THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


   ALBERT A. STODDARD, an influential, well-to-do citizen of Georgetown, was born in Otselic, Chenango County, March 9, 1828. William Patterson's genealogy of the Stoddard family in America, to which we are indebted for the following particulars, shows him to be a descendant, in the eighth generation, of John Stoddard, the emigrant ancestor, who is known to have been a large land-holder in Wethersfield, Conn., as early as 1639. This is the line: John Stoddard (1st) married in 1642 Mary Foote, a daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth (Demming) Foote. He died in 1664. John Stoddard (2d), son of John (1st), born in Wethersfield, Conn., April 12, 1636, died in 1703 or 1704, married Elizabeth Curtis. John Stoddard (3d), son of the last-named, born February 22, 1674 or 1675, married November 19, 1696, Sarah Camp, a native of Hartford, Conn., daughter of John and Mary (Sanford) Camp. Moses, son of John Stoddard (3d), was born in Wethersfield, Conn., March 20, 1700 or 1701. He was one of the petitioners for the incorporation of Newington as a separate ecclesiastical society. His marriage in Hartford, May 18, 1732, with Ruth Goodwin, is recorded in Litchfield, Conn., whither he went as a pioneer, and where he was a Deacon in the church and a Captain in the militia. He died September 2, 1777. Aaron, son of Moses was born in Litchfield, July 15, 1739. He served in the Revolutionary War, was captured by the British, and died a prisoner. A sketch of his life is contained in Kilbourn's History of Litchfield.
   David Stoddard, son of Aaron and grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born in Litchfield, Conn., November 15, 1773. In 1803, a few years after his marriage, he came to New York, bringing his wife and children, with household goods and other movables, in a farm-wagon drawn by oxen, and was the second settler in what is now included in Otselic, then a part of the town of German. Buying an extensive tract of land mostly covered with a heavy growth of timber, he built a house of rough logs in this sylvan solitude, and set to work, with sinewy muscles and a stout heart, to clear and cultivate the land. After many toilsome years he removed to Groton, and there passed the remainder of his life. His first wife, Dorcas Kent before marriage, was a daughter of Seth and Lois (Blodgett) Kent. She died on the home farm, having reared four children--Aaron, David, Harman, and John.
   Harman Stoddard, father of Albert A., having been born in Litchfield, Conn., June 27, 1797, was six years old when he was brought to the new home in Chenango County, where he grew to manhood, doing brave work in the task of making a farm out of the wooded wilds. Standing timber having then no market value, it was customary in clearing the land to roll the logs together and burn them. Carefully saving the ashes and extracting from them by some simple process the alkali known as black salt, which met with a ready sale, they had one sure source of income well before the land could be made to yield any surplus produce. In due course of time, coming into possession of a part of the paternal acres, he built thereon a superior log house of hewn timber. Taking to himself a wife, he made this his home till his death, in May, 1873, when he left to his heirs one of the best improved farms in the county. He married Harriet Maria Brown, daughter of Miner and Clarissa (Hayes) Brown, who was born in Stephentown, Rensselaer County, N.Y. She died in 1888. The eight children of Mr. and Mrs. Harman Stoddard were Albert A., Clarissa Maria, Cordelia, Sarah, Mary L., Noyes W., Elvira M., and Dever.
   While Albert A. Stoddard as a boy did not shirk his share of the labor on the home farm, he made the best of his opportunities for acquiring an education, attending the district school in his younger years, and later a select school for more advanced studies. His progress was such that at the age of seventeen he was qualified to teach. Being a youth of energy and decision, he started forth to seek a situation in a neighboring district. The trustees to whom he applied inquired what salary he expected. He answered, "Ten dollars a month and board," thinking that a sufficiently low price. Refusing their offer of nine dollars a month, he went on to the next district. With the intention of coming down a little if need be, he here asked for fifteen dollars a month and board. Two of the trustees were willing to pay thirteen dollars, in case the third, who was not present, should agree. The applicant was not one to stand still and wait on an uncertainty. He passed on to another district, and engaged himself for eleven dollars a month. Here he had the rich and varied experience of "boarding 'round." With money earned in teaching he paid his expenses for several terms at DeRuyter Institute and Norwich Academy. At the time of his marriage he worked at farming, and kept a public house in Otselic. At length purchasing a part of his grandfather's farm, he devoted himself, with his accustomed energy, intelligence, and skill, to agriculture, in various branches of which he was successfully engaged until 1870, when he removed to his present home in Georgetown. In 1851 he married Julia A. Hare, a native of Georgetown, daughter of William P. and Betsey (Bartlett) Hare. Their only child, J. Floyd, is now engaged in mercantile business in Georgetown. He married Nettie Whitmore, and has two children, Lonnelle and Winnifred Marie.
   In politics Mr. Stoddard has always been a Democrat, and faithful to the principles of the party as he interprets them. He cast his first Presidential vote for Franklin Pierce, in 1852. He was a strong Union man during the late war. The accompanying lines, evidently struck off at a white heat, show his ardent patriotism, his loyalty to the principles of freedom, his intense abhorrence of the high crime of treason:--
                OTSELIC, JUNE 10, 1861.
Our flag is insulted by traitorous kindred.
  Our proud constellation is rended in twain:
Our banner divided by madmen now misled
  Shall yet be united in triumph again.

We fight for our country, our nation, our honor:
  We strike but for Union, our freedom and laws.
Our country--the eyes of the world are upon her;
  We'll strike in our strength, for just is our cause.

That banner shall yet blaze in its full glory.
  O'er each rebel city America bears;
And traitors shall tremble while reading the story,
  The just execration their foul treason wears.

Let freedom proclaim to the world that her minions
  Are countless as the leaves of the forest, all told:
And Union, though scouted, still holds her dominions
  And bids mad defiance to treason so bold.

For each traitorous neck we have woven a halter,
  We'll hang them as high as Haman of old;
While our fortunes, our lives, our all, on the altar
  Of Union, we pledge from the depths of the soul.

   Mr. Stoddard has ably filled various offices of public trust. He served as Supervisor in Otselic in 1860 and 1861, and represented Georgetown two years as a member of the Madison County Board of Supervisors. He has also served a number of years as Town Superintendent of Schools and as Justice of the Peace, being first elected to the last-named office in 1873. He was also Notary Public for ten years. He was Postmaster from 1884 to 1888. In 1866 he joined the Masonic fraternity, and was a prime mover in the organization of Georgetown Lodge, No. 726, and was erected its first Master.
   The portrait of Mr. Stoddard, which accompanies this article, shows him as he is, a man of strong and resolute character and firm disposition, but, withal, of a kindly heart. He and his amiable wife are never so happy as when enjoying the society of their two little grandchildren, whose bright and interesting personalities have made them favorites with all who know them; and among the happy American homes of Madison County may well be classed that of Mr. and Mrs. Stoddard.

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