THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


   TOBIAS DEITZ, a prosperous and substantial farmer of the town of Sullivan, was born in Albany County, New York, December 21, 1806. His father was John B. Deitz, born in Albany County, a son of a German settler. John B. Deitz married Barbary Warner, of Albany County; and they became the parents of a family of nine sons and four daughters. Of these they reared all but two sons, our subject being the seventh child and fifth son. He has one brother and one sister now living, namely: Paul, a farmer of Albany County, now about eighty years of age; and Barbary A., wife of Robert Ball, of the same place. The mother of these children died when sixty-five years of age; and her husband twenty years later, at the age of eighty-four. They were fairly well-to-do, and left a good property at their death.
   The boyhood of Tobias Deitz was spent on his father's farm. He received a limited education, learning to read, write, and cipher, and at the age of twenty left home, and went to Cayuga County, where he worked out on a farm for very low wages, receiving at first but three dollars per month, and afterward ten. The first hundred dollars he saved he put out at interest. He voted for General Jackson for President, and in the winter succeeding the election went to Washington, D.C., being one of a large party that drove there with teams to work on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, the long train of teams exciting much curiosity on the part of the people along the route, who called them "Yanks." They refused to take in exchange for commodities some paper money issued by New York banks, of which Mr. Deitz had a supply. In 1837 he was married at Adams, Jefferson County, to Mariette Hitchcock, the ceremony being performed by a Justice of the Peace.
   After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Deitz farmed for A. P. Downer on a piece of land comprising four hundred acres; working for him several years, and moving to the town of Sullivan in 1843, where he purchased eighty acres near his present home for twenty-seven dollars per acre. Most of this land was cleared, but the buildings were of poor quality. It proved a good farm, and yielded well; but at that time the prices of farm produce were low. Hay brought but four dollars per ton at Chittenango, and Mr. Deitz drew cheese to Canastota for four cents a pound. Oats were seventy-five cents per bushel before the panic of 1837, and after that fell to fifteen and wages that had been from seventy-five cents to one dollar per day dropped to thirty-seven cents. Mr. Deitz sold his first farm of eighty acres about the year 1848, and bought a tract of land of one hundred and seven acres for ten dollars per acre. From this the timber had been removed, but the land was not cleared. His present farm, worth two hundred dollars per acre, formed part of a tract that was submerged much of the time up to 1853. About 1855 or 1856 the "Big Ditch" was started by Governors Seymour and Hutchison, and cut from Oneida Lake, a distance of one and one-half miles. A great part of the way through solid rock. Mr. Deitz was one of the prime movers in this enterprise. He paid eight hundred and sixty dollars on the original work, and it cost him two thousand dollars more to get connection with it. The outlay was more than repaid, however, by the great increase in the value of his land, owing to the thorough system of drainage thus effected.
   During his active life as an agriculturist Mr. Deitz has cleared over one thousand acres of timber land, thus nobly contributing his share toward the development of his native State and country. In 1860 he, with two partners, Messrs. Bates and French, bought two hundred acres of woodland for the sake of the timber, paying therefor thirty-five dollars per acre. After the land was cleared our subject purchased the sole rights for ten dollars an acre. He has done general farming most of his life, and, although starting with nothing, has by means of indomitable energy and untiring application acquired an easy competence, the value of his property at the present time being estimated at about twenty-five thousand dollars. His honesty and business ability having always been recognized by those among whom his lot has been cast, he has been able to obtain almost unlimited credit, at one time owing over eight thousand dollars. In addition to his general farming, he now owns a flock of fifty Cotswold sheep, from a single member of which he has taken at one time as many as fifteen pounds of wool.
   In 1883 Mr. Deitz had the misfortune to lose his faithful wife, who died on August 10 of that year, at the age of sixty-five. She had borne him four children, two of whom died in infancy. The others were: Charlotte, wife of Frank Doolittle, of Canastota; and Allen T., who owns the one-hundred-and-seven-acre farm, which his father deeded to him in 1889. He married Hattie A. Warner, daughter of the late Theron Warner. They have six children, five sons and one daughter, namely: Harry H., a young man of twenty-one, at home on the farm; Allen W., eighteen years old; Frank T., sixteen: Mariette, a bright, intelligent young lady of fourteen; Milford Warner, a lively, growing boy of three; and Leon, a babe in arms. The Deitz family is one of great longevity, as the following facts taken from the old family Bible of John B. Deitz will sufficiently attest: Adam Deitz, eighty-seven years; Jacob, died at ninety years of age; Tobias of this notice, now well into his eighty-seventh year; Paul, eighty-two; Zachariah, died in 1889, aged seventy-six; Eva, died at eighty-five; and Anna B., now seventy-six. The family sustained a great loss in the death, on Apri1 27, 1884, of a grandson of our subject, Charles A. Deitz, a most promising youth of fifteen years.
   Allen T. Deitz, only son of Tobias, served as a soldier in the War of the Rebellion. In the fall of 1861, at nineteen years of age, his birth having occurred March 6, 1842, he enlisted in the One Hundred and First New York Infantry as a private in Company C, and was afterward transferred to Company H, One Hundred and First New York Volunteers, and later was in the One Hundred and Sixteenth Company Veteran Reserve Corps. He served three years and eleven months in all, and, being wounded in the arm and side, was confined for some time to the hospital, barely escaping with his life. During his stay in the hospital he was visited by his father, who did not recognize him, so greatly had he changed. His wife before her marriage was a teacher. Her father, Theron Warner, died at Homer, Cortland County, in October, 1890, at the age of sixty. He was a farmer and hop-grower, and left a family of five daughters and one son, the latter Frank Warner, of Moravia. The Warner family were from Connecticut.
   No better illustration of the pluck and sterling qualities of the old pioneers--those hardy men who, turning their backs upon the comforts and luxuries of civilized life, went boldly forth, axe in hand, into the desert wastes, rescued Nature from her primitive savagery, and made the wilderness to blossom like the rose--can be found than is presented in the life of Mr. Deitz, the subject of this brief biography. He can now look back with satisfaction, knowing that the comfort and ease which he enjoys in his declining years are largely and principally the result of his own industry and foresight, and that his example is one worthy of emulation by his children and children's children. Mr. Deitz has long been a sincere and earnest member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and for thirty years a Republican in political faith. He has the good will of all in his community, and is justly regarded as one of the most worthy and substantial citizens of Madison County.

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