AN ACCOUNT OF THE
Descendants of Thomas Orton
WINDSOR, CONNECTICUT, 1641
(PRINCIPALLY IN THE MALE LINE)
EDWARD ORTON, LL. D.
Professor of Geology in Ohio State University
State Geologist of Ohio
Press Of Nitschke Brothers
DESCENDANTS OF CAPT. SAMUEL ORTON OF LITCHFIELD
FOURTH GENERATION OF ORTONS IN THE LINE OF SAMUEL.
Of the migration of Captain Samuel, youngest son of John, from Farmington to Woodbury, in 1718, and from Woodbury to Litchfield in 1720, of his purchase and occupation of a large tract of land at the south end of Bantam Lake, of the home that he built there, of his marriage to Abigail, daughter of Gideon Smedley, and of the family that was born to him on Orton Hill, I have already written. I am now to trace the history and fortunes of his five sons. Reference to Table IV. will make plain many of the details of the present chapter.
Samuel, Jr. (1724-1810) was born on Orton Hill, inherited the northern and older part of his father's farm, and lived on it eighty-six years, dying there March 31, 1810. The land that he occupied has been since divided among several neighboring farmers. Bradford Rood owned a part at one time, and James Morgan is a more recent owner of another
part. To the old residents of Litchfield, the location of the farm will be best described as opposite to William Ray's. Samuel married Ruth, daughter of Joseph Mason, of Hartford. She died November 10, 1798. The late Mrs. Ruth Cowles, of Morris, the best, by far, of the recent authorities on the local history of the town, wrote me a few years since that she remembered Mrs. Orton well; that she was a woman of beautiful character and gracious ways, and that she was beloved by all who knew her. Fifteen children were born to them:
Levi, November 6, 1750-May 1, 1776.
Abigail, April 19, 1752-May 6, 1771.
Gideon, August 26, 1753-September 9, 1753.
Gideon, July 14, 1754-September 29, 1778.
Huldah, April 9, 1758.
Samuel, December 27, 1759.
Miranda, April 16, 1761.
Esther, August 22, 1762.
John, March 24, 1764.
Araunah, December 17, 1765-June 21, 1766.
Damaris, July 15, 1767.
Abigail, March 26, 1771.
Miles, March 21, 1774-1814.
Olive, May 12, 1777-September 14, 1778.
Hezekiah (1727), the second son, took another part of his father's land. He settled on the hill southwest of Orton Hill. His farm afterwards passed out of the hands of his family and came to be known as the Whittlesey farm. Part
of is now occupied as the infirmary farm of the township. Hezekiah built a frame dwelling on his farm, and a small portion of the original structure is said, by Mrs. Cowles, to be included in the buildings that are still standing here. It is perhaps the oldest dwelling in Morris.
Hezekiah married Anna Sedgwick in 1745, and nine children were born to them here:
Hezekiah, Jr., September, 1745-May 25, 1770. Williamstown, New York.
Eliada, May 29, 1748. Parish, New York.
Sedgwick, August 11, 1750.
Anne, December 1, 1752.
Eleanor, July 28, 1756.
Azariah, September 25, 1757. Williamstown, New York.
Darius, May 18, 1760. Williamstown, New York.
Rhoda, May 21, 1763.
Olive, March 17, 1765
A large number of Ortons of the present day trace their descent to Hezekiah.
Azariah (1729-1774), third son of Captain Samuel, removed from Litchfield to Tyringham, Massachusetts, where, as will be remembered, a colony of Ortons was already established. He married Mary Davis (1738-1831), and three sons and seven daughters were born to them. One of the most distinguished branches of the family is derived from this stock. From the fact that the younger sons left Litchfield for a newer country, it would appear that the farm of
Captain Samuel had been divided between the two older sons, above named. The three sons of Azariah are named below:
Azariah, Jr., 1767-1854. M. Abigail (Polly) Jackson
Darius, 1770-1838. M. Vashti Jackson.
Lemuel, the fifth son (1735-1787), lived in Litchfield. He married Mary Lurvey. To Lemuel and Mary Orton ten children were born:
Lemuel, Jr., March 5, 1761-September 29, 1832. Worthington, Ohio.
Mary, January 11, 1762.
Gideon, December 31, 1768-July 12, 1846. Eden, New York.
Sarah, December 14, 1765. M. Jonathan Mason, Jr.
John, December 4, 1770.
William, June 22, 1772.
Anne, January 20, 1776.
Ruanna, March 22, 1779.
Marianne, March 3, 1784. M. Loudon Webster.
Lieutenant John, youngest son of Captain Samuel, removed in his twentieth year to Sharon, establishing himself there in 1764. He bought a farm, located on Mill Brook, one and a half miles south of the center of the town, and which had been formerly owned by John Davis. His farm
has remained in the hands of his descendants almost to our own day. It is now in the possession of Mr. George R. Woodward. The site of the log house which Lieutenant John built and occupied, can still be identified. But at a later date he erected a frame dwelling hearer the highway, which was replaced, in its turn, by the present farm house, which was built by Joseph Orton seventy-five years ago. The last house is but a few feet distant from the frame dwelling built by Lieutenant John. The farm, on its eastern border, abuts against Ellsworth Mountain, along the foot of which is a beautiful stream, Mill Brook, which flows to the southward. The site of the present house is on hill of drift clay and gravel, seventy-five feet above the valley. The place can be further identified as adjoining, on its northern boundary, the fine property of Dr. Deming.
Lieutenant John married Remember, daughter of Deacon Joseph and Mrs. Sarah Landers, of Sharon, and several children were born to them in the old log house in the valley. The probate date of his marriage is 1765-7. The oldest child that we know was born in 1768. I have the names of four sons, two of whom died in early life:
One mile beyond the old Orton homestead, to the west and south, is an old and somewhat neglected burying ground, in which several members of the family were laid. The Orton and Landers families were buried on adjacent lots in the central portion of the ground. The gravestones, ornamented after the fashion of a hundred years ago, have retained part of their inscriptions in fairly legible condition,
but cannot hold them distinctly for many more decades. Both Lieutenant John and his wife died before their time, Mrs. Orton in the forty-third year of her age and her husband in his forty-first year. On his tombstone the inscription reads as follows: "In memory of Lieutenant John Orton, who departed this life April 9, 1785, aged forty-one years." Below the name the following verse was cut in the stone, but it will scarcely be legible much longer:
"In prime of life he yields his breath,
While weeping friends lament his death;
But death must yield, his dust restore,
Where friends shall meet, but weep no more."
The stone that marks Mrs. Orton's grave is thus inscribed: "Sacred to the memory of Mrs. Remember Orton, consort of Mr. John Orton, and daughter of Deacon and Mrs. Sarah Landers, who died May 18, 1779".
Two smaller stones mark the graves of Calvin and Augustus, who died in the fourth and fifth years of their lives, respectively. The inscriptions are alike, with the exception of their names. They read as follows: "Sacred to the memory of _____ , son of Lieutenant John and Mrs. Remember Orton." The dates connected with the inscriptions are not free from uncertainty.
Lieutenant John's name does not appear in the military records of Connecticut, but it is well known that there are many cases of honorable Revolutionary service that never found record. The war broke out when John Orton was about thirty years of age, and all the men of Western New England of that age and under, were, at one time or another, in the service of the country. The inscriptions on the gravestones, repeated three times, renders it probably, in my judgement, that John was a Revolutionary soldier. The title,
"lieutenant", would scarcely have been given just after the close of the war unless it stood for actual service.
It is a pleasure to me to believe that John Orton was in the Revolutionary Army, because he was the only son of Captain Samuel that was fairly due there. Samuel, the oldest son, was, at the breaking out of the war, fifty-two years old; Hezekiah, was forty-nine; Azariah, forty-seven, and Lemuel, forty-five years old. As I will show in the succeeding section, one or more sons from each of these families were engaged in the military service of the country in the war.
Of Jemima, the only daughter of Captain Samuel, we only know that she was born in 1740, and that she married Captain Archibald, McNeil, Jr. No more desirable family connection than this was open to the most ambitious young woman of Litchfield in 1760.
FIFTH GENERATION OF ORTONS IN THE LINE OF
SAMUEL OF LITCHFIELD.
For the sake of convenience, in tracing the several lines of descent, the names of the fifth generation have been already given in connection with the records of their parents, of the fourth generation. The five sons of Captain Samuel, whose records I have been able to trace, left, or rather had born to them, in the fifth generation, at least forty-two children, of whom one-half, twenty-one were sons.
The large family of Samuel, oldest son of Captain Samuel, comes first in review. Of his fifteen children, eight were sons, but only six of them reached man's estate, and two of
these died early. These were Levi (1750-1776) and Gideon (1754-1778). Samuel (1759), John (1764), Araunah (1769), and Miles (1775), were the others.
All that we know of Gideon is, that he was in the army when twenty-three years of age. He saw service in the Hudson Valley in the summer of 1777. He was a member of Captain Amos Barns's company, which belonged to Colonel Noadiah Hooker's regiment, which was in the brigade of General Erastus Woldott. Gideon died at Litchfield the next year. Some fatality seems to have marked the lives of several of the older children of Samuel, Jr. From the list already given, it will be seen that Levi died at the age of twenty-six, Abigail at the age of nineteen, and Gideon at the age of twenty-four.
Samuel 3rd (1759), performed the same amount of military service in 1777 that has been recorded above for his brother, Gideon. In 1778 he was again in the army for three months, in defense of the Valley of the Hudson. In this campaign he was under Captain Joel Gillett, of Colonel Roger Enos's regiment. He was but eighteen years old when he entered on this service.
Samuel lived all his life in Litchfield County, and raised a family there, but of his children, I have the name of but a single one, viz., Edmund Orton, of Northeast, Pennsylvania. I fear that there is no probability that anything more can be learned in regard to this branch.
The next son was john (1764). He was but twelve years old when the war broke out, and a war record
is, consequently, an impossibility in his case. It seems probably that John migrated, in his early life, a few
miles to the northward of his father's home. At least he found a wife in the town of Goshen, in the person
of Ruth Norton, a member of a well-known family. She brought a distinct vein of
talent into the Orton line. One of the foremost names in the family lists, viz., that of William Orton, president of the Western Union Telegraph Company, comes in among the descendants of John and Ruth. They had eight children, six daughters and two sons, as follows:
Clarissa, February 23, 1787.
Demas, June 25, 1788.
Betsey, January 10, 1790.
Abigail, April 21, 1794.
Aurora G., June 22, 1796.
Horatio, November 2, 1798.
Ruth, March 3, 1802.
Araunah (1769), fourth son of Samuel, lived in Litchfield, about two miles south of the town center. The farm on which he lived is now known as the Harrison farm. The house that he occupied was situated nearly opposite to Charles Ensign's house, but not a vestige of it now remains. Araunah married Lois Gibbs in 1793. I think she was the daughter of Eliakim Gibbs, a soldier who died in the army in 1778. The children of Araunah and Lois were twelve in number, and are named below:
Irene G., October 13, 1795.
Esther R., December, 1796.
Rachel, September 18, 1798.
Ruth M., November 15, 1799.
Mary A., February 25, 1801.
` James M., October 5, 1802. Utica, New York.
Elizabeth Morris, January 17, 1804.
Leman G., June 22, 1805.
Orrin A., November 25, 1806.
Lucy S., October 22, 1808.
Phoebe W., May 27, 1810.
Rhoda T., July, 1812.
I have not been able to follow any of this family.
Miles, the youngest son of Samuel and Ruth Mason Orton, was born on Orton Hill, March 21, 1774. He was reared in Litchfield, and in 1795, married Lydia, daughter of Eliakim Gibbs. She was born about 1770 and died October 10, 1852, at the residence of her son, Rev. Dr. Samuel G. Orton, in Ripley, New York. The Gibbs family, to which she belonged, was one of the best known and most numerous families of Litchfield, and especially of that part of the town known as the South Farms. Many members of it were distinguished for stentorian voices. A wag of the neighborhood declared that he could always tell when he came into the South Farms because he could hear some of the Biggses "holler". The Biggs voice has been an inheritance of at least three generations from Eliakim. Lydia's father was drafter into the Revolutionary Army in the winter of 1778. To prepare him better for the exposures of army life in winter, his wife undertook to knit a pair of long stockings for him that reached to the hips. He was to report at a station nearby, probably Litchfield, on the evening of a certain day. His wife had set up all the night before working at the task, but did not finish it until the last day was far spent. The sun was sinking and he was obliged to take his departure. Lydia was five years old at the time. She had two sisters older than herself and a brother and sister younger. There was a long hill that her father had to ascend on his road to the appointed station, and wife and children were watching at the windows as he slowly made his way. As he
reached the top of the hill, his figure was outlined sharply against the evening sky. He stopped and gazed for some minutes at his home in the valley below, and then passed over the brow of the hill and was lost from the sight of the children. "That was the last I ever saw of my father", Lydia was wont to tell her grandchildren. He went into camp on Lake George, and in the course of a few weeks, died of that dreadful scourge of the Revolutionary Armies, the smallpox. His death occurred so soon after his entry upon the service that no pension could ever be obtained, and the household suffered privation and hardship from the withdrawal of their natural supporter and protector.
Miles Orton was an exceptionally companionable and popular young man, but he lacked the instinct of accumulation and thrift, which we generally associate with the New England, and particularly with the Connecticut character. He was about five feet seven inches in height, and was remarkably well proportioned. On the days when trials of strength and agility were in order on the village green, Miles was the recognized champion of the town. The records of some of his feats of activity would put to shame many of our modern athletes. He died in 1813, when but thirty-six years old, leaving a family of eight children, as follows:
Samuel G., June 6, 1798-April 12, 1873. Sandusky, Ohio.
Miles M., June 4, 1799-1820.
William H., March 20, 1801-1842. Republic, Ohio.
Ruth E., March 19, 1803-1837 (?).
Elizabeth M., April 13, 1805. M. Hon. Levi Baxter. Jonesville, Michigan.
Abbie M., July, 1807.
Edward S., December 25, 1809. Probably died in 1830.
James. Died in infancy.
Of the daughters of Samuel 3rd, I have no knowledge beyond their names. The record implies that five of them grew to womanhood.
The family of Hezekiah, second son of Captain Samuel, has been already named. His oldest son, Hezekiah 2nd (1745), married Phoebe Johnson in 1767, and set out forthwith for the frontiers of new York, as they were at that time considered. He was one of the pioneer settlers of Oswego County, New York, locating in Williamstown, about twenty-five miles due east of Lake Ontario. Twin sons, Hezekiah (3rd) and Solomon, were born to him June 5, 1768, and a daughter, Phoebe, January 23, 1770. Solomon seems to have died in infancy. Hezekiah 2nd died May 25, 1770, when but twenty-four years old, leaving a helpless family in the wilderness. Of his children, the only record that I find is, that Hezekiah (3rd) married Hannah _____ , and had four children born to him, Sally (1790), Elizabeth (1792), Morgan (1794), and Phoebe (1800). Hezekiah died before his time, but he must have given a good account of the region to which he had come to the brothers that remained in the old home, for in due time two others of them found their way to the same region, as will hereafter appear.
The second son, Eliada, born May 29, 1748, grew up in Litchfield (South Farms), and in 1770 married Lucia Hungerford. When the Revolutionary war broke out, he enlisted in the army and was in service for a considerable time. For his services he received a pension from the government under the Congressional Act of 1818, and is reported
in the accompanying list as "a pensioner of Connecticut, residing in Vermont". As to his residence in Vermont I have no knowledge, but in any case it must have been of short duration, for in 1804, he removed to Parish, Oswego County, a town adjoining Williamstown on the west. Here he reared a family of children that were born before he left Connecticut. Their names follow below:
Lucia, June 29, 1772.
Hosmer, December 26, 1773.
Eliada, Jr., 1775-1860. Parish, New York.
Sedgwick Orton, the third son of Hezekiah and Anna Sedgwick Orton, was born August 11, 1750. He remained in Litchfield, and does not appear to have had a Revolutionary record. Just at the outbreak of the war, in 1775, he married Sarah Tucker. His marriage took place about a month before the Battle of Bunker Hill, and to the invitations to enter the service of his country, he could probably give the scriptural answer, "I have married a wife and cannot come". Of the family of his wife I have no knowledge. Their children were as follows:
Heman, May 11, 1780-October 25, 1855. Litchfield (South Farms).
Mary. M. James Webster.
A considerable number of Ortons, descended from Sedgwick through his oldest son, Heman, are on record.
In regard to some of the other members of the family, I have not been able to obtain any facts whatever.
Azariah 2nd, fourth son of Hezekiah, was born September 25, 1757. He served in the Revolutionary War with the Connecticut Continental troops, and received a pension from the government for such services. He is duly named in the congressional List of Pensioners for 1834-5. He was residing in Oneida County, New York. (Vol. II., p. 365.) In 1780 he married Sybil Cleveland, and in 1801 removed to Camden, Oneida County, New York, and after a few years to the adjoining town of Florence, where he died in 1835. His wife died in 1807.
To them were born eight children, viz.:
Dennis, November 7, 1781-1855. Shelby, Ohio.
Sherman, April 17, 1783. Farmington, Illinois (?).
Rhoda, April 17, 1786.
Olive, November 10, 1788.
Azariah. Farmington, Illinois (?).
Brainerd, 1804. Sterling, Illinois.
All were born in Connecticut, except the youngest son, Brainerd. A long list of Ortons can be traced to this line.
Darius, fifth son of Hezekiah, was also a Revolutionary soldier and pensioner, and as he served in the Connecticut militia, we are better able to follow his military record than that of his brother. He entered the service when but sixteen years old. In 1776 he served in Captain Smith's company, presumably in defense of the Hudson Valley. In 1777 he was in Captain Enos Barns's company, under Colonel Noadiah Hooker, whose headquarters were at Peekskill on the
Hudson. In 1778 he was in the same army, in the same service, and in Captain Joel Gillett's company. In 1780 he was enrolled in the Fifth Connecticut line. His name appears in Vo. II., p. 387, Congressional List of Pensioners, 1834-5.
I do not find the name of his wife, or the date of his marriage, but about the opening of the century, he, too, removed to Williamstown, New York, and some of his descendants are still living there on their ancestral acres. The greater number of his descendants, however, have emigrated to the Western States. The names of his children are as follows:
Hiram, 1811-1884. Ortonville, Iowa.
All were born and reared in Williamstown, New York.
Of the youngest son, Dennis, born 1766, I have no further account. He was too young for the Revolutionary Army. His name was repeated in the next generation, as has already appeared in the list of his brother, Azariah's sons.
I come next to the descendants of Azariah (1729), of the fourth generation, third son of Captain Samuel. As stated above, he removed to Tyringham, Massachusetts, somewhere about 1760.
His oldest son, Azariah, Jr., was born in Tyringham, in 1761, and was reared there. He inherited the lands which his father had cleared and occupied, and which are still, in part, at least, in the possession of his descendants. Though
but a lad of sixteen, he enlisted in the army in 1777, and was present, under General Gates, at the surrender of Burgoyne, at Saratoga. When he was twenty-seven years old, viz., in 1788, he did the best thing possible in marrying Abigail, sometimes called Polly, daughter of Colonel Giles Jackson, of Tyringham. Colonel Jackson was one of the most prominent and influential men of that part of the State. Mention has been made of him in another connection with the Orton family, on a previous page. Abigail Jackson Orton was her father's daughter, and was easily the leading woman of Tyringham, in all of its interests, social, educational, and religious. She had a striking face and figure, and the authority which she exercised became her well, and was readily acknowledged by her neighbors. She brought a fresh stock of energy and talent into the Orton line. Several of the most distinguished scholars of the family are found in the list of her descendants. Azariah lived to an extreme age, dying in 1854, at the age of ninety-three. His wife, born in 1768, died in 1851. They left five sons, viz.:
Azariah Giles, 1789-1869. Lisle, New York.
Thomas Porter, 1794-1847.
Caleb Jackson, 1805-1850.
Sara A., Tyringham.
Of the second son of Azariah (1729), viz., Reuben, I have no record except the name; but of the third son, Darius, May 26, 1770, I can give a brief account. He married Vashti Jackson, a younger daughter of Colonel Giles Jackson. She was born in 1771, and died September 15, 1803. Darius afterwards married Catharine Burghardt, who was born July 20, 1770, probably in central New York, and
died August 15, 1847. He removed to Center Lake, Broome County, New York, and some of his descendants are still found in the same town and in the adjacent region. By his first wife he had four children, and by his second wife, six children. The list is found below:
Aurilla, August 23, 1792-1874. Alvada, Ohio.
Polly, October 20, 1794.
Darius, July 4, 1797-July 30, 1801.
Vashti, December 9, 1799.
Darius B., June 23, 1806-June 14, 1833.
Azariah, May 30, 1807.
Lambert, December 26, 1808. Center Lisle, New York.
Albert, January 25, 1810.
Catharine, September 3, 1812.
Ann, September 14, 1815.
I come next to the children of Lemuel, 1735, who married Mary Lurvey, and who resided in Litchfield. Their oldest son was Lemuel, Jr., who was born in 1762. He seems to have learned the shoemaker's trade, though he was a farmer in all his later life. At the age of fifteen, in 1777, he enlisted in the Revolutionary Army, and remained in the service to the close of the war. In his later years he received a pension for his service by the Congressional Act of 1818.
He belonged to Colonel Elisha Sheldon's Light Dragoons, which were recruited in 1777 in western Connecticut, and which were employed during the war along the Westchester front in New Jersey, in constant and arduous service. In winter the troops were generally
scattered in small squads through the regions from which they were recruited, with the double object of defending the towns from British raids and of reducing the expense of maintenance of man and beast. The company in which Lemuel served seems to have been under the immediate command of Lieutenant (afterwards Colonel) Kirby, of Litchfield. Major Benjamin Tallmadge was one of the officers of the regiment. Lemuel was shot in the head on one occasion, but not entirely disabled. He was the Revolutionary hero of the Orton family, at least in the Litchfield branch. He brought back from the war a great stock of adventures and "hair-breadth 'scapes", the rehearsal of which, in after days, furnished the greatest delight to the youthful members of the family and of the community at large. One of his adventures, to the relation of which my father listened when a boy, runs as follows:
The squad of Light Horse to which he belonged was wintering, as usual, in southern Connecticut, and was kept on the qui vive in repelling British raids planned by the traitor Arnold. One evening, after hard service for several days, the command to which he was attached came to a large barnyard, at which it was deemed safe to stop for a night's rest. No British troops were known to be in the immediate vicinity, and the officer in charge felt a sense of security that proved to be unwarranted. He gave orders to unsaddle the horses, and allowed his men to make themselves comfortable in the hay-mow for a much-needed rest. Lemuel retired with the rest, but in an hour or two was waked by a vivid dream. He dreamed that a British troop was coming at full speed down the road which they had just left, and that he had only time to mount his horse and ride out as the enemy entered. The dream made such an impression on him that he could not go to sleep again, at once. He
got up from the hay-loft and went down to the yard where the horses were fastened. It was a typical New England night. The newly-fallen snow lay deep on the ground, covering everything that the eye could see with a mantle of white. The air was still and keen. The full moon rode high in the heavens, and what with its light and the reflecting surface of the snow, the night was almost like the day. He listened, but the only sounds to be heard were of the horses feeding from the racks to which they were fastened. He went out into the roadway, looked up and down, but nothing was to be seen to warrant the least suspicion or uneasiness. Ashamed of himself for giving heed to a dream, he went back to his place in the hay and dropped asleep once more, but presently was again awakened by a similar dream, more vivid, if anything, than the first. This time he aroused some of his comrades and told them his experience, but they only berated him for disturbing their sleep with such childish tales, but he was so much excited and disturbed that he could not rest. He went down to the yard again and repeated the examination that he had made before. The conditions were exactly as he had found them at first. But he was so impressed by the repetition of his dream that he examined the gates of the yard to see by what way he should escape if his dream should come true, and he also saddled and bridled his horse, a trusty black, of whose speed and endurance he had often made trial, and of which he was justly proud. He left him ready to mount at the shortest notice. Having thus quieted his mind, he again retired to rest and fell asleep once more. But from this he was presently awakened, not by a dream, but by the near approach of the enemy. A troop of British cavalry had followed the track of Lemuel's company all night and were now coming down the road at full gallop. He mounted his
trusty black and rode away, as he had planned, out of one gate while the advance line of the enemy was entering the other. He was hotly pursued for several miles. To the speed and endurance of his horse and to his perfect knowledge of the country he owed his escape. As he rode away, the flame of the burning barn and hay-stacks lighted up the heavens behind him with their lurid glare, and "the voice of them that strive for the mastery and of them that cry for being overcome" startled the still air of the winter night. But one or two of the company beside himself escaped from the disaster. Whether it was in this engagement that he was short in the head, I have not learned.
Lemuel was just twenty-one when the war was closed. He was married in Litchfield, in 1785. The name of his wife was Sylvia Peck (1761). He settled in Kent, Connecticut, to the northwest of Litchfield. There was born to them a family of seven children, three sons and four daughters. They are named below:
Charlotte, July 10, 1785. Mrs. Mills, Kent.
John Jamison, March 14, 1787. Painesville, Ohio.
Lemuel, January 27, 1789.
Clarissa, December 15, 1790. Orange Township, Delaware County, Ohio.
Harriet, June 5, 1793. Orange Township, Delaware County, Ohio.
Polly, March 2, 1794. Mrs. Gale, Delaware County, Ohio.
Burr, February 5, 1797. Kent, Connecticut.
E. Birdseye, June 16, 1799. Delaware County, Ohio.
Lydia, May 25, 1801. Mrs. Reed.
In his later life he removed from Kent to Ohio, several of his children accompanying him, but some remaining behind in Kent. He settled on a farm seven miles north of Worthington, and seventeen miles north of Columbus, and died there September 29, 1831, in the seventieth year of his age.
Gideon, the second son of Lemuel, was born in 1768 and died in 1846, at Eden, Erie County, New York.
He emigrated to Canada, and married there, and several children were born to him in that country, but when the War of 1812 broke out, he found himself in danger of being forced into the British army. He sacrificed his property and made his escape across Lake Erie, near Buffalo, New York, bringing his family with him, but the excitement and hardship proved too much for his wife, and she died soon afterwards. Gideon took up a farm in Eden Township, Erie County, New York, about twenty miles due south of Buffalo. Here he married again, wrought out a new home for himself from the wilderness, and reared a second family of children. He died in Eden in 1846. His children seem to have all disappeared from the region, and I have not been able to find any trace of them.
John, Third of Lemuel, born 1770, seems to have spent his life in the vicinity of his early home. He married Sarah Jones, and one son and three daughters were born to them, viz., Ira, Sarah J. (Mrs. Worden), Julie (Mrs. Alexander Bickney), and Ellen (Mrs. Nickerson). Ira, born in 1812, married Martha Disbrow, and by her had one son and three daughters, viz.:
James A., 1833
Mary A., 1837
Ada C., 1846.
Mary D., 1854.
James A. married his cousin Mary A. Orton. They had one son, Charles, 1868-88. James died in 1870. His widow resides in New Milford, Connecticut. Mary A. died, as it appears from the repetition of the name, in early life. Ada C. married Albert Sherman, and has one daughter, Lena.
William (1772-1838) spent his life either in western Connecticut of eastern New York. He married Ruanna Lewis and had a family of three sons and two daughters. They are named as follows: James, Mary A., Sally, Lewis, and Harry.
Lieutenant John, of Sharon, Connecticut, left two sons, as will be remembered, Joseph and Luther. Of the latter I have little knowledge, but a few facts pertaining to Joseph are at hand. He inherited his father's picturesque, but not over-productive farm in Sharon. He married Mary (Polly) Pardee, of Sharon. The Pardees of Sharon begin with Lieutenant John Pardee, born 1691, who came from Norwalk to Sharon at an early day. His house stood near the stone bridge north of the meeting house. He became a large landholder in the town, owning several places on the main street. He was a leading man in the town, as is shown by the fact that he represented it for six terms in the Colonial Legislature.
He died in 1860, leaving six sons, Thomas, Jehiel, John, Joseph, George, Moses.
Several of their descendants have been very successful business men, accumulating large fortunes in New York and elsewhere. From which one of the sons Polly, wife of Joseph Orton, was descended, I have not learned.
Joseph Orton built the house now standing on his old farm, and which is occupied by the present owner,
Mr. George R. Woodward. Here Joseph's three sons were born, viz., Milton Pardee, 1795-1864; Chauncey, Alanson.
Joseph and his wife had a high appreciation of the advantages of education, and at the expense of great effort and self-denial on the part of the family, sent their oldest son, Milton Pardee, to Yale College. Joseph died in 1864.
Luther, January 23, 1774, removed to Vermont and married there Naomi _____ (born June 2, 1774). To them one son, at least, was born, viz., Orrin. He removed to western New York early in the century and reared a family of children there, viz.:
Zelinda. Mrs. Bingham, Albion, New York.
Delphina. Mrs. Birch.
James Volney. Moline, Michigan. Died 1895.
This completes the account of the fifth generation through Samuel of Litchfield.
SIXTH AND SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS OF ORTONS IN THE
LINE OF SAMUEL.
In the present section I will follow the descendants of Samuel in the sixth generation, as laid down in Table IV., and I will also trace, in each case, such lines of descent as I can follow, through the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth generations. I remind the reader once more of the necessity or advantage of constant reference to the table above referred to. By means of it the true order ca easily be followed.
(a) DESCENDANTS OF SAMUEL 3rd.
There is but one Orton in the sixth generation in this line, of whom I have any knowledge, viz., Edmund of
Northeast, Erie County, Pennsylvania. He owned a beautiful farm in this township, just west of the New York State Line, and four miles east of the village of Northeast. He must have emigrated from New England to western Pennsylvania between the years 1820 and 1830. He cleared the land himself and built the house in which he lived all the remainder of his life. His farm is included in the famous grape section along the shores of Lake Erie. He married Sarah(?) Camp, who came with him from Connecticut and helped to establish the new home in the West. Five or six children were born to them here. Their names are as follows:
Maria, born about 1825. M. _____ Coleman, Martinez, California.
Sarah, born about 1827. M. Stillman Belknap, Northeast, Pennsylvania.
Elah, born about 1829. Northeast, Pennsylvania.
Alvira, born about 1830.
Samuel, born about 1835. Occupies the home farm, Northeast, Pennsylvania.
I knew Edmund and his family well in my childhood. He was an industrious, economical, thrifty farmer, true, in every particular, to the New England type of the first quarter of the century. Children and children's children can be counted in this line below the list I have been able to give.
(b) DESCENDANTS OF JOHN.
In connection with a few facts of John Orton's life that I have been able to gather, and which are found on another page, will also be found a list of his children in the sixth generation.
Clarissa, the oldest daughter, born February 23, 1787, married Nathan Sanford, of Morris, Connecticut, and has
several descendants now living. Of the other daughters, I have no record. There were two sons, Aurora G. (1796) and Horatio W. (1798). Of the former I have no trace. Horatio Woodruff (September 13, 1798) removed from Connecticut in the first quarter of the century to Cuba, Alleghany County, New York, where he spent the remainder of his life, dying there May 31, 1876. In 1825 he married Sarah Carson. He owned a farm of good acreage and of fair, average quality for the region, two miles southeast of the village, which he worked out by his own toil. There, in a frame house that he built for himself in his early days, and that is still standing in reasonable preservation, his large family was born. The list appears below:
William, June 14, 1826-April 22, 1878.
Thomas, March 2, 1828.
Lucy, February 2, 1830.
Robert, March 23, 1832.
Jane, April 8, 1834.
Susan, November 12, 1836-January 3, 1854.
Franklin, March 20, 1839-March 8, 1840.
Frederick, March 20, 1839-September, 25, 1839.
James, January 28, 1842-March 31, 1869.
Martha, June 21, 1844.
Mary E., July 3, 1847.
Horatio's family grew up in a plain way in the quietest of country homes; but there was a fire within that made it certain that they would not stay contented at the level and with the outlook to which they were born. Their talent and ambition came I think, principally from their father's side, and his seems to have been an inheritance from his mother, Ruth Norton of Goshen. Most of the family have the large fine of their father, which I take to be characteristic of the Ruth Norton line.
WILLIAM ORTON, PRESIDENT OF WESTERN UNION
William, the oldest son of Horatio, is no doubt more widely known than any other of the Orton name. As president of the Western Union Telegraph Company, he achieved a reputation even wider than the continent which this company spans with its wires. In his earliest years he made the most of the opportunities of the district schools which he attended, and long before he grew to man's estate he took up the work of teaching in these schools, as so many other ambitious young men have done. He soon found that he could increase his efficiency as a teacher by laying a better foundation. With that end in view, he entered the State Normal School, Albany, New York, then under the inspiring influence of David P. Page, one of the pioneers in the work of normal training in this country. William graduated at the Normal School in 1847, expecting at the time, I presume, to devote his life to the profession of teaching.
If he had done so, he would have been as brilliantly successful in this calling as he afterwards became in other lines. He was not, however, allowed to teach many years after his graduation. His fine presence and his marked executive ability attracted to the young schoolmaster the attention of business men, and he was soon led to exchange the teacher's desk for a situation in the publishing house of George Derby & Co., Geneva, New York. He rose rapidly in the esteem of the firm, and was presently admitted as a partner. The business was then transferred to New York, but met with reverses, and William was, for a short time, in the firm of J. B. Gregory & Co., publishers.
As soon as he reached New York, he began to take an interest in public affairs, and especially in the newly formed Republican party, to which he was a staunch adherent all his life. He rose rapidly in public favor, and in 1862 was appointed by President Lincoln collector of internal revenue for the most important district of the country, viz., the sixth district of New York, embracing Wall Street. He showed such efficiency and mastery of the business that the sixth district of New York became the standard of the country in this connection, and when, presently, a congressional committee, desiring information as to the working of the law, called upon the commissioner of internal revenue at Washington and found that he was not able to answer them as to all points, they were advised to send for the collector of the sixth district of New York. The committee summoned William Orton, and he showed such thorough knowledge of every point involved, that it at once occurred to the members that he was the right man to be at the head of the department in Washington. In the course of a year or two a vacancy in the commissionership came about, and Mr. Orton was appointed by President Lincoln to the place in
1865. His administration was efficient and successful in every way. He made the acquaintance of the leading men of the country and the pathway of political preferment seemed fairly open to him. But he was not allowed to remain long in political life. He was prevailed upon to accept the presidency of the United States Telegraph Company. In the course of a year a consolidation of this company with its great rival, the Western Union Telegraph Company was accomplished, with Mr. Orton as vice president. In 1867 he was made president, and to this great corporation and the interests it involved, he devoted the remainder of his life, withholding no service that he could possibly render. His life was brought to a premature end by the burden and strain that the business necessitated. He died in New York City, April 22, 1878, when nearly fifty-two years of age.
William Orton would have been a striking and leading personality in any community and in any line of work. In the matter of executive ability, he rose to the rank of genius.
In 1850 he married Agnes J. Gillespie, of Buffalo, and a large family was born to them. The names of the children are as follows:
Alice, Mrs. Dr. Richards, New York City.
William, Jr., June 18, 1858-February 20, 1891.
William's oldest son, William, Jr., born in Brooklyn, 1858, married Corinne, daughter of E. F. Shields, Esq.,
Mobile, Alabama, and died in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1891, leaving three children:
William 3rd, 1887.
Agnes Gillespie, 1889.
The remaining sons of William are engaged in business in New York.
Thomas, the second son of Horatio, was born in Cuba, New York, March 2 1828. He left the farm as soon as he could get away from it, and was engaged in the book business in Lacon, Illinois, and elsewhere for a number of years, and afterwards was made general manager of the supply department of the Western Union Telegraph Company, in Chicago. He made fortunate investments in real estate in that city and has acquired a considerable fortune. In 1855, he married Sarah C., second daughter of Rev. Dr. Samuel G. Orton, of Ripley, New York. She died in Chicago in 1873. He next married Minnie Woodward, by whom he had three daughters. She died in 1894. He resides in Chicago and has married a third wife who has born him a fourth daughter.
Lucy, oldest daughter of Horatio, married, in 1855, P. W. Huffstader, of Hornellsville, New York. She has several children.
Robert, born in 1832, died in 1876, in Brooklyn, New York. He was a young man of brilliant parts, from whom much was expected by those who knew him best, and especially by his brother, William, who was devotedly attached to him.
Jane married H. A. Mead, of Cuba, New York. She had three children, of whom two survive, viz., Robert, in business in Cuba, New York, and a daughter, Mrs. Henion, of Chicago.
James, born 1842, died in 1869. He was a young man of energy and good business promise. In his younger days he was a locomotive engineer. He married, in 1867, Rose Hitchcock, but left no children.
Martha married Edward A. Bartlett, of Cuba, New York, and has several children.
Mary E. married Frank E. Tracy, of Toledo, and has five children now living, viz., Frank, Jr., who entered on a course of mechanical engineering at Cornell University; Martha, Thomas, Fred, and Catherine.
This completes the record of Horatio W. Orton's descendants. A few of the names already given require to be counted in the ninth generation.
Of Araunah Orton's large family I have scarcely a trace. They were poor and do not seem to have had the force necessary to overcome the obstacles that obstructed their ascent. The oldest son, James Morris, was crippled. He is said to have found his way to Oneida County, New York, in early life.
(c) DESCENDANTS OF MILES
Miles Orton, as will be seen on another page, left eight children, four sons and four daughters. Samuel G., the oldest son, born June 6, 1797, grew up in Litchfield (South Farms). The early death of his father occurred when Samuel was a lad of sixteen, and before any suitable provision had been made for the care of the household. The family felt the pressure and restriction of poverty, and Samuel, in particular, was made able to sympathize with a large side of life of which the uniformly fortunate and prosperous know and care very little. He worked for a farmer of the town, named Benton, for a number of years. But when he was eighteen years old he was for the first time seriously and
personally interested in religion, as it was at that time universally understood and set forth in New England. He was "converted" under the ministry of Dr. Lyman Beecher, who was then in the prime of his splendid powers; and forthwith Samuel felt the desire to preach the faith which he had accepted with all sincerity. His gifts were approved by the local church, and he was encouraged and aided to prepare for the ministry of the Congregational Church. This preparation was a serious undertaking, for Samuel had enjoyed but little preliminary education. He entered, however, the famous academy of James Morris, then established at South Farms. Among the students with whom he was associated, he recalled in his later life, a serious-minded rather taciturn young man, somewhat older than himself, who was hard at work learning the elements of land surveying. This young man afterwards came to be known as John Brown of Ossawatomie, the hero of Harper's Ferry.
Samuel gave all diligence to the work of preparation, and when twenty-one years old he was admitted to the Freshman class of Yale College. He had to look forward to self-support for his entire college course, and learning of a newly founded college in Oneida County, New York, which was counted an off-shoot of Yale, its president being one of the famous Dwight family, and thinking that he could support himself more easily in the new college than in New Haven, he decided, before the end of the first year, to exchange Yale for Hamilton College. There was no public conveyance that he could afford to patronize, and he walked from New Haven to Clinton, New York, carrying on his shoulder his books, and, in fact, all his earthly possessions. When he reached his destination he had seventy-five cents in his pocket. By dint of tireless energy and the closest economy, he graduated with his class in 1822, without the
burden of one cent of debt upon him. He had earned all he was obliged to spend in getting a college degree. Among his class and college mates in Hamilton were several men who afterwards became distinguished, with some of whom he maintained the pleasantest relations all his life, viz., Dr. Albert Barnes, the popular commentator; Dr. Joel Parker, the well-known divine of New York City, and Dr. Edward Robinson, the distinguished Oriental and Biblical scholar.
REV. SAMUEL G. ORTON, D. D.
To gain the theological training requisite for his profession he went back to New Haven, where he studied theology under Dr. Nathaniel Taylor. He was profoundly influenced by this bold and vigorous thinker, who introduced into his Calvinistic theology as much reason and common sense as the scheme could possible be made to hold. Samuel was licensed to preach in October, 1824, by the Litchfield South Association, and in December of the same year he married Clarissa Gregory, at Deposit, Delaware County,
New York. In January, 1826, he was ordained pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Sidney Plains, a pleasant village in the lovely Susquehanna Valley. In the course of a few years he was called to the Presbyterian Church of Delhi, the capital of the county; but his health failed here to such an extent that he was peremptorily ordered by his physicians to seek a change of climate. He set out on horseback for western New York, and rode through the entire breadth of the State, reaching its western limit, in Chautauqua County, in 1833. For some time he preached as an evangelist among the weaker churches of Chautauqua, Erie, and Cattaraugus Counties, New York. For this service he was peculiarly fitted. He had a pastorate of several years in the Park Street Church, Buffalo; but in 1837 he became the pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Ripley, the westernmost town of New York, on the lake shore. It is a beautiful township, the surface of which has been, within the last few years, largely transformed into vineyards and orchards, to the great advantage of the farm-owners. Here Mr. Orton remained for sixteen years, interested in and serviceable to every phase of the life of the people, religious, moral, intellectual, and material. He fitted a number of the young men of his parish for college. He established and maintained in the town a private school, which was the equivalent of an academy, and which exercised a refining and uplifting influence upon the entire community to a notable extent. The church prospered greatly under his ministry, and during all these years he spent more or less time every year in the evangelistic work to which, as I have said, he was particularly adapted. Retiring from active service when about sixty-five years of age, he bought a home, with thirty acres of land attached, in the township adjacent to Ripley, viz., Northeast, Pennsylvania. He died May 12, 1873, at the
home of his son-in-law, Hon. J. H. Hudson, Sandusky, Ohio.
Mr. Orton was a man of excellent gifts in many directions. He was not what would be called a great or profound preacher, but he was an unusually persuasive and successful one. He was sincere and earnest. He had a wonderful knowledge of human nature, by means of which he always adapted himself to the audience which he was addressing. He had the practical talent of the genuine New Englander; had as much knowledge of farming as any farmer in his parish, and almost the same could be said of him in many other lines of business. To the end of his days he had an eager love of knowledge, of nature, and of man; was hospitable to all new thought, so far as it did not seem to be inconsistent with his theological tenets, which were, to him, the most vital and important facts in the universe. His kind and sympathetic nature made him universally beloved. He received the degree of D. D. from a western college in 1845. In person he was about five feet eight inches in height and exceedingly well proportioned. In his early life he was very strong and active. The Gibbs voice, full, strong, and musical, to which I have before alluded, was one of the inheritances which served specially well in his profession.
His wife, Clara Gregory (Orton), was born in Dover Plains, New York, February 17, 1799. She was the youngest daughter of Rev. Justus Gregory. Her grandfather was, for a time, a resident of Sharon, Connecticut, but the original family home of the Gregorys in New England, was Norwalk, Connecticut. Their English home was Nottingham. One of Mrs. Orton's brothers was Rev. David D. Gregory, a Presbyterian clergyman, for many years settled in Binghamton, New York. Another brother was Major General Edgar M. Gregory, a gallant and honored officer in the War of the Rebellion. The Gregory family held a somewhat
higher social position than the Ortons, according to the undefined and indefinable standards, which we accept in such matters. Mrs. Orton died suddenly, at her home in Northeast, Pennsylvania, July 26, 1863, in the sixty fourth year of her age. Four children survived them:
Elizabeth, June 16, 1827. Mrs. J. H. Hudson, Sandusky, Ohio.
Edward, March 9, 1829. Columbus, Ohio.
Sarah C., March 4 1833-1873. Mrs. Thomas Orton, Chicago.
Samuel G., August 13, 1837. Kirkwood, Missouri.
Elizabeth married Hon. J. H. Hudson, and has lived in Sandusky, Ohio, for the last twenty-five years. She is a lady of unusual intellectual activity and force and does not allow the burden of years to weigh down her vivacity or depress her ambition.
Edward was fitted for college by his father and in the academies of Westfield and Fredonia, New York. He entered the Sophomore Class of Hamilton College in 1845, graduating in 1848. He taught for several years, studied in Lane and Andover Theological Seminaries, but finally settled down to the study and teaching of natural science, and especially of geology. He left New York for Ohio in 1868, was in Antioch College for seven years as professor, and finally as president, and then accepted the presidency of the State University in 1873, holding this office until 1881; since that he has been professor of geology. He has also been State Geologist of Ohio for twenty years.
In 1855 he married Mary M. Jennings, of Franklin, New York, by whom he had four children. She died in 1873. In 1875 he married Anna Davenport Torrey, of Millbury, Mass.
By his first wife he had four children, and by his second wife two. They are named below:
Charles Jennings, October 22, 1856. Marietta, Minnesota.
Clara Gregory, December 31, 1859. Columbus, Ohio.
Edward, Jr., October 8, 1863. Columbus, Ohio.
Mary Jennings, June 12, 1868. Columbus, Ohio.
Louise Taft, June 6, 1877. Columbus, Ohio.
Samuel Torrey, October 15, 1879.
Charles Jennings is a farmer in Marietta, Lac Qui Parle County, Minnesota. He married Florence Bell in January, 1881. They have two children, George Edward, 1882, and Claribel, 1895.
Edward, Jr., is a graduate of the Ohio State University, with the degree of Engineer of Mines. He is at present professor of Ceramics in the same institution and is a young man of great energy and great promise. In 1888 he married Mary P. Anderson, of Columbus.
Clara G. is a reacher. She is well trained and successful. She devoted a year to the study of art in Europe. Mary Jennings is a graduate of Wellesley, 1890, and has been teaching a year or two. Louise Taft is a student of Wellesley. Samuel T. is fitting for college, and expects to study either medicine or mechanical engineering.
Samuel Gregory, youngest son of Rev. Samuel G. Orton, has followed various lines of business. He is an excellent mechanical engineer, is a successful contractor on public work, but prefers to be called a farmer. In this calling he has a large and intelligent interest. He married Etta Budd, of Greenville, Pennsylvania, in 1863, and now resides in Kirkwood, Missouri. He has no children.
To the other sons of Miles Orton, I can give but a brief allowance of space. Miles M., Jr., born in 1799, died in 1820,
just as he was entering manhood. He was an amiable and excellent young man, greatly beloved by his brothers and sisters.
The third son of Miles and Lydia, William H., was born March 20, 1801. He had the trim and handsome figure and the genial ways of his father. He learned the carpenter's trade and was a good and efficient workman. In November, 1821, he married Alma A., daughter of Daniel Porter, of Waterbury, Connecticut. She died early, leaving him an infant daughter, Caroline E., born October 14, 1822, who, on the death of her mother, was cared for by her grandmother, Lydia Orton, for several years, after which she found a home with her uncle, Deacon Timothy Porter, of Waterbury. In October, 1844, she was married to William S. Platt, a manufacturer of Waterbury. He was a son of Deacon Alfred Platt, of the same town, who began on a small scale, sixty or seventy years ago, the manufacture of buttons in that ingenious town. His sons grew up in the business, constantly expanding it to meet new conditions and demands, and substituting for hand labor, ingenious machines, invented and constructed by themselves. They built up a large business that now employs two hundred hands, and they achieved large fortunes by means thereof. William S. Platt died March 27, 1886. His wife survives, bearing her three-score and ten years lightly. She has three children, two daughters and one son, as follows:
Helen J. Mrs. Wallace H. Camp, Waterbury.
Caroline A., Waterbury.
Irving Gibbs, Waterbury.
Mrs. Camp has an interesting family, one of whom bears the given name of Orton. Irving G. Platt is one of the most active and successful business men of Waterbury.
William H. married, for his second wife, Louisa Boughton, and had another daughter, Mary J., born April 19, 1828. She grew up in Waterbury and was married to Willard Thompkins. She died November 19, 1892, leaving two sons, now residents of Waterbury. William removed from Connecticut to Ohio about 1835. He lived for a time in Sandusky, and then removed to Republic, Seneca County, where he died November 21, 1842.
Edward S., the youngest son of Miles and Lydia Orton, was born December 25, 1809. He, too, learned the carpenter's trade and was called a young man ov excellent character and promise. He set out for the West, but from the day he left Litchfield, in 1832, he was never heard of again. His brother, Samuel, followed every possible clue which a wide acquaintance in the Western States could afford, but to no purpose, and he was finally disposed to believe that Edward had died suddenly and soon after leaving home, a stranger in a strange land.
The Orton name comes down from Miles' family only through Samuel, and through Samuel only by Edward.
SIXTH AND LATER GENERATIONS, IN LINE OF HEZEKIAH.
We come next to Hezekiah Orton's descendants, in the sixth and later generations. As is seen in the sixth and later generations. As is seen in the chart, Hezekiah left four sons, whose fortunes have been briefly described. Hezekiah, Jr., died in his youth in the wilderness of New York, five years before the beginning of the Revolutionary War, leaving a wife, twin sons and a daughter. One of the twins, Hezekiah 3rd, as has been already stated, married, and four children were born to him. The Orton name is continued in this line through his son, Morgan, 1794,
who was one of the earliest settlers of the Western Reserve of Ohio. He established himself at Auburn, Geauga County, Ohio, and reared a family there. He had at least one son, Wesley H., born November 1, 1842, who is now a resident of Fullerton, Nebraska.
(a) DESCENDANTS OF ELIADA (1748).
The second son of Hezekiah (1727) and Anna Sedgwick, his wife, was born and grew up in Litchfield (South Farms). The rather unusual scriptural name, Eliada, was given to him. It was taken, with little doubt, from a worthy physician of Litchfield, Dr. Eliada Osborn. In spite of its oddity, it has been kept up in the family for three generations.
Eliada married Lucia Hungerford in 1770, and within the next ten years four sons were born to them. But in spite of the demand of his growing household upon him for defense and support, he responded once and again to the call of his country and saw a good deal of service in the Revolutionary Army during the years 1777-8-9. For his services he afterwards received a pension from the general government. After the war he must have removed, temporarily, to Vermont, for in the Congressional List of Pensioners, he is enrolled as "a pensioner of Connecticut, residing in the State of Vermont." In 1804 he removed to the east end of Lake Ontario, where his older brother, Hezekiah, had settled thirty years before. He took up land in the town of Parish, Oswego County, New York, where some of his lineal descendants still remain. The names of his four sons are as follows: Hosmer (1773), Eliada, Jr. (1775-1860), Zenas (1777), Leman (1779). Of the oldest and youngest of this list I find no further information. The second son, Eliada, Jr., grew up in Parish, New York, and left a family of five sons,
named below: Jedediah, (1799), Marvin (1801), William (1803-1886), Ransom (1805-1885), John (1808-1882), David H. (1809). There were also three daughters in the family, viz., Luanna, Polly, and Julia. Luanna, the eldest, married a judge in the State of New York. Of the oldest son, I find no record. Marvin settled in St. Joseph, Michigan.
William, the third son of Eliada, Jr., lived all his life in Parish, dying there in 1886. Three sons were born to him, viz., Hamilton (1835-8); Ransom H. (1838), Gayville, New York; Newell W. (1846), Cleveland, Ohio. Ransom H. is engaged in various lines of business, including milling. He has had two sons, viz., Irving (1859-82), and Charles N. (1865). Charles N. is employed as a railroad agent on the New York Central line, somewhere in the vicinity of his old home. A daughter, Nellie, resides in Syracuse, New York.
Newell W. is a successful business man and has been for many years a resident of Cleveland, Ohio. I am indebted to him for the facts pertaining to his branch of the family.
Ransom (1805-85), fourth son of Eliada, Jr., was born, brought up, and married in Oswego County, New York, but removed from there about forty years since to Sharon, Medina County, Ohio. He was unusually successful as a farmer and accumulated considerable property. He was three times married, and left five sons, viz., Roswell E., the only son by his first wife, lives in Copenhagen, New York, near the town in which he was born. He married Miss Coates, who is of Scotch descent. Four sons have been born to them, viz., Ashbel (1850-5), Robert (Burns) (1853), Wellington (1859), Eliada (3rd) (1861). Wellington is living somewhere on the Pacific Coast. The others are residents of Williamstown, New York. By the second wife, Fanny Connell,
there were born Ransom (1846) and John A. (1849). Ransom has been engaged in mining in southern California for many years. John A. is a successful farmer, residing at Boneta, Medina County, Ohio. He married Sarah Fixler, and has three children, two of them sons, viz., Clyde B. (1876), and Don R. (1883). By the third marriage of Ransom (1805), two sons were born, viz., George B. (1868) and William B. (1870), both of whom reside in Sharon, Ohio, and are wealthy and respected citizens. Their mother, Mrs. Fanny Derr Orton, also lives in Sharon.
George B. married Eva Wager in 1890 and has one child, Fay E. (1891). William B. married Estella Hazen in 1891, and has one son, Guy E. (1893).
Of John (1807-82), who lived in Parish, New York, I have no further report. I think he left no children. David H. (1809-1865) was born in Parish, New York, July 14, 1809 (one record says 1819). In 1837 he removed to Lockport, Michigan, where he spent the remainder of his life, dying there October 13, 1865. He was twice married. By his first wife, whose name I have not learned, he had two children, viz., Emery D., who resides in Sac City, Sac County, Iowa, and Eliza (Mrs. Lose), who resides in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He married for his second wife, Marilla J. Cleveland, who bore him six children, viz.:
Lucy, January 29, 1855. Mrs. Theodore Gottschalk, Lyons, Kansas.
Stephen, August 18, 1857. Three Rivers, Michigan.
David H., Jr., December 5, 1858. Three Rivers, Michigan.
Adelbert, M. D., February 3, 1861 - January 31, 1891. Ewing Station, Michigan.
Adele, February 3, 1861. Mrs. Charles Isbell, Rochester, New York.
Chauncey, May 10, 1864.
Mrs. Gottschalk has three sons, Roy, Frank, and Earl. Stephen has had three children, Pearl, William, and Ethel. William died in February, 1894, at the age of nine years. David H., Jr., has two children, Bernard and Lola. Adelbert studied medicine and entered on the practice in northern Michigan, but died prematurely, in 1891. Adele married Charles Isbell, and two children have been born to them, Roy and Lula. She resided in Rochester, New York.
The third son of Eliada Orton (1748) was Zenas, born in Connecticut in 1777. Zenas removed to Vermont when he arrived at man's estate, but, after a little time, crossed over into Canada, where the rest of his life was spent, and where a large and prosperous family of Ortons, derived from him, has grown up. He had two sons and one daughter, named as follows: Zenas, Jr., Alvin, Zada. Zenas, Jr., oldest son of Zenas (1777) left a large family, many of whom are still living in Canada and elsewhere. Their names are as follows:
Zenas (3rd), 1830. Olinda, Ontario.
Theodora, 1832. Casnovia, Michigan.
Catherine, 1834. Mrs. Bourne, Chicago, Illinois.
Pradieux, 1838. Olinda, Ontario.
William, 1840. Mount Dora, Florida.
Alvin, 1842. Cottam, Ontario.
Lucinda, 1842. Mrs. Whitsell, Casnovia, Michigan
Olga, 1856. Mrs. Hyslop, Olinda, Ontario.
Euria, 1858. Mrs. Wright, Hann, Ontario
Several members of this family are residents of Essex County, Ontario, which lies between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie. Alvin and Pradieux are both councilors for their respective towns in the county board of control, which is a guaranty that they are held in esteem as men of sound judgment and honorable character.
Alvin, second son of Zenas (1777), and brother of Zenas, Jr., was born November 21, 1809, married Alzina Bullis in 1833, and left three sons and three daughters. The children are named below:
Mary, 1834. Mrs. James Cumming, Cottam, Ontario.
Celsus, 1835. Langdon, North Dakota.
Jane A., 1837. Mrs. Joseph Robeson.
Morris Cuvier, 1839, Juneau City, Alaska.
Alvin and Alzina, March 22, 1843.
In 1843 Alvin married a second wife Erne Benedict, who bore him a daughter, Lucy (Mrs. Crofton J. Gilroy, Glenn Buell, Ontario). Alvin (1843) has a son, Herbert, who is now a resident of Findlay, Ohio.
From this vigorous stock there are a large number of the descendants of Thomas Orton of Windsor, in the eighth and later generations, settled mainly in Canada and the northwestern States of the Union.
(b) DESCENDANTS OF SEDGWICK.
Sedgwick, third son of Hezekiah, born in 1750, bore the honored name of his mother's family. He lived in Litchfield and married there Sarah Tucker. He left four sons, whose names, though already given, will be repeated here: Heman, Edmund, Harmon, Daniel.
Heman was born May 11, 1780, in Connecticut. He married Sarah (Sally), daughter of Aaron Hull, of Meriden. In 1803 he removed to Livingston County, New York, where Mrs. Orton died two years afterward. He married, for his second wife, Cecilia Briggs. By the first wife he had two sons, James Morris, born May 8, 1802, and Heman Hell, born March 30, 1804. By his second wife he had seven children, named below:
Sarah A. (Sally). Died June 15, 1887.
J. Trumbull. Died March 9, 1866.
Juliette. Mrs. Samuel Taylor, Forestville, Connecticut. Died 1883.
Adeline. Mrs. P. T. Wood, San Francisco, California
Ora O., a miner in California, died August, 1865.
James Morris, the oldest son of Sedgwick and Sarah T. Orton, was born in Litchfield, May 28, 1802, and lived there until he was twenty-one years of age, when he emigrated to Livingston County, New York. In 1826 he married Eunice Marsh, who lived only five years after her marriage, dying June 24, 1836. For his second wife he married, in 1837, Ruby Hart Gillett, and established himself in Rome, Oneida County, New York. The names of his children are given below. It will be observed that the first two in the list are the children of his first wife:
Jane E., August 29, 1829.
Edward M., May 2, 1834.
Richard H., August 23, 1838 - January 8, 1894. Oakland, California.
Alice S., January 15, 1840.
Albert W., October 5, 1842. Rome, New York.
Adelaide L., March 15, 1848. Mrs. T. C. Hoyt, Rochester, New York.
Anna M., May 5, 1857. Mrs. Frank Sessions, Keokuk, Iowa.
Mrs. Ruby H. Orton died at Rome, New York, June 3, 1893.
I am able to trace the family of the second son, viz., the late General Richard H. Orton, of Oakland, California. He was the oldest son of James Morris by his second wife. He was born in Rome, New York, in 1838, and removed to California in 1858. In 1863 he enlisted in the Union Army and was soon thereafter appointed second lieutenant of Company F, First California Cavalry. He presently rose to the rank of captain and saw a great deal of active service, both on the Mexican frontier and in holding the Indians of the plains in check during the early years of the war. He was constantly on the march or in exposed positions, where hardships were sure to be encountered. He was the last man of his force to be mustered out, the date of his discharge being January 7, 1868. He then took up the insurance business in San Francisco. He was also active in the organization of the National Guard of California. He was commissioned major in this organization and discharged the duties pertaining to the office until 1878, when, at his own request, he was placed on the retired list, but the title of major of cavalry for life was given to him at the same time.
In 1888 he was appointed adjutant general of the State of California, and held the office for the regular term or two years. His administration was highly efficient and popular;
but soon after this General Orton's health began to fail, his constitution probably having been undermined by the exposures and hardships of the military service through which he had passed. In 1853 he married Dora R. Carroll, and from this union five children were born, viz.:
Ruby M., February 2, 1875. Oakland, California.
Alice B., July 11, 1879. Oakland, California.
Carroll, December 1, 1879. Oakland, California.
Emma, April 3, 1883. Oakland, California.
Olive, July 6, 1886. Oakland, California.
General Orton died at his home, January 8, 1894, at the age of fifty-six, long before his life could be counted complete.
He was of medium stature, was well proportioned, and active, but did not otherwise show in physique any pronounced Orton inheritance. He had a pleasant address and proved himself, in all the relations he sustained, a man of ability and force. I had the privilege of making his acquaintance in 1891, but before we knew clearly how we were related.
The next younger son, Albert W., born October 5, 1842, is a banker in Rome, New York, and has made an excellent place for himself in the community in which he was born and reared. In 1867 he married Amelia M. Van Petten, who has borne to him six children, viz.:
Grace E., February 20, 1870 - April 12, 1875.
Frederick H., November 14, 1871 - April 19, 1875.
Mary L., May 15, 1875.
Harriet E., August 17, 1876.
Joseph M., December 25, 1883 - August 20, 1884.
Albert W., Jr., February 24, 1890.
Frederick M., youngest son of James M. and Ruby H. Orton, was born December 23, 1844, and has always resided in Rome, New York. He has been twice married, first to Mattie Barnard, in 1874. She died in 1887. For his second wife he married Sarah Lawton, in 1889.
Of the sisters I have the partial record of two. Adelaide L. was married to Thomas C. Hoyt, in 1866, and lived in Rochester, New York. Mr. Hoyt died in Denver, in 1879, leaving one daughter, Margaret E., who was brought up in the family of her grandfather, at Rome, New York. She was recently married to George Keyes, of Rochester.
Anna M. married Frank Sessions, in 1886, and has had two sons, viz., Frederick Orton Sessions (August 16, 1878 - August 22, 1880) and James Milton (September 20, 1882). Mr. and Mrs. Sessions reside at Keokuk, Iowa.
Heman H., second son of Heman and Sarah Hull Orton, was born in Litchfield, in 1804. He was three times married, and left five daughters, four of whom are married. They are named below: Elizabeth (Mrs. George Brown), Helen (Mrs. Cornelius Day), Mary A. (Died 1857, aged nineteen), Sarah (Mrs. Oliver Brown), Jeannette C. (Mrs. Arthur Miller).
Of the remaining sons of Heman and Sarah H. Orton, viz., Edmund, Harmon, and Daniel, I can give no account. Nor do I know anything except the names of the children born to Heman by his second marriage.
(c) DESCENDANTS OF AZARIAH.
Azariah, fourth son of Hezekiah (1727), married Sybil Cleveland in Connecticut and emigrated to Oneida County, New York, in his old age. He had a family of five sons and several daughters. The names of the sons are as follows:
Sherman, 1783 - 1881.
Brainerd, 1804 - 1886.
Azariah was a Revolutionary soldier and pensioner. See Congressional List, 1834-5, Vol. II., page 365.
Dennis, the oldest of the family, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, September 25, 1781, emigrated to Florence, Oneida County, New York, and a few years later, to Riga, Monroe County, New York. Finally, in 1822, he removed to Ohio, entering public land in Richland County. He took up a considerable tract two miles west of what is now the village of Shelby, and here he reared a large family. Dennis Orton was a man of keen and independent mind and was always a well-marked figure in the community. He married, in Connecticut, Sarah Treat, and seven sons and three daughters were born to them. The sons are named below:
Miles, died in 1878. Albany, Missouri.
Treat, June 1, 1804 - 1884 (?). West Unity, Ohio.
Benjamin. Shelby, Ohio.
Oliver. Alton, Illinois.
Miles, the oldest of the brothers, married Lucy Gamble, of Mansfield, and removed to Gentry County, Missouri, in 1838, and died there forty years thereafter. Of his descendants, if any, I have no knowledge.
Treat Orton, born in Connecticut, emigrated with his father to Florence and Riga, New York, and then to Shelby, Ohio. He there married Rosette DuBois, of that town, and in 1865 he removed to West Unity, Williams County, Ohio, and died there a few years ago. He was a candid, conscientious man, respected and honored in all the circles in which he moved. He left two sons and two daughters.
Charlotte A. was born in Shelby January 16, 1833, and married, in 1854, to Dr. W. H. Bunker, of Hartwell, Ohio. They have two daughters, May (1856) and Rosa (1861). Dr. Bunker has been superintendent of Longview Asylum and has also been placed by his neighbors and fellow-citizens in other positions of honor and trust. He was in the army during the War of the Rebellion. He is still engaged in the practice of his profession. His younger daughter, Rosa, is married and resides in Urbana, Ohio.
Ebenezer C., March 22, 1834, lives in West Unity, Ohio. He married Annie Y. Orr, and has four children, viz., Minnie (1861), William (1864), Leonard (1870), and Adda (1874).
Hobart G., March 22, 1838, was reared on his father's farm at Shelby. He entered the preparatory department of Oberlin College in 1856. He was a Freshman when the War of the Rebellion broke out, and enlisted in Company C, Seventy Ohio Volunteer Infantry. On August 26, 1861, he was severely wounded in an engagement at Cross Lane, West Virginia. He was left upon the field and captured by the Confederates. Some months elapsed before his friends received any word from him, and it was confidently believed by them that he was killed in the engagement. Returning from the army at the expiration of the war, he studied law, and was admitted to the bar by the Supreme Court of Ohio in 1864. In 1865 he married Angie C. Stewart, who had been a fellow-student of his at Oberlin, and who had subsequently...
Descendants of Thomas Orton, Pages 1-62
Descendants of Thomas Orton, Pages 63-122
Descendants of Thomas Orton, Pages 123-171
Descendants of Thomas Orton, Pages 172-end
Back to Hartford Connecticut USGenWeb