Jefferson County, NY Pioneers



1. JOHN STANLEY was the patriarch of the extended family that left Vermont in the early to mid 1790's. John, his wife Sarah, and six of their nine children made the journey from Vermont to Augusta, Oneida County New York. John's sister Elizabeth Stanley, her husband John Smiley and their rather large family, made the pioneering trip as well. The families stayed in Augusta for about five years. During that time another son, David, was born to Elizabeth and John Smiley. John Stanley's son Daniel married Rebecca Taylor in 1799 and sometime around 1800 John's Stanley's daughter Susannah married Jonathan Smiley, the oldest son of Elizabeth and John Smiley. Attracted by the stories of the "Eldorado" of Northern New York the families made plans to purchase land in Jefferson County.

In June of 1800 JOHN STANLEY purchased 136 acres of land in Rutland and settled there, as did his son JEDEDIAH, and his daughter SUSANNAH with her husband JONATHAN SMILEY. At the same time John Stanley was purchasing land in Rutland, William Huse Stevens purchased 81 acres of land directly adjacent to John Stanley. William had married Rachel Bixby and they had two children, a son Asa and a daughter Anna. The two neighbors, John's youngest son Asa and William's daughter Anna, would marry in 1808. JOHN STANLEYdied in late 1809 in Rutland.


He married,
SARAH (---)



3        ii     JEDEDIAH STANLEY

4        iii     

5        iv      

6        v     



9      viii      AMY STANLEY m JOEL WEBB in 1807

10        ix     ASA STANLEY


2. ELEANOR STANLEY, the daughter of JOHN A. STANLEY and SARAH (---), and her husband SHEREBIAH FAY may have been the first to leave Vermont, as it has been reported that in the winter of 1792-93 they left Reading, Vermont by sled, drawn by a single yoke of oxen. They went "west" to the Mohawk Valley and the town of Litchfield, a few miles south of Herkimer, New York. The family remained here for three years and then moved to Augusta, Oneida County, New York. Here Sherebiah and Eleanor met with the other Stanley families; John Stanley, Jedediah Stanley, and John Smiley.

She married about 1786 at Reading, Windsor County, Vermont
SHEREBIAH FAYwho was born 1758 at Westborough, Worcester County, MA. He died March, 1839 in town of Watertown, N.Y.

Soon after the close of the Revolutionary War, in company with his brothers, he moved to the state of Vermont and settled at Reading. In the winter of 1792-93 he moved his family by a sled drawn by a single yoke of oxen to the "west" in the Mohawk Valley in the town of Litchfield, a few miles south of Herkimer, N.Y. He remained here for three years and then settled at Augusta, Oneida County. Hearing of the "Eldorado of Northern New York", Fay and his brother-in-law, Daniel Stanley, in 1801 came in and bought 100 acres of land. In 1800 Sherebiah Fay and his brother-in-law Daniel Stanley purchased 100 acres of land in Watertown. Here they built their log cabins in the forest on the northwest side of the north branch of Sandy Creek. Their families came in 1801 and the two families settled there for many years to come. Sherebiah died in 1839 and is buried in Brookside Cemetery in Watertown.

11        i     SALLY FAY

12        ii     HENRY FAY

13        iii     JOHN FAY

14        iv     NANCY FAY

15        v     DANIEL FAY

16        vi     CHAUNCEY FAY

17        vii     REBECCA FAY

18        viii     JULIA FAY

7. DANIEL STANLEY was the son of JOHN A. STANLEY and SARAH (---).

DANIEL STANLEY and REBECCA TAYLOR had two children, Sally and Harriet, but Rebecca died quite young in 1805. In 1809 Daniel married ESTER SCOTT and they had eight children; John M., Rebecca A., Viola O., Fayette, Alexander D., Orestres M., Rollin S., and Ellen A., who died as a young girl. Daniel died in 1864 and Ester died in 1868 both are buried in the Smithville Cemetery in Henderson. Daniel's descendents stayed in Jefferson County for several generations and many of them are buried in the Smithville Cemetery in Henderson.

He married (1)


19       i     SALLY STANLEY

20       ii     HARRIET STANLEY

He married 1809 (2)
ESTER SCOTT who died in 1868.


  21       i     JOHN M. STANLEY

  22       ii     REBECCA A. STANLEY

  23       iii     VIOLA O. STANLEY

  24       iv     FAYETTE STANLEY

  25       v     ALEXANDER D. STANLEY

  26       vi     ORESTES M. STANLEY

  27       vii     ROLLIN S. STANLEY

  28       viii     ELLEN A. STANLEY


She married
JONATHAN SMILEY, the oldest son of ELIZABETH and JOHN SMILEY. They had had eleven children, Eunice, Amy, Sarah, James, Nancy Ethel, John, Polly, Eliza, David and Abigail. Jonathan Smiley died May 31, 1821 and is buried in the South Rutland Cemetery.

Jonathan and Susannah Smiley had eleven children, Eunice, Amy, Sarah, James, Nancy Ethel, John, Polly, Eliza, David and Abigail.


29      i     EUNICE SMILEY

30      ii     AMY SMILEY

31      iii     SARAH SMILEY

32      iv     JAMES SMILEY

33      v     NANCY SMILEY

34       vi     ETHEL SMILEY

35       vii     JOHN SMILEY

36       viii     POLLY SMILEY

37       ix     ELIZA SMILEY

38       x     DAVID SMILEY

39       xi     ABIGAIL SMILEY

9. AMY STANLEY m JOEL WEBB in 1807. She died in 1855. Both Amy and Joel, and their thee children, are buried in the South Rutland Cemetery, Rutland

She married in 1807
JOEL WEBB who died in 1853

Children of AMY STANLEY and JOEL WEBB:

  40       i     ARNOLD WEBB

  41       ii     STANLEY WEBB

  42       iii     WILLIAM WEBB

10. ASA STANLEY was the son of JOHN A. STANLEY and SARAH (---). He died in Sandusky Co., Ohio, 13 Aug 1841 at the age of 54.

Asa and Anna stayed in Rutland until the mid 1830s during which time they had ten children, Diana, Diantha, Alzina, William, John, Channcy, Jonathan, Josiah, Elizabeth and Converse. John and Jonathan would die while young in Rutland. Alzina married Ira Brown and they had six children in Rutland. Ira died in 1861 and Alzina died in 1874 both are buried in the South Rutland Cemetery, Rutland.

In the mid 1830's Asa and Anna moved their family of seven children to Sandusky County, Ohio, to what an observer of the time said could only be described as a "howling wildness". It turned out to be a fortuitous move as a few years after arriving Asa and three of the couple's remaining seven children died, Channcy age 20, Elizabeth age 12, and Converse age 8. Asa died on August 13, 1841, at the age of 54. The two older girls Diana, who had married John Levisee, and Diantha were out on their own and managed to escape whatever illness must have fallen upon the family. Anna and her two sons William and Josiah managed to survive whatever plagued the family. Shortly thereafter, Anna returned to Jefferson County where she died in Adams in 1873.

The two surviving boys, William and Josiah, both became Doctors. Josiah attended and graduated from Rush Medical School in Chicago and went to Wisconsin to practice medicine. However, he died there a year or so later, perhaps his health had been compromised.

ASA married in 1808



  44       ii     DIANTHA STANLEY

  45       iii     ALZINA STANLEY m IRA BROWN; d 1874

  46       iv     WILLIAM HUSE STANLEY

  47       v     JOHN STANLEY d young in Rutland

  48       vi     CHANNCY STANLEY d at age 20

  49       vii     JONATHAN STANLEY d young in Rutland

  50       viii     JOSIAH STANLEY

  51       ix     ELIZABETH STANLEY d at age 12

  52       x     CONVERSE STANLEY d at age 8

46. WILLIAM HUSE STANLEY, named for his maternal grandfather, William Huse Stevens, was born near Adams Post Office, in Jefferson County, on July 8, 1817. He grew up in Rutland and in his late teens moved with his family to Ohio. William studied medicine and surgery at and graduated from Willoughby College near Cleveland. Shortly after he graduated Willoughby College merged with Cleveland University and a year or so later Cleveland University merged with Case Western Reserve University.

He married in 1841

(William's son John Aiken Stanley wrote the following about his father.) He practiced medicine for several years at Tiffin, Ohio. Then stories of the discovery of gold in California stirred his spirit of adventure and he abandoned his silk hat, long tailed coat and gold headed cane (standard dress in those days for a physicians) to become a "49'er". He proceeded to Independence, Missouri where caravans were being formed for the hard and dangerous trip to California. He was to be the doctor for a group comprising about 100 individuals, with covered wagons, horses, mules and oxen. Some members had no mounts whatever, simply planning to "hoof it" which is what many finally had to do before reaching their destination. From time to time they had to fight off attacks by hostile groups of Indians who did not care so much for the scalps of the whites as they did the live stock and food supplies of the wagon train. Disease also took its toll from among them and they were a forlorn, depleted and dilapidated crew that four months later reached Coloma, on Sutter's Creek, California. There he put up a frame building of two stories, having a drug store in the lower part and his medical office and "home" up stairs. He also "grubb-staked" many a gold prospector with varying degrees of success. Finally he was stricken with typhoid fever and nearly died. Upon recovery he decided to return to the "states" and thought he would do it in an easier way than he came - by sail boat around Cape Horn - which to his dismay, he found to be almost as hard as the cross-country route. On his ultimate safe arrival in New York he cashed in a goodly sum in gold dust and nuggets.

He resumed his medical practice in Tiffin, Ohio and remained there for about nine years, when new frontiers were opening in Wisconsin, which had just been admitted to statehood. Pioneering was still in his blood and in 1859 he arrived in West Salem, La Crosse County - silk hat, long tailed coat, gold-headed cane and all. Soon after his arrival he divorced Tabitha, who had remained in Ohio, and married Angelina Aiken of Scothish-Irish descent, she having been born in Pennsylvania and came to Wisconsin with her parents. Angelina contracted tuberculosis and died within a year of their marriage. William then married Angelina's sister Rebecca.

William practiced medicine frequently without hope of being paid for his services, (or more likely in the form of farm produce, a quarter of beef, or a neatly dressed freshly slaughtered young pig, a common practice in those days). Moreover, at that time it was quite a chore for either the patient to get to the doctor or for the doctor to get to the patient - it involved a trip by horse and buggy. The home was the hospital and the operating table was frequently the dining-room table. After about ten years in Wisconsin (1869) the pioneering spirit again moved Dr Stanley. There was much talk about Iowa and he made a trip there which resulted in his investing in prairie lands in Cerro Gordo and Hancock Counties. Upon his return preparations were made to move the family to the Hawkeye state. The family at this time consisted of father and mother and five small children (Angela, John, Fannie, Will and the baby Anna). Dr. Stanley bought a big draft team, a covered wagon, and other equipment necessary for making the overland trip. Father and mother (with baby Anna in arms) proceeded with the horse team and buggy, followed by the hired man and his wife with the other children in the covered wagon. While the total distance was not far, possibly two hundred miles, the going in the springtime, April or May, was not so good for the low places were boggy, some streams swollen, and withal it must have been a trying experience so far as the elder folks were concerned but exciting for the children, over those vast, treeless prairies, endless to view, sparsely settled, towns far apart - way out into that mysterious "nowhere". Highways were mere trails - ungraded dirt, with seldom a bridge. Finally after possibly a week of travel we came into a timbered area, in severe contrast to the bare open prairies. The narrow road led down to the banks of a beautiful body of water. And there we were at our next home to be - Clear Lake, Iowa.

No railroads had yet penetrated that region, although one had been started from the east but no one yet knew for certain the exact route to be followed. In buying his land father of course had to guess where the railroad might be built and also where the location of the county seat town might be. He decided to take a chance and build a hotel to accommodate the arriving settlers, which was the first substantial building in the area. Upon completion of the hotel , father leased it to an experienced hotel man and the town of Concord was thus started, progressing nicely until one year later when the railroad was built into the area, but missed hopeful Concord by about a mile, the town of Garner being then established by the railroad company, and Concord was abandoned. The land that father owned thus became only a farm. Our family then settled at Clear Lake, father building a fine home located a few hundred yards from the lake, on an acre or more of land, gently sloping to the water's edge, in the mist of beautiful trees. Five childhood years were passed there. Father had aquired a tract of prairie land two miles south of the town of Clear Lake, not far from the lake, near the outlet stream and adjoining the rather heavy timber that fringed the east side of the lake. The hired man was set to breaking sod and this farm in the making was developed into one of the most desirable farms in the lovely Clear Lake vicinity. It was upon "May Day" 1872, when father as the first Mayor of Clear Lake proclaimed it a holiday and urged each youth to plant a tree in the city park.

A residence at Clear Lake of about five years did not wean mother from the love of her old home, friends and relatives in Wisconsin. Therefore in 1874 the family- which had been increased by the arrival of another daughter, Ella - moved back to West Salem, where father resumed his medical practice.

In the spring of 1878 father's longing for pioneering overpowered him again. There was extensive publicity about Dakota Territory which railroads were penetrating and new settlers were going. Father, mother's brother David Aiken, and a few friends traveled from West Salem, Wisconsin to the Dakota Territory near the town of Gary, at that time the end of the Winona and St. Peter (now C. & N. W.) railroad. Duel county was established about that time and Gary was made the county seat. Father purchased 320 acres from Captain H. H. Herrick along the Lac Qui Parle creek on the railroad line. The homestead was about two miles from the town site. The Winona & St. Peter railroad was the first railroad to extend into the central region of the Dakota Territory. After spending a couple of months in Gary getting settled, he returned to Wisconsin to arrange for removing the family. After making the arrangements he returned to Gary. Latter, in September 1878 the family; mother, five daughters including baby Mayme who was born earlier that year, and sons John and Will, with all the family belongings, household goods, two horses, a cow, lumber and other necessities for establishing a home in the western frontier took the west bound passenger train headed for the Dakota Territory. A 16 X 24 house, two stories high with a kitchen addition was built besides a small stable, and the Stanleys established their homestead residence in Dakota Territory in April, 1879. (end of John Stanley's story) One more son James Garfield was born March 4, 1881.

Following his sons John and Will's move to the Black Hills in the spring of 1886, William moved his family one last time from Gary to Hot Springs in 1887. The family at this time consisted of William and Rebecca and their children Anna, Fannie, Ella Mayme and James.

William was not that busy with his medical practice as there were several Doctors in town, so in his spare time he studied law by reading on his own. He passed the Bar Exam and became Judge of the Probate Court. William contracted pneumonia and died in Hot Springs on February 7, 1891. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Hot Springs, South Dakota


  52       i      JOHN AIKEN STANLEY

  53       ii      WILLIAM B. STANLEY born June 30, 1843

  54       ii      ANGELA STANLEY

  55       ii      FANNIE STANLEY

  56       ii      ANNA STANLEY

  57       ii      ELLA STANLEY

  58       ii      MAYME STANLEY born 1878

  59       ii      JAMES GARFIELD STANLEY born 4 March1881

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