January 1995

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Early Settlers

of Bradford, New York

contributed by

Shirley DeCamp Malloy

From the chapter on Bradford, New York, in Clayton's 1879 History of Steuben County, New York. The Michael Scott in the story below is Mrs. Malloy's great-great-great-grandfather on her father's side and her great-great-great-great-grandfather on her mother's side. Michael Scott married Sarah Rowles and their daughter Nancy married Henry Yawger [Younger in Clayton's text]. Mrs. Malloy descends from their daughter Mary Jane who married Henry DeCamp, and from their son Phillip Yawger who married Lucrita Morse.

Thomas Rowles came from the State of Maryland in the year 1805, and settled in the town of Bradford, on the farm on the corner about one mile southeast of the village of Bradford. By hard work he soon erected a house and made an opening in the heavy timber and finally saw his farm cleared up. His children were Thomas Rowles, who died in the town of Bradford, David, Sally, Mercy, Amy, and Mary. Michael Scott came from Maryland in 1805, and settled the first farm southwest of that settled by Thomas Rowles, with his wife and two children, Thomas and Mary. He was one of the first blacksmiths in town. He experienced the life common to the pioneer in an unsettled country, surrounded by wild beasts and Indians. Bears were often seen, and on one occasion chased his hogs to his house.

At one time Mr. Scott having gone from home, and his wife being then dead his little children were left alone, and the Indians came and took possession of his house. They turned three horses into a lot near the barn, and scattered hay taken from the barn over the lot for their horses. During the night Mr. Scott's cattle hooked one of the horses, and it died the next morning. When Mr. Scott returned, in company with Thomas Corbitt, he found his home in possession of the redskins, and was soon told of their loss. As the dusky savages gathered around a blazing fire on his hearthstone, they earnestly said to him, "You pay all." Mr. Scott told them, "No, I am not to blame; you are more to blame yourselves than I am. You came here and took possession of my house and barn when my little children were alone, and you will have to stand it yourselves; you are more able to lose it than I am to pay for it."

The Indians laid the case before Squire Bartles, who told them they claimed more than $50, and he could not entertain the case, and referred them to Samuel S. Haight, of Bath. They went to Mr. Haight, and while he was making out the papers Mr. Corbitt entered and gave the counselor the history of the case as he saw it and legal proceedings were stopped. The Indians afterwards frequently visited Mr. Scott, and their relations were always friendly. His children were Thomas, who now lives on the same farm; Samuel, who went to Michigan; Michael, who also went West; Mary, who married Levi Miller; Jane, who married for her first husband Thomas Sanford, and again married Joseph Tichner; and Nancy, who married Henry Younger.


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