Standing proudly on Main Street in Penn Yan is the anchor building of the Yates County History Center, the Oliver House Museum, one of three buildings comprising the YCHC. The Center, formerly Yates County Genealogical & Historical Society, is one of the oldest in NYS, has been actively collecting, preserving and interpreting history since 1860. Continue reading about us...

Open Tuesday - Friday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
  Facebook   Instagram   Twitter     YouTube   Vimeo  

Divider Visit Us
Oliver House Museum
L. Caroline Underwood Museum
Scherer Carriage House Museum
Divider Exhibits
Events Calendar
Digital Resources
Divider Genealogy & Historic Research
Becoming a Member
Book Store
Article Archive
Divider About Us
Site Map

Lodowick Disbrow

Lodowick Disbrow was a native of Carmel, Putnam County, N.Y. where he grew to manhood. soon after he became of age, he left his early home without means and with his scanty wardrobe packed in an old style knapsack, and slung upon his back, made his way to the lake country, then comparatively a wilderness, and brought up in Wayne, Steuben Co. in what was afterwards called Barrington, where a few families from his native town had made a settlement, which was called for many years Sunderlin Hollow, near where the Crystal springs now sends up its healing water. Here he worked for the settlers, his old neighbors, making his home with the late Mr. John Wright, paying for his board when not employed laboring for others.

This was in 1812, and he became almost determined to leave the wilderness, and go back to the place of his birth, and with this idea in mind, he went to the house of Mr. Daniel Sunderlin Sr. and told them his feelings on the subject. They spoke discouragingly of his project, and finally he told one of the daughters if she would marry him, so he could have a home of his own, he would stay. After a little, she consented to the arrangement, when they went to near where the Wayne Hotel now stands and were married. The lady was Elizabeth Sunderlin, who was two year his senior. The next thing in order was to provide a home, and means for housekeeping. When he came in the country, he had brought in his pack a small quantity of tow yarn, designing to have it woven and using it to replenish his wardrobe when necessary. His wife, who was a weaver, made this into a piece of cloth, out of which she made a "straw tick," while he made a bedstead of round poles from the forest, and filling their tick with straw, and using bedding furnished by the bride's mother, they soon had a bed. They could not purchase cooking utensils, but were able to borrow of their friends, and thus began the world in married life.

They commenced on the farm later occupied by Mr. H.N. Townsend, for which he obtained what was dominated an article. But as the country was at war with Great Britain, he was drafted in 1814, and this so disarranged his affairs, though fearing he could not make his payments, he sold his possession and took an article for 100 acres, now occupied by Mr. George Stanton. Upon this he labored for eight years before he could say it is paid for. He used to raise wheat, thresh it with a flail, draw it to Bradford Hollow (then Jersey) and sell it for 32 cents per bushel to pay for his farm. Bradford was then the market for all this region. Wheat was stored there and run down Mud Creek, then down the Cohocton, down the Tioga, (now Chemung) then down the Susquehanna to Baltimore for a market.

While struggling to pay for his home, he was clearing and subduing his farm, and thus acquired the means for adding to it, and in 1835 was the owner of nearly 300 acres. In or about 1840 he purchased a farm in Starkey for his oldest son, for which he paid $1,000 and then as his other sons come of age, divided his home farm with them, but retained the first 100 acres till a few years since, when he sold it to Mr. Stanton, and purchased of his son, Ira S. fifty acres which he had given him and upon this he closed his long and useful life.

He and his wife were the parents of six children, four sons and two daughters who grew up to maturity and married, one of each are now dead. The wife of his youth died in 1862, after a long and painful illness, and left him alone upon the farm they had reclaimed from the wilderness, and here he remained hiring a housekeeper and continuing his farming operations. After trying this some two years, he found it too expensive to suite his ideas of economy, when he married Mrs. Stanton widow of the late Mr. Julius Stanton, Sen., with whom and an adopted daughter of hers, he spent the last few years of his life, enjoying a competency, and often visited by his descendants, and in enjoyment of good health so as to take oversight of his business till last winter, when he was very sick and all supposed his life would close, but his iron constitution rallied, and when warm weather came, he was able to visit our village, where we have often met him, though by no means what he was formerly. He continued to see to his business matters, and kept about till the 16th when he began to complain of feeling unwell and on the 17th took of his bed where he remained till his sun went down. He said it was his last sickness, and with all his faculties clear, his mind unclouded, and his manly spirit undismayed, he continued to sink until the taper of life flickered, and went out for time.

Mr. Disbrow was the oldest settler of his town, and we think the oldest man with one exception, and in his whole career, after becoming a citizen here, was honored and respected by all his associates. He never used tobacco in any form, never drank whisky or any of its adjuncts, never indulged in profanity, was a lover of order and sobriety, and was once Supervisor of his town, though office was never coveted by him.

Died in Barrington, N.Y. on the morning of the 21st inst. of Cholera Morbus, Mr. Lodowick Disbrow, aged eighty-four years.

Open Tuesday - Friday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
107 Chapel Street, Penn Yan, NY 14527
Phone 315.536.7318 | Fax 315.536.0976
Email YCHC | Email Webmaster
Sunday, November 26, 2023 | Copyright © 2023

A community museum where every story matters!

NYS History Trip Advisor