Friday, January 08, 2010

In the spring of 1819

The following is a letter written about the times of 1819. William Foy's sister was Ruth Foy Thorpe. Her granddaughter, Selia A. Turner wrote:

"In the spring of 1819, Sara Foy, a widow with five sons; William, Benjamin, David, Jonathan and Samuel and two daughter, Ruth and Maribee, left Lyndon, Vermont to go to Napoli, Cattaraugus County, in western New York state. See page 28a.

It was wilderness area and the Holland Land Company advertised the fertility of the soil, valuable timber, mild climate and the absence of hostile Indians. The journey was made by ox team and sled and with as many of their household necessities as could be carried, leaving small space for the mother and daughters on the journey.

The sons guided the oxen and the family cow was tied to the sled, and their flock of sheep driven on the same trail. Roads were impassable and swamps were crossed on beds of logs and many a swollen stream was forded. At night they would find shelter with a family along the way where they would spread their blankets on the floor of the log house.

But Grandmother said the slow progress of the ox team gave time for the younger children to play and pick spring flowers.

The family settled in Napoli, joining three families from Vermont who had moved there the year before. They paid about 20 shillings an acre for land, which was about 42 cents an acre.

They built a log house, cleared land and raised crops for food. The nearest grist mill was 12 miles away. Their first problem was to keep the bears and wolves from killing their sheep. The kept a constant watch day and night till the home was built. The sheep were then kept in the house at night until a pen was made which would keep predators out."

Transcribed by Brian Sanders, Jan 8, 2010. Source: Foy family documents, page 28. Owner: Richard Sorensen.

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