Bio's of Men from Sterling, NY
From: History of Cayuga County, New York
By: Elliot G. Storke, Assisted by: Jos H. Smith
Published by: D. Mason & Co.,
Syracuse, New York, 1879
JAMES HUNTER was born in Ireland in 1796. His early youth was passed on his father's farm, where he acquired the habits of industry that marked his subsequent life. His educational advantages were somewhat limited, but being attentive and studious he obtained a good common education. Ambitious to acquire a competency he left his native land at the age of nineteen and sailed for America. He found a home in Baltimore, Md., where he learned the stone-cutter's trade. He advanced rapidly in his business and became ere long foreman for a prominent firm. In 1826 he married Miss Isabella Crockett. This union resulted happily, and to them were born five children, four of whom are living. In 1838 he came with his family to Sterling, where he purchased a farm on lot No. 8. There he spent the balance of his life and died November 4th, 1851. He was an honest and useful member of society, and his children and friends still cherish his memory. His wife still survives him at the good old age of eighty years.
JOHN HUNTER is the oldest child of the late James Hunter and was born in Baltimore,
Md., in the year 1828. In 1830, he came with his father to Sterling, where, during his youth, he was employed through
the summer months, while his winters were passed in the district schools in a faithful effort to obtain an education.
He was not permitted after the age of 18 to continue his studies in school.
THOMAS HUNTER, the fourth child of James Hunter, was born in Baltimore, Maryland,
the iith of September, 1834. He came to Cayuga with his parents in 1838, and lived at home with them until after
his father's death. He attended the district school winters till the age of twelve years, and from that time to
the age of nineteen his attendance at school amounted to ninety-three days. In 1852 Mr. Hunter went to Virginia
and worked on the Manassas Gap Railroad for his brother John, who was a contractor on that line, for one dollar
a day. In the fall of 1853 he returned to Sterling and attended school during the winter and went back to Virginia
in spring of 1854. He remained there till June, 1857, when he again returned to Sterling, and, in connection with
his brother John, bought the grist and saw-mill at Sterling Valley. He took charge of and run the mills till Sept.,
1860, when he went back to Virginia, where he remained until the war broke out in 1861, working for his uncle,
who was a contractor on the Manassas Gap Railroad. Hostilities put a stop to further work on that road and Mr.
Hunter, like many other northern men, was virtually a prisoner during the first few weeks of the war. He was called
by the rebel authorities before the court to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States of America.
He obeyed the summons, but declined to take the oath. He was also enrolled in the State militia and ordered to
muster, which he refused to do. On the morning of the 8th of August he started for the Potomac river with a view
to escaping through the rebel lines, and in the vicinity of Lovettsville, Virginia, he was so fortunate as to meet
Captain T. J. Kennedy, of Auburn, N. Y., in command of a detachment of the 19th N. Y. Volunteers, which was raised
in Cayuga County. Mr. Hunter reached Sterling with seven and a half dollars and the clothes on his back, which
comprised his earthly possessions. From that time he dates his start in life. After about one year's rest in Sterling
he enlisted as a private in the 110th N. Y. Volunteers, company "F," the 7th day of August, 1862. He
was commissioned 2d lieutenant the 10th of September, 1862, and promoted to captain the 19th of April, 1864. In
1864 his regiment was ordered to garrison Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas, and Captain Hunter was detached and sent
to St. Vincent Island, Florida. While there he organized a regiment of Union refugees and deserters from the rebel
army, which was known as the 2d Florida cavalry.
WILLIAM IRWIN, father of Sophia Jewett, James C. Irwin, George B. Irwin, Esther
E. and Minnie E. Irwin, was born in Washington county, March 3dm 1799. He came to the town of Sterling in 1816.
He took up sixty acres of land on lot No. 3. He was married in 1833 to Betsey Irwin, who was also a native of Washington
county, where she was born in 1812. She came to this county in the year of her marriage.
Among the large land owners and prominent agriculturists of the town of Sterling.
Mr. Irwin occupies a conspicuous place. His father, James G. Irwin, was born in Washington county, in 1790. In
the year 1817, he moved to the county of Oswego, and settled on one hundred acres of Government laud, on lot No.
30, in Oswego town.
HUGH DUGAN, son of John and Margaret Dugan, was born in Ireland in 1841. He came
to this country with his parents in 1849. The family settled in Sterling, where the father died in 1863.
JOHN IRELAND, a native of the State of Pennsylvania, was born in 1793, and came to Sterling, Cayuga County, in 1814. He died in 1868. His wife, Polly Rasmussen, was born in Genesee county, in 1796, and came to this town about the year 1815. They were married in 1816, and have had six children, four boys and two girls, William, Andrew, John. Joseph, Catharine and Margaret Jane. Mrs. Ireland is still living, wonderfully active for one of her years.
PETER VAN PETTEN was born in Washington county in 1797. He came to this County in 1824 and settled on lot No. 34, in the town of Sterling. In 1820 he married Miss Catherine Myers, a native of Albany county, where she was born in 1803. Eleven children were born to them, nine of whom are still living. Mrs. VanPetten died November 3d, 1877. Mr. Van Petten is still living with his son George.
JACOB VAN PETTEN is the oldest child of Nicholas N. and Mary A. Van Petten. His
father was a native of New York State and was born June 3d, 1800. He came to the town of Sterling in
The town of Sterling can boast of few, if any, farms so well improved as Lake
View farm. Those who knew the place twenty-one years ago would not recognize it to-day. It has changed from a neglected,
dilapidated place to, perhaps, the model farm of the town. Its present owner, John Upcraft, Esq., was born in Norfolk
county, England, in 1830. He was the third child of Henry Upcraft. He came with his father to this country in 1840,
and located in the city of Oswego, where for three years he was employed by the late F. T. Carrington and Myron
Pardee. He left their employ and was a lumberman for the next three years. Then for a long period (18 years) he
was engaged in mercantile business and farming, for Fitzhugh and Littlejohn.
RALPH HEWETT, a native of Northhumberland county, England, was born October 16th,
1800, and came to Cayuga County in 1823. He settled on lot No. 8 in the town of Sterling. Mr. Hewett was married
four times, as follows :- His first wife was Mary Scott, who died in 1834; the second was Rebecca McCoy, who died
in 1844; the third, Jane McCoy, who died in 1846; his present wife, Lydia Redfield, was born in Connecticut, in
1800. Mr. Hewett is a highly respected citizen of this town, and is passing the evening of his days with his son,
THOMAS ANDREWS, father of John and Joseph Andrews, of this town, was born in Ireland, in 1786, and died in 1862. He emigrated to this country and settled on lot No. 13, in Sterling, in i8o6. His wife, Jane, was born in Ireland, in 1801. They weremarried in 1818. They were the parents of four children, three of whom are living. Mrs. Andrews is still living with her son John.
WILLIAM COOPER was born in Ireland in 1777.
CORNELIUS ACKERSON was born in Rockland Co., N. Y., in 1756. He was a soldier of the Revolutionary war, in which he served seven years, three months and eight days, with the rank of Lieutenant. He was on two occasions taken prisoner by the English. At the close of the war, for his valuable services, the government granted him five hundred acres of land situated in the present town of Sterling, on which he moved with his family in 1815. After an eventful life he died in 1845. Many of his descendants are residents of this town.
JOHN SCOTT, father of Mr. Henry Scott, of this town, was born in Northumberland
county, England, in 1775. He was by trade a carpenter and joiner. He came to America in 1811; settled in Sterling,
Cayuga County, in 1814; and died in 1860. The day after the battle of Oswego, which occurred in 1815, Mr. Scott
visited the battle field and assisted in the burial of the dead. His second wife was Hannah Spottswood, who was
born in Northumberland county in 1768, and came with her husband to this County, where she diedin 1853. By this
marriage there were three children. His first wife, by whom he had four children, died in England.
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