Decatur, New York

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The Town of Decatur is located on the eastern border of Otsego County, New York, United States. As of the 2000 U.S. census, the town had a population of 410. It is named for naval hero Stephen Decatur.



Early settlers began arriving in the 1790, settling at the present Decatur village.

Decatur was formed from part of the Town of Worcester in 1808. Its surface is hilly, broken by narrow valleys. The principal streams are Oak and Parker creeks tributary to the Schenevus. The first settlement was made in 1790 by Jacob Kinney near the present village of Decatur. The first merchant in the village was Nahum Thompson, who was member of the assembly in 1844. The first supervisor was David Tripp, and the first town clerk was Lemuel Fletcher.

The first school was taught by Samuel Turber about the year 1798.

The first grist mill was erected by John Champion, the grandfather of S.B. Champion, editor of the Stamford Mirror. James Stewart built the first carding mill.

Jacob Brown and his son Jacob came from Columbia county in 1787. Nathan and Gardner Boorn were early settler. Amos, a son of Gardner, was supervisor for six years. The brothers Elisha, John and Samuel Waterman, came from Norwich, Connecticut, soon after the Revolution. From Elisha was descended the late Lewi Edson Waterman, the inventor of the "Waterman Ideal Fountain Pen." Mr. Waterman was born in decatur in the year 1837, and died in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1900.

Other pioneer settlers were John Treat, Charles Treat, Charles Kaple, Orra Ferris, Amos Crippen, Rober Lansing, Chelsea and Lorenzo Dow Davis and Andrew Sloan.

Notable residents

Lewis Edson Waterman, fountain pen inventor, was born in Decatur in 1837.

Jacob BROWN was a pioneer. He came from Columbia county, in 1797, and located on land now owned by B. R. Brown, a grandson. Jacob Brown, Jr., came in with his father, and remained on the old homestead until his death, which occurred in 1877. Five children are still living, viz., Henry, Barzilla, Sandford, Lucy M., and Harriet, the wife of L.E. PRESTON; all, save Henry, are residents of the town.

THOMPSON - The first merchant in the present village was Nahum THOMPSON, a prominent pioneer, and the first tavern- keeper. He was a member of assembly in 1844. A son, Julius R. Thompson, is a practicing attorney in the village of Schenevus. Another son, Nahum B., resides on the old homestead, and a daughter is the wife of Josiah EARL, and resides in Worcester.

SHELLAND - One of the earliest settlers was J. YOUNGS, who located on lands now owned by Elisha SHELLAND, a son-in-law. Mr. Shelland, was born in Montgomery county, in 1811, and has been a resident of the town half a century. His son, James E. Shelland, was supervisor of the town in 1877.

Nathan and Gardner BOORN were early settlers. Isaac, a son of Nathan, now resides in the town. He was born in this county in 1802. Amos Boorn, a son of Gardner, was a prominent citizen, and officiated as supervisor six years, and town clerk eleven years.

One of the oldest native residents of the town is Chelsea DAVIS, who was born in 1811, only three years after the organization of Decatur. Mr. Davis now resides on lands originally settled by David TRIPP, who was the first supervisor of the town, and, with the exception of one year, represented Decatur in the board of supervisors for fifteen consecutive years. L. D. Davis also ranks among the oldest native residents of the county, having been born in 1816. He is a present justice of the peace. --

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