,
1703, and died February 1, 1792. He married
Jemima Hunger ford, who was born January 17,
1708, and died July 17, 1767. Their children were:
Prudence, Matthew, Jemima, Rachel, Lydia, Ben-
jamin, Stephen, Susannah, Timothy, Jacob, and
Timothy Hunger ford was born in April, 1747,
and died in August, 1827. He married Hannah
Heicox,* who was born in Bristol, Connecticut, in
1749. Their children were Nancy, Hannah, Anson,
Timothy, Lorraine, Dexter, and Orville.
Nancy married Josiah Bradner.
Hannah married Jabez Foster.
Anson married Sally Coe.
Timothy married Mary Richardson.
Lorraine married Daniel Brainard.
Dexter married Marietta Burr.
Orville married Betsey Stanley.
Hannah (daughter of Timothy Hungerford and
Hannah Heicox) was born in Farmington, Con-
necticut, September 13, 1777, and died in Water-
town, New York, October 16, 1826. She married
Jabez Foster in Paris, New York, July 24, 1800, and
was the mother of twelve children.
Their children were: Gustavus Adolphus,
Ambrose Sylvester, Elvira Lorraine, Evelina, Am-
brose Sylvester, Jabez Hamilton, Hannah Jenett,
*The name of Heicox varies in its spelling — is sometimes written Hickocks, or Hickox.
Asa Montgomery, Morris, Frederick, Hannah Jen-
ett, and Harriet.
Evelina (daughter of Jabez Foster and Hannah
Hungerford) was born in Burrville, New York,
July 1, 1806. She married Adriel Ely in Water-
town, New York, December 28, 1826, and died there
August 14, 1863.
WATERTOWN, N. Y., APRIL 28, 1859
DEATH OF ADRIEL ELY
In the name that heads this article the business
men of Northern New York will recognize an old
and estimable friend and acquaintance. For more
than forty years he has been intimately and exten-
sively connected with the business of this county —
and no man in the county has achieved a more
marked success as a business operator.
In every department in which he engaged, in
all the relations of life in which he was called to act,
in the discharge of every duty, in the fulfilment of
every obligation, Mr. Ely was a pattern of imita-
tion for those who would aim to secure success and
leave an honored name. It is not sufficient to say of
him that he lived and died, but that he achieved —
that he was conqueror in life's conflicts — that human
life acquired caste from his having been a component
part — that the world received benefit from his hav-
ing lived and labored in it. Mr. Ely pursued his
business with an ardor equalled only by that with
which he discharged the duties of a christian life —
for his history is not only a record of temporal tri-
umph but of christian faith. Adorned with chris-
tian graces, and clad in the christian armor — he con-
tended manfully for the mastery here and the con-
quest hereafter. Having performed all his duties
faithfully, efficiently, and well, he has entered upon
an everlasting inheritance — where his work is praise,
and his enjoyment, the blessed rest of the ransomed.
We shall not attempt a detailed biography of Mr.
Ely — only a brief note of the leading events of his
life. He was born in Lyme, Connecticut, February
9, 1791 — being the fourth in direct descent from
Richard Ely, the first of the name who emigrated to
this country from Plymouth, England, about the
year 1660. He settled at Lyme where he purchased
large landed estates — a portion of which is still
known as the "Ely Meadows." Adriel Ely, Sen.,
the father of our departed friend, was a farmer —
and the subject of this notice was educated to the
severe toil of a farmer's life — putting his strong
hand to the plow, and breaking up the rude soil of
Connecticut, in the farmer's garb. He was the
youngest, and the last to leave the world, of a family
of five children — Hon. Sumner Ely of Otsego, late
a Senator of this state, and father of Theodore D.
Ely of this place — William S. Ely, who died long
since in Brownville, the father of Newel Ely, of this
place — Horace Ely of Connecticut, father of Rev.
Zabdiel Rogers Ely who married a daughter of the
late Orville Hunger ford and died some years ago
in this village — and a sister, the wife of Erastus
Sterling, who also died in Brownville.
Mr. Ely left Lyme on horseback in 1814, came
to the residence of his brother, Doctor Sumner Ely
of Otsego, and thence to this place. He has since
resided here. He commenced as a clerk in the store
of Olney Pearce — then was partner and afterwards
purchased the interest of Mr. Pearce and continued
the business in his own name. At one period he was
in company with Orville Hungerford, doing busi-
ness under the firm of "Hungerford & Ely," but
for a long period he has been doing business princi-
pally as a merchant in his own individual capacity.
To all improvements of our village and county,
Mr. Ely has contributed with a wise counsel and a
liberal hand. He was one of the early pioneers and
constituted a strong, bright "link in the chain" that
connects the present with the past. He has done as
much as any other one man to bring us up from our
primitive poverty and weakness, to our present con-
dition of wealth and power and prosperity.
In his prime, Mr. Ely was a man of great phys-
ical strength, a ready and comprehensive intellect
and extraordinary force of character — resolute in
purpose, fearless in action, and liberal, independent,
and honorable in all things. It is no disparagement
to any man in this intelligent community to say that
Adriel Ely was his peer. The death of such a man
is a public loss. He died on Wednesday morning
the 20th inst. His funeral was attended on Friday,
at half past one o'clock, by a large concourse of
people from his late residence to the cemetery.
"Brookside," is eminently a fitting place for his last
sleep, for he was one of the early and efficient pro-
jectors of the laudable enterprise of preparing the
new cemetery. His mind and hand have been
engaged from the first, and his great good taste
evinced in laying out and beautifying that final rest-
ing place for the dead.
Mr. Ely leaves a widow — a daughter of the late
Judge Jabez Foster — and five children, three sons
and two daughters.
Death of Adriel Ely, Esq. — At a special
meeting of the Directors of the Jefferson County
Bank, held at their Banking House on the 21st
April, Robert Lansing, Esq., V. P., announced the
death of Mr. Ely, he having been a Director for
36 years, last past, and offered the following resolu-
tions, which were unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That in the death of Adriel Ely, this
Bank has been deprived of a strong friend who, for
many years, has been an efficient member of this
Board and has enjoyed our highest confidence and
Resolved, That, as a manifestation of our esteem
and respect for the deceased, we will attend his
funeral in a body.
Resolved, That a record of these proceedings be
entered upon the minutes and published, and that a
copy be transmitted to the family by the Cashier.
O. V. Brainard, Chairman.
At a meeting of the Trustees of the Brookside
Cemetery, held on the 25th inst., Judge Hubbard in
the Chair — the following resolutions were unani-
Resolved, That the members of the Board of
Trustees of Brookside Association deeply sorrow
for the loss of their presiding officer, Adriel Ely,
Esq., through whose zealous and efficient labors in a
great degree, the Association has attained its present
Resolved, That we tender to the afflicted family
of the deceased our warmest sympathies in their
Resolved, That the Secretary communicate a
copy of the above resolutions to the family of the
deceased and cause a copy of the same to be pub-
lished in the papers of this village.
W. C. Brown, Secretary.
August 14, 1863
In this village Friday evening, the fourteenth August inst.
Mrs. Evelina Foster Ely,
Relict of the late Adriel Ely, Esq., aged fifty-seven years
Mrs. Ely was the second daughter of Judge
Jabez and Hannah Foster, whose history was lately
published in the columns of the Reformer. She was
born in this town and is well remembered by all the
"old inhabitants," who were her contemporaries, all
along through her childhood and youth as well as in
her riper years, on account of that happy combina-
tion of social virtues which constituted her the life
and soul of every circle — whether at the village
school, in the company of the young, in society with
the middle-aged, or, in later times, with the old and
Her name was the synonym of all that is hearty
and exuberant in happy childhood — cheerful in
youth, and genial and matronly in age.
But it is in the sacred precincts of the family
circle, where she was the presiding genius and where
she was best known and appreciated, that her loss
will be most severely felt and where the sympathy of
friends and the consolations of our holy religion are
most needed, for there it was that her characteristic
traits did most culminate.
Watertown, New York.
The Ely Tankard