Five Chimneys

Out of the Dust

By Bob Betz

(Madison County, NY – March 2011) During the Antique Week at Bouckville, a lady gave me a copy of a letter she had obtained. It contained information about a district in Madison County called ‘Five Chimneys.’

I and Mary Griff, who has the letter, would like to find out more about the people and the area. If you are familiar with anything in the letter, we would like to hear from you.

Mrs. Charles M. Ruggles

466 Elizabeth Street

Oneida, New York

February 3, 1938

My dear Miss McElroy,

So eager to share the first settler honors with the Warrens, that my kith and kin were omitted from the list. Before filing away the plan and accompanying article add this to it please as a more complete account. Upon a search of records and deeds at Wampsville this week, we found that a very few of those hill deeds were recorded. Probably the distance to Morrisville and almost impassible roads, other than by horseback, made it difficult in the spring months, and time slipped by. It is referred to as the West Hill Tract, New Stockbridge, and laid out by members beginning at north end and probably from Five Chimney House, as No. 12 was on the east side of the hill. In the 1840’s and 1850’s the owners were in rotation south either side of the road. Patrick Bulger and his son James. Harvey Miller (married Caroline Bulger), Nathaniel Adams farm on the brow of hill bought in 1834, built the house and moved his family from Five Chimney Corners. He died of sunstroke July 11, 1834 and the farm was sold to his brother Alanson who married Harriet Adams. Would like to trace still farther.

Later found this. Alanson Alexander was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire 1817. His father, Johnathan Alexander, born in the same town July 24, 1776. His grandfather James was bon on the ocean during the voyage of his parents – when coming to America in 1728. They had to pay for one more passenger when they arrived in Boston. They moved from Scotland to Ireland at the time of the Reformation. When Alanson was 20 mos. old his family came to Five Chimneys in two covered wagons or carts drawn by oxen. His mother walked up the hill to a new log cabin home on the brow of the hill carrying Alanson in her arms. There were three barns beside the log house. Later the father built a frame house, now owned by Fred Green. The Davidsons came from Windham, N. Hamp. in a covered cart with all their goods, landing at Five Chimneys settling nearby.

Next, south-east side James Cowing and David Thompson 1843. Later Cowing sold to Thompson, who built his house and died. David Thompson married Nancy Kilts. In 1866 Mrs. Thompson sold it to Patrick Boylan, still in that family (1937). Next, south-west side was Alanson Alexander. Next, south-west side was Jedethun Green and son David. Hosea Foster who married Cornelia Car Skaden. David Sloan whose daughter married David Green; then, Eli Thompson “an old Scotchman who sat by the fire-place and took snuff, wore a knitted scotch cap (like toboggan)” is all Dewitt Skaden remembers of him. John Car Skaden 1841 moved from Durhamville – farm still in the Skaden name. Next, north side John and Thomas Gregg – Nelson Potter and son Orren, who married Mary Austin of Peterboro. Jeremiah Hoffman was there in 1847. The school house, no record of deed or building can be found to give a date. The cemetery was bought from Abner Warren in 1847 after a neighborhood meeting in the school house. Abner Warren farm on the east side. Job Coe on the west side of road. Had a son, Renselear Coe who had three sons—Alasco, Hiram and Jay (married_________Hodges). John Foster of Siloam – Amos Bridge east side, Alexander McGregor west side. Andrew Bulger 1854. Andrew Adams 1848 (who married Mary C. Skaden). Frank Holdridge married Elvesta Lamb whose mother was Sarah Adams. William Dodge who married Achea_________. Wellington C. Skaden married Jane Bells, a teacher. Monroe Dodge married Mary Bridge, daughter of Amos Bridge (Monroe was son of William). Andrew Bulger married ________Miller 1853 daughter of Harvey. Caroline Miller married Emmett Moon.

The school district took in part of the next road parallel on east, one family of James Walters on the corner. John Foster married Zoe Davidson (first wife). One son Edward, married Electra Porter and one son married _________Park. John Foster married second wife Linda Nash of Stockbridge, a spiritualist. Edmund Adams son of Nathaniel married Almira Davidson.

If you have information concerning anything in the letter, contact me at or Mary Griff, 6061 Peterboro Road, Oneida, N.Y. 13421.

Bob Betz is an independent amateur historian who has volunteered for the past two years in Madison County Archives in the Clerk’s Office. While working there three days a week, Betz has recaptured stories of Madison County’s past ‘out of the dust.’ His columns are taken directly from the county’s historic documents and written in the vernacular of the era.

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