Jefferson County, NY Pioneers



1. MATTHEW PRESLEY, the son of JOSEPH PRESLEY, was born c1775 and died Apr 25, 1839. Alternative spellings in the records are Presler, Preslar, and Pressley. MATTHEW'S father, JOSEPH PRESLEY, lived in Hoosac, MA, which is now the location of Williamstown. A few families were there in 1750, and it was incorporated into a town in 1765. The town was active during the time of the Indian wars and the Revolutionary War. It was on the route to Bennington and the Champlain Valley from Connecticut and Rhode Island. It was connected with the western route to Albany and the Mohawk Valley. Settlers around Hoosac were former Hessian soldiers who escaped from battles in Bennington.

JOSEPH PRESLEY may have lived in Hoosick Falls, which is about 25 northwest from where Hoosac was. His name appears in the 1800 census for Hoosick, NY.

JOSEPH and his wife, whose name we don't know, had two sons, MATTHEW and ENOS. They came to Ellisburg in 1819. Matthew settled in the southeast corner, close to Sandy Creek and Boyleston. ENOS lived across the Oswego-Jefferson county line in Sandy Creek. MATTHEW was born in 1775 and ENOS about 1778.

MATTHEW was recorded as pathmaster in 1817 in Charlton, Saratoga County NY. (Note: A pathmaster, in colonial and later times, saw to it that folks maintained the roads over and adjacent to their lands, decided what paths/roads went where, and when and which would be abandoned. He was an important person in local government. He usually had a commettee to help on decisions. He was an unpaid civil servant.)

When the arrived in Ellisburg, they had 12 children with them. We know that HIRAM said he was born near Lake Champlain. We don't know the birthplaces of his brothers and sisters.

The route MATTHEW and his family took to get to Ellisburg probably included following the Rome to Sackets Road which was the military road for the War of 1812. Many settlers came by this road and settled in Redfield, Camden, Lorraine and Adams. Some settled along the way in Orwell, Richland, Boyleston and Sandy Creek.

After settling in Ellisburg, they had two more children. We do not know the name of the last child, only that his middle initial was "L." The farm, which was purchased in 1820, was situated north of the Jefferson-Oswego county line and was part of the Pierrepont tract. ABIAR TIFFT'S family must have moved there also, because the TIFFTS had property adjoining it to the south in the town of Sandy Creek.

MATTHEW PRESLEY, who died April 25th or 26th, 1839, is buried on that farm, according to his son HIRAM. The last time neighbors saw his gravestone was in the 1960s. The stone had been broken into three or four large pieces and pushed over the fence. No one has seen it lately. The land is being excavated for sand and gravel. ABIAR died in 1863 and probably is buried in Albion, Orleans County, NY.

Their son, HIRAM, was a civil war soldier. His war record is taken from the "Record of Soldiers and Officers for the Town of Henderson, Jeff. Co., 1865" kept by the Town Clerk.

HIRAM SHERMAN PRESSLEY, of Henderson, private. Born 6 Nov 1819 Chaddon?, N.Y. Married. Father: Matthew Presley, farmer. Mother, Abi Presley. He took part in the battle in front of Petersburgh, 19 June 1864. He was wounded Picket 21 June 1864."

The cover of the July 2003 issue of the JCNYGS newsletter, Informer has a picture of HIRAM and his wife POLLY relaxing with their pipes. They were the parents of 13 children, 10 of whom predeceased them. They lived to the ages of 96 and 94 and died in November of 1914 within a week of each other. They were a well known couple in Henderson for many years, being affectionatelh referred to as "Uncle" HIRAM and "Aunt" Polly.

MATTHEW married c1796

ABIAR TIFFT, who was the daughter of JOHN TIFFT of the town of Tinmouth, Rutland, VT.


2          i           LYDIA PRESLEY b Oct 24 1797; m LUDLOW HILL.

   3          ii          JANE PRESLEY, b Apr 26, 1799, m JOHN A. DUNLAP.

   4          iii          EASTHER PRESLEY, b Dec 7, 1800

   5          iv           WESSY PRESLEY, b Dec 7, 1800

   6          v           THOMAS PRESLEY, b Nov 21, 1801

   7          vi           JOSEPH PRESLEY, b June 8, 1804; m CHARLOTTE HOLENBACK

   8          vii           JOHN PRESLEY b June 14, 1806; m SARAH ANN JOHNSON

       9          viii          MATTHEW PRESLEY b August 26, 1808; d October 27 1890; m ASENATH HOLLIS, December 30, 1830, b July 20, 1806

10          ix          WILLLIAM PRESLEY, b February 23, 1811; m ELINOR JOHNSON

11          x           AMANDA PRESLEY, B March 11, 1813, m JEREMIAH TAYLOR


13          xii         HIRAM PRESLEY, b November 18; d November 1817, m MARY "POLLY" SHEAR 

14        xiii           BETSEY PRESLEY, b June 17, 1824

15          x           UNKNOWN L. PRESLEY, b May 23, 1828

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