January 1991

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Harpending's Corners


Edwin N. Harris

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Levi Price and Sarah Clark

In the 1990 January issue of The Crooked Lake Review I made a brief mention of my great-great grandfather, Levi Price (1777-1840). Perhaps you would like to read a bit more about Levi. Floyd Price (1860-1941) for many years a mail carrier in Dundee, New York, and a descendant of Levi, passed down this account.

Levi Price spent his early life as a sailor on the Hudson River and the coasting trade. In or near the year 1800 he went to the place where the city of Buffalo now stands, and assisted in building a large, for those days, sailing vessel for General Porter whose home was then in Canandaigua. The vessel was sent up the lines of the lakes loaded with military stores for the small military and trading posts, going as far as Chicago and being the first sailing vessel that ever reached that port. Mr. Price was first mate.

He afterward came to Appletown, on the east side of Seneca Lake, near Ovid, in the year 1803. There he formed the acquaintance of Miss Sarah Clark whom he married November 1, 1805. They lived near Ovid until 1811, when they removed to the town of Wayne, now the town of Tyrone. They bought a farm on the Pre-Emption Road from Sam Harpending and his wife for $700, and then sold it in 1818 and bought another farm where they lived until 1836. Twelve of their thirteen children grew up and married.

Sarah had made the trip to the Finger Lakes Country in 1802 at the age of fourteen, traveling with her parents James and Elizabeth Clark, and most of her ten brothers and sisters. It took them fifteen days just to get from Orange County to Owego, New York.

Sarah's older sister Elizabeth had made the trip in 1799 with her husband Timothy Green. They came to the east side of Seneca Lake with a team of horses. About a year later, John Green, father of Timothy, made the trip on horseback to see if the children were still alive and well. They were, and sent father back to Orange County with a supply of white flour biscuits, and a glowing description of the lake country. Of course, everyone was eager to be the next to move there.

So in 1802 James Clark loaded the ox cart he had made himself, and started his whole family on the trip, all walking, except for the two youngest. Some occasionally rode a short distance on the family mare that was hitched on ahead to help the oxen up the hills. Often they all had to help support the wagon on one side to keep it from tipping over as it crawled over tree roots in the forests. Timothy Green learned they were on the way and set out to meet them at Owego with his team of horses. They had traveled fifteen days and were mighty glad to see him, especially the girls who could now ride. Eventually they arrived to settle one mile north of present day Willard at the site of the old Indian town known to General Sullivan's men as Appletown for the many apple trees they destroyed as they burned out the village.

The girls all found husbands and the boys took wives. Some accounts seem to imply that Levi Price accompanied the Clark's from Goshen, Orange County, but it is not clear, to me at least.

© 1991, Edwin N. Harris
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